“There’s always someone worse off.”

My Nana used to tell me that whenever our weekly phone conversations had been hijacked by some tale of woe. Too skint to get that ticket to see your favourite band? Chucked by the girl you were seeing? Work not going well?

“There’s always someone worse off.”

I knew what she meant, and I reckon you do too; she was trying to tell me that even if things weren’t going as you’d want, it wasn’t that bad. Shake it off, count your blessings and move forward.

As depressing as last Saturday’s defeat to Colne was, the sting of it was lessened slightly, for me at least, when I saw that elsewhere in Step 4 Northwood had been beaten 7-3 by Tooting & Mitcham United. And not only had the Woods been walloped, it was the second successive Saturday during which they’d shipped seven goals. The week before, they’d lost 7-1 at home to near-neighbours Uxbridge.

Now, I should declare an interest; Northwood are currently managed by an old friend of mine and play in the same division as Ashford Town (Middlesex), the club I mention occasionally in this space. And they might have let in 14 goals in two matches but, remarkably, Northwood are not even close to being the worst team in the Isthmian League South Central division.

If you exclude Guernsey, who are currently bottom due to having not yet played a match, that dubious honour currently falls to Staines Town, who have one win and six defeats so far and have conceded 26 goals in their seven League matches. The Swans – who less than a decade ago were in the National League South – parted company with their manager, Mick Woodham earlier this week.

Staines also have issues Cables fans with longer memories will shudder at, given that they are in dispute with their landlord and don’t have access to various parts of their home ground.

Like us (and most of the other clubs at this level), Staines and Northwood are in FA Trophy action this afternoon. These games are important, because of the prize money on offer, but they’re also a good opportunity to take a ‘free hit’ at playing without a glance at the League Table. Curiously, we were supposed to play this afternoon’s visitors, Frickley Athletic, at this stage of last season’s Trophy, but were forced to withdraw due to COVID-19 cases within the Cables squad. It’s good, I guess, to have the chance to play Frickley today. We know, of course, that this will be a difficult match, but it is also a match that can be approached in a different manner to a League game.

That goes as much for us as fans as for the players. Anyone who was here for the three Senior Cup Finals we hosted, or the semi-finals against Widnes, Litherland REMYCA and Trafford, or the first FA Cup match against City of Liverpool, knows that Cup football often brings the best out of Cables fans. There’s something about knockout football here at the IP Truck Parts Stadium; the atmosphere becomes a little more charged, there’s a little extra volume rolling off the terraces. If we can get the ground rocking this afternoon, there’s no reason why we can’t shake off the disappointment of last week and move forward.

I’d say the same was true for Northwood, were it not for the fact they’re hosting Haywards Heath Town, who are top of the Isthmian South-East Division and scored five goals away to Phoenix Sports last week.

See? It’s like my Nana said. There’s always someone worse off.