Thursday, 31 October 2013

Retford United 1 v Buxton 3 - NMU19L Division 1

Thursday 31st October 3013
at the Jones & Co. Solicitors Stadium (Cannon Park)
North Midlands U19 League Division 1
Retford United (0) 1
Buxton (1) 3
Admission £2, Programme £1
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How is it measured at Under 19's level?
Obviously league positions and trophies are there to be played for, pretty much the same as they are for all age groups, at every level of the game. And anybody who doesn't bask in the afterglow of a resounding triumph or sulk like a big kid who's been denied sweetie rations after a defeat, shouldn't be involved in football, because they obviously don't care enough.
However, football management is the domain of the unhinged and insane in all walks of the game, but in Under 19's football, not only do those who run the teams need to be crazy, they also need to develop a different kind of mindset, even more leftfield and off kilter to that of all others in a business that is, in essence, driven by either results, greed or a combination of the two.
This is development football, hence all the medals, trophies and shiny trinkets in the world, don't count for very much at all when looking at the bigger picture, if the players that delivered that version of the word success, don't move up through the ranks at the club they are associated with.
To this end, a quick glance at Retford United's first team line ups for this season, offsets the perceived lack of achievement by their Under 19's that the current NMU19L would suggest, in so much as there are as many as eight home grown players who have featured with the first team this season, either as established first picks or up and coming fringe players.
It is a very young and inexperienced Under 19s side at Retford United this season, but obviously they'll be able to fall back the benefits of having played together regularly already when next season starts.
Losing, especially week in, week out, is never easy to take on the chin, when you care about your team and your position within the club, but the winning really isn't the be all and end all in the NMU19L and there genuinely are bigger goals and ambitions to aim for, than a mantlepiece full of silverware.
That is easy for me to say of course, since I'm no longer involved with any Under 19's side, but sometimes you need an outsiders perspective to get a clear and unobstructed view.
The standard of the NMU19L is improving with each and every season and there are far more positives to take out of being involved in such a competition than those directly at the hub of it when the going gets tough might realise.
Buxton really deserved their win, but if Retford United have learnt from a couple of basic errors they made tonight ... and this season will be a really steep learning curve for some of them ... then they will have gained just as much out of tonight's game as their victorious Derbyshire visitors.
This is a transitional season for Retford United U19's, due to the big turnover of players they had at the end of last term. Buxton for their part are at the next stage of the cycle of development and those who read too much into the significance of results at Under 19's level football, would do well to take that on board.