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Marcus on Monday

23 July 2018

Marcus Braddock looks at all things STFC from the past week

The fortnight before the season starts are some of my favourite weeks of the football calender. For me it's a hopeful time with new players coming in and trying to show their best in games that don't really matter. Watching football without the pressure to win may not be everyone's cup of tea but having just been through a season that contained more than enough stressful occasions it's almost restful.

Another part of this part of the year is reconnecting with the familiar faces you've not seen for a couple of months. My route into the ground is a little extended for quick chats about the happy and sometimes not so happy months between the seasons. By the time I get to my seat I'm usually quite buoyed up from all the socializing and am viewing the game in a positive mood. Consequently I'm looking for all the good bits, sweet passing moves, little tricks, that sort of thing. I've noticed over the years that something as simple as a bad mood can colour what you see so I generally try to keep positive because it enhances the experience so much more than anxiety or anger might. Obviously that's easier said than done and I'm usually a bag of nerves for big games.

On the pitch we have had some player movement in the last seven days with three newbies arriving at Montgomery Waters Meadow. Goalkeeper Steve Arnold arriving on Thursday, midfielder Charlie Colkett on Saturday morning and Doug Loft signing up after Saturdays friendly at home to Brentford. At 6'5, Arnold is a commanding presence between the sticks and his experience in League One with Stevenage will be invaluable. Colkett is a young midfielder who has come through the youth system at Chelsea and has a fair range of experience for a 21 year old with time spent on loan with 34 games in League One with Bristol Rovers and then Swindon Town. Last season he played 10 times for Vitesse Arnhem including three games in the Europa League.

My usual habit when we sign someone is to go to YouTube to have a look at what they're like because most players have some video of their game. Obviously those sorts of video's will only show their best bits of action but at this part of the season I'm looking to be optimistic.

Another thing I like to do when we sign a player is look at their old clubs social media to see the reaction of their fans. You don't learn anything by doing this because they either say they'll miss him or they'll say good riddance which I always put down to sour grapes anyway. Mr Askey said after Saturdays game that he still wanted another midfielder and another goalkeeper so we still have a couple of new faces to come in. Whether that includes loan players or whether we'll sign a couple more like last season remains to be seen so plenty of excitement to come over the next couple of weeks before we line up against Bradford in just over ten days time.

The coming week will see the Town travel to Telford on Wednesday evening and then to Burslem in Stoke On Trent on Saturday to play Port Vale. Then it's just a week until the big day comes again and the season starts, hopefully bathed in sunshine like so many before.

In off the pitch news, many supporters got their first chance to see the new safe standing area which is much larger than I imagined. It's an impressive achievement for the supporters and football club and shows what can be achieved when everyone pulls in the same direction. The club have some great introductory offers, three games for fifty quid works out at less than £17 per game which sounds like value to me.

We also saw the draw for the Football League Trophy which has seen us drawn in the northern section in a group with an interesting draw. Micky Mellon's newly promoted Tranmere, a Manchester City U21 squad and local rivals Crewe. There's something there for anyone interested in the competition which saw us visit Wembley last season.

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