Prose From The Pen Of Eclectic Blue

August 7, 2006

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I’d like to start this latest fun-packed ‘Eclectic Blue’ by asking my loyal reader to suspend her (I say ‘her’ because my loyal reader is usually Mrs EB) disbelief and to ignore my last column which was one of unmitigated doom and gloom. The boardroom upheavals of the summer have long gone and whilst I still struggle to comprehend how on earth we will move forward without Kevin Spencer, Mike Turl, Colin Williams and Kim Stuckey I have come to the conclusion that we just might.
I am usually able to switch off from the Rovers at least a little bit during the summer months. I still scour the media and internet for snippets of gossip and speculation but in a more relaxed way. I couldn’t this year and spent a lot of time fretting about things I could not change nor affect. With a family holiday to pay for, the pre season friendly matches were generally a no-no for me and of course – hey presto! – everyone who did go came back raving with enthusiasm.

I’d heard it all before, of course, having enjoyed a successful pre season a few years ago under Ray Graydon, followed by a season of abject failure. This one was going to be exactly the same. Wasn’t it?

I went to two games in the end, both easy wins against non league opposition, and the more cynical among you might say, ‘Big Deal – why are you so excited?’ The games were at Clevedon and Mangotsfield, places where we generally struggle and, sadly, lose. Not so this season. We battered Clevedon 6-0 and ran out comfortable 2-0 winners at Cossham St.
Slick passing football aligned to a strong physical approach.

The new signings were all young and hungry, except for goalkeeper Steve Phillips who is still young but not quite as young but dying of starvation as he strives to prove Gary ‘Stay Down’ Johnson that he is a good keeper after all.

At Clevedon, we fielded a strong side which bore what I suspect will closely resemble our starting line up (and it looked it) but at Mangotsfield we went with the kids. Neither result was in doubt and the ability of the management team certainly wasn’t.
So, on that basis, we know this: pre season form means Jack Excrement! But it was hard not to get excited after seeing what I saw. Yes, Keith Alexander will launch his new version of hoofball in the opening game at Peterborough but we are going to try and pass them to death.

On a green top in August, this is as good a time to play the Posh as you can get. Trolls and Lennie have gone with youth. Where Graydon and Atkins went with journeymen, the new team have opted for hungry players who want to win things. I never thought I would say this a few weeks ago but we are looking good for a run at the play offs, because and despite of what has happened this summer. Bristol Rovers is always at it’s strongest when we appear to be in adversity.

As a good friend of mine said the other day, Rovers have got my juices flowing. Not a nice image, I know, but it’s looking better. Welcome to the new season.

Come on you blues!

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