Between the conclusion to York’s academic year in July and the resumption of student life in October, the summer months of 2009 will remain at the forefront of the football enthusiast’s minds for a long time. In a summer that saw the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo transfer across Europe for multi-millions, in the height of a recession, it has become more and more important for clubs without the impressive, and arguably arrogant, purchasing power of Real Madrid and Barcelona to consolidate and foster what they have in their ranks. Is this to be a theme for York Sport in the 2009/2010 season?
With UYRFC and UYAFC kicking off their seasons on a wet and miserable day, college football got also off the mark with its first set of fixtures. Ask any keen York university sportsman and they will tell you that when last year’s finalists departed the scene, they removed a breadth of talent that will be sorely missed and will require time to replace. This undoubtedly dumps a lot of pressure and some critical decisions on the shoulders of the incoming captains.
With Derwent seconds getting off to a thumping start against James seconds, Alcuin and Vanbrugh fought out a much tighter contest on the slippery 22 acres surface. With both sides boasting new-look approaches, with fresh captains on either side, it was almost a case of ‘out with the old and in with the new’ for this one.
Alcuin celebrate scoring in the College Cup final against Vanbrugh back in June. Departures over the summer mean they must re-build with incoming talent over the winter months. Photograph by George Lowther.
In an Alcuin side that held only one current third year and four freshers, both sides battled hard and fought for what they could under the circumstances. There is obviously only a limited amount that can be commented upon at this stage of the campaign – it will take time for the new players and new teams to settle down and gain momentum as both the unknown and the familiar faces get used to playing together, and this makes it all the more important for the new captains to justify their role wearing the armband. Derwent seconds certainly sent a message out as a force to be reckoned with come December!
But do some things stay the same? Vanbrugh’s side still revealed its traditional doggedness and hostility to dubious challenges that were somewhat inevitable on a difficult playing surface. Alcuin still showed its ability as a solid sporting college despite the departure of some big names. Yet, we still find ourselves pointing the finger at the same person at college level that we see grabbing the headlines on the big stage – the referee.
Despite an acceptable, solid game the crucial game-breaking decision once again had us screaming from the touchline, and almost from the centre circle, in the case of a particularly avid Christy Cormac. For a college that boasts its proud ownership of nets, it almost cost them dearly. On another day, this 2-2 draw between two very competent college teams could have been a completely different story, and we will have to wait and see until the end of term before we realise how costly that decision might prove to be. Some things just do not change!