Not just some clever shirts.

Wanting a break from driving we came off the A1 at Bedale, a smart thriving market town and a gateway to the Yorkshire Dales.

Before finding a cafe I went in search of Beadale F.C. a football club that has been high profile in the past few years because of its kit.

As often I ended up at the wrong ground, this time the home of Bedale Junior Football Club.

The set up looked fantastic with lush football pitches and club house for their girls and boys teams between the ages of 5 and 18 that rightly won them the County Community Club of the year award in 2015. This Standard Community Club is successfully run by many volunteers. Luckily for me there was someone checking the grounds who was able to tell me that Bedale F.C. was at the other end of the town.

Bedale F.C.

I finally found the Heck Stadium home to Bedale F.C. who have just gained promotion to the North Riding League Premier Division. The club, Bedale Association Football Club have been going since 1933 although there appears to have been a previous team in the town called ‘Gas Works Celtic’ (shame that that name was lost to time).

But it has been in recent times that the club has gained some notoriety especially since their sponsorship by local company Heck Foods increasingly known for their sausages and expanding rapidly.

Bedale have in conjunction with their shirt sponsors ‘Heck’ have been using the shirts to not only promote the shirts and the sponsor but also to raise cash and awareness for prostate cancer.

Their kits have gained acclaim, notoriety and even being temporarily banned by the F.A.

The most recent kits have been, the Bangers and Mash Kit 2019/20, the Vegan Kit 2020/21 and the Transparent Kit/Prostate Cancer Kit 2021/22.

I will now make time to go and see a match at the Heck Stadium and foresee a bright future for the club with a great youth set up in the town, good sponsorship, a tidy ground and what appears to be some enlightened people running the club. Lets look forward to their future development.

‘Murder Hill’

I recently drove up the East Coast of Scotland and had a walk around North Berwick. This seaside town has a vibrant centre and a long sandy sea front that is dominated by some wonderful ‘Links’ golf courses.

The Beach at Gullane

However just a little way north there is a a beautiful beach at Gullane with a large car park that has the bay in front and parkland behind where a deer moved quietly in the long grass.

In the sand dunes there is a part called ‘Murder Hill’ which has a football relevance.

‘Murder Hill’

This hill is known to generate fear in most footballers in Scotland.

Whereas now it is more usual for a team to jet off to a warm training camp in Europe, Dubai or a tour in Australia or the USA, back in the 1960’s it was Murder Hill for Heart of Midlothian F.C. to set a trend in using the sand dunes to get season ready. The name Murder Hill comes from the gruelling training, running up and down the hill often carrying team mates on their backs or heavy objects. It also generated great team spirit as they encouraged and helped mates get through the ordeal, the down often as hard after the ascent.

But it was Rangers manager Jock Wallace who made it famous and took it to greater agony with vigorous training that left players breathless and exhausted. When Wallace moved on to Kilmarnock he took Murder Hill trips with him and it has also been used by Airdrie, Dunfermline and Raith Rovers as well as a host of Junior and local teams. Hearts are noted to have used it as recently as 2018.

So if you are strolling on this beautiful beach don’t be surprised to see sane people struggling up and down the sand.

I’m sure that these days most players would rather be in this area known as Scotland’s ‘golf coast’ honing their golf skills.

N.B. I have to own up to not attempting to walk up the hill. The few spots of rain and circling black clouds were my excuse!

Football’s Silly Season

It’s not long now untill we have the chance to watch league football. The new fixture lists are cascading down from the Premier League so planning can soon begin.

But at the moment we are in the silly season when there is rumour after rumour to get you to read a story and click onto the pop up adverts, click bait is the name and the game. Unfortunately I get sucked in and have seen Aston Villa linked to buy 4 more squads.

Gareth Bale seems to have been everyone’s favourite click bait and I hoped that he would end up at Cardiff City but they even had that wrong, he joined Los Angeles F.C. But the best prediction was that he is going to join the new Saudi Arabian LIV Golf Series and who knows as he is a very accomplished golfer. Golf seems to have been one of his priorities as he has stated that there are some excellent golf courses nearby his new club.

So my contribution to the ‘Silly Season’ is to review Postman Pat Goes Football Crazy.

This short film was published in 2004 by Woodland Animations Ltd.

Pat is put under pressure to make the village 5-a-side match due to an unusually large post bag to deliver. His dashed round helps to tone him up and improve his ball skills. He gets there just in time despite crashes and a flat tyre and he and his son are the stars in their team’s victory to win the cup.

The football story line is very competent with practice, stats, strategy, warm ups and penalty practice but above all the animation is brilliant.

Whether this helps to frame a new season I have no idea but it is just as relevant as the many predictions in the media.

These are the days of miracle and wonder

You will have seen these words before in Paul Simon’s song ‘The Boy in the Bubble’ but they are how I feel about my 2021/22 football season.

We all started the season hoping that it would finish and not be cut short by the Covid Pandemic as it had been in the two previous.

The Non-League scene had seen some major changes of league structures and a new landscape beckoned. New to me and new to the Toolstaion North East Counties were Teversal F.C. who I visited in July. The ground was homely but the football was dull and they lost 1 nil which was a bad omen towards their eventual relegation at the end of the season back to the feeder leagues. The club house was reassuringly warm and friendly and the chance to eat football ground chips was a delight.

Spalding up next saw them beat Loughborough Dynamos in a detour on the way home from holiday.

My first F.A Cup game was at Belper Town who progressed against Whitchurch in a ground that I fell in love with because of its view of the local church and Salts Mill along with great facilities

More F.A. Cup action followed at Lancaster 1874 as they beat Northwich in a disappointing game that was enhanced by the staff at the ground.

As September rolled on the evenings were darker and the lights were on at Dinnington Town. It was fascinating to sit in the small stand with the locals and hear about the development of their club.9

A highlight was my 5th attempt at visiting Tow Law Town to see a competitive game against Birtley. The ground clinging to the Durham hillside has some stunning views and its history seems to hang in the air. A great chat with a Birtley fan was all that is good about the game at this level.

Having messed up on visiting Quorn I went to see Rainworth Miners Welfare play Hallam in a game previously abandoned due to a medical emergency to an official. He was there to start the game having made a welcome recovery. Hallam ran out 4-0 winners at this near Mansfield ground.

Back to Staveley Miners Welfare because it was one of the only games I could reach as others had been called off due to the constant rain. Their artificial pitch meant the game was on but it didn’t help them with the result. The facilities here are amazing for their level and they intend to make them even better. Despite a mid table finish they have accepted a demotion to ensure that they achieve their plan for ground improvements and ensuring that the club achieves a debt free position. I believe that this mature governance of the club will see them becoming a beacon in this level of football for some years to come.

By the end of October I visited Folkstone Invicta to see them overwhelm Kingstonian. Good facilities here that are being used by good crowd support. The fanzone was one of the best I have seen.

A night time drive to Milton Keynes Dons to see them play Aston Villa in the EFL Trophy was special as I met my son and my 5 year old grandson. Three generations of fans felt good. The ground changed my mind about the new stadiums that are sprouting everywhere. Often they just seem like a concrete bowl with no soul but this has a great feel being next to a vibrant retail area, lit up at night by food outlets. You walk in off road level and you are at the top level of the seating which unfolds below you. You can stay in the hotel built into the stadium and watch from your room. There is also space to increase the capacity in the future. One thing I would say though is please it is time to drop the Dons name’ your roots have now been firmly planted in Milton Keynes.

Next up was Percy Main in the Northern Alliance not far from the North Shields Cruise terminal. I had to visit here after reading Ian Cussack’s book about his experiences with the club.

It was all I expected, a small homely club and ground providing local football in these parts. Long may they continue and also keep serving the enormous amount of chips that they do.

St Albans City F.C. – YES!!!! The F.A. cup again brought me to my original home town where I saw my first match in 1955. In all those years since either watching games or the results, St Albans had never beaten a Football League side in the F.A. Cup but they did it at this match beating the League 2 leaders and eventual winners, Forest Green Rovers. It was a tremendous game not just for the players but the supporters too, the excitement could be sliced and taken home. City unfortunately went out to local rivals Boreham Wood in the next round and then having been in a position that could have seen them win their league they faded away and didn’t even make the play offs. Oh well there is always next year.

Kiverton Park was a complete change to St Albans but this feeder league club is trying hard to develop. Where else have I ever been served chips in my seat in the stand. Thank you for this unusual but appreciated experience.

The end of November saw me visit Turf Moor to see Burnley play a hectic 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace. The continual rain that drenched me did not dampen my appreciation of visiting a ground that I have wanted to see for many years. It didn’t disappoint.

From a wet Burnley I next went to an even wetter Sherwood Colliery who beat Knaresborough Town in a thrilling game. Sherwood Colliery are on the outskirts of Mansfield and are a team on the up, supported by a lottery winner who is building the club slowly putting in building bocks one at a time. After a successful season in the Toolstation Northern Counties East League they have now been moved along with other Nottinghamshire clubs to the United Counties League.

Corby Town in Northamptonshire was next just before Christmas but the damp cold fog put a damper on the experience although the coffee and mince pie at half time kept me going.

My Christmas game found me at Hallam F.C. in Sheffield to see what was going on. The crowds had been growing as Hallam edged up the league and now in 2nd place they entertained the third placed team in front of 1198 spectators in this step 6 clash. Hallam won and went on to finish top of the league with 100 points and 100 goals for. It will be interesting to see the crowds in the Premier Division next season.

2022 saw me welcoming the New Year at Heanor v Selston which was an edgy 0-0 draw.

From a goal less draw I couldn’t believe that I saw Hucknall Town hit 10 in my next match. Hucknall are trying to get back to former glories and the set up is all there but the United Counties League Division 1 looks like one of the hardest in the country to escape from.

A long journey to Spennymoor was nothing to their opposition that day in the F.A. Trophy, Plymouth Parkway. Parkway looked like making the journey worthwhile but a Spennymoor revival in the last ten minutes must have broken their hearts and made the return home seem like an eternity.

Mid week and it was Rossington Main near Doncaster Airport and the floodlights piercing the darkness always make evening games exciting. Brigg Town won in this league Cup game but were eliminated due to playing an illegible player.

Now down to the South Coast where I saw Poole Town beat Swindon Supermarine a game which was decided by penalty incidents. I stayed at the Royal National Life Boat H.Q. in Poole for this one where you can stay if members are not using the overnight facilities. Look it up if you are planning to stay in the area.

Another night under the lights, this time at Emley AFC, and also under the two Emley Moor towers. A solid 4-0 win against Knaresborough Town being the outcome, I had now seen Knaresborough concede 9 goals in two matches.

Then to Esh Winning for a Northern League match, a great club house, an interesting ground in the country, an unusual name and Dec, Alias Miserable Les who enthralled me with stories of the club, the area and his music career. Thank you Dec for a great afternoon. Afterwards we nipped into the village chippy, Fields, to get chips cooked on one of the last coal fired chip shop ranges left in the country.

With February nearly over I attended Non League heaven when I went to Loughborough Students. What great facilities this University has for their students and rightly so an investment in young talent to see us into the future. Loughborough won in the league against Eastwood but their exploits in the F.A. Vase were where it was at this season, reaching the semi finals only to lose away at Newhaven. Unfortunately the purple didn’t make it to Wembley.

Having seen Eastwood Community play away the previous week at Loughborough I decided to visit their ground. The facilities were good for the level though the two level synthetic pitch was unusual. Eastwood unfortunately lost again, this time to visitors Newark Town.

Having enjoyed my visit to Belper to see Belper Town I noticed an evening game at the same ground which is shared by Belper United. I again took the wrong turning some where and arrived just in time for kick off. If you go to Belper to see either team go early to park near the ground. The walk down the hill to the match is fine but up hill on the way back is a killer. Belper United won but just missed out on promotion unlike their bigger brothers Belper Town who won their play offs.

Mansfield Hosiery mid week was next, where I enjoyed the evening football and a second half chat with a budding coach. Great name for a football club though.

A hot sunny day in Newcastle under Lyme and a very long walk from the town via a cemetery to a park with all types of sports grounds and a football stadium with a velodrome around its perimeter. Newcastle Town played Glossop North End in a not to remember game where I watched the end of a rugby match from the back of the goal on an adjoining pitch.

The chance to see England’s under 19’s at Chesterfield couldn’t be turned down and I enjoyed a slick performance to see them qualify for this summers UEFA competition.

St Josephs Rockware Worksop was the venue for the most unreal game of the whole season when the referee abandoned the game after 44 minutes due to what appeared to be alleged threats from the home sides bench. I still haven’t been able to find out the outcome of the episode.

A full 90 minutes were restored at Carlton Town in Nottingham where the home team beat Belper Town to keep their play off hopes alive. Carlton eventually failed in their quest but Belper gained promotion.

My first Sheffield and Hallamshire League game found me at North Gawbor Colliery for an evening game which with the lengthening daylight didn’t need lights. The away team Wakefield AFC won on their way to win the league and promotion to the Northern Counties East League. Wakefield are a team to watch in the future. this was one of the best games of the season as it was amazing to see families, dog walker et al turn up to watch, no payment needed. I was sorry for the bus driver who had to wait till the game ended to pass the spectators cars and vans parked on the road. Luckily no passengers were inconvenienced in the playing of this game as there were none on the bus.

Easter Monday and the playing of the 125thMexborough Montagu Hospitals Charity Cup Final at Mexborough, believed to be the oldest cup competition still played at the original ground. A real family local football crowd of 1700 helped the Hospital Charity. By the way Scawthorpe beat Dog Daisy Athletic.

Nearing the end of the season on the way to a holiday in North Wales it gave me the opportunity to see some Welsh football when I went to Llandudno v Llangefni. I was impressed with the quality of their second tier football and I think they are building a good future.

On the way back I managed to get a ticket to sit with the Southend fans at Wrexham. Wrexham won the game and eventually finished the season in second place and are favourites to win the play offs. Their new owners have the money to develop the squad and stadium but the National League must be the hardest in the country to win.

The last game of the season unusually not a Non League game but Barrow v Northampton in League Two. Not to see the drama that unfolded but to see my daughter attend her 92nd current League game, an amazing achievement. A proud Dad who was there at the first.

These are definitely the days of miracles and wonder in that the season was completed and I attended 36 diverse and enjoyable football matches.

The end is often the beginning

For my final game of the season there was no choice but to set out on the train from Sheffield to travel to Barrow in Furnace to see them play Northampton Town. Barrow had already secured their survival from returning to the National League by being mathematically secure despite sitting one place above the relegation zone. Northampton by contrast were in third place and in line for automatic promotion to League 1 should they win and Bristol Rovers win but score less than five more than Northampton on the day.

It was not the fascinating position of the game that led me to this game but more importantly it would be my daughters 92nd current League ground and as I had been with her in 1986 to see her first I wanted to be at her last. Her first game was on Boxing Day 1986 when she saw Watford beat Luton Town 2 nil at Kenilworth Road in a hotly contested derby. Since then as a Northampton Town fan she has followed them away up and down the Leagues and at cup matches. Some grounds in the Premiership she has had to make special journeys often to see cup matches that their fans did not see as attractive against lower clubs that gave ticket opportunities and lower prices. For anyone to achieve this feat is amazing and I was proud to go there to give her a hug.

The day though did not start well with the Northern Line train running 26 minutes late into Manchester Piccadilly and I missed my connection. Train information told me that there was no train for two hours and I would arrive into barrow 5 minutes after kick off. After disappointment I consulted Google to find that if I was to take other trains via Preston I could reach Lancaster and the local train to Barrow with 4 minutes to spare. I would still be in time for the match. Thank you google, perhaps Manchester train information should consult you in the future.

Its great that most of the football community are really helpful. When I arrived at the station I set off a few yards in the direction I thought the stadium was but after consulting a local he turned me round and we walked to the ground together. The young man, in his twenties, told me he was from Preston having moved here in the last year switching his allegiances to Barrow. He was in catering and his chef let him have time off to go to the match due to good work. He walked all the way to reception with me where I met my daughter who did not know I was coming and I received my hug, amazing.

Her mother had arranged hospitality and mention over the tannoy of her achievement, her brother and me had organised commemorative artwork. Mine was by the well known local artist in Derbyshire and Sheffield Matt Cockayne who also works under the name Goo.

Barrow in Furnace AFC 1 Norhampton Town 3

The day was warm with blue skies which were being edged out by quickening grey clouds that gave that muggy feeling. The pitch was in great condition striped and lush green. The crowd in the stand around me were very friendly a mixture of all ages and sexes.

A crowd of 4605 had turned up with over 500 from Northampton and they were rewarded as their team were off to a storming start scoring within 5 minutes. Barrow had foolishly stopped for a perceived foul which left Sam Hoskins able to stroke the ball from outside the goal area to the right hand corner of the net.

Nine minutes later the barrow defence stood still at a corner and left an easy task for Fraser Horsfall to head the ball in for an unopposed two goal lead. barrow seemed shell shocked and an innocuous pass was intercepted, passed to Hoskins who repeated his earlier feat to make it 3 nil. Northampton now dominated the game but with 10 minutes before the break they started physically to look tired and Barrow pulled one back on the stroke of half time as Josh Kay neatly headed home from a corner.

Barrow came into the game in the second half and they even hit the bar through a Josh Gordon strike. Northampton though nearly made it 4 near the end when the Barrow keeper Farman made a great save from the ever lively Hoskins who thought he had scored. Back at the other end on 90 minutes the Northampton goalkeeper Liam Roberts handled out of his area to stop two on rushing Barrow players reaching the ball and was sent off. Little did he know that this would mean him missing play off games. With all substitutes used the diminutive outfield substitute Rose saw out the last few minutes in goal.

The drama was just unfolding as the game ended as news came through that although Northampton had achieved the win and three points they needed their two goal margin was unlikely to be enough as Bristol Rovers in fourth place were leading by 7 goals to nil and their game had been help due to a pitch inspection so if that game stayed the same when restarted it would be Bristol who would be automatically promoted with points and goal difference equal their higher number of goals scored would be enough. The Northampton players and fans looked deflated and dejected in such an incredible situation. There had been an indication that something unusual was happening in Bristol as the Barrow fans kept cheering at random times which was infact each time a Bristol goal went in.

On the train back to Lancaster with many Northampton fans I listened with interest to their comments. they were gutted with the outcome and had only venomous words for the Scunthorpe manager who had put out a team that consisted with an average age around 20 including a 17 year old goalkeeper.one of their players, Oliver Lobley who was 18 made his debut in the Saturday game only to find that by Tuesday he was released by the club. The fans also mentioned that Scunthorpe sold Ryan Loft to Bristol Rovers in January with a clause that they would receive more money from the transfer if Bristol Rovers were promoted. The fans were also annoyed that due to the delay due to the crowd invasion Rovers knew exactly what they needed to do after Northampton had finished. They were also upset that the other teams in the play offs with the Cobblers had all won and had momentum on their side. Northampton in contrast although winners had the disappointment of what had happened. It will show true character if Northampton come back from this, starting with an away game against Mansfield.

Fans though were happy with Northampton’s achievement for the season on one of the lowest budgets in the league.

Northampton have lodged a complaint to the EFL and their adjudication is awaited.

So what seemed like the end of the season for Northampton became the start of a play off struggle and for Alison at the end of her 92 club journey there are many more fascinating games and grounds to conquer.

Unfortunately there were no chips again but I bought a meat and potato pie with peas and gravy from the fan zone. The pie was deep and with a lot of tasty filling but was let down by the tepid temperature, luckily the peas and gravy were very hot.

Marvellous

My recent aborted trip to try to see Keele University play football was also to take in the play ‘Marvellous’ at The New Vic Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme. The football reference will come later.

The New Vic theatre deserves a mention because if you are in the area it is well worth a visit to see not only their often locally produced plays but also the facilities it offers. We had opted for an Italian meal in Newcastle which in all respects turned out average and was further put to shame when having a drink in the bar we saw what the theatre had to offer which was a great menu at reasonable prices and seeing the food that was being served a better quality than we had eaten.

This was built in 1986 with a lot of local fund raising and replaced the Victoria Theatre which was a converted cinema. The theatre presents in the round which gives you great views and a closeness to the cast. It is a cultural Centre for the area and is a charity with a partnership between the Arts Council and Local Authorities.

The play is about the life of local lad Neil Baldwin who has a warm spot in most locals heart as well as many others.

The production used seven people to play Neil from being a twinkle in his parents eye until today and the play ended with the spotlight focusing on the real Neil Baldwin as he left the theatre. The play was written by Neil Baldwin and Malcolm Clarke another notable person from the area who could also have a play written about his life story.

We were first drawn to the Neil Baldwin Story when the film ‘Marvellous’ was shown on the BBC in 2015 with Toby Jones ( One of the UK’s all time greats) playing him. The film had us in tears as the human story was moving, funny, inspirational, uplifting and most of all showed the best in mankind.

Neil was born with learning difficulties but did not let that stop him from living an extraordinary life. He had a short career as a Clown in circuses and went on to unofficially act as a maĆ®tre de to Keele University and as a Kit man for Stoke City Football club. He was appointed Kit man by Lou Macari who once said that ‘it was the best signing he ever made’. He dressed up in many outfits and was a great motivation in lifting team spirit in the dressing room. He was loved by the fans and players as emphasised by Neville Southall giving him the taxi fare to get home from a south coast game when he heard that his mother was ill. Neil also founded Neil Baldwin F.C. at Keele University.

Neil is also famous for turning up for chats and tea with Bishops, politicians and royalty who he soon made friends with.

If you have time make sure you watch the film but also look out for a New Vic production which was truly Marvellous.

It may well be put on again as Covid forced the last four days productions to be cancelled.

Origins of a football team.

Saturday 12th March.

With a friends special Birthday party there was no football today although I would have liked to have been at Loughborough Students FA Vase Quarter Final.

My mind wandered onto football as it often does and I thought of the many teams I have seen since I started this blog now in its 5th year.

What I was thinking of was how some were formed.

Obviously Loughborough Students were started as and still are a University team.

More recently I have noticed the word Community being incorporated in team names or used as an expression of the clubs ethos. Recently visited Eastwood Community is one of these where some grant money has been used to change to a synthetic pitch enabling greater use of the pitch for more junior and youth teams for both men and women. The club houses that have always been there for fans are now promoted locally for Weddings, Parties, Meetings, Community Groups etc. This has brought about a wider local involvement and an increased income stream.

Talking of community there are still many ex Mining communities with teams that have Colliery, Main, Miners Welfare etc. in their name, showing that community involvement in sport has always been strong e.g. Rossington Main, Staveley Miners Welfare and Pontefract Collieries . Staveley Miners Welfare have kept their traditional name but have successfully morphed into a ‘community’ club in the current sense.

Esh Winning and Selston found their way into the Pyramid system through Sunday football, the former when they reformed in the Durham Sunday League. Collingham came via Sunday League football but after being a successful youth team. Whilst the current Emley AFC grew out of the reserve team of the seniors who moved to Wakefield.

Often a new team has been born out of the embers of an old one or in Spennymoor Town’s case, two, Evenwood Town and Spennymoor United. The recent match I watched between Poole Town and Swindon Supermarine were two teams both started through long ago mergers, Poole Town (Poole Rovers and Poole Hornets) and Swindon Supermarine – (Swindon Athletic and Supermarine).

Looking further back some of our most senior teams were the result of church teams that were created by members of the congregation to cater for the physical wellbeing of their parishioners Of these I have visited Aston Villa, created in 1874 by members of Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel and Everton whose roots were in the Methodist Church and were originally St Domingo FC.

Just earlier than this many teams were established by Cricket Teams who wanted to keep fit in the winter. One such team is Hallam FC where one side of their ground (officially the oldest football ground in the world) is still taken up by a cricket pitch.

Some teams used to be like the colliery teams started by a company for their employees, Newark FC. were originally Worthington Simpsons, most have changed names but one that is close to my heart still has the company name, Vauxhall Motors FC. The team is now no longer part of the company but a stand alone Sports Club.

It’s interesting to see how the change in society has seen a change in the way teams have been formed and are coping with the new paradigm. It seems that we are currently in the age of the ‘The Community Club’ which is hopefully fulfilling its message of being a strong part of the local area.

N.B. Loughborough Students won 2 nil and are in the F.A. Vase Semi-Final.

Get ready for Non League day.

A trip up the M1 canal which should have led to Shirebrook Town F.C was sunk by a ground inspection that meant a cancellation as a result of the residue of storm Eunice.

With no time to divert to another mooring I went home and looked at some future fixtures. What hit me most was the 26th March which will be ‘Non League Day’ this year after it was cancelled last year due to Covid. There will be fund raising events at many clubs on the day in conjunction with ‘supporting Prostate Cancer UK.

There will be no League games in the Premiership or Championship or other Leagues where players will be away on International duty and all of their fans are encouraged to go to a Non League match to boost attendances, income and to create new fans. It is also important that past fans return and new ones are attracted.

Non League Day is attributed to James Doe who suggested it in 2010 and it has grown every year it has been scheduled. The football authorities and the senior clubs all support it.

Many clubs come up with innovative ideas to encourage people through the turnstiles so look out for your own local teams games on 26th March.

Season 2021/22 interim chip League

Football ClubScoreComments
Kiveton Miners Welfare85
Folkestone Invicta85
Belper Town85
Percy Main80
St Albans City80
Heanor Town78
Hucknall Town78
Sherwood Colliery69
Teversal69
Staveley Miners Welfare62
Lancaster City55
Tow Law Town50
Spalding United50
Corby Town40
Spennymoor Town35
Hallam FC0Queue too long
Rossington Main0No Chips, Great pie & Peas
Milton Keynes Dons0No Chips, Pie
Burnley FC0No Chips, disappointing Hollands Pie
Rainworth Miners Welfare0No Chips, average sausage roll

Firstly I must state that the scoring is my subjective view on the day and the time I went to the food kiosks, usually around 20 minutes before kick off for conformity.

Having recently had a series of very poor chips I was contemplating stopping the Chip League but out of deference to all those that have gone before and to continue for purely research reasons I have decided to continue to the end of the season.

I have placed Kiveton Miners Welfare in pole position although they are equal with Folkestone Invicta and Belper Town because where else was I personally served the chips in my seat!

I must this year make a return trip to Shirebrook to give them the chance of regaining their title which they won for two seasons running and were not included in last seasons League table won by Ilkeston Town. Perhaps a visit to Ilkeston as well if I can fit it in.

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.