Manchopper in….Rotherham (Millmoor)

Result: Westfield United Black 3-2 Southey Wolves (Sheffield u18 League Division 5)

Venue: Millmoor (Sunday 15th January 2017, 10.30am)

Att: 28 (hc)

After missing out on a ground on Saturday, I wasn’t too disheartened. This, dear reader, was down to the fact I had something a little different and somewhat obscure lined up for the Sunday. Not only that, but it was a morning kick-off too, that rarity of things seen in a “real” ground. So, where was it to be? If the surprise has somehow evaded you so far then you’re about to find out…

After getting a lift to a very soggy Manchester in the morning, I was soon on the 9am train to Rotherham, the first of the day and the only one that would enable me to get to the game. So with the most important journey in the book, I again found myself stood up for the vast majority of the journey on a Trans-Pennine Service. Honestly. I don’t know what we pay for.

Eventually the train pulled into Rotherham at just after 10 o’clock and I headed straight for the town centre. Here, I found the Rhinoceros. Unfortunately, the South Yorkshire town doesn’t own its own African beast, but it does have a Wetherspoon’s of that very name and I’d much rather have that. At least I think I would….no, yeah I would. Anyway, the Rhinoceros was fairly basic really and my brief stay in here was lit up by two things; one: Punk IPA and two: a guy ranting to the bar staff about his cloudy Guinness while stating people were lying about what pumps they were using. Ah, a morning with the early starters!

Arrived!

Arrived!

Rotherham

Rotherham

The Rhinoceros

The Rhinoceros

Anyway, I’d eventually tired of being in here and headed off towards Millmoor early as I fancied getting a few pics of the grounds exterior. I did, however, have to force myself past The County, which was serving pints for £2 in order to do so.

After a 10-minute walk over the Don and past the Millers’ new New York Stadium, I arrived at the foot of the road leading to the ground and witnessed a ball flying above the stands. Game on confirmed! However these weren’t the kicks of teams warming up as I’d suspected, the game had actually begun at 10.30am and thus I’d missed out on about ten minutes of action. Cheers to the Full-Time website for that one.

The Old & the New

The Old & the New

Not quite factual...

Not quite factual…

Eerie...

Eerie…

Anyway, once inside, I quickly made sure of the above details from the first guy I came across in the sparsely populated stadium. This, it transpired, was a Norwegian hopper named Anders, who I’d seen tweet about this game about two weeks prior. As such, I decided I’d ruin his day by hanging around with him for the remainder of it!

Millmoor is, of course, the former home of Rotherham United, but now plays host to the Westfield United u18 sides with ‘Black’ being the first team. It is still in decent shape, outside of some weathering on the seating and a bit of inevitable wear and tear, but it is a rather eerie experience watching a game in such a ground whilst the stands sit, mostly, empty. (NB: There will be no pics of the game, on account of the ages of the players. It might have been ok, but I’m not risking lawsuits!).

After watching the early stages of the game in the stand behind the goal, where we witnessed the away side take the lead through the #15 who towered above the defence to head home from a corner. This was swiftly followed by the home side, Westfield, taking the game to their visitors and they struck the woodwork after a low drive and also saw a shot cleared off the line.

Millmoor

Millmoor Lane ‘End’

Millmoor

The old railway end

Along the Tivoli End

Along the Tivoli End

Eventually, though, the hosts got what their play had deserved and grabbed the equaliser, as #11 grabbed his first of the game. The forward burst clear of the defence and kept his cool to slot beyond the Southey ‘keeper. However, this wasn’t to be the end of the scoring in the first half and it was the visitors who were to go in at the break ahead, the diminutive #19 fizzing a fine drive beyond United’s bespectacled stopper. 1-2, half-time.

The game had seen myself and Anders heading around the ground and seeking out all the closed-up facilities, including the old club bar. However, this had attracted the attention of the groundsman, who came over to find out just what we were up to! Of course, instead of being all hostile, he approached it nicely and was more than happy to talk to us about the club and the ground and the situation regarding both. Needless to say, at this moment, Millmoor will be around for a while yet!

During our time talking, Westfield had levelled the game once more as #11 nipped in to net his second, reacting first to a rebound following a pretty decent stop by the big, yet agile, Wolves gloveman. 2-2 and for a Division 5 game, the quality was really decent to watch. Despite this, our attentions were soon turned by the discovery of the “Police Detention Centre”, which Anders couldn’t resist posing in front of!

Millmoor

Millmoor

Main Stand. Still half-built 14 years later.

Main Stand. Still half-built 14 years later.

Anders trying out the...hospitality.

Anders trying out the…hospitality of Millmoor.

Both sides continued to waste decent positions and chances as the game went on and it wasn’t until the last quarter of the contest that the winner was scored. It was to be #11 once more who was to prove the bane of Southey as he arrived in the box to power a header beyond the ‘keeper and seal both his hat-trick and the win for the hosts, despite a fair amount of late pressure from the gold-clad visitors. A good game came to an end with both sides putting on a quality show, so kudos to them both for that.

With the game finished up, Anders decided he’d head back into Manchester for the evening ahead of his final night of football in the UK on this trip. As such I joined him on the short walk back to the station, as he regaled me with stories of his experiences of disused grounds with one especially amusing. We’ll leave it at that! Anyway, we got back to the station in time for the train back, but the County was calling and its £2 pints were somewhat irresistible!

After a couple of pints of Strongbow in here, it was time to depart from Rotherham and head for our connection back from Sheffield. Unfortunately, this meant a stop off in the Sheffield Tap. Oh, the hardships! After narrowly avoiding a £6 pint thanks to the barman pointing out the price, I opted for a half before joining Anders on the much more economical Aspell ciders.

The County

The County…

...before heading here

…before heading here

Sheffield

Sheffield’s features looking good.

After a couple of further hours in here, it was eventually time to actually head back to Manchester. Despite having lined up a final drink on our return, I’d somewhat forgotten I was supposed to be “working” in my parents’ bar that night and still needed to eat. (NB: Oh dear). So, this plan had to be cancelled on our arrival at Piccadilly and so we headed our separate ways, Anders to his hotel room and me to flop out in the waiting room at Oxford Road for 45 minutes. Sleep does pass the time nicely though…!

New York Stadium from Millmoor

RATINGS:

Game: 7

Ground: 8

Food: N/A

Programme: N/A

Value For Money: 8

Manchopper in….Castleton (Rochdale Town FC)

rochdale townWidnes_Football_Club_logo

Result: Rochdale Town 1-3 Widnes (North West Counties League Division 1)

Venue: Mayfield Sports Centre (Saturday 23rd April 2016, 3pm)

Att: 17

As you may have read over my various social media outlets, this blog is going to become something of a budgeted venture for the foreseeable future, largely due to my income being severely reduced in the meantime. As such, when Rochdale Town’s offer of £5 in plus pie and drink thrown in for good measure, it seemed a perfect excuse to begin and explore just how I would survive doing the blog in this way after such a long while.

So, I set off for Manchester during the late morning and after a fairly brisk walk through Manchester to Victoria Station, I boarded my train over to Castleton, the home town of Rochdale Town FC, formerly the much better named Castleton Gabriels. Anyway, personal preferences aside I began my short ride over to just short of Rochdale only to realise that I was on an earlier train than I’d planned and now had an extra half hour to waste away in Castleton. Brilliant.

After a 15 minute ride or so, the train pulled into Castleton and I headed for the first pub I spied, not that it was difficult or a skilful thing to do as it was right in front of me. Yes, the Midland Beer Company was to be my first stop. I headed in and found what I considered a bit of a gem and with the Man City-Stoke game on the TV too, settled in with an Estrella to watch. Mindful of what this blog is becoming, it became my sole stop-off point pre-game.

Castleton

Castleton

The Midland

The Midland

Inside the Midland Beer Company

Inside the Midland Beer Company

So, after making my pint last the full 90 minutes(!), it was eventually time to head out of the Midland without any real happenings of any note and head down the road alongside towards the Mayfield Sports Centre, the home of Town and some Rugby sides too. After getting very slightly lost, I found my bearings and was soon at the entrance to the ground, confirmed by a large sign confirming this!

Heading to the turnstile, which is just lacking the turnstile, I handed over my £5 entry and on realising there were no programmes on hand, headed inside. About 5 minutes later, a Town official appeared and declared that “the programmes have arrived”. As such, out traipsed the majority of the 17 hardy souls who made the trip to Castleton for today’s tie vs Widnes to grab a piece of the action for a measly £1.

The Mayfield Sports Centre is within a largely rugby dominated complex, but is a little ramshackle ground which has it’s own charms to it. It’s main stand is in need of the bit of renovation it’s getting and the other small seating stand opposite is a little unkempt too. The right hand end, as you enter, features a covered standing area and you have to cross the grass to get to it from the far side. The opposite end features an open raised terrace, which leads round past a caravan (yes, a caravan) and back to the Main Stand.

Arriving at Mayfield Sports Centre

Arriving at Mayfield Sports Centre

Approaching the turnstile (minus the turnstile!)

Approaching the turnstile (minus the turnstile!)

Heading in

Heading in

As I mentioned above, it was Widnes who’d provide the opposition for Town today and, from what I can recollect in my memory bank, it was to be the first time I’d seen them play so a bit of a non-interesting side note for anyone else who isn’t me. Anyway, after a further 15 minutes, the teams re-entered the field for the usual pre-match niceties and we were all set to go in this North West Counties Division 1 tie. But first, a bit about the story of Rochdale Town FC…

History Lesson:

Rochdale Town FC was founded in 1924 as St.Gabriel’s FC and played in the Rochdale Sunday League, but players had to be church-going Catholics. Strictly. This was the case until the 1960’s, when this requirement was lifted to help out the, now struggling, club. It had the desired effect, with the club becoming more successful and gaining honours while playing in the Rochdale Alliance.

In 1979, the club moved to its current home, then known as Butterworth Park and made improvements both on the field and off it before, in 1985, making the switch to Saturday football in the shape of the Manchester League. In their second season, the club won the Division 1 and promotion, as well as lifting the Murray Shield. After a spell in the Manchester League’s Premier Division, the club moved to the North West Counties in 1990 and dropped the “Saint” prefix from their name.

Caravan

Caravan

Main Stand

Main Stand

In the meantime, the club became Castleton Gabriels but the club began to suffer financially during the ’90’s and early 2000’s. As the ground fell into gradual disrepair, Gabriels were relegated on account of ground grading but the stadium was purchased off the club by the current landlords, Rochdale Mayfield RLFC who began refurbishing Butterworth Park. After almost being expelled from the league, a short spell groundsharing at the now defunct Oldham Town, (latterly Boro), Gabriels returned to the newly named Castleton Sports Centre in late 2005, though this didn’t help the club on the field particularly with them ending the ’05-’06 season on one point (after points deduction).

At the end of the 2007-’08 season, the decision was taken (disappointingly in most quarters outside of the club as far as my travels have shown (we want Gabriels!)) to change the club name to Rochdale Town FC and to, hopefully, gain more support from the larger town next door. What this has done, though, is create links with Rochdale AFC and sees Town wear Dale’s old kits. Last season saw Town finish in 13th place in Division 1.

Line ups

Line-ups

The game got underway and, to be honest, lacked the cutting edge from either side. Both battled gamely but, ultimately, created little throughout the whole first half. But there was one flash point which would largely turn the game in favour of the visitors.

About 15 minutes in, the ball was played through to the Widnes striker who outpaced the defence and ‘keeper, forcing the latter to bring him down when through on goal. By the laws and all that, it’s a red but it really tends to ruin the game as a spectacle and I was hoping the scarlet card would remain in the ref’s pocket. Sadly, it did not and after a defender was forced to go between the sticks, he could do nothing to prevent Luke Edwards’ spot-kick giving Widnes the lead.

As I alluded to earlier, that was pretty much the only action during the first half, though there was some good battling/handbags being exchanged on the field throughout with Widnes’ #9 particularly liking to stay down after a couple of 50/50’s and their #7 having a humorous exchange with a supporter over who fouled who when he wasn’t too happy with a challenge. But, half-time arrived with the score still at 0-1 and to the tea bar it was, via a wrong turn into the director’s lounge bit.

Match Action

Match Action

Match Action

Match Action

Widnes' opener flying in

Widnes’ opener flying in

After being helped out/figuring out simultaneously where I’d gone wrong (which wasn’t tricky to figure out), I found my way to the queue for the tea bar, where I redeemed my pie (Meat and Potato) and a cup of tea. These were much needed as the wind was bloody bracing. Unfotunately, the half-time came and went and we were all forced back out into the elements for the second half. It had to be better right?

Experience tells me that in this league, second halves are always more open than firsts and, thankfully, this proved no different. I set off for a second lap of the ground, but instead got talking to the dad of Widnes’ #4 (another George on our day). I’m sure I picked up his name too, but I can’t for the life of me remember it sorry, but it was great to have the chat.

Whilst standing above the home dugout on a slightly raised area, we saw Rochdale’s 10 men unsurprisingly go level, with a clear double trip by two separate players at the same time giving an easy decision for the ref. Though, having seen some of the decisions, it was still debatable if he’d get it right. Still, Town’s Carl Fitton stepped up and converted comfortably to give the 10 men all the momentum going into the last 15.

The momentum, though, lasted all of 20 seconds as, from the kick-off, the ball was played out to the left and Edwards floated the ball over the stranded stand-in ‘keeper (who’d done mighty well all game bar this moment) and into the bottom corner. 1-2 then.

1-1

1-1

Match Action

Match Action

Match Action

Match Action

Widnes went on to be the better side for the last 10, adding a further goal to their tally via James Ryan, who rounded the ‘keeper neatly before slotting in. 1-3, game over and despite the niggly nature of the game all the players still got on with handshakes and everything at the end. What they thought of the ref though is, I imagine, unpublishable! Quote one Town player “We’re being shafted by shit officials!” or something close to that!

Game over, it was back to Castleton station, dodging the occasional drops of rain before hopping on the train back to Man Vic where I was to meet Paul of “(occasional)pitcsidepints”. Paul, who’d been sampling the debatable delights of Bacup, had floated the idea of watching the majority of the United-Everton semi-final somewhere in Manchester. Problem was, all the bars were rammed, with the highlight being in the Old Nag’s Head pub with one fan doing a strange, gyrating, throw-in action at the screen. No idea what his feelings were, or what he wanted, but he was doing it with some gusto!

Eventually, we gave best and headed into the Britons Protection pub close to Oxford Road. No football in here though, that is until Paul whipped his phone out with the live coverage on! Perfect! Despite some crafty looks along the lines of “How dare you bring football into our establishment” from a couple next to us, Tony Martial’s late winner saw me pierce the silence once again, before we reckoned we should leave and head towards the station a bit more and avoid a banning order…

After a quick stop off in the nearby Temple, it was off to the station to catch our respective trains back home. Overall, a good day out despite the weather not being too kind, but credit (and thanks) to Rochdale for putting on the offer and hopefully the next one gets better publicity and attracts more than, well, that. They deserve it.

DSC02269

RATINGS:

Game: 5- Pretty poor, not helped by a rugby-affected surface.

Ground: 6- Bit ramshackle, but going through some upgrades. Nice caravan.

Fans: 4- There was a couple. A couple. a few Dale fans too it seemed.

Programme: 5- OK, worth a pound and pen-pic dominant.

Food: 7- Pie was decent enough and can’t complain really can I?!

Value For Money: 7- All round decent day for the money. No real complaints to be had.

 

 

Manchopper in….Manchester (Northwich Manchester Villa FC)

Northwich_Flixton_Villa_logoStockportTown

Result: Northwich Manchester Villa A-A Stockport Town (NWCFL Division 1)

Venue: Manchester Regional Arena, Etihad Campus (Wednesday 30th March, 7.45pm)

Att: Probably around 65-70.

A blog which should have happened the previous week for the visit of Bacup Borough to the Manchester Regional Arena was put off due to reasons beyond my control. With another game the following week, I reasoned “Ah, no bother there then”. Of course this was going to end up well, wasn’t it?

I set off into Manchester with time in hand and visited the Piccadilly Wetherspoon’s as to mirror my steps from the prior Wednesday. After a highly uneventful stay here, I decided it was best to head over to the Etihad Campus and to the stadium which stands in the shadow of its more illustrious neighbour, the City of Manchester Stadium. After a short 10 minute bus ride onwards, I arrived at Gate 11 of the Etihad and made my way along Citizens Lane to the next in a line of short term homes for the NM Villa.

I was so early, in fact, that I was the first paying customer through the gate (it actually is just a gate) and as such secured myself a programme which is much sought after, as this is the one and only season of the club under this name. I now have both a Northwich Flixton Villa and Northwich Manchester Villa programme in my possession, as well as a programme from a Northwich Villa/Woodley FC Cup Final appearance. The full quota!

Piccadilly Gardens' Spoons

Piccadilly Gardens’ Spoons

Arriving at the Campus

Arriving at the Campus

Cityzens Lane

Cityzens Lane

Wall of achievement from the Commonwealth Games

Achievements from the Commonwealth Games

So, after handing over £5 plus £2 for the full colour programme, bearing the club’s current name alongside the subtext of their next identity of Manchester Diamonds which is to bring the senior side in line with the junior section ahead of their next move into Tameside. I won’t say where though, under vow of silence….

The other two things of note in the programme where the bit where they apparently took over from Woodley Sports in 2005 (though I’m sure I went there in 2009 and then I’m sure it was Stockport Sports after that, prior to Town’s creation, which comes to the answer that Villa is actually spawned from Woodley FC and before that, Woodley Sports Reserves. Oh, there’s a JFK quote in there too, as we all know JFK loved his non-league football.

After a while and with kick-off approaching, I was joined by Gibbo and Ian from the Counties, who had travelled up together to clearly take in the hospitality and the strange sight of the officials getting themselves readied inside the tea bar. The Villa team eventually joined their counterparts from Stockport out on the field after a short time, but Gibbo was restless after his lap of photography and decided to go on a discovery mission. Invited along, it would be rude to decline.

This is where everything started to become even more surreal. In the process of looking for a toilet/bar, we ended up discovering, through a Narnia-like door, the expanse of the indoor athletics centre and the National Squash Centre further to the rear. This is certainly not something you find everyday when you head to watch football! After a lap around here and finding a tactics board in a meeting room, we re-joined the footballing folk who were completely unaware of our magical transportation.

The MRA's own Narnia

The MRA’s own Narnia

Novel.

Different

The hidden bar

The hidden bar, Starters Orders.

Gibbo was then put back somewhat by the sight of former Wigan player Jason Jarrett in his officials outfit heading out onto the field, and was quite amused when it came about that he was tonight’s official. It was certainly shaping up for one of those mad days where everything that was happening was trying to “one-up” the previous occurrence in terms of utter weirdness. Anyway, the sides were soon on the field, with Villa including Mohamud Ali and Socrates in their side, clearly harking back to the era in history of ’80’s heroes. Speaking of which…

History Lesson:

Founded in 2005 following the link up between Woodley FC and Northwich Victoria, Woodley FC/Northwich Villa took up a place in the Second Division of the Mid-Cheshire League an finished runners-up at the end of their first season at that level to be promoted to Division 1.

After winning the Cheshire League in 2009 and finishing as runners-up the following year, the people behind the club decided that it was best for them to begin to climb the pyramid, or at least to compete in it and as such successfully applied to join the North West Counties League for the season 2011-’12. Since their joining, Villa have been mostly strugglers and after a spell at Flixton along with apparent unofficial “parent club” Vics under the Northwich Flixton Villa banner, moved to their current abode for this season having again changed name, now to Northwich Manchester Villa. They managed a club-best finish of 11th last season.

As for the game, well, it was underwhelming and that’s being kind. I honestly can’t actually remember anything of note happening during the first half at all, and we were already confident that this was a stonewall 0-0. There was no way anyone was scoring tonight, though I can now claim to have made a successful pass to Socrates. It doesn’t matter if his surname is Martins, we can forget that bit can’t we?

Anyway, half-time thankfully arrived to break the monotony of the football and Gibbo and Ian headed for the hospitality area/tea hut/officials waiting area, while I headed for the back of the Main Stand and got talking to the West Didsbury/Alty supporting pair of Jonny and Danny. After a short talk about just what the fuck was going on at all around here and why there was a small buggy doing laps of the pitch for no apparent reason (despite Gibbo’s x-rated possible explanation). The guys on the gate where even trying to still charge full price at half-time to get in, apparently. This doesn’t exactly endear yourselves especially when, to use the eternal phrase “you’ve got no fans”.

Match Action

Match Action

Match Action

Match Action

Tunnel Vision

Tunnel Vision

Anyway, negativity out of the way, the second half began and I rejoined Gibbo and Ian for what was looking to be the next 45 minutes of action, until the unfortunate incident which caused the abandonment arrived around an hour into the action. It was nothing but a 50/50 challenge in the centre circle, but the unfortunate Stockport player Sam Scott came off much the worse and ended up with a broken leg. The stretcher was called for.

It the became apparent that there was no stretchers to be found. Nada. Zilch. Whether or not this would have aided him in his predicament is unclear, but it certainly isn’t a great showing when a game is going ahead short of usual medical equipment. So, the stricken Scott was left in the centre circle “chillin'” according to the quote from a Villa player (NB: this wasn’t meant in a nasty/mocking way whatsoever). Of course, after a half-hour delay and still waiting for the ambulance, the ref had no option but to abandon the game and we all emptied out into the darkness with the player still awaiting proper medical aid (which eventually arrived an hour after the injury occurred). This is what the cuts do, it seems.

Players start some tennis

Players start some tennis

The Etihad from its little sis

The Etihad from its little sis

More tunnel vision

More tunnel vision

So, that was that, and after a quick lap of the ground it was back out into the Manchester evening and onwards home on the bus routes. Best wishes to Sam on his recovery and hope all goes well and he’s back playing in the quickest time possible.

DSC01994

RATINGS:

Game: 2- Poor, nothing happened.

Ground: 5- Nice ground, but the facilities are non existent (beyond club’s control for the most part).

Fans: 3- Well, it’s improved since the ‘5’ at Valley Road a few years ago!

Programme: 5- Basic, but randon JFK quote gets a point.

Food: N/A (though there are snacks).

Value For Money: 0- No value really was there!

 

Manchopper in….Hucknall (Hucknall Rolls Leisure FC)

rolls royce Notts County FC

Result: Hucknall Rolls Leisure 0-9 Notts County X1 (Pre-Season Friendly)

Venue: Rolls Royce Leisure (Saturday 11th July 2015, 2pm)

Att: Around 600 (approx.)

The early stages of this blog are the only time the club will be referred to as Hucknall Rolls Leisure, as I know pretty much all of us will prefer Rolls Royce FC, no? Well, hard luck if you don’t, ’cause it’s happening anyway!

After seeing this game flagged up a fair few weeks earlier by lostboyos’ Matt, I was immediately attracted to the fixture as part of my quest to do some of the stranger named clubs in the country. A team named after the legendary transport company certainly fitted the bill, and so this was immediately added to the itinerary.

Eventually, the morning of the 11th of July arrived and I set off in pursuit of Matt, who’d arrived into Nottingham earlier than I was travelling, setting off from Manchester Oxford Road at just after 10.30, and arriving in the Midlands at around half-past midday. After a connection onwards from here, it was off to Hucknall, which was a further short hop on from Nottingham and 15 minutes later, I was pulling into the one platform station, adjoining the tram line and retail park.

After climbing the stairs and crossing the bridge over the tracks, it was onwards towards Watnall Road, guided by Google Maps, which was working perfectly fine for me, but not as well for Matt, it turned out, who informed  me of his and his County companions’ minor strife in finding the ground! For me, it was a rather simpler task, including taking in the sights of Hucknall, which include….Hucknall Town’s ground and…er…not much else. Luckily, about a half mile after Town’s Watnall Road ground, Rolls’ Watnall Road home comes up upon you, easily found today due to the stewarding of the car park and the resulting traffic waiting to get in. Indeed, just as I arrived, the main car park had to be closed, due to the sheer volume of traffic, with some being sent three blocks away to park!

Hucknall Town

Hucknall Town

Approach to the ground

Approach to the ground

After walking down the long access road, more akin to a holiday camp than a football ground, I entered the club building, handed over my £5 entry to a man sitting at a table, before entering the bar area which, to my delight, was showing the Ashes Test on two large screens either side of a large club badge, which features an aircraft engine-like design, harking back to the factory produce. Further on was a conservatory and raised patio which is where I spotted Matt, perhaps unsurprisingly, holding a beer. After greeting him and grabbing one myself, we attempted to enter the pitch before being stopped by a steward due to the alcohol being in appearance (though he disappeared soon after), meaning that everyone was free to come and go as they pleased. Much better for all.

More like a large beer garden!

More like a large beer garden!

Clubhouse, with the Ashes!

Clubhouse, with the Ashes!

Alan Smith leads the sides out.

Alan Smith leads the sides out.

By now, the teams were making their way out towards the pitch, which is basically just a barred off area with one covered stand behind the left hand goal. The problem was is that the dressing rooms were about a half-mile from the pitch, so the applause for the sides went on….and on…and on, with the walk being the longest seen in England since the old Wembley. Alan Smith was leading out the Notts County side for today, so being in the presence of a Manchester United legend made the trip all the more worth it. The game got underway without us realising from our “VIP” patio area, featuring a BBQ and DJ, but before we get into that, here’s the history of Huckna….sorry Rolls Royce FC…

History Lesson:

The current club only began life in 2009, but can trace its roots directly back to 1935 and Rolls Royce Welfare F.C. This side came into being on the opening of the Rolls’ Hucknall factory. This side were dissolved in the 1970’s, but reforemed within the same decade before renaming as Hucknall Rolls Royce in 1991, before a further name change was undertaken, with the club becoming known as Rolls Royce Leisure in 2002. Alas, soon after, the club was to dissolve again, before reforming under its present guise in 2009.

The club competed in the Nottinghamshire Senior League from 1991-1997 and the Central Midlands League from ’97 to 2009. The current side rejoined the Notts Senior League upon its reformation in 2009 and remain there to this day. The club also reached the first round of the FA Vase in 2002, entry being granted through the club’s access to floodlights. The club also lifted the Notts Senior League Cup in 2014.

So, back onto today then and after completing a lap of the ground and climbing up onto the Rolls’ equivalent of the Curva Nord alongside the sole stand, the game began to swing Notts way after a tight start, which saw the Rolls #14 go close a couple of times. But, Notts’ quality shone through, though they took the lead slightly fortuitously, as an effort from Filip Valencic looped up and over the goalkeeper before nestling in.

This was quickly added to by two strikes from Jimmy Spencer, his first a close range tap-in following a decent stop by the Rolls keeper, his second a neat curling finish that left the ‘keeper rooted. The fourth came courtesy of another big name, Jon Stead, who rifled a shot into the roof of the net in a flash, prompting a heckle to the ‘keeper of “You never even smelt that one!”, to which the ‘keeper replied “I never saw it, never mind smelt it!”. It was unfortunate or the ‘keeper, who’d made a number of cracking saves.

Stand

Stand

Filip Valencic scores the opener

Filip Valencic scores the opener

Match Action

Match Action

Blair Adams’ fine strike was sandwiched in between this and Stead’s second, classily volleying  in from a cross, to leave the score at 6-0 at the break, and leaving me, Matt and the County fans, namely Stu and Landy, who’ been introduced to me by Matt at the game. We all wanted ten. We sort of expected 10. Would we get it though?

Well, after heading to the bar for the second time whilst Matt queued up for some BBQ produce, one barman proceeded in becoming a comedian for the half-time, including barring all and sundry who didn’t take the pre-poured Carlings. My tip would be to not give up the day job any time soon…..In all seriousness, though, it’s good to see this sort of service and gives a good account of the club.

So, with alcohol now joined by hot dog, it was back through the the now steward-less barricades and onwards to the pitch where, I think this applies to everyone there, a first was taking place. The teams were playing in the same direction for the second period too! It’s a good job the FA weren’t there, or they may have kicked everyone out of all competitions or something just as shitty as they usually do.

Watching on...

Watching on…

Through the net

Through the net

County, now featuring more youth and triallists in this half, took their time to gel and it wsn’t until after the hour that Genaro Sneijders added a seventh, before late strikes by Lartey Sarpong and a pen from lanky giant striker from Germany, Abdoulla Alliyu, along with a small bush fire setting alight upon the Curva Nord ended matters at 9-0 with boos emanating from the terraces at the distinct lack of goals.

Match Action

Match Action

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Could be in Italy.

Alliyu nets the ninth...

Alliyu nets the ninth…

So, after pictures with the legend Alan Smith, who seemed distinctly buzzing to be a part of the fun, and a quick pint back in the clubhouse, he four of us set off back for Hucknall centre, but not before a stop off at Storth Avenue, which I was promised was not to be missed. What an avenue this was! It featured what must be the biggest junction ever seen, amongst many other things, though Matt had decided that some trees resembled palm trees, when they most definitely did not.

Storth Avenue left behind, it was onwards past the many Byron named features of Hucknall (in relation to the fact Lord Byron is buried there, thanks Matt), and past the Hucknall Miners’ Memorial before Stu. Landy and Matt boarded the tram back to Nottingham, whereas I waited slightly longer for the train back. I reunited with just the latter pair in Fellows, Morton and Clayton, apparently named after three men who undertook the first ever hot air balloon flight, according to historical story encyclopedia Matt again, who I delighted by bringing back a pint in real glass. He later told me this was due to him encountering solely plastic cups all day. (I was later informed that the composer of the Dam Busters march amongst others, Eric Coates, was born in the town too.

So, with about an hour to waste until our train back, Matt and I bid farewell to Landy who was heading somewhere to the south and headed to the infamous Hooters establishment in Nottingham, a lostboyos tradition so I was told, which is within sight of the holy trinity of grounds. After spending the time watching all manner of stags and more sights, it was time to head back, where further ales were purchased for the ride home. Now, I spotted Newcastle Brown Ale standing in the coolers, and having wanted to try one ever since the days of them sponsoring Newcastle United, I decided this was the time. So, with Ale purchased, it was off tot he platform, where we boarded the train and soon got a table, after a large de-training at the mecca of entertainment, Alfreton.

Super Smudge! (Credit: Matt Harrison)

Super Smudge! (Credit: Matt Harrison)

Miners Memorial

Miners Memorial

Hooters!!

Hooters!!

After discussing Rolls Royce, the day as a whole and football in general,  I stated that it was best we had done the trip now, as it wouldn’t be one for the faint hearted on a cold, blustery mid-December evening! The whole day and experience added to it, with a full crowd, a DJ blaring out all sorts of tunes, a barbecue, Alan Smith and dugouts in a car park. There’s probably more I could add, but for now, I’ll leave it at that. Hucknall Town has a lot to live up to next time!

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RATINGS:

Game: 6- Lots of goals, but a stroll in the park for County.

Ground: 5- Decent for the level Rolls are at, considering there’s a stand and lights.

Programme: N/A

Food: 8- High quality hot dog and onions for £1.80.

Fans: 5- There was a handful, though you wouldn’t have known it!

Value For Money: 7- £30 travel, £5 and about £20 for other necessities!

Manchopper in….Sutton (Penlake FC)

Penlake Golborne Sports

Result: Penlake 9-0 Golborne Sports (Hallmark Security Cheshire League 1)

Venue: Sutton Leisure Centre (Saturday 23rd May 2015, 3pm)

Att: 40 (hc)

The penultimate weekend of the season signalled the penultimate game. A straight shoot out between two sides, Penlake & Walshaw Sports was decided when Walshaw’s gamewas switched to a 3G venue, thus leaving me with a trip towards St.Helen’s for a crucial game in the Cheshire League 1. Penlake, the home side, sat 11th out of 12 in the table and required no less than a win to stay up and send Warrington Town Reserves down instead. Golborne Sports provided the obstacle, looking to do their near neighbours a favour and put their opponents through the trap door.

Again, I was to be joined on another journey into the lower reaches of the English system by Dan Watkinson, who I was to meet at Manchester Oxford Road Station, for the train onwards to Newton-le-Willows. Whilst on the platform, we briefly met up with Trafford supporter Richard Parkinson, who was heading off to Southport for the Lancashire vs Derbyshire County Championship match. I’ve known Richard for a fair while now, and it’s always good to have a chat with him, however brief it may be, as a couple of minutes later, he departed off on his way towards the leather and willow. We, however, were on our way soon after, on the Llandudno-bound train.

After disembarking at the first stop on the route, it was soon onto a novelty of sorts, a comfortable Northern Electric train! How exciting. Dan, meanwhile, ended up meeting an old colleague, as you do, before we soon rolled into Lea Green station at just after 1.30. With loads of time to spare and with Sutton Leisure Centre, the venue for today’s game, just two minutes walk from the station, we decided to scout out the entry etc. first. After doing so and spotting the first players beginning to arrive in the car park, we decided to backtrack towards the pub, situated on the station approach.

Newton-le-Willows

Newton-le-Willows

Comfort

Comfort!

The Bull & Dog

The Bull & Dog

Now inside the Bull & Dog, and with a, rather expensive, £3.70 Kopparberg in hand, we made our way over towards the tables and benches running along the far wall. Here, we were greeted with a voice calling “Well, you’ve just avoided the worst game in the history of football!”. The comment was made about the Dundee-Rangers game, which Rangers scraped through by a guy sitting next to us. It turned out that, he too, was heading to the Penlake game and informed us that there would probably be quite a few groundhoppers down at the game, himself being one. After a further conversation about Minor Counties cricket and football in general, we headed off in unison to the leisure centre. On arrival, you make your way through the car park, past a sign warning of “No Ball Games”, and past a large blue penguin which stands guard at the entrance to the facility itself. P-P-P-P-Penlake then!!! No? No? Okay then.

Once inside, our fellow hopper, whose name escapes me, came across a familiar face to him, by the name of Andy, who wished us luck in finding the entrance. Surprisingly, it was I who had the best of this, spotting the signs for the way to the Athletics Track, which surrounds the ground. After passing by the dressing rooms of the respective teams, both bearing the names of their previous inhabitants for a cup final, we headed outside and back into the sunshine of St. Helen’s. As stated above, the pitch itself is surrounded by an athletics track, though this matters little, as it seems to not affect the views too much. This is probably aided by the fact there is a grass banking which runs the length of the far touchline, before curving round behind the far goal, Curva Nord style. Behind both goals is open, with a pathway leading behind the “road end” and grass and bushes behind the far net. The near side touchline is where the hatch with a Slush Puppy Machine is situated, with a patio-like area providing views of the pitch. This is where you enter the barred-off pitch area from when you first exit the Leisure Centre.

Approaching the Centre

Approaching the Centre

This May Be An Issue...

This May Be An Issue…

Dan and the Blue Penguin

Dan, our  hopping friend & the Blue Penguin

The players soon followed us through the door, before carrying some “mobile” dugouts towards the touchline! The two sides awaited kick-off, whilst Golborne struggled to get up to 11, but once they did, we were all set to go. But before then, here is a bit of history about Penlake Football Club….

History Lesson:

Penlake FC was formed in 1971, by the current club president, Chris Duffy, along with Eddie Guinness. The club, Penlake Juniors, as a whole, derives its name from the British Rail Club within Sutton Junction. The traditional name of the club’s home is The Beeches Playing Fields, which is part of the wider leisure centre on Sutton Road.

The club hosts age groups from under 7’s up to the open age side, and their claim to fame is being in the Guinness Book of Records. This was achieved in 1986, when the Penlake first team went on a 153 game unbeaten streak, which lasted for over five years. This record still stands to this day, and apparently makes Penlake Juniors the “Team of the Millennium! Not a bad title to hold!  The club played just one season under the Penlake Juniors name in the Liverpool Combination, before dropping the suffix for the senior side. They continued in the league for a further two seasons, before dropping out of competition, it appears, in 2007. They returned, in the Cheshire League 2, in 2012, playing two seasons in that division, before gaining a place in the League 1 in 2014 as a result of the Cheshire League restructuring, after a ninth placed finish.

Helpful Signage.

Helpful Signage.

Mobile Dugouts

Mobile Dugouts

Kick-Off

Kick-Off

So, what would the Team of the Millennium have in store for us today then? Let’s find out….

The answer was fireworks! No, not literally, but figuratively speaking, they were on fire! After a rather even start to the game, the home side began to take control and it was no surprise that they struck first, with the Penlake #9, Alex Grisedale, being played in, before slotting in comfortably.

As we were undertaking a half-lap of the ground, taking pictures of many things including Dan’s foot, Grisedale grabbed his, and his side’s, second soon afterwards, when the striker hammered in an effort from inside the area off the underside of the bar and into the net. Great start for the relegation threatened side, who looked full of confidence and this was only enhanced before the break, when the #14, who started the game, again found the crossbar friend rather than foe, firing in off of the woodwork.

Miles Away

Miles Away

The Curva Nord, Cheshire League Style!

The Curva Nord, Cheshire League Style!

Dan's Foot

Dan’s Foot

Half-Time came and went with a spot of sunbathing (unheard of, I know) being undertaken upon the grass banking which Dan and myself found as our vantage point of choice, and I’m sure Dan also took the opportunity for a few, not quite 40, winks. As for me, I found more than enough entertainment on the field, as Grisedale notched his hat-trick soon after the restart.

Then came the goal of the game. The #11 picked up the ball on the left wing, before unleashing a volley from 25 yards which flew past the GK, with the crossbar again helping the ball on its way. The sixth and seventh followed shortly afterwards, #11 nicking a less spectacular second, tapping in after #14 had been his shot well repelled by the Golborne GK, and Grisedale got his fourth, again smashing one past the beleaguered visiting goalkeeper, just as an Airbus Beluga flew over. Even the large cargo aircraft would struggle to hold the amount of goals today!

Match Action

Match Action

Match Action

Match Action

Match Action

Match Action

There was still time for Grisedale to become the league top scorer by grabbing a fifth goal, poaching one at the back post and lastly came substitute #12, who got inside the area before slotting it across the ‘keeper for #9. To add insult to an awful lot of injury, a comment from the crowd exclaimed “I don’t think he’s scored since he was 13!”.

If it wasn’t for an offside at 4-0, it would’ve been double figures and that wouldn’t have flattered Penlake at all, nor would it have been harsh on Golborne who were truly awful. True, they may have been light on numbers and playing for nothing but pride, but that doesn’t explain a 9-0 hammering against the side second bottom. Still, full credit to Penlake, who fully deserved their points.

Celebration of the last goal

Celebration of the last goal

The Leisure Centre

The Leisure Centre

As a result, the small band of Warrington fans went home slightly down, but I doubt they’d lose too much sleep. As for Dan and I, we headed back to the station, where we missed the first train back, but for me, this was for the best as the cancellation of a service was the one I’d have arrived for, therefore being left stranded. Happily, there was another in 20 minutes, so after wasting away the time with pointless conversation and the disturbing “Shrek is love, Shrek is Life” video, we soon set off for Victoria station and Dan again must have found me boring company as he once again visited the land of nod….

After arrival at Victoria, and Dan’s trouble with the ticket barriers there, we headed over to Piccadilly Gardens where I bid goodbye to Dan,who headed on his way home, whereas I walked on back to Oxford Road and parrived around about 10 minutes before my train home was due to depart. Perfect! A good day, at a nice venue and a very entertaining game, unless you hold a Golborne Sports point of view….

My Penlake M.o.M.- Alex Grisedale.

My Golborne Sports M.o.M.- The manager who was absent, referring to his many reporters on Twitter!

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RATINGS:

Game: 8- Entertaining, but very one sided.

Ground: 6- Athletics track a downside but, nonetheless, a very nice venue.

Fans: 6- Extra points for the comment above!

Programme: N/A

Food: N/A

Value For Money: 9- Only downside was the dear-ish cider in the pub!

Manchopper in…Old Trafford (Gorse Hill AFC)

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Result: Gorse Hill 1-2 Signol Athletic (Lancashire & Cheshire AFL Division 1)
Venue: The Cage, St. Bride’s Playing Fields, Old Trafford (Saturday 15th November 2014)
Att: 10 (hc)

A short blog this one, which is just to do a small log for a small local club. Gorse Hill, who feature in my Whalley Range AFC blog from last season, have been my mate Dan Watkinson’s local side for a while now, as he lives almost next door to the St. Bride’s playing fields (formerly home to Old Trafford FC And known as the “Field of Dreams”!) on which they now play, having previously played on Turn Moss fields in Stretford. For a fair while, he has been pressing me to visit them, and with me on an economy drive this month, I figured “Why not?”.
So, I was soon heading down towards the ground, situated in between the City Centre & Old Trafford’s more famous sporting homes and not far from The Whalley pub, which has now closed. After hopping off the 255 bus, I quickly undertook the five minute walk along a couple of side roads and up an alleyway whereupon I could begin to hear the sounds of a football match being battled out. A good sign!

Arriving at "The Cage".

Arriving at “The Cage”.

After firstly spotting a kids training session, I soon spotted Dan watching the game on an adjoining pitch. The pitches, marked out on what becomes Old Trafford Cricket Club in the summer months, are situated within a large metal cage (hence the name), which surrounds the whole turfed area. That is all there is to see in the ground, as it is just a field, but I feel compelled to do a blog anyway and go against my usual rule of not blogging about grounds with no barred off playing area.

Looking across to the far "warehouse" side.

Looking across to the far “warehouse” side.

Towards the "Dan's Apartment" end

Towards the “Dan’s Apartment” end

So, there’s not much to talk about there, and with the game a couple of minutes old as I arrived, but still goalless, Dan ensured me there would be goals. I’d seen that Signol had earlier racked up a rather impressive 12-1 win at Santos FC, but also been on the receiving end of a 10-5 defeat to Newton Heath. Gorse Hill, meanwhile, had recorded a 7-1 victory over Chorltonians Rovers plus an impressive penalty shoot-out victory over Wythenshawe Town’s Reserve side. With both sides towards the top of the table, a good game was in order.
I had previously watched Gorse Hill twice, once in a cup final at the Regional Athletics Stadium (the ground that neighbours the Etihad) and in the aforementioned Whalley Range game last season, where they attained a more than respectable draw with the six-time straight winners of the Lancs & Cheshire League. Signol probably just edged the early stages and took the lead when a shot by #14 from just outside the area found its way past the keeper. That’s how it stayed until the break, despite both sides having great chances to add to the score-line.

Rushing for a corner.

Rushing for a corner.

The "school" end

The “school” end

The near side touchline.

The near side touchline.

After catching some strange scents not usually found in football grounds, and finding out the players have to walk from the pitch, across he fields, cross a road and walk through a car park to get to their changing facilities, the second half was underway. Gorse Hill drew level on the hour, when a long ball was won by the forward who retained possession long enough for support in the guise of Hill’s #8 (or #3) to arrive and lash into the far corner.
It looked as though there would be further goals, and it seemed inevitable on many occasions, but it took until the 87th minute for a winner to arrive, and it was the visitors who grabbed it. A good, quick attack down the right saw the ball pulled back to #10 who shot low. Low enough in fact to go underneath the ‘keeper’s dive and into the bottom corner. Not the glove man’s finest hour, and the side from Stockport saw out the remaining minutes to take the points and the victory.
After the game, Dan and myself headed back towards the Main Road, past a burnt out transit van and onwards. Dan headed home whereas I headed to Chorlton for the second half of West Didsbury & Chorlton’s home game vs AFC Blackpool, which ended 0-0 incidentally, with Blackpool’s ‘keeper having a superb game from what I saw and, by all accounts, before that too!
So, a good day’s football with another “ground” ticked off. Always good to get a step closer to finishing a league and to give a local side some support.

Manchopper in…Gamesley

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Result: Gamesley 2-1 Eagle Sports (The Hallmark Security Cheshire League Premier Division)

Venue: Melandra Park (Saturday 18th October 2014, 3.00pm)

Att: 40

A further dip into the Cheshire League was on for this Saturday, a trip to Gamesley FC as they were due to entertain my, somewhat adopted, Cheshire League side Eagle Sports. My previous trip to Gamesley was truncated right at the close of last season. They were due to host Rudheath Social, but torrential downpours resulted in rivers running down roads and water seeping through clothing and, unsurprisingly, the game was postponed. But, the weather was set fair(er) for today’s game, and we were all set.
So, at just before 12pm, I set off to catch the train to Sankey and my pre-arranged lift from Eagle’s Thornton Road home, courtesy of their midfield dynamo, James Maher.
After a 20-minute delay, the rattler eventually pulled into the station and I arrived at Sankey with around 15 minutes in which to undertake a 20-minute walk. I made it in the nick of time, after jogging the first half of my time of foot, and was soon in the car with a few of the side heading up to the ground.
After passing through the Stockport area, and the picturesque Glossop area of north Derbyshire, we soon entered a, somewhat out of place, council estate with a backdrop of rolling hills. Somewhat surreal. From the outside, the ground itself, Melandra Park, on Melandra Castle Road (which sounds quite Welsh to me, though I’m unsure if there actually is a castle EDIT: The ground is named after a Roman fort, the remnants of which are located just around the corner), doesn’t look too pretty, with a green cage surrounding the barred-off playing area and once inside, the legacy of a few young people’s drinking looks to have been left via Carling cans and an upturned bench.

Gamesley FC Melandra Park

Gamesley FC Melandra Park

On the plus side, the club itself is quite decent, with the portakabin serving as the clubhouse serving hot food (chips, barms, hot-dogs) and an assortment of cold and hot drinks, which is pretty good for the standard. The changing rooms are housed in a brick structure to the right as you enter from the side of said building. Though, along with a toilet and the two dugouts on the far side, this is all there is of note in the venue. All four sides are open, with just one offering hard standing (the one on the entrance side), the other three being grass, which was rather sodden this afternoon.

Clubhouse

Clubhouse

The "Valley End"

The “Valley End”

So, after purchasing a 70p Coke, and having a bit of a chat with the guy, who I think was the chairman (?), behind the “bar” about my previous, abandoned, trip as well as catching the second half of the Man City-Spurs game on Freeview Radio, I made my way outside for the kick-off. Which reminds me. I best kick-off the history section. Hey, Hey, see what I did there?!

History Lesson:

Gamesley F.C. were only formed in 1991 and, after initially joining the Manchester Amateur League, went on to win the Premier Division on three consecutive occasions, along with cup wins in the Derbyshire, Gosling & Petite cups. The club then joined the Manchester League in 1996, competing in Division 1, where they remained until the millennium, with 2 Murray Trophies and a runners-up spot to show for their efforts.
After a season without a league in 2000-’01, the club joined the Hope Valley League, and finished as runners-up & winners in their two seasons as well as being beaten finalists in the Dore Shield. Then, following ground improvement works, Gamesley joined the Mid-Cheshire League in 2003. In 2006, the club were promoted from Division 2 to Division 1 (now Premier), and the following season, the League took up its present identity.
Since then, the club have established themselves as an upper-mid-table side, with a best finish of fifth, and last season achieved a 7th place finish. They have also started the current season strongly, in fifth place and entertaining fourth-placed Eagle, it was set up to be a tight contest. Which it was.

As do their opponents, Eagle Sports.

Eagle Sports prepare for kick-off

Though Eagle had the majority of the play during the first period, they made very little and were punished on the counter. Though the home side had been slightly on the back foot, they always looked dangerous on their forays forward, and they took the lead on the half-hour when the #3, “Scowey” or Darren Scowcroft, burst forward, beat two men, inside then out before firing beyond Eagle ‘keeper Neil McDermott, and into the far corner. 1-0.

"Heads!"

“Heads!”

James Maher whips one in.

James Maher whips one in.

The game continued on the same path, with the Eagle #10 guilty of spurning a couple of good positions despite good work in the centre by Maher and player/manager Rob Boardman. Most of Eagle’s attacks were being kept out by Gamesley’s dominating skipper, wearing the #4 shirt, who won anything in the air. Half-Time came with Gamesley holding their slender advantage, and me holding a plat of chips, which were top notch and for just £1, a bargain!

After catching the half-times around the country and the unfolding television story at St.James’ Park, the second half was soon upon all of us in attendance, and with a strong scent in the air(!), we were back underway.
The game continued the same path, but Eagle did pull a goal back, deservedly, just after the break, as Chris Quirk burst clear and rifled his effort into the roof of the net. 1-1. Game on!
By now, the rather weak officials had began to get under the skin of both sides,, and their supporters, with tensions rising, players being offered out by home fans, and Gamesley’s #2 getting right into the face of the ref having felt unjustly treated. Though he may have had a case, you can’t do that and, justly, he was booked. But, this seemed to spur on the home side and they grabbed a late winner, when the assistant adjudged the ball to have been poked on by a visiting foot to an offside Jordan McGrath who wheeled clear and calmly slotted in past the advancing ‘keeper to give the hosts the points. It was a clear offside, regardless (which the liner even admitted to after the game, when the circumstances were conversed about, the ref pointing out the error, apparently), and the visitors were, understandably, irate. The sort of decision had been brewing, and thus had occurred. 2-1, and that’s how it finished. Not a great game, but dramatic!

Looking down from the "upturned bench" area

Looking down from the “upturned bench” area

After the game, we visited the nearby Bluebell pub, with a flat-tired mini-bus barring a “Hen-Night” banner in the back window in the car-park. After encountering a few locals who were the worse for wear after an afternoon (and probably morning) out on the ale, and a Jagerbomb (thanks to Stuart Bruce, again for that), Amigos Tequila beer and a can of the hard stuff, Stella, on the way back that the centre-back, who shall remain nameless, definitely did not down any of. Definitely.
So, after being dropped off back at the top of the road from the ground and saying my goodbyes to the couple of lads still remaining in the Beemer, I headed back to the station for my train(s) back to Warrington and onwards home. Another good day out with the boys from the Eagle club, and I’ll be seeing them again soon for the Xmas night. Jesus. I also greatly enjoyed meeting the few people I spoke to at Gamesley, who seem a thoroughly good club, especially off the pitch. Only a few people, like it is at the vast majority of clubs at this level, striving hard to do their best, which is always greatly admired. Especially the chips. Phwooar!

My Gamesley M.o.M.- Shaun Chapman
My Eagle Sports M.o.M.- Rob Boardman

RATINGS:
Game: 6- Not a great game, on the whole.
Ground: 5- Very basic.
Food: 8- Nice, tasty and well worth getting.
Programme: N/A (Free Entry though).
Fans: 5- Anyone who offers a player out, without good reason strongly lowers the rating.
Value For Money: 10- Free entry, not much to travel, and cheap refreshment. Can’t go wrong!
Referee: 3- Inconsitent and lost control. Not helped by his assistants, who added to the tensions.

*Thanks to James Maher for the lift up to the game, much appreciated mate.*