The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary

Is not the miracle of the juniper bushes enough

12 June 2018

Wicklow Diary writes: I've never wanted Town to lose a game. Alright, I did emit a little giggle when we lost a penalty shoot-out to miss out on a bonus point and Bully's Special Prize in the Checkathingy last season. Even in non-League, the perceived threat to our promotion hopes of the FA Trophy wasn't enough to wish for a Mariners defeat. The contrary, in fact. I wanted to win the Trophy and it rankles just a teeny bit that we didn't. You can insert your own joke about watching this space for another chance soon.

The rules might be different for hindsight. I'm starting to wonder whether stuffing Forest Green on the last day of the season was such a good thing. The euphoria of the Notts County game might have passed if we'd ground out a dull 0-0 draw in the rain. Instead, there was glorious sunshine and JJ Hooper doing his best maurauding Omar Bogle impression. DVDs were cut and everything Michael Jolley does is hailed. Appointments like those of Anthony Limbrick and Adam Forrest are universally greeted as a masterstroke.

They might well be. Optimism is good. Cautious optimism is better. It would be better for our health, and Jolley and his players, if we can all keep a bit of perspective.

Perspective. Could we apply that Laurel or Yanny thing to Town signings? Let's try. Russell Slade signs Charles Vernam, a young striker with no senior goals to his name and I hear "Slades out". Michael Jolley signs Louis Robles, a young striker with no goals to his name? I hear "in Jolley we trust". Richard Tait and Craig Clay go from Town to the Scottish Premier? That shows how rubbish the Scottish Premier is then, doesn't it? Town sign a centre-half from the Scottish Championship? What a coup. 

On paper, Limbrick has a similar background to Jolley. Is this a good thing? I don't know. Apparently the modern player needs an arm round his shoulder rather than a rocket up the arse and prefers a detailed session around the tactics board to "stick it in the mixer". In that case more Jolley would be a good thing. However, when you think back at other successful partnerships, the assistant often complements rather than duplicates the style of the boss. Time will tell. All I know about the guy is from Wikipedia. We should be excited to have a young, eager management team but also be prepared to support them through the inevitable learning curve.

Anyway, on to the important stuff and the football. Set your clocks because we've got Sunderland visiting on 17 July. Can we beat the attendance of 248 for last season's boycotted kickabout against the Wearsiders' B team, which by massive coincidence is the game mentioned in the opening paragraph? Poor old Sunderland. They'll have to play against B teams this season.

Before that, the League Cup draw will be held on Friday. In Vietnam. Yes, I know, the game's gone, Bangkok is the traditional venue and always will be for me. Anything other than Derby again would be nice and the crapper the better as I don't think we've won a cup match since the FA Trophy semi. It keeps coming full circle, this diary, doesn't it?

The shirts for the coming season were revealed by the club yesterday. They look damn fine to me, the only gripe being the lack of stripe on the back of the home shirt. I understand the reason for the white patch but couldn't we have both? An option with the stripes for the grown-ups among us who are sad enough to wear a replica shirt but not quite sad enough to have our name on the back.

That optimism mentioned earlier is being fueled by the club not doing anything utterly stupid lately. Since John Fenty had it out with fans after that Forest Green game and his subsequent late-night statement on the matter, the club hasn't put a foot wrong. Some decent videos, fans involved in the kit launch and Michael Jolley popping up all over the town being a thoroughly decent chap. Excellent stuff, although the last time I got carried away and praised the club was the day before that Fenty rant. Where's that cautious optimism again?