Wednesday 29 December 2010

Truro-ho-ho Merry Christmas

Weymouth v Truro City
Monday 27 December 2010
Zamaretto Premier League
The Bob Lucas Stadium, Weymouth.
Attendance 824

Boxing Day games are always a little bit special, one of the first you look for on that giddy day when the fixtures are released and ones that usually provide a big derby game in front of a fervent crowd. But, let us not forget the true reason of Boxing Day football; to allow men to get their bored arses out the house, escape the horrors of Christmas television, sink a few festive beverages and also swerve the visit from a procession of bat shit crazy relatives bearing unwanted gifts.

Boxing Day has been the Christmas gift that keeps on giving over the years. Highlights include Lee Phillips exhilarating debut against Dorchester in 2000, the 2-1 victory over Exeter City in 2006 in front of a crowd of 4,294 and of course that magical Boxing Day in 2003 when Weymouth festively stuffed Dorchester 8 (eight) - 0. However nothing compares to the glorious memories of a defeat away against Bashley in 1997 which allowed me to be out of the house for a good 7 (seven) hours. Result.

Financial cutbacks have meant 24 hour security patrols have now been replaced by this sign.

However, this years game isn't really a local derby and doesn't even have the courtesy to let me play my Boxing Day 'Get out of Family Hell free' card, as the Zamaretto League fixtures take place on the 27th and this year a couple of family members have had the audacity, some say damn right cheek, to tag along.

Bottom of the table Weymouths visitors are top of the tinpot table toppers Truro City, for whom this fixture does represent some sort of festive derby, as it their second closest game of the season yet still a sleigh busting 150 miles away. However it would have afforded the Truro fans at least 8 hours away from their families and their usual shenanigans of teaching pigs to smoke, feeding beef burgers to swans and breeding 20ft chickens.

Truro have achieved great success since property developer Kevin Heaney began to bankroll the club in 2004, achieving three promotions in four seasons. *doths cap* In my opinion, property developers should be welcomed to football with a carrot (laced with turkey excrement and piss soaked barbed wire) a saucer of milk (mixed with the tears of a thousand lonely skunks) and a mince pie (with a delectable wood lice and septic toenail filling). Weymouth have benefited fantastically well from having a property developer, Malcolm Curtis, "running" the club; as our league record over the last three seasons shows. Hmm...I'm sure Truro are different of course.

Times are so hard we have to have a meat raffle to pay for the players coach.

Truro have plans for an ambitious new 10,000 all seater stadium. In Weymouth's experience this can only end with an amazing new stadium being built. That nice Malcolm Curtis is going to build us one, he said so. There are also plans for annual pop concerts. Weymouth had one of went well.

Heaney's money has enabled the club to pay good wages and they've signed a load of players from higher leagues who wouldn't necessarily see Truro as the ideal stop on their CV, much like Ben Smith and numerous others did for Weymouth. Truro's most famous player today is ex Fulham striker Barrington Edward 'Barry' Hayles, attracted to the footballing backwater of Cornwall by the challenge on offer and to be part of something big bla bla bla etc...

Barrington 'Barry' Hayles meets his new Truro FC team mates.
(L to R: Maid Marian, Robin of Kensington, Little Ron and Rabies)

In the stadium bar the three generations of us spend time reminiscing of Weymouth teams gone by, of great players, away trips to strange towns and promotion seasons. Sadly those seasons are now more distant the Star of Bethlehem and it's the Truro City fans in the bar who exude the confidence afforded to fans of a top of the league team turning up at an away game expecting to provide a beat down to their inferior opposition.

Weymouth fans and Truro fans getting on like Turkey and stuffing.

For the first fifteen minutes the inexperienced Weymouth team, consisting of 5 players who spent last season playing at County level football, matched Truro's team of ex pro's. However once Andy Watkins scored after twenty minutes Weymouths confidence disappeared and the defence displayed the positional sense of a Grandmother after too many Christmas sherrys, allowing Truro to score three more goals before half time.

In the second half Barrington is able to carry on, with his Merry Men and make heroes, out of each of them as Truro outclass a spirited Weymouth, who never really look like scoring throughout the painfully long forty five minutes.

The comfortable afternoons work gives Truro fans the chance to exercise their vocal chords and support their team in going 5 points clear in a way that I am a little jealous about. Granted, your song "we're at the top of the Zamaretto and Blue Square South awaits for me" was mildly humorous but I did find you turning up on our doorstep and singing us your carols of "you're not famous anymore", "going down with the Tivvy" and "who the fucking hell are you" a little mean spirited at this time of year.

Token match shot.

I sometimes wish we were a little more humble about our Martyn Harrisons cheque book propelled rise to the Conference, a little more aware of the fact that the money wouldn't last forever and took steps to prepare for that day. Good luck to Truro City, I hope, for the true fans, that they enjoy their current success and that their club is built on strong sustainable footings. Ours clearly weren't and were paying for that massively now as we are again royally defeated , remain rooted to the bottom of the league and face a Zamaretto Division One South & West Boxing Day game clash against Wimborne Town (sadly only 30 miles away) next season.

For footage of the goals, probably only for Truro fans, click here and for a proper match report and pictures click here.

Sunday 19 December 2010

AiT Albums of the Year 2010.

It's the music event of the festive season, bigger than the battle for Christmas number but not quite as big as the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party, its the annual (first ever) Adventures in Tinpot Albums of the Year award.

Uploaded by AcerBen. - Watch more music videos, in HD!

Designer handbags have been exchanged, fawning speeches made and I have signed an exclusive ticket distribution deal with Jack Warners cousin for next years awards and can now exclusively reveal my 15 albums of the year in one handy, easy wipe spotify play list.

The 15 songs are in no particular order of preference, obviously I did spend ages dicking around trying to work out the best running order and probably still haven't got it right. Have a listen if you like, please recommend me new stuff that I might enjoy, I'm getting old and losing my edge to the kids from France and from London.

For those of you a) without Spotify and b) that give a shit here is that list in full:

Zola Jesus - Stridulum II
The National - High Violet
Warpaint - The Fool
Foals - Total Life Forever
LCD Soundsystem - This is Happening
The Walkmen - Lisbon
Surfer Blood - Astro Coast
Frightened Rabbit - The Winter of Mixed Drinks
Interpol - Interpol
Tame Impala - InnerSpeaker
Phosphorescent - Here's To Taking It Easy
Maps & Atlases - Perch Patchwork
Menomena - Mines
Steve Mason - Boys Outside
Beach House - Teen Dream

Wednesday 15 December 2010

No Limits to the excitement at The Memorial Ground fun day

Bristol Rovers v Exeter City
Tuesday 14 December 2010
Johnstone's Paint Trophy Southern Zone Semi Final
The Memorial Stadium, Bristol
Attendance 3,881

If I've learnt anything from Whitney Houston it's that the children are our future.

No doubt Bristol Rovers had this in mind when they decided to bring forward the kick off of this largely pointless match to 7:15pm and gave away free tickets so more weiner kids could attend (never mind that I had to miss Hollyoaks - oh no!) giving this fixture an element of a family fun day to it.

For tickets contact Trish on 0117 9524004. That's 0117 9524004.

Exeter captain Steve Tully is one of my favourite ever Weymouth players, always giving 100% for the club and for being an important part of our Conference South championship winning side. His presence gave me a legitimate reason for being at this match I feel. Steve is also the victim of some genius Wikipedia vandalism, which is at the end of this blog, in Annex One, in case it's vanished from the computer internet.

Also playing were ex Weymouth players Richard Logan, now at Exeter (or Exterra if you prefer - phnar!) and Rovers defender Gary Sawyer. These days it comes as no surprise to see a player who has played for the Radipole Lane based outfit appearing in any given match, it's like looking at the night sky and being surprised to see stars.

The Exeter fans have decided to embrace the family fun day staple of the 'wacky hat' for this match. Honestly, what makes it acceptable to wear ridiculous head wear at knock out football matches? Maybe they have an excuse, their manager Paul Tisdale is often seen wearing a bit of fancy dan clothing, including this deer stalker at Saturdays '6 fingers derby' match against Plymouth Argyle.

The Exeter City away end fun day marquee.

As with any good family fun day there's a bloody good sing along. A series of awful tenny bopper tunes and soddin' Christmas songs boomed out over Rovers' ramshackle PA system, which was clearly cranked up to 11 (eleven) by an evil tinnitus cure salesman seeking to successfully sell his product from the back of his Mondeo to the unsuspecting crowd of young bumpkins after the match, the rouge.

The musical theme continues with Rovers fans singing their traditional club song of 'Goodnight Irene', which tonight coincidentally doubles up as a lullaby for 7 year old diehard 'Gashead' Irene Holloway who, despite the early kick off and her bedroom backing onto the ground, wasn't allowed to attend and sent straight to bed after CBeebies by her strict bedtime imposing parents.

Every half decent, non PC, fun day should have a midget. This one is no exception as a female midget is allowed to run the line. Hilariously she wasn't tall enough to check the top of the goal net and kick off was delayed while a stepladder was brought out. I shit you not.

It's been a while since I'd been amongst a football crowd of this size and one that spoke a language I was more than vaguely familiar with, and it was a pleasure to get re-aquainted with a couple of stereotype football fans amongst the Exeter support.

Fan stereotype number 1 - Frustrated Manager Fan.
This fan would be able to step in for Paul Tisdale whenever he needed to nip off for one of his 8 mid match costume changes. All midfielders were encouraged to "Hassle 'em! Hassle 'em!" (doth of cap in direction of Danny Baker), any player within a radius of 57 yards of the goal was encouraged to "SHOOOOOOOOOT", or"'IT IT" and at least 3 long tactical sermons concluded with a phrase made famous by the revered Russian tactician Aleksandr 'Compare the Meerkat' Orlov of "Simples". Chump.

Fan stereotype number 2 - Frustrated Comedian Fan.
Every fun day needs a dodgy comedian. The type of person who is a mild mannered accountant and hen pecked husband by day but stick them in front of a football fans and they risk causing (in their humourless minds at least) a mass splitting of sides with their sparkling comedy repertoire. Exeter's FCFs nadir was noticing that the linesman was holding his flag so that the pole was dangling between his thighs " Look, the linesman's got a stiffy.... LOOK EVERYONE THE LINESMAN HAS GOT A STIFFY...ehhh...STIFFY". Not even the kids laughed. After looking around forlornly he decided to counter with a volley of abuse towards the linesman; "you yellow shirt wearing prick". This got a laugh from me.

Tully Watch - First Half: - He does his usual pre match gee up of the players, runs about a bit but generally doesn't contribute much.

Token match shot.

Half time contains the standard funday raffle for a leg of lamb and a box of Matchmakers before the sing along fun of the second half commences. First up Exeter's Troy Archibald Henville gets his absurdly posh name sung to the tune of Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes. Troy also gets a certificate, which I award mentally, which sees him added to the list of players I thought were white but are actually black.

Next up for a song is Richard 'Loags' Logan. 'Loags' is a nickname given to him by the Exeter fans, with Weymouth fans preferring to refer to him as 'that useless lummox mercenary donkey piece of shit'. However he's obviously done well for himself at Exterra and has become the subject of my favourite football/90's Europop cross over moment since my friend Shed tried to get Weymouth fans to sing 'Nade, Nade, Rapheal Nade' to the tune of SL2'S 1992 smash hit 'On A Ragga Tip'. Sadly, like sensible long term financial planning at Weymouth, it didn't catch on. 'Loags' gets his name adapted to fit the complicated lyrics to 2 Unlimited's seminal 1993 classic 'No Limits'. Lo Lo Lo Lo.....surely you get the idea? Bloody genius. Techno, Techno, Techno, Techno!!

Am impromptu fun day game of 'Pin the blame on the Donkey' vociferously breaks out after "Loags" recreates his Weymouth form and falls over whilst one on one with the Rovers keeper, misses a sitter and then fails with a pathetic and piss funny attempt at an overhead kick as Exeter push for an equaliser. The useless tit. Luckily for "Loags" Exeter get a last minute equaliser to take the game to penalties, no extra time, presumably so the kids can get home and off to bed.

Tully Watch - Second Half: - More like the Tully of the prime, some say pomp, of his career. Numerous runs down the right flank, some intricate passing and some great crosses. He wasn't caught out of position for either of Rovers' HE WAS AGAINST NOTTINGHAM FOREST AT THE WESSEX WHEN WE COULD HAVE BEAT THEM AND THEN IT ALL WENT DOWNHILL AND NOW WERE BOTTOM OF THE ZAMARETTO LEAGUE.....Let it go Kenny, let it go. Breath. It wasn't Steve's fault.

It's an emotional moment for me as I witness, I think, my first ever penalty shoot out and you really couldn't have asked for a more important occasion than this. "Loags" is quite rightly kept a safe distance from the penalties and Exeter's Richard Duffy scores the winning goal which prompts wild scenes as hundreds of adults take their kids off home as quickly as possible and Grecians fans celebrate getting through to the tinpaintpot southern zone final.

This guy celebrated so hard his hand went see through.

Got any more ideas for 90's dance music/football player chant cross overs. Anything re-working the lyrcis from musical giants such as Haddaway, the Urban Cookie Collective, Chaka Demus & Pliers maybe? Leave me a comment below then, thank you.

Annex One:
"Steve is a regular customer at Argos Exeter and has been recognised by the store as customer of the year for the last 6 years. Former Argos employee Matthew Smith commented "Steve has been a great customer to us over the last 6 years and he has contributed over 0.0000001% of our total sales during this period. Steve is to Argos as Nelson Mandela is to Africa. We thank Steve for all he has given us."