Category Archives: Sport

Hamilton Academicals get ready

Saturday 9th December 2017, 3.00pm (day 2,298)

Hamilton players, 9/12/17

Another stop for Joe and I in our efforts to see lots of different football competitions in one season — today was our 13th, the Scottish Premier League. Hamilton Academical have a great name and I like their red-and-white hoops. I can identify the player on the left as their captain Xavier Tomas; not sure about the other two however, but let me off — we were not even supposed to be here today, having headed for a different game entirely which was postponed as we arrived in Glasgow, hence this emergency replacement, which made all my prior research irrelevant. Accies should have won, but their failure to put the ball in the net when given clear chances to do so meant they lost 1-0 to visiting St Johnstone.

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Entry to the Etihad

Tuesday 21st November 2017, 7.20pm (day 2,280)

Etihad ramp, 21/11/17

For a birthday present for father and nephew (both Manchester City fans) I got them tickets for tonight’s UEFA Champions League game versus Feyenoord at the Etihad stadium, and went along myself.

It was a stellar exhibition of football genius and entertainment, as befits the most exciting sports competition anywhere in the universe, played by Gods who walk the earth in human form. At least, that was the media narrative. Personally I thought it was a rather tedious game, played out by a bunch of uninterested guys who knew it was essentially meaningless and that they’d get their £250,000 each this week whatever the result. And you couldn’t even get a beer at half-time.

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Substitution

Saturday 11th November 2017, 4.10pm (day 2,270)

Pickering Town, 11/11/17

Down at the ninth tier of English football, there are many leagues, this particular one the Northern Counties East League which encompasses teams from a slew of small towns across north and east Yorkshire. I have been actively watching football for more than 40 years now (blimey) but since school, not played it competitively, so I can’t quite get into the mindset of those who do, and wonder what it must feel like to put oneself through the physical paces week in week out for the satisfaction of a couple of hundred spectators at places like Pickering Town, which is where we were today (my 10th competition of the season). Visitors Barton Town are the ones making the substitution here, 1o minutes into the second half. The score was 1-1 at the time, but Pickering eventually won the game 2-1. Next weekend… somewhere else for these guys.

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Doncaster Belles FC

Sunday 29th October 2017, 3.55pm (day 2,257)

Donny Belles, 29/10/17

This picture is slightly unfair to our hosts for the afternoon, namely Doncaster Rovers Belles FC, here in yellow and blue, as their Women’s Super League 2 match (my 9th football competition of the season) versus Aston Villa Ladies was watched by a few hundred people, but that was only enough to occupy seats in one side of the Keepmoat stadium in Doncaster. Those few hundred made plenty of noise though (more than, say, West Bromwich Albion’s fans did when they were beaten by Brighton back in September), and rightly so — the Belles won 6-0. Meaning I have seen 37 goals in 9 games this season; none of this has anything to do with photography I know, but I get my trivia fixes from all over, these days.

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End of the food queue, half time

Saturday 7th October 2017, 4.00pm (day 2,235)

Bamber Bridge, half time, 7/10/17

The tour of English football competitions continues: number 8, the FA Trophy, at Bamber Bridge FC v Brighouse Town FC, Bamber Bridge lying just south of Preston in Lancashire. A grim day of weather, which this picture encapsulates — but, I must also add, an excellent day out, entertaining game of almost wholly non-cynical football, welcoming stadium… a fine cocktail to celebrate Non-League Day and all the roots that keep the sport I love going in this country.  4-2 to Bamber Bridge in the end. Maybe some of these fans got their food before the second half, too.

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The Tromsø IL fans arrive for the match

Sunday 1st October 2017, 5.35pm (day 2,229)

TIL fans, 1/10/17

More football; in case you hadn’t realised I am going for it this season when it comes to experiencing different competitions. Seventh match of the season, seventh competition — today, the Norwegian Eliteserien (top division) and the world’s northernmost top-flight football club, Tromsø IL. Although there is a danger they will not be top-flight next year as they are struggling against relegation; however, today’s 2-1 win over southern softies Lillestrøm cannot have harmed their chances. Here, the ultras arrive for the game. The woman in front is sort of in the way of the shot, but she’s carrying her scarf so what the hell.

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Bower Fold, Stalybridge

Tuesday 12th September 2017, 8.50pm (day 2,210)

Stalybridge Celtic, 12/9/17

Yes, it’s raining again — it’s rained seemingly constantly since I got back from America, it feels like. And yes, it’s football again, though several levels below what I saw on Saturday — tonight, I was on assignment at Stalybridge Celtic v Buxton in the Northern Premier League. On a night like this, it was not a glamour posting. I doubt the linesman would think it was, either.

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Three-nil!

Saturday 9th September 2017, 4.20pm (day 2,207)

Three-nil, 9/9/17

Brighton and Hove Albion’s players celebrate the third goal in today’s 3-1 win over West Bromwich Albion, their first win of the season and first in the top division of English football since 1983. And Joe and I were there to see it. Much fun was had by all.

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The magic of the Cup

Saturday 5th August 2017, 4.25pm (day 2,172)

Rain storm, Wellingborough, 5/8/17

The FA Cup — the world’s oldest and still one of its largest football competitions. 737 teams this season, these take a lot of winnowing down so things start early in the season, namely this weekend, with 185 games in the Extra Preliminary round including this one — Wellingborough Whitworth (in that salmon-pink gear) v. Desborough Town. Yes, I picked the game to go to because of the name of the club, but hey, surely all Whitworths should feel obliged to give them some support. They needed it today anyway — losing 4-0. Desborough win thirteen more Cup ties this season they will be at Wembley…

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Seventh-Day Advent-Hoppists, Whitehaven

Sunday 30th July 2017, 4.10pm (day 2,166)

7th day Advent-hoppists, 30/7/17

Dialogue from Red Dwarf, season 3, episode “The Last Day”… I may paraphrase slightly:

Rimmer: I didn’t agree with my parents’ religion. But I wouldn’t have dreamed of knocking it.

Lister: What were they then?

Rimmer: Seventh-Day Advent-Hoppists. They believed that every Sunday should be spent hopping. They would hop to church, hop through the ceremony, and hop home again.

Lister: What’s that all about then?

Rimmer: Well, they took the Bible literally. Took it word-for-word. Only their version had a misprint. It all stemmed from 1. Corinthians 13, where it said “Faith, Hop and Charity; and the greatest of these is Hop.” So that’s what they did. Every seventh day.

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