Category Archives: Sport

Last match of the season

Sunday 3rd June 2018, 2.30pm (day 2,474)

Pre-match warm-up, 3/6/18

It is undeniable that there have been a lot of football matches on this blog this season, 2017-18. But today was definitively the last. The players of Ellan Vannin — a.k.a. the Isle of Man — warm up before their ConIFA World Football Cup tie with Barawa — a.k.a. the Somalian diaspora in London. If you want to be a country and play international football, ConIFA is the place to do it. But this did not diminish the day: like most of the other 39 games of my season (not all depicted on here….) it’s been enjoyable. But less football for a while now. I promise.

 

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End of the season

Saturday 19th May 2018, 4.45pm (day 2,459)

Poulton FC celebrations, 19/5/18

37 competitions into my football season and this was the penultimate one today, Division 1 the West Lancashire League, where I saw champions Poulton FC lift the trophy. The post-match — and post-season — celebrations are about to start here. It’s been a fun way to spend a season but it’s getting tiring and I’m a little glad we’re moving into summer: but by late June I’ll probably be missing it.

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Champagne celebration

Saturday 28th April 2018, 4.25pm (day 2,438)

Appleby celebration, 28/4/18

The football season is nearly over. Competitions are being resolved, trophies awarded. I forewent the possible pleasures of a hike today to go and see someone actually win something, in this case the Westmorland Senior Cup (competition 34 of my season), and congratulations to Appleby for taking the trophy with a 3-1 win over Kendal County. Their three dozen rather drunk but enjoyably boisterous travelling fans enjoyed the win just as much as the players did. At this level of football almost every game is a local rivalry: one reason why they’re worth supporting.

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The man in the middle

Saturday 14th April 2018, 2.30pm (day 2,424)

The referee, 14/4/18

Hate ’em or hate ’em, the game couldn’t run without them, at any level — particularly way down in the football capillaries, which is where I was today (West Riding County Amateur League, competition 30 of the season)…

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World’s Oldest Football Club

Saturday 7th April 2018, 3.40pm (day 2,417)

Sheffield FC, 7/4/18

More football, I’ve been packing in the games while being off work. Sheffield FC reign indisputably as the world’s oldest association football club, being founded in October 1857 which, to put it in perspective, was three and a half years before the American Civil War broke out. They have been going steadily along for the last 160 years without ever having made much of an impact in sporting terms, thanks largely to their having steadfastly refused to embrace professionalism back in the 1880s. But they’re still around, a mecca for football tourists the world over (like me let’s face it) if the graffiti in the toilets is anything to go by, and they still have their little community of fans, like this guy, who may well have been in this spot for many decades. Metaphorically at least. Not a great day on the pitch though — they lost 4-0 to Leek Town. Don’t worry — only a month now until the end of the season.

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The next generation

Wednesday 4th April 2018, 8.25pm (day 2,414)

Dulwich fans, 4/4/18

Yeah, I know, more football, but I am spreading the love for another few weeks yet. And teams like London’s Dulwich Hamlet, exiled from their own ground thanks to asset-stripping owners seeking to crush them (and thus playing tonight in Carshalton in Surrey), need our support, and the support of the next generation of fans too. In this regard they are doing well enough, it seems. But those who think community assets like sports clubs should be protected from these kinds of depredations could check out the Save Dulwich Hamlet web site.

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End of the match

Saturday 31st March 2018, 4.50pm (day 2,410)

End of match, 31/3/18

More non-league football in the village of Emley, whose football team in 1998 demonstrated the equalising power of the FA Cup by playing West Ham, 8th in the league at the time, and only losing 2-1. Ten per cent of the whole village turned out for today’s game, which (fortunately for my quest) managed to survive the wet weather: a higher proportion of the population than a lot of much bigger places manage (like Leeds, say), and for tenth tier football. I have enjoyed my tour of these localities this season, I was vaguely aware of the strength of these roots beforehand but days like today prove it. All seem happy here, and so they should as Emley won a tight game 1-0.

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Scene from the Campaign for Real Football

Saturday 17th March 2018, 2.05pm (day 2,396)

Real football, 17/3/18

There’s been a lot of football on here lately, I know that. There’s also been a lot of snow. I tried to avoid them both becoming themes again today, but…. not easy. Remarkably, thanks to there being a 3G artificial pitch beneath the snow, this game was played… perhaps appropriately, it was the team in white who ran out the winners (4-1). Traditionalists will admire the fact that today even saw the use of an orange ball (just visible here being carried out by the black-clad officials). But I am doubtless not the only one who is now fed up with winter 2018 and its sheer persistence.

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The ball comes my way

Saturday 10th March 2018, 3.15pm (day 2,389)

Stockton v Newton Aycliffe, 10/3/18

How often do football photographers, concentrating on their shot, fail then to pay enough attention to the shots of the players and get a ball in the face? A split second after taking this, the missile to top right smacked into the fencing a foot from my head. No wonder I seem to be the centre of attention….

Ah well, no harm done. The guys in yellow and blue were my hosts today, Stockton Town of the Northern League. Expect to see more of them on 24th March.

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Supporters

Sunday 25th February 2018, 11.35am (day 2,376)

Brighton half, 25/2/18

It’s getting on for a decade since I last tried to get myself (more precisely, my left knee) round 13.1 miles, but Clare still does it now and again in her regular 2:45. Hence, the Brighton half-marathon has become an annual staple of the blog, this is at least its third appearance. Well done to all the finishers, in whatever time they make it; I know what it takes…

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