Monday, 17 December 2007

Slumming It at the Yawnthorns! - West Bromwich Albion 4 Charlton Athletic 2 - Coca Cola Championship - 15/12/07

I'll be straight with you from the start, I don't like West Brom much. Okay so I was born in West Bromwich and I now live in West Bromwich but my formative years were spent in Tamworth following not just the local side from The Lamb but also Aston Villa, so that's one reason I'm not keen on The Stripeyfilth. The other reason is that my Dad is a Baggies fan and I decided on The Villa as a great way to annoy him when I was a snotty little kid!
The reason I went to this match was because my son attends one of those lovely new Inner-city Academies that this Government like so much, this one (Sandwell Academy) was even opened by Tony Blair. West Bromwich Albion are one of the major sponsors of the school and even allow the pupils to use their indoor training hall, and The Hawthorns is directly opposite the school as well. I was sort of hoping that this agreement would throw up some cheap tickets and so it did, and at just £10 per adult ond £2 for kids it was a bargain I wasn't going to pass up.
The game was picked for Sky's saturday dinnertime match so it was still a fairly early start for me and Cameron even though we only had to jump onto a 79 bus, we know how bad the traffic gets on matchdays and I was determined to fit in a pint and a balti pie before kick-off. Walking up to the ground it looked like a decent turn-out considering the fact that it was on telly and so near to Christmas, I was also gutted that I didn't manage to secure a free pair of 'texting gloves' (or should that be 'txtng glvs'?) being given away by T-Mobile.

Fortified by the pie we took our seats in the Halfords Lane Stand, one thing I noticed was that since my last visit a few years back the more vocal West Brom fans seem to have relocated themselves from the Birmingham Road end to the back of the Smethwick End, probably so they can stand next to the away fans for the, *ahem* banter!
West Brom have a player called Pele in their side too, no relation!
The Baggies started off at whirlwind pace, they play decent football as far as I can tell and created several chances in the opening half hour, but failed to take any of them and so, inevitably, from a very rare Charlton attack they fell behind Hodgkiss was skinned on the left wing and the cross found Iwelumo unmarked.
In a bid to prove that me going to the toilet means someone scores, I went to the toilet and Albion scored! Roman Bednar got it and it was only later on the news that I saw what a lovely worked goal it was involving a delightful 1-2 with the impressive Zoltan Gera. It was no more than Albion deserved.

For some reason the announcer at half-time kept reminding us that The Hawthorns is the highest ground in England, and that it was cold today, I reckon he was just rubbing in the fact that I didn't get a pair of txtng glvs!
Albion were, if anything, even better after the break, they like to get the ball out wide and whip crosses in, it's a simple, almost old-fashioned way to play the game but when it's executed well it's good to watch, and when you have a player as good in the air as Gera you'll get goals. In the 50th minute Brunt crossed, Gera rose, 2-1, simple. A couple of minutes later and the same again only this time Weaver just managed to claw the ball away to safety, it was all West Brom now and surely a home win?
Well you'd have thought so but West Brom fell asleep after conceding a free kick near the halfway line and Izale McLeod's shot squirmed under Luke Stele for the equaliser. Tough on West Brom but they didn't drop their heads and once again Brunt crossed superbly from the left, Gera rose highest and West Brom had the lead, 3-2.
There was just time for a cameo from the very popular Kevin Phillips. Returning from injury he came on as a late sub and promptly turned he ball home from close range to seal the win. All in all an excellent game of football. West Brom should go up with this side, but to stay up they will need to have a better keeper than Luke Steele, improve a sometimes shaky defence and above all, keep hold of Zoltan Gera whose contract is up in the summer I believe.

One decent game will not convert me into a West Brom fan but I'll be back if they keep fiving me them cheap tickets!

Price: A bargain tenner for me and £2 for Cameron.
Attendance: 20,364
Balti Pie: Could have been warmer but tasty none the less.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Live Blogging Is Back!

Yes, I'm at work on another Saturday so I'm going to do another bit of live blogging from 3pm.
Ince again I'll be using the Score Centre at SkySports.Com and the excellent new(ish) Non-league vidiprinter to check up on all the scores from the games that matter.
First up though is Aston Villa V Portsmouth, a fairly crucial game in the battle for a UEFA Cup spot, KO 12:45.

12:40 - No goals yet in the really early KO's at Leeds, Plymouth and Preston. What did happen to Saturday 3pm?

12:42 Leeds 1-0 Huddersfield. I don't like Leeds but you have to admire what they've done so far this season.

12:56 Plymouth take the lead at home to the City of Bristols.

13:00 Bugger and blast, Portsmouth are ahead at Villa Park, either Benjani or an OG by Gardener.

13:02 - Given as an OG. What's that about there being no curse on the Manager of the Month award?

13:20 - I'm going to warm my soup up, Villa might have scored by the time I get back.

13:33 - Well Villa didn't score but Poertsmouth did! 0-2, not good.

13:51 - Dirty Leeds are now 3-0 up against 'Uddersfield, they are now just 2 points off the top, not bad after starting 15 points behind everybody else. If only it wasn't Dennis Wise.

14:10 - It's looking like a bit of a hammering now, 3-0 to Pompey, Muntari again.
Leeds 4-0 up, Brizzle City have equalised at Plymouth and Blackpool are 1-0 up at a seriously struggling Preston.

14:23 - Ooh! Villa have nicked one back from a Barry penalty, fifteen minutes to go, could there be a fightback?

14:42 - Nope, all over. Poor result that for Villa and it highlights the need to strengthen the squad in January if at all possible.

14:55 - West Brom have scored at Leicester.

14:59 - Don't normally take much notice of the Welsh Premier League but Carmarthen are 6-0 up against Connah's Quay after just 24 minutes!

15:04 - First goal of the 3pm's comes at Southend where Swindon take the lead, and Elgin City score against Arbroath, I'm going there in two weeks time.

15:06 - The NL Vidiprinter churns out it's first score, Bath 1-0 Maidenhead.

15:07 - Two goals in the opening four minutes at Satanage where it's 1-1 with Salisbury.

15:08 - This is starting to turn out to be a reall bad day. Mick Hucknall 1 Tamworth 0.

15:11 - Solihull Poors 1-0 Wusster. Solihull are on an awful run.

15:12 - It goes from bad to worse, Birmingham City are winning. 1-0 at Noocassul.
Aldershot 1-1 Stuffed4-0 Rangers,

15:15 - Halesowen are buying loads of players, hope they know what they're doing. They are 1-0 up at home to Mangotsfield though.

15:17 - The game between StalyVegas and Burscough has just been abandoned, that's surely worse than a postponement when it happens less than 20 minutes into a game.

15-19 - Oh for fu.......crying out loud. Mick Hucknall 2-0 Tamworth. Come on rain, do your stuff!

15:23 - Wusster have equalised at Solihull Poors and Aldershot are now 2-1 up against Stuffed Rangers.
My adopted Scottish team Ross County are 2-0 down at Alloa, it's a bad day all right!

15:26 - It's all gone quiet. We're discussing Fulchester FC on the Tamworth forum, they had Mick Hucknall up front.

15:30 - The game at Matlock has now been abandoned as well, I am raindancing as we speak and mentally projecting the image to Nottinghamshire.

15:32 - Dearie me, Tamworth now 3-0 down to the ginger headed freak.
Repeat after me Cooper - "I will not be negative on the TFC forum, I will NOT be negative on the TFC forum"

15:35 - Stafford have qualised at Aldershot, 2-2. I've not heard anything about their impending liquadation, maybe they're okay after all?

15:37 - I can't spell liquidation!
Solihull 2-1 Wusster

15:40 Corby 1-0 Yate (the sort of town that referee's come from according to Half Man Half Biscuit.
The Marmite Miners are 1-0 down to Forrest gump, that man Fleetwood scoring again.

15:43 - Chorlton and the Wheelies 3-o Ipswich. Chorlton seem to have turned their season around. I'm going to see them next week against West Brom, cheap tickets from my son's school!

15:45 - Man Utd 1-0 Derby.
Kings Lynn 1-0 Clevedon, it looked at one time like KL were going to walk the BGB Premier but Team Taxpayer are top at the moment.
Alderhot back in the lead against Stuffed, 3-2.

15:48 - HT, can't see Tamuff winning somehow!
Elsewhere, in the Premier League Man Utd and Chelski are winning and Noocasul have equalised against Brum.
The game at Sheffield Wednesday is another abandonment, that's not far from Hucknall (gets prayer mat out).

16:04 - After scoring six in the opening 24 minutes it has taken Carmarthen another 52 minutes to score their seventh, 7-0 against Connah's Quay.

16:06 - First goal of the second half is Wussters second equaliser at Solihull.
Hastings 1-0 Heybridge. I used to like going to Hastings when we were both in the Southern League, I wonder what happened to that other club right next to them....St. Leonards I think they were?

16:09 - The floodgates are open again, Carmarthen 8-0 Connah's Quay. York are 2-0 up at Websfleet, the 30,000 wannabe Football Managers won't be happy with that, bet they vote to sack Liam Daish this week!

16:11 - West Brom have won at Leicester. Two franchise clubs, MK Dons and Livingston are both winning.

16:16 - Just noticed that one Thomas Hitzlesperger has scored for Stuttgart, the German Brummie!

16:17 - No sign of the great Tamworth fightback yet. East stirling 4-3 Albion, didn't East Stirling used to be rubbish?

16:22 Man Utd 3-0 Derby, dowwn by February!
Everton 2-0 Fulham

16:24 - How many w's in down?
Ross County 3-0 down now, none of "my" teams are winning at all, great this!

16:29 - Stafford have equalised for a third time at Aldershot, that old stager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has put Cardiff 3-1 up against Colchester and Satanage are ahead by the same scoreline against Salisbury. Nowt much happening on the NL Vidiprinter so it's either broken or no one can score in the second half.

16:32 - East stirling 4-5 Albion, they ARE rubbish, they were just kidding earlier. Virgo has added a fourth for Cardiff, not John Virgo though I assume.

16:35 - Stockport 6 -0 Wycombe, one more and they get the score written in words in brackets on the BBC!

16:37 - Interesting one from Scotland, Celtic 0-1 St Mirren. Derby have got a consolation against man Utd.

16:39 - A hell of a game at The Rec, Aldershot 4-3 Stafford.
Still not convinced the NL vidiprinter is working properly, surely someone is scoring a goal or two?

16:41 - Ah! As I type up pop some scores, nothing very interesting though, North Ferriby 1-0 Buxton anybody?

16:42 - Blyth Spirit 1 Nuneaton 0, at last some good news, Nuneaton are nearly as bad as us! Got to take some comfort from a rubbish day of football.

16:45 - Wusster look to have snatched a late winner at The Poors, 3-2.
I assume that no news is bad news at Mick Hucknall.

16:49 - Joy of joys we've pulled one back, it's a bit late now though!
Celtic spare their blushes with an equaliser against St Mirren.
Full times coming in now.

16:51 - Late winner for The Geordies against Birmingham! 2-1.
3-1 is the story of day as far as I'm concerned, Tamworth, Villa and Ross County all losing by that scoreline.
Bah! I think I'll become a Darlaston fan.
I'm going now, have fun.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Crap Badges Of Our Time - Number Two - Eastbourne Borough

What do you reckon it is then?
A sandcastle?
A lovely Tommy Cooper fez sitting atop a bald head? (How were Eastbourne Borough formed? Just like that!)
Well you're wrong, I've looked it up and it's actually a Martello Tower, one of a large number of coastline fortifications along the South Coast, dating from the Napoleonic Wars in the early 19th Century. So now you know.
The black smudge across it near the top is supposed to be a cloud scudding across it believe it or not!
It's rubbish though isn't it? But incredibly easy to draw kiddies, remember that if you are ever asked to draw a football badge in your art class.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Nice and Leighsy Does It Every Time - Tamworth 2 Leigh Railway Mechanics Institute 0 - Blue Square Premier - 01/12/07

Some games are great, some games are terrible and then again some games can just simply be categorised under the label "meh".

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I didn't enjoy todays match, the day out was excellent, it's just that the football was totally and utterly "meh"!

"Meh" is a wonderful word, it describes anything that is just so ordinary and run of the mill that it defies anyone attempting to write it down in words that are meaningful and interesting.

Tamworth won 2-0, there you go, that's my report.

Oh all right then, I'll pad it out with some superfluous details, we played Leigh RMI. RMI, as you all know, stands for Renaissance Motherf*cker Inuits, they were formed in 1892 by a gang of native Greenlanders who moved to Manchester in search of Italian culture and rampant hedonism, they found neither but did discover Boddingtons and football.
The packed away end.

Leigh don't have much of an away following, but i have so much respect for the small band that turned up at The Lamb, I don't know if they still have the same chairman as they did when we were both in The Conference, but I remember a game that was rained off very close to kick-off and he personally went round to every travelling fan he could find and reimbursed their travelling costs out of his own pocket, what a bloke.

The author enjoys a beer.

Right, onfto the game.
It was rubbish! The highlight of the first half hour was a bit of a punch up between Dave Bampton and ex-Stuffed4-0 Rangers winger Robin Gibson, Bampton got a yellow for a late tackle, Gibson got nothing for attempted GBH afterwards.
Tamworth were doing their bit for Age Concern by playing new signing David Oldfield, he must be fifty by now surely, he certainly played like he was about to draw his pension.
And then, just as we were contemplating popping some Pro-Plus Tamworth scored, In a rare outbreak of football Tamuff broke away following a Leigh corner, three passes later and Nick Wright was clear on goal and he finished with aplomb. (Apart from on commentaries where else on Earth can you hear the word 'aplomb' being used?)

I love sausage rolls, put another one in the oven baby.

Nothing much happened after that, I had a pint at half-time and failed once again to win the 50-50 and the game settled back into its soporific self.
And then, lo and behold, another outbreak of football, another sweeping move saw the ball end up on the right wing with Nick Wright, his cross was perfect and Gareth Sheldon volleyed home superbly from the edge of the box. Two excellent goals but they were oasis(es?) in a desert of blandness to be honest. Still, we won and following on from the Trophy win up at Stalybridge this could be the springboard for an assault on the play-offs which, to be fair, is the minimum us fans expected from this season.

For once I couldn't argue with the man of the match choices from the sponsors, Nick Wright scored one and set one up and Sheldon worked hard in midfield and took his goal superbly. I'll add Jonti Richter to the mix as well, he looks a handful when he gets the ball at his feet.

Watched the Villa - Arsenal match in The White Lion afterwards, Villa may have lost 2-1 but they didn't deserve to, Martin O'Neill has put a great team together at Villa Park, note "team" because they really are greater than the sum of their parts in my opinion.

Attendance - 809 (Not bad considering Xmas shopping and negligible away support)
Price - £10 & £5
Pizza - Extra cheese and a spicy beef and pepperoni.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Tinpot Are on the Way to Wembley - Tipton Town 2 Market Drayton 0 - FA Carlsberg Vase 2nd Round - 17/11/07

My options were plentiful as I set off from work in Solihull, I had plenty of time to get to a plethora of games. I thought about going to Bewdley Town but that might have been cutting it a bit close but there was still Dudley Sports, Lye Town, Bilston who are still playing at picturesque Bantock Park and the one I was really trying for, Oldbury United who are currently ensconced at Pelsall. Oldbury were playing Dunkirk in the Vase and it was Blog pun heaven (Dunkirk spirit and all that!).
Then I reached the outskirts of Birmingham and ground to a halt, Christmas shopping has obviously started then! It took me another hour to do seven miles and I was left with just one possibility, a quick jaunt the couple of miles to Tipton Sports Academy and their FA Vase tie against Market Drayton. Cameron and I made it for kick off though and even managed to grab tea (60p) and bacon butties (£1.60) before taking our seats.

On paper this would probably go down as an away win, Market Drayton are sitting just below the leaders in The Midland Alliance with a couple of games in hand and Tipton have been struggling for goals recently and sit lower mid-table in the same division, although I note from the programme (£1 I think) that they had scored four goals in each of their last two games. Mind you four of those were against the rather less than good Brereton Social, currently propping up the Midland Combination Premier Division.

Quick confession. I forgot to charge up the batteries in my camera! So no pictures again. I am so good at this! To that end I have pinched a couple of pictures of the Tipton badge and team from their website.
Hope you don't mind and they will, of course, be removed on request. I think the webmaster posts on Tony Kempster's forum so I'll go and confess on there in a bit!

Anyway, to the game, in between jumping up and down and kicking a football around with Cameron I did watch some of it, and Tipton started excellently, a couple of times they threatened to unlock the Drayton defence and finally did so after about twenty minutes, Calum Martin latching onto an excellent through ball to slot home confidently. Four minutes later they scored again, Danny Bragoli showing that he's lethal from a yard out after the ball had hit the post and rolled along the goalmouth.

For the rest of the half, indeed for the rest of the game, Market Drayton vainly tried to get back into it, but a combination of stout defending, good goalkeeping (even if he does tend to punch rather than catch a bit too often) and woeful finishing meant that Tipton progress to the third round. Dreams of Wembley perhaps? Well maybe not, there's another four rounds and plenty of good teams out there yet but you never know do you?
Tipton, famous for Stayvie Bull and scratchings but maybe one day for a football team as well?

Hmmm...scratchings, although some might say you'd be better off eating the pencil.

Attendance - 88
Price - £5 Adults £2.50 Kids
Programme - 28 pages £1
Temperature - Cold, very, very cold.
Tamworth watch - Lost 3-2 at Harrogate, only three points above the relegation zone, a win needed very soon.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Ever Wish You Hadn't Bothered? - Tamworth 1 Nuneaton Borough 2 - Blue Square North - 10/11/07

This weekend saw three notable local derbies, Newcastle and Sunderland fought out a gripping 1-1 draw at The Stadium of Light, Villa edged out Birmingham City 2-1 in a typically passionate Second City derby with help from Agent Ridgewell (ex-Villa defender now playing for Blues and scorer of an own goal to put Villa one up), and then there was this turgid heap of rubbish which had all the passion of watching your Grandmother trying to snog your Grandad after one too many sherries at Christmas. (I'm not sure this simile works - Ed)

I'm having serious doubts that Gary "I know this league" Mills is the man to take Tamworth forward, the team still lacks cohesion three months into the season and we certainly lacked any fight and commitment to the cause in this match. A recent unbeaten run in the league was a bit misleading as most of these were draws, a couple of them admirably snatched from the jaws of victory! Still, we continue to turn up, but a crowd of only 1300 for the first competitive game against the Scummers for a few seasons with over 400 of those coming from Banjo Town should be ringing alarm bells, the people of Tamworth need little encouragement to find other things to do on a Saturday as it is without serving up this tripe when they do bother to turn up.

I didn't even have the luxury of being able to sink a few pre-match anasthetics, I was driving once again due to work commitments, I need a new job. Those that do enjoy a pre-match beer and fag have at last been given a smoking shelter outside the clubhouse, the club shop has had to make way but it has been temporarily replaced by a lovely bright yellow gazebo! Smashing.

A not so Evil Gazebo!

The Shed Choir were really up for this game, it often takes a while for the full repertoire of songs to come out but they were being aired before kick-off, unfortunately this passion and belief was not transmitted to the players who started off by looking really put out by the fact that Nuneaton had the cheek to tackle them. We conceded the midfield very early on and never got it back, in fact we mainly bypassed it altogether. hoof-ball in a swirling wind, great tactics Gary!

Nuneatons first goal was a tap-in following some comedy defending, the one time our defenders really should have just leathered it they opted not to bother! The pattern of the game thus decided The Shed had to find something to do between neck massages and decided baiting ex-Tamworth manager Ray Bradbury, now doing something or other at Manor Park, fitted the bill nicely. He took it in good spirit but I was disappointed that nobody noticed that he is looking more and more like the bloke out of The League of Gentlemen.

Tamworth did actually put a few attacks together towards the end of the half, Sheldon came close with a curling shot from the edge of the area and we might have had a penalty on 41 minutes when Robinson appeared to be fouled but the referee decided that Robbo's backwards three-and-a-half somersault in the pike position was maybe a dive. That was as good as it got though.

The weather deteriorated after half-time, and Tamworth deteriorated with it, none of the substitutions made a blind bit of difference and the inevitable happened on 58 minutes when another piece of awful defending left Brown one on one with Viega and it was all over. Actually I think they might have scored before we made any subs? Oh well, games like this tend to destroy brain cells quicker than drinking Absinthe.

Another abysmal bit of defending gifted Nuneaton their second, I'm not sure exactly how or why nobody decided to tackle or pick up the run of the Nuneaton forward but they didn't and the game was over.

Or was it? A heavily deflected cross from Des Lyttle somehow squirmed past Acton and we were back in it. So, a do-or-die all-out assault on the Nuneaton goal for the last twenty minutes to salvage some pride in this local derby then? Don't be so bloody stupid, this is the new toothless tigers of Tamworth and they barely created another chance. The game petered out and Nuneaton claimed the bragging rights for a few months.

There was a lot of booing at full-time, I don't necessarily agree with it myself but it's understandable. I don't think Mills has many games left to get this team playing well again, a defeat at Harrogate next week (not an easy game at all) followed by defeat away to Stalybridge in the FA Trophy might just do for him, they say you shouldn't go back to an old club, maybe Gary Mills is regretting doing so.

In a new but welcome innovation, Tamworth's new stand has been built so that spectators have no view of the pitch. (Cheers Trickers!)

Attendance - 1305
Price - £10 Adults £5 Kids
Entertainment Value - 1/10
Randall's new Prodigy tribute act - Scorching

Monday, 5 November 2007

Still No Football So..........

Have a picture of an animal that looks like a wrinkly penis with teeth:

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Two weeks without football, look at what I'm driven to!

Yep, a combination of work and other circumstances have left me football-less for two whole weeks, and once again I find myself stuck in the office without even a radio.
I do, however, have some internet access so what I'm going to do this afternoon is have the Sky Sports vidiprinter and the brand new Non-League Vidiprinter both running and I'm going to blog the action as it comes in!
This will be exciting won't it boys and girls?!

14:49 - The tension is unbearable as kick-off time approaches, I will mostly be following the fortunes of Aston Villa at home to "Premiership Whipping Boys" (Copyright all the tabloids) Derby and Tamworth away at Southport, a place we rarely get anything. I will also add anything else of interest if I can be bothered.

14:52 - In the early kick-offs, The Arse and Man Utd drew 2-2 in the only game Sky seem to have been bothered about for weeks, Celtic have won at Kilmarnock and Hartlepool are winning at Millwall 1-0.

14:58 - Stuttgart have taken the lead at Nurnburg.

15:02 - As I eagerly await the first goal the tension is unbearable...or something.

15:04 - And away we go as Rangers take the lead at home to Inverness and Morecambe score at Chesterfield.

15:06 - Still waiting for something to pop up on the NL Vidiprinter, but as it mostly relys on people at the games texting scores in it will inevitably be behind, still a good idea if it takes off though.

15:08 - Aha! The NL vidiprinter is working and Hayes & Yeading have taken the lead at home to Eastleigh. First Conference, sorry, Blue Square Premier goal comes at The Ray McEnhill where the visitors Grays are 1-0 up against Salisbury.

15:12 - First Premiership goal, Newcastle 0-1 Portsmouth.
Cheshunt are 1-0 up against Cirencester, I've just given the guys on the H&V Aston Villa forum that news, I'm sure they'll be pleased.

15:16 - Newcastle 0-3 Portsmouth, after 11 minutes, blimey!
First goal in Tamuff's division sees Workington take the lead at Solihull Poors.

15:18 - Havant & Waterlooville winning 1-0 against Hampton & Redbridge, if those two teams merged they could be called Hampton & Havant & Redbridge & Waterlooville!

15:22 - After 20 minutes it doesn't appear as if anyone at all has scored in The Championship. Newcassul have pulled one back and Chelski are 2 up at Wigan. Burton and Stafford are both 1-0 down at home to Kiddy and Excreter.

15:25 - Nowt from Villa or Tamuff yet.
Both Mansfiled and 'Uddersfield have notched three already, Klattering have taken the lead at home to Blyth Spartans.

15:28 - We have a Championship goal, Wolves take the lead against Bristol City.
And it appears that whoever was texting the Tamworth scores was just a big tease at The Lambs scored in the fifth and sixth minutes are are 2-0 up - Yippee!!!!

15:33 - The astonishing Leeds revival continues as they take the lead at Carlisle. They would be something like 11 points clear if they hadn't had 15 points deducted, still hate them though.

15:40 - West Brom 2-0 up at Watford, bit of a surprise there.
Alfreton 1-0 up at Harrogate which is probably an even bigger surprise. Boston, Vauxhall and Leigh also winning.

15:45 - Approaching half time and the only Premiership game without a goal is of course at Villa Park!

15:55 - Michael Briscoe and Tony Robinson scored for Tamworth, a win should see us into the top half of the table.

16:02 - Second halves should be starting. Big Ron Atkinson's Halesown Town might be heading for their first win since the daft racist became Director of Football, they are 1-0 up against Tiverton.

16:07 - First goal of the second-half comes from Edgar Street at Hereford go 3-1 up against Darlo.

16:12 Luke Young has just apparently scored a cracker to equalise for the Smog Monsters against Spuds.

16:14 - The Boggies are now 3-0 up at Watford! What's going on there? Reading have equalised at Fulham and the scorer is a player I really wish Villa would sign, Kevin Doyle.

16:17 - QPR have certainly turned things around recently, they are 2-0 up against Hull, as have Walsall who are now also 2-0 up at home to Cheltenham.
And we have gasps of "phew" and "get in" on H&V so I think Villa might finally have scored.

16:20 - Yep! Martin Laursen, lethal from a yard out, 1-0 Villa.
Mansfield become the first team to hit 5, Macc Town being the stufees.

16:23 - H&V is well ahead of SkySports, they are saying 2-0 Villa, Ashley, I say Ashley Young the scorer.

16:26 - It was Luke Moore not our Ashley. Coventry winning 2-0 away at Stoke, there's a few surprises in The Championship.

16:28 - No it was Ashley after all! Ach, who cares?
Vauxhall have equalised against Wusster and Mick Hucknall has taken a shock lead at Stalybridge.

16:32 - DON'T PANIC!! Southport have pulled one back, 2-1 to Tamuff.
Carlisle 2-1 up against Dirty Leeds and Pompey have score four at Newcastle (couldn't happen to two nicer sets of fans!).

16:35 - Leigh RMI are level after pulling back from 2-0 down against Boston.

16:40 - Birmingham City keep picking up points - they have equalised at Everton. Coventry 3-1 up at Stoke.

16:44 - Just waiting for the flurry of last gasp goals that always seem to occur, I'd rather it stayed the same at Haig Avenue though, unless Tamworth nick another one. Stafford 4-1 down to Excreter, looks like they'll be joining us next season.

16:50 - Full-times starting to filter in.
Cambridge Utd have scored to take a late lead at Torquay, and Mick Hucknall is doing well, he's now 2-0 up at Stalybridge.

16:52 - Excreter now 5-1 up at Stafford and Solihull Poors have equalised in the last minute against Workington, 2-2.
HA! Everton win in injury time agains Birmingham!

16:55 - In fact Everton make it three. Kettering have beaten Blyth 1-0.
Oh, and what a flaming surprise, Southport have equalised, well b*gger me with a fish fork!

16:59 - Halesowen didn't get their first win for Big Fat Racist Ron, it finished 1-1 at Tiverton. Leaders of BS North Harrogate have lost 1-0 to Alfreton.
It fifnished 2-2 at Haig Avenue, so we couldn't hold on and we get yet another draw, too many draws this season might cost us a play-off place. Still, I would certainly have taken a point before KO but it's galling to be 2-0 up and not win, I'll await the reports from the faithful that went. Villa did win 2-0 BTW.

There you go, wasn't it fun?

Might do that again if I end up stuck at work when there's football on, it certainly passed the time quickly enough, Byeeee!!!

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Tiger Feat - Stourbridge 1 Gloucester City 1 - Carlsberg FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round - 20/10/07

If I was a loyal fan I would have been watching Tamworth take on Gainsborough, but I'm a part-timer and anyway I had a previous appointment near Merry Hill and so I found myself at half-past-two wandering the roads of the Black Country in search of a game. The first ground I passed was Dudley Sports but a quick detour and a word with the clubhouse barman told me that they were away at Shawbury so it was a toss-up between Lye and Stourbridge. I prefer to go to Lye when I can have a few beers as The Windsor Castle brew-pub is just up the road so Stourbridge it was, and a FA Trophy game against The Tigers of Gloucester City.

The War Memorial Ground is three-sided as it shares with the local cricket club, the football club don't get on with the cricket club! Stourbridge are forced to play all their pre-season friendlies and even some early season League games away from home because the cricket pitch is in use. They were also marooned for a few seasons in The Midland Alliance because they could not have hard standing down the cricket side of the pitch, this ground grading rule has been waived since the restructuring of the non-league pyramid and Stourbridge are currently in the BGB Southern League Midland & West Division.
In 1974 Stour reached the Welsh Cup Final, they are not, of course, Welsh, but in those days all you needed to do to enter the Welsh Cup was to remove some vowels and add a couple of l's, so it was as Llanstrbrdg that they lost the final to Cardiff City.

Gloucester are a division above in the BGB Premier but are struggling somewhat, which is not entirely surprising given the horrible summer they endured, the floods in the city completely overwhelmed their Meadow Park ground, there were pictures on the internet showing just top of the goalposts above water, depressing stuff. The damage was so bad that Gloucester will not move back, ever. they are hoping to build a new ground (a bit higher above sea-level I presume!) and are currently groundsharing at Forest Green Rovers.
I don't suppose having to trek to Stroud for home matches is helping their attendances but they bought a healthy following to Stourbridge, at least sixty, maybe more, they weren't particularly vocal, maybe they are just too friendly down that way? (Never used to be as I recall from Tamworth going there a couple of times back in the 90's!)

Oi, get behind the barrier woman!

The game kicked off in glorious Autumn sunshine and Gloucester immediately took the game to Stourbridge. In terms of actual league positions there isn't a lot between these sides but Gloucester looked every bit the higher division side in the first half. The trouble was, they couldn't get anything on target. Every shot flew wide, every header went high, every cross just missed the onrushing striker, the Stour keeper was simply not tested.
0-0 at half-time, but certainly not a boring 0-0.
50p for a Bovril at half-time as well, bargain!

I expected more of the same in the second half, but I was wrong, Stourbridge came out transformed. They were also managing to look more dangerous in the box than Gloucester did in the first half but they were tending to over elaborate rather than just getting shots off. I was very impressed by Stour's young midfielder Sam Rock, great name too! His pace and trickery were causing the Gloucester defence all sorts of problems, and it was he who created Stour's goal. Picking up the ball on the edge of the area he created himself a yard of space and hit a shot that was somehow kept out by a combination of goalkeeper and defender, but Mark Bellingham was on hand to stab home the rebound, just when I was thinking I was going to see my first goalless game of the season.

Gloucester finally found some urgency but beside one decent attempt from outside the area still couldn't get the ball on target, seemingly the only way they were going to score was from a penalty, and the referee duly obliged. A shot was blocked by the Stour number 4, and it did indeed hit his hand, but it was hardly deliberate as it was hit straight at him, harsh I thought. To compound his misery the ref also sent him off! Gloucester substitute Sykes rolled home the spot kick and so these two must try again on Wednesday down at Forest Green.

Decent game this, maybe a bit too much hit and hope at times but I've seen a lot worse. I can see both teams climbing their respective tables. As for The War Memorial Ground, I like the place, it will never win any awards for being picturesque but it's a proper ground. There are a high percentage of nutters (in the nicest possible way) amongst their support as well, and that is what gives non-league football it's charm!

Price: £6 Adults £2 Children
Programme: 36 pages £1.30, plenty of reading.
Attendance: 176
Tamworth Watch: 2-2 at home to Gainsborough
Crowd comment of the day: As a small gaggle of Stour fans sang "Red and white Army" one GCFC fan said "Army? More like a British Squadron after an American bombing raid!"
Temper Tantrum of the day: Gloucester's manager turning an alarming shade of purple because a throw-in went the other way! Calm down son!

Friday, 19 October 2007

BREAKING NEWS - New FIFA Directive - No More Penalty Shoot-outs.

In a bizarre statement this morning the increasingly hatstand FIFA President Sepp Blatter has stated that from January next year penalty shoot-outs will no longer be used to decide the outcome of International matches. Instead, if scores are level after extra time the match will be decided with a game of "Best Man Dead".

"Everyone remembers this game from when they were a child," Blatter said at a baffled press conference earlier today, "I was Best Man Dead in my street five years in a row, it's a great game of skill and strategy and will provide fantastic entertainment for the crowd, especially if the game has been a dull 0-0 draw. We at FIFA are constantly being told that diving, rolling around and feigning of injury by players is ruining the game, well now we have thought of the ideal way to bring these skills INTO the game in an entertaining and innovative way, I have spoken to Cristiano Ronaldo and Dida already and they are delighted."

The rules of Best Man Dead are simple, each team must nominate a 'machine-gunner' and five players to 'die'. The five players from each side must run from the halfway line towards the 'trench' where the 'machine-gunners' are. The 'machine-gunners' must then 'open fire' by pretending they have a machine gun in their hands and shouting "Dagga dagga dagga dagga dagga", bonus points are awarded for the best machine gun noise.
On hearing the gun the onrushing players must 'die' in the best way they can, this could be a simple clutching of the throat accompanied by a shout of "Ach, I am done for, you go on ahead" or maybe a theatrical leap and a blood-curdling "Aaaaieeeee!!!!!!!!!!!"
The winners will be the team that has died the best according to the judges who will be FIFA accredited referees who will have all done the Best Man Dead judging courses currrently being run by Jeff Winter.

This diagram shows an artist's impression of how Best Man Dead could work.
The winner here is obviously the player second from the left as he has gone the extra mile by chopping his left leg off below the knee.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Far Too Much Time On Their Hands!

I was first alerted to this on an Aston Villa forum Heroes and Villains, basically someone posted a picture of Sam Allardyce (bung taker and Newcastle United manager) on a Sunderland forum and asked people to use their photoshopping skills to alter it somewhat, the end result is this superb Youtube compilation, enjoy:

Saturday, 13 October 2007

I Don't Wanna Go To Kings Lynn - Tamworth 2 Kings Lynn 1 - FA Cup (Sponsored by Someone or Other) 3rd Qualifying Round - 13/10/07

Ah! The magic of the FA Cup, cup fever and all that, load of old rubbish isn't it?
Nah, I love it, although (and here's where I go into **RANT MODE ON** ) it was awfully nice of those lovely people at FA Headquarters to schedule a vital England international match on the same weekend and at the same bloomin' time as a round of what is supposed to be their own premier knock-out competition. Now I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in the England National side, I hate most of the players who play for it and just can't be bothered with the Ingerlund mentality of many of their fans, but for those teams who could not get their games rescheduled to Friday or Sunday or early kick-offs gates would almost certainly be hit. Why couldn't this round of the cup be a week later, or better still, why couldn't the England game have kicked off at 5:30 meaning no organisation problems for the smaller clubs the FA keep saying are so important to them and also a chance to maybe show the England match in the clubhouse afterwards to encourage irresponsible beer drinking and money in the coffers? **RANT MODE OFF**

Anyhow, back to the real football. Tamworth and Kings Lynn have a bit of previous rivalry, we were adversaries in the Dr Martens League, I always remember my own visits to their Walks Stadium as being rather unpleasant. It's fair to say that back then they had a contingent of rather horrible people amongst their support, racism reared it's ugly head too. But let's not dwell on that, they claim to have cleaned up their act, other fans concur and the noisy bunch of 150 or so they bought to The Lamb were fine. They were a little bit obsessed with Tamworth mind, the last chant I would have thought of when you go 1-0 up in a cup tie would be "If you still hate Tamworth clap your hands." but each to their own! They also had one of the most...errr...rotund fans I have seen for a while and he provided a bit of fun for The Shed, but I was disappointed not to hear a chant of "I Predict a Diet".
In Gary Mills Tamworth also have a manager that many Kings Lynn fans still blame for nearly bankrupting them a few years back, unlucky Agent Mills, they are still here!


Tamworth have been playing okay of late, the team seems to be starting to gel, so it was a bit of a surprise to see them play so absolutely dreadful from kick-off. Second to every ball, outfought in midfield, sloppy at the back, it was awful. One of the best things an away team can do is to frustrate and ultimately quieten down a vociferous home crowd, well Tamworth did Kings Lynn's job for them today. After fifteen minutes the Lamb faithful were down to little more than swearing and imploring the players to liven it up.
It was no surprise at all when Kings Lynn took the lead, the dangerous Joe Taylor was given the freedom of the lamb pitch to run forward and pick his spot, he curled a lovely shot low past the despairing grasp of Jose Veiga and the swearing got louder and louder!
I was sensing one of those days, and I probably wasn't alone. We really didn't look like scoring. The referee wasn't endearing himself to the home fans either, now I am not one of those who thinks every ref hates us, usually at this level they are equally rubbish for both sides, but even I was struggling to see how the same challenge could be a free kick when committed by a Tamworth player but no foul when it was the other way round. I can only think the glare from KL's yellow shirts was scrambling his brains.
And then came what is known locally as "The Hanny Factor" after an infamous Tamworth fan who missed many a goal by leaving early for his half-time pie and pint. Just seconds after I had told Mills that this was 45 minutes of my life I wouldn't be getting back Tamworth suffered a rare outbreak of football culminating in a lovely turn and shot by Tony Robinson. 1-1! Totally undeserved as well, smashing! Robinson was by far the worst player on the pitch in the first half, he had the touch of an elephant playing with a beach ball, but this was an instinctive strike from a natural striker, and it also meant game-on.

To be honest, the second-half didn't start much better than the first, it just seemed better because the crowd were at last getting into it and Tamworth had at least started to cut out the mistakes.

In fact it was looking rather like a replay in deepest darkest Norfolk was on the cards, something not many of the home fans were particularly looking forward to I can tell you!
But wait, have faith, a long punt from the back was flicked on to Matty Williams, he laid the ball off to Dave Bampton whose well struck shot beat the keeper and suddenly all was well with the World once more.
Well nearly because **RANT MODE ON** I flippin' well hate that bloody moronic "Easy Easy" chant! We had just sneaked the lead against the run of play against a lower division team who had largely outplayed us and our fans chant "Easy Easy"???!!! No it bloody wasn't! If I were ever granted three wishes by a genie the first one would be to erase all knowledge and all trace memories of Soccer (Soccer, it's Football not Soccer you mindless dimwits at Sky) AM and that horrible Chelski supporting twunt Tim Lovejoy, he and they have so much to answer for. **RANT MODE OFF**

That's better!

We never looked in danger after that, Kings Lynn pushed on as we knew they would but their shooting became increasingly erratic and Tamworth held on, even having time for a patch of "Ole" keep-ball. So another £5000 banked and another good cup run goes on. It could have been oh so different had Kings Lynn took their first-half chances but that's the FA Cup for you, and I wouldn't miss it for the World.

Attendance - 621
Beer - Hobgoblin in the clubhouse again but only one pint as I was driving.
Slugs - None but Dilbs saw a spider.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Classic Own Goals of our time Number Two - Workington Vs Lancaster City - Thanks to DazaB (again).

If it wasn't for video capable mobile phones this poor Lancaster player would have been spared eternal ridicule and internet infamy, shame!

Just listen to the sympathy oozing from the fans!

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Classic Own Goals of Our Time - Number 1 - Daniel Fletcher (Hucknall) Vs Southport

Fletcher gave away the free-kick, escaped a booking but could not escape the Divine Intervention!

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Bewdley have The XXX Factor - Pilkington XXX 0 Bewdley Town 3 - FA Carlsberg Vase 1st Round - 06/10/07

One major advantage that my minority hobby of Teamhopping has over those gloryhunters who Groundhop is that I can go to the same ground twice in a row if I feel like it, and as I had seen neither of these two protagonists in this FA Vase tie before I made an immediate revisit to The Triplex Sports Ground, and this time I even remembered my camera! Actually my mind had been made up by the Pilkington Webmaster / Programme Editor Ian McDonald who had spotted this blog on one of my not-so-subtle plugs on the Tony Kempster's Forum. He somehow deduced who I was as I turned up at about twenty minutes to kick-off and was very apologetic that he had sold out of programmes, this was no real hassle for me as I'm not an avid collector but he arranged to send me one anyway, and then talked the brother of the programme printer into giving me his copy! Good work all round and very appreciated, thanks Ian, although he was probably ensuring I gave this trip a good write up!
Either way, have a link to your website, it's very good. Both the programme and the website do a great job of explaining the evolution of Triplex Safety Glass FC to Pilkington XXX via Triplex FC, Richmond Swifts, Kings Norton Town and Burman Hi-Ton.

Spot the Steve Foster impersonator

I have always loved the FA Vase, it provided probably THE highlight of my Tamworth supporting career when we won it in 1989 and attracted a then record crowd of over 27,000 to Wembley. Tamworth have since gone on to reach greater heights in the non-league World but that day was special. Looking around the crowd it seemed that Bewdley had subscribed to this as well, they had bought plenty of support, I'm not sure what sort of crowds they get for league games, I'll certainly try to make the trip this season though.

Both these sides are at the same level in the Pyramid (step 6) albeit in different leagues (Pilkington are in the Midland Combination Premier and Bewdley are in the West midland League Premier) and both have similar records so far, so a tight game was expected. It didn't start out that way though. Possibly inspired by the support from their home town Bewdley started off much the better of the two teams, in Lewis Pountney they have one of the more prolific of local strikers and alongside James Hart they made a very pacy attack. Pilkington had a striker of their own that I recognised, I'll leave the name out for now as I'm setting it as a little quiz for my regular Tamworth FC readers!

<-- Go on- who's this ex-Tammie then?

I spoke to his Dad as well, but as he is better known as Beelzebub amongst us Villa fans I didn't shake his hand!

It came as no surprise that Bewdley took the lead after 20 minutes, Pountney latching onto a long ball, rounding the keeper and slotting home, and seven minutes later they beat the offside trap again Hart made it two. It looked like game over at this point and Pilkington's heads could well have dropped but they rallied themselves and started to create some chances. If they had taken one of a couple of clear headed chances they may have gone into the break in much better spirits but it remained 2-0.

I had to rely on a phone-call to find out that Tamworth were drawing 0-0 at Stalybridge but it was impossible to avoid the fact that England had somehow overcome Australia in the egg-chasing, bloody good result though, I have very little interest in any sport where large sweaty men spent a lot of time hugging but apparently England had absolutely no chance and yet won, marvellous. Villa were 1-0 up against the kit-stealers too.

Pilkington were much the better side at the start of the second-half and created several chances, including a couple of one-on-ones that they should have put away, but as these chances were missed so Bewdley realised that this was going to be their day. Pilkington were lucky to still have eleven men on the pitch halfway through the half, Andrew Johnson (no not that one) talked his way into the referee's book and then had an amazing five minutes of sulking petulance where he barged opposition defenders, gobbed off and generally acted like a prima-donna, somehow he stayed on but maybe if he had concentrated more on scoring then Pilkington could have grabbed the goal that just might have sparked their comeback.

Alas for them it wasn't to be and they seemed to tire through their efforts, Bewdley sensed this and they started to take advantage of the gaps created as Pilkington pushed forward in their desperation. They put the tie beyond doubt five minutes before full-time with a goal that I didn't see because I was watching a match between some kids on the grass at the side of the pitch!

Trainspotters - if you look carefully, here's one for you.

There aren't that many non-league grounds left in Birmingham any more, certainly compared with The Black Country, and I have enjoyed my two trips down to Kings Norton. Ian, you have your good write-up! Nice programme by the way, cheers.

Attendance - 67 (I counted 68, pretty impressive eh!)
Price - £3 (Cameron free, as seems to be the norm around here)
Programme - 32 pages, plenty of HT reading, £1
Tamuff Watch - 0-0, another clean sheet.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Careless Wispa - Cadbury Athletic 1 Brocton 1 - Midland Combination Premier Division 02/10/07

Just before I left the house I told myself that the last thing I should do is forget my camera, and sure enough, the last thing I did as I left the house was to forget my camera! I really am a complete amateur at this blogging lark!
This is why this report is accompanied by a picture lifted from their website (I have asked permission and will remove it if asked Internet Police) which is a photo of a ground they don't even play at! It's a shame that the actual Cadbury Sports Ground isn't good enough for this level because it's a cracker, although being in the totally dry Quaker village of Bourneville you can't get a pint. Cadbury Athletic meanwhile are groundsharing at the Triplex Sports Ground in Kings Norton, itself a fairly dry place if your poison of choice is real ale, but I digress (as usual).

I tell you what, if you want pictures you could do a lot worse than to take a look at one of the finest non-league websites in existence, Pyramid Passion specifically the section on Pilkington XXX. they are much better photos than the rubbish I'd have taken with my box brownie anyway.

Cameron got a rare treat(?) tonight and was allowed to accompany me on a school night, he was dissapointed to have missed the (Turkish?) Delights of Greenhill so was loath to miss this one. We arrived just before kick-off in a very light drizzle which was just enough to give your kids a treat, no sorry, to make the grass a bit slippy and the ball skid through. The Triplex Sports Ground has quite a sizeable slope down into one corner, but the grass was immaculate. It's a tidy little ground which appears to have been cut into a grass bank, there's one small stand one the far touchline (the railway side) with the dugouts next to it, it's surrounded by factories, was it perhaps an old Birmingham Works League ground? Dunno, I'm no expert!

Both these teams are mid-table in a tight looking league, one point and three places separating them so I expected a tight game and that is what we got. A cagey opening meant the game was looking for some Heroes, unfortunately nobody had a box so we carried on watching a fairly dull
game instead.

Brocton looked the more likely to open the scoring, and after testing the Flakey looking defence with a couple of early high balls they opened the scoring in exactly that fashion, the ball was launched into the Aero, the Cadbury defence went missing and allowed the Brocton forward a free header which he steered into the bottom corner. It was no more than Brocton deserved at the time but it seemed to wake Cadbury up a bit.

I don't remember too many actual goalscoring chances for either side, the game was compacted into midfield and no player seemed to possess the skill or Twix to open up the defences. (That was a really poor pun, sorry!)

With about five minutes to the half-time Time Out Cadbury got a Boost and scored their equaliser, a speculative shot from outside the area seemed to pick up pace off the greasy surface and just eluded the outstretched Fingers of the Brocton keeper before Nestleing into the bottom corner.

Half-time was spent pretending to be interested in the Champions League scores in the bar, part of a nice looking Club attached to the ground. This is where I found the rest of the alleged 41 spectators that the Midland Combination website said attended the match, I counted 22! Mind you, I never count obvious club officials and any glum looking blokes in tracksuits who are obviously the players who didn't make the team this time!

The second half was pretty woeful, what chances there were fell to Brocton and the Cadbury keeper made a couple of fine low saves to keep them in it. I can't see either of these two teams being anywhere near the promotion shake-up at the end of the season to be honest, they worked hard but there was very little Quality (Street).

I may be back here on Saturday, currently the Midland Combination website has both Cadbury Athletic AND Pilkington XXX at home in the FA Vase, that could be interesting! Most likely one has been switched to Sunday but I don't know which one, and no one I spoke to had a clue either.

Attendance - 41
Price - £3 (Cameron was free)
Programme - £1
Potential for crap chocolate puns - Endless
Quality of chocolate puns - Very, very poor indeed.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Crap Badges Of Our Time - Number One - Southam United

What were they thinking?
I suppose they are nicknamed The Saints, but come on!
Still, they can cut it up and use it if the signs on the clubhouse toilets fall off I suppose.
Look at it, yes it has a classic shield shape but that is it's only redeeming feature.
STICK MEN (AND WOMEN!). Why? Did someone give the design over to a five year old on a school project?
I suppose now someone will come back and tell me that it's a clever pastiche on the old Ian Olgilvy 'Saint' programme, well you can try, because it won't wash, this badge is pants.

Anyone got any better examples?

Finally - Back To Some Football

After a football-less week due to work I will be off to watch a match tomorroe evening, Cadbury Athletic V Brocton in the Midland Combination Premier Division most likely.
Meanwhile, a quick catch-up on what's happened since I last posted.

Tamworth won again, gaining revenge on Worcester City for the league debacle chronicled here a couple of weeks back. This time a Matty Williams strike early in the second half was enough to give The Lambs a 1-0 victory and a place in todays 3rd round qualifying draw. There's also the small matter of £3750 prize money but unfortunately most of that was taken up by increased policing costs due in no small measure to Worcester manager Andy Preece's increasingly deranged rants to the local press about how intimidating The Lamb is! No other manager seems to mind, and Preece is the only one to insist that no Tamworth fans are allowed to stand behind his dug-out! Mr. Preece, just because you are paranoid it doesn't mean we are not out to get you!

Talking of the FA Cup, there were a few shocks, ones that stood out for me were Harrogate Railway winning the battle of the Trainspotters against Leigh RMI and Matlock Town dumping perennial giantkillers (under their old Telford United guise) and BS North high-fliers AFC Telford out.
Another tie which caught my eye was AFC Wimbledon away at a team I had never heard of before, Debenham Leisure Centre. I was hoping that Debenham would win and get through to the 1st round proper if only so that during the classified results we might get James Alexander Gordon on the BBC saying:

"Mansfield Town 2 Debenham Leisure Centre 0 - other leisure centres belonging to other department stores are available."

Will update with who Tamuff have drawn in the cup later.


Oh Lordy, it's Kings Lynn at home.
There's some previous here, the previous being that Kings Lynn had the most obnoxious set of racist supporters I had the misfortune to encounter during our time in the Dr Martens League, and yes I HAVE been to Grantham and Worksop.
What fun!

Sunday, 23 September 2007


Am I Supposed To Be At Home? does not condone the over indulgence of alcoholic beverages.

It is not big and it's not clever, it ruins your jeans and knackers your knees.

Please drink responsibly.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Workington The Chain Gang - Tamworth 2 Workington 0 Blue Square North 22/09/07

Must think of a decent pun for the headline,
"Workington 9 to 5"? No sorry Scott, not good enough.
"Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to Work(ington) we go"? No, no no, that is crap and anyway we're not going to Workington, we're at home!

Ah, sod it, who needs puns when you play this good? Yep, Tamworth were superb today, is this the turning point of the season? Time will tell of course but after a couple of decent performances where the ball just wouldn't go into the net Tamworth finally turned possession into goals and grabbed a vital three points which may just be the launch pad for an assault on the play-off places. Okay so I might be getting ahead of myself, but coming into this game Workington were fifth and we totally outplayed them, forgive me for being just a tad optimistic here!

You have to give credit to anyone who travels from Cumbria to Tamworth to watch their team, and I was all prepared to do so as I met various of their fans both on the train and around town, but the three fans I spoke to were from Stoke, Sheffield and Nottingham! All three stated that they see Workington away far more than at home. Still, on my head count there were about 40 Workington fans at The Lamb, some of whom no doubt made the full journey, as will the Tamworth die-hards for the return fixture, it's what we do!

Pre-match refreshments were once again taken at The Albert and The White Lion, if the gaffer at The White Lion is reading, or if anyone knows him, yes we know we outstayed our welcome with the kid, but we love your pub and we won't do it again!

From the kick-off Tamworth took the game to Workington, within five minutes Matt Williams had forced a superb double save from the Workington keeper, who looked like he had just finished his paper round. I then, with my usual impeccable timing, went for a bacon and onion bap and missed Williams giving Tamuff the lead, I did see the net bulge but I am far too overweight to go for superstitious bacon bap every time we need a goal.

It really was one way traffic after that as well, Tamworth were so dominant that my Tammy pessimism kicked in, of course Workington will equalise! For once the pessimism was unfounded, on the stroke of half time a speculative shot from Tony Robinson somehow squirmed under the keeper's arms and it was 2-0 and effectively all over.

And so it transpired, Workington huffed and puffed in the second half but never looked likely to get back into the game. They look far too limited to make an impression on this league, defending high and relying on an offside trap will not work against anyone with a speedy striker.

On the way home I fell over and gashed my knee open, but I wasn't drunk - honest!

Admission - £10
Programme - Yes, didn't buy it though.
Attendance - 768
Beer - Far too much - again!
Slugs - None killed as far as I know
Chances of writing something when more soberer - Priceless

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

"What means teamhopper"?

I've managed to overcome my rampant technophobia enough to install one of them nifty little analytical gizmos that tells me how many people visit this blog and where they come from. It's very anoraky but I can see how it could be useful. I am very disappointed that so far only one person appears to have visited me directly after perusing a porn site though!

One thing it does is tell me if anyone has found this site using a search engine, and so far seven people have. It also tells me what search terms they used. To all you old blogging hands this is probably very old hat but to me it's fascinating. I can see how someone arrived here by searching for "Jack Mould" for instance, but I am less sure why anyone would even need to search for:

andy preece +technophobe

I don't know if the Worcester manager has the same problems as me with technology and I can't really see why anyone would be that interested.

Today someone found me by entering:

what means teamhopper

I hope he (or she) found the answer they were looking for!

Saturday, 15 September 2007

A Kick In The Bantocks - Bilston Town (2007) 3 Penkridge Town 2 - Sport Italia West Midlands League Division Two - 15/09/07

Bilston Town are a famous old name in Black Country non-league football, I can remember The Steelmen playing in the Southern League and my Dad remembers them having a couple of superb FA Cup runs in the late 60's / early 70's when both Halifax and Barnet were visitors to their Queen Street ground.
I have always liked Queen Street, it's a proper football ground, unfortunately it is in a...errr..well, not exactly posh area! Apparently it got broken into that often that the owner of the Social Club on the ground just used to leave a few cans out for the scrotes to pinch so they didn't get frustrated and trash the place. Unfortunately a combination of these break-ins and some alleged problems with money being owed by the last chairman (I say alleged because I was only over-hearing a conversation, I have no proof). Then there was the inevitable walk out of unpayed manager and players and another club folds, it's all so sad but we've all been here before.

But the Bilston name lives on, the latest reincarnation named Bilston Town (2007) have been given a lease on a pitch at Bantock Park just outside Wolverhampton City Centre, it's a glorious setting, 43 acres of greenery with a museum and gardens, Cameron can be seen posing in front of Bantock House with a ginger beer in the above picture. It was lovely in the gorgeous Indian Summer sunshine. The pitch is just a basic taped off parks pitch, someone from the council was erecting two gazebos to be used as dugouts and that was your facilities! Still, this IS only a temporary measure, Bilston hope to get Queen Street back into repair sooner rather than later and apparently there is some decent funding to try to move back up the pyramid. Let's hope so.

Luxurious home and away gazebos for the comfort of the substitutes.

And so to the game, Penkridge only had one point before this game and Bilston were coming into it fresh from last weeks 5-1 hammering of Black Country Rangers, so, a foregone conclusion then? Far from it, within a minute Penkridge were 1-0 up, and it was a lovely goal too, chipped over the goalkeeper and in off the far post. Bilston then pressed and went close several times but, as is the way sometimes, went 2-0 down, totally against the run of play but if you don't take your chances.

A bonus point for every type of tree you can name.

Fair play to Bilston though, heads didn't drop and they fought their way back, they always seemed to have plenty of pace up front and they used this to good effect. 2-0 swiftly became 2-1, a decent free kick bought them level and before half-time they were ahead, apologies for the lack of any real detail but I was playing Frisbee with Cameron and a couple of other lads so I didn't really see a lot!

I spent half-time cloud watching, something which can keep me occupied for hours, Cameron went off to play "Wembley" and I day-dreamed my way through a fairly turgid second-half in which Penkridge, playing down the slope, were the better team but were unable to get past the decent Bilston goalkeeper. This is as low as I have been in Pyramid terms but I would have no qualms in returning, there were no facilities, it was a parks pitch but I was surrounded by knowledgeable non-league enthusiasts who just want to see their team return to somewhere near their former glories, it may never happen but it won't be for a lack of trying.

Remind me not to let Cameron loose with the camera.

Attendance - Hard to tell with people wandering up from the surrounding park but of those that were obviously watching pretty much throughout I'd say around 35 - 40.
Programme - No
Refreshments - Lovely little cafe attached to Bantock House, who needs a burger stand?
Clouds - Spotted one that looked just like Elvis, he wasn't sitting on a toilet though.
Tamworth Watch - Drew 0-0 at home to Barrow, missed two penalties, apparently played better than last week but that is hardly difficult.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Whither Jack Mould?

Tuesday night's game was in The Jack Mould Cup, but just who is or was Jack Mould?
Extensive Google searching has bought me no answer, I have even asked the good people on Tony Kempster's forum but even they don't seem to know, maybe an e-mail to someone involved in running The Midland combination will yield an answer, I'll try that later I think.


A bit of info at last, from 'rodh' on the Tamworth forum

"For your info Jack Moulds Athletic's ground was in Streetsbrook Road on the border of Solihull and Hall Green. The entrance was a few yards up from Gospel Lane. I am unfortunately old enough to have seen a game there but to my eternal regret not got a programme. The ground was sold and is now part of Robin Hood cemetery. Not dying to revisit the site (boom,boom)

Jack Mould I believe was a successful businessman in Birmingham and was a big supporter of the Midland Combination.
that is why he is still remembered with affection"

Still, if anyone knows anything more about our Jack then please leave a comment, ta.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

There Is A Predictable Headline Not Far Away - Greenhill 0 Castle Vale JKS 6 - Jack Mould Cup 1st Round - 11/09/07

To start my midweek football fix this season I decided on a new ground and two new teams. I don't know why I haven't been to Beeches View before, I have just never got round to it. Right let's lay some ground rules here, yes I am a non-league enthusiast, and yes I know a bit about the local non-league scene, but if you come here expecting loads of facts and figures about the games I go to then you will be sadly disappointed!

1. I have no idea what the Jack Mould Cup is, I know from Google that Wernley Athletic won it last season, and I found on the wondrous Football Club History Database that there used to be a Worcestershire Combination Club called Jack Mould's Athletic, and that's about it, sorry.

2. I know very little about Greenhill. They are one of those clubs that just seem to appear from nowhere in the lower divisions of the Midland combination and hang around for a while before disappearing back into amateur or Sunday league football, but I am probably doing them a disservice.

In fact I know I am because despite my ignorance they are a wonderfully welcoming club, they groundshare with Cradley Town at the aforementioned Beeches View, which is definitely NOT an easy ground to find. Myself and my mate and driver for the night Dave Woodhall spent a while wandering around a Cradley Heath housing estate before suddenly finding ourselves in open countryside and farmland. Knowing we had gone too far and thinking we had somehow teleported to Wales we doubled back and as quickly as we were in trees and fields we were back in the middle of houses! Truly bizarre really! Anyhow we made it before kick off and set about counting the crowd. It looked good for a single figure attendance for a short while, something Woodhall obsesses about, his lowest ever is 6 and he'd love to beat it, but more people drifted in, possibly because this is International week and there are no games on the telly tonight.

A view across Beeches View and the glorious countryside of...err...Cradley Heath!

I was pleasantly surprised to see that a programme was available so I snapped one up and walked around to the ramshackle little red and black painted stand on the right hand side as you look from the entrance, there is a larger stand (The Alfabet Stand according to the sign on the roof) at the far end but no one had bothered to walk that far. One thing that did stand out was that the away dugout was on the opposite side of the pitch to the home dugout. Saves all those niggly arguments I suppose. We had just about sat down when Castle Vale opened the scoring with a superbly taken lob over the goalkeeper from about twenty yards out. And if we thought that was good then Vale's second will take some beating no matter how many games I go to this season, it was an absolute screamer from fully thirty yards which even did that nice little trick of getting lodged in the stanchion as it arrowed into the top corner, marvellous stuff and less than ten minutes gone!

There was only one team in it throughout, although Castle Vale were unable to extend their lead before half-time. I missed their third as I was still in the tidy clubhouse, watched them walk in a fourth, missed the fifth because we were leafing through a found copy of a Cradley Town programme before seeing Vale wrap up a comprehensive victory with a well taken sixth. Bloody good entertainment for the free admission I must say.

To me Castle Vale JKS look too good for the level they are at (Midland combination Division 2 or level 8), they may well be a team that have come through the junior ranks together (JKS are a community club with a full range of junior teams), they have a lot of talent in their ranks judging by this performance, it could have been double figures and Greenhill couldn't have had many causes to complain.

Finished off the night with a swift pint in the Bull and Bear near Halesowen and got home to see that Tamworth had somehow managed to get themselves knocked out of the Birmingham senior Cup 2-3 at home to Sutton Coldfield, ho hum!

Price - FREE!!
Programme - £1, love the scratchings adverts.
Attendance - 27 (head count)

A Slight Correction and a Clarification on seeing Villa Park from the Train!

I have been informed that the area behind the Worcester dugout on Saturday was not fenced off due to the possibility of a certain Mr. Colley getting some abuse from the Tamworth fans, no, apparently it was at the request of Worcester manager Andy Preece who obviously couldn't hack the "gentle ribbing" he may have got from our more vociferous fans when he was last at The Lamb with Carlisle.

What a wuss! That's the first time I have seen that happen since the dugouts were moved from the main stand side to The Shed. Even Liam Daish came back for more and he really did get a bucket-load of abuse a few seasons back.

Meanwhile over at Tinpot Terrace the forum regulars have been busy providing yet more examples of public transport groundspotting. This could really catch on you know!

According to DazaB, on the Coventry - Nuneaton line you get a view of both Coventry City's Ricoh Arena and Coventry Rugby Club's Butt's Park Arena. Now I'm not sure I should allow an egg-chasers ground but as it has a mildly amusing name it stays for now.

Medibot tells me that you get a view of the back of Sutton United's Gander Green Lane Ground from the Sutton - Wimbledon Thameslink line and also Caersws in Wales has the Cambrian Coast line in full view of the pitch and passing drivers honk their horns in support of Caersws when they pass during a match.

Finally ISIHAC is getting confused about my assertion that you cannot see Villa Park from the train. Let me make it clear that this is only on my usual trip from New Street to Tamworth, I am quite aware that Villa Park is spottable from the Cross City Line between Aston and Witton but I will be doing this line at a later date as there are other grounds to spot on this journey.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

The Wusster Post Mortem and Part 3 of Groundspotting from Public Transport

Turns out that the spot of bother I witnessed at the end of yesterday's game was caused by the consummate professional Gerry Taggart reacting to a comment from a Tamworth fan about his "performance". If this is the case then he should never play for Tamworth FC again, it's not like he would be missed judging by his heartless display anyway. If Gary Mills must keep bringing in these old pro's giving them one last pay packet before they go off and run a pub or something then they could at least repay him and the fans by looking like they care. We've had some decent players of a certain vintage down The Lamb in recent years, Steve Walsh and Bob Taylor spring immediately to mind (we won't mention a certain Mr. Merson!), Taggart isn't fit to lace their boots I'm afraid, on yer bike son.

On a cheerier but more anoraky note, I did some more public transport groundspotting on the way to the game.
Pulling out of Birmingham New Street you can easily spot St. Andrews, home of Birmingham City, I don't like them though, they smell strange and don't have opposable thumbs.
You then pass pretty close to the much, much nicer and altogether more fantastic Villa Park, but you can't see it from the train, thought I'd mention it anyway.

Just past The Fort shopping park and fort Dunlop on the left you soon pass The Vale Stadium, once home to the now defunct Paget Rangers but these days home to Midland Combination side Castle Vale Kings Heath.

Finally, on the final run in to Tamworth as you go over the railway arches you can see The Lamb, I always make sure i point this out to Cameron but then again I am very sad.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Can I Just Be A Groundhopper Please? Tamworth 0 Worcester City 2 - Blue Square North 08/09/07

Okay, what I really should do is sleep on this and write a sober reflection on this game between two old adversaries, but sod it, let's get the anger out of the way. We (and for those of you stumbling upon this blog for the first time, I am a Tamworth fan) were absolute garbage......again.

When we were finally put out of our Conference misery and suffered relegation last season most fans thought that Tamworth would, if not walk this "poxy league", then at least be up there and challenging. On this performance we should be more concerned with the relegation spots than the play-off places. This was a woeful performance against a team that did not have to rise much above dross level themselves to grab all three points.

Pre-match talk was centered around whether Nick "I've got cancer me, honest guv" Colley would play for Wusster, look him up on Wikipedia if you want to know why he isn't the most popular person at The Lamb. In the end he was named as a substitute and this lead to the area behind the away dugout in The Shed being roped off. Blimey, do they not trust us to be nice or something? Personally I don't care about Colley, he doesn't deserve even as much as my contempt.

Anyway, this match started off for me and Cameron the same as any most other Tamuff games, with a train journey from Brum, we met a few Wusster fans on the train, we won't mention the "pissbag" (Papa's not got a brand new one of them!) for fear of embarrassing the lads, but they did live up to the "Wuss" in Wusster by getting a taxi from the station to the beer festival despite it being only a short walk. Yep, you saw right, there was a beer festival, and yes I did partake in a few scoops, top one, nice one, sorted!

Met up with my old mate Graham and his son Scott after that and stopped off in The White Lion, always a pleasure to drink in there, and then we made our way to The Lamb. So far so good, and then the bloomin' game started.

The Wusster fans, having a damn sight more fun than the rest of us.

Ach, I can't be bothered to explain just how dismal this game was, suffice to say that I gave my man of the match to the lady in the tea hut, and I didn't even have a cup of tea. Gerry Taggart ballsed up to present Wusster with a goal before half time, we all thought that Tamworth would come out fighting in the second half but it seems that they couldn't be arsed and Wusster grabbed a second late in the second half. I'd like to write a more incisive match report but the insipidness of the Tamworth performance has drained all....meh! God it was crap.

Hang on, there was one bright spot, youth teamer Luke Edwards had a cracking match, if only the rest of the team could take note. Luke at least looked like he was proud to pull on the shirt,the rest of them looked like they would rather be anywhere but on the pitch. There was a spot of nastiness at the end when the players walked off, not sure if this was Colley related or piss-poor performance related.

Cameron wanted to see the England - Israel game so post-mortems were held in The White Lion, good job too as it gave me a chance to confront the Tamworth Slug Murderer:

The Tamworth Slug Murderer with her medal for slug murdering - yeah, you can look smug, slug killer.

Can I just say here and now that Tamworth FC are a family club and I do not condone the killing of slugs and snails, and if the rumours of Henry and the hedgehog are true then I am truly appalled.

Seriously though, congrats to Julie for completing the Race For Life (42 minutes wasn't it?). Well done youthette.

Price - £10 Adult £5 Child
Food - Cameron enjoyed his hot dog as usual
Beer - The Hobgoblin was very nice indeed, kudos!
Attendance - 919
Entertainment - None if you were a Tamuff fan!