Wednesday 7 April 2010

Ain't no doubt it's plain to see that Bradford Town are the team for me. He's lying.

Bradford Town FC v Almondsbury UWE FC
Monday 5th April 2010
Toolstation League Division One
Bradford on Avon Sports and Social Club, Bradford on Avon
Attendance: 60(ish)

What better way to spend Easter Monday than a stroll around a picturesque town on the River Avon, a pub lunch and some tinpot football? Well, yes I'm sure there are at least 17 better ways to spend the day but I'm sure this is the option the Lord would have wanted me to choose and it is his special weekend or something like that.

It was actually a honour to be in Bradford on Avon, it's not every due you get to spend time in the home of the the Victorian Tea Rooms, Britain's 'Tea Room of The Year 2009'. A cream tea wasn't the best pre-match meal so I and opted for a mediocre BLT sandwich in "the sports bar" of The Riverside Inn. Quite what made the barmaid designate this part of the pub as "the sports bar" wasn't obviously apparent. The three criteria I could see was a) a very shifty looking bloke perched uncomfortably on a bar stool streaming the Yeovil - Leeds game onto a laptop and then onto a filthy wall; b) a pencil drawing of David Beckham and c) a mangy dog chasing a tennis ball from the adjoining non sports bar.

The Bradford on Avon sports bar.

A warm welcome to Bradford on Avon.

After startling the man collecting the entrance fee, who wasn't use to seeing someone under the age of 60 in the ground, or arrive 45 minutes before kick off so I then had to sit awkwardly in a near empty ground. Still, plenty of time for a brew, in a proper mug (a proper mug!!) and enjoy the classic 60's tunes on the PA. They were all there, 'Why Must I Be a Teenager in Love' by Bobby Vinton, 'Heartbeat' by Buddy Holly and Claude Greengrass, and the not so classic 'Come Outside' by Mike Faran, which features call and response lyrics by an arguing couple - a musical genre that peaked with Ain't No Doubt by Jimmy Nail.

The warm up by Almondsbury UWE, a side linked to the University of the West of England was tinpot comedy. Their warm up seemed to consist of a bit of leathering the ball around, throwing the ball at each other rugby style, some ridiculous chest bumping nonsense and a little shuttle run/jump/high five combo action. Quite how this was going to give them the edge in the game wasn't entirely obvious, they seemed to be re-enacting some sort of drunken student night shenanigans and I must admit to being disappointed that the Goalkeeper wasn't put in a shopping trolley with a traffic cone on his head and skidded into the gimmers on the bowling green next to the pitch whilst vomiting up a kebab.

The match itself was surprisingly pretty good, both teams played some nice football and some moves saw more than 4 passes put together, which is a novelty at this level. Bradford took the lead after 8 minutes after the ref gave a pretty dubious penalty after the Bradford striker was fouled after he'd shanked a shot into the brambles around the pitch when clean through. They score again not long before half time after a great little move which culminated in the portly number 10 distracting the non traffic cone wearing keeper with a pot noodle and scoring from 5 yards.

As is usual half time served as a break between the two halves of football, as is it's stated purpose. It's more important task today was to serve as the vessel in which the half time raffle for a bottle of Baileys would find its new home through some amazing work by an antiquated number generation machine. Thankfully I was two tickets away from suffering the ignominy of having to claim a bottle of the filthy liqueur and spend the second half holding it on the terraces and looking a bit more of a knob than I really needed to.

If only The National Lottery was carried out on such a wondeful contraption.

Back to the match. Both teams continued to knock it round nicely and Bradford extended their lead shortly after the Baileys break, with the number 10 scoring again from a couple of yards.

Back away from the match. There was a distinct lack of oddballs, other than myself, at the game and that was clearly a big disappointment for me, it's what the tinpot matchday experience is all about - No dogs in hoddies - nothing. It's all very respectable round here, sadly.

Token match shot.

And back to the match. The ref seemed to spend most of the match shouting at the players "don't foul", quite why he needed to do this I'm not sure. He's doing himself out of a job, if there's no fouls then there's nothing for him to do. Maybe he could offer a bit of alternate advice "twat him", "break the fuckers legs" every now and then just to liven things up a bit. I'd approve.

He also took a fair amount of stick from the Almondsbury manager, most of it unwarranted and maybe if he'd thought of a more rigorous training routine than some synchronised high five twattery his team might have been a bit more competitive. Exasperated with the ref the Almondsbury manager bellows "you've got short guy syndrome haven't you ref", which was as childish as it was ridiculous given the Almondsbury managers minuscule stature, hats off to the ref for grinning and nodding at the fat berk.

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