Editors Blogs

The Awkward 2nd Blog (of the season)…

The Awkward 2nd Blog (of the season)…

Harry became Sports Editor in September 2016.

The Sports Blog is back and it’s better than ever… well maybe! So what can I tell you right now? It’s a mixed bag for our local sides at the moment but let’s have a look.

Chelsea’s topsy turvy title defence continues to falter as they have now dropped out of the top 4, and Antonio Conte seemingly on the brink of losing his job. Fulham on the other hand look a totally different side compare to their very poor start to the season as they find themselves in the play off places and who would bet against them being in the Premier League come August should this form continue. 5 places and 8 points behind them Brentford lie in 11th place maybe just that bit too far away from the playoffs but you never know. As for QPR they are 10 points clear of relegation but even further away from promotion so I fear that this will be another season of nothingness for The Hoops but better that than League 1 eh…? Talking of League 1 and Relegation, AFC Wimbledon recent good run has helped them out of the bottom 4 but they still have one hell of a fight on their hands in order to retain their 3rd tier status. As Henners has written further on, Sutton United stand a fantastic chance for the first ever promotion to the Football League

Ryan Sessegnon is coming of age and has scored 11 goals from the left wing already this season.

as they are just 4 points behind Wrexham who top the table with 2 games in hand on them. In the National League South, Hampton & Richmond also look very positive for a second promotion in recent years as they are in 2 place with a game in hand, just 3 points behind 1st placed Dartford. In the Isthmian Premier Division, Tooting & Mitcham are in the midst of a relegation dog fight as they are just 2 points off the foot of the table however a couple of wins could potentially get them right out of it, 6 points and 5 places above them are Kingstonian who seem to be keeping themselves just about clear of the survival battle but will need keep up the momentum if they don’t want to get dragged down into it and finally Dulwich Hamlet’s long tenure at Number 1 came to an end last weekend after Billericay knocked them off their perch. It’s looking more and more likely that the Essex side just have too much in their locker/wallet for the rest of the league to compete but the Hamlet should be good for another play off challenge, and with a bit of luck, this time they’ll get the promotion they so richly deserve.

That’s enough of footy, let’s talk about the egg chasers. Harlequins have had a far from perfect season so far in Europe and in the Premiership but they are still in touching distance of the Champions Cup places and even, dare I say it, the top 4/playoffs, although that would be going some as they currently sit in 9th. Not the same story for their noisy neighbours the Ealing Trailfinders in the Championship as they’ve had a magnificent run of results of late and are only bettered by the imperious Bristol(who have a 100% record) in the league, a stark contrast to last seasons barely mid table effort. Talking of barely mid table efforts, Richmond and London Scottish sit in 9th and 11th respectively in the same division, only being saved from relegation by the fact that Rotherham Titans have only won 1 game all season. In the National League 1, continuing the theme of barely mid table are Rosslyn Park, that being said, the division is very tight and they are well clear of bottom placed Fylde so should be just fine for the rest of the season and could even push for a play off place. Sadly, things do not look so hopeful for Wimbledon RFC as they are bottom of the table but stand more than a fighting chance of staying up after a couple of vital wins recently.

Further afield, the Super Bowl was spectacular as per usual on Sunday Night, I’m just sad that the season is so short and that it’s all over now for another 9 months. Question is, have you got your tickets for the international series? If so, have you got a spare? Seriously.

Grid Girls are now a thing of the past in F1 and Darts also followed suit by having swimsuit models leading the arrow men to the stage, love it or hate it, it’s happening so you better get used to it, I wouldn’t be surprised if other sports followed suit with their similar use of glamour girls, however Boxing seems to be keeping the Ring Girl tradition as according to Eddie Hearn, (and I might be paraphrasing slightly here) ‘They’re completely necessary as otherwise people wouldn’t know which round it was’. I’m not so convinced but I’m not here to pass judgement.

England beat Australia in the ODI series following the Ashes.

In Cricket, England thrashed the Aussies in the one day series, shame about the test series eh! They looked a completely different side, despite comprising of nearly half of the same team and Australia simply had no answer apart from one blip to the copy book. They head to New Zealand for their next series and I for one am really excited for the prospect of that, especially as I can actually watch these games! England will go in confident and unafraid, I still believe that England are a better side than the Baggy Green Boys, it was just a number of factors including the occasion that got the better of them, maybe alcohol too, who knows, we’ll probably never know but there we are.

What do we have to look forward to before next month’s blog then? Well let me tell you.

  • Pyeongchang 2018 – Winter Olympics
  • Football – League Cup Final – Arsenal vs Man City
  • Rugby – The 6 Nations including England vs Wales this weekend.
  • Boxing – George Groves vs Chris Eubank jnr – World Super Middleweight Championship Unifier
  • Cricket – NZ vs England ODI Series
  • Cycling – Track World Championships

Not too bad eh!? And that just the start.

It’s here where I pass you onto the very capable hands of the rest of the team, you might notice a couple of new faces in there…

Henners became Deputy Editor in January.

Can Sutton United realistically achieve promotion to the Football League, and at what cost?

by Henry Thomas-Aldridge

The introduction of more teams into the National League play-offs provides an ever-growing problem for Sutton United who are aiming for promotion into the Football League. As the season creeps towards its conclusion, Sutton look likely to fight for the league title and following that will probably reach a play-off spot. This gives the club a huge dilemma as the current Football League rules state that a club can not play on an artificial pitch, these rules have already been amended for the National League and the FA cup. This means that the artificial pitch, costing £500,000, might have to be replaced after the National League only permitted the use of artificial pitches for the 2015/6 season. The glory of promotion and the money that comes with playing in the Football League could be taken away almost immediately. And if that’s not enough punishment for the club, Sutton would be demoted and handed a fine. Sutton will have to decide whether to rip up their artificial pitch and play on a grass pitch, but this is only if they were to achieve promotion.

Tommy Wright is top scorer for the U’s this season.

Their next two league games are crucial, against Dover Athletic in sixth and Wrexham in third. Sutton also have third round ties in the FA Trophy and the Surrey Senior Cup, both against lower league opposition. Sutton will be hoping to progress in both those ties whilst challenging for promotion however what is more important for the club now comes into question? Go far in the cup competition and potentially reach Wembley or fight for promotion, which is now more achievable because of the new play-off system? For most clubs one would assume the money of promotion to the Football League would be the main goal but the costs of putting in a new grass pitch somewhat diminishes the attraction. Despite this, most non-league clubs would give anything to be in with a chance of promotion to the Football League and it would appear that Sutton would adhere to the rules if they were not changed but first they have to achieve promotion. It is one of the most competitive seasons in the National League and with there now being six play-off spots, for several clubs the dream of promotion is an incredibly visible aspiration.

Lee joined The Sports Team in September 2017

Wimbledon caught short as striker leaves during medical

by Lee Allen

Imagine this. You are the manager of a club desperately in need of attacking reinforcements and have been locked in negotiations with a player who would provide some much-needed depth.

Talks progress nicely and you invite said player for a medical.

Striker shows up, starts the medical, and after all of that, leaves 10 minutes into the examination to go and join one of your closest rivals.

This is the ordeal which AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley faced on Wednesday’s transfer deadline day. The player in question is ex-Crystal Palace forward Freddie Ladapo, who has signed a 6-month contract at Southend United, Wandsworth Radio’s Sports Show understands.

The Don’s did manage to Sign Joe Pigott in the January Window. He currently has 1 goal in 4 appearances.

With Wimbledon unable to recruit another forward within the transfer window, the Wombles are now left painfully short of front men in their first team squad. The Dons’ only business in the January transfer window saw centre-forward Joe Pigott join the club from Maidstone. Although Pigott made a good start by scoring on his debut in a 2-0 victory against Blackpool, some fans believe the club’s January dealings to be far from satisfactory.

“We are now going into a relegation scrap with three fit strikers. Neal failed to bring in strikers in the summer and he’s failed again in January. We can’t use the sob story that a player has mucked us around because realistically we should have a plan B – he’s had months to sort this out,” one fan told the Wandsworth Radio Sports Show.

“Questions have to be raised over our recruitment process. If we go down, our failure in this transfer window will be huge. The manager blames our small budget, but maybe he should take the blame for putting all his eggs in one basket,” the fan added. Ladapo’s decision to join Southend over Wimbledon has raised eyebrows among Wimbledon supporters due to the fact that the seaside club are level on points with Wimbledon (though they have a game in hand) and are in significantly worse form than their rivals.

Southend manager Phil Brown was sacked in December following a poor run of results, and the club has lost four of their last five games. New coach Chris Powell was hired by Southend on January 28. While Southend have slumped down the table in recent months, the Dons have made a spirited escape from the relegation zone and are unbeaten in their last five games. Wimbledon sit in 16th place, with Southend in 17th, due to goal difference, at the time of writing. Ardley will be hoping the good form can continue so he can show Ladapo what he has missed out on.

Andy Joined the Sports Team in September 2017

How the Other Half Live

by Andrew Murray

The Sports Team had a meeting at the beginning of the year to set out what we wanted to achieve over the course of 2018. Of the targets we discussed, here are a selection:

Improve coverage of sports other than football

Be more local-area-focused (we are, after all, a local radio station for local people)

Give more attention to our lower league sides instead of prioritising the Premier League so much.

Although I’m new to the Sports Team, I think that I am already getting a reputation as not so much being a generalist sports fan, nor even a generalist football fan, but specifically a Newcastle United fan. And that’s all well and good, except it doesn’t really help me contribute to any of the above mentioned goals.

Despite Andrews moans, Newcastle did manage to sign the highly rated Chelsea youngster Kenedy on loan for the rest of the season and has impressed in his 2 games so far.

Newcastle are always quite newsworthy though, usually for all the wrong reasons. And I do enjoy talking about how Mike Ashley runs our club as if it were an amateur outfit itself. This is especially true in transfer windows, and January 2018 was no exception as we yet again left our business to the last minute, eventually managing to bring in zero permanent new recruits. Hats off to everyone involved.

So, to appease my bosses at Wandsworth Radio whilst simultaneously getting my own fix of Toon whinging, I present to you a list of every local, lower league or non-league club that Newcastle United failed to outspend this January in the pursuit of new signings:

AFC Hayes, Balham, Barking, Barnet, Barking, Barkingside, Beaconsfield SYCOB, Beckenham Town, Bedfont Sports, Billericay Town, Boreham Wood, Brentford, Brentwood Town, Bromley, Carshalton Athletic, CB Hounslow United, Chalfont St Peter, Charlton Athletic, Chertsey Town, Chesham United, Cheshunt, Chipstead, Colliers Wood United, Corinthian, Corinthian-Casuals, Cray Valley Paper Mills, Cray Wanderers, Croydon Athletic, Dagenham and Redbridge, Dartford, Dorking Wanderers, Dulwich Hamlet, Ebbsfleet United, Egham Town, Enfield Town, Epsom and Ewell, Erith and Belvedere, Erith Town, Grays Athletic Greenwich Borough, Guildford City, Halstead United, Hampton and Richmond Borough, Hanwell Town, Hanworth Villa, Haringey Borough, Harlow Town, Harrow Borough, Hemel Hempstead Town, Hendon, Hillingdon Borough, Holmesdale, Ilford, Kings Langley, Kingstonian, Knaphill, Leatherhead, Leyton, Leyton Orient, London Colney, Merstham, Metropolitan Police, Millwall, Molesey, North Greenford United, Northwood, Phoenix Sports, Potters Bar Town, Queens Park Rangers, Redbridge, Redhill, Romford, Sevenoaks Town, Slough Town, South Park, Spelthorne Sports, St Albans City, Staines Town, Sutton Common Rovers, Sutton United, Thamesmead Town, Thurrock, Tilbury, Tonbridge Angels, Tooting and Mitcham United, Uxbridge, VCD Athletic, Waltham Abbey, Waltham Forest, Walton and Hersham, Walton Casuals, Watford, Wealdstone,, Welling United, Westfield, Whyteleafe, Wingate and Finchley, Woking.

Congratulations to all of you. You officially kept financial pace with a Premier League club this January. ​

I look forward to playing you in a few seasons.

February 10th, 2018

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