Friday, 24 December 2010

So this is Christmas...

Well we're very nearly there, Christmas Day is just one day away, and in the big freeze it's looking like Monday's game is in the balance - again a crying shame if the Christmas fixtures are lost to the weather - it's really doing my head in now, hopefully the big thaw will happen next week and hopefully we won't be subjected to the next threat - a waterlogged pitch!

It's been another busy week at Chester FC, with the club shop staff being rushed off their feet - I went down to the ground on Tuesday to see the club shop door being opened and shut that many times with many visitors, it was great to see considering that was about midday on a weekday.

Special mention must go to the club shop staff, all of who have been putting in tremendous amounts of hours to both staff the shop, but also to sift through and sort out the orders and deliveries of stock.

Another media appearance this week as I joined Alan Irwin from City Talk at the top of the tower in Liverpool, we also received a tour of the studios up there, and you could feel the tower moving at the top too, very surreal that was. What was also amazing was the fact that the news team there all have their computers against the windows of the tower, so they get to sit facing an unbelievable view of the City and beyond. All I get to see is a view of a boring car park in my workplace - lucky people at City eh?

Anyway, the show went really well, and once again thanks to Alan for giving us a lot of airtime on City Talk, they really have taken an interest in the Blues this season, stepping up where the likes of Radio Merseyside have stepped down, believing that we are not the area's premier non league club anymore - that title belongs to Southport - but I also appreciate that we are not in the Merseyside area so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised at their decision, but it's great that City Talk have grabbed the chance to put the focus on Chester FC now.

Had a few calls this week from the local papers wanting to know the situation for Monday's game, and the general state of the pitch, well the plan is to have a look at the pitch on Christmas Eve (today), and then see how rock hard it still is under those covers - the covers won't be removed as yet. Then depending on the Evo-Stik League's advice, we'll look at an official inspection on Boxing Day, before making a decision on whether a further pitch inspection will take place on Monday morning, or the game gets postponed due to their being no chance of getting the game on.

We have to consider all things with the inspection, and also work with the local authorities with regards to the surrounding areas, as we've seen from the Chelsea v Man Utd postponement, the pitch may be fine on the day of the game, but the ground surrounding it may be treacherous, meaning the game would not go ahead.

It will be decided in the next few days anyway.

We'll be putting a call out for help to remove the covers next week, as they can only stay on the grass so long before the grass gets damaged, so it's likely that Monday or Tuesday will see a request for volunteers to come down and help shift the covers. If the game is off then it's likely they'll be removed on Tuesday as that is when the thaw is likely to start.

That's it then from me, just a few more e-mail inboxes to check, and final media calls to make & take, and then that's it for Christmas, time to concentrate on the Banks household rather than the footy for a day or two!

To anyone reading, have a great Christmas!

Monday, 20 December 2010

Oh the weather outside is frightful...

It's certainly been a frustrating last 10 days hasn't it?

Defeat to Radcliffe in the last minute followed up with a Cup defeat at Newcastle as Chester suffered their first back to back defeats since reformation, and with the cold grip on the country tightening every day, the chance to bounce back at Curzon Ashton was whipped away from us with the landing of the snow on an already icy surface in Manchester.

At the time when the message came through that the game was called off, I was in Chester at the time battling through heavy snowflakes, so the right decision was made I think.

When will we get to see the Blues in action again then???

Well, the traditional Boxing Day fixture is moved back a day this time round as Christmas Day falls on the Saturday this year, but we'll be hoping to get back to winning ways next week against Durham City, I've got good feelings about that game, and think we may well see some goals flowing that day as we aim to get back on the promotion track - well here's hoping for some festive cheer!

I've just looked at the long range forecast, and it seems that on Sunday there is going to be some heavy snow, so it could well be in the balance again, although the covers are on the pitch and hopefully these silly temperatures will reduce over the next couple of days, and get back towards the plusses rather than the minuses.

Looking around at some of the football action that has been played over the weekend was quite funny, the player in Spain who went down like a sack of spuds when a snowball was launched from the stand, only to land on the actual matchball the player was holding prior to taking a throw - the spray from the snow hitting the ball went into the players face, and he went down as though he'd been shot by a sniper in the stand - unbelievable!

I noticed too that later in the same game, the players had a set to with the TV cameraman, with lots of pushing and shoving going on - would love to know what was said there!

The lack of football has been compensated a little by the arrival of the Darts World Championship and the continuing saga of the Ashes, so all is not lost but I tell you what, I'm just desperate to see a Chester game at the moment!

Now, back to that Christmas CD...Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow...

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Don't you just hate last minute defeats

It had to happen didn't it?

Neil Young receives the Manager of the Month award before today's game, and....we go and get beat!

Not much fun that match today, plenty of goals, including possibly one of the best I've ever seen down at the Deva, sadly from the oppo - a 35 yard screamer into the top corner.

It could have been oh so different had we had our shooting boots on but we had to make do with two Wildey headers today, but sadly that wasn't enough as Radcliffe put three past us.

It was a very busy one today with pre match and half time events taking place. Usual match day routine for me, up in the morning, respond to any e-mails to the club, checking to see if anything else needs preparing for the day, although usually that's all boxed off the day before.

Watch a bit of Soccer AM, and then head off down the ground at just after 12.30pm. First thing to do is sort out a requested interview with Neil Young, followed by myself giving an interview to the same person.

Then time to check if the Christmas CD is working okay on the PA, then check to see if the CD for today's on-pitch singer Scott Davies is working, and guess what, no it isn't - so into the Legends Lounge to get him and advise, I've never seen anyone leave the ground so quick to get a replacement!

Down to pitch side for the pre match stuff, and Scott arrived just in time to warm the crowd up with his performance, before Mascot duty & the minute's applause - to respect Paul Raynor, John Butler, and of course Harry McNally who passed away six years ago now.

So, kick off and up to my usual place to watch the first half, which was frustrating in itself - still 1-1 at half time.

But before the half would end, it was down to the tunnel to get ready for the appearance of the Abbey Gate Junior Choir, and as soon as that whistle went, it was time to get out there and meet the kids in the centre circle.

So, all set up, and then ready to get on with the first song, and it soon became apparent that they couldn't be heard - it sounded great in the centre circle, but sadly I don't think the kids could be heard, so in between songs, it was time to gee them up a bit, and ask the crowd to help them along the way, although for the second song it was a case of shoving a microphone in the face of a little one, and hoping that they'd be heard this time - hopefully they were as they were a great and enthusiastic little bunch of kids.

Second half underway, and another frustrating half that ended in the most dismal fashion possible - a kick in the teeth on 94 minutes.

I think we're all a bit frustrated tonight with that, but today's result should ensure that Neil doesn't get the December Manager of the Month award, so it's not all bad!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Another one bites the dust...

Well the news filtered through that the Clitheroe game was off, and one wonders when we will play again with this cold snap that's really having a major effect on the sporting world right now.

Judging by the fact that it was -14C in Clitheroe on Thursday night, it's no real surprise that the game is off, but it is still really frustrating that we cannot press on and put some more points up on the board.

The Woodley Sports game must also be at risk as the temperatures are set to remain sub-zero and this morning was one of the coldest outside - minus 8 when getting in the car for work - freeeeeeeezing!

It'll be a real shame if the Woodley game is off as we're due to have Stuart Rimmer in attendance as the Legend of the Week, but with the icy conditions spreading in to next week it's not looking good.

It's been a relatively quiet week in my role at Chester FC, what with the lack of matches, but great to see that Neil Young was recognised with the Manager of the Month Award for November - richly deserved. Let's hope the only curse is that the game was postponed, as we know that poor results tend to follow MOTM awards, but hopefully not for Neil.

Last Tuesday night, myself & NATV completed our interviews for the upcoming DVD's that are heading to the club shop soon, although what was supposed to be a 20 minute interview with Neil turned out to be a 45 minute one, and we only just had time to squeeze Michael Wilde's second interview in, having had a problem with the playback last week.

Wildey was delighted to have to come out of the spinning session that they were on, and received plenty of stick when I led him out towards the studio in which we were camped for the interviews!

It's great to see the lads training at Total Fitness, and its quite an impressive sight when you see them all file in in their Chester FC training gear.

Anyway, the week has been filled up with the disgraceful and farcical decision to snub England's fantastic bid for the World Cup in 2018, everyone knows that the English bid was far superior in every way, but it appears that they knew who they were going to award it to before even going into the place to vote.

Right that's it for this week.