Monday, 24 January 2011

January hoodoo well and truly buried now

So, it was back to the Exacta Stadium on Saturday for our third game at home in a row, but plenty going on in the week building up to the game.

First off, we almost had a visit from the BBC on the cards again, with another presenter from BBC Radio 5 potentially coming down to see the Blues in action, however, this time we couldn't quite get that one secured so that will hopefully take place in the not distant future instead.

The Lord Mayor with Bill Oddie
Plenty of calls & e-mails this week with the Chester Chronicle & the Chester Leader as we were preparing for the visit of the Lord Mayor & Lady Mayoress on Saturday, the first time they would be visiting the Exacta Stadium, so we were naturally keen to impress.

On Thursday, a quick interview with the Chester Leader in my lunch hour at work, they were after an update on where we were, although it would have been nice for the person on the other end of the phone to at least know we were top of the league at the present time!

Midweek also saw us having to consider whether or not to deploy the pitch covers for the game on Saturday, and we studied the weather forecasts, and the decision was made to place the covers down as a precautionary measure on Friday, after the lads had trained the night before on the hallowed turf, and I'm reliably informed that around 20 people came down to the Exacta on Friday afternoon to help.

What we weren't expecting during midweek was the news that Chris Simm was made available for transfer, and Neil was in there like a shot to secure the services of the player who had impressed for our promotion rivals Chorley, and also for Conference side Southport, and so the news was broken on Wednesday night about our new signing - great news.

Question at that point was would he be eligible for Saturday, and that was of course confirmed the next day when the paperwork was complete and Chris would go straight into the squad to face Ossett Albion, probably not the news they wanted to hear!

Friday then, and time to tune into the Friday Night Football Show on Dee 106, and a quick text to Shane Pinnington to announce our thanks to the volunteers who had been down at the Stadium in the afternoon to lay down the covers.

Get well soon Richie lad!
During the show, Chris Pilsbury - fresh from his appearance on the Seals Podcast on Thursday night's recording - told of the situation with board member Richard Wightman. I think it's fair to say the board were in shock when we received an e-mail on Thursday morning advising that Rich was seriously ill in hospital, following a kidney failure - Rich has been a major part of the success of Chester FC, and he doesn't deserve any of the suffering that he is going through right now, and the sooner he is out of intensive care the better, and we hope to see Rich again very soon - all CFC fans I'm sure share that sentiment.

So, Saturday morning arrived then, and up at 8.30 to get some brekky and a shave before heading down to the Exacta - and thanks to being stuck behind a car going 20mph down Lache Lane, I didn't get there until about 9.40am, and straight into the ground to see that the cover removal operation was in full swing, so straight into it with everyone else, and an hour later all done, game on.

Back in the office with Barrie Hipkiss we shared a joke or two before taking a few calls from fans anxious to see if the game was still on, so pleased was I to give them the good news!

So, before heading home, a quick stop at the burger van on Bumpers Lane for a Bacon & Sausage bap, and taking one home for the Mrs too, and my god, it was heavenly - as was the cuppa that Mrs B had made for me when I got home too!

Just an hour to spare then before getting ready and heading off back to the Exacta, and once there it was time to sort out the usual pre match stuff, and welcome the legend of the week, who this week was former Blue, Ian Edwards - and he was made up to be here again, accompanied by Bob Delgado, who had already received the legend treatment earlier in the season, so Ian & Bob were ushered straight up to the Legends Lounge.

One of the funniest moments was seeing Jane Hipkiss go weak at the knees, she won't thank me for this, but she had a proper crush on Ian Edwards when he played here previously, and she was like a kid in a sweet shop when Ian walked in!

Pre match I called into the club shop, and Michael Wilde was being shown the new Wilde Thing t-shirt, and I said to him at that point that I was expecting a hat trick from him today, and not to let us down - all in jest of course!

So, to the game then, and what a corker for us hey?

Wildey go and get a hat trick please?
We had hoped that we would be back on form at the Exacta, and it wasn't long before Wildey notched the first goal, before on the half hour mark he'd make it two - just - from the penalty spot.

Then a further goal from new signing Chris Simm - great to see him get on the scoresheet on his debut, and everyone went in at half time very happy.

So down to the tunnel with Ian Edwards then for the Seals Lottery draw for January, yes we were finally up to date with the draws - the only problem was whilst standing at the side by the tunnel, Julie was getting ready with the tickets in the bucket, only for a ball to come flying over hit by the Chester subs warming up, and yes, it hit the bucket, all the tickets ended up going everywhere and we had a job on our hands to get them all in the bucket again!

So, Ian was introduced to the crowd, with Jane Hipkiss safely tucked away - and it was great to see yet another legend getting a great reception by the Chester faithful.

On to the second half then, and I had to quickly nip back into the office, and as has so often happened this season I heard a roar, and the realisation sunk in that I'd not just missed another goal, but I'd missed Wildey's hat trick goal - so I'd have to wait until the highlights were out before I'd see it again - but at least Chester's number ten had delivered on my request for a hat trick from him!

Iain Howard then staked his own claim for man of the match by grabbing two goals, and to be fair if Wildey hadn't of got the hat trick, I think Iain would have secured the award after a great performance.

Forget Gullit, it's Total Football at Chester!
 That sixth goal was just something else though, and I maintain my view that if that goal had been scored in the Premier League or in an international game, then we'd be seeing countless re-runs of it, as it was just "total football" from the first pass to the moment Iain Howard lashed it into the corner of the net - what a great goal. I celebrated that much that I lost my footing and nearly ended up making a right tool of myself and flying down the steps by the Directors door, but just managed to hold on to my dignity!

6-0 then, and a great day for the Blues with no soft goal conceded today too which was great, and I'm sure Richie Whiteside shared that view - then once the man of the match award had been sorted , time to sink a pint and reflect on what a great feeling it was to be 8 points clear at the top.

So, another great weekend for the Blues then, and with our rivals games all being called off - what a great move investing in pitch covers has been - time to enjoy the gap we're opening up, with the old adage of points in the bag being better than games in hand.

One final thing for Saturday, was a quick text to Colin Murray to update him on our latest result, and he replied with "Magic, saw the result earlier" and there is some good news with Colin which I'll go into once the news is released very soon.

That's it for now, roll on Saturday - when hopefully we'll pick up more points at Garforth!

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