Friday, 24 April 2020

A sausage, a wrap and a mild mannered janitor.

With the trials and tribulations of last season fast receding and o the back of three impressive displays, unbeaten against teams expected to challenge through the season, tails were up ahead of our trip to Ashford.

Then the squad was announced or rather, by order of the management, it wasn't as Tony Vance didn't want to let the cat out of the bag that there were certain names missing that could well have helped the home side's planning had they been known in advance. To be honest, when we found out some of the names that would be involved on the train down, we weren't expecting the unbeaten run to survive the evening....

Proceedings in Ashford town centre got off to an inauspicious bordering on shambolic start but the ground, which is 'in the middle of nowhere' was reached 10 minutes before kick off. The chips were poor the sausage was limp and the cold cider was a wise choice outside on a less than balmy night.

Ashford had most of the possession but we did more with ball. The early stages suggested it might be night of huff and puff for Ross Allen, ploughing a lonely farrow up front before support started to appear down the flanks and then in the surprising form of Simon Geall inches from the goal line and almost getting his foot on the end of a cross. Then it happened, Gus Mackay picked up a loose ball in midfield and fed it through for Rocco, with much still to do, to finish with aplomb and in timelapse to boot:

Then it happened again, this time good work from Tom Jackson on the left and another tidy finish from Rocco:

The half drew to a close with the first signs of mist in the far corner of the ground as Nic and Nige, the Blazer Twins, skipped off to the board room for a half time sausage party. A very tasty nibble by all accounts.

The second half saw the mist roll in and another stunning strike from Charlton Gauvain, who has grown in stature of late and is really looking like the player his early promise suggested he could be.

Ashford's players appeared convinced something akin to the Hound of the Baskervilles was lurking in the gloom but it was worse than that for them. For it was Gus Mackay rolling back the years and savaging them, the howling was just proof he was enjoying himself.

One of them managed to get away......

This was a fine performance from a team, or should I say a squad, that is growing in confidence and there is currently nothing to suggest that they shouldn't be. Man of the match would have been a difficult decision but particular mention to Messrs Geall and Mackay who were both tremendous and Tom Jackson who went through quite some transformation between the train station and the pitch (think Hong Kong Phooey). 

Tomorrow it's Hythe at the ARS which on paper is clearly winnable and if we perform anywhere near Tuesday's standard they will have a difficult job in taking anything back to Kent. But we should never assume. If you've been dithering over subscribing to GFCTV it's currently good value with all those home games to come and improvements have been made. I find it best watching in a wrap. 


Friday, 18 October 2019


'You're barkin' useless ref' was, I'm fairly certain, the shout I heard on several occasions last Saturday afternoon.

On a day so grim it reminded me of the old 'what's grey and smells of curry' joke, we headed off to the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham in reasonable spirit. The area has a bit of a brexity feel to it with the litter strewn streets seemingly home to large numbers of London cabbies. Mayesbrook Park  itself is rather nice, even in the rain, and is worth the short rain ride out for a picnic or whatever takes your fancy.

At one end of the park, nestled behind an impressive looking leisure facility you find the home of Barking FC. In saying it is one of the very few places to make Raynes Park Vale's place look like Wembley Stadium I'm being kind but at least they know how to deal with disreputable 70's celebrities.

The home team had a plan which they executed well and we struggled to get into gear for much of the match. That said we did leave with a bitter taste due to a couple of black clad villains. You will have seen various videos of the second half goal that wasn't, after which the lino made it clear he didn't understand the bit about a ball being played backwards. In the first half standing behind the goal at the posh end of the ground we were convinced we should have had a penalty. The referee was poorly positioned, bearing mind the linesman was over on the side the corner was taken from. Make your own mind up:

All disappointment was soon forgotten after the game when we we treated to some of the latest continental fashion tips from Carlos Canha. 

Enough of the past, back to the seaside tomorrow and Herne Bay which, if you've never been before, is always a good day out.

Kick off is at 2 but get down early and enjoy the seafront, it might not even be raining.


(It's John Major btw).

Friday, 11 October 2019

Catch up

Time for a long overdue catch up and, although the bar was set on the low side, what times we've been having.

September started in glorious fashion with a trip to Ramsgate and the sort of day you never want to end. The weather was that good you'd have been forgiven for thinking we were up the road from Malaga never mind Margate. On getting to the ground a little later it became clear, from looking at the pitch,  that the sun had been shining non-stop for months.

Despite the dubious surface the game was a scorcher and, as far as I know for the first time, I even managed to film a couple of goals. First up Rocco....

Then Tobin, F with superbly timed effing encouragement from every dog's favourite Nutty snack.

Next up Haywards Heath, where the approach to the ground makes you think you're about to enter one of non league football's great arenas. Reality dawns as soon as you're through the turnstile however so for a change I can get away with just one photo of the ground. The other three sides are 98% nothing.

I think we played OK and were good value for the draw, lovely touch by Fazackerley for the goal. There was the usual array of dodgy decisions (all against us of course!) but for once the officials could be excused as the floodlights were not the brightest. Either that or the home side's commercial team (a certain Mr Dewsnip) hadn't yet earned enough to properly feed the meter). So 1 goal each, a few flailing handbags at the end and to top it all a new friendship was forged (althouygh the one on the left looks understandably nervous).

Missed Sittingbourne as I was on my way to the beach but the pilot interrupted my G&T to tell me that Seb Skillen had once again stepped up and delivered on behalf of the glabrous among us.

Tomorrow we're to Barking. Be aware that there are no District or Hammersmith & City Line trains out of central London. Central Line is running but you'll be relying on Colin staying awake and remembering to open the doors. Good luck with that. The other thing to note is that the area near the ground appears to be almost as dry as Ramsgate's pitch so you might want to take refreshment in the City beforehand.


Friday, 30 August 2019

The Other Side of Swindon

Playing on what has become the rubber crumb at Church Road Whyteleafe might not be the best experience and certainly wouldn't have been helped by a temperature well into the thirties. The home side was well organised and, not for the first time, better than us virtually everywhere on the pitch so it didn't take long to realise the afternoon was going to feel longer than usual.

On a day when the goals really didn't need gift wrapping that's just what we did, for three of them anyway but, oh, how different might it have been if that flag hadn't been raised for on/offside? A 4-2 defeat probably.

Phoenix Sports tomorrow. Try not to dwell on our record there for too long and don't get your hopes up by looking at their current form and you never know, you might be pleasantly surprised. With Gus Mackay returning to the squad from the other side of Swindon  there's a chance of winning a few quid in the 'first card sweepstake', just remember to choose a low number. It's been a while since we last saw Gus so, in case you're forgotten what he looks like, here's a handy before and after photograph.

If you're going by train the nearest station is Barnehurst but Crayford is a useful alternative. Trains run from Cannon Street, Charing Cross and Victoria. Could be a few more than usual around Charing Cross due to a demonstration against a lying charlatan and his vulture capitalist chums (you know, the ones that already profit hugely from selling the country short).

Whilst I accept you may have a slightly different view all of us should just spare a moment to think how different it could have been if Stanley had done the decent thing and spaffed up that Manhattan wall in the Autumn of '63.

See you tomorrow....

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Where There's a Will.....

The trip to East Grinstead was almost as expected. No matter your angle of approach by road or rail the pace was pitifully slow. You'd be forgiven for thinking whoever pulls the transport strings is trying not to spook the locals who, as we all know, are still struggling to come to terms with the recent arrival of the twentieth century.

An encouraging start to refreshments at the Open Arms, courtesy of Stowford Press, came to a sudden end through ale warmer than Betty Swollocks in a heatwave. So warm in fact that even young Gazois was keen to get to a normal pub for some Euro fizz before we made our way through near empty streets to East Court.

Suspicions that many of the town's inhabitants were safely behind locked doors, wary of strangers arriving on a metal bird, were hardly discouraged by fewer than 100 of them turning out on a lovely evening in what is actually quite a nice setting for a football match.

Service in the bar and refreshment kiosk were not the quickest, but thoroughly charming none the less, and club officials and management displayed a good level of awareness of the visiting supporters' sensitivities. Blazers were left in the boardroom where they belong, Ps and Qs were minded by the coaching team and we were angelic as usual.

And so to matters on the pitch.

Last season many of us were critical of aspects of Will Fazackerley's play, namely the seeming lack of willingness to move along the most appropriate horizontal or vertical plane during key passages of play. After a very good showing against Faversham he stole the show on Tuesday night with two exquisite finishes. For his first, Will faced a dilemma. Eager to answer his critics but faced with a long run he went for a worldie and it was a very good decision. I actually preferred his second which came scorching through the gloom and left us virtually speechless behind the goal.

Between them a sublime finish from Ross Allen and a couple of goals for the hosts which I think underline the team's 'pre-season',  in so far as you'd like to think 8 or 9 friendlies would help the understanding and connection between midfield and defence. Too far away to see what the fracas at the end was all about but obviously all down to the home side.

Guernsey FC TV has spliced together Faz's four goals so far and you've probably already seen this via the club's social media. Here it is with the commentary replaced by something that will resonate with about 2 of you. Apologies to Ollie for the blatant thievery, you can subscribe to GFCTV via the club's website.

On Monday we're to Whyteleafe where our visit last year saw us storm (briefly) to the top of the league before setting the tone for much of the season to come. It's a ground that holds more than a few memories for us, usually a good day out and, if you know where to go beforehand, free brunch is available up the road.

See you there.

A sausage, a wrap and a mild mannered janitor.

With the trials and tribulations of last season fast receding and o the back of three impressive displays, unbeaten against teams expected ...