Still non League

March 13, 2013

 

WEBWATCH

 

Ken Masters

 

NOW THAT OUR LEAGUE POSITION HAS IMPROVED SOMEWHAT AND WITH GAMES RUNNING OUT FOR TEAMS BELOW US, AT THE TIME OF WRITING THAT IS WITH GAMES COMING THICK AND FAST AND THE SITUATION VERY FLUID, I FEEL RATHER MORE COMFORTABLE ABOUT DIPPING INTO THE NON LEAGUE FOR THE LATEST STORIES WITH A ROVERS AND OR LOCAL LINK.

John Still was a much respected assistant manager during the reign of Ray Graydon. By all accounts John enjoyed his time with us and holds a bit of affection for Bristol Rovers still; I hope so. It was a bit of a surprise when John left League Two Dagenham & Redbridge recently, taking up the hot seat at non League Luton Town.

John had done so well with Dagenham having taking them from the Conference to The Football League and maintaining their League status. Still has warned Luton that there are no quick fixes for the former top flight Bedfordshire club. He expects them to remain non League a little bit longer and so with Luton still in the non league and Still back in the non League it’s a bit like ‘Still Non League!’

The Non League weekly hard copy paper is a good read; I like to look at all of the results and League tables as well as taking in the current issues, burning questions and hot stories. You can follow the publication on line web: www.thenonleaguepaper.com or on twitter @NonLeaguePaper.

Copy at March 3rd made interesting reading. It was reported that Still has told Luton to be prepared for exile in non League football to last another couple of years.

With this dose of realism he told the NLP, “They wanted me to come to the club to replicate what I did at Dagenham.” I said “Well, if that’s what you want, it ain’t a quick fix.” I told them “I know you’re looking to employ me, but you know this time next year we might not be very good. The same time the year after we’ll be good though, and we’ll get better and better after that.”

To me it’s a sort of pessimism, realism and optimism all rolled into one; clever! John added; “It might happen before that, but if you want a guarantee of that get someone else in. What I guarantee is that the project will get them there because the foundations are in place.”

So there you have it guarantees and no guarantees. There are no guarantees in football but if I may, what I can guarantee is that John Still is a very experienced operator and that he will give it his best shot. We wish you the very best John. The Football League will be the better for the inclusion of Luton Town, and John Still.

A bit closer to home, again with a Rovers connection and also reported in the NLP; David Mehew has done a cracking job up at Gloucester City during his time as manager there. I have followed the plight of the North Gloucestershire club since they lost their ground to flooding a good number of seasons ago. As reported by the NPL, the Tigers were flooded out of their home in 2007 and have been playing in exile ever since; Forest Green, Cirencester and now Whaddon Road. NLP reports Gloucester’s plans to redevelop their own Meadow Park have taken a blow after they were forced to reconsider their initial five million pounds ground redevelopment scheme. It is further reported that their current groundshare arrangement with Cheltenham Town is under threat. A ground regeneration programme is a difficult project to see through and Gloucester must be applauded for even trying, but the cost of the plans has already reached £200,000 before any work has taken place.

Chairman Nigel Hughes says, “The application in its current form will only be a long drawn out affair and a continual financial drain on the club.” Tell us about it Nigel!

A statement from the Supporters’ Trust read; “We now call upon the City Council and politicians to deliver on its promises to help the club get back to the city.” Best of luck to Gloucester fans with that plea then!

Just as close to home the NLP reports that Newport County have signed a ten year lease to extend their stay at Rodney Parade. The deal means the former’Exiles’ will have no problem should they win promotion to The Football League this season or in the near future. Welsh football is certainly on the up. Gareth Bale, new stadia, Premier League football at one club and looking like two next season and possibly Wrexham and Newport finding themselves back into the League fold; could happen. How about this for a footnote? Former League referee Brian Stevens, now 73, rose through the ranks of non League to take charge of the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United. A couple of weeks ago Brian was in charge for the Stroud League game between Charfield and Taverners Reserves.

Well done Brian, still refereeing in the non League.

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