Friday, 21 August 2009

Dragon Talk Podcast

A Dragon Talk podcast is now up at featuring an interview with Patrick Suffo and a preview of the Kettering game.

Fast start please

I know it's a bit early in the season to start looking for patterns, but one habit Wrexham seem to be fallling into needs to be broken sharpish. It's not an easy thing to quantify or explain, but the facts are clear; so far this season very little seems to be happening in the first half of our matches, and that has to stop.

We've scored one goal in the first half so far this season, and that was Hedi Taboubi's free kick which was a couple of minutes before the break. If you cast your mind back to pre-season, when we were playing exciting, open football and looking great going forwards, you'll realise that we were able to be so expansive because or opponents, often from higher divisions, weren't about to come to The Racecourse and try to stop us playing.

Of course, we're much bigger fish in the context of the Conference, and teams aren't going to roll over and die. They'll bite and scratch and try to stop us playing, and not just at home. Look at what happened at Crawley. They let us play for ten minutes and we tore them apart, so they reorganised, focused on making the game ugly and scrappy, which they do very well, and we were lost.

Of course we didn't score to take advantage of that dominant spell at Crawley, and that was what did for us. If we'd managed to take the lead then, Steve Evans wouldn't have been able to make the same change and we'd probably have gone on to win the game. and that's the lesson we have to learn. We've got to start scoring in the first half: that'll force teams to come out and attack us, and then we'll have more room to attack them.

Still, there's a positive side to the drabness of our first halves. We haven't let a goal in during the first forty-five of a match yet. Now there's a habit I can live with!

Three games in to the new season........

and the roller coaster has started. A good three points without playing that well against Eastbourne, the now inevitable loss to Creepy Crawley and a hard earned win against York on Tuesday night. What have we learned from this early sample of BSP football:
Firstly the positives-
Sam Russell has got better and is looking to be a good signing. Going into the season with two young keepers however highly rated Bouzanis was did concern me. Russell has experience and I though looked very good on Tuesday and as Mark said in commentary on Tuesday his distribution was once compared to Matt Le Tissier!
Silvio is at last showing what he is capable of and I gave him the MOM award on Tuesday. He is really making the right back position his own.
Jonah is showing signs of returning to his old form especially when in a more central position and finally Gareth Taylor has done well in leading the line and scoring three goals in his first three games.
Now the not so sures-
I like Taboubi but he is going to take a while to settle in to a higher standard of football. He appears to be trying not to dive in as he did in the opening game which has taken some of the aggression out of his game and he also wants to play the killer ball each time. He will learn and get better I am sure.
Matty Wolfenden is working so hard up front but in my eyes is too far away from Taylor to benefit from the big man's flicks. They are both working independently but once either he or Marc Williams builds a good understanding with Gareth then we will see far more.
The centre backs are still prone to lapses like allowing Gash in on goal on Tuesday night. Again it is a partnership in its infancy and Saunders has Westwood to come back but we cannot afford to concede as many daft goals as we did last year if we are going to challenge for promotion.
Adrian Cieslewicz - what pace he has but all too often the delivery is not there. Again a young man learning the game and he will I am sure benefit from Saunders coaching as even Jeff Louis admitted Deano was the best he had worked with and he has been at 17 different clubs!!

So a reasonable return so far but with two winnable away games over the next week or so the Dragons have to push on and at least break this appalling run of 0~1 defeats away from The Racecourse.


Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Saturday, 15 August 2009

On the train to Crawley

Nearly in London, at the start of the first away jaunt of the campaign. If the opening day of a season is characterised by wild optimism, going to Crawley for a first away match is a bit like being hit by a bucket of cold water, I guess.

I'm not knocking the place itself, but coming up against Steve Evans so soon in the piece, and with Jeff Louis in tow to boot, just feels like a defeat waiting to happen. And an annoying one to boot!

Still, you never know. On paper Dean Saunders has assembled a squad which ought to be able to challenge for promotion. I suspect this afternoon we'll get a much clearer idea of how likely it is that we'll convert that potential into something more concrete.

I think Evans has been up to his usual tricks already. He flattered us by saying we'll win the league this time, as he did before we played them last season-I guess it serves as mind games in the poor man's Alex Ferguson's mind to make us complacent and gee his side up? Also, he says a couple of his key players are almost certainly out injured. I await his teamsheet with interest!

Friday, 14 August 2009

One week in......................

and we have three points in the bag following the victory over Eastbourne last Saturday and the thought of Jefferson Louis to look forward to tomorrow.

Well I must admit I was happy with the victory last week there were loads of positives for Dean Saunders to work on but I believe there is a lot more to come from this side. This was their first competitive game together and with five debutants, six if you include Mark Jones, when they get used to each other's styles and movement then Blue Square watch out.

Maxi, Marc and Neil played for the U21's on Wednesday at The Racecourse and all did well. Maxi had a relatively quiet evening, had no hope with the goal and did what he needed to do well enough. Marc is still missing a bit of fitness and although he worked hard as ever still needs to get his sharpness back. Neil, however, was superb - he created one goal and that seventy yard run from left back was simply sensational. I think Sam Williamson has got a real fight on for that left back slot in the Dragons team.

At last the Chester saga has reached a conclusion....or has it? There still seems to be some doubt about the number of points our Cestrian friends will be given as a penalty. This will probably run and run but hey at least we can look forward to two Sunday lunchtime kick offs and six points.


Sunday, 9 August 2009

Eastbourne Podcast

The Eastbourne podcast is now up at featuring Dean Saunders, Gareth Taylor and Garry Wilson.

The Hidden Cost of Setanta's Demise

It occurred to me a couple of times during commentary today that I've lost all interest in the Football League. As we've become increasingly mired in non-league football, I've focussed totally on who we'll be up against rather than what's going on above us.

So I watched BBC's new Football League highlight show with interest; maybe I could start to reconnect with where we hope to be next season.

However, as I watched the usual procession of goals shorn of their context with ambivalence, one thought occurred to me: I can't believe how many clubs have no shirt sponsors.

I wonder if The Conference might have been considerably more successful in attracting shirt sponsors than our betters if Setanta hadn't folded?

Friday, 7 August 2009

The big day has at last arrived...........

Well tomorrow anyway when Eastbourne Borough and their hardy band of followers travel up from the South coast for the first league game of the season and I for one can't wait.

I always go to the first game of the season with a remarkably optimistic approach when you consider that in over 30 years of following Robins and then Dragons there have been far more dismal or mediocre seasons than good ones but this year will be different! Let's look at why?

1. We have a progressive, young and highly rated manager with an infectiously enthusiastic approach to the game. He now has BSP managerial experience on his CV and I'm sure will have learnt a lot from last year.

2. The players, many of whom have and could play at a higher level. Deano has put together a smaller but far better quality squad than we had last year. The icing on the cake for me was the signing of Curtis Obeng who only two weeks before had been on trial at Premier League Wigan Athletic and had reportedly impressed Roberto Martinez. The Latics loss is surely our gain. From back to front we now have competition, genuine competition, for places in the squad so if one player loses form we will not have to play another out of position to cover.

3. The youngsters at the club, those of you who witnessed the game against Wolves will know what I mean. Kai Edwards, Rob Pearson, Ed Moss, Jamie Morton, Lee Roberts amongst others are all names to genuinely watch out for and with Saunders coaching and supporting them I am sure most will have a future in the game.

4. The off pitch development to leave Wrexham FC debt free. I am not in to the politics of WST, Dismal Jimmy etc but I am confident that there are enough genuine fans without their own political axe to grind to watch the proceedings and ensure that the club will be left on a sound financial footing with no more Hamilton's in the woodwork.

So I am positive about this season and on a final note delighted to see that our friends from up the road will be competing in the BSP this season. -25 points is one hell of a handicap but at least the real Chester City supporters will have a club to follow, I still remember the gloom and despondancy I felt when travelling up to Blackpool a few years ago wondering if this was the last time I would watch my beloved Wrexham play. We may be non league but at least we have a football team to love, hate, follow, moan about and discuss.

Here's to a great 2009~10, but I do wish we had a 2~3 somewhere in the date as in 92~93 and 02~03 our last two successful promotion campaigns!


Retained List Watch

Under contract:
Simon Brown
Silvio Spann
Sam Williamson
Chris Maxwell
Obi Anoruo
Neil Taylor
Andy Fleming
Marc Williams
Kai Edwards
Jamie McCluskey
Wes Baynes
Ashley Westwood
Mike Williams
Mansour Assoumani

Nathan Fairhurst
Mark Jones
Gareth Taylor
Adrian Cieslewicz
Hedi Taboubi
Matthew Wolfenden
Lamine Sakho
Christian Smith
Curtis Obeng
Sam Russell

Loan Signings:

Loaned Out:
Steve Abbott

First Year Pros:
Johnny Hunt
Luke Carding
Matty Hurdman

Out of Contract:
Aurelien Collin
John Curtis

Gavin Ward
Anthony Williams
Kyle Critchell
Simon Spender
Darran Kempson
Chris Marriott
Christian Gyan
Jeff Louis
Sam Aiston
Patrick Suffo
Levi Mackin
Shaun Whalley
Carl Tremarco
Nat Brown
Michael Proctor
Tom Kearney

Rejected Contract:
Matt Jansen

Wrexham Calendar