The Love of Football

Some people visit Teveral to try to view ‘The Manor’ which is believed to be the basis of the fictional Wragby Hall in D. H Lawrence’s 1928 novel ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover.’ 

On Saturday I visited this small Nottinghamshire village for my love of football and there was as much passion on display but on this occaision between Teversal F C and Armthorpe Welfare F C in their Northern Counties East Division One 2021/22 season opener. My dream was that this first game of the season would foretell a time when there would be no disruptions or early ends to the campaign. 133 others had turned up to see the game on a grey, dry, but warm afternoon and like me had been greeted by a friendly atmosphere and an open club house where I was able to get my first Chips of hopefully many.

I was asked what did they score in my chip League and my reply of 4038% which reflected that they tasted so good after everything we have gone through to get back to a very little thing that I enjoy. In reality they have set the bench mark for the season with a score of 69 being extremely hot, thick, tasty but with a taste of the oil too strong to get a higher score. The food in general here looks excellent and if I go again the curry and rice looked and smelt lovely. My coffee and chips were only £3.

You arrive at the ground through some houses into a very large tarmacked carpark that also serves a Bowling Club and a very popular walking and biking trail. The pitch looked green and lush but was a little undulating. There is a club house, seated area and behind one goal two batches of Tesco trolley parks so that you can shelter from the rain if needed. Everything has a warm and friendly community feel. Teversal have been moved back to this league as part of the F.A. reorganisation.

There has been a football club here since 1905 and had the words Miners Welfare in the name for many of the ensuing years reflecting the two local pits of Teversal and Silverhill. The miners influene, but not the heritage, ended in 1989 when the local district council took over the complex and still run it today. They have maintained their current level ‘s with a few ups and downs and look forward to the new challenge of the Northern Counties East League.

Armthorpe Welfare too as the name indicates come from a heavily ex mining area near Doncaster having been formed in 1926. They moved around local South Yorkshire Leagues until the early 1980’s when they joined their Current League. They were only relegated from the Premier League in 2017 and this season have virtually recruited a completely new team to compete for a place back in a higher level.

Teversal F.C. 0 Armthorpe Welfare 1

For the first 20 minutes Armthorpe looked in control although Teversal were dangerous on the break and on one of these hit the left hand upright. The game was dirupted quite a few times with the ball going over the concrete perimeter fence, some extended netting would be a benefit to a more flowing game. The game continued in the same pattern until the end of two minutes of added time when the dangerous Mathew Hughes received a through ball on the left wing and cut inside to riffle the ball into the net beating the Teversal goalkeeper who was the stand out player on the field. The referee blew his whistle as soon as Teversal restarted the game.

Despite some huff and puff from both teams the score did not change although Teversal did hit the bar with a thumping header. Armthorpe did get the ball into the net near the end but was diallowed and their Manager was yellow carded as he drew the ire of the referee for his remonstrations. You will need a few more results to put this game in context as to where these two teams will end up in theLeague table.

The game sounds a little dull but was amazing and has set me up for a season of hope.

The 2021/22 Football season takes shape.

We now know the fixtures for the 2021/22 Non-League season which we hope can be started on time and finished in full.

There have been some significant events already in shaping what is to come. The F.A. published the much anticipated restructure of the Non League game below Step 2 to move towards a nearly full pyramid shape for league promotion and relegation. It has meant teams moving up levels and redistributing teams latterally into what is hoped to be more regionalised leagues that reduce travelling and create more local derbies. The Non League Football Paper has published some good graphical accounts of what has happened and reported on some subsequent appeals by teams who felt their new League area was detrimental to their long term existence. These have been reviewed and in some areas reversed e.g. Kings Langley had been moved to the Southern League Midlands but have been subsequently placed in the Southern section where they will have more local challenges.

So here we go into a new world of new and changed leagues that starts this weekend, I can’t wait.

‘There’s only two David Beckhams’

There’s only two David Beckhams written by John O’Farrell

Published by Transworld Publishers/Penguim Random House UK 2015

There are infact three David Beckhams in this book in what is a funny novel about England’s plan to win the 2022 World Cup in Quatar with a paralell story about how football brings Dads and Sons together.

The Tony Blair Government in the 1990’s seemed more interested in picking their all time best England Football team (I had to disagree with some of their Choices) than other lofty matters of state. Ending our long history of 55 years without a trophy however was a priority.

Because it was written in 2015 their crystal ball for the 2020 Euro’s was a bit cloudy

The hero Alfie Baker a sports writter of what appears to be little esteem and scorned by some of his peers gets involved in investigative journalism that could make or break his career and a country. The action keeps rolling with funny clips and comedy throughout.

David Baddiel said of this book ‘The funniest football fiction since FIFA’S annual accounts’.

This book needs reading soon before it is out of date. My copy was again fronm the Oxfam Book Shop in Sheffield but I would recommend a copy from any good book shop.

My Football Season 2020/21

I didn’t know when the season ended or even started but with the Euros and Copa America now over we are perhaps there although there are some players still on duty for their countries at the Tokyo Olympics.

England’s achievement to reach their first final in 55 years captivated a country and the team brought us together as we continue to struggle on the journey to defeat Covid.

To lose on penalties is heart breaking as it is for all teams losing in this way. On balance the Italian team were in control from the start of the second half and the momentum was with them into the penalties.

Missing penalties haunts all who play the game. Italy’s Jorginho, perhaps thought of as the best penalty taker in Europe, even missed his and over at The Copa America with ten minutes to go Argentina were leading 1nil against Brazil and Lionel Messi had the ball at his feet with the goalkeeper to beat but fluffed it in the way you would expect a child to do the same. The miss luckily for Messi was not punished by Brasil and he was able to win his first ever Cooa America winners medal.

The ups, downs, extacy and disappointments is what makes following football so emotionally taxing and enjoyable.

Well back to the disjointed season of 2020/21 was it all a dream or perhaps a nightmare.

With the season start not clear at all levels of football I started with a 90 day Now TV pass to watch Aston Villa games which included their amazing 7-2 demolition of Liverpool.

It seems so long ago, September 12th 2020 that my real season started with a trip to Frickley Athletic in the F.A. Cup.

With family visits restricted it was a memorable vist to Sielby Rangers to see a game with a grandson for the first ever time that was the stand out moment.

I managed games at Selby, Ilkeston (for the best chips of the season), Loughborough Dynamo’s, Clipston, a Miners Welfare derby, Handsworth and what I thought would be my last game of the season at Coalville. The Coaville game at home to Matlock was the last day before another Lockdown and football again brought family together as I was able to see them again. It was also an exciting 4-4 F.A. Cup draw with Matlock going through on penalties with further rounds played behind locked doors.

I now turned to watching St Albans City through their pay per view games and found that they were playing exciting winning football. This too however did not last and the National League North and South ground to a halt in some acrimony after a disputed vote to carry on and some bad feeling over Government/League U turns. I was impressed by the quality of televised coverage at this level of Football home and away and hope to be able to use this to keep in touch with my home team from afar in the future.

To keep me topped up I watched a few F.A. Cup games on the BBC, a live stream of an FA Vase game and a final 3 months of the Premier League through a 3 month Sky package.

So thinking the season over, particularly for Non League football, I was pleased to find that although the season had been abandoned at most levels some of the lower leagues wanted to complete their outstanding fixtures. This allowed me to see some live football again and realy enthused me to go back and watch some more in the future.

A season like no other that hopefully will not be repeated but which has highlighted some incredible work by some dedicated people to keep local clubs alive and importantly at the centre of their local communities.

Another Bloody Saturday

Another Bloody Saturday

A Journey to The Heart and Soul of Football

Written By Mat Guy

Luath Prerss Limited Edinburgh Reprinted 2020 Edition

This is a charming book written with a lot of passion and empathy for his friends, family and all those who he comes in contact with.

The book follows Mat’s 2014/15 season from the start in July 2014 for the game between Bangor City and Stjarnan in a Europa League First Qualifying Round Second Leg to April 2015 and Dagenham & Redbridge playing Accrington Stanley in DivisionTwo.

There are many unusual stops in ths journey for a Southampton based fan, including the Faroes, Cyprus, Sri Lanka, Wales and many other more local destinations.

We all dream of unusual football outcomes but Mat seems to achieve his in often fascinating and definately not conventional ways. Throughout the book though there is a growing love for Accrinton Stanley who although many hours away from home give him the warm feeling of belonging.

You can support different teams for many reasons and due to changing times in your life and Mat shows this in his book and retains loyalty to Salisbury, Southampton and Accrington.

If Matt writes another book I will be in the queue to buy it.



The Scottish Football Periodical

Publisher: Ally Palmer Editor:Daniel Gray

Wow, what a find. This publication came of interest to me through reading a Daniel Gray book. I was lucky to get it given to me as a yearly subsciption of £35 (you can pay £10 per issue). This is a quaterly magazine, but what a magazine, packed with 196 pages of superb journalism of all sorts of Scottish Football

At £35 I thought, a bit steep for four magazines, but when it arrived its value was soon realised. This is equivalent to a Scottish Football Fanzine on steroids, a years supply of an upmarket weekend newspaper sports supplement or an Itanian daily football paper, or four standard paperback books and so much more.

I am limiting myself to an article a day to make it last and have so far become an expert of Scottish football reorganisation, a passionate fan of Partick Thistle, followed Rangers revival through the dark years, re-lived the demise of the Saturday evening football paper and why the Qatar World Cup should be boycotted. As someone from south of the border I didn’t realise the depth of the game in Scotland. This magazine is reducing my aimless trawling on my phone and giving me back some good thoughtful writing to read.

Saturday Bloody Saturday

Saturday Bloody Saturday: Written by Alastair Campbell and Paul Fletcher

First Published in Great Britain 2018 by Weidenfield & Nicilson

I usually read a novel between the many football books but this time I achieved the best of both worlds by reading a football novel.

It turned out to be worthwhile and very readable. We never get to know which top level football team the story is about but we certainly get to know the characters in the team, the Chairman and his scheming lieutenant, the young apprentice about to break into the team, the new top money signing and the other menbers of the playing and support staff.

Most of all the central character is Charlie Gordon the seasoned manager who is struggling with life and getting results that will lift the team from a drift downwards. He is not helped by his understudy who eyes the top post and sees it within his grasp. Will Chalie Gordon get the League results or a prestigious cup run that will it secure his position for now, will the players respond. many of whom have their own personal battles to conquer.

Running paralell to this is a political story that includes an IRA cell who are waiting instructions to assasinate a senior politician. You also get an insight to these individuals and their lives which may or may not cross over with the football team in some way.

I know I enjoyed the book as I was keen to read more and finish it.

Worth the time for anybody with a football interest especially with holiday time on your hands.

The A38 football mysterey resolved

The last day of the football season on June 5th !! and I had the opportunity to watch one of the last Abacus Central Midland Football League Division One Central games of the season, either the home game at Holbrook St Michael or Kilburn. Both of these villages are just off and straddling the A38 in Derbyshire within 6 miles of each other. I chose Holbrook St Michael as it sounded the most interesting.

I set off following Google maps and eventually arrived in the pretty village of Holbrook St Michael but could not see the ground. Parked up looking at a phone screen with prescription sun glasses is not easy but I saw a playing field on the map about a mile away at Holbrook and set off again. Sure enough I arrived at a football ground with a few minutes left to kick off. The car park looked quite full but I could see no activity on the pitch through a small opening in a wire fence. Walking round the perimeter I passed the bowling green where at least 50 people were playing or watching and then found an entrance to the deserted football ground.

My thoughts were that this could be another game that had been cancelled because one club couldn’t get a team together in the current climate in the same way that a Glapwell game against Newark was cancelled by their opposition a few weeks ago.

However not to be beaten I thought I would go to Kilburn and headed off to soon find the village. But now I drove round that village three times until I finally found a small hidden drive next to the Jade Garden Chinese takeaway.

Darting down there I was confronted by a very full carpark and had to go back out into the main street where there were no parking spaces but eventually found one on a newish housing estate a brisk walk away. I finally walked into the ground 25 minutes after the start where someone was standing with a program. I tried to buy one off him but was soon told that the program was his and I needed to go to the kiosk where I bought the last program for £1 and a coffee for the same price. As the coffee was being made I watched the game and saw Kilburn take the lead at the far end.

The gound is compact with a children’s play area at one end. The playing area is fenced off but surrounded by Hawthorn bushes that were in full bloom with the rolling countryside beyond. The day had beautiful blue skies with some rolling cotton wool clouds that were motionless in the still wind.

The pitch sloped from side to side away from what looked like a good sized club house and was bumpy with good long grass cover. There looked like a crowd of about 40 who were dressed to enjoy the sun.

Kilburn 3 Woodhouse Colts 4

This was a mid table end of the season game that Kilburn needed to beat Woodhouse by 17 goals to pass them on goal difference in the league table.

As I said earlier I just caught the first goal when a Kilburn player found some space to smash a ball to the right of the goalkeeper to take the lead. This was doubled shortly after when a game of pin ball in the goal was greeted by shouts of goal by the Kilburn players and the linesman, provided by Woodhouse corageously signalled it had crossed the line.

So two nil at half time and 15 more to score to overtake Woodhouse.

A headed goal at the re-start for Woodhouse put paid to any silly results but Kilburn scored again quickly when their lively and most dangerous forward, No,9 ran on to a through ball and ckeekily chiped it over the diving goalkeeper. It was then the Woodhouse number nine’s turn to get in on the act with an audacious lob over the keeper. The Woodhouse defence now seemed to take an iron grip on the game and hit long balls to each wing, especially the left, for their forwards to run onto and cause havoc. It was no surprise that they equalised through number 12 who powered a shot along the floor to see it bounce over the diving keeper and into the net. Woodhouse were now fully in charge and had a goal disallowed for a foul on the goalkeeper in amongst a group of players.

The drinks break midway through the half was welcomed by all but it did not stop the pattern of play and Woodhouse were ahead through their No.14 and never looked like relinquishing the lead until the end of play.

An exciting game to end the season a little spoilt by the grumbles of some players towards the referee who was doing his best on a very hot, tiring, end of season day. Thank you Kilburn for you hospitality I would like to visit again when the clubhouse is fully open and a game in normal seasonal football weather.

When I sat down later at home I looked up the results and found that Holbrook St Michael Development did play at home and lost one nil to Cromford and Wirksworth and that the ground I visited, only just over a mile away was Holbrook Sports. Amazing to find two such teams so close together and surviving. It also showed that I must do more planning before I set off but at the end of the day I think I was fortunate to see A SEVEN GOAL THRILLER. It also proved that I should have researched my journey more carefully before starting. The plus point is that I now have two new teams to warch in the coming seasons and I know where their grounds are,

The end of a very unusual season.

Glapwell FC have more than the other teams to overcome.

I wrote a blog back on 15th December 2020 when I excitedly explained the renaissance of Glapwell F.C. With the second level of The Central Midlands League resuming to finnish their season I was able last Saturday to visit Hall Corner and see what was going on.

It was great to re-enter this ground that I had not been to for over ten years. When I last visited it was an evening game which is now impossible because there are no longer any floodlights, taken down some time ago due to vandalism and safety.

I was met with a young boy explaining the new rules at this publically owned arena and asking to sign in through the app. A bucket was on the ground in which people had left contributions if they wished.

There is a sadness in the delapidated areas but a feeling of going places in the friendliness, enthusiasm of the helpers, the tidiness and the playing standard, more of that later.

Glapwell FC may have more than battles on the field to contend with in the future. They have already won battle number one in re-forming and are trying hard through their on pitch efforts to win a promotion. They may be thwarted to rise through the pyramid system because of their ground. They will need to have floodlights in the future and with planning permission being granted to build 62 houses on part of the next door Glapwell Nuursery and 65 other new homes near by may face complaints about those lights being a nuisance. There could also be objections to increased fans arriving and leaving by car in an area that is faced with a major increase in traffic flow in the area resulting from the new housing.

There is a strong local campaign and petition to stop the sale of land close to the ground spearheaded by Tom Kirkham that is underway.

We, the undersigned, petition Bolsover District Council to protect the wildlife and mature trees at the top of Park Ave in Glapwell from development. We ask the council to stop its sale until covenants can be added to the land to keep it as a green, open public space respecting its status as a Bolsover District community asset. The land is one of the few areas of Glapwell that links the village back to its heritage and the old Glapwell Hall. The trees on the land are some of the oldest in the district and they are home to protected species such as bats. The land is much loved by local residents as a space for peace and relaxation.

You can understand all councils looking to sell any asset with their budgets being squeezed by reduced central goverment spending and more tasks being delegated to them from above. Austerity by the back door contiues to blight local representatives everywhere.

Back to the football.

It was a grey overcast day with a few spots of rain in the air and a cool 8 degrees that meant I went straight to get a hot coffee and a chat with an enthusiastic official.

The ground slopes from one end to the other, the grass cover was thick and lush and overall the facilities are much better than most teams of this level.

Glapwell’s opponents Thorne Colliery are believed to have been in existance for nearly 100 years. Based near Doncaster they have played their football in and around South Yorkshire, North Notts, and North Derbyshire for all of that time.

Glapwell FC 6 Thorne Colliery Development Team 0

Glapwell were into their stride from the kick off and with a very lively and skillfull front line it was of no surprise that they took the lead on 8 minutes through Curtis Birchall who from 8 meters out stroked the ball to the right of the diving goalkeepers hand.

Some 7 minutes later it was 2 nil, the goal scored by Chaz Brtadwell after some neat interpassing. On cue a further 7 minutes and it was three nil, Grant Mitchell only having to slide the ball home after a three man passing move..

Thorne steadily came back into the game and started to press having their best phase of the half. They looked unlucky not to be given a penalty but went in at half time well behind. Glapwell’s dominance was achieved by a neat inter passing game as against Thorne trying to beat their man through dribbling with the ball.

The referee turned the players round quickly but there was enough time for the Thorne manager to vociforously put over his feelings and plans for play in the second half.

However with Glapwell now playing down hill it took them only 10 minutes to increase their lead when a corner from Ben Coperstake was met by a thunderous header from Stephan Brown at the far post. This was somewhat dubious as the ball seemed to curve out of play before coming back on to Brown’s head.

A few minutes later Ben Coperstake was upended by the Thorne goalkeeper who received a yellow card and the resulting penalty was stroked home by Chaz Bradwell sending the keeper the wrong way.

The sixth goal for Glapwell came on 62 minutes when Grant Mitchell jinked past two defenders and drove a deflected ball along the ground into the corner of the net.

Glapwell brought on a young substitute Olly Marshall but within 2 minutes he suffered a very painfull leg injury. The pain on his face as he walked round the pitch to the bench was not good to see.

Glapwell did not have a substitute to replace him and played out the rest of the game with ten men for their 6 nil win that lifted them to second in the table.

My man of the match was Glapwell’s number nine Ben Coperstake who was playing out on the right and was unplayable with speedy nuns and accurate crossing and passing that had the Thorne defence in disaray.

I felt sorry for the young Thorne goalkeeper who although letting in 6 goals looked to have the potential to play at a higher level.

Really enjoyed the game and coming to Glapwell. I will be there again next season whatever league they are playing in.

The Beautiful Game

The Beautiful Game – A Journey Through Latin American Football

Written by Chris Taylor

The paperback edition was published by Phoenix in 1999, an imprint of Orion Books Ltd.

I decided not to read some of the older books I have on my shelves, I’m really glad I didn’t listen to myself.

This is the best book I have read for some time for many reasons.

Chris Taylor’s writing style welcomes you in and keeps you hooked as he takes you on as the title says ‘A Journey Through Latin American Football’. He could have focused on the big two of Brazil and Argentina but be prepared for a trip into Nigaragua, Chile, Bolivia et al. There is even a section about the South American football scene in London.

As he says early on ‘In most of Latin America, football is one of the foremost expressions of a country’s culture’. ‘The other factor, the passion of the supporters is also relative’.

Where would football be without culture and passion which Latin Americans have in bucketfuls but Chris explains that corruption, economics, money, politics, drugs, racism, the clubs, fans and the fabulous skills of some of the world’s greats have their place.

As in many other places in the world it was the British who brought football to many of these countries and the local have set about creating their own style which has rivalled and often passed the European domination of Football.

The history is inspiring rather than dull and the competition between countries and clubs is expertly covered but it is people that shine through the pages. What is special is that although over 20 years old it is still relevant today.

Chris, a great book, thank you, I hope others will enjoy.

NB. The Beautiful Game (Portugueseo jogo bonito) is a nickname for association football, popular within media and advertising. It was popularised by the Brazilian professional footballer Pelé. Although the exact origin of the phrase is disputed.