Public Health is the prime consideration for when football resumes and we will have to wait for that day.
My first football love was St albans City and still a go to on their excellent twitter feed for their scores when they are playing. Over this lockdown period I have been following some fascinating articles about the history of football in St Albans by the club historian David Tavener. I hope that he collates his depth of knowledge and great writing style into a definitive history one day.
Over the VE Day weekend the twitter feed published a copy of the program for the first game played at Clarence Park since the ending of the Second World War which was not played until September 1st. Hopefully St Albans will be playing their first home game by September if it is safe.
Looks like it was an exciting game but the notations on the program look as if the person watching was not too impressed.
My wife saw an offer for three issues of Four Four Two for only £1 and the temptation was too much.
I remembered the magazine with warmth in its early life as a more grown ups view of football than the then ‘Goal’ or ‘Shoot’. It still has a good feel as a glossy magazine with plenty of great images but seems to be for the elite teams of the Premiership, Europe and beyond. There are still some good written articles about unusual football topics, my favourite being ‘The Killing of Tommy Ball’ by Paul Brown ( The Only Football League Player to be Murdered). An unusual curious topic that I had never heard of before.
My own interest in Non League Football is not catered for here, only a combined 1 page in three issues and then some of the content was a bit superfluous. Missing a trick in my view with many of these clubs now running boys, girls, mens womens, Saturday and Sunday League teams that add up to a good potential audience. Why no review of Chichester City’s amazing run and luck to get them into this weekend’s FA Cup second round?
I will not be continuing with the magazine but I am sure that many do enjoy it and new readers should at least give it a go, especially if they see this offer.
This Saturday is Non League day when with International Games over the weekend there are few league games being played. With England playing on Friday night there are no TV distractions so please everyone pop down to your local teams game and support the players, fans and most of all the volunteers who keep the community going.
Many clubs have special entrance fees this weekend for different ages, season ticket holders of other clubs and some are donating a portion to charities.
You will find a welcoming atmosphere where in the club house you can have a drink and often some food and watch competitive matches at skill levels you did not expect. Try it you will be surprised.
The death of Hugh McIlvanney this week saw the passing of a colusus, one of, if not, the greatest sports writers of all time. His knowledge, attention to detail, use of words and amazing descriptive ability could have made paint drying seem like an interesting spectator sport.
Perhaps his greatest work was writing about boxing but for me it was about the greats of football, the matches, the culture and the World Cup. For me the football articles inspired me to read more of the depth of the beautiful game.
I also remember his series ‘The Football Men’s on BBC about the great managers that came out of the heavy industrial areas around Glasgow, Sir Matt Busby, Jock Stein and Bill Shankly. The dark moody scenes set the background of the industrial landscape with his warm voice and Scottish accent vividly describing these giants background and achievements. If he had remade the film a few years later he would have included his friend Sir Alex Ferguson. Sir Alex said ” Getting to know Hugh over the years was one of life’s great pleasures” in an interview with Johnathan Northcroft for The Sunday Times.
The Arena productions can still be seen on YouTube.
Hugh, thank you for the inspiration.
The picture taken from the back of Hugh ‘McIlvanney on Football’ book. I look forward to reading it again.
This link is to an article by Nicola Hudson 10.09.2018 published on the Supporters Direct web site. Their group “has been working since 2000 to help supporters gain influence in the running and ownership of their club”.
The article is about the EFL now making games available at 3.00 pm on a Saturday for viewing on TV and how this has affected and will change attendance at football matches throughout the English pyramid system. Andy Holt the Chairperson of Accrington Stanley has criticised the move due to lack of consultation.
Thank you Nicola for an article that again shows the lack of discussion in the game when it comes to generating income. What will happen when there is no one left in the ground, who will turn off the lights?
Non league day is tomorrow 13th October, a day when the Non-League clubs promote themselves showcasing what is good about local, often community or volunteer led football. These clubs exist primarily on gate receipts and club house sales, the club house being the hub of the local community in some cases. Sometimes the clubs are supported by local benefactors giving back something to their community but in all cases it is the hard work of people for no reward that give us this amazing depth of British football.
The day is usually on an international break weekend when the senior league clubs are not playing and often non-league clubs promote attendance through special offers, e.g. free for under 16’s, discounted entry if you show your season ticket for another club that is not playing due to the break. Please get out there and give support where you can.
Another great supporter of Non League football is the Non-League Club Directory which this year is celebrating its 41st edition. This is an amazing book of information about many hundreds of clubs and players. Although available now , mine usually comes on Christmas Day and gives me hours of pleasure at this leisurely time of year. I can’t wait.
A month without a football report has been enforced because of snow over the Easter Break (Buxton v Matlock Town postponed) and yesterday a waterlogged pitch at Shaw Lane in Barnsley. There was a visit to Villa but the one sided win (3-0) against a ten man Reading team from early in the 1st half did not warrant a mention.
Arriving at Shaw Lane’s ground at 7.15 for their home game with Stalybridge Celtic I was curious why there was no one about and the gates were locked. A check on the internet explained that the game had been moved to Stalybridge’s ground for the same night due to the constant rain of the previous day. Barnsley to Greater Manchester in 30 minutes was not on so it was two coffees and a chat at a friend’s nearby.
Fingers crossed the game next Thursday at their Sheerien Park will go ahead although it doesn’t look good with tomorrows match with Lancaster City being moved to Lancaster. Shaw lane are running a free coach for all of their supporters. Great gesture.
I now know why Shaw Lane’s nickname is the Ducks.