Been a funny old run of games lately. A great win down at Shildon which keeps the Vase run going, which we all enjoy of course, and other good cup results as well against Garstang, Crook and Sunderland Under 23s, but frankly ropey results in the league. Draws in home games we would have expected to win, and defeats at North Shields and Stockton add up to a worrying trend. I think we are still better than that and will prove it as the season goes on, but for now there is no doubt we have yet to consistently perform as we did at the end of last season. There are a number of reasons why, injuries to key players among them, and it is clearly frustrating for everyone but as Sean Dyche says, the only answer is to keep working hard, and Sean would know, wouldn’t he? I remain confident that this will end up being a good season, but I’m not sure how, or in which competitions.
In the wider world the dreaded Brexit continues to dominate most things, including now possibly football, or at least the Premier League, if that counts as football. The big boys are worried that they won’t be able to bring in all of their players from Europe, as is their current practice. The proposed changes would only restrict this a little bit, but the thought is enough to get them worried. Anything which creates a few more opportunities for UK players is a good thing in my book, but Man City and the like don’t agree. Anyway, much like the old joke about refusing to join any club that would accept me as a member I feel reassured by being on the opposite side of any argument from the Premier League elite. Be careful what you wish for would be my advice to them all. I remember a few years back when Bolton Wanderers, thanks entirely to the efforts of Big Sam, found themselves for a few years in the top level and liked it, a lot. As a result their chairman at the time was a chief proponent of the idea that relegation and promotion should be done away with, as obviously all the countries top clubs, including, in his view, Bolton Wanderers surprisingly were in the Premier League and deserved to stay there forever. Last week Bolton failed to pay their players for the second time this year, and are now among the favourites to be the next club to go into administration, football speak for going bust. And relegation looks likely too. Shame, eh?
And finally, and completely out of the blue, what ever happened to eating contests? A fine sport, particularly popular in the USA back in the day, which seems to have fallen right out of favour. There are a few still around, most notably the Hot Dog eating contest on Coney Island in New York, which is on my list of sporting events to see if I get the chance, along with that daft race chasing a giant cheese down a hill in the Cotswolds, and the world stone skimming championships which are held up in the Hebrides every September. The Hot Dog Eating contest has been won for each of the past eleven years by a bloke called, and I kid you not, Joey Chestnut. He managed 74 large ones in ten minutes this year, breaking his own world record. What a man. Could we promote something similar in Ryhope? Pies? Cod Lots? Jammy Dodgers? Just an idea.