WHY I WILL BE FILMING HELSTON ATHLETIC FC THIS SEASON
12 months ago, having committed to filming Truro City’s home matches in the Vanarama National League South (Step 2), I found myself travelling across the border to Plainmoor, the home of Torquay United, because my club had been evicted from Treyew Road. This season my main focus will be on Helston Athletic, who are tipped to do well in the recently modified South West Peninsular League (West, or Cornish section) at Step 6.
Why the drop in levels, you may ask? There are a number of reasons. I will address some of them. It is common knowledge in Truro City circles that I was one of the few who was actually rather disappointed when Truro City returned to Treyew Rd at the start of this calendar year. Lidl had pulled the plug on their building plans for on the land. I loved filming with Dave Gibbons in a professional ground and enjoyed the overnight stay for the FA Trophy fixture at Stockport County. But that was about it.
I was gutted when Truro City got relegated on the last day of the season – largely due to the mismanagement of the club. The stats say it all: 37 players used, 4 different managers, 2 grounds and a change of ownership. Long term, I think … I hope…. that the Pirates will steer the club to a new ground and a return to Step 2. If I am honest, I am more confident about the former than I am about the latter. Looking at the quality of the current squad on paper, and I don’t know many of the new players brought in, I suspect that Truro City will finish the season in a mid table at best. Call it re-building and stabilising the club, but I am not known for my patience. I hope that I am proven wrong.
One lesson I did learn along the way was to avoid future contra-deals at all costs. They have worked for me in the past when I made travel promotional videos in return for “free” holidays in Greece, Turkey, Croatia and the French Alps. However, more recently, the promise of weekly ads in a local Sunday newspaper and a glossy monthly magazine in lieu of filming matches without payment petered out well before the end of the season. I should have walked mid season, but my sense of duty prevailed. Never again!
So why Helston Athletic? There are main 4 reasons:
- they have a great chairman in Paul Hendy;
- they are the biggest community club in the county (with a vision to go places);
- they are managed by Steve Massey* who is passionate about the game, values my product and who is fast becoming a very good personal friend;
- I enjoyed working with Helston briefly last season – mainly following the successful U.18s in the FA Youth Cup and the County FA U 18s final. So I will be producing a promotional video for the club and filming a minimum of 15 games this season.
I automatically assumed that I would be working closely with my regular commentator, Dave Deacon, but that doesn’t look like this is going to happen, other than for the Cornwall FA U.18s fixtures. I hadn’t factored in things like the delicate nature of his position as producer of his Cornish Soccer magazine as well as working for the SWP League. Is there a conflict of interest? Can Dave be seen to be commentating (and supporting?) one of the league title contenders? Probably not!
“When one door closes another one invariably opens,” well it usually does so for me. In recent months – especially during my recent recovery from a total hip operation – I have consumed an awful lot of Youtube. I have watched countless videos from across the globe, from video creatives much younger than me. It’s been all geeky stuff. I like their slick, fast paced productions with modern graphics and hip op music. So I will try to follow suit and will be taking the opportunity of moving away from my more conventional and longer video productions. I have seen the metrics and I know that the majority of my viewers scrolled through my highlights packages last season.
So, with that in mind, I am delighted to announce that I will be resuming my partnership with some of the students from the Sports Journalism and Creative Writing course at the University of Falmouth. Sam Blackwood and Tom Harris (who has been working with BBC Radio Devon recently) have expressed a strong interest and will commentate at the games played on Saturdays during term time. Cameron Weldon, a diehard Truro City fan who travelled the length and breadth of Southern England last season, has agreed to commentate on the midweek (Wednesday) games.
You may be relieved to know that I will not be asking my young commentators to wear a baseball cap back to front or start with the phrase “wass-up guys?” But it will be a punchier production. The music I chose originally for the new signature tune was roundly dismissed as dated by the Helston players on their What’s App page. Helston Athletic has also invited ex BBC Sports Presenter Dave Gibbons to cover the FA Vase game(s).
However, I am still looking for a commentator for the Saturday fixtures, when the students are on their vacations. If there is someone still reading this blog and fancies it, please email me asap. I need someone next Saturday 17 August if I am to cover the Liskeard game.
I am really looking forward to the new season. Dave Deacon’s excellent podcast last week (Friday 2nd August) really whetted my appetite, as does his magazine that I am now subscribing to. It was great to see my former Truro School pupil, Ciaran Barlow, on the front cover. What a future he has and what a choice . What would you do in his position? Would you prefer to be a doctor or be referee in the English Premier League? Wear a stethoscope or a blow a whistle?
* Mark “Rappo” Rapsey said in a recent podcast that Steve Massey is like the proverbial Marmite “you either love him or hate him” and said that he was in Mass’s camp. I am as well! Before I got to really know Steve I heard two stories firsthand -both unsolicited; one was from an ex player and the other from a former member of Steve’s backroom staff. The player was going through a tough bereavement, the latter was sacked without being paid the wages (£300) owed to him by the club’s owner. Without any quibble or request, Steve gave the player the keys to a lodge on his holiday park and told him to make use of it with his family, free of charge. With regards to the other contact, Steve wrote out a cheque to the sum of £300 to cover the shortfall.
Such acts of kindness (that Steve is unaware that I knew about), is what marks him out as one of the good guys in the game. Not a lot of people know that! One final personal anecdote. When Steve rang me and asked for a quote to cover my costs for filming the U 18s FA Youth Cup games last season, he gave me time to think it through as he talked about what he was looking for. In the end, for some reason, I went in with a lower figure than I normally would. A lot of business men would have tried to knock me down further. Not Steve! No, he said “that’s not right Mark! As you have not tried it on with me, I will pay you an extra £25.” And he did and it turned out to be in line with my going rate for a match-day highlights video.
P.S. I will still be working with Glynn and his coaching and Dave Deacon as Cornwall FA U.18s seek to put behind them last year’s pretty miserable season. That will be fun. There’s always plenty of banter between us all – and yes, we all freely give of our time and operate on a voluntary basis.