Football Classified – An Anthology of Soccer – Edited by Michael Parkinson & Willis Hall
Published by William Luscombe Publisher Limited 1973
This easy to read 50p bargain from a Charity Shop is only 187 pages long and is interspersed with the odd cartoon.
The short stories and articles are a bit dated but some are relevant today and show where the game has come from. It also reminds you that ‘Football Books’ did not start with ‘Fever Pitch’ in 1992.
My favourites were two articles by Derek Dougan the loved Northern Ireland player and Manager and the idolised Wolves player. In a few pages he weaves a great story of how he became established in Northern Irish Football and the interesting religious mixtures. The other is about how to choose a football club as a youngster with a view that tradition of a club my hold you back.
Another article by Tony Pawson talks about Managers, partly about Danny Blanchflower’s relationship with them. He wanted to be captain but have the authority on the field and change tactics as he seemed fit for the way a game was heading and be involved in team selection. This would not sit well in todays game but perhaps should be reviewed especially in view of the success he had at Tottenham.
There are chapters by many well known writers, J.B. Priestly, ian Wooldridge, Brian Glanville, Willis Hall and many more. The book satisfied my curiosity for the game.
It’s rained for days and there is major local flooding.
With the River Derwents banks burst in Derby and the A52 and A61 shut it looks like an ‘Emergency’ to me, but it’s great that the game is on. The sky is grey and overcast, the wind is getting up and at only 3 degrees it’s feeling cold.
The pitch is flat but the grass cover looks a bit yellow considering the rain of the last 6 weeks and the touchlines in places are just boggy. With the road conditions, the weather and Derby away to local rivals Nottingham Forest on the Television as the early kick off it was not surprising that fans stayed away and there was only a disappointing attendance of 162.
There has been a team called Witton Albion based in the Cheshire town of Northwich since 1887 but no real match records before 1890. They played in Cheshire Leagues until promotion to the Northern Premier League in 1979. The sale of their old central town site to Sainsburys and the move to a new stadium at Wincham Park, 1989 sparked a resurgence in the club and promotion to the then ‘Football Conference’. This did not prove a happy time as they struggled for a few seasons in the bottom half of the league and eventually found themselves in the Northern Premier League Division South in 2008. They have since yo yoed in the league, up and down and sideways but find themselves now firmly embedded in the Northern Premier League.
Mickleover Sports F.C. was founded in 1948 as Mickleover Old Boys and played for 44 years in the Derby & District Senior League. In 1982 the Sports Club decided on a more ambitious regime joining the Central Midland League and planning the move to Station Road which they achieved in 1992.Their rise through the Central Midlands League, Northern Counties East and eventually to the Northern Premier league for the 2010/11 season has been spectacular. But in 2011/12 they suffered their first ever relegation only to bounce back by 2015. They have maintained this level for a few years and built an impressive youth policy.
Mickleover Sports FC 1 Witton Albion 4
A what appeared to be a punt upfield by James Short in the fourth minute hit a Mickleover defender’s back and cannoned into the net for an early Witton goal.
Witton continued to dominate with Danny McKenna continually causing havoc down the right through the mud. Mickleover should have been on level terms though when on 36 minutes some slipping and sliding by the away defence left Lee Hughes with a great chance that he ballooned over the bar off a Witton defender.
Four minutes later Witton went further ahead when Billy Smart (No 8) headed in at the far post following a freekick.
Incredibly straight from the kick off Will Jones immediately intercepted the ball and from just in the Mickleover half lobbed goalkeeper Nathan Brown for an amazing goal and a three nil lead at half time.
The rain was now heavier, continual and making conditions worse as the teams came out for the second half. Within 3 minutes Mickleover had a slim lifeline when Mason Warren converted a penalty. Witton continued their. Domination though and Danny McKenna capped a fine performance on 85 minutes when he drove home a gifted opportunity following a corner.
Witton were deserved winners with their mid back three of Wardle, Ansel and Goulding dominating the game.
No Chips here today and the food cabin is away from the bar exposed to the elements. To get a better experience a nearer location for the food and hot drinks to the bar for shelter and warmth would be better.
Clay Cross Town had reached the Buildbase FA Vase Second Round and had planned and hoped for a record crowd, instead the torrential rain of the last few weeks caused the game to be postponed and it was subsequently played on Bonfire Night. With the many other family attractions going on and the fact that the game had only been sanctioned as on just over 3 hours earlier the crowd of 188 was a great achievement for this small but hungry for success club.
Their rise in the competition has been a credit to them and they were the last remaining Step 7 club in the competition.
Reproduced from the match day Program.
Their opponents Sherwood Colliery FC based in Mansfield were one step higher and being only 12 miles away a local Derby. Clay Cross are currently top of the Central Midlands Football League – South Division and are unbeaten as are the second team Sherwood Colliery FC Reserves.
Recent information that is being further investigated suggests that there has been a football team in Clay Cross since 1881 with the current clubs inspiration taken from the team of 1909. It existed on in local football in different guises until in 2012 a new ‘Town’ club was reinvigorated. Disappointment in missing out in recent years on promotion has doubled everyone’s efforts to make this season one to remember.
Similarly Sherwood Colliery were reformed in 2008 in Mansfield Woodhouse and by 2012 they were successfully elected to the Central Midlands League. they too have had some ups and downs but are currently top of the East Midlands League – Premier Division.
Sherwood Colliery FC were put in the spotlight by the BBC website article, 21st August 2019 which although previewing their up an coming first round proper tie with Loughborough Dynamo made much of their Chairmans involvement . As a local lad Gareth Bull has put much of his energy, passion, and some of his lottery winnings into the club.
The rain had only stopped two hours earlier as the teams took to the field Mid to a fanfare of rockets. Not for them though just local revellers on this cold bonfire night.
The pitch slopes slightly from one goal to the other and is a bit undulating with good grass cover. It all looked very wet but there was no standing water.
Clay Cross Town FC 3 Sherwood Colliery FC 1
Clay Cross chose to play with the slope and took charge of the midfield with No.10 putting in some good creative work. Both sides could have scored in the first 20 minutes but for good saves by the goalkeepers. The deadlock was broken when on 25 minutes when a well worked corner saw the Clay Cross No 8 Josh Scully hit a cross goal ball that evaded everyone but the Sherwood player on the far post who steered it into his own goal. Josh Scully ran to the crowd to claim the goal.
Within 5 minutes Sherwood hit back when from a freekick on the left, the ball fell to Sam Dockwray who made no mistake in drilling home. Level at half time it seemed anyone’s game.
What was impressive was the way that both teams played out of defence rather than the long ball. Despite some chances it looked as if the game was heading for extra time until with 2 minutes left after a bad clearance and some great work from the right the resulting cross found Josh Parfitt unmarked to simply nod in for Clay Cross to lead.
Clay Cross seemed happy to try to play out time but in added time again a strong run from the right, following two corners, found Sam Dockwray to smack the ball home for a 3-1 win to Clay Cross. The whistle blew just after to jubilation from the home team and crowd and a next round game against either South Normanton or Rothwell Corinthians both step 5 teams and two levels above Clay Cross.
The Chips were the best of the season so far, golden, hot, thick, tasty and plenty of them. A high score of 76 for these.
I had the opportunity to visit the Shay in Halifax to see the F.A. Cup 4th Qualifying Round, Halifax Town v Harrogate Town. I had not visited the Shay for ages and it has changed out of all recognition partly due to the sharing arrangement with the local Rugby League Club
It is now a very modern ground, not a concrete jungle, with great facilities that now graces the National League.
The day was very Autumnal with grey skies, little wind, but a chill in the air. The pitch looked perfect but had cut up badley where the practice goals had been placed.
Halifax Town AFC have had their ups and downs. Formed in 1911 they worked their way up to the Football League in 1921 where they stayed until relegation to the Conference in 1993. A promotion in 1998 saw them back in the League but for only 4 years and life back in the Conference was hard and financial difficulties lead to administration in 2007. A further demotion due to financial difficulties found the newly reformed club in The Northern Premier League One North in the 2008/09 season. They have since fought their way back and now sit top of the National League but recent results have been disappointing.
Harrogate Town were formed in 1914 and played in local football until the 1980’s when they were founder members of the Northern Counties East League. Progress has been steady and in 2016 layed a state of the art 3G pitch and started operating as a full time professional club in the 2017/18 season. They were rewarded for this move gaining promotion to the National League that season. They are now well established as a major force in this 5th tier of English Football.
Halifax Town 1 Harrogate Town 2
Harrogate started the best in front of the disappointing crowd of 1246. Their attacking play down the right was causing problems with Brendan Kiernan putting in some good crosses which were causing angst for the Halifax defence. One of these crosses on nine minutes was headed onto the crossbar by a back peddling Josh Staunton who unfortunately saw Mark Beck score from the rebound.
The diminutive figure of Josh Faulkingham bossed the midfield seeming to be everywhere. Despite this Halifax should have gone in level when on 30 minutes Jerome Binnom-Williams should have done better with his header with an open goal beckoning.
Harrogate ended the half on top but within a few seconds of the second half Niall Maher tapped in at the back post to level the score. Halifax should have pushed on from this but again Harrogate dominated midfield and they retook the lead on 54 minutes with some neat interpassing on the right for Jack Muldoon to cut the ball back across goal for Beck to get his second.
Halifax tried with little success to regain the momentum and even using all of their substitutes could not create an effective threat.
Harrogate ran out deserved winners.
The food facilities were very good but the chips at £2 were only warm and a bit soggy, disappointing, only scoring 56.
Where better than Greeley FC to spend Non League Day to see them entertain Rugby Town in the Buildbase FA Vase first round.
The Moat Ground is iconic in its ramshackle appearance tucked into an old housing estate, that belies the enjoyment that is created on this stage. 205 fans turned up and the snack bar and Harry’s bar did a good trade. A large group of fans had a pint or two outside the bar in good humoured fun and banter. Gresley long to move to community facilities and their ground and car park have been zoned for housing in the local plan. In the meantime it’s worth the visit to just take in the sense of belonging created by many fans, officials, volunteers and players of the past.
I saw Greeley last year at Lincoln United in their relegation from the Northern Premier League and remember overhearing officials of both teams debating the rising cost of paying players and how they couldn’t and wouldn’t compete.
Gresley’s fall has continued and they now sit bottom of the Midland Football League, Premier Division with only two points and no wins after 9 games. They hoped that they could add to their two wins in the preliminary rounds and perhaps emulate Gresley Rovers Wembley final of 1992.
I have previously written about Gresleys history so a brief resume of Rugby Town FC. Formed as New Bilton Juniors playing friendlies in 1955 they changed their name to Valley Sports the following year and started playing local Saturday football. they progressed to the United Counties League by 1969 and changed their name again, this time to VS Rugby. They progressed up through the West Midland League to the Southern League and had some memorable F.A. cup runs before folding in 1993. Some of the original founders of the club rescued it and reformed. VS Rugby became Rugby United in 2000 and in 2005 changed to the present Rugby Town. Rugby like Gresley have in recent years been relegated from the Northern Premier League and had a spell in the Midland League before being transferred to the United Counties League in one of the FA’s many reshuffles.
The day was dry but the grey skies and fluffy darker clouds threatened rain. At 13 degrees it was pleasant and the pitch looked lush and in good condition. The pitch slopes down from each end to a sort of plane in the middle and is undulating in many areas.
Gresley try hard to raise money, they had a quiz the previous night and a program for £1.50 was supplemented by a 20p team sheet printed while you waited. Sellers for golden goal, a raffle and a team draw were active as well as the food and drink bars.
Gresley FC 0 Rugby Town FC 1
Rugby immediately dominated the start of the game and it looked only a matter of time before they scored. Gresley however hung on and midway through the first half had started to dominate. A string of corners and balls into the goalmouth should have seen them get one good chance but they looked unlikely to put the ball in the net with little direct striking power. Level at half time was a fair reflection of the action.
The second half saw Rugby gain the upperhand and were unlucky not to go ahead after 55 minutes when Jazz Luckie rose to meet a corner and his header crashed against the corner of the upright and crossbar. Rugby’s domination though proved fruitful on 78 minutes when Jazz Luckie hit the ball home from the centre of goal after good work from the left wing provided a cross that beat everyone. Gresley tried to rally and managed to put some pressure on but Extra Time was not needed.
For me my man of the match was Gresleys No 10 Albert Landsdowne who seemed to be everywhere and had abundant passion and commitment.
One thing about the game was that I don’t remember the officials, well done!
Gresleys great experience was further demonstrated by their organisation of a one way system that cleared the full car park and on street parking quickly. The guy directing everyone did extremely well.
The chips were hot, golden brown and tasty but had a slight burnt taste to them, a score of 68. I will issue an up to date chip League after the next game.
A trip to Worsborough was to see two teams from former mining communities, Worsborough Bridge Athletic FC v Glasshoughton Welfare FC.
The Worsborough Bridge pitch is seen from the bridge over the river Dove that feeds the lake that in turn feeds the nearby Worsborough Mill. This is a picturesque setting and is next door to the park and shares the clubhouse with the local cricket team.
The pitch slopes down from one end to the other and rope and some crampons could be of help in tackling the hill. The ground looked claggy as the teams warmed up and two local fans were discussing how the pitch sometimes floods at the lower end of the field and with the recent rain were pleased the game was going ahead.
Unfortunately there was no program as the person who creates it was away and again it falls to a band of amazing volunteers to keep this institution going. Only 79 people had turned up on this grey day and the one lady manning the food area was coping brilliantly on her own despite a steady queue. The F.A. hierarchy should have a clause in their contract that states they should help out at Non-League club once a month to really understand the amazing work that people do to keep these clubs afloat.
Worsborough Bridge Athletic were formed in 1923 as Worsborough Bridge St James changing to the current name in the 1940’s and having an interlude as Worsborough Bridge Miners Welfare Athletic from 1959 to 2006. They played local football in Yorkshire until 1982 when they were founder members of the Northern Counties East League where they still play today.
Glasshoughton’s is a younger club but whose history is similar, playing local Saturday football from 1974 until 1985 when they joined the Northern Counties East League. They have fared better that Worsborough having played in the premier division for some years but have been playing in Division 1 since relegation 2015.
Worsborough 1 Glasshoughton 2
Worsborough played down hill in the first half and there was plenty of passion on show as the two teams could be heard chanting in their dressing rooms before taking to the pitch. This passion boiled over after 12 minutes when the referee booked the Worsborough Manager for swearing at him and the on field chat subsided after this. I was surprised to see that the sloping pitch didn’t affect the play and it was Glasshoughton’s Nathan Perks who on 24 minutes appeared to lose control of the ball but was able to place it past the defender and goalkeeper to score. A lady sat near me had a baby with her that was in some sort of backpack. The baby, only 7 months was definitely following the players running around on the pitch.
The second half was only 3 minutes old when Worsborough were back in it when Kyle Wordsworth scored from a corner. The home side followed this with a 15 minute period of domination but Wordsworth despite his efforts could not repeat his earlier feat.
As the game wore on Glasshoughton gained control and but for heroics from Joseph Thornton between the sticks would have retaken the lead earlier than the 81st minute when substitute Lewis Pickering ran past the fullback to slide the ball under the keeper. One of the local fans said that Joseph was an outfield player who had taken over the gloves due to no goalkeeper being available. Glasshoughton’s win meant they leapfrog Worsborough down at the wrong end of the table and the home team are looking in trouble second from bottom.
The chips were although tasty not hot and a bit soggy. There were plenty of them for their £1.50 price score 62.
Coast to coast, this week in Cleethorpes, last week in Workington. It’s not the journey that confused me but the teams in North East Lincolnshire. It is a pub quiz question, which league football team never plays at home? – answer: Grimsby Town because they play all of their home games away in Cleethorpes, now I find that Cleethorpes Town play in Grimsby. I managed to get a shot of the Grimsby district sign as we sped to the game and this was just before the ground. To be sure I asked a friendly official at the ground and he confirmed we were just over 100 meters within Grimsby.
The facilities here at Clee Road are excellent. The clubhouse is shared with the cricket team and has a bar, food kiosk and an area as a club shop also selling the program. The club house was lively with away fans good humouredly singing and chanting whilst watching the early televised game.
The pitch is one of the finest I’ve seen for some time, flat with lush close cut grass. There has been a lot of money spent here on new railings, perimeter walkway and stands. There are also up to date advertising hoardings all around the ground. It seems like a club going somewhere.
After sailing to the match along the M180 the weather had broken to sunshine, blue skies, some billowing white clouds and a temperature of 16 degrees.
Cleethorpes Town and Frickley Athletic are both in the Betvictor Northern Premier League South East Division but today it’s the F A Trophy.
Frickley Athletic come from the former mining village of South Elmsall in Yorkshire where the first mention of a football team was in 1905 with Frickley Colliery Athletic Club formed in 1908. The team played in Yorkshire and Midland Leagues until 1979/80 when they were promoted to the Alliance League (Now the National League) and had their best 7 years at this high level. They have since dropped down the pyramid system but are hoping this season to steady the ship.
Cleethorpes by contrast were only formed in 1998 and played initially under the name of LSS (Lincolnshire Soccer School) Lucarly’s changing to their current name in 2008. They have risen quickly through the leagues from the Lincolnshire League to the Northern Premier South East Division in the 2016/17 season, a season in which they also reached Wembley for the final of the F A Vase when they lost 4 nil to South Shields.
Cleethorpes Town 1 Frickley Athletic 0
The crowd of 171 were expecting to discuss a somewhat dull first half when just before half time Cleethorpes scored after some neat interplay left Scott Vernon alone and able to tap home.
Before that the game had been even with Frickley dominating midfield and Cleethorpes sending some accurate long balls to the forwards along with some strong wing play down the left from their overlapping full back.
The second half again did not spark to life and each team continued to cancel one another out although Frickley became less and less effective upfront. However they nearly came away with a replay as with 5 minutes left Nathan Newell had a great shot across goal that seemed destined for the bottom corner until Theo Richardson managed a full length dive to finger tip the ball behind for a corner.
The final few minutes petered out and the Owls fly into the next round at home to Mossley.
Finally the chips, golden, hot, tasty, well priced, good portion a little greasy and a good overall score of 72.
N.B. There are teams e.g. Coventry who are also playing away every week due to ground disruptions.
What an amazing late September day in Workington. On 21st September my weather app said a temperature of 23 degrees and it felt like higher as the sun shone in clear blue skies. The pitch was looking lush and well striped on a mainly flat pitch that slopes gently down to each end from a central peak.
I had come to see the Northern Premier League North West Division clash between League leaders Workington Town AFC and Widnes FC. This is the first time these two clubs have met in a league game whilst their Rugby League colleagues are no strangers to each other.
Widnes FC were only formed in 2003 as Dragons FC which was changed to Widnes Dragons and developed a community base for players and teams from 6 years upwards. By July 2012 the club had achieved the FA Charter Standard Community Club award. In the same year they became involved with the Widnes Vikings Rugby League Club and gained new experiences of providing greater community involvement. This was not to last and in 2014 the club decided to forge its own identity and become Widnes Football Club. Along this road they have gained promotions to get them to their current level the same as Workington who have seen a double relegation.
Workington have a long and illustrious past, a team originally being started in 1888 and 30 years after their reforming they were elected to the Football league in 1951 replacing New Brighton. They managed 26 years and one promotion to the then Third Division before a poor run of results saw them being voted out of the league with Wimbledon replacing them. During the league years they had some illustrious managers, Bill Shankly and Ken Furphy to name but two. Their struggles saw them drop down to the North West Counties League and then rise again to the then Conference North. But recent years have seen a steady slide back down the pyramid.
On my way to the match I couldn’t believe that in a charity shop in Barnard Castle I found an old Workington Program from their League days for just £1, a coincidence and a bargain.
Workintons Borough Park Ground has seen better days but it is a credit to the officials and fans that it is clean, bright and has good facilities. The club house houses, bar/lounge, club shop and refreshment kiosk but it was once the base for a stand built in 1937. Please see the comparison with today and a page from ‘The History of Non-League Football Grounds’ by Kerry Miller published in 1996 by Polar Print Group. The images are from 1937, 1993 and 2019.
A proposal to build a new stadium to house both the Rugby League and Football teams has been put on hold by a newly elected council in May of this year. This would also have provided space for new offices for local businesses and a 3G pitch for community use.
Workington AFC, Workington Town Rugby League ground, proposed ground.
Workington AFC 2 Widnes 0
Workington controlled the first 15 minutes of this game but it was Widnes who came closest to scoring when on 20 minutes Michael Grogan hit the crossbar with a fierce shot which bounced down and was hooked away. Widnes continued to press but a mix up in the Widnes defence on 30 minutes allowed No.6 Brad Carroll the chance to outpace them and drift past Owen Wheeler to slam the ball home when only a touch would have done.
The rest of the half remained competitive but the home team went in ahead.
Workington upped their game to start the second half but were thankful for Dan Wordsworth’s scooped clearance off the line with everyone else beaten by Harry Brazel’s shot.
The sun was taking its toll of the players and the referee called a drinks break nearly 30 minutes into the second half. This seemed to to sap Widnes concentration and a well placed corner soon after from Conor Tinnion from the right of the goal was fumbled over the goal line by Owen Wheeler.
Workington saw out a dull period of the game to win and keep them on top of the league. Despite them having played more games that many of their rivals they have the points in the bag. Can they hold on and regain some league status, most of the 389 supporters in the ground hope so.
The Workington Club house was friendly and alive and the chips were what I have been waiting for all season. Hot, thick, tasty, golden and a good portion. Not much more to say but a highly recommended score of 85.
Having driven down the winding Lees Lane through the chicanes of parked cars you arrive in the South Normanton Athletic FC. Car park.
It’s FA Cup day and South Normanton AFC are at home to Coalville Town FC in the First Qualifying Round of the FA Cup.
The first thing that hits you as you pass through the turnstile is the lush green pitch that slopes down from one end to the other. It’s warm in the sun but some dark clouds look ominous as they rush past. The ground is on the edge of town, with open views from its hilltop position and breezy aspect.
South Normanton are nicknamed the Shiners and Coalville the Ravens. This dates back to the fact that Coalville were first formed in 1926 as Ravenstone Miners Athletic and played in the village successfully in local football. as their progress continued a dispute with the local Parish Council about the erection of floodlights meant a decision was made to move the whole team from the small village to nearby Coalville in 1995. The erection of the floodlights at their new ground meant that they could make further advances up the leagues and today play in the Premier Central Division of the Southern League at Step 3 level.
South Normanton AFC play in the Premier Division of the Midland Football League two levels lower than Coalville. Like Coalville South Normanton were formed in 1926 as South Normanton Miners Welfare which they changed in 1990 to South Normanton Athletic FC. Following a fire, lack of money and an ageing committee they were forced to fold but since a new start they have been able to steady the ship and have settled into their current level.
South Normanton Athletic FC 0 Coalville Town FC 1
The game took some time to establish a pattern where Coalville showed their higher status through some neat interpassing in midfield. Coalville didn’t cause any direct threats in open play but a series of corners caused problems for the home team with the visitors taller defensive players coming forward to attack outswinging balls. Jack Duggan (No5) should have done better when he headed over with a strong header. However he was my man of the match with a command of the defence and a near perfect game. South Normanton were pleased to go in at half time level having played against the wind in the first half.
The Shiners midfield gained the upper hand at the start of the second half but Coalville were still the most dangerous again from corners. With it looking like the tie would go to a replay some neat interpassing between substitute Leandro Browne and Tom McGlinchey in the penalty area gave McGlinchey the chance to roll the ball past Curtis Hall on 87 minutes.
Jubilation for the few travelling Coalville supporters but some consolation for the home team in that they had held their own against a higher placed club in the football pyramid system.
South Normantons food facilities were good with a friendly club house and a food stall that had outside tables and chairs . the kiosk was being run by one man who was doing a sterling job as his usual helper was working. As the queues lengthened some reinforcements arrived. The chips were deep fried but mine came from a tray in the oven which meant they could have been hotter. Great value and the best so far this season with a score of 60.
The nickname ‘Shiners’ derives from the mid-1750s when South Normanton was at the heart of the ribbed stocking industry. The people involved in this craft worked long hours sitting at their windows on wooden stools, so much so that the backsides of their trousers became very shiny making them instantly recognisable as coming from the South Normanton area; since then local people have been referred to as ‘Shiners’. Taken from
South Normanton Athletic F.C. – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › South_Normanton_Athletic_F.C.