Sunday, 20 July 2008

Everything Is Average Nowadays - Tamworth 2 FC Halifax Town 0 - Pre-season Friendly - The Lamb - 19/07/08

I rarely do Tamworth pre-season friendlies, there's no real point to them, they are just glorified training sessions really and they expect us to pay (sometimes full price) for the priviledge, but as this was going to be the first ever game for the newly formed FC Halifax Town who are hoping to rise from the ashes of the poorly run and now extinct Halifax Town, it just appealed somehow.

Right, a quick rant to get things off my chest. Firstly, what a disappointingly tedious and inevitable name is FC Halifax, what is it with new clubs and the need to stick FC or AFC in front of the name? They could have named it anything but depressingly have opted for just sticking FC in front, bah!
Secondly, and I am not having a go at the Halifax fans here, why have this brand new club been allowed to enter so high up the pyramid, Unibond One? So now we have a club with a big ground and a ready-made fanbase who will, in all probability, be back up in the Blue Square league in a couple of years. It does seem a bit unfair on all those clubs who have to start back at step seven or eight or ambitious clubs who are trying to climb the pyramid but have been leap-frogged by Halifax. It seems to be accepted that new clubs formed from bankrupt old ones just drop two or three divisions when, as new clubs, they should start from scratch surely?
That said, the fans I met were a great bunch, I hope it all goes well for them and all that.

I never hold much hopes for excitement pre-season friendlies, and I wasn't to be disappointed by this one, the whole day was just so average! The pint I had in The Albert was okay, nothing great (Marston's something or other, it was so bland I've forgotten it's name!), the Church End beer in The White Lion was the most average drop from this normally fine brewery that I've ever had, and even the normally excellent Hobgoblin in the same establishment was in a particularly poor state (end of barrel?).

The clubhouse had Greene King IPA as the guest beer, it was as average as Greene King IPA always is, England were being incredibly average in the cricket on the telly, it was all so bloody average!

I've even decided to post a couple of very average pictures as you can see, neither of them was actually taken at the game (I've stolen them off Flickr, they were taken by a Morecambe fan a couple of seasons ago!) as in my soporific state of ennui I forgot to get my camera out of the bag.

There was a brief flicker of interest as the teams ran out, but this was due to my delight at seeing that the fourth official was a twelve year old ginger! His paper round was being finished off by Tamworth substitute Dean Lea who is definitely no older than thirteen surely.

The game was okay, Tamworth were the better team as they should be and it's refreshing to see that we looked to play the ball on the ground most of the time. Rumour has it that Gary Mills has been told to play this way as the club has been inundated with lawsuits from Black Country ambulance chasing solicitors "Injuries Am We" suing for the spate of cricked necks we suffered last season.
Actually, given that the average size of the Tamworth squad, even with Craig McAughtrie, is well under 5'10", playing hoof it football would be pointless. To play good, passing football you need a good playmaker and Tamworth look to have found one in ex-Coventry yoof Lee Hildreth. This is the first time I have seen him and he looks too good for this level, let's hope no one notices for this season at least.
Tamworth took an early lead as Nick Wright latched onto a through ball, rounded the keeper and then did everything he could not to score before finally rolling the ball just over the line despite a desperate attempted clearance. Not too much else happened in the first half although one wayward Tamworth shot did send someones chips flying. Well, it'll help with his dieting.

Second-half? Much of the same, a few shots, some decent passing and then, pretty much out of the blue, a scorching low drive from about 25 yards out by Hildreth that gave the Halifax keeper no chance. Yeah, it was okay really.
Tamworth are having a decent pre-season, three wins out of three so far including a 1-0 win in Londonderry against Institute. Apparently a good time was had by all the fans who made that trip but what goes on tour stays on tour!

Halifax will take heart at a decent first game, they will probably win Unibond One, they bought about 100 fans with them which is more than most Conference North teams manage.

One more average pint on the way home and that was it, it's nice to catch up after the barren month of June but I doubt I'll bother with any of the other friendlies, I'll be back when we take on Stalybridge in the league in August.

Oh, one more thing, obviously the panto work for squeaky-voiced d-lister Joe Pasquale has dried up because he is now the tannoy announcer at Tamworth Station.

Attendance - 618

Programme - 8 pages 50p

Beer - average, all of it.

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