Saturday 18 September 2010

Bitton by the tailfly

Bitton v Old Woodstock Town
Saturday 11 September 2010
FA Cup 2nd Preliminary Round
Bath Road, Bitton
Attendance: 85 (ish)

Sometimes non league football can be cruel, the non entity of the recent Weston Super Mare v Basingstoke game being an ideal case study to support my hypothesis. Games like Bitton v Old Woodstock Town restore the lustre for football and save this blog from being abandoned long before it's first anniversary.

England flags. Soooo June 2010.

If ever I needed to convince someone of the merits of watching two teams you've never heard of, in a part of town you wouldn't normally visit, on a sunny late summers day when you should be doing something else this was it. Why I might find myself in such a predicament I'm not entirely sure though. However, dear reader, you might. To aid you in the quest to convince someone to convert to watching a bit of non league team there are a number of criteria that need to be judged. A number of criteria that Bitton v Old Woodstock Town provided, and excelled at, and are shown below:

Clubhouse facilities.
Exceptional. Massive trophies of bizarre tournaments. Pickled eggs. Peanuts on a piece of card with a scantily clad filly slowly exposing a cheeky nipple behind. Cheap beer, £2.70 a pint-bargain. Very busy, Sky Sports News and at the heart of the community.

Harsh but fair.

Present, a clear plus point over Portishead. Very good. Cheap. Wide selection of maize based snacks, chips, pies etc and cheese baps (red onion optional, at no extra cost)

Presence of Bristol Soccer World Certificate for Team of the Week.
Present and correct. Bizarrely marking Bitton Girls Under 12 teams achievements. Obviously a slow week in local football.

Well deserved, well played ladies.

Slightly insane local support.
Statler and Waldorf were in for this one providing comedy and anguish to those sat around them in equal measure. Every misplaced pass greeted with cries of "rubbish" and shouts of "get right up with their 'arris" banded about with depressingly comic regularity. If anyone knows what "go on me bans" means then I'd be pleased to receive the translation from Bristolian. They go on to engage in cheerful banter with the Woodstockians (?) present.

Standard of football.
Stunningly good, by far the best game I have seen since this shambles was started earlier this year with both teams playing flowing passing football and playing for the win at all times.

Chequered goal nets? Chequered goal nets!! Pass the oxygen...

Eccentric refeering.
Generally you can watch most tinpottery without seeing a booking or a sending off. Oh, you'll see plenty of juicy, "committed" tackle that would make Nigel De Jong wince but presumably at this level the refs just can't be arsed to fill out the paperwork for each booking. Today's referee is included in this list, with his preferred method of officiating being barking orders at players, including the classic "Don't you dare foul".

Pound 4 (four). £0.80 a goal, with Old Woodstock getting the 3-2 win.

Give it a go. Or don't. Or you probably already have if you're reading this.

Thursday 9 September 2010

Portishead - Dummies.

Portishead Town v Calne Town
Saturday 4 September 2010
Toolstation Western League
Bristol Road, Portishead
Attendance: 65 (ish)

Saturday 4th September was the first 'Non League Day', with 'proper' football fans the length of the proper football universe urged to pay a visit to their local non league team on a day where there was no proper football in the first two divisions. I start to shake if I have to go and watch proper football, so to be honest it wasn't that much of a chore to get my arse along to Portishead.

The Portishead Ultras. Proper nawty.

There are some things you can come to rely on when watching tinpot in the Bristol area. A man in a Bristol City jacket somewhere in the ground, a Bristol Soccerworld Team of the Week certificate badly framed on the wall and a (probably non specific to Bristol) selection of bread rolls filled with cheese or ham behind the bar for the hungry groundhopper/social misfit/non league football fan. When one of these three things isn't present the world shifts a little of its axis.

It being Non League Day I decided to support Portishead by purchasing my lunch at the club, even passing up the option of a juice Whopper Meal from the Burger King nearby. How about Portishead decide to support me in my efforts to combat hunger by actually offering some grub? Not a filled bread roll in site. A bloody outrage and one that will see me right a letter (not really) to the Secretary of the Toolstation League. Fuck me, I thought I'd pass out before the bread rolls finally surfaced in the bar at half time. Not in the refreshment hut, oh no. In the bar, back out the ground and across the car park. That's the obvious place to sell the food. I devoured one cheese and onion, one ham, both no doubt made by the Chairman's wife on the morning of the game. What a fascinating blog this really is. Hmm.

The refreshment hut. No real food, but tea in a proper mug and a couple of decent looking girls serving. Musn't grumble. But will. A lot.

Sweet sweet long life bread rolls with Asda Smart Price based fillings, giver of sustenance and enemy of starvation. Tasted rancid.

Things are seemingly done a little different in Portishead. Over the summer the club have installed a new 50 seater stand, I say 50 but I don't know to be honest - I didn't count them - I was too fucking hungry to count. The stand was situated perfectly in the centre of the ground, perfectly sited that no matter where in the pitch the action was taken place your view was probably going to be obscured by either of the dugouts or a floodlit situated about 5 foot in front of the centre of the stand. Good work.

Non token token non match shot.

Somewhere behind that pile of bricks a football match is going on.

What else? I got berated by a man in a deafeningly loud Hawaian shirt for not doing 500 sit ups in the morning and vowed to make that effort to build up from my usual 487 sit ups per morning and shatter that 500 barrier. Um, the game was good. First half dull. Second half 5 goals, Portishead equalising twice and then getting the winner with about 8 minutes to go.

Having done nothing bit whinge throughout this I didenjoy the trip to Portishead, they were a friendly bunch, with a decent bar and the whole afternoon cost less than £10. Good old Non League football.