Monthly Archives: June 2015

Early prospects for next season

With the Darlo squad now taking shape fans attentions turn to next season and how we will get on in the Evo-Stik Premier.

While any promoted team will face a step-up in the level of competition, we shouldn’t be daunted by the task ahead and in my opinion we will be in the promotion shake up once again.

The step-up will be greater than the one we faced after promotion from the Northern League in 2012/13. However, Curzon Ashton showed last season that it can be done. They did not make whole sale changes to their squad and were able to get the job done via the play-offs.

We are also aided by FC United winning the title this year. They have been the favourites every year in recent seasons for the title and this isn’t a bad thing for us that we won’t have to compete with them. I think Salford City will be up there challenging, they have already have a great squad and after Christmas this year they were unstoppable. They have it in their power to bring in a host of players if they are struggling, as they did last January, which is surely a big advantage.

We do have though plenty of players with experience in the Evo-stik Premier including new signings Kevin Burgess and Adam Nowakowski. Tom Portas and Graeme Armstrong also played in the division in the 2013/14 season for Whitby.

We haven’t had any success against teams from the division in the cup competitions over the last two seasons. However the ties with Buxton and Blyth Spartans were both ties which we could have won. Those who came close last season such as Workington, Ashton United, as well as Blyth themselves will surely have something to say at the top of the league.

I’m sure there will plenty of fans from the other teams in the division who think it is a bit of an insult that we are expecting to come into the division and challenge at the top right away. In reality we will only find out in the first months of the season how we are going to get on.

My opinion anyway is that we have a squad that will be in the top 10 and could easily be in the play-off shake up. The core of the squad is the same with a few very good additions which improve not only the starting eleven, but the depth of the squad as a whole. As a club we have a lot going for us currently and hopefully we can carry this momentum on over the next year.


Game of Thrones: End of Season 5, what next? SPOILERS

We shouldn’t expect anything less. You think the show can’t surprise you anymore and then another string of the leading stars bite the dust.

It’s the first series of the show I have watched week by week and it has been a good one. I felt it started slowly, but the last three episodes have all been as dramatic as any in the five series so far.

While episodes eight and nine had the huge battle scenes which will stand out from the series, the series finale pushed many of the stories to crucial moments. Or in the case of fans favourite Jon Snow, ended it.

Without a shadow of a doubt Jon has been one of my favourite characters and despite many opinions that he will return in the next series this is almost certainly fans desperate hopes. The woman in red did turn up at Castle Black though ?!

The series has left many questions as it always does, which will keep fans talking for the next 8/9 months until season six hits the screens next year. With the books now caught up, no one will know where the story is heading.

Is Stannis dead?

The audience didn’t see Stannis take the final blow from Brienne.  It leaves the possibility open that he isn’t actually dead.  With his family and army gone, if he is alive where does it leave his story to go?

The fate of Arya

I have not been a fan of Arya’s story line in general this series and the final episode has thrown her future into doubt. While she is almost certainly alive, she may be blind and it will be interesting to see if she comes back into the main spotlight next time around.

Where did Sansa and Theon jump?

The sequence before they jumped might lead to believe it was suicide? I can’t see it yet, I think Sansa has more of a part of a part to play.

Where do Cersei and Jamie Lannister go in series 6

Cersei’s walk through the streets towards the end of the episode will be one that fans remember. Now out of prison will she rise to power once again. As for Jamie, possibly one of the characters who has suffered the biggest turn around from the early series, he surely will return home daughter less.

The Rest !

We could go on for a long time about many other characters , Daenerys for one, Tyrion, Sam.  Add in the many characters who have not appeared(Bran) or only briefly appeared this time around(LittleFinger).

What it all means is it is possibly the series which has left more things up in the air than ever before and it leaves all the fans of the show, new and old, waiting for next year.

Darlo summer signings and preseason


Kevin Burgess joined the Quakers from Whitby Town this week to become the third signing of the summer.

On paper he looks a great addition to the squad. As good as Alan White was last season, he won’t be able to go on forever and Burgess should provide some competition for the centre back position, which at times we struggled with last season through injury.

It will be interesting to see who we start with, if it will be Hunter and White or Hunter and Burgess. Either way the new signing should be able to provide experience at this level having played for Whitby in the division.

Adam Nowakowski joined a couple of weeks ago and is very much in the mold of a Martin Gray player, a man who can play in multiple positions. Like Tez Galbraith, Gary Brown and Leon Scott who have all played in different positions for the club, Nowakowski can play all over the park with his best position being at centre-midfield.

Like with Burgess, it will be interesting to see come the opening day if he slots straight into the team. If he does, it could be at the expense of Leon Scott. He is reported to be a tough tackling midfielder, who would fit in well alongside last year’s player of the season Tom Portas.

The first signing we made this summer, Rob Youhill, joins from Harrogate RA and has been very impressive in games against the Quakers. The winger is highly rated and will link up with friend and former team mate Nathan Cartman. Alongside Stephen Thompson and Adam Mitchell, Youhill will become the third out and out winger at the club which should provided us valuable options.

As far as further signings go, Gray has said he will be bringing in a goalkeeper following the departure of veteran Mark Bell. However, past this I don’t expect him to add many other new players. In my opinion the squad we finished the season with was good enough to challenge for promotion again and the three additions provide good competition.


Even though it is only early June I am already missing my Saturday Darlo fix and I can’t wait till the pre-season games kick off. We have a hectic schedule of fixtures which should give Gray and his back room staff plenty of time to see all from the first team, as well as those from the youth team who have impressed over the last couple of years.

For me personally I was delighted to see a game lined up away to Seaham Red Star. I have done some reporting on the club this last season as part of my course and can’t speak highly enough of them. They were unstoppable last season as they cruised to the Northern League Second Division title and I will be keeping an eye on them this time around, as I am sure they will do well in the First Division.