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? What does it look like, and more importantly what does it feel like?

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

Avoidance of Doubt


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Tuesday 21st October 2014 ko 19.45

West Midlands (Regional) League Premier Division

WELLINGTON FC 0 Fisher missed penalty 41

MALVERN TOWN 1 (Hooper 82)

Att c50

Entry £4

Programme £1

I suppose the league gives the game away that this is the Wellington that’s around 5 miles north of Hereford, not the version just a few miles from the M5 in Somerset. The Herefordshire team are Wellington FC, the Somerset club are Wellington AFC!

Or in my terms this club are the team close to the junction where I very nearly drove the wrong way up a dual carriageway! The turn-off for the village is at a point where the A49 goes from dual to single-carriageway, and I misread the white lines briefly, and was fortunate to spot an arrow pointing towards me a yard or two later. A quick volte-face saved face, so be warned! Continue reading

Common Decency


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Monday 20th October 2014 ko 19.45

Southern League Premier Division

HITCHIN TOWN 2 (Webb 50 Burns 68)

BANBURY UNITED 0 Jervis sent off 41 (dangerous play)

At 288

Entry £10

Programme £2

As a groundhopper I don’t revisit many grounds, but Hitchin’s Top Field is definitely one to provide an exception to that rule. Perhaps its the wooden terracing, or the low slung stand, full of nooks and crannies, or the clubshop that you never quite know what delights will be on sale there. Last time I visited I bought a book on FC Start that toured with me in Sweden! Increasingly architecture on all buildings, not just football grounds is becoming more bland, so the potential loss of the Top Field is particularly hard to stomach.

Continue reading

Rogues Gallery


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Tuesday 14th October 2014 ko 19.30

Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division


SILEBY TOWN 3 (Coggan 5 Jelly 11 34)

Att c30

Entry £2

No Programme, Old Copy £1

It is odd that England’s smallest county Rutland has clubs at two different leagues at the same level. Uppingham, Oakham and others play in the Step 7 Peterborough & District League but the anomaly is that Cottesmore play in the parallel Leicestershire Senior League. With my GroundhopUK hat on another set of floodlights in the PDFL with a Rutland hop scheduled for next season would have been handy! Such is life, and with plans for next July’s event well progressed the weekend should be a hugely enjoyable one.

Continue reading



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Sunday 12th October 2014 ko 15.00

4de Nationale A

K STANDAARD WETTEREN 1 (Droessaert 90)


Att c270

Entry €10 (all areas)

One advantage of the Sobemai game finishing sooner than we’d planned was that we reached the East Flanders town of Wetteren earlier than we expected. The town is most famous for the explorer Émile Pierre Joseph Storms who was born here and did much to open up what is now the Congo to western influence, and expand the Belgian empire in the late 19th century. Continue reading

Coffee Football


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Sunday 12th October 2014 ko 10.00

Voetball Cafeploeg

FC SOBEMAI 1 (Dabart 60og)

WEST EIND & BOOGARDE KERMIS 3 (G-J Savat 39 44 van Waryenberge 60)

Att 42 at Stadion Edelharte de Lille, Maldegem

Entry FREE

Programme NO

I could tell you about how we got up at 5.30am to do this one, or about the fog on the motorway from Luxembourg, and even the guilt that three of us felt when we all fell asleep just after crossing into Belgium leaving an exhausted Lee to drive for 3 hours plus listening to us snoring!

We reached the East Flanders town of Maldegem, diverted to avoid a Sunday Flea Market, crossed the narrow gauge tracks then turned left into the Stadion Edelharte de Lille, just 7km south of the Dutch border. Our collective jaws dropped, leaving any other tale I could tell utterly redundant.

Continue reading



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Saturday 11th October 2014 ko 19.00

Promotion D’Honneur


CS PÉTANGE 1 (Smigalović 45)

Att c239

Entry €8

No Programme

So over the border into the Grand Duchy and one of Europe’s smaller countries. Luxembourg lies between France, Belgium and Germany, and the Stade Jos Phillipart in Rodange lies roughly a kilometre from France to the south and two from Belgium to the North. So I got my eighteenth countrypoint, but not by much! Continue reading



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Saturday 11th October 2014 ko 14.00

Regionaliga West



Att 418

Entry (Haupttribune) €12

Programme FREE

From Saarbrücken we headed north leaving Saarland and passing into Nord Rhine Westphalia. The two-and-a-half hour drive took us past the Nürburgring, scene of Niki Lauda’s infamous accident. I glanced over to driver Lee, then the speedometer showing below the speed-limit so no race influence here! Continue reading


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