I hope that you’ve had a great Christmas and of course, with 2016 just around the corner as I write, that you have a fantastic New Year as well. For the football fan, along with the other stuff, the festive season also includes time for the beautiful game as well.
With Bala Town the visitors on the Friday before the big day, a tough challenge was always on the cards. And so it was, with points shared. Well done to Bala’s press officer, Hannah Jones, who correctly predicted 1-1 and in the process #BeatTheBelle.
The other person to do so was none other than Nadine Belle, the sister of Cortez. I couldn’t help but remind him of that in the week, although from his reply it appears that sibling rivalry had already been working overtime on that front.
Back to Hannah though, who along with Darren Lamble, featured on TNS Radio. The latter has been on several times before, and it’s always a pleasure, but this was the former’s debut on air. You can listen to the radio show again in full via the TNS website, plus Hannah features on this week’s podcast.
One of the highlights for me being involved with The New Saints is the developing of friendships and relationships with people from other clubs in the Welsh football system. It’s nice when you have an upcoming fixture and there are people you look forward to seeing as well as the game itself.
Boxing Day saw the team travel to the one and only club they had yet to face this season, Newtown. Like Bala Town, another toughie lay ahead, certainly on paper. It didn’t fall short of its expectations and it seemed like a post-Christmas cracker. I use the word ‘seemed’ very carefully, as due to my car dying on Christmas morning it was the first game I’ve missed this season.
Backtracking a little as far as chronological order is concerned, the Saturday before Christmas Day, along with a group of others from the staff, I headed to Chester for a day out. I’ve only ever been to the city once before and that was in 1984 when I went to see Leeds United play Chester City in the Milk Cup, as the English League Cup was at that time.
How appropriate that on my first proper visit we met at The Church. Now, I had already figured when Craig Harrison sent me the message, that we weren’t off for a day out carol singing with the local Baptist Church or whatever. It did seem quite appropriate though that we all touched base in a converted (see what I did there) ecclesiastical building.
It was good fun, and back to the relationships I mentioned in other clubs and beyond, those that have been nurtured and developed at Park Hall are equally as precious. There are some good people in and around the club.
Have you listened to the latest (episode 16) TNS Radio Football Show? It’s a Christmas special and there are five people on there with festive greetings. See if you can guess who they are, I’ll be impressed if you get all of them. The link is on the TNS website home page under ‘podcasts’.
Talking of podcasts, it was another great honour to feature on the latest offering from the Dafabet Welsh Premier League. Marc Webber (in with the previously mentioned friendships that have been established) asked me a few weeks back if I would do a Christmas message. In with honoured I also feel humbled, because as well as working in Welsh football I’m also a fan.
Finally, at the risk of repeating myself, have a great New Year! I’m hoping my car is back on the road, I’m back on track and we’re both back at Park Hall on January 1. I tried everything to get to the Boxing Day game – trains, coaches, grabbing a lift. Unfortunately nothing worked, but I’m hoping to kick off the New Year with the ‘business as usual’ poster on prominent display.
Stewart Bloor. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org