Simply Red: Why Harrow Borough are the Jekyll and Hyde of the Ryman League

PUBLISHED: 11:04 03 February 2014 | UPDATED: 11:05 03 February 2014

Dave Anderson

Dave Anderson


What does a football fan want? The last couple of games have, to an extent, had me questioning myself about my wishes following two very contrasting Harrow performances.

Two Tuesdays back, a 2-1 win over Carshalton Athletic was absolutely vital in securing some space between Borough and the teams at the foot of the Ryman Premier table.

But Harrow’s football had been disjointed; indeed that’s probably a kind word for a first half in which it seemed that the team had been assembled from 11 strangers taken from the Harrow streets.

Consequently, the post-match chat of the Earlsmead regulars had been mired with depression, and indeed the point was raised that some of the less-committed spectators in a crowd barely above the 100 mark might in future be finding better things to do with themselves.

So to the following Saturday, and a visit to a Dulwich Hamlet side who went top of the pile with their 3-2 win. So, a loss. But you wouldn’t find a single Harrow fan who came away with anything but a broad smile on their face afterwards, such was the quality of the team’s performance and the total commitment they had shown, especially in a final quarter when the rain, thunder and lightning had been so Biblical that the referee had taken the players off the field for a while for safety reasons.

Once again, the two games had shown up the enigma that is the Harrow Borough of 2013-14. Generally struggling at home, in particular to take games by the scruff of the neck from the off.

But away, playing lovely football that has ‘Earlsmead games attended only’ fans scratching their heads when they are reported back to them. It’s also the case that most of Harrow’s best displays have come against teams at the top of the table: witness the 4-2 win at Hornchurch, the comebacks at Kingstonian and Maidstone, and both the home and away fixtures with Dulwich.

What’s the reason? If one knew for sure, of course, one could reasonably be asked to swap places with Dave Anderson in the Borough manager’s seat. My own theory is that the current Harrow side is far more comfortable as a counter-attacking unit.

Away from home, or against the top sides, they can be expected to have lots of opportunities to do this. But at home, and/or against the weaker teams, they are likely to have to make the running, and don’t seem equipped to be able to do so.

Having seen their last two games called off, if the weather does relent, Harrow’s next three games are all away. But they’re not against teams at the top of the table. On Tuesday they travel to mid-table Billericay; on Saturday to an East Thurrock side currently in one of the relegation slots; and on Tuesday week to Ware, struggling in Ryman One North, in the League Cup.

Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde? We shall find out.

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