Grays Athletic: Nothing less than promotion will do….
Date posted: 17-08-2012
There. That is the headline written. No doubt manager, Hakan Heyrettin will appreciate it (-ish).
Grays Ath kick off their season away at Cricklefields Stadium, Ilford against Waltham Forest.
To put it into context, two seasons ago, it was close to a miracle that Grays Ath turned out for their first game against Harlow Town at Rookery Hill. By general consensus, everyone was just happy to be there.
Last season, they had the team capable of gaining promotion and comfortably led the league right up until late November. They fell short in the play-offs.
It is a matter of debate, why they did not gain promotion. It cannot have been easy playing, what was effectively, sixty away games.
However, there was a factor, which was important then and will be important this season: Grays Ath need a striker who will score twenty plus goals. Our contention is that they have one in Joe Sweeney and it is the clubs responsibility to get the most out of him.
Can Jack West score over twenty? The strong bustling striker certainly has presence and has impressed in pre-season but lets hope he stays the course. James Bunn was a great addition to the team with his guile and wit. Perhaps this will be an ensemble that will blend together to bang the ball in when the time is right.
At the other end of the pitch, Lamar Johnson has looked a very good keeper especially against West Ham. He likes to chat, he has presence and is a really good shot-stopper.
The defence. Well, at the end of the season, we are either going to write: “This was a season too far for many of the defenders, whose ageing limbs found the themselves out-paced and out-thought by younger attackers.
Or……”At this level it can be maturity and guile that counts. The ability of veterans Lee Flynn, Ryan Kirby et al to read the game has been invaluable to Grays.
We hope it is the latter. Lee Flynn is still masterful on the attack on the left side, Craig Pope still imperious on the right and still looks like Danny the Tunnel King whilst Junior Baker will be relishing another season of derring-do.
In midfield, Luke Marshall looked very very sharp on the right, especially against AFC Hornchurch whilst Joao Carlos looks like he has picked up exactly where he left off last season.
The question remains on how to get the best combination in the middle. Kenny Beaney looks like he is still going to put those shifts in this season whilst Leon Lalite also looks like a fine addition (in a Ray Wilkins sort of way) whose distribution is second to none but there is a little query as to where the creativity in the last third of the field will come from. Perhaps it will come from Jake Hall..if he can stay on the pitch……
Playing at Rush Green has many benefits. It is a lovely surface and suits Grays game down to the ground. However, Grays Ath surely, must get the “It is other teams cup finals” mentality out of their minds very quickly because it will not help.
But a home base, great facilities, and even club bar to call their home is a real help.
A lot of credit must go to all those fans who week in and week out got that place in shape. We hope you get the season that you deserve.
For fans, the ground isn’t that far away. It is only seven miles from Thurrock to Rush Green (it is eleven miles from Aveley to Rookery Hill). So come on, get behind the team and make this a promotion season.