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.