Here we are again, gathered at the IP Truck Parts Stadium for the proverbial ‘six-pointer’ against Market Drayton Town. I’d fought against using that old cliché on this page, but we’re nearly at the end of a challenging year and the League Table doesn’t lie.

A six-pointer is a game at one end or the other of the standings that holds extra importance but I’ve spent this week being reminded that, whatever we might think, sometimes things really are more important than football.

I’m writing this column whilst on a train from London Euston to Liverpool Lime Street, having spent five days back down South. My oldest friend, Mark, whom I’ve known since I was 11, lost his husband last Saturday and I’ve been helping with all the paperwork and planning the funeral.

This is relevant because we met through our mutual involvement in Egham Town FC, which is my hometown club and where I started my journey in the beautiful game. I hadn’t watched the Sarnies play since Ashford Town (Middlesex) won 5-0 there in the Surrey Senior Cup in 2011 but, despite his grief, Mark didn’t want to miss their FA Vase tie away to Berks County on Sunday. So it was that we headed to Binfield, where County groundshare, for the match. Egham came from behind to win 2-1 and the winner hit the back of the net at 3:30pm; precisely 24 hours after my friend, Mark’s husband had passed away.

On Tuesday night, I found myself at Egham’s Runnymede Stadium, watching a much-changed Sarnies squad hammer Chalvey Sports 4-0 in the Combined Counties League Cup. With fewer than 100 fans rattling around a ground with a theoretical capacity of more than 5,500, social distancing wasn’t a problem but Mark – who has been part of the club for decades – was sought out by most of those in attendance. Strange as it was to be back at Egham, I was reminded that one of the things I love most about football – especially at this level – is its capacity to bring people together.

This time of year is, of course, all about bringing people together and perhaps the recent changes both on and off the pitch can help the Cables Nation rally around each other as the Pesky Bulls seek to climb the table.

While the recent departure of Lloyd Dean marked the end of the era which contained four consecutive Liverpool Senior Cup Finals, the return of Tony Zeverona to the Chair bodes well for the long-term future of our own club. In his previous spell, Tony had more than a decade in the role and it could legitimately be argued that his departure was the first mis-step which led the club to its current lowly position. His experience will be invaluable in the coming months, as will that of manager Kevin Lynch, who has been busily reshaping his squad. It will, of course, take time for all of the changes to the playing staff to take full effect; a factor arguably against Cables given that a gap has formed between the bottom three clubs and the sides immediately ahead of them.

With 18 League matches to play, the time has come for everyone with Cables in their heart to come together. As supporters, we have to give the players our backing and the Board and Volunteers our trust. As upsetting as it is for many fans (including me) to acknowledge the final break-up of a highly successful squad, we can’t look back wistfully at the players who have gone. We have to look forward; firstly at today’s game, then towards a brighter and more successful 2022. Three points this afternoon would be a hugely welcome Christmas present for everyone connected to the Pesky Bulls.