THE WEEKENDER: Web bullies have forced a good man from County helm
THE decision of Newport County chairman Chris Blight to sever his ties with the club in the aftermath of vicious abuse and inaccurate speculation over behind-the-scenes discussions about potential investment , is understandable - and it is also a great shame.
In 10 years with the Exiles, Mr Blight has steered the club away from the status of financial basket case to a position where it is almost debt free and established at a far higher level than it was when he and others came on board.
The world of football club management can be volatile and it can be also be thankless. Mr Blight has spent inordinate amounts of time and considerable sums of this own money helping Newport County into the position it is in now. He has not done that on his own, and neither has he sought to infer that he has - but his has been a crucial role indeed.
He has also been a tireless ambassador for what after all is a key sporting institution in the city and in Gwent.
Last week, Duffryn High School held its annual celebration evening at which pupils' sporting endeavours and achievements were lauded.
Mr Blight was guest of honour, handing out some of the prizes for the likes of football and athletic excellence, passing on kind words of encouragement to the pupils and being ferried back and forth for photographs with award winners. Nothing was too much trouble.
In a question-and-answer session with pupils, he also spoke passionately about Newport County, about the pleasures and pitfalls of chairmanship, and also about how, having had a taste of the Wembley limelight last season after the club reached the FA Trophy final, he was hungry for more.
Unfortunately, he will not now have the opportunity to sate that hunger, having understandably put his family first in the face of anonymous abuse.
Sadly, the cowardly potty-mouths who spewed that vile abuse down the phone to Mr Blight and his partner have done their worst and driven a decent man from a job he loved, no matter how stressful and lonely it might have been at times.
The phone-trolls have had their wish but, as the saying goes, you should always be careful what you wish for. Football is an uncertain business at the best of times, and one can never predict what effect such upheaval, however well managed, might have.
Hopefully, County will bounce back, but this is not an ideal situation to be faced with on the eve of a new season.
Ultimately, none of this is Chris Blight's doing. Weekender wishes him well. Best wishes too, to David Hando, his successor as chairman.
My dog has begun to hate me.
I know this because of the look she gives me when her morning and evening walks are finished, and I pluck a towel from the pile of old ones next to the kitchen door, in order to dry her off.
She doesn't bare her teeth, or growl, or bark. She just fixes me with a stare that can best be described as baleful, as the process begins.
Being a springer spaniel, she doesn't need any encouragement to get wet from head to toe. But such is the weather in what is supposed to be summer, the mere act of running through the grass after her beloved ball leaves her soaking.
Summer, eh? Fizzy pop and picnics, barbecues, the thwack of leather on willow... Not this year, yet, though the weather forecasters appear to have been falling over each other in the past few days to assure us that some nicer weather is coming.
Quite how long a spell of sunny weather we will need to dry up the boggy ground and harden the sludgy grass verges is unclear. Rather longer than we are likely to get, I suspect - and that means more dark looks from the dog.
Preventing her from shaking out her fur as soon as she steps into the house has become the premier sporting activity in our house this summer. Were there an Olympic gold medal to be had for such an endeavour, I would already be standing high and proud on the podium.
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