With the season once again ending, football fans everywhere are counting down the days until the kick-off of Euro 2016, whilst being dragged around shopping centres and kicking their heels a home on Saturday afternoon’s.\r\n\r\nHowever, for me it’s a time of reflection on another season that I have spent on the other side of the fence, in a press box or on a gantry holding a microphone.\r\n\r\nLife as a commentator on the outside seems glamorous, with those at the very top making a living from watching the best in the business in a heated media suite, three course lunch and all the trimmings.\r\n\r\nFor me my first season with Gloucester City has been anything but. Standing on the far side to the loyal crowd who travel over to Cheltenham to see their side play, often in the pouring rain, shivering cold and horrendous winds hoping to see some magic from Tim Harris’ side.\r\n\r\nMy first game lured me into a false sense of security. A 1-0 win over newly-promoted FC United of Manchester on a gorgeous afternoon in August and it was all smiles at the World of Smile Stadium.\r\n\r\nSpeaking to Tim after the game he said “I think there’s a lot more to come, I really do, but as I said to them in there we’ve got to keep our feet on the ground, it’s a good three points but as we said earlier it’s always nice to win your first game and get off the mark and if we can continue and keep showing the same work ethic that we showed today, then I’m sure there’s more goals to come”.\r\n\r\nHowever, there lied the problem, goals.\r\n\r\nWe wouldn’t go on to win a match scoring more than once until December, again against FC United with a 2-1 win at Broadhurst Park. However, we had managed two goals in a game twice previous in a draw with Hednesford, and then Tamworth, ah Tamworth.\r\n\r\nThe Lamb Ground was my first away day with the Tigers faithful, an easy trip geographically but not in football terms tough. I’d worked with several of the Tamworth squad previously, with Elliot Durrell, Steve Tomassen and Andy Morrell all at National League side Wrexham with whom I also work with. I knew they’d be a threat.\r\n\r\nAn explosive game lead to City going down 2-0 at half-time, before a Jonte Smith penalty reduced the deficit. The hero that afternoon was Joshua Cooke who’s 90th minute goal shared the points and was mass ecstasy from the hardy fans who’d travelled. Cooke shut me up that day, after I’d not been convinced by the on loan striker.\r\n\r\nA few firsts had been achieved before Christmas for me, but it was a point in time where we looked ropey winning just five matches until the turn of 2016.\r\n\r\nA derby missed by many in the leagues above, we travelled to Aggborough having tasted defeat to Worcester City on Boxing Day, and with that in the minds of the squad, we took all three points in a 2-1 win, but nobody knew what that would trigger.\r\n\r\nFrom January through mid February City lost just once in seven games, brushing aside Stalybridge Celtic 3-0 at Whaddon Road. Lewis Hall bagged a hat-trick, something he richly deserved having had problems since joining from Bristol City and settling into part-time football.\r\n\r\nPerhaps the most impressive win was taking maximum points from a win over Boston United, in a game I’d almost written off before kick-off. A harsh loss away to Fylde a week later saw form dip once again as we won just twice for the rest of the season, including that of a 3-2 victory over eventual play-off winners North Ferriby United.\r\n\r\nBut now we look to the future, for myself it’ll be another year in the cold alone with just my camera man Dan Smith to keep me company, who’ll be bragging on the opening day of 2016/2017 how his Oxford United side won promotion from League Two, leaving behind my beloved Portsmouth, whilst I desperately keep my team-sheet away from any rain leaking above my head, I told you it was glamorous.\r\n\r\nFor the team, we’ve already began building next year’s squad. Striker Craig Reid has landed in Gloucestershire along with his impressive goal scoring record.\r\n\r\nIf there is anything we’ve needed it’s a goal scorer. Another coup for the Tigers came in the form of Cinderford Town duo Ethan Moore and Keiran Thomas. Moore bagged 29 goals for Cinderford and I look forward to seeing how we develops.\r\n\r\nSeeing Jasbir Singh sign a new deal with the club is re-assuring, for me my player of the season. Who knows how many points he saved the club last season, and with Sam Avery signing on for next term, his performances in front of Singh in the heart of defence are crucial.\r\n\r\nI can not wait to see what next year holds, learning of the ground situation in my time at the club has opened my eyes to how unsettling it has been, and hope to see the club play back in Gloucester for the first time soon.\r\n\r\nI learnt a lot about the club and what it’s fans mean, including the likes of Dave Jones standing in as kit man when Lee Randall had a hip operation. These supporters will do anything for their club when called upon.\r\n\r\nI leave you with thanks, first of all to Tim Harris for his cooperation with interviews after each match and has been great to work with, whilst his care and loyalty to the club in difficult times is admirable. As an outsider coming in, you’ve got one of the best at the helm.\r\n\r\nAlso to the squad who spoke to myself and assistant manager Matt Rose, it didn’t take long for me here to be told of ‘that goal’.\r\n\r\nFinally, thanks to Kelsey De Maria the club press officer, cameraman Dan Smith and the rest of the media team. Looking forward to seeing you all again next season, COYY.\r\n\r\n@OllieWills01

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