Saturday, 31 May 2008

Point of no return

It's strange to be thinking of points during the close season. Well, it's our close season anyway. I guess you can argue that our season continued until at least until after the play-offs so we know who we are playing next season. I have to confess some satisfaction that Doncaster made it to the Championship. I'm not that excited for THEM, it's just that Southend stay down and we get another couple of local encounters. Even better is the fact that Leeds are also still down and we can re-live our past encounters with them.

I know I've been a bit keen on comments about basic coaching skills, but there's a chap in the Premiership who's getting paid more money than our whole squad, and he doesn't know how to take penalties. After the Beckham soft turf encounter a few years ago you'd expect any other England captain to be extra vigilant. Hey, it was raining and that made the grass wet. Now how on earth did he get to slip and fall on his a**e in front of all those people, live on TV across the globe, in allegedly the top match of the season (actually our home game against Ipswich takes that crown). Well we just have to accept that when it comes to the credit crunch even the most highly paid footballers suffer from nerves at a crucial moment. Just how much time and effort has been ploughed into coaching that man?

Talking of Chelsea, we do have to feel sorry for that bunch of swingers. Runners-up in the Carling Cup, Runners-up in the Premiership, Runners-up in Europe. That's an unsuccessful season apparently. Reminds me of a struggling Yorkshire club called Leeds United in 1970. They were runners-up in the top flight, runners-up in the FA Cup and bombed out in the semi-finals in Europe. Look what happened to them. We live in hope for our current 'big four'.

Back to the 'point' of this little end of season rambling. I got to thinking if there was a point when we could actually say we were never going to play at Layer Road ever again. A point of no return perhaps. You might say it has already passed. The evidence is quite compelling. The new stadium is underway and nearing completion and the club has told everyone they are moving in the summer. Isn't this just like any other house move? What if Southend came in at the last minute and made a better offer? Could they play there?

OK, so the floodlights have been re-erected at the new site - perhaps that just means we wouldn't be able to play evening matches at Layer Road. The goalposts have been taken down - that happens at the end of every season. Layer Road has been put up 'For Sale' - just testing the market chaps. Lots of people do that to see what they are worth.

The evidence to the contrary? Well the offices and shop are still in Layer Road. There's no grass on the new pitch yet and only a handful of seats. Maybe they are ony installing the seats as the season ticket applications come in. Let's face it - it's still a building site. and the road signs are still in place around Layer Road together with their match-day parking restrictions.

So what is going to be the defining moment, the point at which we can consign 'Layer Road' itself to the club's Hall of Fame, when we can really start to re-plan our travel arrangements for match days. I'm not sure either, but I'll tell you here when I think it's happened.

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