Things to do at the football part 65

2 01 2019

1. Read

Critchley in Barnsley

Pearson in Hereford

Engels at FC United

Saviano in Wrexham

Private Eye in Huddersfield

Calvino in Oldham

Adams in Stoke

Zephaniah in Tranmere

2. Photograph your feet

For more of that click here.

3. Find Stickers

For more of that click here.





Some photos what I took this year

27 12 2018

The rest of the photos in this collection are currently on loan to another blogpost.





Things to do at the football – Part 528

30 10 2018

Here are some more books at the football.

I call this edition “Martin Keown likes reading books at the football” or “Reading at the football is the new rock and roll”

Mankell in Bethesda

Welsh at Hearts

Limmy at Celtic

Vonnegut at St. Mirren

Hobsbawm at Everton

When Saturday Comes at Barnet

Mundial Magazine at West Brom

Freud at St. Asaph

Conn at Guilsfield

Camus in Meliden

McGarvey in Prestatyn

Jennings in Denbigh

Roth in Ruthin

Cope in Chester

Rousseau in Shrewsbury

Burgess in Gresford

Boyle in Nuneaton

Orwell at Kidderminster

Orwell at Glan Conwy

Kennedy Toole in Llandudno Junction





Hats off to Nev!!!!!

20 11 2017

North Wales is one of Britain’s backwaters. It’s the sort of place that only appears on the news when something really bad happens or there’s a quirky little human interest story about animals.

It’s the sort of place that people move away from when stardom or employment beckons, the sort of place to which you return once a year or once stardom wanes. You can’t help where you’re born can you?

What’s that?

You had a lovely month one night in north Wales. Very good, I’m sorry you’ll have to speak up……..What’s that?

North Wales is the kind of place that grows on you? ……..Like mould?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, very funny. I bow to your comedic ability……..What’s that?……..

Oh aye, oh aye, I know you’re only joking, I know it’s lovely, blah blah blah blah.

Mate, mate maaaaaaate I don’t care what you think because I like living in north Wales. I don’t care if there’s a bright centre to the galaxy and north Wales is the furthest point from it, I’ve got books and I like the rain.

Anyway Neville Southall was different, he stayed in north Wales. Even after he won all of those medals as one of the best goalkeepers in Europe he continued to live in the town where he grew up.

Nev, son of Llandudno, has garnered much recent attention with his twitter output of skeleton related whimsy and scathing assessments of the government policy.

It’s been an unexpurgated joy to read the social media output that if it were a stick of rock sold from a kiosk on Llandudno Pier would have “I Think Like This Because I’m From Llandudno” running through the middle of it. It was clear that the ex-goalkeeper had his finger firmly on the pulse of the zeitgeist so naturally blog articles followed.

It was nice to see articles but some of us knew they were lacking that certain je ne sais quoi. Well I say that but we knew exactly what they lacked, a sense of Llandudno. It was quite obvious that none of the authors had actually lived upon the mean streets of the Queen of Welsh resorts, or walked upon Ysgol John Bright’s waxed parquet flooring, or stood upon Llandudno’s West Shore and watched the sun set behind Anglesey, or personally encountered Nev.

I encountered him on two occasions, the first was when he presented the Llandudno under 12s with our runner up medal in the league cup. I may have been a non-playing reserve but it remains my one piece of football silverware, my one piece of football glory. I treasure the silver plastic and marble effect base. I like to think that the North Wales Coast FA were ahead of their time by awarding an entire squad with medals. As an added memento Nev autographed the back of my commemorative team photo.

The second encounter happened on the afternoon I nearly pushed my bike into him as he came out of our local post office. His sportswear told me that he was in a post-training mood. I was slightly star struck so I only managed to say was “Sorry!!”. On the way home I realised that I may have been the only person that had interacted with a world class sportsman at that precise time on planet Earth.

There are plenty of reasons to respect Nev. Firstly his famous job, he was a bone fide famous name in my Shoot and Match influenced milleu. He wasn’t just part of teams that were relatively successful, Everton during one of their most successful periods and a Wales side that was doing alright without actually qualifying, he was the last goalkeeper to be awarded the title Footballer Of The Year.

Whenever I think of Nev I see someone holding the Cup Winners’ Cup in red le coq sportif, or someone poised in Everton’s 1989 dark green umbro, or someone standing resolute in the shiny polyester of Wales, either light blue hummel or green umbro. Sometimes he’s holding a ball and sometimes he isn’t.

His feats for Wales were as clear as the azure blue of deepest summer. Without his skill we may not have beaten Germany in 1991 but one of his finest performance was during the 7-1 away defeat in Holland, if he hadn’t have played so well Wales could have conceded another 5 goals, I type that without a hint of hyperbole. Aside from Hagi’s long range effort I struggle to remember any mistakes but the perfectionist called Nev would remember every footstep or glove out of place.

Goalkeeping is a difficult skill to master and unless you’ve played in goal you can’t really appreciate just how difficult it is to play in goal. It took me a sixteen year apprenticeship as a mistake rectifying defender recreational / six-a-side league football to graduate to the position of goalkeeper.

As a fellow goalkeeper I can appreciate just how fantastically skilled Nev and most other professional goalkeepers are. Quite a few people, even me, can score screamers if they and a football connect properly but not everybody can make a reaction save or get their hands to a ball that’s heading to the top corner.

It is incredibly difficult to pull off flying saves. You have to co-ordinate your range of movement, strength and agility to spring through the air to meet a fast moving target with split second timing. Top goalkeepers make this look easy but when was the last time you tried to jump for anything let alone do so acrobatically?

The next time you’re in a room with windows try to imagine diving from one side of the window to the other and still be in control of your moment, remain aware of your surroundings and land safely. Do you think that you would be able to react quickly if you had to attempt a similar feat within seconds? There too many occasions to mention when Nev performed highly skilled goalkeeping heroics of this nature.

I also like his style of rugged individualism. Sometimes he wore two shirts, he was one of the first keepers I saw in padded shorts (unless my memory is playing tricks and it was Mark Crossley). I remember the time he left the half time dressing room early to crouching against the post until the rest of his Everton teammates returned to the pitch. He was the only player that’s provided a pre-Cup Final interview whilst sitting on the Orme. I remember the swell of pride as I realised where he was.

I liked the way Nev came straight back to Llandudno after the 1995 FA Cup Final, he was a man after my own heart. No flannel, no unnecessary pandering. Who doesn’t secretly yearn to be their own person? To be dependable yet aloof, to be the someone that everyone knows will get the job done when required. Not everybody wants to be the life and soul of the party, anybody can tell a joke and YAP YAP YAP but can they be relied upon?

I sense I would like Nev’s sense of humour. I can see Llandudno in Nev’s withering putdowns he once directed at Michael Owen when Owen sought to ridicule a young goalkeeper in front of television cameras. The Llandudno that I grew up in taught people to remain humble rather than show off, there’s a lot to be said for bluff sarcasm as a tool for mental development. I’m sure other places were similar at the time, there was no such thing as a you tuber when I had the world at my feet.

The best piece of evidence that suggests we should respect Nev is a career path less travelled by professional sportsmen. As we all know Nev once worked for the council but he now works in a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU).

If you’ve never heard of PRUs they are the sector of the education system that deals with the learners that have trouble adjusting to mainstream education. Wikipedia describes such learners like this; They have “Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, (feel) exasperated by unsettled domestic situations, (with) a propensity towards criminal behaviour, bullying, or (conversely) having been the victim of bullying.”

As you can imagine the working conditions in a PRU can be quite challenging in comparison to mainstream schools, but they can also be very rewarding as you attempt to help young people negotiate their way through life. No child deserves to be written off. It’s fantastic that Nev has chosen to work in a place like that.

Therefore when Nev tweets about the pernicious effects of Tory party policy he is not applying the reedy voice of a lefty snowflake but the cold analytical eye of personal experience. Three cheers for Neville Southall.

VIVA NEV!





Some Summer Photos

5 09 2017

I’ve been to some matches this summer.





Yet more of the photos what I’ve taken

25 12 2016

This is the final part of a five part festive trilogy.

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The one that When Saturday Comes didn’t like – 2016 Edition.

13 06 2016

Last month I entered the WSC competition for football articles written by amateur writters, needless to say I didn’t win again.

Here’s the rubbish what I wrote this time, now with added photos!

La Dolce Vita

How a hopeful email led to an unexpected reconnection with happiness via the fulfilment of a long forgotten ambition in an Italian port.

The banter bus and the rapacious exploitation of football had reduced me to the annoyed cynical husk of a football fan by the start of February 2016. A few days into the month I was briefly freed from world weary prejudgement by the fulfilment of my long forgotten ambition of visiting Serie A.

The undeniable exotica of Italian football has long exerted a pull on me. A potent mixture of World Soccer team groups, Simon Inglis’ Football Grounds of Europe, Italia ’90 and S4C’s Sgorio stirred my imagination and the apparent jet set world of Channel 4’s James Richardson inspired me to go out there. I longed to see the cubic terracotta lines of Genoa’s Stadio Luigi Ferraris at first hand.

I finally made it to Italy when Wales played in Milan in 2003. When I saw the mythical San Siro through our coach windows I could barely contain myself. When we set foot outside the ground I was presented with an area pockmarked by crumbling tramlines and a pervading atmosphere of menace. There was fascist graffiti in the toilets, the home fans threw stuff at us and Wales lost 4-0. It was a deflating and dispiriting experience.

It would take fate over a decade to present me with another calcio opportunity in the shape of February’s work-related trip to La Spezia. Just after Andy and I arrived in the charming northern Italian port we realised two things; our free evening coincided with Sampdoria’s home match with Torino and Genoa was only around the metaphorical corner. After years of unconscious suppression my long forgotten desire bubbled to the surface. I sent an email to Sampdoria’s ticket office without the expectation of receiving a reply.

I received a personal reply, written in English, within twelve hours and my well-worn cynicism started to crack. It turned out that buying tickets in Italy was easy. We could just turn up at the ground and buy one or buy one from the betting shop / bar near our hotel. We only needed our passports rather than ticket accounts, passwords or buying histories.

The simple act of going to buy tickets also put a spring in my step. Andy, Serdal and I strolled across La Spezia’s sun-dappled piazzas and along its orange tree lined streets towards the crowded betting shop / bar. I was persuaded out of buying the cheaper terrace tickets so we bought seated tickets for the equivalent of £22 instead. I was now going to a Serie A match and I was beyond elated.

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The train journey to Genoa was also soul-affirming. My coastal train journeys always involve a cheerful reverie but this was even better, everything outside our windows was a sun-enhanced vista of breathtaking beauty. It was clear why Cinque Terre and Liguria had influenced Shelley and Byron.

When we arrived I was adrift in a sea of giddiness. I already felt the excitement of an impending match in a new ground but now we were also surrounded by evocative architecture and fantastic public art like the Christopher Columbus monument near Principe Station.

As we walked I enjoyed our immersion in a viscerally intoxicating culture of hidden ornate chapels, political graffiti battles and an evident eventful history. Not even the joy deadening opinions of Alan Green or Robbie Savage could have blunted the joie de vivre that was coursing through me.

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The tourist information office confirmed that we were meandering in the right direction and that we’d be able to catch the post-match train from Brignole, Genoa’s other main station. They furnished us with a map and directions. We had to turn left at a big fountain and walk towards Brignole via a long street with ornate archways. I’m the kind of guy that loves to take everything in when they’re on an unhurried stroll past neon signs that remind you of famous films.

We were enveloped by the familiar football throng near Brignole. In the under station subway the political graffiti battle had cross-fertilised with football thanks to Genoa’s anti-fascist fans. It took about ten minutes of excited shuffling before we saw the ground’s floodlight haze and cubic outline from across the dry river.

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A short break seemed very apt so we stopped for a coffee and a chat. The bar was very civilised, a family owned place filled by families of Sampdoria fans. I basked in the warmth of it all. People seemed to sense we were visitors in search of a memorable evening and we left for the ground with “Grazie” in surround sound.

The trip was turning out exactly as I hoped. Groups of friends crowded tiny bars, young fans carried giant banners around and scooters were everywhere. The fans had a certain way of carrying themselves with a certain attitude and a certain way of wearing scarves. After I bought one of those scarves we headed towards our seats via two ticket and passport checks.

I excitedly approached the entrance to the terrace and the inimitable moment that a football lover waits for; the first view of the pitch in a ground they’ve never visited. What a glorious sight! That fact I was standing in the location where Scotland beat Sweden and Ireland beat Romania a quarter of a century earlier probably wouldn’t mean anything to most people but it meant something to me.

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They say that the anticipation is often better than the event but it wasn’t true today. Our seats appeared to be in the family section but this wasn’t a bad thing. We had a great view from the fourth row and we were surrounded by the most charming Genovese you could ever hope to meet. They not only helped us negotiate our way to our seats they wiped them before we sat down.

Our new friends were particularly taken with Serdal’s new Bangor City scarf (a present from me). “Ah Galles…….Bale!” they said approvingly. I didn’t know what I was hearing during the match, it could have been the same generic drivel I normally hear, but I didn’t care. It sounded charming and I was in a ground I’d always wanted to visit.

The ground wore a fantastic lived in look. The pitchside glass fences were one of the things I’d noticed in Italia ’90 and I worried that they’d be view obstructing but they weren’t. Legroom was at a premium but an empty row in front allowed us drape room, amazingly a steward didn’t threaten to chuck us out.

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There was a social feel to everything, unaccompanied children ran around and friends warmly greeted each other as they wandered. At no point did a steward intervene with curt directions. I could get used to a matchgoing experience like this!

When you consider stellar names like Mancini, Vialli, Pagluica, Gullit and Veron have played for Sampdoria I could’ve been disappointed that I only recognised three names in either squad – Sampdoria’s Quagliarella and Cassano, Torino’s Immobile – but I wasn’t. The past is a different country and other televisual markets are now more lucrative. This background knowledge didn’t alter my small taste of Serie A, I was enjoying myself too much.

The match was as expected anyway; the players displayed good touches and the defences were comfortable on the ball. Most of the play was down our touchline so I was able to see the pattern of play quite easily. We saw two goals before we left but neither were classics.

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The fans were good value. This may have been a run of the mill bottom half of the table contest on a warmish February evening but the teeth rattling fireworks of Sampdoria’s Ultras meant that it the first match where I literally felt the atmosphere. Perhaps it had been a good idea to avoid the terrace.

We left ten minutes before the final whistle to be sure about catching our train. After a few vague directions from the bloke on the gate we made it to the deserted yet scooter infested pavements. We heard a large roar that suggested a late Sampdoria winner and a second muffled roar that suggested something else; a disallowed goal? A bad foul? A Torino goal?

We made it to Brignole with about ten minutes to spare but our train was delayed anyway. I lamented our now misguided desire to leave the match early. Judging by the demeanour of the Sampdoria fans that arrived after us the muffled roar had been caused by a Torino equaliser. A bearded gentleman ranted at me but I smiled the international language of agreement and he left me alone.

As the train progressed towards La Spezia I felt an almost spiritual sense of well-being. Not only had I fulfilled an ambition, my cynicism had lessened and I knew that another way was possible. I had paid roughly £22 to watch a match whilst surrounded by decent people in an architecturally beautiful ground in one of Europe’s famous leagues. Why couldn’t football feel like this more often?

 





Stickers here, stickers there, stickers every blooming where.

5 03 2015

As already noted the Jet Set see a sticker album with loads of missing stickers where others see an urban landscape.

We’ve been abroad recently so there’s been a few updates of our sister site, updates like this one.

Feb 13 069Here’s a few of our favourites.

Aug 13 064Aug 13 177sept 20 043aUG 20 132

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The “Bag of programmes tombola style game” Part 2

25 08 2014

Whilst playing the “Bag of programmes tombola style game” you may also see some interesting front covers.

From a stylistic point of view you can see Kilcline looking fine or Leeds in short shorts……

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From an aerobic point of view you can see pictures of training sessions……

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From a starstruck point of view you can see celebrities……

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From another stylistic point of view you can see interesting attire……

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Cutting ties, that’ll be the Crazy Gang.

More discoveries to follow………….





It’s amazing what you find in the carrier bags left in club shops, part 2

31 10 2013

The week after I found the green carrier bags someone came in the club shop and handed me a bag of programmes. There were a couple of interesting Perestroika-tinged examples inside.

One featured an interesting juxtaposition of comradeship….

(Click on the photos to enlarge them)

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…the thoughts of Chairman Edwards….

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…adverts for Manchester United…

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…and a “Pre-Match Penalty Competition Involving 100 Schoolchildren”

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The other example was an Ipswich programme that made a more direct link between football and Perestroika;

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The girl in the picture grew up to be Britain’s number 1 female tennis player.

There was a commemorative reproduction of an FA Cup programme from 1939 in the middle. Back then things were more charming, the adverts were charming – Actually, baring in mind the second world war was eight months away the last advert feels slightly less charming -;

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and the stories about the empire were more charming;

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Incidentally, I found a charming thing in the modern part of the Ipswich; half a portrait of Gavin Johnson with an adidas Azteca. The image transported me back to happier childhood times.

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So why exactly are you against That Modern Football? Part 9

18 09 2013

38. The Death of Umbro?

This post tells you all about it.

39. Non-League Day

This post tells you all about it.

40. “Aston Villa fan” David Cameron

There have been several articles about Tottenham supporters and the use of the word “Yid” in recent media outlets therefore the uncreased one did spake forth earlier today. He told us that in the right circumstances  (If you were the right sort of person, and used the word ironically, and there was an “R” in the month) there was absolutely nothing wrong with using the word “Yid”

David Cameron embroiled in race row over Tottenham Hotspur ‘Yid’ chant 

We should have expected a comment on this issue, Dave just absolutely loves to comment on the burning issues facing the beautiful game. You can tell he loves the beautiful game from the headline and first line of this story;

“David Cameron jogging in Aston Villa shirt

“Prime Minister is down with the kids, running in t-shirt reading “Cameron 10”.”

You can tell that Dave really loves commenting on the burning issues facing the beautiful game, he just can’t keep quiet about them;

Luis Suarez: David Cameron criticises ‘appalling’ bite

England v Scotland? David Cameron wants a ‘good game of football’

David Cameron backs Pompey takeover amid criticism of court delay

Cameron wades into England football row with criticism of Capello

David Cameron: Fabio Capello was wrong over John Terry captaincy

That’s not to say that he doesn’t proffer opinions about other sports;

British Lions tour win inspired my son to play rugby, says David Cameron

Andy Murray deserves knighthood after Wimbledon – David Cameron

A cynic might decry these outbursts as pathetic, Jim Hacker-esque, attempts to prove that he hasn’t lost touch with the man on the street, or transparent attempts to gain reflected glory, or bullshit that’s intended to take our attention away from his government’s odious policies, but to be that would be rather churlish cynicism, and that’s the worst kind of cynicism.

41. Adrian Chiles

When Adrian has to make a point the permanently incredulous pain in the arse simply has to make a point. Just before Man Utd’s first game in the 2013-14 European Cup the overexposed dickhead introduced Davis Moyes with this line;

His predecessor ONLY won 2 European Cups” (or some such rubbish)

To put the comment in some context, Ferguson is generally perceived to be a “quite successful” manager and only one manager (Bob Paisley) has won the trophy more than twice, and to think there was a time when Chiles was an irreverent breath of fresh air.

42. 2013 – The summer of Rooney

Here are some stories taken from the BBC’s website about this summer’s “Wayne Rooney Saga” ™.

July 1 – “Wayne Rooney: Man Utd striker to hold talks with David Moyes

July 2 – “Wayne Rooney: Man Utd star may want new challenge – Mike Phelan

July 16 – “Wayne Rooney ‘angered and confused’ by Manchester United

July 23 – “Jose Mourinho denies David Moyes mind games

Aug 6 – “Wayne Rooney: Man Utd striker ‘will need to force Chelsea move’

Aug 7 – “Wayne Rooney: Man Utd and Chelsea play high-stakes game

Aug 12 – “Wayne Rooney’s ‘mind is fine’, says England boss Roy Hodgson

Aug 21 – Wayne Rooney: Chelsea delay third bid until after Man Utd game

Aug 27 – “Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho sets Wayne Rooney 48-hour deadline

Sept 18 – “Wayne Rooney on road to legendary status at Man Utd”

I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with the coverage of football in our media but or the same journalist is responsible for both of the last two stories.

It would be too easy to notice how easily our media turned two months of “Rooney’s a turncoat!!!!!” in to “Rooney’s a legend!!!!” after a single evening and then criticise the media for treating us with contempt. It would be ridiculously easy  to ridicule our media because it manufactures content and blows things out of proportion in order to engineer a demand for their message. It would ridiculously easy to either but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t.

43. Clubs that have the wrong sort of match posters

There should more like this one;

(A big thank you to Mr. Derris for pointing me in its direction)

BUbsmaKCQAAOdRL





Scottish Sojourns

31 03 2012
Motherwell 4 Queen’s Park 0
Scottish Cup
6/1/12

Platini’s vendetta against me  (EVIDENCE PART 1 EVIDENCE PART 2 , EVIDENCE PART 3  ) has gone up a notch. This year he has scheduled all possible European club matches and international matches that I may want to go to (possibly involving Bangor City in June/July) at times when it is impossible for me go. It’s actually worse than I’ve just described however, the curly despot wants Wales to play on the wrong days in the wrong months in perpetuity. This represents another move against European public sector workers if you ask me.

Anyway enough of this justified paranoia, thanks to glorious winter break instituted by the man I had to decide what I would do with a Bangor City free weekend. Instead of fretting I used the weekend as a blank canvas without closed options. As a nominal Queen’s Park fan – when I’m pushed into an answer about my favourite Scottish club – I decided that this weekend would be the perfect opportunity to go and watch them again so I scanned the internet. Alas Queen’s Park weren’t playing at home. However it was Scottish Cup day and Queen’s Park were away to Motherwell. This sounded like the trip for me! Yes, my European trip this year will involve going to watch Motherwell v Queen’s Park!!!!!!!! Screw you Platini, you’ll never stop the Jet Set!!

After a bit of internet research, and posting a few questions on the When Saturday Comes message board I not only had a trip, I had a minute by minute itinerary, a map, a contact, with a t-shirt, to meet and a chance to go for a few pre-match refreshments with a Motherwell fan. Don’t you just love the internet?

When I left Rhyl it was dark. I always think that leaving in the dark adds an epic tone of a trip. Unless you’re a moron long train journeys provide wonderful opportunities to see a lot of a country around you, I find that train journey offer the space to relax, to think, to dream. They offer enough of a taste of other places to allow one to speculate about what it must be like to live in other places. I’m particularly drawn tothe idea isolated farmhouses on hillsides, I imagine what it would be like to see the sunset as I pulled open the curtains, the windows would shower the bedroom in warming sunlight….. ahem, please excuse me, I appear to turned into the smug presenter of a channel 4 property programme. Please let me assure you, I haven’t turned into Kirsty fucking Allsopp.

Right, on with the main story…..

Long train journeys offer the chance to catch up with When Saturday Comes. I always try to take two, one for the way there and one for the way back. At some point last year I started to wonder whether the convergence of me, copies of When Saturday Comes and a train had some greater cosmic significance.

On one journey I read a WSC article about the use of reclaimed parts of stadiums in other football grounds. The article talked about how Bangor used seats from Ninian Park in Farrar Road. As I was reading that WSC on a train to watch Bangor City in south Wales I started to think something was afoot;  Firstly I was one of the people who unloaded the seats, secondly I was making the same journey as the seats. I thought things were spooky for roughly 5 seconds.

It wasn’t until this journey up to Glasgow that I was reminded of the spookiness. During the journey I began to realise the extent of the cosmic triangle I was part of. At about 9:05 I was looking at pictures of a ground, Lancaster City, that I’d never even thought about before. At about 9:20 the train passed by that very ground. At about 10:55 I was introduced to a place called Uddingston in a review of John Robertson’s autobiography (He came from there), at about 11:10 the train passed through that place. This was too god damn spooky. I hoped that I would read about the liquidation of the XXX XXX XXXXXX on the way home (Unfortunately I didn’t).

Unfortunately my cosmic powers didn’t extend to making the train run on time. We were half an hour late getting in to Glasgow because of a cracked windscreen. This was the first blemish on my day;  I missed my contact in Glasgow Central, which meant I missed out on the pinnacle of fashion – a “I Still Hate Thatcher” T-Shirt – BUGGER, BUGGER, BUGGER.

Eventually I found myself in a Celtic shop. I saw an intriguing poster that advertised Celtic match tickets for £25, an idea was planted. I managed to find a 1970s style silk-esque scarf for £2 but this didn’t cushion the blow of the missed t-shirt. The bloody Virgin train delay meant that I suffered a second blemish; I missed out on my pre-match refreshments as well because I had to get a later train to Motherwell, curse you Branson and your corporate hippy ways.  I left for Motherwell in a mood.

Luckily I was able to find Fir Park quite easily after a few questions. Whilst I was in their spacious club shop I managed to find something I’d actually planned to bu;y a Motherwell Fridge Magnet for my fridge and a Motherwell scarf for Bangor’s club shop.

It was when I was standing in the Davie Cooper suite that I finally realised that wearing a blue Bangor City polo shirt to a match near Glasgow probably wasn’t the best idea I’d ever had. Despite Bangor’s worldwide fame I tend to forget that some people have yet to be touched by our appeal. As I sat there I felt stares burning into me. No-one seemed remotely inquisitive about the badge on my polo, the colour, Rangers blue, was obviously clouding  their view. I left while I still could and bought a match ticket off the incredibly polite staff. I then went the wrong way and ended up in a school car park, unfortunately you can’t walk all the way around Fir Park. This may have been a problem for some people but I like to envelop myself in the urban landscape, I love it when football grounds are surrounded by houses, it shows that football clubs are part of a community.

My ticket was for a stand with a few empty seats. When I’m presented with such a situation I like to mingle, I like to find the best place because I need a bit of legroom for my chronic 6-a-side wounds. I thought that it would be fun to sit near the away fans. When I saw the Queen’s Park fans putting out their flags and then start to sing I wanted to be up there with them, especially on account of me being a nominal Queen’s Park fan – when pushed about it of course. The desire to be among my nominal brethren was strengthened by the fact that Motherwell’s  teenage ultras also choose to stand next to the away fans. I wasn’t quite sure why they wanted to taunt the fans of a famously semi-pro club but that’s the football culture we enjoy nowadays.

When Queen’s Park conceded their first goal the taunting began. This was an unfortunate goal to concede because the Queen’s Park keeper let the ball slip out of his grasp. There’s nothing more wretched than that for a semi-pro team than that. You’re already up against enough; the aura of fitter professional players, a big, unfamiliar ground, lots of fans, that you don’t need luck to go against you.  I felt for the keeper on this big day for the Spiders. When Motherwell doubled their lead the taunting continued briefly.

There wasn’t much action after the second goal, the Motherwell attackers now looked confident but their last touch continued to let them down. As is my wont I began to look at my surroundings and the most noticeable detail about Fir Park is the unfinished stand. I already knew a bit about the stand thanks to finding out where the ground was on various websites. It turns out that the stand was unfinished because Motherwell tried used the money from the sale of Ian St. John and others but …….I’ll leave the rest of the tale to wikipedia;

“To minimise disruption to the old stand, the steel frame was built over and behind it.Construction of the main stand stopped 20 yards short of the south end, however, because a local resident successfully objected to a completed stand.The objection was made because it would have restricted light to the garden and reduced the value of the property.By the time the property owner had decided to sell, Motherwell did not have the funds or will to complete a full length main stand. The club instead bought the house and used it for their offices.”

Consequently there is a skeletal feel to the main stand. To judge from the seemingly good condition of the exposed part of the stand there was a lot of skill in1960s civil engineering, the stand has been exposed to 50 years of changing seasons and it’s still standing firm. Anyhow, the scoreline remained unchanged until half time.

I moved to the other end of the stand at half time and this led to Queen’s Park enjoying enough second half possession to push Motherwell back. They even created enough chances to make the match very uncomfortable viewing for the Motherwell fans, to judge from the cursing and the sucking of breath through teeth. When the Spiders began to force a few corners and then miss the goal narrowly the tension and he amount of tutting rose tangibly.

In the week preceding the match I discovered that Motherwell had signed an Estonian international. His arrival on to the pitch seemed to change the course of the second half. He was quick, as were the other subs,  and this pace was too much for tired semi-pro limbs. Motherwell managed to score an extra three goals. The Estonian scored a particularly good goal.

I didn’t manage to speak to anyone until the last five minutes, I tried to speak to people of course but I didn’t get past a grunt or three on a couple of occasions. When I did manage to have a conversation it turned out to be with a bloke that used to live in Blaenau Ffestiniog. Unfortunately the warmth of this human contact couldn’t warm my frozen feet. Not even the mad dash to Motherwell station helped my feet.

I must say that I enjoyed my trip to Scotland. The poster in the Celtic shop had planted an idea in my head, I’m sure that I’d be back soon.

Queen’s Park 3 Stranraer 2
Scottish League Division 3
25/2/12

Another Bangor City free weekend, another chance to go somewhere different. I can’t think of a better way to go somewhere different than visit the same place that I went to 7 weeks ago? I couldn’t help but hear Glasgow calling. The idea planted by the poster in the Celtic shop began to germinate when I checked the SPL fixture list and saw that Celtic were at home. Queen’s Park were also at home; I had two options!!

I was definitely charmed by the idea of watching Celtic, who wouldn’t like to go to see one of Europe’s great clubs?  We’re not talking Newcastle, Chelsea or Lyon, we’re talking about a club with a genuinely rich European history, isn’t it? you know………………..

…………………….Finals, semi-finals, Lisbon Lions, glorious floodlit nights , Jinky on the wing, Kenny up front, Chalmers banging them in, McGrain and McNeil unmovable – the very definition of rock-like, shirt numbers on shorts, jumpers for goalposts, wee urchins in the park “Oi, Yer cannae play there son!!!”……………………………..

I can’t say I wasn’t tempted by the tangible weight of history but the hurdles of making  accounts, leaving details, premium rate hotlines and the like put me off.  Then it looked as though there were only tickets for seats with obstructed views left. It felt like I had to make too much effort for just any old league match and I’m sure Celtic will still be there next season. I just wanted to turn up without needing to prove my identity in triplicate, is that too much to ask for? This meant Hampden Park was going to be my destination, now I could go to the Scottish Football museum as well!

At first the train up to Glasgow felt blissful, I had a history of Italian cycling and When Saturday Comes to read, I had a raison bagel for breakfast. I had a table all to myself. I had the legroom………. Then THEY showed up , Mr. & Mrs. Nimby. They arrived like clouds to the sunshine of my reverie with their petty, moaning, middle class ways.

You can always tell their sort so when I come across these people I like to play Nimby Bingo.  I unfolded my mental bingo card. A certain style of attire, dabbed!!!!! A certain sort of hairstyle, dabbed!!!! A certain way of handling their luggage, dabbed!!! Barely concealed judgemental opinion in every sentence; “They bought that house for……..They want to put something in the garden……My god did you hear the language back there, there’s no need for that so early in the morning!!!” , dabbed!!!. Then they pulled the Daily Mail and Sun from their bags. I was able to call “HOUSE!!!!”; I’d awarded myself an imaginary £20,000.

I imagined how happy Bangor fans would be when I donated this money towards building a covered terrace. I’d meet the architect and discuss designs. I’d make sure we had an eco-friendly ground with ethically sourced materials, I saw myself helping with the murals. I had to visualise this,  I had to take my mind off the fact that I was stuck with these two legroom thieves  for 2 and half hours, oh how the nagging pain of my historic astroturf wounds nagged. Not even the extra wide tables of the Virgin Pendolino helped. Needless to say when the Nimbys left the train they did so in a contemptuous shuffle, thinking their rubbish was a Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen-esque embellishment on the lives of ordinary people.

The streets of Glasgow were slightly damp by the time I sauntered around the centre of the metropolis. I cut quite a dash in my new New York Cosmos tracksuit top. Then I saw another bloke in one and I sauntered no more, oh the scandal of wearing exactly the same clothes as someone that I casually passed!!!! I felt like horsefaced Carrie from Sex in the City until the bloke’s friend saw the humour in the situation of two men passing each other whilst wearing the same clothes and turned to say; “Up the Cosmos” to me. What had been monumentally embarrassing moment became an affirmation of human solidarity. I went to the Gallery of Modern Art with a spring in my step.

To be truthful I wasn’t sure what to make of the museum’s  installations. For example one piece was an old wooden dining table suspended from the ceiling. The top had been removed and one of the legs had been pointed upwards. I looked at the piece for fully 4 and a half minutes without grasping the point the artist was trying to make about society. I couldn’t decide whether I was a philistine or not.  After a brief promenade around salubrious Sauchiehall Street I set off for Hampden, via Catkin Park.

I managed to find Catkin Park by accident, I was actually standing by the road that the ground was situated on when I asked for directions. This was very lucky because another helpful person had sent me off in the wrong direction when we were outside Mount Florida station. Catkin Park was quite an eerie sight; it was redolent of glory days and failed promise.

After a quick walk around Hampden I found my way to the entrance for the museum of Scottish football. The museum is as much a museum of Scottish social history as it is a museum of Scottish football. The less than genteel parts of football culture; hooliganism, mammoth drinking sessions, clubs going out of business, Billy Bremner, were also covered. I heartedly recommend the museum as it contains loads of interesting items that not only provides another view on football they provide a better view of the past as well, for example there’s the lifesize sculpture of Archie Gemmil’s goal against Holland and the collection of begging letters sent by pro clubs in England to entice skilful Scottish amateurs southwards. There were also mementoes of an old British olympic football team from an obviously less contentious time.

There is also David Will’s collection of mementoes on display. Mr Will was a vice president of FIFA until he passed on and as you would imagine his collection provides an insight into the gilded existence of a FIFA dignitary. At each World Cup these people receive a small solid gold replica of the World Cup with the particular tournament’s  symbol on the base. If you’re like Mr. Will you will need those symbols to keep track of the replica world cups. Speaking of gold trinkets, did you know that the FA of the countries that qualify for the world cup receive a gold plague stating as much, I didn’t know this until I went to the museum of Scottish football. After I bought an SFA fridge magnet I went to find the right turnstile to go in. As expected there was only one section open.

Maybe it was the vague sense of drizzle in the air that led to me think I had made a mistake by swerving Celtic Park. Did I really want to go in and see semi-pro footballers? The reason I’d gone all that way, the reason that I’d made all that effort was to watch semi-pro footballers, something I did every week. Was I an idiot?

My doubts had vanished about 10 minutes later; firstly I wasn’t going to change my mind as I’d already bought a match ticket as part of museum ticket deal. Then several happenings happened; I’d bought a Queen’s Park / SG Wattenscheid 09 pin badge, I’d had a chat with the bloke in the club shop (Bangor’s has more stock by the way).  I’d taken my seat in Scotland’s national ground after making a choice between a left opening and a right opening. Most importantly I had held two pies for a bloke as he climbed over a row of seats to get to the rest of his friends.

It wasn’t just the simple act of holding two scalding hot pies that changed my view, it was the way it happened. The bloke just thrust them into my hands. At first glance it may seem odd that I chose to find this act appealing; the act of  aggressively thrusting pies in someone’s direction can result in violence. But I’m not like everyone else, I chose to see the act an expression of Scottish civility. The bloke was obviously expecting to be helped to his seat without complaint; he was expecting me to help him. I was touched by this little display. But then Glasgow does seem full of polite people, full of people who say thanks when you hold a door open, full of shop workers that say Cheerio when you’re about to leave.

The fact I had taken the decision to go left meant that I had placed myself amongst the Stranraer fans. When the players came out there was a small crescendo of noise but like the last time I went to Hampden  I was struck by the cavernous space in which the match was being played. Queen’s Park is one of the anomalies of football; an amateur side playing in a national stadium. Sadly there aren’t enough anomalies.

I found the match to be quite entertaining. Queen’s Park controlled their possession quite well but Stranraer looked quite dangerous. To continue the friendliness theme I’m sure that the bloke sitting next to me was being friendly but I struggled to make out what he was saying. All I could make out was “Offside”, “Cunt” and “For F____ Sake Stranraer”. I just nodded at the right time.  I couldn’t quite pinpoint the constituent parts of the Stranraer  accent; I noted a lot of Scots, a hint of Northern Irish, a touch of Cumbrian. Halfway through one of our one-sided conversations Stranraer scored a fantastic goal, their striker (I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t know his name) scored with a skillful curling shot into the top corner. There was relative pandemonium in the Stranraer end, well it was a fantastic shot.

Shortly afterwards Queen’s Park equalised and some of their young fans acted in a rather unseemly way, they turned to taunt the Stranraer fans, even though the Stranraer fans had remained placid. This is the legacy of Sky’s hype, a world where people feel compelled to taunt at everything possible opportunity.

Queen’s Park certainly deserved something for their play but they couldn’t relax with Stranraer’s attacking players looking very dangerous. needless to say Stranraer scored again. The shot was quite good but it wasn’t that good and it looked like it wasn’t going in. Then the Queen’s Park keeper made a cock up for the second time in succession that I’ve seen him play (I checked and it was same keeper as the Motherwell match). To think that some people say semi-pro footballers are too inconsistent!!! I must apologise to the lad if ever I see him because I seem to have a hex over him.

Based on the fact that I sort of identify myself as a nominal Queen’s Park fan – when I’m pushed to –I decided to change sides at half time, I decided to go down the right path. I came out amongst  padded seats. I was almost overjoyed because I’ve never sat on a padded seat at a match before, well posterior protection is not normally for the likes of me. Not only was the seat padded, there was legroom as well. Now I knew how the other half watched football.

It wasn’t long before I released that I was sitting next to a charming group of supporters. They were very erudite, very wind-swept and very interesting. Even when a person behind me started moaning;  “They don’t give 110% any more”, “They don’t tackle properly”,  “They don’t tackle with enough force and that’s how players get hurt” I was charmed rather than annoyed; the criticism was delivered with enough style in a Still Game style accent. Consequently I willed the Spiders onward.

If I needed another reason to be won over by Queen’s Park I had one; their choice of music. There was no clichéd rubbish. Before the start of each half they played a rock version of the Spiderman theme. After each Queen’s Park goal they played the classic tune; “Enjoy Yourself!”

Unfortunately we didn’t hear Enjoy Yourself for the first part of the second half. Then Queen’s Park equalised after about an hour. I was quite happy with this situation, even if I was starting to feel the cold. The match appeared to going the way of the Spiders when Stranraer had a man sent off. The player that received the red card incredulously rooted himself to the spot before leaving the pitch whilst performing a shrug. Queen’s Park continued pressing and brought on a couple of subs to help them. One of those changes directly led to a goal because one of the subs managed to score the winner in the last ten minutes. I left the ground with very cold feet.

On the way to Mount Florida I saw that a restaurant was showing the England v Wales rugby match on TV but I couldn’t see who was winning. I managed to see the score whilst I looked through the window of Glasgow Central’s pub. Wales were losing. I went for a Subway and by the time I came back it Wales were drawing. Thankfully by the time I left Glasgow central Wales had scored a try to go into the lead against the Public School fun boys. I’d had another lovely day in Glasgow.





Today I will will be mostly wearing…..

17 12 2011

Today I will be mostly wearing a t-shirt that I designed;

VIVA BANGOR CITY!!!!!!!!!





R.I.P. Gary Speed

27 11 2011

After hearing the numbing news I can’t think of adequate words to express anything.

The words of Bryn Law seem fitting;

“Today feels like the worst day of my life. Utter incomprehension. I’ve known Gary for over 20 years, the same age, two lads from North Wales. He was my friend and I can’t believe it. I can’t begin to imagine how his family feel.”




Very much so our kid

18 06 2011

If you’ve ever wanted to know what goes on behind the scenes in an FA Cup draw, here you go;

Well that’s the magic dispelled from another part of British culture.

The flash English might go to Wembley to do their draws but this is needless faffing, they should be more like us Welsh. We keep it real by going to Clwb Ifor Bach, where the showbiz element is a floor show by “Soul Man John Deakin” in a frilly shirt, medallion and velveteen slacks combo. They say this is a dramatic reconstruction of how the draw is undertaken in Wales.





But who’s watching the fans?

7 06 2011

Over the last few weeks I’ve been basking in the glow of glory and golden thoughts. Mine eyes saw the glory and I’ve been reminded that football with a soul has a future. The nagging sensation of “it’s too good to be true” was proven when the glorious glow began to lose its lustre. Morons and their wily ways were my unwelcome cold shower, football fans can be irritating can’t they?

Morons have caused me to worry that if football is left in their hands the profit-seekers will inherit even more of the game. Morons are simply not the best custodians of football (I don’t mean to undermine their human right to be a consumer by saying that). For example Norwich have just been promoted to the Premier League yet some morons can’t have a day off and be content with their lot.

Earlier this week Bryan Gunn announced he was leaving the club. WSC takes up the story;

“While widespread praise was posted for every on-field contributor in Norwich City’s promotion to the Premier League, a Canary legend was suffering something of an online kicking. Former Norwich City goalkeeper, manager and inaugural inductee of the club’s Hall Of Fame Bryan Gunn is leaving Norfolk to pursue a directorial role at a sports agency in the north-west. The first few hours of message board posting on the subject were positive. After all, since moving to Norwich from Alex Ferguson’s Aberdeen in 1986 Gunn and his family had become part of the fabric of Norfolk life.

His two-year-old daughter Francesca, who died of leukaemia, is buried in the county and Gunn was a servant of the club on and off (minus a year at Hibernian) for 23 years. In 2002 Gunn was named Sheriff of Norwich in recognition.

Gunn was the goalkeeper who helped steer City to top-flight placings of fifth, fourth and third. It was he who brilliantly denied Adolfo Valencia of Bayern Munich in the possibly the club’s greatest ever victory in 1993 (2-1 away in the UEFA Cup) and kept goal against QPR days after his daughter’s death. In a Football Focus poll of Norwich heroes the twice Player of the Season finished first.”

But this followed;

“However, it was Gunn’s brief reign as temporary manager (from January to July 2009 as City were relegated to League One) and manager (July to August 2009) that, for many, seems to have eclipsed all else. The local paper’s football message board The Pink ’Un featured such departing shots. “I can’t help but think of him as a joke nowadays,” said one. “He really let the club down as a manager,” said another. “I’m afraid this took the shine off any of his achievements for me – big time,” claimed another critic.

Suddenly the social media used to get Gunn the job (a “Make Bryan Gunn Norwich Manager” Facebook petition following Glenn Roeder’s sacking collected 3,000 signatures) was undermining a reputation that took all of Gunn’s adult life to establish. Bear in mind that at 4-0 down at home to Colchester (in what would be a record 7-1 defeat in 2009) Gunn had already received two plastic missiles, in the form of half-a-game-old season tickets, launched at his dugout – and that would have cut deep.

Within a week of the Colchester capitulation, Gunn was sacked by new chief executive David McNally. Many were relieved that a genuine Norwich legend had been spared any more pain. However for some it appeared that only a literal spearing would suffice for his six months as boss. Then, when Gunn announced his departure from the county, what appeared to be a generational divide opened up. “He was a sponger who has delusions of grandeur… and because of this we all paid for it… Tributes my arse.”

What more did he have to do for these ungrateful fuckers? Instead of rejoicing some people would rather denigrate a notable figure from the last 20 years of their club because of a 9 month period in which he tried to serve his club to the best of his ability. Even though they are now in the premier league, and can’t get any higher, they can’t let go of the past with a shrug, they can’t treat it as a chastening step on the ultimate road to glory. Somebody has to be held accountable, I’m surprised they haven’t called “Claims Direct”.

These morons don’t deserve access to polite society never mind season tickets. I’d suggest an immediate period of electro-shock therapy in a cultural re-education centre but that might be regarded as a bit too “nanny-state”. Where the hell do they get off demanding success like this? They fail to even grasp the basic football fact that each competition can only be won by one club – they don’t even share the charity shield any more – therefore not every club can be successful. Some clubs even have to lose and defeats are sometimes unlucky.

The thing that makes you truly despair is when football fans get it right they often come at it from the wrong angle. Somebody that doesn’t like Blatter wrote something on the wall of a facebook group I don’t remember joining;

“Sepp Blatter has just claimed that he realises football is for everyone, not just his organisation. All you have done since you were elected in 1998, Blatter, is make yourself and a load of your homies stinking rich and taken football away from the fans by installing such ridiculous prices and sponsorship deals. You say you have revolutionised football since your time at FIFA – but what good has any your work brought to the public and those people that actually make the game what it is – the FANS. Fuck all. International football is now rubbish thanks to you. How good was France 98. How shocking was the last one. Cannot believe so many nations are still continuing to back him, something needs to be done. Or am I just another sore English loser? In any case, lets all hope for BRUUUUNNNNO back at city.”
Yes that’s all very well and good but I wonder if this person cared about the governance of world football before England were denied the chance to host the world cup last December? Aside from a ranty paragraph  what’s he going to do about the amoral football elite? Is he going to disown elite football and throw himself into grass-roots football? Well, to judge from the above, probably not. He’d probably settle for an exciting world cup.
 
It’s probably safe to suggest that he doesn’t really care but to give him his due he’s probably not too different from every other fan. In a month or two he’ll begin a rant;  “Well in an ideal world of course I’d…….” before becoming distracted by the footballing superheroes showboating on TV like the other self-described football fans.
 
All the self-described football fans seem to care about is whether Wazza / JT / Stevie G  scores against the Scouse twats / Arseholes / Manc bastards. There are hundreds of thousands of these drones just casually consuming, limiting their thoughts to the possibilities of banter with their mates. Take the moron with which I allowed myself to be drawn into a twitter argument last week.
 
It all started when a moron from Porthmadog slagged off Ash Williams for being so crap at football he was a pro………
@LlandudnoJetSet I’d rather be called a glory supporter and pay to watch the world’s best players than piss poor league of Wales football”
When I put it to him that he was being ripped off the moron came back with;
@LlandudnoJetSet its not great value its cost me £700 going to just 7 United games this season but when you love football and a team pay it”
Q. What kind of idiot realises they’re being ripped off and still goes along with it?  A: A football fan.
 
These people make me ashamed to be a football fan. Football is not safe with them, they have the attention span of a 3-year-old and a magpie’s eye for flashy things. In answer to the dude that asked Blatter what had he done for the fans – “those people who actually make the game what it is”  – on facebook, people like you allow those like him to get away with it by buying his type of football. You make me sick.




Passing the baton of glory; a historical perspective

17 05 2011

I am now going to make a bold prediction about tomorrow night’s Europa League final; Braga may win. I can say this with some certainty because I have conducted a little scientific research.

This research was concerned with the history of Bangor City in European club competitions. I conducted this research because after I had mapped out the route to this season’s Europa League final the world was literally chomping at the bit to hear about Bangor’s other European seasons. Or to put it another way, I thought it might be quite interesting .

The main finding was that Bangor have only held the baton of glory for a brief time, eventually it ends up in the hands of the winners.  But you didn’t need to be much of a scientist to know this. Here are the rest of the findings.

 

1962/1963  –  CUP WINNERS’ CUP

Preliminary Round –  BANGOR CITY  Wales 3  Napoli Italy 3 – Napoli won replay 2-1

Second Round – Újpest Dózsa Hungary 2 Napoli Italy  2 – Napoli won replay 3-1

Quarter Final – OFK Belgrade  Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 3 Napoli Italy  3 – OFK Belgrade won replay 3-1

Semi Final – OFK Belgrade  Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 2 Tottenham Hotspur England  5

Final – Tottenham Hotspur England 5 Atlético Madrid Spain 1 

 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR WON CUP WINNERS’ CUP

 

1985/1986  –  CUP WINNERS’ CUP

First Round – Fredrikstad F.K. Norway 1 BANGOR CITY  Wales 1 – Bangor City won on away goals

Second Round – BANGOR CITY  Wales 0 Atlético Madrid Spain 3

Quarter Final – Red Star Belgrade  Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Atlético Madrid Spain  3

Semi Final – Atlético Madrid Spain  3 Bayer Uerdingen West Germany 0 

Final – FC Dynamo Kyiv Soviet Union 3 Atlético Madrid Spain  0

DYNAMO KYIV WON CUP WINNERS’ CUP

 

1994/1995  –  UEFA CUP

Preliminary RoundBANGOR CITY  Wales 1  IA Akranes Iceland  

First RoundIA Akranes Iceland 1   FC Kaiserslautern Germany 8

Second RoundFC Kaiserslautern Germany 1 Odense BK Denmark  1Odense won on away goals

Third RoundOdense BK  Denmark 4  Real Madrid Spain 3

Quarter Final –  Parma Italy 1  Odense BK Denmark 0

Semi Final – Bayer Leverkusen Germany 1 Parma Italy 5

FinalParma Italy 2 Juventus Italy 1

PARMA WON UEFA CUP

 

1995/1996  –  UEFA CUP

Preliminary RoundBANGOR CITY  Wales 0   Widzew Łódź Poland 5  

First Round – FC Chornomorets Odessa Ukraine 1  Widzew Łódź Poland 1 – Chornomorets won on pens

Second Round – FC Chornomorets Odessa Ukraine 0  RC Lens  France 4

Third Round – Slavia Prague Czech Republic 1 RC Lens  France 0

Quarter Final –  Slavia Prague Czech Republic 3 Roma Italy 3Slavia won on away goals

Semi FinalSlavia Prague Czech Republic 0 Bordeaux France 2

Final – Bayern Munich Germany Bordeaux France 1

BAYERN MUNICH WON UEFA CUP

 

1998/1999  –  CUP WINNERS’ CUP

Qualifying RoundBANGOR CITY  Wales 3   Haka Finland  0

First Round – Panionios Greece 5 Haka Finland 0

Second Round – Panionios Greece 4 Apollon LimassolCyprus 2

Quarter Final – Panionios Greece 7 Lazio Italy 0

Semi Final – Lokomotiv Moscow Russia 0 Lazio Italy  2 

Final – Lazio Italy 2 Mallorca Spain  1

LAZIO WON CUP WINNERS’ CUP

 

 

2003/2004  –  INTERTOTO CUP

First Round – BANGOR CITY  Wales 2 Gloria Bistriţa Romania 6

Second Round – Brescia Calcio Italy 3 Gloria Bistriţa Romania 2

Third Round – Villarreal CF Spain 4 Brescia Calcio Italy 2

Semi Final – FC Brno Czech Republic 1 Villarreal CF Spain 3 

Final – SC Heerenveen Netherlands 1  Villarreal CF Spain 2 – Villarreal progress to UEFA Cup

UEFA Cup

First Round – Villarreal CF Spain 3  Trabzonspor Turkey 2

Second RoundVillarreal CF Spain 3  Torpedo Moscow Russia 2

Third Round – Galatasaray Turkey Villarreal CF Spain 5

Fourth Round – Villarreal CF Spain  3 Roma Italy 2 

Quarter Final –  Celtic Scotland 2 Villarreal CF Spain 3

Semi Final – Valencia Spain 1 Villarreal CF Spain  0

Final – Valencia Spain 2  Marseilles France 0

VALENCIA WON UEFA CUP

 

 

2005/2006  –  INTERTOTO CUP

First Round BANGOR CITY  Wales 2  Dinaburg Latvia  6

Second Round – FK Žalgiris Vilnius Lithuania 3 Dinaburg Latvia  2 

Third Round – Egaleo FC Greece 4  FK Žalgiris Vilnius Lithuania  5

Semi Final – FK Žalgiris Vilnius Lithuania 2  CFR Cluj Romania  4 

Final – CFR Cluj Romania    RC Lens France  2 – Lens progress to UEFA Cup

UEFA Cup

First Round – RC Lens France 5   Dyskobolia Grodzisk Poland 3

Group Stage –  Lens finished second in Group C

Round of 32 – Udinese Italy 3  RC Lens France  1

Round of 16 –  Udinese Italy 1  Levski Sofia Bulgaria 2 

Quarter Final –  Levski Sofia Bulgaria 2 Schalke 04 Germany  4

Semi FinalSchalke 04 Germany 0 Sevilla Spain  1  

Final – Sevilla Spain  2  Middlesbrough England  0

SEVILLA WON UEFA CUP

 

 

2008/2009  –  UEFA CUP

1st Qual. Rd BANGOR CITY 1 Midtjylland Denmark  10

2nd Qual. Rd Manchester CityEngland 1 Midtjylland Denmark 1 – Man City won on pens

First Round – Omonia Cyprus 2  Manchester City England  4

Group Stage – Manchester City England finished first in Group A

Round of 32 –  Copenhagen Denmark  3 Manchester City England  4   

Round of 16 –  Manchester City England 2  Aalborg BK Denmark  2 – Man City won on pens

Quarter Final –  Hamburg Germany 4 Manchester City England  3

Semi Final – Werder Bremen Germany 3 Hamburg Germany  3 – Werder won on away goals 

Final – Shakhtar Donetsk Ukraine 2  Werder Bremen Germany  1 (after extra time)

SHAKTAR DONETSK WON UEFA CUP

 

 

2009/2010  –  EUROPA LEAGUE

2nd Qual. Rd Honka Finland 3 BANGOR CITY Wales  0

3rd Qual. Rd  Honka Finland 1 Karabakh Azerbaijan 3

Play-off Round – Twente Netherlands 3 Karabakh Azerbaijan 1

Group Stage – Twente Netherlands finished second in Group H

Round of 32 –  Twente Netherlands  2 Werder Bremen Germany 4   

Round of 16 –  Valencia Spain 5  Werder Bremen Germany  5 – Valencia won on away goals

Quarter Final –  Valencia Spain 2 Atlético Madrid Spain  2 – Atlético won on away goals

Semi Final –  Atlético Madrid Spain  2 Liverpool England  2 – Atlético won on away goals A.E.T

Final – Atlético Madrid Spain  2 Fulham England 1 (after extra time)

ATLETICO MADRID WON EUROPA LEAGUE

 

2010/2011  –  EUROPA LEAGUE

2nd Qualifying Round  – Honka Finland  2 BANGOR CITY Wales  3

3rd Qualifying Round  – Marítimo Portugal 10 BANGOR CITY Wales  3

Play Off Round  – BATE Borisov Belarus  Marítimo Portugal  1

Group Stage  – BATE Borisov Belarus  finished second in Group E

Round of 32  – BATE Borisov Belarus  2 Paris Saint-Germain France  2 – PSG won on away goals

Round of 16  – Benfica Portugal  3 Paris Saint-Germain France 2

Quarter Final  – Benfica Portugal  6 PSV Eindhoven Netherlands 3

Semi Final  – Benfica Portugal  2 Braga Portugal  2 – Braga won on away goals

Final  – Porto Portugal  V Braga Portugal – To be played in Dublin

 

The research has thrown up the following hypothesis; 

“The club that happens to be holding the baton of glory after the semi final seems to win the trophy more often than not.”

In other words, Porto you have been warned!





A-ha!!! So that was the cause

12 05 2011

It was just after 3:45 last Sunday when I knew something was wrong. About ten minutes before this Bangor had scored to half their deficit. Things were looking good for the double again now the score was 2-1!! Just after 3:45 Llanelli scored their third goal. They promptly scored their fourth goal about 5 minutes later. Then I knew that Sunday definitely wasn’t going to be our day.

I cursed my bad luck. I cursed each Llanelli goal. Why had we lost? Why had we lost?……… I just couldn’t understand the outcome. Why? Why? Why?………

All the way home I tried to formulate a reason. We’d stopped in Builth Wells on the way down, we’d gone to the Halfway House pub before kick off. We’d done all the right things. What had caused our defeat? Was it the fact I hadn’t worn my usual red Welsh Cup Final polo shirt? Was it because I’d forgotten to wear the talismanic Soviet slouch cap? I just couldn’t work out. Luckily we travelled north on winding roads so my mind became occupied with repelling vomit.

It wasn’t until today that I developed an adequate theory to explain why we had lost. I didn’t wear my usual red Welsh Cup Final polo shirt because I was wearing Bangor’s new shirt. It was so new it even had “Welsh Cup 2011” embroidery. A-ha!!!! This was it, the reason Bangor lost was…….We wore a new kit.

Look at the evidence;

1985 European Cup final – Liverpool move from umbro to adidas, they lost. __________________________________________________________________________

1987 FA Cup final – Tottenham unveil new kit, they lost.

________________________________________________________

1991 FA Cup final – Tottenham unveil another new kit, Gazza ruined his knee

__________________________________________________________________________

1995 FA Cup final – Everton unveill a new kit, they WON

_______________________________________________________________________

2006 Welsh Cup final – Bangor City unveil a new kit, they lost.

___________________________________________________________________________

2011 Welsh Cup final – Bangor City unveil a new kit, they lost.

___________________________________________________________________________

So that’s 5 out of 7 finals lost because of a change of kit, we have our reason.#

 

# – We’ll overlook the fact that this idea  is undermined because Llanelli also wore a new kit on Sunday (as Rhyl did in 2006.)





Pictures say a thousand words, especially when you can’t be bothered to write a match report

27 02 2011
Port Talbot Town 0 Bangor City 3
Welsh Cup Quarter Final
26/2/11

 





And now, the latest from the catwalk!

30 09 2010

In days of yore, when the Jet Set were in the midst of their salad days, academia was a vocation and Top Man was a shop were you could buy cheaply made clothes at cheap prices. During this time we bought many a lovely piece that would withstand one night out and one vigourous wash. The ideas behind the clothes were soooo different, one shirt made us look like evil dentists.

We were jogged into this reminiscence by this morning’s e-mail from Top Man.  For once we actually read one of their e-mails and immediately regretted making the effort. The e-mail was typical marketing bumph from people who like to see themselves as hip young gunslingers. Then we noticed, Top Man are now charging £100 for a Jumper and £75 for pre-ripped Jeans!!

We have been to a Top Man since University but we didn’t stay long enough to check the prices as they still appeared to be hawking clothes incapable of lasting a fortnight. How did we miss the transformation of Top Man?

If we cast our minds back we vaguely remember that Kate Moss “collaborated” with Top Man’s scally sister, Top Shop. We vaguely remembered that “everybody” thought this gave Top Shop (a high street shop selling shoddy looking clothes) a veneer of exclusivity. Top Man seem to think that this entitles them to charge people astronomical sums for tat. When we read the e-mail a little more closely it got worse, there was actually an inspiration behind their collection of misshapen jumpers and faux-suede bomber jackets;

Topman Design AW10 Range - New lines added.  This collection takes inspiration from East Berlin and army surplus clothing with a distinct punk aesthetic.  New lines are being added every week so be sure to check back regularly

 

 

 

 

First of all we despaired. For years we’ve ploughed one of our style furrows using the Worker’s Paradise as an example,  Jurgen Sparwasser  (hero of the People’s Republic) was a particular icon. And now this, a multi national comes along with their hip and trendy young designers and rides rough shod over the truly stylish by corrupting our statements through mass-production.

Now we need a new look – and then hope that the hip young things at Top Man don’t spoil it. Should we adopt the look of the 1930s French Popular Front, or go for Hungarian Uprising chic. We should have remembered that fashion is a constantly evolving world and just reverted back to being style leaders.

What the hell is wrong with these lazy bastards masquerading as designers. They seem to think that it’s enough to recycle stuff – Last Saturday we saw Lace leotards in Matalan for crying out loud!! We’re about to suffer a plague of Cyndi Lauper-esque women, Beware!! Why, oh why are we living in such a “wacky” age?

But even in this fashion epoch of “wacky” and ironic mingling why the hell would designers see inspiration in the grey dictatorship of the Stasi, Erich Honecker and green/orange/purple rivers. To turn such a time into an ironic style statement, well what can you say? We’ll start with a few words, the designers at Top Man are twats.





Today’s the Day!

21 06 2010

9.00 AM

Today’s the day we find out where we’re going in Europe, will it finally be Vienna finally? Even Bruges would do, Denmark? Motherwell? Here is the final list of clubs we could draw, and as we suspected the list had changed.

  • Ukraine  – Karpaty Lviv
  • Netherlands  – FC Utrecht
  • Romania  – Dinamo Bucharest
  • Portugal  – Maritimo
  • Turkey  – Besiktas
  • Greece  – Olympicos
  • Scotland  – Motherwell
  • Belgium  – Cercle Brugge
  • Switzerland  – Lausanne-Sport
  • Denmark  – Brondby
  • Bulgaria  – Levski Sofia
  • Czech Republic  – Banik Ostrava
  • Norway  – Molde
  • Norway  – Stabæk
  • Austria  – Rapid Vienna
  • Austria  – Austria Vienna
  • Serbia  – OFK Belgrade
  • Serbia  – Spartak Zlatibor Voda
  • Israel  – Hapoel Tel Aviv
  • Cyprus  – APOEL
  • Sweden  – IF Elfsborg
  • Slovakia  – Dukla Banská Bystrica
  • Poland  – Wisla Krakow
  • Croatia  – HNK Cibalia
  • Finland  – Honka  
  • Slovenia  – Maribor
  • Latvia  – Ventspils
  • Belarus  – Dynamo Minsk 
  • Republic of Ireland  – Shamrock Rovers
  • Moldova  – Iskra-Stal
  • Hungary  – Videoton
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina  – Borac Banja Luka
  • Republic of Ireland  – Sporting Fingal
  • Georgia (country)  – WIT Georgia
  • Azerbaijan  – Baku
  • Liechtenstein  – Vaduz
  • 1.00 PM

    Let UEFA explain who we can draw;

    “The road to the UEFA Europa League final begins as 52 teams, including the Fair Play winners, enter the draw for the first qualifying round.

    Half are seeded in accordance with UEFA coefficients and equal numbers of seeded and unseeded teams are then allocated to five groups for the draw – four of ten teams and one of 12.

    For each group, balls containing seeded teams will be placed in one bowl and unseeded teams in another. A ball from each bowl will be placed in a large empty bowl in the middle, where they will be shuffled. The first teams drawn will play the first match at home.

    If any club in the first qualifying round has an individual coefficient which entitles them to be seeded in the next round, the winner of the first qualifying round match involving that club is automatically seeded for the second qualifying round draw.

    The 26 winners will earn a place alongside 54 new arrivals in the next stage of the competition. The 80 teams involved in the second qualifying round are divided into eight groups of ten, with each containing five seeded and five unseeded teams, for the draw, which will follow the same procedure as the first qualifying round.

    Clubs from the same association cannot be drawn against each other in either round.”

    Or, in other words we can only draw the following clubs;

    • Winner of game 8 in 1st qualifying round –   Andorra FC Lusitans or  Republic of Macedonia Fc Rabbotnici
    • Finland  – Honka
    • Winner of game 25 in 1st qualifying round – Either  Slovakia Nitra or Hungary Gyor
    • Bulgaria  – Levski Sofia
    • Czech Republic  – Banik Ostrava

    In the end we drew

    • Finland  – Honka

    It’s the same as last year, and like last year the Jet Set won’t be going. Curse you Platini, where was Vienna? Or Bruges? Or Denmark?

    4.00 PM

    Disappointed rather than pissed off

    6.00 PM

    Travelling Home

    9.00 PM

    Watching Spain v Honduras, feeling slightly better than last year.





    Road to Hamburg

    9 05 2010

    This is all too bloody cosmic. As you can see the ever-changing baton holders have gone from Bangor to Athletico Madrid. The last time these two clubs played in the same competition (famously playing each other in 1985/’86 Cup Winners’Cup) Athletico got to the final,  just like 2009/’10 then. Who are they playing in the final? The club that the Jet Set went to watch in August, Fulham. Spooky no!

    2nd Qualifying Round – 16/23 July

    Honka Espoo V Bangor City – Honka Espoo win 3-0 on aggregate

    3rd Qualifying Round – 30 July/6 August

    Honka Espoo V FK QarabegFK Qarabeg win 3-1 on aggregate

    Play-Off Round – 20/27 August

    FC Twente V FK QarabegFC Twente win 3-1 on aggregate

    Group Stage – From 17 September until 17 December

    Fenerbache 1  FC Twente 2 

    FC Twente 0  Steaua Bucharest 0

    FC Sheriff 2  FC Twente 0

    FC Twente 2 FC Sheriff 1

    FC Twente 0 Fenerbache 0

    Steaua Bucharest 1 FC Twente 1

     Round of 32 – 18/25 February

    FC Twente v Werder BremenWerder Bremen win 4-2 on aggregate

    Round of 16 – 11/18 March

    Valencia v Werder Bremen – Valencia go through on away goals

    Quarter Final – 1/8 April

    Athletico Madrid v Valencia – Athletico Madrid go through on away goals

    Semi Final – 22/29 April

    Athletico Madrid v Liverpool  – Athletico Madrid go through on away goals

    Final – 12 May

    Athletico Madrid  v Fulham (Volksparkstadion, Hamburg)





    A Football song!!!

    16 04 2010

    Who says they don’t make cracking football related tuneage nowadays.

    Enjoy “Global Fussball OK” by Swedish pop sensations Tyskarna Från Lund





    Road to Hamburg

    9 04 2010

    The baton has changed hands again!!!

    2nd Qualifying Round – 16/23 July

    Honka Espoo V Bangor City Honka Espoo win 3-0 on aggregate

    3rd Qualifying Round – 30 July/6 August

    Honka Espoo V FK QarabegFK Qarabeg win 3-1 on aggregate

    Play-Off Round – 20/27 August

    FC Twente V FK QarabegFC Twente win 3-1 on aggregate

    Group Stage – From 17 September until 17 December

    Fenerbache 1  FC Twente 2 

    FC Twente 0  Steaua Bucharest 0

    FC Sheriff 2  FC Twente 0

    FC Twente 2 FC Sheriff 1

    FC Twente 0 Fenerbache 0

    Steaua Bucharest 1 FC Twente 1

     Round of 32 – 18/25 February

    FC Twente v Werder BremenWerder Bremen win 4-2 on aggregate

    Round of 16 – 11/18 March

    Valencia v Werder Bremen – Valencia go through on away goals

    Quarter Final – 1/8 April

    Athletico Madrid v Valencia – Athletico Madrid go through on away goals

    Semi Final – 22/29 April

    Athletico Madrid v Liverpool

    Final – 12 May

    Athletico Madrid / Liverpool v SV Hamburg / Fulham

    (To be played in Volksparkstadion, Hamburg)

    So the paths of Bangor and Athletico are intertwined again, eventually. Cosmic man!.





    The Road to Hamburg

    19 03 2010

    Remember when it started with little old Bangor City last summer? Were we knocked out by the eventual winners? Er no. It’s been a series of baton carriers really.

    2nd Qualifying Round – 16/23 July

    Honka Espoo V Bangor City – Honka Espoo win 3-0 on aggregate

    3rd Qualifying Round – 30 July/6 August

    Honka Espoo V FK QarabegFK Qarabeg win 3-1 on aggregate

    Play-Off Round – 20/27 August

    FC Twente V FK QarabegFC Twente win 3-1 on aggregate

    Group Stage – From 17 September until 17 December

    Fenerbache 1  FC Twente 2 

    FC Twente 0  Steaua Bucharest 0

    FC Sheriff 2  FC Twente 0

    FC Twente 2 FC Sheriff 1

    FC Twente 0 Fenerbache 0

    Steaua Bucharest 1 FC Twente 1

     Round of 32 – 18/25 February

    FC Twente v Werder BremenWerder Bremen win 4-2 on aggregate

    Round of 16 – 11/18 March

    Valencia v Werder Bremen – Valencia win on away goals ( 5-5 on aggregate)

    Quarter Final – 1/8 April

    Valencia v Athletico Madrid

    Semi Final – 22/29 April

    Valencia / Athletico Madrid v Benfica / Liverpool

    Final – 12 May

    To be played in Volksparkstadion, Hamburg





    Another one bites the dust……

    26 02 2010

    First it was Chester City (at least Kidderminster have spared a caring thought in passing; Chester Expulsion Costs Harriers Points!! ), then it was Portsmouth, now it’s Caernarfon Town.

    The Covies apparent demise may not cause too many ripples in the world of football reportage, it may not even cause momentary interest in north Wales, but it’s sad news.  A historic club, with a history rich in detail, has almost folded. As a Bangor fan this could be a source of joy but it’s very sad news. So, why has it happened? Does the club exist in a football fan-free area? No. Does it exist in a “rugby area”? No, of course not. Does it exist in an apathetic void? Yes!!

    Wales were playing rugby tonight. As Caernarfon is a staunchly Welsh town its pubs will have been filled by proud Covies proudly wearing their proud Welsh shirts watching their boys do them proud. This happy throng may have spared roughly 10 seconds thinking about the demise of their town’s football club before resuming their diod. This is highly ironic given the parochial attitude of your average Covi – hostility to; ousiders that speak English, outsiders that wear blue, outsiders that don’t like stones thrown at them etc etc. You can quite plausibly argue that the locals ambivilance towards their local club  accelerated it’s demise.

    Tomorrow the people proudly wearing their red shirts tonight will be in the same pubs  proudly wearing their Chelsea / United / Liverpool / Everton / Arsenal / Spurs (Delete where appropriate) shirts watching proper football thanks to an “illegal” decoder.





    Robbie Savage,….

    23 02 2010

    ……still a bellend. But then who are we to judge, we’ve never played professional football. We haven’t got an Armani tattoo and we don’t think we’re too good for our hometown club so we are clearly under-qualified to offer any opinion about football.





    You can’t keep good men down!!

    22 02 2010

    After last week’s decision about the date of  the League Cup Final you’ll be delighted to hear that the FAW have decided not to rest on their laurels. Yesterday they ordered that a match (Bala Town v Llanelli) should be postponed. There are two schools of thought regarding this;

    1. Llanelli’s players faced extreme weather;

    “Today’s match between Bala Town and Llanelli has been postponed due to treacherous wintry conditions and snowbound roads between South and North Wales. Many of the Llanelli players were snowbound at their homes in South Wales and were unable to travel to Bala. Reds manager, Andy Legg, was also stranded at his home in Nottingham.” (Direct from Llanelli’s website).

    2. Llanelli didn’t fancy travelling up to Bala. Travelling would jeopardise their chance of winning against a “tricky” Bala side, a Bala victory would represent a small setback for their hopes of becoming champions.

    Of course the bitter and cynical people of the world will choose the latter option as the real reason but then we would wouldn’t we?

    You can’t help thinking that vested interests are behind some of the decisions they make, like when to apply the benefit of the doubt for example. Witness Haverfordwest in 2004,  they were punished for the same offence that Llanelli have just perpetrated, and that was even when they produced photos and evidence from the police stating that snow prevented them from travelling. Hence they want their £500 back. Witness Caersws’ residency in the Welsh Premier League. Witness fines handed out and blind eyes turned for the same offences. And don’t try to tell me that XXX XXX XXXXXX haven’t fixed their European draws to get a bumper payout….

    I demand that Bangor be allowed to play when we decide, and I demand that right now!! Otherwise, it’s insurrection for you Deakin!!!





    And in other news…

    19 02 2010

    Just as the Chester story was nearing it’s unfortunate epilogue, (See Twohundredpercent to catch up), the FAW were trying to keep up with the other governing bodies in the “Lack of Talent is no Handicap” Handicap. On Thursday it was announced that the final of the League Cup will now be moved from its present date, Easter Sunday, to the end of the season.

    The League Cup is viewed, by a lot of fans, as a competition that gets in the way (You play the same teams all the damn time; in late 2006 Bangor City played Porthmadog away three times in 4 weeks for example) so the decision to change dates would normally have remained unlamented.  However, if you look at the reason that it was changed then you see a problem. The date is being changed because the sponsors of the competition have something more important to do and they can’t make the Easter date. In case you didn’t know the sponsors of the League Cup are Loosemores Solicitors.

    So how did we get into this situation? Well it seems the FAW, being a world class institution, needed world class advice;

    Cut to titles;

    “If you’re a governing body in trouble and no-one else can help AND you can find them (turn right out of the millenium stadium) then maybe you can hire the L Team!!” 

    Now let’s see some of that highly priced advice;

    “….As members of the British Association for Sport and Law, we are able to provide a full range of sports-focused advice from improving commercial revenue streams to negotiating player contracts….

    ….We have established relationships with some of Wales’ leading associations, giving advice on a range of issues such as sponsorship, merchandising, funding, disciplinary proceedings and the protection of commercial rights.”

    Now let us consider three ideas;

    1. When you use the phrase “some of Wales’ leading associations” you include the FAW
    2. Loosemores are a sponsor of an FAW competiton 
    3. 2 +2 = 4.  

    After considering these one may summise that the FAW may have received some advice “on a range of issues” from Loosemores. Don’t forget that Loosemores are members of the “British Association for Sport and Law”.

    One could wonder if that advice included the following line; “Right Mr. What ever your name is, allow your sponsors to mess you around because let’s not forget they will be paying for the party, at the end of the day” You’d normally doubt it but……





    It could be worse

    19 02 2010

    Having trouble paying the electricity bill?

    Can’t find the money to pay the taxman?

    Are your employees kicking up a stink about unpaid wages?

    If you’ve answered all of those questions with a big YES, YES, YES!!!! then you must be the owner of a football club who is suffering from temporary cashflow problems.

    Well we can help, yes just call us at “PASS THE BUCK” and we can help you to absolve yourself of all responsibility!!!

    Our easy to follow one-step plan involves; 

    Sell the name of your club to a fan for a nominal fee. The fan will then become the owner!!!

    Hey presto, the bills will stop arriving and you can go back to living the dream!!!!

    It would be extremely vulgar to mention our price at this stage.





    TV Review

    18 02 2010

    Over the last few weeks we’ve been watching a programme entitled “Off Kilter”. The programme was a “sideways” look at the nation of Scotland made by the esteemed cultural commentator Johnathan Meades. It was up to the usual standard; pithy observations and interesting asides.

    The last episode of the trio looked at southern Scotland through the lens of its Irn Bru League clubs. To anyone with an interest in the poetry of language the club names offer an array of images and this was an obvious attraction for Mr. Meades. Just think of Queen of the South, Albion Rovers, Raith Rovers, East Fife, East Stirlingshire and they all evoke something more romantic than Scottish League football, Albion bespeaks a mythical land…… During the programmes Mr Meades was particularly drawn by Cowdenbeath, (thanks to their ironic nickname; “The Blue Brazil” and the fact that their home ground doubles as a stock car racing venue), Irn Bru and the unfortunate spectre of industrial decline. It was interesting to say the least.

    As you may have noticed none of the teams named above use the name of the settlement in which they are based in their name, Queen of the South (Dumfries), Albion Rovers (Coatbridge),  East Fife (Methil), East Stirlingshire (Falkirk then Stenhousmuir), Raith Rovers (Kirkcaldy -“Raith” is Gaelic for fort incidentally). This seems to be common in Scotland; Clyde play in Cumbernauld (after time in Glasgow and Rutherglen) , Morton play in Greenock (since renamed Greenock Morton). Third Lanark, Celtic and Rangers all hail from Glasgow, Hearts and Hibs come from Edinburgh etc. Their names conjur up images and a bit of romance too (leaving Rangers to one side of course). What do we get nowadays? MK Dons and Ebbsfleet, names based around commercial impulses. Who says imagination is dead?

    Anyway here’s the first part of the programme;

    The other parts are at the end of this sentence if you fancy watching them, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 & Part 6. You may not agree with everything in it but this kind of thing has got to be better than ITV1.





    Time to Listen

    11 02 2010

    Something seems to be stirring in Stretford. Caernarfon Town scarves have appeared and they have multiplied like mildew on a shower curtain. Keen social scientists will begin to wonder if this suggests something. A little research will uncover that the scarves are  a manifestation of protest. Protest is in the air!!!

    Those with even a modicum of memory will recollect some form of “protest” at Manchester United in the last five years, so why are these protests so prominent in the media? Well, it seems that these protests are not like the earlier ones, these protests are serious. This has shocked several commentators. It seems that the original protests were not to be trusted; Firstly, they were planned and carried out by the horrible working class oiks, secondly, the foundation of FC United of Manchester was a juvenile reaction. 

    The main reason that these protests can be taken more seriously is that “the movement has now grown up”. The maturing of the movement is mostly due to the involvement of the sainted middle classes (As with everything, news only becomes proper news when it affects the middle classes in some way). Now you could regard this as a load of shit written by a passenger on the glorious gravy train but that would just be jealous carping.

    Now that the protest is the potage de jour we are reminded constantly. This story turned up yesterday in the Times for example.

    “The scale of the anti-Glazer movement has been laid bare with internal divisions over the Americans’ controversial ownership of Manchester United beginning to emerge.

    A steward with 19 years of service at Old Trafford has been sacked for siding with the Glazer protesters. He has claimed that growing numbers of people employed by United are becoming increasingly opposed to a regime that has left the Barclays Premier League champions £716.5 million in debt.

    Granville Boden, 53, was dismissed by CES, the security firm employed by United on match days, after attempting to return an anti-Glazer banner, confiscated by stewards during the league game against Burnley at Old Trafford last month, to the supporters who displayed it.

    Boden said that he was appalled at the heavy-handed tactics employed by CES staff to remove the banner forcibly — and the fans responsible for it — from the Stretford End and revealed that a 20-man stand-off later ensued between those stewards sympathetic to the anti-Glazer movement and those enforcing club policy.”

    As you can see this story revolves around a banner. Basically a steward was sacked because he tried to return property to the rightful owners of it.

    Several things struck me about the story. First of all I felt angry over the treatment of the steward. He became a steward at a time when only fans did the job (and missed watching the game because of it), a time  before private security companies became involved, so he’d been there for ages. He’d probably turned out in all weathers yet he got the sack because he transgressed against transitory plutocrats. Then I wondered about the kind of person that chooses to enforce the Glazer doctrine without question, how do they feel when gazing into a mirror? Then I thought; “Christ that’s another civil liberty eroded”. You can’t take pictures because it erodes copyright, you can’t stand up because it’s against health and safety legislation, now you can’t even get your property back because it’s offended some bald Americans.

    Despite hailing from the land of the free the owners are blocking free speech, and it’s just because they don’t like what’s being said. What is it with these bloody plutocrats? They seem to think that they can do as they please because it’s in the search of greater profits (Well governments permit them to do it I suppose). Then if people try to expose their methods to the public they soon play the privacy law card.

    On the other hand maybe the Glazers could consider the following point;

    If you want to buy something that means a lot to a lot of people then be careful. If you choose not to act in a thoughtful manner, or a sensitive manner, or even a sensible manner  towards that something then you’ll have to live with what people say. Just a thought lads.





    So, that’s how it feels then

    7 02 2010

    Alternatively, Bangor City Football Club welcomes the return of Mr. Lee Hunt esq to their flock.

    Bangor City 3 Rhyl 1
    Welsh Premier League

    “Beware wounded animals!!” is an instruction so often told it’s a cliché, but then I do watch a lot of wildlife documentaries. Evidently a lot of Bangor fans also watch those documentaries. Rhyl, the wounded animals, may have lost a few players but they still had quite a few good ones. Therefore it seemed prudent to err on the side of caution.

    As you will have read earlier Wales have drawn England in our Euro 2012 qualification group. Obviously this was the pre-match “red-hot soccer chat” (© David Mellor) topic number 1. As expected the crowd was higher than usual today. The Rhyl fans were penned into a corner and us lot were penned away from the front of the Farrar End. The club thought these actions prudent and we liked it too, who doesn’t love a view obstructing temporary fence? Several of us were forced to use the shelf at the back of the stand for a higher vantage point. 

    The Match. Rhyl were re-shuffled so few of their players were recognisable although their manner was the usual. Mr. Lee Hunt esq’s first touch was the opposition left back’s shins. With so much recent change these details offered a reassuring feel to proceedings. We noticed something during the first half , a fine detail that had obviously escaped us in earlier matches; Mr. Lee Hunt esq can play a bit of football. He made several telling contributions during the first half; some good holding-up work and more importantly some lovely passes.

    For most of the first half Rhyl seemed to be just hoofing it up the pitch, or hoofing it over the St. Paul’s end if they fancied a shot. Why the Rhyl hordes were braying is beyond me but then our very recent discovery of Mr. Lee Hunt esq’s football ability should cast doubts upon our long-range perception. After hitting the post and winning several corners Bangor were in the ascendancy. We finally went ahead thanks to a Garside header at the far post, the goal was created by another searching cross. Just as we were all taking that in Reedy added the second with a classy finish. It was one of those shots that we love to see going in.

    During a goal such as this you’ll have already noted the possibility that the angled run into the box will lead to a goal. Therefore you’ll think; “This is it, this is our chance, we can make it two!!!” You wait for the shot, it takes slightly too long and you panic; “What’s happening, Shoot, shoot, shoot, SHOOOOOOOOOTTT!!”. When the shot finally comes it is more of a caress past the keeper and you finally see the ball caress the net. “YEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSS!!” This type of goal always seems to be the perfect goal when your team is already one nil up as it’s not only aesthetically pleasing but more importantly it allows anticipation and then vindication. Nice! 2-0 Half time.

    The second half had only just started when I left the shop. Rhyl were at our end and then the ball hit the crossbar, just as we were thinking about winning they were coming back. Rhyl kept up the pressure for a few minutes and it almost felt uncomfortable but then our defence was virtually unflappable so we were still 2-0 up 10 minutes into the second half. After about 60 minutes of play our new hero, Mr. Lee Hunt esq, set up our third goal with a perfectly weighted pass for Sion to score. 3-0 and Goodnight Vienna!!!

    Then the ref took pity on Rhyl and awarded them a penalty, which they scored. This was despite the fact that a gentleman behind me declared that he’d already missed it before the taker had started his run-up. 3-1 and One more for the road Prague!!!! 

    The area where the Rhyl fans were to be stationed was the area where a nursery used to stand. All that remains of that structure is an outside wall adorned with a mural of Mister Men characters. Last week one terrace wag enquired as to whether we would be able to differentiate between the paintings and the some of the Rhyl fans. They were partly right of course as today we saw “Mr Angry (in a Beige Jacket)”

    He seemed to be so animated that you’d think a puppeteer was controlling his limbs. We tried not to notice him but we couldn’t help notice his arms flailing or his mouth spewing evident obscenities. On second thoughts, accounting for our long-range perception difficulties, he may have just looked angry, he may have been wishing Mr. Lee Hunt esq “Good Luck and God Speed” as he lay there on the lush green turf. 

    Well that was a nice afternoon indeed. Let’s hope Bangor do another win soon, as someone told us on Facebook earlier.





    The draw LIVE , as it happens!!!

    7 02 2010

    11 am GMT – Draw “commences”

    11:23 GMT – Draw Procedure outlined

    11:24 GMT – Announcement that Armenia and Azerbaijan plus Russia and Georgia are not allowed to play each other

    11:24 GMT – Azerbaijan first team drawn out,

    11:25 GMT – Commentator says that Andorra would want to avoid England

    11:26 GMT – John Toshack scratches noses, looks calm

    11:27 GMT – Azerbaijan and Georgia drawn together, Armenia moved into next group

    11:28 GMT – Commentator tells us that Albanian U21s from 1984 are the only team to qualify from their history

    11:29  GMT – Commentator tells us Montenegro has no coach.

    11:30 GMT – Wales’ pot is about to be drawn, commentator tells us that no winner of the cometition has ever come from this pot although Belgium’s coach has won it.

    11:33 GMT – Wales drawn into group G with Montenegro, Tosh look lifeless. This group has 5 teams, is this connected?

    11:36 GMT – Wales draw Bulgaria, no sight of Tosh.

    11:40 GMT – Wales draw Switzerland, still no sight of Tosh.

    11:40 GMT – Germany down, Russia down, Italy down, Holland down, Croatia down, Wales finally draw England  to complete the group, Tosh has gone home in a sulk?

    So that’s Montenegro, Bulgaria, Switzerland and England.

    We’re just off to book our trip to Poland (or Ukraine) now, England, Jesus.





    And now, it’s the national team of south Wales everybody

    6 02 2010

    Yesterday we stood on the threshold of THE weekend of the year. At this momentous time that only happens this time each year, the world stops. Curtains will be closed and the only thing seen on the streets will be tumbleweed. This is the weekend when memory returns, when they will dig out that holy red shirt from the bottom of the drawer, undertake the ceremonial ironing ceremony and then wear it, along with the sparkly cowboy hat, with pride “for the boys.” 

    If you want a drink this Saturday teatime you will be out of luck; not be a cubic centimetre of space will be free in any pub in Wales. Yes it’s here; Wales v England. For some reason it is so much harder to remember that you’re Welsh when you’re playing Azerbaijan.

    Anyway, enough of that nonsense, what about the national sport of Wales? How is that national team getting along? At the moment their supporters will be waiting with baited breath for the next travel itinerary; the next European draw is going to take place in Warsaw tomorrow morning.

    So how will it go? Here are the seeded pots.

    Pot one: Spain (holders), Germany, Netherlands, Italy, England, Croatia, Portugal, France, Russia

    Pot two: Greece, Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, Serbia, Turkey, Denmark, Slovakia, Romania

    Pot three: Israel, Bulgaria, Finland, Norway, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina

    Pot four: Slovenia, Latvia, Hungary, Lithuania, Belarus, Belgium, Wales, FYR Macedonia, Cyprus

    Pot five: Montenegro, Albania, Estonia, Georgia, Moldova, Iceland, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein

    Pot six: Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, Malta, Faroe Islands, Andorra, San Marino.

    As Wales can draw one team from each pot (except the fourth one obviously) we could see the following scenarios.

    Best Chance; Croatia, Slovakia, Scotland, Liechtenstein, San Marino

    Worst Chance; Spain, Serbia (or Greece), Bulgaria, Montenegro, Azerbaijan

    Best Trips (from the Jet Set point of view); Spain (or Portugal), Denmark, Bosnia, Estonia, (or Kazakhstan or Iceland), Faroe Islands





    How much do I get for a clean sheet again?

    3 02 2010

    Fantasy Football™ seems to be a craze but it is one that the Jet Set doesn’t bother with. We used to bother when it was cool of course – in fact we were some of the first people in Britain to take an interest. We got a group together, we held our player auction, we dreamt up team names, we held another player auction, we designed our team sheets, we held another player auction, we got fed up with it.

    Then we joined the national ones and achieved fame; we garnered one mention in size 1 font in 90 Minutes magazine and another in Wales on Sunday (You could only choose Welsh players or players that played for Welsh clubs) in a slightly bigger font. But then we got bored of it again and stopped doing it for good.

    John Terry, or “The odious JT” as we’re all supposed to call him now, has been in the news for some reason recently. We think it was because of something really quite bad because it hasn’t been complementary coverage. (By the way, it’s nice to see that everybody has caught up with the Jet Set in their thinking!!). The Jet Set would like to implore “The odious JT”  to think that all is not lost!! In Fantasy League™ the only thing that counts is your on field performance, a point made in this article by Ian Plenderleith. You can find redemption here!!!

    As Fantasy Football™ is a craze everybody will be doing it. Therefore all you need to do is keep your nose to the grindstone and let your head do the talking. Everybody will be so grateful that they will only care about their team’s haul of points and you off-field peccadilloes (whatever they might be) will be easily forgotten. Easypops!!!

    Mr. Plenderleith’s article talks about the joys of Fantasy League™. You’ve got the guilt-free pleasure of spending imaginary money and the endless possibilities of picking anyone you want to play in your team. Then it can lend a touch of interest and uncertainty to the moribund Premeiership, whilst still using its constituent parts. Basically you can create a club as you want it to be.

    While that’s all true I still don’t want to play these games. To be successful you must choose the best and that may mean turning a blind eye to your firmly held prejudices against players but I can’t think why should I consider “The odious JT”, Ashley Cole or Darren Fletcher? To be successful you must hope that the players you’ve picked to do well, which is all well and good until they play against the club you support.

    Imagine this scenario; Liverpool are playing Newcastle United and you support Liverpool. In your Fantasy League™ team you’ve picked 2 Newcastle players; Andy Cole (because he’s in a hot vein of form) and Peter Beardsley (he’s sets them up – in Fantasy League™ parlance, an “assist”). During the match Newcastle win 3-0 thanks to a Cole hatrick (Beardo set them all up). As a Liverpool fan you’re obviously devastated. Then you remember that you’re the manager of the  Fantasy League™ team; “Dynamo Bicycle Lights FC”. In this role Cole and Beardsley have just earned you 15 points (3 points for a goal and 2 for an assist), elation!! Then you feel a bit confused.

    On the other hand, maybe we’ve been too harsh on Fantasy League™. It could be the tool that leads to a greater appreciation of football in general. Once the edge has been taken off disappointment fans will judge football on its beauty and not on it’s power to bestow smugness over others.

    Well, we can hope.

     

     

     





    On the rails, down the wing, a flood and a return ticket

    2 02 2010
    30/1/10
    Bangor City 3 Aberaman Athletic 1
    Welsh Cup 4th Round

    Whilst looking through the train window the juxtapostion of the international haulage industry using the A55 and the remoteness of north Walian hill farms finally struck the Jet Set. After that moment of clarity we suddenly came to a realisation; for the last two years Bangor City had progressed from the 4th round of the Welsh Cup thanks to penalties.

    That these two matches had ended in the dreaded shootout was actually a perfectly reasonable situation as we had played two Welsh Premier clubs, especially when you add that the first was away and the second was against the eventual Welsh champions. How embarrassing would a hatrick be? Very embarrassing, as Aberaman played in a division below, but that would never happen, would it?

    Aberaman entered the field of play looking resplendent. They carried off their red and yellow creation with considerable elan, their yellow numbers were soooooo Wales in the ’70s. You would never have put Leighton James, their manager, into the same design pantheon as Bobby Gould before this stylistic triumph, where have you been hiding Leights baby?

    Despite Aberaman presenting a reasonably large hurdle a few supporters sleep walked through early parts of the match. Most believed that it was simply a matter of time before we put the game beyond doubt or to use the words of one terrace pundit; “Just one goal will open ’em up, just one goal!!” Bangor did look purposeful when in possession so you can understand this view.

    Aberaman scored the first goal. There was a cry of anguish but it did not become panic. “Just one goal, one goal is all we need, one goal is all we need!!” was our mantra.  And to be fair to us, again, Bangor looked like they could score a few as well. Was this due to our incantation? After a few minutes a few lost their zen and gave in to the panic but there was no need to panic, our goal came from a firm Reedy shot that the keeper couldn’t push away. The rest of the first half was goalless.

    Just after the beginning of the second half,  just after the point when the Aberaman fans had unfurled their flag, Craig Garside scored our second. As I made my way around the pitch I appeared to be the magnet for the ball. As I wondered if I actually had magical powers I noticed that our new winger Eddie Jebb was receiving a lot of the ball. There I was thinking that I had the power of the Shaman and it’s was down to our tricky new winger on our side all the time. Now I finally realise the reasons for banning folk football in earlier centuries, its connection with witch craft.

    After we went into the lead Stotty hit the crossbar with a backheel and missed a sitter while Sion hit a post. Reedy ran with the ball for an age and the run was only halted by a foul in the area. He scored the pen himself. So that was it, we were through to the Quarter Finals again.

     
    2/2/10
    Bangor City V Airbus UK
    Welsh Premier League
    Postponed due to dampness

    We may have been spared a soaking but we were also deprived the chance to see Lee Hunt (a long-term hero of the Jet Set) wearing Bangor blue and not Rhyl white for the first time in 7 years. Bloody hell 7 years, 7 years!!!! Where does the time go?





    Tabloid Watch

    29 01 2010

    This load of bollocks is so predictable  it should have a  formula, something like; Germany + England + Football = World War Two, which is similar to; Argentina + England + Football = Falklands War. Obviously this “Journalism” has attracted criticism from Germany;

    “Germany’s World Cup away strip English newspaper in ‘black shirts’ Nazi scandal

    A British tabloid has kicked up a storm ahead of the World Cup by claiming Germany’s new black away strip is a Nazi throwback!

    The kit – which reflects the colours worn by German players in their first-ever international in 1898 – was exclusively revealed by BILD yesterday.

    But under a story entitled ‘Return of ze black shirts’, the trashy ‘Daily Star’ claims the shirts are reminiscent of those worn by Adolf Hitler’s notorious SS…..

    And the scandal newspaper wasn’t finished there, claiming the move was “a goose-step too far”.

    The Adidas strip also features white shorts and was an instant hit with fans in Germany. But the ‘Daily Star’ claimed: “Germany is set to kick up a Reich stink at the World Cup by playing in Nazi-style black shirts.” An unbelievable claim from the country which calls itself the Home of Football!

    And the tackiness wasn’t finished, as the article was illustrated with a picture of Germany captain Michael Ballack – who plays for English club Chelsea – next to a portrait of Hitler.

    It was the height of poor taste, coming the day after International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

    But there is a history of such references – England and Germany have shared a big sporting rivalry for years, and the Nazi jibes are quick to come out when the teams face each other on the field.

    Before the Euro 96 semi-final in London, one UK newspaper headline read: “Let’s Blitz Fritz!”

    And the ‘Daily Mail’ wanted to force then-German coach Berti Vogts and his team into the ultimate retreat from ‘enemy territory’, in this case Wembley Stadium.

    BILD.de says: Some healthy teasing between two competitors can help energise sport – but here the dead have been mocked, and the living defamed. That has nothing to do with sport!”

    So what does the author say?

    ” ‘Daily Star’ reporter Tom Savage said the article was only a continuation of German-English football rivalry.

    He revealed that he received nearly 100 emails from enraged German football fans which he claimed showed that the Germans have no sense of humour.

    “The story was meant to be funny! We will not apologise in any case.” “

    Right, the Jet Set says that Tom Savage is a Twat. We will not apologise for that opinion, it’s just a continuation of the Xenophobic Moron-Normal People rivalry.

    Here’s bit of historical research for the Daily Star, obviously they were too busy being fuckers to do a proper job of it. During the inter-war period; 

    • “The Blackshirts” was also a nickname for the BRITISH Union of Fascists.
    • “The Blackshirts” were more commonly found in ITALY than in GERMANY.
    • In GERMANY the SA were issued with BROWN shirts, which is the main reason  why they earned the nickname “The Brownshirts” 

    The world is full of morons.





    If it wasn’t bad enough…..

    28 01 2010

    Sometimes less is more. You could argue that less is more is often the correct way to do things in fact. Most of us were perfectly happy watching football on TV in the good old-fashioned way, then they gave us High Definition so we could see Rooney’s flared nostrils in all their glory. We used to be happy watching football in 2 dimensions, but now we are in line for an improvement  on that as well.

    Sky like to think it will be an improvement; “Gerry O’Sullivan, Sky’s director of strategic product development, said: “Sunday will be a really historic day for television.” Well, for once Sky may be right, we’ve never had this before.

    So football is to be the guinea pig for 3-D TV, what charming thoughts that conjurs up. Now we won’t just get a good view of Rooney’s flared nostrils but we’ll get them, and his contorted face, looming out of the screen at us. The thought of Ashley Cole, Lamps, Stevie G or JT flying out of the screen should be enough to turn anyone’s stomach.

    It’s easy to carp, an expert should put us right; “…..Tom Morrod, TV analyst at Screen Digest, said: “When Wayne Rooney curves in a free kick it will feel like you’re really there. But, I’m looking forward to prospect of groups of hard-core football fans drinking pints with silly glasses on.” Ye Gods, “hard-core football fans” is it? He must mean models like the ones below;

    Yes we’re all like that aren’t we? A glass in one hand, a celebration in the other and our mouths perpetually ready to shout “C’mon you useless prick!!!” or other bon mots. Us hardcore fans always go “dahn the pub” to get our fix but will we let those “silly glasses” put us off? How could we? We’re ‘ardcore!!!

    You have to think, what the hell is the point? Why would you want to get up close to a Wayne Rooney Free Kick anyway? It might be the next step and it may stick around, but how the fuck is it going to recreate your “match-going experience”?

    No doubt Sky will charge the proverbial arm and a leg to use this service, on second thoughts….





    Down in the Valley

    23 01 2010
    Llanrwst United 2 Llandudno Junction 1
    Welsh Alliance

    Shouting seems to be vital in football, but then it would be difficult to make yourself heard for 100 yards using a pleasantly lilting voice. Today’s match offered the occasional visitor a profane eisteddfod; “Fuckin’ ‘ell Ref!!”, “Jesus Ref, you must be blind!!”, “Refereeeeee!!!!!!!!”,”You’re having a laugh man!!!!”, “You’re a fuckin’ joke man!!!!!” etc etc. “Fuck’s Sake” was heard roughly once every 4 minutes. I come for the cheap football but I stay for the industrial language.

    As you may have guessed the recipients of these critiques were the officials. Half Man Half Biscuit sing that  without the ref we’d have zero (The song’s below) and that’s true. If there were no officials the game would have been called off and the chance to play the local hero would be gone. The moaning bastards should actually thank the officials for allowing them this opportunity. 

    You have to feel for the officials. They have to be there yet they never do much right. Today the comments came from every direction; most players, both benches, the crowd. What do the officials get in return? A pittance in petrol money, a plastic cup of warm orange squash at half time and the chance to become the target of post-match bitterness in the clubhouse. You have to ask is it worth it?

    Then I asked myself why the players were doing it? It may have been a local derby but does it matter that much? The result’s not going to change anyone’s life. It may mean a night of happiness but the joy will fade and work will be calling again come Monday morning.

    The match actually felt quite entertaining once your ears had adjusted to the ferocity of the shouting. Both sides were capable of playing football, they could both pass the ball well and construct nice moves. Take Llanrwst’s first goal; a nice pass to the striker, then a quick turn and a soft touch into space and he was past the clingy defender. He was in the area but a defender was homing in on its target, he coolly slotted the ball home under this pressure. The second half saw Llanrwst in the lead. Junction tried and tried to equalise, they played some more nice stuff, but they didn’t really get close enough. When you saw the  football on offer it makes you wonder why both sides didn’t concentrate on playing a bit more.

    We left to a  sound we hate; the know-it-all in the crowd. You’ve seen, or more likely heard, him (it’s usually a middle-aged man). He’ll be the one trying to wind up the opposition via a one-way conversation. He thinks he’s an oracle, he’s been coming to football matches for years after all, so he will utter something like, “Played of the Park they were!!!! Played off the Park….” . This like will be spoken  as if they’re talking to their friend but it’ll be slightly too loud for polite conversation. Of course he’ll be dead wrong with his analysis but worse than that he thinks he’s funny. All he’s  actually doing is annoying everybody in the vicinity. More importantly, for his safety, he’s annoying young men who are at least 30 years younger than him and fit. Why does he bother?

    Upon reflection the know it all is the perfect metaphor for this afternoon’s match; noise obstructing a good game.





    A little peek into the past

    19 01 2010

    Whilst surfing the internet we stumbled across the little nugget underneath whilst looking for Welsh Cup news. I found it here.

     

    “Llandudno, of the Cymru Alliance, are to retain home advantage for their Allbright Bitter Welsh Cup quarter-final tie with Cardiff City on 28 February. They have agreed a crowd limit of 1,500 with local police.”

     

    Welsh football was mentioned in a broadsheet!!!!!! Llandudno was mentioned in a broadsheet and it wasn’t because of a serial killer!!!!!!!!!!!

    I remember the game like it was yesterday, 1995………….

    …………..The town was  beset by cup fever; they were about to play Cardiff City at home. In the previous round  Llandudno had hammered the holders Barry Town (featuring Robbie James) in a replay and this meant they would host the bluebirds.

    Cardiff, big old Cardiff, were coming to town and tickets were on sale everywhere. Then some people realised that it was THE Big Bad Cardiff coming to town, then the local media realised it was THE Big Bad Cardiff would be coming to town. The town was gripped by a moral panic; The infamous Soul Crew were coming to lay waste our pleasant and lucrative little town. The quaking fear felt by everybody led to the construction of a  new turnstile at the ground, exclusively for the use of the Cardiff fans. 

    Then roughly 5 Cardiff fans turned up, they stood behind me.

    The game was poised to be historic (Not the first historic game mind you; Llandudno once held 2 Welsh Cup Finals and 2 Welsh internationals); tiny Llandudno were 3 games from Europe!!!   The crowd was massive (nearly 7% of Llandudno’s population) but the  conditions were poor, the floodlights pylons resembled Palm trees in a hurricane.

    During the match Llandudno kept their head above water until local boy Carl Dale scored the winner for Cardiff. The goal came in the last 5 minutes. The dream was over, they’d reached for the stars but foundered on the harsh reality of playing a better team.

    Sadly Llandudno will never see a full house again, the clubs playing in England were barred from the Welsh Cup 5 months later and Caernarfon Town don’t have the cachet.





    No football, snow joke

    9 01 2010
    Everyone V Everyone Else
    Postponed due to the wrath of God

    Due to the unseasonal temperature football was officially cancelled today.

    The fact we had an afternoon free meant that we could really get away from the world of football by watching Sky Sports News. We lasted about 30 minutes before we tired of the banter. In the split second between choosing a channel and pushing the remote control buttons something was mentioned that aroused our curiosity, as is often the case.

    David Vaughan’s name came up and it appeared that he  was playing for Blackpool against Cardiff City. The mental cogs began whirring – “David Vaughan is from Llanddulas (near to Colwyn Bay)…..My friend’s wife was a bridesmaid at his summer wedding…….Neal Eardley (from Llandudno) also plays for Blackpool…..They’ve both played for Wales…… How many famous footballers have come this area?”

    So how many?

    Firstly you’ve got Joey Jones, Mickey Thomas, Carl Dale and Eddie Niedzwiecki, they’ve all made a splash professionally. Then there’s Neal Eardley’s brother, Sean. Sean is now a Llandudno player but a few years ago he was playing for Oldham Athletic. He had to quit professional football due to health problems but he  had played for Wales at age-group levels. Then you’ve got the Williams brothers from Colwyn Bay. Not only have I played 5-a-side with these two but they’d also played for Wales U21s. I was struggling to think of any more  after these examples so I started to wonder about the number of Welsh internationals that hail from what I consider my area (Prestatyn to Holyhead).
     
    After exhaustive research I’ve discovered the following full internationals (From after 1945 of course).

    1940s & ’50s Cyril Sidlow (Born & Played for Colwyn Bay), Doug Whitcomb (pl. Llandudno), Jack Humphreys (b & played for Llandudno) Billy Morris (b. Colwyn Bay), Archie Hughes (b. Colwyn Bay), Roy Vernon (b. Prestatyn), Iorwerth Hughes (b. Abergele)

    1960s Graham E. Williams (b. Denbigh), David Powell (b. Dolgarrog), Dave Hollins (b. Bangor) Wyn Davies (b. Caernarfon)

    1970s Peter O’Sullivan (b.Conwy), Tom Whalley (b.Caernarfon), Joey Jones (b.Llandudno), Mickey Thomas (b. Mochdre), Ray Mielczarek (b.Caernarfon), Gareth Davies (b.Bangor), Brian Lloyd (b. St. Asaph)

    1980s Neville Southall (b. Llandudno), Ian Rush (b. Flint, He’s my hero if you’re wondering), David Felgate (b. Blaenau Ffestiniog), Eddie Niedzwiecki (b. Bangor), Malcolm Allen (b. Caernarfon), Barry Horne (b. St. Asaph)

    1990s & 2000s Tony Roberts (b. Holyhead), Iwan Roberts (b. Bangor), Danny Coyne (b. Prestatyn), David Vaughn (b. Rhuddlan), Wayne Hennesey (b. Bangor)

     Not a bad list all in all, at least Savage isn’t there.





    Flint, where it’s at!!!

    31 10 2009
    Flint Town United 0 Bangor City 1
    Welsh Cup 3rd Round

    A Welsh Cup day was upon us again, what a lovely phrase!!! Over the years these days have become synonymous with revelry, frivolity and much laughter. The memories of Welsh Cups past lay heavily on our recollections, everybody seems to make more of an effort to enjoy the day. It’s as if we expect them to be better days, more enjoyable, more drunken. To be fair they usually are.

    I met the other adventurous handsome heroes in Llandudno Junction and the atmosphere was building, gradually. We arrived in Flint with plenty of time to have another good Welsh Cup day, the chips were hot, the beers were cold and the cobwebs were numerous.

    After paying 20p to enter Flint’s social club there was yet more beer and Arsenal versus Spurs to keep us going. I was so deep in discussion about the perniciousness of the market economy that I almost forgot to leave for the ground in time. We arrived just before kick off.

    Watching football in Flint’s ground puts one in mind of the Vinnie Jones opus “Mean Machine”; the environs hint at a prison compound. Having said that, the brutal chic  is different from the railing and livestock backdrop we usually see at Bangor away matches, Cae-y-Castell actually looks like a place where football is played.

    We were attacking the end with less trees in the first half and were nearly behind early on. Smithy came out and smothered the ball, in the manner of a soldier protecting his comrades from a hand grenade. Then Smithy collided with Brewie, in the manner of Hulk Hogan dispatching Ric Flair over the ropes. A few minutes later Brewie left the pitch. A few minutes later Flint’s fans cheered for some reason. We didn’t know why, the ball was clearly not over the line. We saw this very clearly from our position. Then we scored and celebrated as such. Then the goal was disallowed. Then we heard the ridiculing laughter. Then we went quiet. Then Football Genius scored, a header, BANG!!!!!! Then we laughed, life was good!!!

    The second half was rather uncomfortable, but in a comfortable way. We could have scored a couple; we hit the bar twice and there were a few breaks that looked promising. Due to the nature of the scoreline every time Flint had the ball in our box we clenched, each time could have been THAT horrible moment. To release tension fans will try to find a safety valve, this time we chose the opposing keepers’ idiosyncrasies. He cried; “Left!!!”, we cried; “RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT!!!!” He cried; “Alan!!!” We Cried. “ALAN!!! ALAN!!!! ALAN!!!  STEVE!!!! STEVE!!!! STEVE!!!” Mash cried; “DEMIS ROUSSOS!!! THOMPSON TWINS!!!” It was all very juvenile but it helped to ease the tension and in this credit crunch nervous tension can lead to terrible health problems.

    The final whistle meant relief and another trip to the clubhouse. As we found in Aberystwyth, positioning is everything when you’re hungry. This time we had a man by the split in the curtain. Les, the inside man, steadily supplied us with contraband peanuts and sandwiches. A cunning steward spotted what was happening and cut off our supply. Quick-footed Les was Indiana Jones for a split second, he narrowly avoided the snap of the curtains shutting. Draws and Bangor fans don’t seem to mix, we just can’t keep a lid on our exuberance. They had to do the draw behind closed curtain. News filtered out through the door, we’d drawn Ammanford!!!! No, no, no, no, we’d drawn Aberaman. We left Flint happy, on a train.

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    The Road to Hamburg Continued…..

    27 10 2009

    So how is the Road holding up? Well there are no bottlenecks yet.

    2nd Qualifying Round

    Honka Espoo V Bangor City – Honka Espoo won 3-0 on aggregate

    3rd Qualifying Round

    Honka Espoo V FK QarabegFK Qarabeg won 3-1 on aggregate

    Play-Off Round

    FC Twente V FK QarabegFC Twente won 3-1 on aggregate

    Group Stage

    Fenerbache 1  FC Twente 2 

    FC Twente 0  Steaua Bucharest 0

    FC Sheriff 2  FC Twente 0

    FC Twente V FC Sheriff

    FC Twente V Fenerbache

    Steaua Bucharest V FC Twente

    Well there goes the theory, Bangor gave up the baton and it’s been passed on and passed on and passed on…….





    Democratic Deficit

    22 10 2009

    10:35 pm: I write this as Herr Griffin is about to insult the British people by appearing in public. We will report back later…..

    …..11:40 pm: Herr Griffin appears to be the man who never said nuffink. He is the most mis-quoted, taken out of context and  mis-represented person in Britain, apparently. Luckily there is plenty of evidence on the internet to remind Herr Griffin of what he has said.

    There is also plenty of evidence from tonight’s Question Time that when the Fascists are pushed slightly to explain themselves, or when logic is applied to any of their core beliefs i.e. “The Problems of Modern Britain”, they  came across as stuttering buffoons. Herr Griffin was almost unable to explain any ideas coherently, what a shit politician, what a cunt of a person. At least more people can now see this for themselves.








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