Everything is now in motion. The club has been born and a bright future lies on the horizon. Our destiny is in our own hands and the journey is set to begin. Bring on Pre-Season. 

With the formalities of creating Sporting Loft FC now firmly completed – the only thing that remains is to begin our lengthy quest to Premier League glory. It is now time to assess the players at my disposal through playing the routine pre-season friendlies.

These games may seem devoid of relevance, but believe me – you can tell a lot about your players in these fixtures. You can gain an idea of how they will fair in the long season ahead, as well as seeing how players react to individual advice and team talks.

Coventry City v Sporting Loft FC

This was interesting for one reason and one reason only – the opponent will be a rival in the upcoming League One campaign. Obviously it is very early days and anything that happened in this game can be rectified come our next encounter, but it is still intriguing all the same.

The game was one way traffic by all accounts and a fairly routine win for us. Whilst overall a low key affair, winger Anthony Forde was the highlight – scoring the games only goal and racking up a 7.1 match rating.

If this was to be the outcome when we next meet, I would be a happy man indeed.

Newport Pagnell v Sporting Loft FC

This game was a mouthwatering battle of attrition, two Goliaths of football coming together to find out who is the greatest of them all, the best spectacle of football you’ve ever seen…

Right I’ll be straight with you – this was far from special. A one way encounter if I’ve ever seen one. The poor Pagnell lads didn’t have a chance and sat seemingly helpless as eight well worked goals flew into their nets.

Star man was winger Harry Anderson, who bagged himself two goals and a match rating of 9.4. We dominated possession and had 28 shots overall – quite the entertainment for all 993 fans who turned out for this…*ahem*…classic.

Sporting Loft FC v Falkirk

63% possession. 28 shots on goal. Complete domination.

There really isn’t much to say here, as it was simply just more of the same. Even winger Anthony Ford grabbed the headlines again with a man of the match performance – he managed a 8.3 taking and notched a goal next to his name.

He certainly isn’t doing himself any disservice in this pre-season.

Sporting Loft FC v Luton Town

The day had to come eventually, Sporting Loft FC has lost its first ever game.

History will always remember it came against a very determined Luton Town side that seemed hellbent on ruining our night.

Despite enjoying the best of possession and tripling our opponents attempts at goal – we fell to a narrow defeat. It probably didn’t help that Hiram Boateng was sent off at 55 mins, leaving the lads plenty of extra ground to cover.

The positives are that fitness is still building and when a similar situation arises in the future, we should be ready for it…hopefully.

Sporting Loft FC v Blackburn

This was our toughest opponent yet. Blackburn sit as one of the favourites to climb the ladder this season and earn automatic promotion – and as we hold that very same target, it was vital we put in a good account of ourselves.

Despite falling to a narrow defeat, that we certainly did. We dominated the majority of proceedings and had the better chances – but unfortunately failed to convert. The game was far from expansive and was a low-key affair.

These things happen in football and Blackburn did very well to take their chance and experienced striker Danny Graham put the Rovers ahead on the stroke of halftime – which was hard to take given how well we played beforehand.

Overview

Overall, pre-season has been a successful venture. Some good confidence boosting victories mixed with lesson learning outcomes. Winger Anthony Forde did himself a world of good with multiple man of the match performances and worked himself into my plans for the beginning of the season.

My 4 2 3 1 wide tactic seemed to work well with the squad and should remain as my default formation going into the new year.

There is plenty to look forward to come the start of the new campaign, that’s for sure.