After 55 days of speculation and tedium, missed targets and missed opportunities, we finally got back to playing football today.
Church Road, North Ferriby. The Billy Bly memorial trophy. Ferriby is now a regular pre-season haunt and normally hosts the game on a beautiful evening with the sun dipping down over the Humber Bridge. The crowd made up of middle aged men wearing unwise shorts and kids in their brand new kit, waiting to catch a glimpse of the new boys on display. Unfortunately, there was no mid-summer evening, just a grey Saturday lunch time. The pie and pint spoiled by a large dose of rain water. I did see one chap in shorts, though oddly, he also sported a rain coat and an umbrella.
Unlike the heady days of Peter Taylor's reign, when we had the pick of the lower division transfer market and new players were signed and sealed by the end of May, we're small fry now, and July 18th arrives with just one new face, the imposing figure of Steven Mouyokolo and one trialist, the tricky Jerome Thomas, who looks more like a hoodie than a footballer but boy, can he play.
The first half line-up was familiar. Myhill in goal, back four of Ricketts, Dawson, Turner and Gardner, much missed for most of last season. Thomas paroled the left wing, Mendy the right, leaving George Boateng in the middle with a guy the wag behind me called "GeoMarney". Some hopes. Fagan and Cousin were the front pair. City strolled the first half, showing little urgency for the most part. The pace picked up only when Thomas, eager to impress, or Fagan were released into space. Everyone else wandered about thinking about fitness rather than finesse. The highlight of the first quarter was a hefty challenge on Myhill by ex-Tiger and current hobbit, Gary Bradshaw. Myhill wasn't impressed and asked politely "What are you doing you f*****g pr*ck?"
Fagan rattles a post before City take the lead through Thomas, bursting beyond the left back and finishing neatly. It's all change for the second half. Not just in personnel, the very smart new kit makes way for the very smart, and rather bright, new away kit. Duke takes over in goal, he may as well not have bothered, I could have gone between the sticks. Forgotten man Nathan Doyle is right back, Kilbane left back, Mouyokolo partnered by Liam Copper in the middle. Midfield is Jamie Devitt, Nicky Featherstone, Bryan Hughes and Tom Cairney and Barmby plays just off Folan up front.
Ferriby make changes too and City stroll to victory. Devitt rolls in the second goal, Featherstone finishes neatly for 3-0, Folan lashes in a rebound from a corner, Barmby flicks the ball in with the outside of his boot when one on one and the Folan skips through the offside trap to slide home a copycat sixth. Phil Brown, keeping a low profile and running up a large phone bill, would say it was "a good workout". It was a stroll, a nice easy start to the pre-season program. Everyone looked sharp and refreshed and played with freedom. The same old people still aren't good enough but the manager is on to that or at least, he's trying to be.