Friday, 25 May 2012

I'm Back!

Sorry about my absence from this blog for the last two years. Here's what happened since:

After the solid but not completely satisfying day at Eastleigh in March 2010, City went on to lose three games on the bounce. It appeared to be all over. The only way City could still qualify for the playoffs would be to win virtually all of their six remaining games.

Amazingly, they did win their next five games and, with a tight 0-0 home draw against St Albans on the final day of the season, edged back into the playoff zone by the skin of their teeth. With 72 points City finished fourth (ahead of fifth place Woking on goal difference and ahead of sixth place Havant & Waterlooville by just a point).

Very much the form team going into the playoffs, City then defeated Chelmsford City 3-0 on aggregate in the semi-finals. A Kaid Mohamed penalty was enough to win the final against Woking and secure City promotion to the Blue Square Premier. The final was at Twerton Park and 4,865 people were there to see it. It was a magical end to the season to say the least. 

Despite the fact that the blog was not being updated, I was still attending games as normal. I went to every home game, about half of the away games, and every match in the play-offs. I was, however, suffering from a pretty serious case of burnout on the writing front.

When I began 'Nedved's Notes' at the beginning of the 2009/10 season I just thought it would be something I played around on from time to time. I didn't envision writing about my experiences and thoughts for every single match of the season, but I got hooked. By the time of the Eastleigh match I was staying up till 3am three or four times a week to work on the blog. It was a labour of love, but the physical toll became too much. When I arrived back at Twerton Park on the supporters coach at 2am from City's loss to Hampton & Richmond (the next match after Eastleigh) I had already begun to write the next blog post in my head. What I didn't know then was that when it came to blogging, I had (for the time being) lost my mojo.

About that time, however, the club announced they would be appointing a full-time Commercial Manager the following season. With the encouragement of board member Phil Weaver and prominent supporter Sebastian Buckley, I applied. I didn't really expect to get the job, but I did have several years experience managing a sales team in a different industry. It was worth a go.

Much to my surprise I did get a call from then-club-chairman Geoff Todd towards the end of May. After an initial talk on the phone of half an hour or so an interview was arranged. I didn't know at the time that a Commercial Manager had already been chosen, but I could tell from the way the questions were being asked that something was afoot. The question of how to increase gates and promote the club's profile kept coming up, even though that would not normally be the Commercial Manager's brief. After two interviews and several more phone calls and emails I was offered the post of Communications and Enterprise Manager. I began working full-time for the club that July. In an article in the Bath Chronicle I described the role as 'my dream job.' 

I'm happy to say that my quote in the Chronicle was completely accurate. The last two-years have been some of the most fun and fulfilling of my life. That being said, they have also been among the most stressful and frustrating. That is a subject for future posts, though.

Wednesday 23 May (two days ago) was my last day at Bath City. Although I knew that redundancy was coming, I didn't know what my final day would be until just before leaving work this past Monday. After tying up as many loose ends as I could in the final hours I shook hands with two of the directors, said goodbye to a soon-to-be-former colleague, and walked out the door into life-after-Bath-City.

Except, as any football fan will tell you, there never is any 'life-after.' Being a true fan is a life-long passion (or affliction maybe) that remains even when other things pass away. So, while I am no longer employed by Bath City, I am still a fan, and I plan to resume my previous habits as much as possible.

And so, Nedved's Notes is reborn. Please don't expect it to be the same. I won't be able to devote the time it benefited from previously. I will be able to bring a fairly unique perspective to both Bath City and English football as a whole, however, and I do plan to do that regularly. I may also from time-to-time write about other sport in the UK.

Bye for now!

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