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BLOG: AHOY THERE MATEYS

In the first of his soon-to-be regular columns, new recruit Hillary Street-Ender take a nautical look at the coming season, and considers what Admiral Smith needs to do to ensure smooth sailing for 'The Good Ship Saddlers'.

In the first of his soon-to-be regular columns, new recruit Hillary Street-Ender take a nautical look at the coming season, and considers what Admiral Smith needs to do to ensure smooth sailing for 'The Good Ship Saddlers'...

We find ourselves at that time of year where memories of the old season are put aside and thoughts of the approaching campaign fill our heads. The good ship Saddlers has been in dry dock for the last couple of months, she’s had her bottom scraped and the crew have enjoyed a spot of shore leave while Admiral Smith has been planning for the engagements yet to come. He’ll know that last season saw us do reasonably well when we took on the larger vessels of League One but not so well in skirmishes with smaller craft and he’ll also know that his selection of our new skipper is something he must get right. With Captain Butler at the wheel there was usually a sense of calm among the men because they knew that he knew what he was doing, and we had a leader respected universally by his crew-mates. Should the Admiral bring in someone from another craft or does he see an able replacement among those already on board? Young Mantom? He seems to have the making of a leader but could be said to be lacking a bit in seamanship after just eighteen months on the water. Will Dean bear him in mind for the future but leave him to gather more experience for the time being? Will he go for someone who’s seen a bit more of the globe, someone who’s played his part in just about every kind of battle to be imagined and who came through a major personal trauma not too long ago? Will we see a Chambers installed in the Captain’s cabin for the new season? Adam and James both fit the bill, seemingly having authority enough to lead the team and being looked up to by just about everyone.

Maybe Dean will use the training manoeuvres of the next month or so to try out a candidate or two, maybe he’s decided already. Whoever the chosen one turns out to be I know we’ll all be right behind him as he strives to prove his worth. We shouldn't look for him to be the new Captain Butler, we should look for the new man to provide his own brand of leadership as we seek to reach distant Port Play-off. To get there we’ll need to sink many more enemy craft than we did during our previous voyage and worry a little bit less about keeping our powder dry. Let us hope there’ll be a lot more spending of ammunition than seen of late and let us hope we’ll hole many a vessel below the water-line, rather than just backing them into a tight corner only to watch them eventually sail off into the sunset with the points. Let have the good ship Saddlers ceasing to fire warning shots over the heads of the opposing armada and let us have a bit more of a piratical attitude during our new adventure. Let us get in there, mercilessly vanquish the enemy and return with a full haul of plunder. Let us strike terror into the hearts of whoever’s next up and let us not yield when we have the advantage.

Admiral Smith has a few weeks to fine-tune and to have his crew all pulling on the same rope. We all know he has to run a tight ship and that his coffers aren't exactly over-flowing but we trust him to have everything ship-shape and Bristol fashion by August 9th, which would be particularly fitting for our new journey seeing that Ashton Gate is due to be our final port-of-call.

Let us hope that we’re in for a season to treasure.

By: Hillary Street-Ender.

You can follow Hillary Street-Ender on Twitter HERE.

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