“Football is a funny old game,” opined the great man that is Jimmy Greaves. I agree wholeheartedly, but, bloody hell I’m not laughing…

OK, it’s pre-season. OK, I have to be patient. OK, it’s not personal (allegedly). Kingstonian have played six games so far this pre-season; won two, lost four. Guess which four I’ve gone and watched? Bleep, bleep and thrice bleep.

We didn’t go to Whitehawk because Rosey felt a bit under the weather, so Kingstonian won. We didn’t go to Tonbridge because I was under the weather, having been feeling over-tired after that little scorchingly hot spell (don’t get me started on people who announce happily how wonderful hot weather is; it isn’t, end of, so shut up). Anyway, so Kingstonian won.

Ah, I thought, let’s go to Aveley’s new ground and see the K’s play Grays Athletic in the next pre-season friendly. And, just like last season, Kingstonian don’t win. I’ve just looked it up. The last time I saw Kingstonian win away was in a pre-season friendly last August against Whyteleafe. The last time I saw Kingstonian win away in a competitive match was in February 2018 in that quite remarkable game at Dorking Wanderers’ picturesque Westhumble ground and those two worldies by Nic Ciardini (remember him?). No wonder my loathing of travelling is intensifying. OK, this has all coincided with Kingstonian being consistently crap for quite a while now, but it is really getting to me, as you may be able to tell by the number of times I keep referencing this bad record in this blog, sometimes it feels very personal and I admit that, after what was apparently a very good performance against Tonbridge Angels, I felt that way again last night.

It will change. I know that – there are two scenarios: one, I get an official banning order from the club (although I haven’t figured out if it’s me that the bad omen or Rosey, as I don’t go to football without her these days; it is more likely to be me, however.), and two (the preferred option), we get out act together and break through this titanic barrier between Kingstonian and success in away games in the presence of the clan of the Wooldridges.

It started well at Parkside last night, Louie Theophanous scored his fifth goal of pre-season and is actually looking quite good. There were thoughts that Louie looked disinterested last season, goals weren’t coming, injuries were building up, but it was no wonder as he had no service and there was very little quality around him. A switched on, enthusiastic and motivated Louie is a fine striker, keep him happy and a lot of people at K’s will be happy.

Pre-season has been fairly confusing, we look like scoring goals, we look like shipping them as well. You could say that this is the formula for exciting matches, but I’m not convinced that my nerves would cope very well, so obviously for the sake of my health I’m hoping our defence can solidify as soon as possible! Last night, we gave the ball away far too much, almost invited Grays to attack us (regardless they accepted the invitation on numerous occasions) and just looked ragged. Fair enough, the usual (to use an overused phrase of mine) plethora of substitutions made us look a bit clunky, but it didn’t make for fantastically positive viewing. I do know that Hayden won’t let this slide too much, if changes need to be made, they will be made, it will not be out of panic and it will be carefully considered.

So, pre-season comes to a welcome end on Saturday, the first two friendlies are usually fun and are looked forward to as it means football has returned and there is a novelty value to seeing new players, etc., sometimes new grounds and they’re supposed to be relaxed affairs. Home friendlies are always fraught for me as I usually have a dreadful nightmare trying to work out substitutions and quite often I have to give up – though K’s and Farnborough looked after me perfectly for our one friendly this time around – by the time the pre-season reaches August, there is always the feeling of wanting pre-season to end imminently, so in two days’ time it will. And yay for that. I want the proper stuff to start now…