Ryan Jones has been advised by doctors to stop playing in goal, seven weeks after injuring his left shoulder in a collision with an opponent. He was the sole volunteer to replace the retiring Ben Stanfield last summer, and quickly made the position his own, throwing his lean frame around the penalty area in a series of brave performances last season. It was this quality which would be his undoing, when twenty minutes into a game against Redbridge on an overcast Wednesday evening in Millbrook, a flying elbow put him flat on his back.
Having searched the contents of the medical bag only to find an empty 150 millilitre aerosol of freeze spray, a squashed tube of ralgex, and a large collection of band-aids, Burridge manager Pete Lyons made do with treating Jones with the traditional wet sponge. It seemed to do the trick, as Jones played on in goal for the remaining hour of the match. I remember asking how his shoulder felt during the second-half. “It doesn't half hurt,” he replied, in a cheerful way that didn't reveal, as X-rays at the hospital later would, that he had cracked the ball and socket joint in his left shoulder.
The following morning he was unable to raise his left arm, which made working as a plumber difficult. He was signed off for three weeks, which sounded like a cushy assignment before finding out that he is not entitled to sick pay. Now back at work, and able to put weight on the shoulder, much of his spare time has been spent at the gym working on strengthening it. But there is still movement in both the ligament and cartilage of his shoulder, and this has put doubt into Jones' mind about goalkeeping, something those playing in that position can ill afford to have. He will return to Burridge pre-season training contending for an outfield position.
Paul Dyke has acted quickly in his short time as Burridge manager, having arranged for the West-End Brewery to be the new post-match pint venue, who will lay on chips and reasonable beer prices. This after players had grown dissatisfied with the Bugle Inn charging £3.60 for a pint of Becks Vier. Dyke has also arranged for training to take place on Thursday evenings at Hamble School once the season begins, so players will be able to watch the televised Champions League games. He has now used his list of contacts to replace Jones with a new goalkeeper.