LIFE ON THE FARM, By Kevin O’Donohoe.
Down here, at The Creek, that other major landmark in our district, another local colossus, a great architect of a different kind, for our own historic times since 1962, has been very much on our minds.
Last Saturday’s trip to Melksham Town was our first game since the day after Boxing Day (an impressive 3-0 derby victory at Mangotsfield) and it proved to be one of the most poignant and epic of awaydays for everyone connected to the club.
By the time our supporters minibus had reached Melksham’s Oakfields Stadium the news had filtered through that our dearly beloved, long-serving Chairman Geoffrey Sellek was in hospital and in sad receipt of a terminal medical diagnosis.
It is a measure of the man and typical of his dedication and LOVE for Bristol Manor Farm however that whilst we were still numbly trying to process this devastating news, Geoff was already sending out the strong message that he had accepted it and wished to carry on – making the very most out of every good experience available to him whilst the club pursue our highest ever league finish and a promotion to the Southern League Premier division.
Quite how Manager Lee Lashenko was able to translate such a profound personal message so positively through his players may remain a mystery and a miracle to most of us that saw it, but with what followed it’s indicative of why Lee is also the most successful manager in the club’s history.
You can read Jack Davies’ excellent match report on the club website for a better taste of the high-octane action but the team’s powerhouse performance in a pulsating 4-0 demolition job of our fellow play-off rivals and hosts will live long in the memories of those that witnessed it and played in it with such a heavy burden to bear. From the collective team effort to the Farmy Army – passionate and noisy as ever throughout, from the emotional on-pitch players huddle after the final whistle with Lee and Geoff’s grandson Ashley Platten at its centre with private, sacred oaths being made, to Lee’s post-match interview with Bill Ledbury, and the vanquishing players spontaneously bursting into collective song in the bar afterwards, quite respectably, it was an emotional awayday to remember like no other, oozing class and doing Geoff, his family and the football club extremely proud.
The superb performances then continued here on a freezing cold Monday night with an attacking football masterclass from the Under 18’s who swept aside Chard Town 9-0 in the quarter-finals of the Roger Stone Memorial Cup. Congratulations lads, another fine performance to savour. Look out for details of the semi-finals on social media. Our kids are all our futures.
We LOVE you Geoff and it’s clear that The Creek is going to be a very special place to be for all of us over the coming weeks, months and whatever lies beyond as we collectively seek to make your dreams a reality.
We simply have to make it happen everyone. From today we need The Creek to feel super-charged for these era-defining games that are coming up thick and fast and we really want our community to be a part of it. So spread the word. This is real, peoples history, our history and it’s happening right NOW.