There can’t be many people who haven’t heard by now that we have a new manager, and it’s a great pleasure to welcome back former playing stalwart Vic Sanders to take up the reigns of the managerial hotseat (to mix my metaphors a little…). There were quite a few applications for the position from what I hear, but Vic was the stand-out candidate, which doesn’t surprise me given his exhaustive knowledge of the game and long association with the club. Vic joined the Cowes in the mid-eighties Pete Groves era, when we were bouncing along the lower reaches of the Hampshire League Division 2, and apart from a brief spell with that lot up the road, and a couple of seasons in the Sussex League with Selsey, he was a First Team regular right through to the late 1990’s, helping the club embark on some of our epic Cup and Vase runs in that era. The club progressed a long way when he was involved on the pitch – hopefully we can do likewise now he’s the man in charge off it. Cracking left foot he had on him too, and his right also proved useful too, for standing on if nothing else. Did some great standing, that right foot of his. Congratulations Vic, and good luck!

A strange, brilliant, but ultimately disappointing match up here last week, when Westbury came visiting in the F.A. Vase. From the start it was clear we were going to be up against it as they were a very strong team, but from the moment Jimmy Wykes gave us a fifth minute lead our Wiltshire visitors knew they weren’t going to have it all their own way. On the Thursday night before I’d said to Pottsy I reckoned that if we got at them early we’d be two up within ten minutes, with Jimmy getting at least one of them. This prediction nearly came true, too, as Westbury rocked on their heels and Cowes pressed forward. Unfortunately, the first of the referee’s questionable contributions brought them back into it on 15 minutes when a team well-drilled in appealing for anything were rewarded with the softest of penalties. It was proper thrilling stuff though. Every time they came back we rolled up our sleeves and forged ahead again, securing a 3-2 lead by the interval with brilliant goals from John McKie and Ewan Cranwell. The second half was a bit of a slog though, with Westbury attacking in waves and pressing us back unrelentingly. It looked like the game was up about fifteen minutes from time but in a moment of pure comedy gold one of their strikers somehow managed to hit the bar from no more than two yards out – an absolutely stunning miss the like of which we’ll probably never see again. Three minutes from time and the inevitable happened though, and in extra time and with Cowes legs tiring there only looked like being one winner (but not before another classic comedy moment when two of their strikers contrived to send in a crunching tackle on each other, much to the amusement of the otherwise now -dispirited home support.

Perhaps the strangest episode of the afternoon though came as the teams were preparing for extra time. After a strangely long interval, further confusion followed when it became apparent that neither the ref nor his linesmen knew the rules about substitutions, and an extended period of conference with the managers, followed by one of the lino’s nipping into the dressing rooms, presumably to call Lancaster Gate (well, whoever it was, they confirmed that extra subs were indeed allowed in extra time, and about twenty minutes after the final whistle the game finally got underway again.

Now, as much as I’m a fan of analogue media over digital, I have to admit that the modern social media phenomenon is pretty interesting and useful at times, not least for connecting with supporters of the club. Cowes Sports F.C. now has over nine hundred people following us on facebook, and that means when we post info, reports and whatnot sometimes several thousand people get to see them. It’s a great way of getting info out, and promoting the club, so if you’re not signed up already you know what to do. Another benefit is connecting with people who have an interest in the club or, as happened recently, have some old bits of memorabilia. On the Isle of Wight Heritage Group page of facebook, someone posted an absolute gem last week – a West Stand ticket from the Cowes v Newport match on Good Friday, 1955 (a snip at just 2 shillings). Anybody else out there got any similar artefacts? If you have, we’d love to hear about them.

But back to the analogue now, and proper tangible media, in the form of our match posters. The new design has been very well received, and the latest batch of posters are printed and ready for distribution. Please come and find me, or Pete Jeffery, today if you can help get one or two up around the place, be it in a pub, club, workplace or even a front window. Also, if you have half an hour spare each month, we’re looking for one or two people to distribute posters to certain shops and business around Cowes town centre and Gurnard, as one of our regular distributors is currently indisposed and it would be good to replace him if we can and help keep the profile of the club up in the locale. Again, come and find me for a chat today if you’d like to help.

Enjoy the game.

Toby.

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