What a great day it was on Saturday just gone, with the icing on the cake being the victory in the Nathaniel MG Cup against Cardiff Metropolitan University FC. Apart from the JD Welsh Cup finals, a solitary Shropshire Cup final and a couple with TNS Ladies, it was my fourth Welsh League Cup final on the bounce with The New Saints.
All three previous games were victories – against Bala Town, Denbigh Town and Barry Town United – and it was great to see that run continue. Un. Dau. Tri. Pedwar. (1, 2, 3, 4) Indeed it was, as Jamie Mullan’s goal proved to be the deciding factor come the final whistle.
Although I was there working on media – and that’s a very different perspective from when you’re at a game as fan – I still thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact I went to my 31st Welsh ground just a few days previously, when I watched Wolverhampton Wanderers at Swansea City’s Liberty Stadium, and I was thinking to myself that I actually prefer to be doing media than just sitting in the stand.
It was really encouraging to see a good turnout from The New Saints at the final, as Graeme Kirkham’s new role as Engagement Manager begins to bear fruit. The Venue was a hive of activity in the morning, as people gathered ready to depart for Aberystwyth Town’s Park Avenue.
A special shout-out must go to our Academy players, who were vocal throughout the game. From my vantage point in the media suite on the halfway line I could both hear and see them. From the first whistle to the last they were amazing in their support of the first team.
Also, special thanks to the FAW who looked after our media team really well. In fact, the aforementioned media suite was theirs for the day and we appreciate Gwyn Derfel allowing us access.
In recent weeks we have been developing a matchday (initially) media team and it’s coming on nicely. On Saturday we had Sam Wood and Harry Wright, and although he was there firstly with another media outlet, Jamie Davies joined us as well.
I was really pleased for the players, their hard work and team effort was justly rewarded. Above all though I was thrilled for Scott Ruscoe and Steve Evans. Both have had very successful careers on the pitch and now they’ve made the perfect start off it as well.
The lead photograph this week was taken by Brian Jones immediately after the game and it captures the moment perfectly. There were 100+ shots that he sent but that was the one that hit me as far as a column lead was concerned.
It’s usually Scottie who is in the limelight and that’s always the case with the manager. When Craig Harrison was in the hot seat I interviewed Scott just a handful of times. Now, he supplies the quotes, is the one that the media seeks out when they want an interview and is the one who ultimately makes the decisions.
It’s still a partnership though and in this week’s column I wanted to acknowledge the input of Steve Evans. Although football management in general is pyramid-shaped, nevertheless the blocks beneath the point are just as important. When you build a three-storey house, it’s not so much the top that needs to be solid but the basement.
Rev’s Ramblings is a weekly blog, following my adventures with the champions of Wales from a personal perspective.