One game to go

And suddenly August turns into April and there’s only got one more game to go this season. Two to play, but only one left to put together an opposition report on. 

This has been my first full season as a scout. Or a video analyst to be more specific. Changes at various clubs interrupted previous years. Or covid. Those interrupted seasons always felt quite long. This full season went by in a blink. 

It’s hard to say where I am now compared to that first game back in August against Weston Super Mare. I think my understanding of the game has improved. But never enough. Nothing yet is automatic. It always takes hours and hours of work and effort. And that’s fine. But I’m a long way from being an expert. 

The reports I’ve put together in the last few weeks of the season have seemed better than earlier in the year. To me at least. After writing about my report process here, I’ve since changed things. Perhaps I’ll write about that in another post. But for now it’s allowed me to cram in more detail. Much more detail. And spend more time analysing game moments and less time on “admin”. 

As for the season on the pitch, it was a year of injuries. I imagine a lot of clubs could say the same. But it’s a reality at non-league semi-pro level as well as in the professional game. That cost us. But while we didn’t quite match last year we still overachieved. Tonbridge is a small fan-owned club, with a limited budget. But a manager who knows how to turn that into something that can impress on the field. 

There were not so much highs and lows, as highs and frustrations. 

The highs will include beating Torquay, and Worthing (and Dover obviously). Also those moments when you get to go to games and see something you predicted happen right in front of you. 

The frustrations, apart from my software crashing too easily, would be the games you prepare for based on one assumption. They play a back three for instance. Assumptions that later turn out to be incorrect when they play with a back four. That makes it hard to feel useful.

Also, while I’m at it, you can add to the frustration list those clubs who drag their feet uploading match video. Spending Sundays clicking refresh on Hudl when you know you have limited time to get reports done got annoying. Points deductions for that should be far worse than any crimes Torquay or even Everton managed this season. 

But all of those are small gripes in the big scheme of things. It’s been a fantastic year. Tremendous fun. Even on those weeks when I craved a night off or time to get other things done. I often found myself starting the next report minutes after sending the most recent. And with renewed energy that I surprised myself with.

Now to the summer where a break is mandatory. I’m not sure how I’ll fill that time, although I have ideas for course notes to review and there’s Euro 2024 of course. Then I’ll look ahead to the new season and what that might look like for me. Not sure of that yet, but we’ll see.