The season always starts with a rush in August, today is our third game, with two more to come next week, and in total eight by the end of the month. A very early make or break time, particularly with the FA Cup, which carries good rewards nowadays, as well as excitement, publicity and sometimes a decent away trip or two into the strange lands of Yorkshire or Lancashire. And a repeat of last season’s FA Cup derby game today. How unlikely is that? The first of at least four RCA v CW derby matches this season.
A very good start last Saturday against a strong North Shields side despite missing a few lads with holidays etc, but that gave the chance for a couple of good debuts by Max Allen and Henry Dorward, fine footballers names, and promising performances. The North Shields Ultras were out in their usual throng, noisy and giving the officials a hard time, as well as enjoying lively discussions with the locals about the current and new laws; but largely behaved themselves, and certainly did their bit for takings in the clubhouse. They were a good deal quieter as they left mind. Canny lads really.
A decent but not spectacular crowd on Saturday, but it looked sparse by comparison with what other clubs achieved, three crowds over four hundred and one of three ninety in the NL First Division, and well over three thousand in total for the league as a whole. Good stuff, and it certainly seems that interest in non league football is booming, though maybe not so much in Sunderland. A one club town indeed. A huge crowd at the SoL saw yet another low scoring draw. With not much interest, or so I am told by one of the ever faithful. Might have done better and cheaper watching a cracking game at Sunderland LGV Park, as I see the Meadow has been renamed. Sponsors are of course always welcome at RCA, very many thanks and great good luck to LGV and all of our other sponsors and friends.
I must finish with a few words about Richie Jordan. I didn’t know Richie well, but he made an impression on me not only from his play, but also by how popular and highly rated he clearly was by the other players. That tells you a lot. Players aren’t easily fooled, and the things they value most, hard work, loyalty and commitment are often the things that serve you best in life, and Richie had all of those. He will be very sadly missed and remembered by his team mates and colleagues from RCA, Ryhope CW, and his other clubs on Saturdays and Sundays. All our thoughts are with his loved ones. It’s hard to understand how terrible it is to lose someone so young and so suddenly. Swaz managed him at both Ryhope clubs and wanted me to say that he found it hard to believe, but would always remember his humour, and his cheeky, infectious smile, “A great player and an even better lad.” RIP Richie.