The Town That Didn’t Stare


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Tuesday 25th November 2014 ko 19.30

Isthmian League Cup 2nd Round

EAST GRINSTEAD TOWN 2 (Campbell 3 Joseph 37)


Att 59

Entry £8

No Programme

Tea £1

It would be all too easy to treat East Grinstead as part of that sprawl of London commuter-belt south of the M25. Are you in Surrey, or are you in Sussex (the latter!) the endless affluent suburbia irrelevant. But this is one of those towns where you need to park your prejudices and look at little deeper. Continue reading

Another Octave


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Sunday 23rd November 2014 ko 15.00

Women’s International Friendly


GERMANY 3 (A Scott 6og Sasic 12 45)

Att 45,619 at Wembley Stadium

Entry- Complimentary

Programme £5

It’s a fact of my footballing life that I don’t watch nearly enough women’s football. My cause in that respect was aided when a league I work with offered two Club Wembley seats, and I pondered how to get to the national stadium with the Jubilee, and Metropolitan tube lines closed for planned engineering work.

Continue reading



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Wednesday 19th November 2014 ko 19.30

Western League Division One


RADSTOCK TOWN 2 (Metcalf 45 Harvey 45)

Att 110

Entry £5

Programme £1

Sausage & Chips £1.50

When the rains come you drive to football with the risk that when you reach your destination the game will be off. You can mitigate the risk by phoning ahead, and Twitter is a godsend to the groundhopper, but you never quite know until you turn the corner and see the floodlights shining through the trees. Continue reading



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Tuesday 18th November 2014 ko 19.30

FA Youth Cup 2nd Round

OXFORD UNITED 3 (Graham 14 45 George 20p)

swindon town 2 (McCormack 83 Oulridge 85)

Att 727

Entry £5

Programme 50p

If, perchance you are an Oxford United fan there is a prescribed order when it comes to local rivals. In strict order it goes like this,

  1. Swindon Town
  2. Swindon Town Reserves
  3. Swindon Town Youth team
  4. Swindon Town Ladies,

and so on…

Continue reading

Rattle & Hum


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Saturday 16th November 2014 ko 14.00

Gwent County League Division One

NEWPORT CORINTHIANS 1 (Perszewski 5) Perszewski sent off 28 (violent conduct) Berry missed penalty 37

ABERGAVENNY TOWN 4 (Morgan 10 17 C Norman 18 Jenkins 45)

Att c30

Industrial areas have a sound all of their own. Whether its the hum of the steelworks, or the buzz of overhead cables, or the distant thunder of a goods train there’s a personality to be found here. And let’s be honest, I picked Coronation Park solely because of the transporter bridge behind. You have Dave Collins to thank for this piece, and if you don’t know Dave, and you really should, he’s the publisher of the excellent magazine Welsh Football, and a recent magazine had a quite wonderful picture on the front cover, several versions of which you’ll see at the end of this text. Me being me, I forgot which team I needed to visit, so that’s another reason to be grateful to Mr Collins! Continue reading

Reds & Blues


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Wednesday 5th November 2014 k0 19.30

Welsh League Division 3

CARDIFF GRANGE HARLEQUINS 2 (Cawley 15 Dabusso 52)

BRIDGEND STREET 3 (Penekett 37 Kane 55 Dunfold 75)

Att c33

Entry £3

Programme- None. The club puts a downloadable version on the results section of their website, but the website hasn’t been updated for a while.

It’s a long time since I first encountered the Grangetown-based team, taking a 7-0 drubbing away at Plas Kynaston Lane, then home to Cefn Druids, in January 2006. That was during Quins one season in the Welsh Premier League, an unhappy experience for them, their chances of survival stymied by a major sponsor pulling out just before the start of the season. A year or two later I went to see them at their home at Leckwith Stadium, and even now there are still echoes from that time. Continue reading

Stiff Little Fingers


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Tuesday 4th November 2014 ko 19.30

Western League Division One

RADSTOCK TOWN 4 (Carter 6 Harvey 26 Hardiman 89 Metcalf 90)

WINCANTON TOWN 2 (Jordan 68 Chant 90)

Att 61

Entry £6

Programme £1

Perhaps its just my ignorance, but until I visited nearby Welton Rovers, you can see their lights as you travel south from Bath, I didn’t associate Somerset with coal mining. That was genuinely my error, the pits were started in the late 18th century and at one point were owned by the Waldegrave family, you may remember MP William Waldegrave, but the last pit finally closed in 1973. The clues are still there, be it the “Miners” nickname of the football club, or the rows of terraces miners’ cottagers as you climb the hill towards the Southfields Recreation Ground. Continue reading

Blood swept Lands and Seas of Red


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Let’s start with the facts, this is the moat of the Tower of London, gradually filled with 888,246 ceramic poppies each representing one British military fatality during the First World War.

The Poppies were designed by Paul Cummins, with setting by stage designer Tom Piper, and over the last few months the moat has gradually filled with a sea of red. In time the poppies will be sold, with 6 charities benefitting, but what is it like to visit? What does it look like, and more importantly how does it make you feel?

If I was to use just one word, overwhelming. Above a certain figure, numbers become mere digits until you see them in physical form, and when you compute all those little flowers as the loss of a generation it stops you in your tracks.

Given the crowds there on Sunday evening, the quiet was palpable as the sun set and the Yeoman Warders accompanied an orator into the middle of it all. Each day he reads out 180 names of the fallen, before a bugler plays the last post. In the end its the accumulation of small actions that makes this art installation as powerful as it is. The bugler finished his lament and I walked soberly back to the coach. There was much to consider.

Malted Milk


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Tuesday 28th October 2014 ko 19.45

Midland League Division One

UTTOXETER TOWN 3 (Curley 15 85 Redshaw 80)


Att 227

Entry £3

Programme £1

The Staffordshire town is reckoned to have had 79 different spellings of its name since its mention in the Domesday Book as “Wotocheshede” Perhaps now you know Uttoxeter now for its racecourse, or for Fox’s Malted Milk biscuits, or even Samuel Johnson’s penance. Dr Johnson’s father ran a bookstall on Uttoxeter market, and young Samuel once refused to help out on the stall. When Johnson was older, he stood in the rain (without a hat) as a penance for his failure to assist. Now Uttoxeter has another reason to be famous, its football team. Continue reading

Moonlight Mile


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Saturday 25th October 2014 ko 14.00

South Devon League “Herald” Cup 2nd Round

BEESANDS ROVERS 4 (Burt 23 Bailey 28 J Tucker 48 D Tucker 81)


Att 18

Entry FREE

Programme NO

Let’s answer a question I get asked a lot, how do I pick my games? The answer is that it varies. Sometimes they pick me- I get invited, sometimes I’m there because I’ve organised it, or sometimes there’s a touch of whimsy in my choice. In this case, I decided to dip into my list of quirky “off-piste” grounds I wanted to visit. Continue reading


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