Category Archives: Sport

Beneath the windmills (more non-league)

Saturday 3rd February 2018, 3.25pm (day 2,354)

Hassocks FC, 3/2/18

Those of you who don’t see the point of football may be getting a little tired of seeing it depicted on here, but there’ll be more to come this season yet; in fact this was my ninth consecutive weekend of going to some game or other (2nd/3rd December was the last footie-free Saturday and Sunday). I’m not apologising — I’m enjoying the groundhopping. Today I got up at 6am and travelled 300 miles before lunchtime to see a game in the ninth tier of English football, specifically the Sussex County league, so I do mean it, I’m ‘keeping it real’. Hassocks, in red, were the hosts but lost an important relegation battle 2-1 to visitors Eastbourne United. Above the pitch, the famous twin windmills known as “Jack and Jill” look down from the rim of the South Downs.

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After the missed penalty

Saturday 27th January 2018, 5.15pm (day 2,347)

After Flint match, 27/1/18

Ieuan Hewitt, full-back for Flint Town United, is consoled after visitors Newtown won 4-3 in the penalty shootout at the end of their 2-2 draw in the Welsh Cup. Hewitt saw his kick saved as the shootout progressed under skies that looked like they were rough sketches for Dante’s Inferno.

POSTSCRIPT: After I tweeted this picture it was then used as the lead back page photo in the Flintshire Chronicle‘s report on the match. Which was flattering…

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View from the dugout

Sunday 14th January 2018, 2.40pm (day 2,334)

Dugout view, 14/1/18

A weekend of diverse entertainments continued at the over-named ‘Stafflex Arena’ as Huddersfield Town Ladies took on Leicester City Women in the Women’s Premier North and I collected my 17th different football competition of the season. Well, like this blog, it’s something to do isn’t it. A 1-1 draw — both sides might have benefited from practicing their finishing skills a little more.

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Rain (at £1.22/minute)

Monday 1st January 2018, 3.35pm (day 2,321)

Floodlights and rain, 1/1/18

2018 doesn’t get off to the greatest start, as our attempt to see a second football match in three days was thwarted by the weather; Accrington Stanley versus Morecambe being abandoned at half-time due to the rain. Although my suspicion is that the referee had a New Year’s hangover and just got pissed off with being drenched so couldn’t be bothered any more. During the half-time-interval-that-wasn’t, it in fact stopped raining. We, however, had paid £55 in total for two adult and one child’s entrance fees, so I make that £1.22/minute to watch some fourth-tier football that is now meaningless. They also suggest we should now pay another £25 to watch the replay. Previous positive feelings I had towards Accrington Stanley FC largely evaporated today.

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St. James’s Park

Saturday 30th December 2017, 4.20pm (day 2,319)

St. James's Park, 30/12/17

I have been to a lot of football matches in 2017 — around 25, give or take (I have lost count myself). But one distinction was claimed by this, the last match of the year — it had the biggest crowd. Around 52,000 were present at St. James’s Park, Newcastle, today to see them take on the mighty Brighton and Hove Albion — and everyone to leave rather underwhelmed by a 0-0 draw in which neither team seemed willing to take on the initiative. Frankly if there’s one thing the year’s football has shown me it’s that the 220 people at Mossley v Kendal Town last week (5-4) may well be getting rather more for their money. But we keep coming back, week on week. Amazing what tribalism can do isn’t it?

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The tension mounts

Sunday 24th December 2017, 1.55pm (day 2,313)

Jenga, 24/12/17

Christmas Eve games at the parents’. Brother-in-law Pete makes what may or may not have been a crucial move. Look at the lean…

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The December non-league experience

Saturday 23rd December 2017, 4.35pm (day 2,312)

Mossley AFC fog, 23/12/17

Latest stop on my 2017-18 tour of the football competitions of the UK, to the Northern Premier League Division 1 North, at Seel Park, Mossley: a game with two distinctions by the end. Number one, it was the foggiest game I have ever seen, in danger of being abandoned throughout most of the second half as it was becoming difficult to see from one side of the pitch to the other.

But I’m glad it wasn’t abandoned, as were the 217 other fans in the ground with me, because the second distinction was that this game had more goals in it than any other I have seen in my life, nine to be precise: result was Mossley 5, Kendal Town 4. An absolute cracker of a game from start to finish. I really am starting to wonder why it’s necessary to pay the Premier League premium to be entertained (which I was not, particularly, last Saturday). Thank you to everyone involved with this game in fact, for giving me a quite excellent pre-Christmas day out.

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At the Amex stadium

Saturday 16th December 2017, 2.55pm (day 2,305)

Amex flag, 16/12/17

Welcome back to the Amex Stadium, Brighton, venue for several previous shots: all of which were preludes to victories by the mighty Brighton and Hove Albion. Today’s score versus Burnley: 0-0, so I lose my 100% win-only record there, but still, a point’s a point.

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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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