LIGHT’S OUT . . . the weekly sports column full of wit and wisdom by former Gloucestershire CCC chairman John Light
WHAT a game! No goals but so many thrills. Forest Green Rovers and Wrexham showed how good Conference football is.
Either side could have won, but neither deserved to lose. Throughout the game both teams tried to win. There was no time wasting, no fiddling in corners. All of us there saw a fine contest, splendidly competed for by promotion-chasing sides and well refereed by an official who let the game flow, and had a firm word only when necessary.
Wrexham arrived with the second best away record in the league (25pts) – Forest Green, of course, have the best (27pts) – and with supporters from both sides in full voice the whole afternoon was a true advert for the game.
FGR grew in both stature and confidence as the game progressed. They must now realise they are good enough to stay at the top and all fans must do so as well. The whole ethos and expectancy at The New Lawn should be of victory.
“No one comes to Swindon and wins,” said Stan Harland, one of the best soccer captains I have known. This confidence took his team to Wembley and beyond. More than 40 years ago, so many of us enjoyed that joyous journey.
Are we about to have such a trip at Nailsworth?
Swindon Town today do not seem on a joyous journey. Off the field, all seems confusion. Players are stranded in no man’s land as the Football League are halting deals. The ‘Town Flier’ column will give all the details, but this column remains stunned by what is going on.
“I leave with a heavy heart,” says winger Matt Ritchie, who has been sold to Bournemouth. Obviously he did not want to go, worse still, it seems manager Paolo did not know he was being sold. Fans, players and manager deserve better.
It has to be asked if any the prime movers at the club talks to each other or in fact know what is going on.
Finance may be a problem but that is no excuse for what looks like administrative incompetence. At the County Cricket Club (Glos), Tom Richardson steered us through difficult times. He lives near Swindon and will shortly be available.
If not, I still have a large part in my heart marked Swindon and could spare an hour or two. The Editor knows I am not expensive.
The current situation cannot go on. Good luck to the new consortium, certainly, but sorting out matters off the pitch must be a priority. Remember, promotion can still be achieved. Take control before it is too late.
Essentially a parochial person, international matches pass me by.
Sporting horizons are confined to the area between Bath and Oxford, Stratford on Avon and Bristol. Some may be rejoicing at England’s victory over Scotland in the Calcutta Cup. There is no rugby rejoicing in the Light household after the shock weekend scoreline: Glos 5, Bath 32.
I dare not contact friends who are ‘Shed heads’. Their grief must not be intruded upon. If it is too painful to return to rugby for a few weeks, gentlemen, I recommend you to visit The New Lawn – there are some fine fixtures coming up.
“Where have I come to? This is the back of beyond!” were words spoken to me by an exasperated Wrexham fan.
His Sat Nav had taken him up Frocester Hill and down the single-track lane from Nymphsfield as he left the M5 in search of the Nailsworth ground. He was not alone as many of the 500-plus Welsh fans were diverted the same way.
The advantage of these navigational aids is they can direct you from A to B but do they tell you where anywhere is, or the quality of the roads or the suitability of the route? We do not have one – relying instead on Mrs Light’s map reading. This, though not faultless, is infinitely preferable.
Back to football. At Forest Green on Saturday was Jay Rayner, son of Clare. Many of you will know Jay from his appearances on Masterchef.
His arch, acid and acerbic comments do not endear him to me when, as one of the food critics, he destroys some aspiring chef. With a TV crew, he was filming the vegetarian food on offer. Whatever he tells viewers, the grub on Saturday was as good as it ever has been, if not better. Just like the football!