@DOMROMAN talks through FIVE discussion points on your team.
1 – Courtney Richards and Brendan Moore OUT
Well I said in my last blog that both Richards and Moore were probably out the door, and I was right (for a change!). Both have made big impressions during their time at the club and Nico will be disappointed that he couldn’t keep either at the club.
Courtney’s struggles last season were hard to watch. The added pressure of captaincy did not sit well on his shoulders, however not for one minute did he shy away from the action and his commitment was never in question. What he does lack is technical ability and awareness on the ball. At times his control and passing could be adequate, but on too many occasions he’s struggled with his game and lacked trust in his own capabilities. Still, over 100 games for us and I think we should be grateful for his effort during the last three years.
In goal Brendan was an ever-present last year and I can’t begrudge him a chance of league football. I’m not sure his decision making is up to that level, but he deserves a shot at the big time (well Rochdale anyway!). The search for a goalkeeper was pretty much critical at this stage so it’s great news that Clarke has signed, the understanding between the defence needs fostering as soon as possible. I hope Nico gets replacements who not only replace but surpass those two, this may not be easy but for Kevin what is!
2 – Ryan Higgins
The poisioned challice of the right back spot has a new contender! We’ve had lots of capable players in the role over the years, but very few have been proper right backs who loved playing there. Durrell Berry ticked all the boxes and then got that terrible injury, whilst Dale Tongue came down with a solid reputation and went to pieces! So come on down Ryan Higgins. His reputation is promising – Southport’s best player and someone who likes to get forward; he’s also young and keen to learn/progress. Let’s get behind the lad and just maybe right back won’t be an issue any more!
3 – Norman Medhurst
Representing the full England team and Torquay United at the same time is an unlikely achievement, but when I first started coming to Plainmoor that’s what ‘Storming Norman’ was doing! Much like many others I was sad to hear about Norman passing away. His name immediately conjures up memories of sitting on a bench in the Family Stand and seeing him sprint on with his magic sponge! Of course it also reminds me of Italia 90, an unforgettable World Cup. He was regularly by Bobby Robson’s side during that amazing summer of Pavarotti, Gazza and penalty heart-break. RIP Norman.
4 – 10 Years of Nico!
The arrival of Nico 10 years ago from Forest Green was fairly low-key. We had after all snagged the likes of Toddy and Phillip from City that summer and other arrivals included Sills, Zebriski, Hargreaves etc. Kevin settled in straight away and before long the Popside had bonded with him. Since then that bond has remained and Nico has thrown everything he’s got into both playing and managerial capacities. 10 more years would be a surprise, but I hope there’s plenty more scripts to write about Kevin’s time at Plainmoor.
5 – Ryan Clarke
Nico’s babes are slowly becoming Dads Army! Clarke is the third arrival over 30 years old in recent weeks, and the third with proper experience and know-how. Clarke and Gowling at the back should give us talkers to make us much more vocal (not before time). Another example of Nico focussing on characters who make us harder to play against; in that respect I think he is similar to old boss Paul Buckle. Buckle always loved guys who were leaders on the pitch and his team contained several who got us back to the league. Anyway Ryan is another solid signing, who should cushion the blow of losing Brendan. It’s slow progress but we are creeping towards a decent squad for 17-18!
Dominic – TT Editor