This morning, Lewes Football Club announced on their official website that manager Simon Wormull would be leaving the club with immediate effect. The decision has since been debated at length on Twitter and on the club’s unofficial messageboard, and it is fair to say that the reaction to the decision has been mixed.
Despite only avoiding relegation from the Ryman Premier on goal difference on Saturday, Wormull was still very well-liked at the club and most supporters seemed to want him to stay in charge heading into next season. There was a good atmosphere around the club, with team spirit excellent and supporters could relate to a squad comprised predominantly of local players who genuinely seemed to be enjoying representing Lewes.
The number and severity of injuries suffered by the vast majority of the players in the squad at some point over the course of the season certainly did not help – captain Steve Robinson missed over four months of the campaign, Callum Dunne missed a similar period of time and Callum Donaghey was ruled out for the season after picking up an injury in February.
When you add to this the long-term absence of Chris Breach through a suspension and several other key players missing the odd game here and there and often playing through the pain barrier, it made a difficult first job in management for Wormull even tougher.
Wormull also really seemed to buy into the ethos of Lewes as a community club. He always had time for the fans, never made excuses for below-par displays and gave nine youth-team players their chance in the first team over the course of the season.
However, some of the performances I witnessed this season were up there with the worst I have seen. The effort of the players could never be questioned, but all too often, basic individual errors were costing Lewes points and seeing them slip into a relegation battle that they should never have been involved in on paper.
The Bank Holiday weekend immediately springs to mind when talking about dropped points. I missed the defeat at home to Hastings United, who ended up finishing bottom of the table, but losing at home to one of your relegation rivals at such a crucial stage of the season is simply not acceptable.
Just 48 hours later, Lewes travelled to midtable Bognor Regis Town, who were suffering from several injuries and had a Sussex Senior Cup semi-final to look forward to two days later. Despite this, Lewes were comfortably beaten 3-1 and only really looked like taking something out of the game during a 15-minute spell during the second half in an otherwise abject display.
At this stage, I had resigned myself to relegation and was already looking ahead to numerous derby games in the Ryman Division One South.
Since then, credit must be given to Wormull and the players for showing enough character and occasional glimpses of quality to just avoid relegation.
One of the arguments used by people critical of the decision is that the club have jumped the gun and made a decision too quickly. In my opinion, if the board were always considering Wormull’s future, making a quick decision is the best outcome for the club. It means there is no uncertainty and enables them to welcome applications for the vacant managerial job immediately.
The fact that the club are welcoming applications suggests that they have no stand-out target in mind, which is understandable and means they could end up having a large number of very impressive candidates from various playing and coaching backgrounds to choose from when it comes to the interview process.
My one criticism of this is that by the time a new manager is appointed, the talented players who made up up the core of the side this season may well have already received offers from other clubs and chosen to play their football elsewhere next season.
Managerial changes at non-league clubs, especially during the close season, often lead to wholesale changes in the playing staff. Hopefully this will not be the case at Lewes, although I would be surprised if the squad next season contains more than one or two of this season’s players, unless Lewes appoint someone who knows the club or some of the players.
I had personally hoped Wormull would be given more time to work with a talented squad that had simply under-performed for large parts of the season, but I can see why the board have chosen to make this decision.
After being relegated from the Blue Square South, most Lewes fans took solace in the fact that we would surely be able to consolidate in the Ryman Premier after two relegations in three years, so to almost end up dropping out of the Ryman Premier came as a real shock.
It will be impossible to say whether this decision proves to be the correct one until the board have appointed a replacement and we are some way into next season, by which time the new man in charge will have been able to assemble their squad and gel them together.
I would just like to sign off this blog by thanking Simon Wormull for all the effort he put in while in charge and wish him all the best for the future.
It seems as though I’m starting to get into the habit of doing a blog every other week now. My intention was to do one at the end of each week, but the large workload I have had has stopped that from being the case unfortunately.
The last two weeks have once again given a whole new meaning to the word busy, although it has been very enjoyable at the same time.
I had my first patch story published on The Argus website, which was good to see. Even though I’ve had quite a few articles published in various different places in the past, it’s still good to see your name on a published article!
Shorthand has continued to be a challenge, but I feel as though I’m getting the hang of it after reaching a point last week where parts of it just stopped making sense. This time in two weeks, we will have finished the theory part of shorthand, leaving us with a few weeks of speed-building before the 60wpm exam in November.
Media Law remains my favourite aspect of the course at the moment. I wasn’t sure what to expect before the course started, but it has been really good so far and being able to apply certain laws to cases which are in the news at the moment has definitely helped with understanding certain parts of it.
The last couple of weeks have seen us leave The Argus building and go out to report on events in Brighton for the first time (not including patch stories).
A trip to the museum at Brighton Pavilion for the Biba exhibition wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, but it was good to go out and do some proper reporting as we will have to do when we hopefully all get jobs after the course!
A trip to Brighton Magistrates Court was more interesting, even though we didn’t actually view any proper cases. It has made me look forward to visiting Crown Court later in the course, where we should get the opportunity to see one or two proper cases and report on them.
We also had a talk from Fleet Street Fox, who uses her anonymity to express her opinion on Twitter and her blog which she would not be able to do if she revealed her name.
Whilst I found some aspects of her talk interesting, there were other parts of it which I didn’t enjoy as much and she seemed to be almost too cynical for quite a lot of it.
This weekend shall be spent catching up on sleep and doing work for all aspects of the course, with one or two patch stories to come out of it hopefully.
It’s been two weeks since my last blog, with the main reason for this big gap being down to how much work I have been doing!
Since my last post, I have done several reporting exams, developed a far greater knowledge of media law and public affairs, and also been able to write sentences in shorthand fairly quickly.
I have even improved slightly at pool, having won the occasional match over the last fortnight. The daily trip to Asda before spending much of the lunch break retrieving lost pool balls from various parts of the inside of the table has become something of a ritual, and the stakes have now been raised with the introduction of a league, as well as the promise of a website.
Of everything I have done on the course so far though, shorthand has been the greatest challenge. This was made clear to me a few days ago when I was practicing it on the train and someone asked me “is that even English”, which shows just how difficult it is when you first look at it.
Thankfully, having now worked through nine of the 20 units (including several strange sentences) in the shorthand exercise book, most of the outlines now make sense.
Trying to find news stories from my local area has also been an interesting experience.
I am in Hollingbury all week apart from Friday afternoon, so keeping up-to-date with what is going in Seaford did prove to be a challenge initially.
However, I now have several ideas in the pipeline and hope to have my first story on my community patch page on The Argus early week.
The 5.30am starts every day are becoming easier and the morning train journey is giving me a good opportunity to practice shorthand, or to have a five or ten-minute power nap before the day really starts.
Next week we are heading out into Brighton to write a review of an event taking place in the city, which will be another interesting challenge.
I am working harder than I have ever done before on this course, but I am loving every minute of it!
Well, what a busy week this has been! Five days ago, shorthand looked like a different language, and I had very little understanding of media law or public affairs. However, after 31 hours worth of lectures this week, I feel as though I have learnt far more than I did in two years at college and probably in five years at secondary school as well.
My week started at 5.30am on Monday morning, a time of the day which I had not seen since I last did a paper round when I was 15! After an hour or so of introductions, we immediately started reporting and focused on what made a good introduction and news story in general. An hour-long lunch break followed, before two hours of shorthand which was far easier to understand than I expected.
We had reporting and shorthand again on Tuesday, with my understanding of each improving all the time. I then had my first more general journalism experience as I went to the hacks/hackers meet-up at The Eagle pub in Brighton. Some elements of the talks we were given went over my head, but I found a lot of the discussion very interesting and it undoubtedly gave me a greater understanding of aspects of journalism which I had not really considered before my course had started.
Wednesday saw an introduction to two other aspects of journalism in Public Affairs and Media Law. I was not particularly looking forward to these, as I have never had much of an interest in politics or the law up until this point. However, I found the lectures we were given on each very interesting and it certainly helped my non-existent understanding of certain political information when I did History at A Level.
Another Public Affairs lesson followed on Thursday, before we had a five-hour lesson of grammar, punctuation and some headline writing. Lessons like this make me realise that there is far more to being a journalist than just writing articles, and that there is plenty more to be considered when writing an article that could be published.
The week finished with three hours of shorthand (after spending some of my journey to the course practicing) and an afternoon of bowling, where my lack of bowling for the last decade or so became apparent very early on! Thankfully, I improved and did better than my early form might have suggested.
All in all, this has been a brilliant week. The early starts have been a challenge, but I have gradually found myself getting used to them and have really enjoyed the work, even though the workload has been very heavy!
This weekend will now be spent hopefully catching up on sleep, as well as practicing shorthand and researching on stories for the community page I have been given on The Argus website…
In what I hope will become a regular feature on this blog, I am going to discuss who West Bromwich Albion’s most impressive players have been over the last month.
After picking up seven points from our first three league games and progressing into the third round of the Capital One Cup, there are plenty of contenders for the accolade this month.
1. Claudio Yacob
The stand-out player for me so far has been new signing Claudio Yacob, who joined the club on a free transfer after his contract at former side Racing in Argentina expired.
Many people were concerned that our midfield had been significantly weakened by releasing two players with a lot of English football experience in Paul Scharner and Keith Andrews, and replacing them with a player who has never even played in European football. However, Yacob has put those doubts to bed with three fine performances which have seen him become a fans favourite with the Albion faithful already.
The photo above shows Yacob making one of numerous challenges in the opening game of the season, this time against Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.
Appearances: 3 Goals: 0
2. Youssouf Mulumbu
Coming in just behind Yacob is his defensive midfield partner Youssouf Mulumbu, who has also been outstanding in each of our first three league games and made an impact when coming off the bench during the latter stages of our Capital One Cup victory at Yeovil.
Yacob’s presence has enabled Mulumbu to push further forward than he did for much of last season, a role which he has relished so far against some of the better sides in the league. He has been one of our most consistent players since joining the club on a permanent basis three years ago and seems to have rediscovered his best form in the early stages of this season.
Appearances: 4 Goals: 0
3. Shane Long
The all-action performances of Shane Long this month see him just pip Romelu Lukaku to a place in our top three players of the month, with his three goals in four games also ensuring that he comes in just behind the defensive midfield axis of Yacob and Mulumbu as players who have stood out in August.
His persistence saw him win two penalties against Liverpool on the opening day of the season, although Long unfortunately saw his tame spot-kick comfortably saved by Pepe Reina.
However, he did not let this affect his confidence and has continued to cause defenders problems in our three games in all competitions since then. After getting a morale-boosting brace at Yeovil in the Capital One Cup, the Republic of Ireland international followed it up with the first goal in our 2-0 win over Everton four days later to cap yet another impressive display.
Appearances: 4 Goals: 3
My first blog on here will hopefully be the first of many blogs this football season, with the majority being from away trips.
As soon as the draw of the Capital One Cup paired us with Yeovil Town at Huish Park, it was clear that this was a game which I really wanted to attend. Not only would it be an opportunity to visit the ground for a first time, but it was also a chance to watch Albion from a terrace for only the second time in this time of all-seater stadia at almost all levels of the game.
Arriving at the ground just after 6pm for a 7.45pm kick-off (which was delayed due to congestion outside the ground), there were already plenty of supporters who had made the long journey down from the West Midlands gathered outside the turnstiles.
Standing on the uncovered terrace after entering the ground reminded me in some ways of the numerous Non-League grounds I have visited, as there was literally no protection from the elements and the ground had a very old-fashioned and traditional feel to it.
Albion manager Steve Clarke had promised that he would take both cup competitions seriously this season after his appointment as head coach back in June, so it was no surprise to see him name a side containing no fewer than seven full internationals.
The game started poorly from an Albion perspective, as we found ourselves 1-0 down inside 15 minutes thanks to a goal from one of our former players Reuben Reid, who made next to no impact during his time at The Hawthorns but as is always the case in football it seems, decided to produce one of his best performances for some time against his former club.
We gradually found our feet as the half wore on and equalised about ten minutes before half-time, as captain Chris Brunt sent a superb effort from 35 yards swerving mast Marek Stech in the hosts goal and into the top corner.
Two minutes before the break, we took what was arguably an undeserved lead when Shane Long was on hand to bundle the ball home from close range after Stech had dropped what appeared to be a simple catch from a Brunt corner.
Being 2-1 up in a game where we had played so poorly in the main should have given us the impetus to kick on and find another goal at the start of the second half, but it seemed to have the opposite effect.
Yeovil were back on level terms after 47 minutes when Reid was once again on hand to head home close range after more poor defending from the second-string Albion back four.
Both sides had chances after this, with Boaz Myhill forced into two fine saves to deny Reid his hatrick, before Yassine El Ghanassy and Markus Rosenberg were denied by Stech and Richard Hinds on the line in quick succession.
It was at this point that the heavens began to open and the majority of the travelling Albion fans who were located on the uncovered terrace at the Copse Road End of the ground (myself included) were getting absolutely soaked!
Thankfully, at about the same time, the two league difference between the two sides began to show, as the impressive Brunt saw more of the ball and the introduction of Youssouf Mulumbu added some much-needed steel in front of the back four.
We got our third goal in slightly fortuitous circumstances 17 minutes from time, as an El Ghanassy effort from 25 yards was deflected past Stech by Craig Dawson, wrong-footing the goalkeeper and putting Albion back in the lead.
Yeovil manager Gary Johnson went for broke at this point, making three substitutions to try and galvanise his side to get back into the game once again.
However, Long made the game safe with just under ten minutes remaining, as he sent a powerful left-foot shot from the edge of the area past Stech and into the top corner to the delight of the impressive travelling support behind the goal.
As a chorus of “We’re singing in the rain” came from the away end, the game began to peter out as the impact of playing on an increasingly heavy pitch in such a well-contested cup tie began to take its toll on both sets of players.
The most important thing from an Albion perspective was getting through a tie which always had the potential to cause problems, especially after going behind early on.
However, the character shown at Spurs in the Premier League three days previously came to the fore (albeit with an almost entirely different team) and the players were able to grind out a result to send the travelling fans home happy.
Yeovil deserve a lot of credit for playing their part in such an entertaining game, with the atmosphere at Huish Park being very impressive and the performance of the players on the pitch also suggesting that they could be pushing for promotion in League One this season.
Clarke will have learnt a lot about some of the Albion squad players from this game, most notably that some of the back-up options in defence would struggle if required to play in the Premier League for any period of time.
However, the important thing is that Albion progressed and can now look forward to the third round draw on Thursday night.
WBA Player Ratings: Myhill 7, Jara 6, Tamas 5, Dawson 6, Jones 6, Thorne 6, Brunt 8, Gera 5 (Mulumbu 6), Rosenberg 6 (Fortune 6), El Ghanassy 6, Long 7 (Berahino).