The View from the Bar

Aha! Bonus league fixture. Well, that’s me trying to put a positive spin on our early F.A. Cup exit, but more of that later. Lots to talk about today…

Yep, sometimes I’m pulling my hair out for things to write (Bill Murray’s had the same thing with trying to collect subs…), sometimes this column seems to write itself, and then there’s occasions like this, where there’s plenty to write about but I haven’t got the faintest idea where to start.

So I guess I’ll start at the beginning then. We entered our first game of the season with a strange mix of unusual optimism and traditional foreboding. With a Gold Cup win under our belts, status as officially the top Island side achieved, a clutch of impressive-looking new signings and a general bouncy feel-good factor around the place, everything looked pretty rosy. We all knew to expect a tough season though, and first day opponents Hamworthy looked like a particularly tough one to start with. That was until we kicked off, and proceeded to dispatch of the visitors with a brilliant display before an impressively large home crowd. 1-0 to optimism.

The following Tuesday brought a rare victory over Fareham at Cams Alders – 2-0 to optimism, although there was disappointment to come a few days later when an eminently winnable F.A. Cup tie at Bemerton was lost to a cruel 92nd minute winner, with Jimmy hitting the post just 30 seconds later to rub salt into the wounds. One back for foreboding…

And then came Tuesday 14th, and the news that Steve Hunt had decided to part ways with the club. News filtered out slowly, prompting a rash of confused emails to be exchanged between supporters, but unfortunately the early reports were true. Cue a significant gloom descending over many blue and white households in the north Wight area (and a good few further afield, too). The last year and a bit with Steve on board at the club has been fantastic, and he certainly added a frisson of pro glamour and excitement to the place. He (and Kirsty) will be sorely missed faces up here, having fitted in so quickly to become part of the family. I can only thank them for everything they did during their time here and wish them well for the future. That’ll be 2-2 then.

For the time being, the First Team’s in great hands though, with Pottsy taking temporary charge (for about the thirtieth time) of a Cowes side. Up and down the country I doubt there’s many folk with such a strong tie and close affinity to their local team, and he knows the place – and the players – inside-out. As sorry as we are to see Steve go, let us not forget how fortunate we are to have someone like Ian to take up the reins. Whether he’ll fancy taking on the job on a more permanent basis remains to be seen (I know I wouldn’t!).

Baffins looked a tough place to visit after a week like that, and so it proved to be, but then we bounced back with a hard-earned Hampshire Senior Cup victory at Totton & Eling on Tuesday night, This win booked us a second round trip to Alresford who, erm, went to Baffins and disposed of them 5-2 the night before. Gulp…

Which brings us to now, and pretty much back where we started, with plenty of optimism in hand but still that feeling that it’s going to be a long, hard season. But then they all are, and we still enjoy them – even the really tough ones. Onwards and upwards!

Back to the Hamworthy game, or more precisely to the crowd that day. To get a paying gate of 130 on a blazing hot day at the start of Cowes Week was just wonderful, and the atmosphere up here was fantastic. I’ve said it before (and I’ll say it again) but Westwood is one of those rare places where even with seventy or eighty in we can whip up a crackling atmosphere, but an extra ten, twenty or more can still make a massive difference, so do your best to encourage people along wherever you can, and if possible pick up a poster or two for the forthcoming matches – anywhere you can get them up is a bonus. Big game up here next week when Westbury visit in the Vase, would be good to welcome them with a bumper home crowd roaring the boys on.

But back to the matter in hand, and the visit of Team Solent. Another tough one, for sure, so get behind the lads – they put their heart and soul into it every week, let’s make sure we do the same. Enjoy the game.

Toby.

P.S. Message from Bill: Subs are due!

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