This Saturday we welcome to Parkside Brentwood Town FC
It will be a feeling of deja vu for their players and supporters, having made the same journey last week to play our landlords, Aveley.
Both teams are on a poor run of form and will look at today’s fixture as an opportunity to get some much needed points on the board in order to move up the table.
I am writing these notes “the morning after the night before” in respect of still trying to digest our game against Canvey Island. The 253 people who braved the torrential rain to be there certainly won’t forget what they saw. I have watched non-league football for many years and can’t remember too many nine goal games and it was certainly a major disappointment to concede so many goals after the defence had looked relatively secure in the previous three games.
Obviously, we were fairly depleted with six of the first team being unavailable and Charlie Aldis certainly had a baptism of fire between the sticks, covering for the unavailable Lamar Johnson.
Jamie is well aware that the season is not going to plan right now and knows that we need to go on a run soon to avoid being involved in a relegation scrap at the bottom of the league. He could certainly do with a little bit of luck in terms of our injury list, which will hopefully shorten in the next couple of weeks with most players looking on track to be available today and Joao Carlos and James Folkes nearing a return.
Whilst I am Chairman of Grays Athletic at this time, most of you know that I was a fan of a club for 39 years before I got involved in the move to make us supporter owned. So, of course I still read the comments our fans put on the forum and social media. I totally understand the frustration being aired right now. It hasn’t been an easy ride being a Grays Ath supporter in the last twenty months and we haven’t won many football matches in this time of major transition. Of course, I would like to go back to a time when we could attract players like Glenn Little, Mark Bentley, Kenny Beaney, Jay Leader, Jey Siva, DD, Roman etc etc, but we have to get our heads around the fact that as the club has no benefactor or our own facilities, these days are not likely to return in the short term.
I know that it is not easy for Jamie and Darren when they are talking to potential new signings and once it gets into a “bidding war” with other suitors over the player’s terms, they have to walk away. It doesn’t get easier to stomach when five players that we spoke to in the summer have already scored against us this season! To give our Management Team credit, they love the club as much as we all do and they never offer terms that we cannot afford - unlike Managers that we have had in the past. So for the time being we need to face the fact that if we want to watch a side that is packed with players all earning £300-£500 per week and upwards, we may have to choose another team for a while!
Our goal as a Supporters Society is to ensure the survival of this football club until we can return to Grays and with the fantastic backing we have received from our supporters and sponsors, we are delivering on this objective.
Tony Packer and Glyn Jarvis are very skilled at ensuring that whilst our income is far less than the majority of teams in our league, the money is spent wisely. As we wait for the important news about the location of the new free school and our partnership with the Educational Trust, we are steadily rebuilding our links with the local community and quietly developing a youth set-up that we hope will continue to bring through our own players through the ranks.
So, if people ask you if Grays Athletic have finished, are folding or going bust – ensure that you put them straight and tell them emphatically that we are the club that refuses to die, we stick together and always find a way to carry on writing chapters, good and bad, into our amazing history.
It is fair to say that Jamie and the team need you now. They need your attendance and your vocal backing. We have six games at home in the next 25 days and I hope that you will all get to as many as you possibly can as we attempt to turn our season around.
Enjoy the game.
Updated 14:00 - 28 Sep 2017 by GAFC News