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Last Night, This Season and Beyond

By John Rogers5/5/2016 09:53Thu May 5 09:53:44 2016

Views: 2128

Last night was symptomatic of so much of this season - not good enough. Outplayed, out-thought and out-muscled by a Tooting side that thoroughly deserved their victory last night. The performance, which was pretty insipid and uninspiring largely, I suspect, through fatigue, compounded the journey down which included sitting in a tailback on the A308 through Hampton for an hour.

Two players did themselves justice last night. Joe Wright, who has had his detractors throughout the season (myself included) but who made some outstanding saves - the one from the free kick was genuinely first class - and kept the scoreline respectable; and Casey Maclaren, who made some vital - if slightly last-ditch - challenges and forced the Tooting keeper into his one save of the evening.

Once again, we were undone by a couple of individual errors that led to each goal. A missed clearance and a clumsy, needless challenge in the penalty area. Going forwards, Kezie was trying to fend off the advances of a couple of Tooting defenders with no red shirt within fifteen yards of him, and even when we did get into good positions, we didn't pull the trigger. Shulton helped a bit going forwards in the second half, but he should have been sent off for his part in triggering the rolling maul at the beginning of stoppage time.

For the season overall, we have to be thankful that Lewes couldn't buy a win in the first half of the season, Burgess Hill couldn't in the second half, that VCD were generally pretty poor, that Brentwood left themselves with so many games in such a short space of time and that Farnborough can't manage their finances.

That said, I don't think this season can equate to 2005/6 or even large parts of the season before. - yes it's been tough and set against the context of last season, extremely challenging - but I didn't ever really feel that we would go down. It hasn't been like the reign of Gary Farrell, or 2005/6 where I genuinely couldn't find any hope anywhere.

Hopefully now, this summer gives us a really good chance to start again. Yes, I think the switch to 3G should suit us and the way Gary likes to play football - but we're still going to have to play on heavy and bobbly pitches throughout the season so we have to make sure that we aren't undone by that. That is something we did brilliantly last season.

Player wise, there are a lot that if I was Gary, would be in limbo. There are six that I definitely want to hold on to, another half a dozen or so who we know are capable of more than they've shown this season and the rest have shown glimpses from time to time, but too often flattered to deceive. Whether it's a case of giving them a little more time and seeing if consistency comes is a decision for Gary. There is one who I think is a walking liability (not through ability) and I would gladly never see in a Hendon shirt again.

Key areas for improvement are at both ends of the pitch. An imposing, dominating centre half (likely to cost a few £££) and a regular partner / support for Kezie, assuming he is around next season.

We have a huge opportunity at SJP to build something to be truly proud of, but we as fans have to pull together to realise the potential we have there. Rob can only do so much, Simon can only do so much, Dave Bedford can only do so much. This is the time to reach out to the people of Hendon, West Hendon, Kingsbury and Cricklewood and spread the news of the club's return to (as near as dammit) it's spiritual home. Get the youth teams into the home games, get them to bring their friends and families, find those supporters that used to be regulars at Claremont Road and encourage them to come back and be part of something again.

The club can be something that the community is proud of, that represents them and that they feel part of. We can build some momentum early on - the trick is maintaining that and keeping people interested. Perhaps you have ideas that you think are worth trying out, something that hasn't been thought of before but something innovative that may entice people through the turnstiles. You don't necessarily need to see them through yourself, but just talk to a member of the Supporter's Association or Trust Committees and they can be discussed.

I'll finish this slightly indecipherable ramble into the Green dark by repeating what our former physio and current Team GB Bobsleigh coach Gary Anderson said yesterday. "I will never forget my time at Hendon. I worked at all levels of the game and have to say my happiest times were at Hendon. One club that does things right. Proud to have been associated." He then goes on to talk about doppelgangers, pubs and Saint Etienne references - but reading that from someone like Gary made me feel pretty proud of our little club.

Well done all for getting through this season, let's hope there are a few more smiles around the place next time around.

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