Pages

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Of Stench and Bulls

Last week's match against Greenwich Borough meant a trip to Eltham. Once regarded as a magnet for liberal thinking multicultural types it has changed a bit over the years and diversity, one of the things that makes London a great city, is the order of the day. Yes, as you walk along Eltham High Street there's a faint whiff of UKIP in the air and sometimes that whiff  becomes a stench as you come within range of one of 'Tommy Robinson's' embittered followers. A stench you may be familiar with if you've visited a town on the South Coast recently.

On to the ground and Greenwich Borough FC, where things have changed a bit over the summer.

Firstly the funny money's gone. Yes, the lucre derived from marine insurance in landlocked Liechtenstein is no more and the club is in different hands. Nearly everyone involved on matchday appears to be learning on the job, from froth control to counting heads there's plenty of room for development. Spirit's good though and the smiles are genuine.

I say nearly everyone as someone there appears to have some good connections. The team has a lot of lads from professional club academies, drawn from across London and beyond and whilst they looked like a team of strangers at first they were good value for the win, controversial moments not withstanding.

One to forget for us, it's now about Sittingbourne at home this afternoon which is winnable which, incidentally, is what we thought before the last match....

So, Jersey Bulls FC could be joining us in the pyramid next season. Something that should have happened years ago and just a little good luck to them. The name is a nod to the Crapauds dairy industry, which explains why their milk tastes a bit funny. They hope to play at Springfield which doesn't currently meet Step 5 ground grading requirements. They have support in the States though so if that means permission can be obtained to enclose the ground and the cage can be removed it can only be a good thing.

To close, some images which capture the febrile atmosphere last weekend.





Wednesday, 29 August 2018

3-5-2

Three Bridges Jubilee Field ground hasn't changed since our last visit, other than they've shortened the pitch. A couple of small stands for the elderly and infirm, with hard standing behind each goal which again, if Monday is anything to go by, appears to be largely for the elderly and infirm. Good sized clubhouse in the same block as the teabar and dressing rooms with hard standing in front that seems to attract the bulk of the crowd.


Five goals for us to celebrate amid scenes that I think it's safe to say nobody was expecting before the game. OK, the opposition on the day wasn't up to much but don't take my word for it, this is how their online match report puts it: "What can only be described as an absolute disaster for Bridges, who looked poor all over the pitch. ............There were a couple of half chances for Omar Folkes in the closing stages, but this was an embarrassing performance by Bridges in front of a decent sized crowd."

But enough of them, there was much to savour about the Guernsey performance. After one or two nervous touches in the opening few minutes everybody settled down and we looked comfortable in all departments. Gauvain, particularly, and Mahon bossed the midfield and Doddie marshalled the, yet again, reshuffled defence. Stanton did what he had to do. All in all, they provided a sound platform for the main event.

Before the game we were wondering where the goals were going to come from but it soon became apparent. Lots of movement from Fazakerley and Smith, their joint performance suggested a partnership in the making. Add to that the more than able support of Messrs Rihoy and Loaring and the result was a torrid afternoon for the Three Bridges defence. Then Carlos Canha came on to create a scene of his own, only to receive a bang on the head shortly afterwards and sitting out the last 10 minutes or so on the sound advice of the physio. Nobody realised we only had 10 on the pitch towards the end, which probably explains Omar's two half chances.

A word on Kyle Smith. He's looked like Bambi on ice at times, clearly able but seemingly lacking in  confidence at this level. He had it in spades on Monday though, even throwing in a few step overs and, in the second half,  selflessly setting up Will Fazakerley for his 'easy' six yard tap in.  

So a performance to take a lot of heart from and a fine three points to get off the mark, you can see all the goals here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNzfpS6P-hE

Finally....

Two dogs, Hogan and Guinness.....





Sunday, 26 August 2018

Three Bridges

Encouraging news ahead of our trip to Three Bridges in that we have a squad of 16 travelling. A bit of a rarity these days and with Coach Pad also onboard there can surely only be one outcome, we'll find out what around ten to five tomorrow.

Sad to see that Alex le Prevost will no longer be moving at pace across the greensward of the Isthmian League. Entirely understandable given the cards he's been dealt on the injury side over the seasons. Does leave a question as to what to do with the  Tequila though.

In other news, a newly launched window cleaning business is sponsoring a player of the month award, dubbed the Callum Stanton Trophy apparently.

If you're going to the match tomorrow a reminder, in case you've forgotten, that Three Bridges (the area) doesn't have much going for it. So we'll be getting off at Crawley to visit the White Hart and the Brewery Shades. Should be in the White Hart around 11.30 with the choir master in attendance. If time allows we might make the Snooty Fox, opposite Three Bridges station, before heading to the ground.

Anyone flying over for the day needs to be aware that there'll be  about 30 minutes walking involved.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Hard Road



As we trundled towards Whyteleafe, via Caterham on the Hill, the talk was of how many. How many pints would be consumed given it was another glorious hot and sunny day and it's sensible to pace oneself in such conditions. Also how many would we lose by; no outcome other than a defeat seemed on the cards following the manager's promise of a brave new style which would guarantee us conceding goals. It could however "give us a little bit of a niche, certainly against certain teams in certain games" (not to mention the lack of a full pre-season schedule).

No, I haven't a clue what he means either and I had to make a quickish getaway after the game so didn't have the opportunity to find out. I will certainly endeavour to do so at Three Bridges.

The King and Queen at Caterham on the Hill was a good call by Caterham Steve and the notion of pacing was soon abandoned. By the time we reached Church Road positivity, and more, was coursing through our veins and after Will Fazackerley's rather good goal we had 10 minutes or so to enjoy being top of the league. Even going in at one each we remained upbeat.

Unfortunately the team forgot to come out for the second half, possibly something to do with that 'orrible purple kit they're forced to endure when there used to be a perfectly acceptable sky blue option available (with a nod to Guernsey's football history to boot).

Incidentally, Whyteleafe didn't look that good themselves, probably a bit knackered after a full pre-season schedule.

One particularly welcoming feature of the ground hasn't changed since we first went there in the Vase...


Having passed on the opportunity to subscribe to GFCTV (although you nearly had me with the line about subs being frozen lads) 'social' media was the order of the day for following our fortunes against Ashford United, then post match comments/reports. Impression gained was similar to Whyteleafe, decent enough first half but no chances taken this time, abject 2nd half.

Played 2 lost 2 doesn't read well but it's not exactly a unique record in this league and we can be confident that we will come good. Thing is we don't know when,  and therein lies the concern. With two going down again this season, clubs in the relegation mix will be doing whatever it takes to stay up. They didn't have to bother last season and geography isn't on our side in such a scenario. 

This season might be short on matches (17% GFCTV boys) but the road might seem longer and harder than before. So we need to get our nose in front of the pack sooner rather than later and, dare I say, the visit to Three Bridges would appear to present the perfect opportunity to break our points duck. 

Cancel any other plans you may have for the Bank Holiday, and get along to support the lads instead.


Friday, 10 August 2018

Caterham Preview

The opening day of the Isthmian League season tomorrow sees us head to Caterham for an early kick off. We'll be in the King and Queen on the High Street from 11ish before heading down the road to Whyteleafe.

Only certainty on the pitch is we'll be wearing the traditional purple. Read into that what you want but a good day out is predicted whatever.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Nearly there....



The trip to Corinthian Casuals on Tuesday was fairly straightforward and relatively local, for me at least. Door to door just two hours each way, including a smidgin under 3 miles walking which, would you believe it, included just over a mile in the pouring rain.

Casuals play at King George's Field in Tolworth, a place mainly known these days for a roundabout, the A3 and Tolworth Towers where, it is said, thousands of families from all corners of the globe can be found living in the plumbing and paying wealthy philanthropists through the nose for the pleasure.



The ground probably looks like a bit of a dump to some but to others is a little atmospheric gem but whatever your view it does have plenty of covered standing. Not to mention the welcome arrival of Stowford Press in the clubhouse.



To the game and the question of whether we deserved to lose 5-0. I can only suggest that the answer lies in the fact that they scored five and we didn't. That said, the under 12's involved acquitted themselves well and we did make their defence look uncomfortable on more than one occasion. We can only wonder what would happen if we had the opportunity to play them on a Saturday with a full squad that hasn't picked itself for one reason or another. Maybe next season eh?


On to today, last day of the season and a trip to Bromley to play Cray Wanderers. Going by train you want Bromley South and opposite the station you'll find the Richmal Crompton where those of a green and white persuasion will start to gather from 11.00 before making the short walk to the ground where, from 1pm you have the opportunity to nibble on Nigel's sausage on a stick and Debbie's very popular lemon drizzle.





Sunday, 15 April 2018

Ooh Aah!


Injuries , the Under 21 Muratti and possibly some urgent shopping meant that the squad of 15 selected for the trip to Herne Bay included some who, let's be honest, wouldn't have made the cut in our ideal scenario. Any concerns we had weren't helped by news of a cock up on the alarm setting front and, with Herne Bay 16 points and a good few places ahead of us, expectations weren't too high when we left St Pancras.

On getting to Kent, Canterbury West to be precise, we were met by our pre-booked chauffeur for the day who whisked us off to a slap up breakfast at the Punch in nearby Sturry. Then to Herne Bay where the sun was shining on the many people out and about on the seafront. First pint of the day was taken the the Divers Arms, followed by a quick restorative on the pier where we picked up with Gazois before heading to the ground.

Winch's Field now well known to us of course, with cover on three sides and the fourth giving you the option to nip into the clubhouse for a restricted view if the heavens were to open.


Herne Bay came out on the front foot in both halves but Guernsey were in the box seat for most of the game. Don't think many saw the first goal go in, most had their eyes on the foul and were still shouting for a penalty.

The second half saw a quick equaliser for Herne Bay then the moment that seemed to galvanise our boys and freeze the hosts. Yes, I'm talking about the arrival of Hogan, a very excitable French Bulldog.


Smallish hairy males then took centre stage for a while as, on the pitch, Dave Rihoy did all the hard work giving Paris Pereira the well taken opportunity to stab the ball home for number two, before finishing with aplomb to get his own name on the scoresheet.

Everyone in the vile violet had a good game but there were some standouts, namely Jamie Dodd, playing better than ever since his return, Dave Rihoy and Paris Pereira, who reacted well to having some treatment dished out by the home defenders throughout and played with the sort of  maturity that has sometimes been lacking in his game. Star of the show was Zico, back to his old self he absolutely bossed the midfield without ever seemingly expending any energy.

All in all a good day's work by the lads with three points well earned and fully deserved.

After the post match shenanigans in the clubhouse our chauffeur took us back to Canterbury West, with  diversions to three local hostelries, all of them out in the sticks and one of them very old indeed.




           




Which just leaves thanking our chauffeur for a great tour of parts of Kent we wouldn't otherwise have seen.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

What better place to be beside the seaside than Herne Bay. In April.



Honestly I've no idea what our hero, and Guernsey FC's only true celebrity fan, is suggesting via his finger, but the photo above reminds me of a trip to the seaside. And the seaside is where we're to tomorrow.

Herne Bay is not quite Hastings however but you can do a lot worse than make a beeline for Central Parade, right on the seafront. There's a little pyer, where you'll find Beer on the Pier (Pyer), basically a beer hut run by the local brewery. Bottled lagers available but for those with severe allergies there's a 'Spoons within a gnat's crotchet of the pyer.

As to predictions for the match, who knows. Not sure I agree with the official view that the squad is strong but, then again, I had similar feelings about the squads for Walton Casuals and Carshalton recently so, as I say, who knows?

Pathetic I know, but that's what passes for a preview here.

In the Press I read of GFC being 'upset by costly midweek games deal'. Haven't looked into it in great detail but a quick view suggests that the number of midweek away games is consistent(ish) each season.

There are a handful of games scheduled before the season starts, there are some midweek games scheduled mid-season due to FA Cup/Trophy commitments and there are some down to the weather. Yes, a few weather postponements have appeared a little 'interesting' to us, but on the whole they have clearly been down to the weather, which in the British Isles can be unpredictable at times.

Sources close to the man in the douit are speculating that the current angst over away day costs could be linked, in some small way, to the recent demise of the club's former top notch travel partner. Pure speculation without foundation as far as I'm concerned but I do think a few quid could be spared here and there by limiting the number of blazers travelling with the squad.

Enough of that, on to Herne Bay....

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Three Out of Four Ain't Bad




Nine points from the last twelve available is not to be sniffed at but there must surely be, and indeed is, some disappointment that three were lost. Not to say disappointment at the manner in which they were lost.

The three wins certainly put smiles on faces, with Tuesday's at Shoreham all but confirming their inevitable short term destiny. After the match their manager was sort or quoted saying something along the lines of  'having just been beaten by by a mix Guernsey's under 14s and over 40s I think everyone realises relegation is likely this season now'. Expect the last rites to be read sometime on Saturday afternoon.

The sour point was the shambolic venue shifting seen in the space of 18 hours or so from Monday evening. Don't hold your breath waiting for an explanation from any of the parties involved.....

Last night Lewes secured promotion to the Isthmian Premier Division, Carshalton could well follow suit at the weekend. Meanwhile, already in the Isthmian Prem, Dulwich Hamlet got back to winning ways this evening and are now 3 points behind everyone's favourite team from Essex having played a game more.

Tomorrow a brief look ahead to our trip to Herne Bay and some essential information to help make the trip a little bearable.


Sunday, 1 April 2018

Points



If you hadn't been to Corinthian Casuals before, but were intending to go on Saturday and now won't be able to make the rescheduled fixture, you will be feeling a bit cheesed off to have missed a good day out. Tolworth being known, as it is, for stunning architecture, breathtaking scenery and award winning public houses.

Every cloud though, and the postponement at least means we go into a run of three home matches with no additional injuries.

Vance must be thinking that these matches, as well as the one away at Shoreham, arguably the league's strongest team, are all winnable. Chipstead and Shoreham have lost their last six, Faversham have done a little better but their only (resounding) win has been against Shoreham. Ramsgate are a different proposition but being at home, and with the right application on the back of some resolute performances of late, we should be aiming high. I like to under promise and under deliver in life (and in that I have over delivered for years) but a return of less than 7 points from 12 in anything other than extraordinary circumstances will surely be considered as 'not great'.

If you're going tomorrow don't be a miserable bugger like me, but do give it your all in getting behind the lads.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Le Parking (pour l'avion)



Much of what I've read in the aftermath to Saturday's match match at Carshalton has contained mention of things such as gamesmanship, defending deep, 10 men behind the ball and so on.

All of which was anathema to Guernsey FC until recently which, arguably, is why we find ourselves avoiding relegation due only (largely) to the pyramid restructure. Vance and Co appear to have discovered the musings of Plato (necessity/mother of invention....) so we find ourselves sitting back, away from home to the form team in the league.

Primary objective for any game has to be don't lose, which puts the emphasis on the opposition to do what it takes to win at home. Yes it was negative but needs must and as for the suggestion in some quarters that GFCs squad selection at times is' taking the piss' I would beg to differ. Far worse are those clubs that spend money at a rate they can't really sustain in order to be successful,  then have to put out a Sunday morning side when the money tap is turned off. Which may have been the case in the recent past for some of clubs that the moaners support.

Back to Saturday though, it was good of the locals to help Callum with his counting. Talking of whom, he looked all at sea at times in his first couple of games back but has made tremendous progress since and has been in inspired form recently. So tremendously inspired in fact that it's bordering on marvellous but I won't tempt fate.

Honourable mention goes to everyone's favourite left back, Glyn Dyer, who ran his socks off up front.

Anyway, enough of that, as we all know the match itself is incidental to the day as a whole. Although we were aware of half priced beer in the clubhouse before the game for us, in the spirit of 'sports tourism', it was the Sun and the Hope before heading for the ground. Both were very good as expected, even though the British gangster flick look might suggest otherwise. Just the one brave soul from the bargain bucket supporters day trip managed to escape and join us in the town and what an odd chap he was. A photo will no doubt follow in the next day or so.

Corinthian Casuals up next and parking the plane seems morally the right thing to day after the last two games. Come back on Friday for a look forward to our trip to beautiful Tolworth.



Friday, 23 March 2018

Carshalton 'Preview'

Those of a nervous disposition are advised not to look up details of Carshalton's current form, it doesn't make for pleasant reading. Expectations are therefore lower than they were on our recent visit to Walton on Thames but, with a fair smattering of U12s in the travelling squad again, anything could happen. No pressure lads.

Normally it's a case of wanting a win come what may but, with relegation not on the agenda, if you were Vance would you be preparing for next season? Probably, it seems the sensible thing to do. As far as tomorrow is concerned there's only one result that really matters and that's the one in Alderney.

The Llama Express arrives in Carshalton around Noon tomorrow and the first stop will be the Sun on North Street. Out the station door, turn left then right onto North Street and its a few minutes down on the left. Very nice pub that caters for all types and ages with a decent choice of ales and food.

From there we'll be visiting the Hope on West Street. From the Sun you simply cross North Street, follow a cut through them turn right onto West Street and the Hope is on the right. From the station turn right out the door, then left onto West Street. This is a real community pub, owned and run by members of the local community with plentiful ales and food available.

The ground is a short walk up West Street (ie turn right out of the Hope or the station) to a mini roundabout where Colston Avenue is the turning off to the left. Ground is a short walk down on the right.

There's a lot more to traipsing around following Guernsey FC than football, as you'll know if you recognise this:

 

If you know where this is and what makes it special to some of us send your answers on a postcard.....

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

A look back at our first visit to Carshalton

If you're coming over on the club day trip this weekend and wondering about how to while away the time until 3 o'clock, this is what happened the first time we went to Carshalton....

"Carshalton Athletic P Guernsey P

The day started well with the Llama Express bang on time and speeding towards Clapham Junction to collect GFC's only celebrity fan, 70s throwback Dirk Diggler. Nobody expected Dirk to make this trip but, at great expense to himself, he cancelled the housewives special shoot that had been arranged for months at the last minute so he could get his GFC fix.

On the way one or two mutterings came through the ether about a broken aeroplane but not a dickie bird of an announcement from the club so the Llama Express continued to thunder through past North West London's finest landmarks. Then just as we were pulling into platform 17 at Clapham Junction GFC's super efficient communications team stopped taking selfies for a moment and broke the news. The rumours were indeed true, there was to be no match.

A quick call to the Mark 2 Llama Express, on a stopover at St Pancras whilst the passengers took a much needed refreshment break (as one of them had travelled from Birmingham for the match) and a decision was made. We would continue on to Carshalton. Not before a brief diversion to the Falcon at the junction with Lavender Hill, however, where a distraught Diggler was revived with a soothing pint of Bath Ales Forest Hare. Very pleasant it was too.

Then a short train ride to Carshalton where we were due to meet up with the Mark 2 contingent. On alighting at Carshalton just before Noon we happened upon Septuagenarian GFC fan Chesham Jean, who'd set off from home at 8.30 to make the 12.45 kick off. Jean was visibly shocked when the Diggler broke the news about the match to her which made Dirk himself distraught once more.

So we headed off to the Windsor Castle for a soothing pint of Ringwood's Forty Niner (Guinness for Jean) to calm the moustachioed one's fraught nerves. Not long to wait until the Mark 2 Express disgorged it's passengers and we all settled down for a pint of Hopback's Summer Lightning (it was good).

Meanwhile we'd learnt of Leicestershire Ash having trucked through the night to reach the Midlands where he was just about to get on a train when he heard the news. He decided not to use his £76 rail ticket, choosing to take the odd restorative or two in his local. Dorset Tony didn't hear the news until he was about 8 miles short of Carshalton, so he turned around and trundled back to the land of the Knob. Still it meant a few hours off the cider which can only be a good thing once in a while.

Leaving Windsor Castle we entered the Racehorse where we all enjoyed a Dizzy Blonde (the Robinsons variety I hasten to add). I should probably also add that Jean went skipping back to the station after leaving the Windsor Castle. Amazing what Guinness can do to a 75 year old.

Sadly the route back to the station meant we had to pass the Hope. Run by the same chap that has the Traf in Merton and for some reason we couldn't walk on by. Two in there, taken in the garden out back enjoying a lovely bit of Autumn sun. Firstly Hopcraft's Citraic. Read the description on the pump clip and you think 'tropical fruit? Takes me back to vodka and Umbongo by the neck at the Cow's Horn all those years ago'. But no, one of the finest beers I've had in a long time.

We finished the afternoon with a pint of High Wire pale ale from the Magic Rock Brewery. One of the finest beers I've had in a long time.


So no football, which was a bit annoying at first to be honest, but a good day out nonetheless."


Looking back it was a bit of a quiet one compared to some we've had, like Spalding eh Bob....



ARS End (all being well)

Never been keen on the ARS with its ludicrous leaning towards athletics and egg chasing, not to mention the alarming lack of urinals. Alarming to me at any rate. So it was some relief to see that that plans that had previously only been known to a few thousand were finally made public this week.

I was so pleased to read the expertly embargoed press release that I put the prescription opioids aside for a couple of hours to concentrate on this......

Concern about parking amongst local residents is understandable but misplaced. Nobody will be parking among you because the CPO means you will be relocating to what's left of the Vale. Thereby creating plentiful parking space for the flaccid hordes struggling to comprehend the notion of walking a mile or so to watch a football match.

This season has been somewhat difficult. Let's face it, if it wasn't for the restructure at the end of the season relegation would be a serious probability/possibility (depending on your level of optimism). A particular low point was the hammering at Hythe Town where the day was only saved by Diggler forgetting his spectacles earlier in the day, thereby forcing us into a hasty post match return to the fleshpots lining the Folkestone harbour side.

More recently however we've seen a young prospect called Rihoy score a couple of crackers at VCD Athletic and, on an evening when we were expecting a sound thrashing, a splendid backs to the wall display by the Torteval Under 12s at Walton Casuals.

There are of course many worse things in life than relegation from Step 4, the reward for which is entry to the FA Vase. Who remembers this....


Carshalton on Saturday. Let's Hope for some Sun.



Of Stench and Bulls

Last week's match against Greenwich Borough meant a trip to Eltham. Once regarded as a magnet for liberal thinking multicultural types i...