Sunday, 28 February 2010

The Ground - An integral part of the match day.

Right, I warned you I was going to put up a load of pictures in an earlier post which looked at grounds I'd snuck into using the art of stealth and not a little cunning (or bought a ticket for the organised tour) and this is where it starts. I've got loads of badly taken boring pictures and now you're going to look at them. You're going to look at them, think they're boring and also think:

a) I wish he'd stop clogging up my facebook newsfeed with links to this shite. (You clicked on it numbnuts, no one forced you here!)

b) What a twat, thinks he can take 'arty' shots with his piss poor camera. Who does he think he is, a photographer for the Guardian?

c) Why doesn't he get a life and stop taking boring pictures of boring football matches? I bet he's single.

You'd be right on all accounts.

Olympia Stadion, Hertha Berlin II v VFB Luebeck

The Mungersdorfer Stadion, Cologne. 1. FC Cologne v Hoffenheim.

Just outside the Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium, home of Panathinaikos. Shocking hairstyles.

The Creek, Bristol Manor Farm. Too many times.

The Creek, Bristol Manor Farm
Skytteholms IP, Vasalunds IF v Mjallby AIF

Celtic Park, Celtic v Hearts. Situated in probably the roughest looking part of any city I've ever been to, and I've been to Sheffield.

Estadio Jose Alvalade. Designed by someone who was particualry shit at Tetris, comes complete with its own inbuilt Lidl. Classy.

Estadio da Luz, Benfica. Almost impossible to get to this one and I almost lost an arm to a very angry eagle housed in the club shop. Dont get that at Weymouth.

Nyum, nyum, nyum. Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark, sometimes home of Hertha Berlin and Union Berlin.


Amateurstadion, Hertha Berlin II v Vfb Luebeck.

Stade Edmond Machtens, FC Molenbeek Brussels v KAS Eupen. Raymond Goethals, 90's style icon.

Stade Joseph Marien, Royal Union Saint Gilloise v VCE Aalst.

Chalk Lane, Cockfosters v Kings Langley. Ha, I wrote 'cock'. *sniggers*

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Sneaking In

Over the years I've managed to build up a ridiculous amount of picture of football grounds, matches etc. Most of which I've never looked at since I took them, so in an attempt to pad this blog out about I'll be sharing them with the readers of this blog (Hi Mum!). Over the next few weeks/months Ill be putting up a load of different pictures that capture the various stages of the football match experience. First up though are pictures taken mostly when I've snuck into closed grounds, and in the case of Atletico Madrid, been kicked out.

Estadio Jose Alvalade, Sporting Lisbon. A full model of the ground made entirely of sugar, obviously.
Camp Nou, Barcelona.

Olympiastadion, Hertha Berlin.

Vicente Calderon, Atletico Madrid. Taken shortly before being booted out, oh the shame!

Wessex Stadium, Weymouth FC. The iconic 'This is 'The' Wessex Stadium' sign, know the world over by football connoisseurs. Not exactly 'This is Anfield' is it?
Wessex Stadium, Weymouth FC. Garry Hill's Championship winning tactics.
Wessex Stadium, Weymouth FC. The state of the art physio facilities in the home dressing room, as graced by many many woeful players. Property of Malcolm Cu*tis.

Stadion Paffrather Strasse, SV Bergisch Gladbach 09.

Soderstadion, Hammarby IF
Soderstadion, Hammarby IF
Stockholms Olympiastadion, Djurgardens IF

Stockholms Olympiastadion, Djurgardens IF
Stockholms Olympiastadion, Djurgardens IF. This stadium was built for the 1912 Stockholm Olympics and hasnt changed much since then, an amazing ground.

Stockholms Olympiastadion, Djurgardens IF.

Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow Rangers
More pictures from Ibrox here.

Estadio do Restelo, Belenenses. Had to hurdle a high gate to get back out of this one, almost tore a bollock off. Maybe not worth it.

Campo de Jogos de Pragal, Almada AC. Possibly the most spectacularly situated ground I've ever been to, with amazing views over Lisbon and the surrounding coastline. The fact that this team that play in this ground play in the 5th division of Portuguese football just added to the excitement.

Campo de Jogos de Pragal, Almada AC.

Campo de Jogos de Pragal, Almada AC.

Estadio da Luz, Benfica. Not in Sunderland, thankfully.

Josef Pilsudski Stadium, Cracovia

Stadium Miejski, Wisla Krakow

Stade de la Meinau, Racing Club Strasbourg
Stade de la Meinau, Racing Club Strasbourg

Stade Joseph Marian, Royale Union Saint Gilloise

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Worst. Game. Ever. Relegation. Certain.

Bath City FC v Weymouth FC
Saturday 20th February, 2010
Conference South
Twerton Park, Bath
Attendance: 656

Pre match preview.

Quite often supporting Weymouth recently a good day out has been ruined by the 90 minutes of football and this was definitely one of those times. My blogs so far have rarely mentioned what happened during the games and I will struggle to write more than a paragraph on this one, it was so unspeakably bad and I watch Weymouth games with very little emotional attachment now. The players change every week so I couldnt tell you who had a good game, who played badly or offer any tactical insight. This really was a case of standing there for 90 minutes, expecting to lose and just watch the latest set of men to wear the Weymouth shirt toil away before the inevitable defeat.

Anyways, highlight of the day was the 15 minute train journey to Oldfield Park, such was the direness of the match we observed. I unintentionally caused a man's brain to melt by taking a drink of water from my drinks bottle purchased at the Djurgarden IF Football team store in Stockholm last year, it turns out that this was his local team and he couldnt fathom how I happened to be in possesion of some merchandise from his team while passing through the outskirts of Keynsham.

Louis and me then had to move down the train to allow more Bath rugby fans to embark and found ourselves stood by some middle aged Worcester rugby fans battling frantically with a music lyrics quiz. Louis' fancies himself as a bit of a musical genius and set about trying to assist by singing the lines out loud in the carriage, this strategy offered very little assistance (especially as Louis was singing the ones they had succesful answered) and we resorted to the wonder of google. They were clearly struggling and the fact they couldnt identify the lyric of " there is no future in England's dreaming" as being from God Save The Queen by The Sex Pistols would suggest punk past them by and that this quiz was a losing battle.

After fighting are way off the train and failing in our mission to stop Bath midfielder and Weymouth reject, Sido Jombarti, from getting off the train and being sent on a way journey to Brighton we make our way to Twerton Park to watch the early kick off of Everton v Manchester United.

The scene of this weeks defeat. Property of Bath City FC, not some ass property developer.

I'll swap you two Sido Jombarti's and a Lewis Hogg for a Matt Coupe.

I knew there was a reason for letting Louis' come along with me (sorry Spew!) and that was the fact that we gained free entry for the game as the Bath assistant manager, Lee Howells, doubles up as Louis' barber and gave us a couple of complimentary tickets for the game, at least I suffered no financial setback as a result of watching this dross. I thanked Mr Howells for his generosity, congratulated him on his impending victory and entered the bar. The bar played host to Eric Cantona in the summer, promoting his film ' Looking for Eric', which was directed by long term Bath City fan Ken Loach. Infact a DVD of the visit was available for the bargain price of £5 (five) from the club shop. The pictures on the wall also suggested a series of film icons had graced the prestigious 'Randall's' bar but alas I couldn't find a DVD of Marilyn Munroe's visit.

When ze fat man follow ze property developer, it's because he think they can make a nice tidy profit.

Bath City fan Marilyn Munroe with former Bath City manager Paul Bodin.

Our idea to watch the early kick of was scuppered as there was a technical fault with the Sky box, sadly there was to be no technical faults with the match we were there to see and the game was still on. With an hour or so to kick off I find myself tuning into conversations from various Bath City fans commenting on our current position, "6 goals in one game, thats quite rare".....yeah, yeah. Thanks for pointing that out. A trip to bar almost ended up the tragedy of double beer wastage as I both jumped 4 foot in the air and very nearly touched cloth after an extremely loud annoucement about the availability of pies at the bar was made. A lucky escape for the beer.

Pre match build up and none of the comedy stylings of the Worcester City's PA Announcer, instead the standard staple pre match football songs of Republica's "Ready To Go" and Dario G's Carneval de Paris. Sadly no earlier 90s classic's that helped soften the blow of the Worcester defeat.

Oh to hire a hitman......! And....'see The Bear' for details - brilliant.

Now, the match. Christ. I have very rarely witnessed such a hopelessly inept game from two piss poor sides. The low point for me and ohh there were many, being watching a Bath player shank the ball out of play whilst under no pressure and then the resulting Weymouth throw in drifting out aimlessly for a goal kick. Bath missed a penalty just before half time. I dont know who took it, I dont know who gave it away.

The second half, um....2 seagulls flew over the pitch at one point - that was quite interesting. Yeah, it was that dull. Weymouth manage to keep a clean sheet for about 70 minutes but never really look like scoring, amongst the fans there is no sense that we might get a point. None of that seige mentality and willing the team on to try and keep the opposition out. We're all resigned to the fact that Bath will score at some point and indeed Bath scored at some point, I dunno when exactly. Their player just passing the ball into the net from a central position and then a little while later they add a second. Thats it, no way back and thats how it finished.

Young Duncan and old Duncan.

Shortly before the end the more vociferous Bath City fans sing to Weymouth manager (and ex Bath City player) Jerry Gill to "give them a wave", which he did. Muppet. Jerry, they're mocking you, your team is rubbish and they're mocking you, so that fact that you waved back was embarassing. OK, their was a group of Weymouth fans stood near them so maybe you thought they were singing your name. Now, why would they be singing your name Jerry? If they were, which they werent, it would have been because they were mocking you also. George "trade recruitment supremo" Rolls is probably also mocking you, by setting you up to fail and being the fall guy for our now certain relegation.

I dont think I've ever watched a game with less interest, less belief and pride in being a Weymouth fan. I'm exhausted, most of our fans are, this circus has gone on for far too long and shows no sign of ending anytime soon - and if it does it certainly won't be in a good way. There's the constant worry of just how low we can sink, a friend commented to me last week that last years 0-9 defeat to Rushden would have been the nadir but no, no way, not even close. Maybe it will come on Tuesday with the free entry for all at the game against Braintree Town, Ill be amazed if there is more than 700 there and the statements from George "trade recruitment supremo" Rolls and his henchmen this week will make interesting, and no doubt worrying, reading.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Some pre-match preview ramblings. Bath City v Weymouth.

It's only a month since I last went to see The Terras, you'd think not much would have happened during this month, but no. New lows are continually sunk. Since the Worcester defeat a new inexperienced manager has been appointed, we've signed the Chairman's nephew from Level 7 of the non league pyramid, a winding up order for £104,000 has been issued against us by a man who we were told had saved the club from oblivion earlier in the season, some of our better players leaving in acromonius circumstances to be replaced by inferior and inexperienced replacements. On the pitch things are fairing no better, with a record of P4 W1 D0 L3 F4 A 14, since my last game and culminating in a 0-6 (six) thrashing at home by Basingstoke last week and if that wasnt bad enough all 6 (six) goals (six) were scored by the same player (the same player!!). This game prompting one fan to throw his season ticket (doth of cap to you Sir) at Chairman George "trade recruitment supremo" Rolls and George "trade recruitment supremo" Rolls issuing a statement saying that entry to the next home will be free for all.

"We would like to thank you all for your continued support and we can assure you that we are working tirelessly to make sure that club goes moves forward in the right direction." George "Trade Recruitment Supremo" Rolls.

Yeah, George - what direction is that then? 6 nil spankings at home, a team playing with a bit of spirit and pride torn apart and the club hurtling towards (what the fuck is Zamaretto) Zamaretto League stopping only to close the ground and move in with Dorchester probably.

Anyways, so its off to Bath City and a chance to get re-aqquanted with one of my favourite ramshackle non league grounds and the chance to see a few ex Weymouth players, not all of whom have worn the shirt with pride and passion. Amongst the Bath squad are Sido Jombarti, one of many players who played for us during the Financial Implosion 2008 season. Seasons at Weymouth over the last few years consisting of Pre-Season, Everything is OK Season (pre Christmas) and then the Oh Shit, Financial Implosion Season sponsored by Northern Rock (Post Christmas). Who could forget other such Terras legends as Adam Gross, Marcus Okunghae and Joel Katimarike, wonder what happened to him.......
Also in the squad are Marcus Browning who was a huge part of the Mel Bush 'Great Tindall Swindle' in which the Chairman Mel Bush gave huge new contracts to an under performing manager, Jason "Tango" Tindall and his assistant, Browning. Oh, did I mention that Tindall is the Son in Law of Bush and Browning his best mate. Just a coincidence I'm sure. Hopefully Browning, is in for a good booing this afternoon. Another joker who wore the Terra Cotta and Blue, Stuart Douglas, has recently left the club and Bath have recently signed Hector Mackie from us - a player who was with the club for about 6 months but never made a competitive appearance after getting injured in a pre season friendly. Football laws dictate he will score a hat trick against us this afternoon.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

I didnt like flying with Ryanair very much.

Cheap flights. Can't complain.

I fucking can and I will. Ryanair, shit me – what a load of arse. From the minute I step on board I am trapped in a surcharged fuelled nightmare of adverts and banality. It's early in the morning, just leave me alone and shut the crap up.

Oh, a song. Yeah, every airline needs it's own song. How the hell did these things fly without some ear grating Europop disco DJ Otzi Scooter medley extolling the virtues of the airline? "Ryanair, Ryanair, we're gonna take you there" – Yes, I know you are now turn this ear rape off and lets get going shall we?

The safety announcements are a dispensed with much hilarity amongst the NME Topman sponsored grease bags that are entrusted with out safety if this Eurodisco falls out of the sky.

Once airborn then the real fun begins. They've got you know, they've got you and they're going to ramp up the misery and turn this flight into a 45 minute advert break, styled on these seen really cheap satellite channels. Various tannoy announcements are made by an obese air steward, whom the unscrupulous bastards at Ryanair have no doubt charged an extra £9.95 to get his excess guttage on this flight, offering me all sorts of tat I have no interest in. I'm offered the latest Britney Spears perfume, other than seeing it as a potential rapid route out of this misery I really have no need for the scent of the drug addled absent Mother. Maybe I'd like a bus ticket to town, a bargain at 12 Euro. Not really a bargain is it when there is one that takes the same route and costs 2 Euro.

Car Rental Sir? Cock off. Or maybe I'd like a scratchcard, there's a 1 in 10 chance of winning apparently – is there bollox. Oh, but it's for charity….of course. Not one of the good charities I imagine, one of the Living TV ones that try and get you to sponsor a sexually confused geriatric weasel. Drink or snack? A snack? It's about 6:30 in the morning, I can't even eat breakfast yet so I'll pass on a bag of Space Raiders and a Heineken thanks tubby. This bombardment of adverts could only been made worse if the plane was hijacked by an indiscriminate team of charity muggers, who would blow the plane out of the sky if we all didn't succumb to their always so cheerful demands to take our headphones out and sponsor some Ryanair endorsed Colour Blind Donkey Retirement Home or other bullshit.

4 times I get asked during the flight if I have any rubbish by Tubby and his posse. What do they think I've been doing in the 45minutes I've been sat motionless here that has warranted asking me 4 times if I have any rubbish. Maybe next time I'll check in a bag of festering rubbish, (yes, I packed it myself, no, no one has tampered with it) and let them have that. And not in one easy go either, I'd make sure they got it in the 4 instalments they requested. A dirty protest indeed.

Ah, the 'Priority Boarding Scheme', another way to ring some more cash out of the air traveller. Now, I'm almost in favour of this one. The queue for the return flight for priority boarding is actually longer than the one for those of us who decide to avoid this scam. This charge takes money off the people that stand by the check in desk 45 minutes before it opens. These are the same buffoons that stand up as soon as the plane arrives at the arrivals gate and reach for their belongings from the overhead lockers, obviously any cheap holiday tat they have purchased will magically disappear from the overhead lockers if not removed within 37 seconds of a plane coming to a halt deeming this act essential. These dimlows then refuse to sit back down; instead prefer to remain hunchbacked under the lockers as sitting down would just be a restriction of their ability to be a twat. Sod them. Ryanair should take them for all the money they can. How about a 'Priorty Standing Up' surcharge? How much time is not sitting down going to save you? There is the misery of the bus to the terminal, passport control, being asked for rubbish and baggage to go through.

Sod off Ryanair.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

AiT Gold: Bristol Manor Farm v Frome Town 2008

Bristol Manor Farm v Frome Town FC
Saturday 26th January, 2008
Toolstation Western League League
The Creek, Sea Mills, Bristol
Attendance: 103

A mixture of a) girlfriends being away, b)sporting activities being postponed and c) simply nothing better to do (me) saw the four of us spend a Saturday afternoon watching the Toolstation Premier League game between Bristol Manor Farm and Frome Town.

The roads to the all seater stadium were packed as the jubilant home fans sought a space for a fixture that would see them move to the top of the league if they won. Sadly this was the Bristol City crowd and we were heading straight past it in order to watch a bunch of talentless oafs play a game in front of a handful of family members and social misfits (hello!). Programmes purchased and pin pics laughed at we took our seats in the all seater stand which in reality consisted of chairs that weren’t damaged in a clubhouse fire last summer scattered haphazardly.

All good football articles give some background information to the clubs involved. Bristol Manor Farm were formed in 1994 after Bristol Manor United merged with fading early 90’s pop group The Farm. Frome Town once sold a player to Southend.

BMF started the game on top, largely due to the expert coaching from UEFA Pro Licence holder Louis, sadly a failure to take their early chances was to cost the Causeway outfit dear. Frome went a goal up, then another one, and then one more around the half hour mark thanks to some defending that even Chris Brass would have found embarrassing . We took the 2nd goal as our cue to take a wander round the ground and savour the atmosphere (hmm…) on the terraces (paving slabs). We settled in a small terrace and stood next to the BMF bench to see how the manager would deploy to counteract the constant Frome attacks, instead we enjoyed 15 minutes of constant swearing from the boss, who swore more than Peter Reid with tourettes. The word “gutless” spent 5 minutes being chanted like some sort of weird mantra between the manager, the assistant and also the physio ( Qualifications required - access to a bucket and large sponge), in between times the assistant saw fit to pursue a particularly personal vendetta against the BMF number 4 for his inept display.

We continued around the paving slabs that lined the pitch and found that the pitch doubled as some sort of animal graveyard, with both a dead hedgehog and pigeon in one corner. I speculated at the reasoning for this and thought maybe that BMF had hosted a pay per view animal death match in which the pigeon was forced to fight the hedgehog on the undercard of a drunken conversation World Championship fight of Polar Bear v. Lion. Or maybe the assistant manager, in a spectacular escalation of rage against his own centre back, had plucked a pigeon from the air and a hedgehog from the adjoining fields, crushed them with his bare hands and launched them at the centre back after a previous “gutless” performance and saw the airborn assault of deceased wildlife as the only way to inspire some ‘gut’. In conclusion I think the Frome fans probably ate the wildlife, this sort of behaviour is the norm in Somerset.

The 2nd half bumbles along with only some displays of trickery from the Rene Higuita* like ball skills from the BMF gloveman to keep the, seasons best, crowd of 103 entertained – sadly there was no Roger Milla.

* Minus the:
Drug habit
Dodgy perm
Jail term for involvement with a kidnapping
Extensive plastic surgery
Links to Pablo Escobar
Friendship with drug addled cheating twat Diego Maradona

In order to entertain us again we moved to the dugout area just in time to see BMF make a triple substitution and move to a 3-2-5 formation previously only seen in particularly desperate times on Championship Manager. The subs trotted wearily onto the pitch with the Churchillian words of “you can’t do any worse than the cunts already out there” to inspire them.

The assistant interrupts building a small plasticine voodoo model of his No.4 to discuss the game with Duncan and laments the early missed chances to which Duncan responded in the only way possible by uttering the most ridiculous of accepted football clichés “you’ve got to take your chances at this level”. Genius. I bow to you young Duncan for services to nonsensical clichés.

With about 15 minutes to go one of the subs is spared participating in the game anymore by being shown a straight red for carrying out every football pundit/correspondents latest hobbyhorse the “2 footed tackle”. The lanky forward (sporting bunched hair – FACT) walked off the side of the pitch, round the ground, through the supporters, all the time shouting “you’re a dick, that’s what you are” to the ref – a situation that could only have been improved by the ref bellowing “takes one to know one” and administering a playground style cock punch. Thankfully at the end of the game a mass fight broke out. Brilliant. There are few things better in football than a good scrap (A good scrap - Sparked by a bad tackle from one of the Frome players this one contained the usual handbags, a few pushes and attempted punches. However this scrap was bettered by one player picking up the ball, throwing it and bouncing it off the head of an opposition player and making it one of the funniest incidents I’d seen involving a football since this (, my reaction to this incident was pretty similar to that at the end of this clip.

Anyways, somehow at the end of all this I stopped laughing and the portly officials decided to send 2 more BMF players off and one from Frome, just because they could. At the final whistle the ref was able to walk off without being severely harassed from players of both sides, didn’t have to have his decisions scrutinised in minute details and didnt have his decisions questioned by morons on football phone in shows hosted by imbeciles. I love you tinpot football.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

AiT on Tour: Behind the scenes at Glasgow Rangers

Oh dear Walter, what have you done....?

Some seriously hideous tat gifted to Rangers by other European clubs.

Seriously, who gives another club a bicycle? St Ettiene apparently. Bizarre.

Mmmm club pennants, hang on is that a Stag's head?


Don't fancy yours much. Her Majesty puts in an appearance in the Home dressing room.

Its the mobile 'Tantastic' for football pitches.