It started with a text from Scott Ruscoe, with the confirmation that we were playing a friendly against Wolverhampton Wanderers’ U23 side at the Compton training ground. Although I’ve been with TNS to the likes of Everton, Leicester City, Liverpool and Middlesbrough, this one, for me at least, is head and shouders above the rest.
I went to my first game at Molineux in 1963 and right up to the time that I got involved with The New Saints, I had a season ticket. In fact I gave that up due to my developing commitment with the club.
I loved having the ticket in the Jack Harris Stand, otherwise known as the South Bank, and regardless of where the club was playing I renewed each season and never got bored or discouraged. I saw Wolves in a UEFA Cup final and I saw them in the basement of the Football League. It didn’t matter, it was Wolves and that was what counted.
Therefore, to walk away, as it were, indicates how powerful a draw TNS had become. Even before I became formally involved with the club, The New Saints had become my Welsh Premier League team. From initially watching on Sgorio to making my way to Park Hall, the influence was ever-growing.
I’ve always been the sort of football fan anyway that follows the fortunes of several teams – Leeds United is right up there and I must be the only person in the world who supports Leeds and Wolves – so adding another one, especially as they played in another country’s league was no issue.
Back to the game against Wolves though, I loved it. As I live just a few miles from the training ground which is in the Compton area of the city, I made my own way there. I’d already spoken with the Wolves media executive to see if they had any reporting restrictions on the game.
I also made sure my name was with the security people at the gate. I know from experience – not personal but observational – just how difficult it can be to cross the threshold. It can be harder to get past a man in a yellow jacket at a training ground than it is to get through customs control at Heathrow.
Arriving at Compton, I made my way down to the pitch where our players were warming up, ahead of their game, and on the pitch next to us was the Wolves first team training. With the Wolf head logo corner flag over my shoulder and the players behind, it made a perfect selfie.
People often ask me, and especially when I’ve been involved as I was last Tuesday, would I like to be at Wolves. Well, I can honestly say that at TNS I feel very much at home, and as they say, home is where the heart is.
I’m not ambitious in the sense of wanting to be in a ‘better’ place. My ambition is personal in that I want to be better at what I do at The New Saints.
No-one knows what the future holds, of course, but as far as it depends on me I’m not planning on going anywhere.
Stewart Bloor – Media & Communications Officer (email@example.com)
Rev’s Ramblings is a weekly blog insight, from a personal perspective, following my adventures with the champions of Wales.