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Friday, 18 October 2019

Barkin'

'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.

Cheerie!

(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.

Cheerie!

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.



Monday, 19 August 2019

Language Timothy

The trip to Faversham was, by and large, a good one. Weather was a step up from what we've seen so far this month, plenty going on in the town and the trains were on time. 

Off the field Nic Legg owned up to being responsible for the club's social media posts but couldn't explain what the Harry Tobin announcement was supposed to be about. Fair play to him for undertaking to bring us some of whatever he was on at the time the next time he's over.

On the field some good football was played in spells but the lack of a pre-season schedule was apparent for all to see and it will take a few games before anyone can think about predictions for the season. To come back from 3-1 down showed character though and Robbie Legg put the penalty away with some aplomb.



The elbow at the end was courtesy of Nutty by the way.

A good level of camaraderie was evident on and off the pitch and players took our numerous comments about their weight, inability to jump and inability to hit a cow's arse with a banjo in the spirit they were intended. I think.

Tomorrow we're to East Grinstead and, unlike Faversham, this is a town with little to commend it. There is however a micropub, a proper pub and a chippy between the station and the football ground which, between them, may provide some relief from the otherwise pervading torper that will be your lingering memory of the place.

When you get to East Court be aware that the blazered club officials have previously appeared keen to  kick people out for uttering words and phrases that may possibly have caused mild offence in a Victorian nunnery but have been commence parlance for decades. All whilst being seemingly oblivious to the impressive  torrent of expletives coming from their players and coaches. The other thing to be aware of is the walkway from the pitch to the dressing rooms, if you're in a hurry to get away don't be behind the goal when the final whistle goes.

Finally, someone requested a photo of some senior citizens enjoying a cup of tea. No idea why but I hope this will do Neale, its all I have and at least it's a step up from trying to sneak in to the Small Field in disguise to watch Crapauds.



 

Barkin'

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