Rev's Ramblings – All media roads lead to Park Hall

When you normally talk about something being the centre of attention, it’s usually a person and not referred to in a complimentary way. Well, on Thursday just gone although lots of individuals at various times were in the spotlight, none of them were there to grab glory for themselves. The focus of the day was the club that we all love, The New Saints.

With England playing Wales in Euro 2016, the geographical and historical position of TNS had grabbed not only the attention of the local population but also the media, both regional and national. From BBC Shropshire, Oswestry Advertizer and Shropshire Star to SKY Sports and BBC 5 Live, they were out in force.

The Venue flying the flags
The Venue flying the flags

As well as the two aforementioned national broadcasters who put out live coverage from the day, the club also benefited from appearances on ITV News and ITV Central. It was a very busy day for all concerned. Busy but blessed though, as it should be. Charlotte Ruscoe, as always, did an amazing job organising the day from the perspective of the visiting media.

Of course, not just Charlotte but numerous other individuals all played a vital role in ensuring the event overall went to plan. It’s always good to see the big picture and the positive publicity, not only for TNS but also Welsh football as a whole, was incredible. My role was posting on the club Twitter and Facebook account, a tiny part of the day but nevertheless one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

The England v Wales penalty shoot-out. England won.
The England v Wales penalty shoot-out… England won

There is no doubt about it, social media plays a big part in the lives of many people these days. With 40K followers on Twitter and almost 10K likes on our Facebook page we certainly have a wide audience, not only in the immediate area but also right around the world. It may not sound like many when you compare it to English Premier League clubs, but remember this is the WPL.

When you take everything into account it’s actually very positive. The thing is though, the social media accounts are constantly growing in terms of connecting with people and promoting the club. If you’re not following us on Twitter or you haven’t liked our page, give us a click next time you’re on-line. If you could do the occasional RT and post-share, that would be greatly appreciated.

Chairman Mike and the celebrity chefs on BBC 5 Live
Chairman Mike and the celebrity chefs on BBC 5 Live

Back to Thursday though, and of course, the reason we were all there in the first place. England v Wales. The Venue was decked out with flags, buntings and banners from both nations. After all, it was the unique flavour of the area that had caused such media attention in the first place.

It was great to see a packed Venue with fans from both nations out in force. Do you know what was even greater though? With football violence at the forefront of the news out there in France – and beyond – there wasn’t even so much as a cross word spoken. No police. No stewards. No stand-offs. No arguing. Disappointment from our Welsh friends, of course, and elation from the English ones. That was about as high as emotions ran.

The players on SKY Sports
The players on SKY Sports

Like so many people in the area, I have connections with both nations, and indeed as I have written on more than one occasion in this column, I have a love for England and Cymru. If the game had been the third of the group for both teams and England had qualified with Wales needing a win to join them I’d have been willing three points for the Dragons.

However, with England needing the win desperately, that’s where my allegiances on the day were. Plus I’m English by birth with the Welsh blood flowing through my veins rather diluted. I do know, and appreciate, how dual-nationality people feel though. However, rather than a problem I see it as a blessing. It’s not confusing but liberating.

I even kissed a Welshman’s head when the winner went in, albeit that it was in his hands at the time. Sitting in with the squad, Connell Rawlinson was right behind me. As with the other people watching the game, there was a great spirit among the players. I’ll be back next Monday with more Ramblings and wouldn’t it be great if both countries were in the knock-out stage? Let’s hope so. Cymru am byth. Come on England.

Yours in the beautiful game, Stewart Bloor.
Feel free to contact me at stewart.bloor@tnsfc.co.uk