Category Archives: Sport

Let’s have another celebration

Monday 31st May 2021, 5.40pm (day 3,567)

Morecambe at Wembley, 31/5/21

No apologies today for adding the second football-related celebration of the weekend. At the start of this ravaged season — just one aspect of our emptied recent lives — there were many reasons to not anticipate that it would end at Wembley stadium, but here we are. The final whistle has just gone and those fans of Morecambe FC that were permitted to enter, as part of an attendance of 9,083, still greatly below the capacity of this fine ground, celebrate the 1-0 win (with thanks to an admittedly outrageous penalty) over Newport County that takes them up to the third level of English football for the first time in their history. And thanks to Clare (who was also present, of course) — I could be there. A poor game, yes, but a great day out.

And this is also the 100th London pic to appear on the blog, meaning the capital turns up about once every five weeks, on average.

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End of season celebrations

Saturday 29th May 2021, 4.55pm (day 3,565)

Padiham celebrations, 29/5/21

Rimington FC, in orange, wait to be presented with the trophy for winning the East Lancashire League’s end-of-season rump competition — what was allowed them after the wasted (and perhaps pointless) months of lockdown. 400 people gathered at Padiham FC’s fine little ground on the edge of Burnley, witnessed a magnificent game of football (4-4 with the winners taking it on penalties), remembering how good it is to come together, and not to stay lonely and apart. The kid sums up these feelings.

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Watching through the dugout

Monday 17th May 2021, 8.15pm (day 3,553)

Brighouse dugout, 17/5/21

A photo of several things. Firstly, the football. Clare insists that the mark on the lower part of the dugout looks just like a sheep. Brighouse manager Vill Powell (with newly-shaven head) makes his second personal appearance on the blog. But most of all it is a photo of a crowd, in a football match, in a proper ground. Finally we can do this kind of thing again. And life is the better for it.

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Spectator accommodation, Sunday morning

Sunday 9th May 2021, 10.45am (day 3,545)

Social distancing not a problem at Sabden FC of the Pendle Charity Sunday League. Actually there were about 30 people watching, and presumably most of them went home happy enough after their morning’s entertainment as the home team won 9-0. The main stand of the Nutter Barn ground is, endearingly, made from a recycled bus shelter. The photographer’s bag makes an appearance to bottom left.

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Tree portrait

Wednesday 5th May 2021, 6.00pm (day 3,541)

Stockwood Park tree, 6/5/21

This tree has a noble aspect. I like its seeming formality and the way the guys disport themselves below it in various ways. I like the little cloud fluff that it seems to have caught in the top branches. Pictured in Stockwood Park, Luton — a town which makes a classy debut on the blog (though see also tomorrow).

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Not the ‘Super League’

Wednesday 21st April 2021, 6.50pm (day 3,257)

Brighouse Sports FC, 21/4/21

In a week when the ‘big clubs’ either took the piss by calling a massive bluff, or finally over-reached themselves with their hubris, it seems apposite to put up a picture of some actual football: you know, the sort where there’s still competition, intimacy, and interest. Plus, a nice background at Brighouse Sports FC of the West Yorkshire League D2 (they’re the ones in yellow, and won 4-0). I find it ‘Super’, anyway.

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Embrace the crowd

Saturday 17th April 2021, 4.35pm (day 3,523)

Crowd at Eagley FC, 17/4/21

I decided yesterday’s photo was a misrepresentation, so here is a definite example of a crowd. And if people hadn’t wanted to be there, they wouldn’t have been there.

Before anyone gets too obstreperous I will observe this is a long zoom taken down almost the full length of the football pitch. The vertical white posts are each about two meters apart. As we saw when all this kicked off a year ago, it’s quite possible to use a camera to create the impression of crowding where none exists. But it was still good to see at least 70 people at this match (an entertaining game at Eagley FC in Bolton). In any case, the sooner we start to feel close to one another again, the better.

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Recovery begins in Dewsbury?

Wednesday 7th April 2021, 7.20pm (day 3,513)

Savile United, 7/4/21

Football is for me a way of exploring the world, including parts of it that lie near my home but which I’ve never previously had cause to visit. So tonight — my first-ever trip to Dewsbury, a largish town lying between Huddersfield and Leeds. The town centre shocked me somewhat: a post-Brexit, post-Covid vision of dereliction, 90% of the old retail units either abandoned altogether or shuttered up until next week, at least (but it all looks more permanently damaged than that). But across the river to the south, some signs of life in the cold winds. It’s only from below that true recovery ever stems.

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Goalie, pylon, llama

Saturday 3rd April 2021, 3.10pm (day 3,509)

Goalie, pylon, llama, 3/4/21

Now here’s a fairly unique combination: witnessed on the edge of Burnley this afternoon. But as I typed the title of this post, it struck me that it sounded like one of those ‘what 3 words’ geolocation things. So I tried it, and magnificently, “goalie.pylon.llama” does correspond to a 3 x 3m square of land on South Island, New Zealand, to the west of the town of Greymouth — as this page proves. There could be a whole new game in this.

And yes, football’s back. In some ways, anyway.

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Back in training (healthy)

Monday 1st March 2021, 4.45pm (day 3,476)

Footie training, 1/3/21

I put up this photo because I love the backdrop of the houses on Calder Holmes Park. A proper football landscape if ever there was one. I put this up also because of how it wound up certain people when I posted it on a Facebook group earlier. One of the most iniquitous things about the year that we have lived through is how it has wiped out the idea that any ‘ordinary people’ might be able to make their own judgments about what is healthy and safe, and what is not. Well, lockdown lovers everywhere — yes, there are certain people who are back out there, living their lives.

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