Filed under: News | Tags: Aaron Grundy, BPA, Karl Lenaghan, Kendal, Kings Lynn
And so it begins. The long trudge through winter. For the second time in a week a game between FC United of Manchester and Kendal Town was called off. This time is was Gigg Lane that succumbed to the weather. The water table was so high it was touching the clouds. Sheets of rain fell on Bury, and the referee took the decision to call the game off and reduce the risk of the players contracting trench foot.
So not for the last time this season the afternoon was not spent listening to the mellifluous tones of Keg, Swampy and the rest of the FC radio crew, but sat in the pub drinking beer, eating crisps, and wondering whether or not Sky’s continued employment of Paul Merson as a pundit counts as care in the community, or cruelty to animals.
But just because the cardigans weren’t in action, doesn’t mean the world stopped spinning. It seems that goalkeeping coach Karl Lenaghan is off to Ossett Town as their new assistant manager.
A couple of seasons back Sam Ashton broke his hand and was replaced in the team by a loanee from Bury, Aaron Grundy.
Grundy, whose website is among my favourite things on the ‘net, performed so well he won the coveted Unibond ‘Safe Hands’ award for goalkeeper of the month. An award conspicuous by its absence in the trophy cabinets of Lev Yashin, Peter Schmeichel and Gianluigi Buffon. Indeed there are members of our congregation who decided that Grundy was a better goalkeeper than Sam Ashton, and there were calls to sign him when he was released by Bury that summer.
What folly, if you excuse me dipping in to the lexicon of an over-excitable Edwardian dandy. What we were seeing in Grundy’s performances was the benefit of full time training and specialist coaching. Was Grundy a better goalkeeper than Sam Ashton technically? Probably not. But what he was was fitter, more focused and better drilled. None of which detracts from Grundy’s ability as a ‘keeper – he made one save in particular, away to Skem, that was World Class. With a capital W and a capital C.
But having had a chance to work with Karl over a prolonged period of time, the improvements in Sam’s game have been obvious. Ashton has matured into one of the best goalkeepers in non league football. Only the performances of former BPA and current Guiseley ‘keeper Jon Worsnop have come close in terms of consistent excellence. We can even forgive Sam one of his ‘moments’ against Harrogate Town last week. Given how many games he has kept us in this season, I think it’s only we allow him a couple of fuck ups.
So a big thank you to Karl Lenaghan, and fingers crossed his departure doesn’t adversely affect the player who has, in my opinion, been FC United’s best for the past season and a bit.
We weren’t the only team not to have a game on the weekend. Kings Lynn’s game against Guiseley was called off as doubts about the Linnets future continued. It’s too complicated a story for me to recount here, so I’ll direct you to the ever-excellent twohundredpercent for his synopsis.
With Newcastle Blue Star already missing form the league, and the potential end for Kings Lynn, we could only see two teams get relegated this season. Which still wouldn’t be enough to save the hapless Durham, who lost 7-1 away to Hucknall this weekend. That takes their goals against column up to 102. Still, at least they scored.
Long time It’ll Be Off devotees will notice I’ve been very quiet on the subject of Bradford Park Avenue so far this season. This is largely down to Robert S Blackburn and his idiot cohort Kev Hainsworth keeping a relatively low profile recently. But also because the team are performing impressively in the league. The horrible bastards. Plus, the memory of our first half performance at the Horsfall Stadium at the start of this season still causes me sleepless nights. We were rank. Fucking rank. Almost as bad as the research that went in to finding out our squad for the back of their programme that day. Phil Priestly? David Brown? Craig Fleury? Probably could have done with Spenner, mind. He could have rested his bad hip as he watched Adam Tong throw-ins sail over his head to the vague direction of the penalty area.
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