TMUFC Vs South Park………….time for a change? By Darren Parker.
Having not attended any Tooting games for a few weeks, and with a weekend off work with no commitments, I decided to head down to Imperial Fields for my footie fix. In truth, I was in two minds as to whether I should go or not, as I haven’t really been enjoying the entertainment on the pitch recently, and thought my time might be better spent catching up with the washing. Having got that ridiculous thought out of my brain, I made my way down to the ground, just in time for a pre match pint, and a catch up with some familiar faces. The first thing that hit me when entering the bar area was the lack of people inside. It wasn’t so long ago, that with an hour to go till kick off, you would have had to wait in a queue at the bar to get served. Perhaps this has something to do with the recent increase in pricing, or are the hard core fans staying away in favour of washing their smalls! Entering the ground I was greeted by the familiar faces of Hackbridge Harry and Dee Pee, the later of who gave me a sneak preview of the new book that is coming out. It looks fantastic, and is a must buy for all die hard Tooting Fans. I would encourage everyone to get in contact with David to make a pre order. I certainly have, and look forward to getting my copy in the next few weeks. I was happy to see that although the bar area wasn’t particularly busy, the numbers inside the ground we’re still up to our normal levels. The team itself was pretty much an unchanged side since the last time I visited. Looking through the team sheet I recognised the majority of the names, which given the number of players used so far this season pleased me no end. I wasn’t particularly happy to see both Billy Brown and Jordan Clarke on the bench, both of whom are exciting experienced players that can make things happen. The game itself was fairly well contested in the early stages, with Toots having most of the possession, and the visitors looking dangerous on the break. We managed to take the lead on the quarter of an hour mark, a cross into the box looping away to Mark Waters on the edge of the box, who done really well to keep his effort down. The shot bounced off the bar and over the line, a good spot from the officials. This seemed to force South Park into a more attacking mentality, and it wasn’t long before they equalised through a penalty. Their big centre forward got kicked in the head, and I don’t think even the most die-hard Terror would argue with the referee’s award of a spot kick. South Park took control of the first half from this point, and I felt we were fairly lucky to go in level at the break. Tooting came out with a new vigour in the second half, and took the game to their opponents. However, we struggled to create any real clear cut chances and didn’t look like we would make the opposition keeper earn his money. I, along with a number of other supporters, became increasingly disgruntled at the seemingly lack of action to change things up, and started berating our Management team as to why Billy Brown wasn’t being introduced. The bog end faithful stirred up a rendition of “We want Billy Brown”, which finally had an effect with 5 minutes remaining. This was far too late in my opinion, but I was nearly made to eat my words as Billy forced the Park Keeper (I have been waiting to use that one!) into a brilliant save to tip the ball over the bar. It was a rasping shot, and came out of nowhere. That’s what Billy can do! Unfortunately, time ran out, and we were forced to settle for a point. Probably a fair result at the end of the day, and is a true reflection on the standard of our football at the moment. I didn’t really fancy a pint in the bar at the end of the game. My partner in crime was down in Exeter, watching a far higher standard of football, and I had promised Mrs P a Curry in the evening, so didn’t want to fall into her bad books by rolling in pissed. Two pints had served me well, and I would only have ended up crying on someone’s shoulder about the lack of experience and organisation within our team. Which brings me on to my thoughts on the current situation at our beloved club. In my opinion, we don’t have enough experienced players in our team, the tactics aren’t working, and things need to change. We very rarely create any clear cut chances, and keeping players like Brown, Clarke, and Hamlin sat on the bench is just criminal. Losing Daryl Coleman was a real kick in the teeth, and just a few weeks later our top scorer in Danny Williams also departs. Player retention is key at our level. For me, too many good footballers have left for pastures new and there is little cohesion in the team. We have given debuts to a number of youngsters, who in my opinion do not look ready for first team football at our level, and the obvious connection with a certain Consultancy company is quite worrying from a player promotion point of view. Sky Sports cameras have been an unnecessary distraction, and having the Manager’s discuss tactics on the pitch at half time so that they can get footage is just ludicrous. Ashley and Cornelius have worked wonders with the youth teams, and up until this season have performed reasonably well as joint first team Managers. Perhaps they have too much to deal with, looking after teams at so many levels, and can’t dedicate enough of their time to concentrate on first team matters. We have been told by our Members club chairman, via an unofficial forum, that everyone at the club, from the very top down, are really concerned about our results, and it is not an issue based around money. So hopefully, they will do the right thing, and make a change. Personally, I would love to see an experienced non-league Manager brought into the club, to take the reins of the first team. Let Ashley and Cornelius continue to work with our under 23’s and below, whilst learning from an experienced hand in first team matters. I am sure there are Managers about that would be happy to consider joining our club, and that would fit into the way that we operate. Thanks to Steve for giving me the opportunity to air my views and opinions at TMUFC, and I look forward to seeing you all at a game sometime soon. Come on you Stripes!
Cheers Darren for sending this over.