Wharfedale’s season reaches its conclusion on Saturday with a home match against the famous Coventry club.
The iconic visitors were relegated from the Championship six seasons ago, since when they have rung the changes on and off the pitch in an effort to find a formula which will restore them to the status which their large following demands. Although they finished third in each of the past two seasons, they will end this season in mid-table, for which their poor away form is responsible – they have won only four away matches, all of them against the bottom sides.
The above is taken from Wharfedale’s own preview of today’s game. Interesting that we’re still thought of as ‘famous’ and ‘iconic’. Hasn’t felt like it at times this season, not to me anyway.
Interesting, too, how other’s view the reasons why Cov’s season has been so mediocre…’their poor away form is responsible’.
I can’t recall much, if any, discussions amongst supporters either on the Messageboard or elsewhere suggesting that the cause of the season’s failures can be put down principally to the fact that we’re such lousy travellers….
And of the course that’s because the explanation is far more complicated and deep-rooted, defying explanation even amongst the most die-hard of fans…or indeed the coaches at times.
Yet, the perception elsewhere is that we are where we are because we’ve only won 4 games outside of The Butts.
If only it were that simple.
If it were, most of the squad would be back with us next season. Yet it’s not hard to see why someone who doesn’t follow the club might reach that conclusion.
A cursory glance at the away league table for National 1 shows that we are in a lowly 11th position, having indeed won only 4 games and averaging just a meagre 1.71 points per game.
Wharfedale seem to have got it spot on, then…
…until, of course, you take a look at the home league table for National 1 which shows that we are actually only one place higher, in 10th, when playing at The Butts.
Okay, we might have won 9 games but there are nine other teams in the league with a better home record than us. Indeed, if our away record were to have matched our home one this season (ie we’d won 18 games in total with one to play), we would only be level on wins overall with Darlington and Esher who are in 6th and 7th places overall (remembering we are 8th). So it’s not quite true to say that our away form is responsible for our lowly position, in actual fact it hasn’t made a great difference given our poor home record in relation to other teams as well.
Either Wharfedale are being very diplomatic and opting to avoid mention of any of the many other difficulties that have beleaguered Coventry’s season or the rumour mill just doesn’t spread that far North, together with electricity and hot and cold running water (cue comments from the Rundles and/or the Weightmans)
It’s probably not something that others will find interesting or particularly worthy of a mention, but I would have thought that given the wholesale changes in both the coaching staff and the playing squad announced over the last few weeks, Wharfedale might have made reference to something other than just away form.
What I am sure of, though, is that Coventry will travel to Wharfedale full of confidence and in a mood to party on and off the pitch.
Throughout all the difficult times this season, the players appear to have grown closer as a team and with this afternoon signalling the end of the road for so many of the squad and coaches, they will want to leave on a high.
With a run of 5 unbeaten games behind them and having just ended Ampthill’s own 10 game run the weekend before, the shackles will be well and truly off and I can only imagine it will be something of a tryfest. The players will put on a show for sure.
Those who have made their way up to Wharfedale for the game will hopefully be watching something very special. Wharfedale will also want to play their part, relegated and with nothing now at stake, they will surely hope to give something back to the supporters who have stood by them all season?
The players have said their goodbyes to The Butts, now they say their goodbyes to each other, first on the pitch and then in Leeds in the evening.
In a way, it’s good that it ends somewhere away from The Butts and away from the majority of the supporters. Today is rightly about them…were most of the squad returning next season, then it would be different, but a bit of privacy on an occasion like this is no bad thing.
It will be a poignant day for them, a time of reflection and for those players who have been at the club for several seasons, a chance to recall some of the happier times they’ve had together.
I hope the players who aren’t selected, either through injury or illness or simply because they were able to make the final 20 are at Threshfield to be part of those last rites. It needn’t be a wake though, in fact it shouldn’t be – hopefully, it will end up something akin to a New Orleans jazz funeral with everyone upbeat and in good spirits.
We’ve already had the sombre dirges – today is a time for them all to party.
I hope they also remember some of the absent friends – Courtney Roberts, Gaston Mieres, Adam Canning, and the like, all of whom could and should have been there to say their farewells had things worked out differently.
A new era dawns, but the sun hasn’t quite set…
There’s a party goin’ on right here
A dedication to last throughout the years
So bring your good times and your laughter too
We gonna celebrate and party with you
Come on now, celebration
Let’s all celebrate and have a good time, yeah yeah
We gonna celebrate and have a good time
Celebration – Kool and the Gang