Sunday, 23 September 2007

Disclaimer

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.

**EDIT**

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!

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Groundspotting from public transport Part 2

I have been reminded by my good Worcester City supporting friend DazaB over on Tinpot Terrace that if you look to your left whilst travelling on the Hinckley - Leicester line you get a brilliant view of Midland Alliance side Friar Lane and Epworth's Knighton Lane East ground.



Cheers for that Daza, might see you Saturday.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Interlude - Groundspotting on public transport Part 1

Okay so now this IS sad, over the years I have noticed that you can spot many football grounds from buses, trains and even trams, so, as a gift to the blogging community, here's your starter for 10.

On the train from Exmouth to Exeter (The Avocet Line apparently) you trundle past two grounds, firstly on the right hand side on the way out of Exmouth you will see Exmouth Town's King George V ground which has (and how do I know this I hear you ask?) the largest playing area in the Devon area, so there.
Secondly, as you approach the outskirts of Exeter and just before St.James Park station you can crane your neck upwards and catch a glimpse of one of the stands of Exeter Cit's ground on the left hand side.

Interesting huh? If anyone has any more examples of this wonderful hobby then they will be gratefully recieved and if I am ever in the area I'll look out for them...woo!

What I Did On My Holidays - Budleigh Salterton 4 Appledore 2 - South West peninsula League Division One East 18/08/07

I came down for our two week break in glorious East Devon with many good intentions to see lots of different football teams and...well...err...saw only two games, one of which I have no pictures of after dropping my camera into the sea at Sidmouth! I really haven't got the hang of this hopping at all have I?

Anyway, it all started off okay on the Saturday, we arrived at our caravan in Ladram Bay early enough to get unpacked and leave time for me to make the short trip to Budleigh Salterton's Greenway Lane ground for their opening SW Peninsula League game against Appledore. I thought Appledore was a fruit based soft drink but apparently it's a Naval Port in North Devon.

There was enough rain around for me to think that the game may have been in danger but the pitch was in lovely condition, the ground is up in the hills above the town and offers nice views of the surrounding farmland, but the rain belting down spoiling the effect somewhat. As Cameron and I pulled up five minutes before the alloted 2:45 kick off the Appledore team minibus pulled in behind us obviously having got caught in the holiday traffic, so with the kick off no doubt being slightly delayed we went to explore the clubhouse and find some grub. No complaints here, it's a spacious bar with big-screen telly, pool and even a skittle alley, and joy of joys, decent beer on draught! Pity I was driving and could only have the one then. It chased the cheesy chips from the snack bar down nicely though.

We sat in the small stand (see above)) for the start of the game but the rain slowed a bit and we went on a tour around the perimeter, Cameron inevitably finding a large muddy puddle to fall into on the way, typical, it would be me getting hell from his Mother not him, it's always my fault!


Cameron the mud magnet finds more mud.

Budleigh started off at a great rate of knots, maybe the visitors' late arrival contributed to their sluggish start, either way Budleigh should have been one up in the first minute and were ahead just a couple of minutes later. It evened out after that and Appledore grabbed an equaliser, definitely against the run of play but Budleigh failed to take their chances so them's the breaks! The home team continued to press but somehow contrived to go 2-1 down! Luckily their heads did not drop and they equalised within a minute and then retook the lead and held it until HT - 3-2. Time to dry off in the clubhouse and check the Tamworth score, 1-0 up at Hyde, excellent.

Cameron decided that he was wet enough and took the easy option of pop and crisps in front of Soccer Saturday for the second half, I ventured out for a bit but then realised I could see the game from the clubhouse windows! The view wasn't great but it was a lot drier.



Number 2 in what looks like being a rather large series: The view of the game from the Budleigh clubhouse.

Time has dulled my memory of the rest of the match and I didn't take notes (suppose I should start to really) but Budleigh continued to be the much better side and ran out 4-2 winners. Reading the excellent and free with admission programme it transpires that they could have taken a place in the Premier Division of the new SW Peninsula League and the quality they seem to have in their squad means they wouldn't have looked out of place in a higher division.
Overall I liked this place, they are friendly and the facilities are good, I'll be back next year I reckon, I wish them well.

Attendance - Just over 50 on my count, wish people would stand still when I'm trying to count them.
Price - £2.50 for the two of us including a programme, bargain!
Food - Good and cheap, loved the chips and cheese.
Beer - Must leave the car at home but it was a disgustingly wet day!

And that's it really, I did catch twenty minutes of Alphington V University of Exeter on my way back from Powderham castle and I found Beer Albion's ground accidentally after taking a wrong turn, the rest of the holiday was spent on beaches in glorious sunshine. Must do better, so many teams, so little time!