Last Friday’s game (April 20, 2018) against Connah’s Quay Nomads was our penultimate fixture of 2017/2018. With involvement in a number of competitions and especially the UEFA Champions League, where games started in June, our season begins well before most other clubs.
In fact, with the aforementioned European competition and the JD Welsh Premier League itself, there are in effect two pre-season campaigns for The New Saints. It’s a long season but it’s football and it’s all good.
One of the beliefs that football fans have once a team has won its domestic league is that they then take their foot off the pedal. In reality this is not the case and certainly not here at Park Hall. Apart from pride, which is a massive ingredient in the make-up of a professional footballer, individuals are playing not only to impress the manager for a place in the starting line-up but also for contracts as well.
The battling spirit of The New Saints was evidenced in the Nomads’ game. Down by one goal at the break, a determined second period saw us win 3-1 in the end. It gives us a sixteen-point lead at the top of the table, which is impressive, with one game to go.
Although 2016/2017 saw The New Saints win by a twenty-five point margin, that was an exceptional season, taking in the Guinness World Record run of twenty-seven consecutive wins in all competitions. To bring things into perspective though, the previous season witnessed just a seven points cushion over Bala Town and twelve over third-placed Llandudno.
This Friday (April 27, 2018) it’s back to Park Hall again for the final game of the season as Cardiff Metropolitan University FC make the journey from the south coast. I’m not Mystic Meg, so I can’t give a score prediction, but one thing I know for sure is that the players will give their all.
And now, the end is near. That may be the case but one thing for sure is that it’s not the final curtain. The players are back in training on June 4 and that’s the day that my fifth full season with The New Saints officially begins.
Lead photograph: Interviewing Ryan Pryce, following last Friday’s game.
Rev’s Ramblings is a weekly blog, following my adventures with the Welsh champions, from a personal perspective. Read more here.