End to end at Burnley

I finally visited Turf Moor to see Burnley play after a 60 year wait. Back in 1961 Burnley were the Liverpool or Man City of the day and were playing in the European Cup having won the League the previous season. They had received a bye in the first round, beaten Reims in the next and now faced Hamburg in the quarter finals having won 3.1 at home the second leg was on TV in the afternoon. Getting home from school in time for the match I unfortunately saw them lose 1.4 and and were elimimated on agregate. The tears just rolled down my face, the first of many football disappointments that you learn to endure that is all part of the football experience.

So my son and I travelled north to Burnley on a dull day and it felt colder as we walked to the ground with the first spots of rain falling on us as we went through the turnstile. Inside a coffee and a Hollands meat and potato pie was welcomed (no chips here) as we chatted about the game and our last visit to a Premier League ground which had been to Everton nearly two years since, where today’s opponents Crystal Palace had been the visitors then. We hoped that the dull draw we saw then would not be repeated and noted Palace’s better results this term under new manager Patrick Vieira. We made our way to our seats 30 minutes before the game but decided to return to the concourse as the rain was now in full force and where we were to sit, although under cover, was getting soaked. We left it till near the start and found that everyone in the area of our allocated seats stood. This was a blessing as the seats were wet through. The supporters in this area of the ground were a noisy bunch which added to a good atmosphere. Although the supporters around us shouted, sang, chanted and chided the referee and third official, for what I have to say were some bemuseing decisions, it was all good hearted with very little swearing.

Burnley have a proud history having been formed in 1882 and have won the top English League twice and the FA Cup once. Their last top League win was just over 60 years ago and after a period in the doldrums have recently been constant members of the Premier League under no nonsense manager Sean Dyche.

This is an old ground that has been developed with individual stands on each side that has a good atmosphere and is adequate for their supporter base. The pitch was beautiful but the constant rain made the pitch slippery and the light wind blew the rain onto the first rows of supporters.

Burnley 3 Crystal Palace 3

Saturday 20th November 2021. 3.00pm kick off.

Crystal Palace have thrown off their dull play mantel dominating the play from the start to the delight of their large contingent of travelling fans who were matched and bettered by the Turf Moor locals.

The rejuvinated Christian Benteke latched onto a ball in the box in the box, turned, and hit an unstoppable left foot shot that seemed to take a deflection that ended up in the corner of the net having grazed the left hand post on 8 minutes. Palace kept up the pressure but unexpectedly from a corner on the left a static defence let Ben Mee rise above everyone to head home the equaliser at 19 minutes. Only 8 minutes later the same disconnect in the away teams defence allowed Chris Wood to head home when some confusion after a free-kick left Wood to score with a perfectly placed header past the leaping goalkeeper.

Benteke should have done better and drew Palace level when he had an open goal but headed wide.

Although ahead, Burnley couldn’t stem the away teams dominance and it was no surprise they were level when Benteke easily scored after receiving a great measured pass from the impressive Conor Gallagher. The move had been started by the Palace goalkeeper and passed through the field with no Burnley player getting anywhere near the ball.

It was now anyone’s game but it was Palace who went in ahead at half time when Guehi’s shot was deflected in after some frantic play following a corner.

Expecting another all action half the play calmed down with Burnley getting on top and back in the game when James Tarkowski’s run and high cross was met by Maxwell Cornet who hit a goal of the season by volleying the cross into the top left hand corner. Turf Moor erupted and Burnley stayed in charge and players and fans were incensed by some strange decisions from the officials.

Wilfried Zaha had a shot tipped onto the bar by Nick Pope but Burnley should have taken all three points at the death when substitute Hydra should have scored when put through with only the keeper to beat. Vincente Guaita bravely saved and the breathtaking game came to an end. Both Managers will have felt that they should have taken all three points.

I have had Holland’s pies before and would say that they are one of my favourites but this meat and potato pie was a disapointing mush.

Moving the goalposts

Moving the goalposts – A Yorkshire Tragedy

Written by Anthony Clavane

Published by Quercus Publishing 2016

Paperback version 2017

This book is a really good read in content flow and uncomplicated English.

It is about the demise of sport in Yorkshire brought about by the reckless de -industrialisation of the county in the last 50 years whether it be cotton, steel, coal or fishing.

The decline in the involvement of communities that supported the teams whether close to the grounds, in the workplace at the local welfare club, the pub or over the fence is brilliantly portrayed. A dash to a culture of the individual enabled people to take control of sports teams allowing them to borrow against a new tomorrow leading to the liquidation of clubs or over burdening them with lasting debt of which some have not recovered. The growth of Sky and their domination through money and changes to suit their broadcasting in Rugby League Rugby Union, Cricket and Football detached the paying public often turning them from spectator/fan to consumer. Recent domination by the top teams through being owned by Oligarchs, Countries and Corporations, with no links to national or local communities has enhanced the disconnect and poor performance of the local team on top of the local de-industrialisation. This has further emphasised the left behind culture that has blighted the country particularly in Yorkshire.

There are great references to Kes, Billy Elliott and The Full Monty how their portrayals referenced the times and changing attitudes.

Leeds may have now returned to the Premiership but other clubs such as Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham and Sheffield United have gone backwards and Halifax and York are no longer in the football league structure. Featherstone Rovers may never again be able to compete for the Rugby League Challenge Cup.

Definitely worth a read.

There’s a lot going on at Kiveton.

A foray back into the Central Midland Premier North Division this week found me at Kiveton Miners Welfare to see them play Collingham.

The ground is reached through a modern housing estate and a gate leads to a very large car park with the ground and other pitches beyond.It was a grey overcast day with very little wind but still mild for mid November. The scarf and had to be dispenced with as the game began. The pitch here slopes from goal to goal and slightly side to side with the pitch looking really good and as if a lot )of nitrogen had been put on it because of its vibrant green colour. The Worksop to Sheffield railway line runs down the end of the pitch.

Kiveton Miners Welfare are a recently formed team not to be confused with the very long established Kiveton Park. They are trying hard to develop their new ground with water ground works underway and planned floodlights as a future goal. The seated stand is very good for this level of football and if friendlyness and enthusiasm is anything to go by then they will surely suceed.

Collingham are from near Newark and were formed over 100 years ago (1887) but concentrated mainly on Youth and Sunday football until forming a senior Saturday team in 1994. They have since then played their football in the Central Midlands League.

Kiveton Miners Welfare 2 Collingham 2

Saturday 12th November 2021 kick off 14.00

A two minutes silence was observed before the start of the game.

Kiveton were steadily gaining confidence when against the run of play Collinham forced a corner and some continuing attacking football led to the ball falling to Gary Clarke on 21 minutes who cooly rpolled the ball along the floor, bouncing over the goalkeepers outstretchd arm to end up in the bottom left hand corner of the net. Kiverton continued their pressure but were unable to equalise before half time as their aerial assaults were amply dealt with by the Cottinham defence.

Kiverton must have had a talking to at half time because they started keeping the ball on the ground and after 10 minutes some good work on the right was rewarded when the resulting low cross was headed into the net with some force by Dan Neath. The home side playing up hill in the second half deservedly took the lead 15 minutes later when some good work on the left was rewarded when the ball fell to Elliot Fox to place home.

Collingham didn’t give up and fortune helped when a misplaced back pass was picked up by Olly Presley who took the ball wide to the right of the goalkeper to then find the net from an accute angle.

This equalising goal seemed to invigorate Collingham and when the Kiveton stand in goalkeeper rushed out of his area to upend the on rushing forward there was no other outcome but a sending off. Collingham failed to trouble the new keeper and it was Kiverton’s 10 men who finished the game the strongest. In the dying minutes of the game in the increasing gloom the away teams goalkeeper picked up a back pass and a free kick was awarded on the penalty spot. With their team lined up on the goal line Collingham faced down the freekick and the game was ended a minute later.

Great end to end football and a good advertisment for this improving league in terms of football and facilities.

Finally to the chips which I was not expecting. A food stall was available but the generator was getting up to speed to fire up the deep fryer. I paid my money for chips and a coffee and took my place in the stand and when I saw people with coffees I went back but still the fryer was not up to power. Sitting in the stand watching the start of the game the chips and coffee were delivered to me. You wouldn’t even get that at Tottenham in their new mega bucks emporium. The chips were hot, golden long, delicious, no oily taste and served in a cardboard carton that could be recycled. I have to score them an 85.

St Albans City settle old score in style.

It was thrilling to make our way over the pedestrian railway bridge to enter Clarence Park via the York Road entrance to see St Albans City FC, second in the National League South, take on Forest Green Rovers FC, clear leaders of the English League two in the first round of the FA Cup. Although over an hour before kick off the ground was more than half full in anticipation of the game and to join in the carnival atmosphere that the club has worked so had on with the brightly lit food and drink kiosks. The light at ‘The Park’ seemed brighter than usual and it was soon evident that a giant mobile temporary flood light has been installed to bathe the ground and ensure that the cameras who were there from BBC 2 can catch the whole game in clear quality. This is the first time that St Albans had appeared on prime time TV sports coverage and there was a tingle of excitement that you could tangibaly feel.

St Albans have never beaten a professional League team in the FA Cup so a win against Forest Green would be an exceptional achievement. There was more at stake in the encounter though as older fans rememember the FA Trophy semi final of the 1998/99 season. St albans having drawn the first leg at home 1-1 were two nil up in the away fixture at Forest Green and went in at half time leading 2-1. Forest Green eventually won 3-2 and went to the final after referee Andy D’urso disallowed St Albans a third on 72 minutes, those that played and were there are still mistyfied today and footage on You Tube will increase the confusion. That goal would have put St Albans ahead before the home side scored on 82 minutes. St Albans then threw everything at it and were pessing confidently when full time was blown which seemed not to have been the right amount of added time. This was another semi final St Albans had not won having been previously involved in dissapointment in the old Amateur Cup at the same stage.

Since that semi final Forest Green have strived on with the backing of Dale Vince OBE (Ecotricity) and are now world leaders in running a football club to the least detriment to the environment and climate. St Albans have remained at around the same level and are pushing via their energetic Chairman, Lawrence Levy, to relocate the club to enable it to expand its fan base, profile, ameneties , communituy involvement and youth football development.

Forest Green Rovers will further their green credentials when they move to a new wooden stadium near to the M5 which now has planning permission. St Albans though have their own wooden stand that will celebrate its 100 years next year in 2022 and some of the ground features have been recycled form elsewhere, one turnstile at the York Road End came from Old Trafford, seats in the wooden stand have previously watched games at Rochdale as did the segregation barriers and the crush barriers are from the Old Plough Lane, Wimbledon.

St Albans City 3 Forest Green Rovers 2

A small band of Forest Green Rovers made the trip having returned some of their allocation but theses were soon snapped up to give a full house of 4150. The tension before the start was hightened by the playing of the last post before kick off with rememberence day the following week.

Forest Green started strongly playing down hill and their speed and witdth of play caused the home team trouble. An example of this was that John Goddard the St Albans wide right player was unable to get forward as he had to hold back to defend. City did have an early chance when Jeffers shot was blocked and cleared away. On 17 minutes though Stevens put the visitors into the lead as he swept home Nicky Caddens cross. Forest Green continued in the same vein and St Albans did well to clear numerous chances and hold on.

John Goddard had switched to try his luck on the left and his cross found Mitchell Weiss whose slight headed touch was enough to guide it into the net at the far post. The Clarence Park crowd could not believe it and their emotions were hightened when long serving Zane Banton received the ball on the left and skipped past three defenders before hitting a perfect shot under the goalkeeper. Scenes of delirium on and off the pitch ensued but Forest Geen came back and created good chances that on another day may well have gone in.

As added time ticked away Ebou Adams placed a beatifull ball through the St Albans defence and Aitchison swept it into the net at an angle across Johnson.

A half time score of 2-2 was good for St Albans athough they had conceded just at the break passing the momentum back to the visitors.

St Albans were now playing down hill for the second half and if you have stood at the corner post at the York Road end by the turnstile and looked diagonally down the pitch you will know that it is a slope.

The frenetic pace of the game seemed to subside and although Forest Green had more possesion they were matched for chances. Johnson saved an effort and quickly unleashed a lonfg kick to the left where Mitchel Weiss controlled the ball and left the full back on the ground after slipping on the now dewy surface. Weiss cooly passed to Shaun Jeffers who chipped the ball into the net for St Albans to take the lead on 78 minutes.

Although Forest Green made strong efforts to level some brilliant tackles, blocking and saves kept them out and I didn’t feel any tension until the board for 5 minutes added time was shown. St Albans though saw out that time comfortably and finally defeated a proffesional League team and put to bed that Trophy semi-final horror of the past.

The chips were large, cooked in a deep fryer. hot, tasty, not oily and scoring a good 80. The speed of service though was very slow.

Percy Main Amateurs live up to my expectation.

After floating up the A1 and popping into The North East Collective in Eldon Gardens to collect a painting by Chris Cummings, a noted local artist, not just on a football theme, I made my way via lunch on the front at Cullercoats to Purvis Park home of Percy Main Amateur Football Club. The local area is named after the Colliery that was owned by the Percy family which was opened in 1799 and closed 96 years later.

I have wanted to go here ever since reading Village Voice by Ian Cussack. The game was a Norther Football Alliance Premier Division game between Percy Main and Cullercoats.

By the time I reached the ground the day had changed completely to a mixture of blue and grey skies with a light breeze. The playing area can be viewed from the road through a metal pailing fence but a concession and program only costs £ 1.50 here. I was happy to give £5 for two hours of entertainment. The kick off was at 2.30 because there are no lights or any seating area. There is however a clubhouse and team changing area, a bar and food area where I bought some chips and a coffee.

I usually leave the chips till last in my blogs but these need a special mention at only £1.20 I had to ask for only half of them as you will see from the photo that the half shown was really enough. They were hot, cooked especially for me, very slightly oily but tasty and a great score of 80. The lady who cooked them was happy and you felt you were welcome.

Back to Percy Main, it is next door to a cricket square which is divided from the football by a thick large hedge and on two sides it is tree lined. The program did say that the club are in the process of bidding for a grant from the Football Foundation to upgrade the clubhouse and provide some seating. Good luck with this and I look foreward to another visit when they will be in place. The pitch was relatively flat but looked soft and cut up a little after the mornings constant rain.

Cullercoats F.C.were started in 1915 as Culver Cots the name of a dove breeding area in nearby Cullvercoats Bay. It seems not possible to find any history on the club but they have developed today to run two senior teams, junior and ladies teams.

Percy Main Amateurs F.C. were formed by demob soldiers in 1919 and have spent time in the Northern Amateur League, Tyneside League and the Northern Aĺiance League but their highest achievement was reaching the quarter finals of the 1929-30 F.A. Amateur Cup finally losing after a long journey to Bournemouth Gasworks Athletic two nil. Bournemouth eventually made it to the final where they lost 5-1 to Ilford.

Percy Main Amateurs F.C. 2 Cullercoats F.C.3

Percy Main dominated the start of the game and it was no surprise that they went ahead when Jordon Stephenson tapped in a cross after some work down the right. They should have added to this but for some good goalkeeping and the home side were good for their half time lead even though the cross bar had saved them on one occaision.Sea gulls swirled over the pitch at half time as the temperature started to drop.

10 minutes from the re-start of the second half Cullercoats were level when James Cooper ran on to a gift of a ball from a Percy Main defender drilling it home from the centre of the goal. It was all Cullercoats and substitute Jay Errington put them ahead after 75 minutes when again some hesitation in the defence gave him an easy tap in. The away teams domination was suddenly ended when Paul Collinson was upended in the box and a penalty awarded. Collinson picked the ball up,walked to the spot and was impeded by a Cullercoats player. Collinson pushed that player out of the way with force and was sent off. Jordon Stephenson calmly made it two for him and the team at 2.2.

Errington of Cullercoats won it for them when a ball was gifted to him from the head of a defender.

A great day out at a friendly club that deserves more local support.

It’s a Generation thing.

The ELF Trophy may have a bad name as a nonsence competition but for those players and fans that get to Wembley it will be very special. It also gives young members of Premiership teams, their under 21’s, the opportunity to play against senior professionals who have points to prove. There is also the very young fan who gets the chance to visit his first large stadium game at a reasonable price. It was the latter that brought the three of us, grandson, father and me, grandad, to the Stadium MK to see MK Dons take on Aston Villa’s under 21 team.

Much has been written about how Milton Keynes Dons F.C. came about and how the old Wimbledon club ended up in this New Town, created in 1967. Changes of ownership, ground sharing and ground sale, clashes with the F.A. and an independent panel majority decission to allow the movement of a football team from one community to another was ended by Peter Winkleman helping to finace the administration and moving the club to play in the National Hockey Stadium in 2003. He then bought out the club from administration and with a backing group used the property company Inter MK to buy and develop the land where Stadium MK now stands.

What has been achieved struck me as very impressive as I drove up to the stadium on a dark Tuesday night in October, the hotel built into the ground with some rooms overlooking the pitch, the retail stores, national food outlets and people buzzing around. Rather than pay for parking I left the car at an ajoining Industrial Estate.

The ground was extended to 30500 spectators in 2015 which can be raised to 45000 in the future. Views are excellent and the padded seats were a joy. The movement into, out of and around the ground is first class. This is definately a modern well thoughtout experience that needs to attract more fans, an average around 9000 a game so far this season is disapointing. With Milton Keynes being central to the spiders web conurbation developing between Oxford and Cambridge there is the potential. Unfortunately their is little history which needs to come in time. My view is that it is time to drop the Dons from the name and truly proclaim that this club is specifically Milton Keynes. This might also finally end the sore that is the link to Wimbledon who have themselves built a fine new stadium and risen locally from the past problems.

Evening games always seem more dramatic and the lights seem to give off a magical atmosphere. It was another mild evening with little wind with a billiard table pitch.

MK Dons 2 Aston Villa U21’s 4

No programme at this game but the excellent screens have good team details. Villa were allowed two over 21’s but chose to use only one, Keinan Davis who is recovering from long term injury.

It was Keinan Davis who turned and outpaced the MK Dons defence to easilly slot home a one nil advantage for the visitors. Troy Parrot a loanee from Tottenham Hotspur levelled soon after and the Dons ability to get beyond the Villa defence and provide disruption meant the home side went 2.1 up when Troy Parrot turned provider with a back heel to Max Watters to fire home. Davis though continued to harrass and a played a perfect cross for in form Cameron Archer to head home to level the scores just before half time.

Villa’s at time lack lustre defence must have had a good talking to at the interval as they looked much more resolute and dealt with any threat until the tide changed when that man Keinan Davis again fired in a lethath long range shot that bounced off the cross bar for Aaron Ramsey to score from the rebound. Davis went off having been denied the chance to add to his tally and looked dejected as he walked round the pitch. It was finally seaed by Cameron Archer who flashed in a fourth near full time. Villa have won all three of their away games in some style and this crop of young tallent looks good for the future.

The important news was that my five year old son stayed engaged with the game for 80 minutes after which he became restless.

No chips at the food kiosk so my evening meal was a a very hot deep filled Pukka pie.

Invicta are invinceable.

Back to the football this week with a trip to Folkestone to see Folkestone Invicta play Kingstonians in the Isthmian League Premier Division. Folkestone went out of the FA Cup in mid week to Easleigh which ended an exciting run. They now need to catch up on League games that if they win their outstanding games it would put them well ahead of their rivals. Folkestone were trying to maintain their unbeaten league record and catch up Kingstonians.

The ground is on the edge of town tucked behind a recently re-built Morrison’s that has risen after being burnt to the ground. There are other sporting facilities next door which gives a good parking area.

Again initially a mild afternoon in late October with high grey clouds stationary in the sky due to little if any wind.

The Build Kent Stadium is well cared for with good terracing behind both goals one of which is covered. Down one side is a covered seating stand and a fans area with bar, food and outside seating area, it was used well before and during half time by a large crowd of 884 which was made up of a good mix of ages and sexes. The green lush grass pitch slopes very slightly from one end but as a playing surface is one of the best I have seen recently.

Folkestone Invicta FC has been around since 1936 and played their football locally in the East Kent Amateur League but in 1991 they moved to the Cheriton Road ground after the former Folkestone FC stopped playing. The old Folkestone club had reached the Non League heights of the Southern League.

Invicta embarked on their quest to gain a higher status and in 1998 were rewarded with a return to the Southern League and two years later reached the Premier Division but were back down again after a further two years. In 2004 they were transferred to the Isthmian League under one of the Non-League restructures but suferred relegation in 2008. Yet again they bounced back in 2010 but the next year were relegated once again. After some years of play-off heart ache they won outright promotion back to the Premier Division of the Isthmian League in 2016. This is truly some YO YO years but they now look well placed with a good team and manager, a strong organisation and fan base to perhaps make it next year to their highest level yet in the National League South. There they may lock horns again against their deadly rivals Dover FC who look favourites to be relegated to that Division.

Kingstonians history goes back 136 years with the current club being formed in 1919 after mergers, name changes and the demise of previous clubs such as, Kingston and SurbitonYMCA FC, Saxon FC, Kingston Wanderers FC, Kingstpn-on-Thames AFC, Kingston Town and Old Kingstonians. They initially played in the Athenian League but joined the Isthmian League in 1929 where they stayed until 1998 when they were promoted to the old Conference but they were back in the isthmian league a few years later where they too have seen demotion and promotion back to the Isthmian Premier. So the Isthmian League has been their home for the vast majority of their history but it is in the senior Non League cups that they are famous for, winners of the FA Ameteur Cup in 1933 and finalists again in 1960 and back to back winners of the FA Trophy in 1999 and 2000. They are a very respected club in their sphere.

Kingstonians home is now in a shared ground with Corinthian Casuals at King Georg’s Field in Kingston-upon-Thames.

Folkestone Invicta 5 Kingstonians 1

Invicta v The K’s

Kingstonian started well and were unlucky not to go ahead in the first minute when a well worked right wing pattern was bundled away at the near post by the Invicta defenders.

On five minutes the whole game was turned upside down when the Kingstonians goalkeeper rushed out to stop a clear through run by the lively left winger, Andy Paxman, and was adjudged to have used his hands to stop the ball and was sent off. It became worse for the visitors as their solid centre back Ollie Cook was substituted after what appeared to be a leg injury. Kingstonians had little time to re-group as Adam Yusuff was put through to give Folkestone the lead.

With constant pressure and little organisation Kingstonians conceded a second when Mathew Newman headed in an uncontested corner after 26 minutes which he did again on 39 minutes. The goalkeeper and defence looked panicked at any high ball in the box.

Half time came as some releif to Kinstonians but it only held off the onslaught for a further 4 minutes when Folkestone made it number four, this time from a penalty by David Smith after a forward was tripped in the penalty area. David Smith made it 5 on 74 minutes when again the keeper missed the ball and although 3 Folkestone players could have scored he stepped forward to tap it in.

Kingstonians despite the pressure did show why they are in the top half of the division with some neat interpassing triangles all over the pitch. Their number 2 was particularly impressive all game but it fell to number 8, Gus Sow, to gain a consolation goal with 13 minutes left when he scored from the penalty spot having himself been fould after a strong run at goal.

It definately looks like the local dery with Dover could be on for next season and Kingstonian can go away knowing thatthey can’t surely start so badly in their next game. Invicta remain unbeaten in the league.

The chips were very hot, crispy, well cooked, no oily taste and were on their way to a very good score of 85 when as I made my way through the good portion I noticed the pre seasonning made them saltier and saltier so I have reduced my score to 80.

Extra Time

Extra Time a Derby Theatre production as part of Derby CAN (Derby Creative Arts Network).

Playwright Jamie Thrasivoulou in conjunction with the Derby Theatres Team. Jamie is a poet, playwrite, writer, lyricist and educator who hails from Derby. He is also Derby County Football Clubs official poet.

Having forgone a Football match on Saturday I swapped it for a trip to Derby Theatre to see Extra Time on Sunday, the last day of an 8 day season.

I was not disappointed as the dedicated team acted out poems, chants, songs, dance and words that engaged me and the audience as we were immersed into Derby County.

The whole production was thought through to the nth degree to expertly weave in a Football theme.

There was a first and second half of 45 minutes with an interval of 15 minutes. A programme was available and for those attending the non Sunday shows pie and peas were available pre match. The bar area was also regailed with memorabilia, photos of past Derby County highlights and a video showing fans making their way to a match. There was also a replica FA Cup.

The exexperience was based around Derbys’ one and only FA Cup final of 1946 but weaved around it was the history from start to the painfully Administration of today.

Iconic matches, especially derbys against local rivals Nottingham Forest, local heroes, players and managers were all there to fully promote the community that is Derby County and the City of Derby. This play shows a great spirit within both.

The acting was amazing with no one shining out as the star, a true team effort.

Finally the score:

Charlton Athletic 1 Derby County 4 After Extra Time

Derby won the 1946 cup final in extra time 4-1 after it was 1-1 at full time. The City celebrated this fantastic win after it was bombed so heavily in the war but the team have never won it since in the following 75 years.

Derby scored on 85 minutes and thought that the match was over but Charlton immediately levelled a minute later leading to extra time. Derby scored three more goals in Extra Time to make the FA Cup theirs.

There were no chips at the Theatre for me to enter into my League but I did manage a bowl pre match at Plant Cafe & Bar just off the city centre. The menu of this Vegam restaurant described them as:

‘Twice-fried chunky chips sprinkled with rosemary salt.These chips are hand-cut from potatoes grown less than 3 miles from PLANT’

They were definitely spicy and delicious.

I would recomend any football fan to go and see this even if you don’t support Derby as the passion, community. friendship, pain and elation of watching any team comes through. Unfortunately this season is now ended but I noticed that they were filming the production, maybe they will screen it on the football club or the theatres Social Media in the future.

The Greatest Comeback

The Story of Bela Guttmann

The Greatest Comeback

From Genocide to Footbnall Glory

Written by David Bolchover

Published by Biteback Publishing. London, 2017

Some times you come accross something that just changes your views and knowledge that you have held for sometime and this happened to me having opened this book.

You are confronted by the fact that Bela Guttmann was the most successfull manager of his era, his ultimate achievement of many, was to lead Benfica of Portugal to two European Cup Final victories at a time when Real Madrid were most dominant. I had never heard of the man but he paved the way for the management styles of Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and many more. He perhaps invented total football before the Netherlands and his influence spread to new line up formations used today. He also managed and played throughout Europe and in North and South America, his playing career stradling both sides of the Second World War.

But this says nothing of the man himself, born a Jew in pre-war Hungary, persecuted for his beliefs and luckilly spared the Hollacust death camps through the kindness of others and his own guille and resourcefullness. Bela Guttmann was not a saint and the book covers his flaws as well.

There is more though, that increased my knowledge in that the book explains the persecution of Jews through time but what hit me was the array of countries where persecution took place both before and after the war and the devastation that all of this had along with the horrors of Nazi fascism. David Bolchovers research and writting style are trully magnificent.

I try not to say too much about a book so as not to spoil it for future readers but I must say that if you want to open your mind, be beguilled by a human story and learn about the evolvement of football then this is the book for you.