County half full or half empty?
A new season of Division 6 part-time regional football is nearly upon us.
How do you feel about this coming season?
I will hold my hands up: no Season Ticket for me again and an intention to attend 2 or 3 away games that may involve a stop-over and more than a few beers and a curry.
I will probably attend a dozen or so home games. This is driven as much by the need for my youngest lad to continue to wear a Royal Blue top (and not any other colour), rather then than rocking up at Edgeley Park and expecting 90 minutes of fantasy football.
Before season tickets went on sale talk was upbeat.
'Exciting signings' were expected. Alan Lord had a relatively stable club situation compared to recent close seasons, to build a coherent squad.
Promotion challenge this season folks then eh?
Hmmm... as the summer went on, I couldn't feel less excited.
Jeavons had ended his career. Jacobs bailed out. And then talk of how County 'can't compete' with the likes of Barrow, North Ferriby and Harrogate' and the drip-drip-drip of news of how Lord's targeted players were ending up at other clubs.
Is our squad massively stronger compared to the squad last season?
There have been positives though.
The player fund was launched to give Lord some lolly.
Help the Hatters selflessly worked to keep the ground looking smart.
Prominent fans were made life presidents, as well as the legend that is Mike Flynn.
Other able County fans stepped forward to help with the running of the club.
Communication from the club improved and tie-ups with local business (Robinsons' Ales and Metro taxi) were made.
The Supporters Co-op continues to increase it's membership.
There have even been hints that County have now stopped haemorrhaging money and an anonymous County fan from the south of England has donated £6K to fund Lord's development team for this season.
So as we stand on the brink of County's Vanarama North (yes, really) 2014-15 campaign, how do we assess the health of the club?
I still see a very poorly club, out of intensive care maybe with virtually no assets,but beginning to be able to stand on it's own feet. Supported by dedicated and generous fans.
On the pitch (and let's hope the rumours of a less than perfect playing surface already are false!) I feel we will watch a side that can finish anywhere between 8th and 16th.
So - mid-table respectability in a league two or three steps below where we should be playing.
A long, long road back to own our own ground and back into the Football league starts now.
Best take a packed lunch then...