Saturday, 30 April 2016

A home win at last! (and last game of the season)

Saturday 30 April 2016, Ipswich Town MK Dons - Championship, Portman Road

Monday, 25 April 2016

Carlos returns

Monday 25 April 2016, Ipswich Town Under 21s 0 Millwall Under 21s 2 - U21 Development League South Division - Playford Road Training Ground

Carlos Edwards returns and ends up on the winning side!

Sunday, 24 April 2016

A trip to the country

Saturday 23 April 2016, Needham Market 2 Dulwich Hamlet 1 - Ryman Premier Division - Bloomfields

Back in November 2014 I upset a few Dulwich fans with my comments about them their fans when comparing them to the ultras at Clapton - you can read the original post here.

But with Ipswich away in the North East and Dulwich coming to 'rural' Suffolk for an important end of season game I decided to take another Dulwich game in - I was even dressed to blend in with the large away support from South London as i proudly wore my Dulwich - FC Assyria t shirt. A short train ride to Needham with Ginge (my Colchester supporting travelling companion) saw us arrive a local pub which already had a few Dulwich fans in, thought there may have been more but when we arrived at the ground we found out why so few had arrived by train. The game could see Dulwich secure a play-off place (and maybe see the Marketmen relegated) so 3 coaches had been hired to bring both the team, officials and a big away support to Bloomfields. the Suffolk club were well prepared with plenty of programmes and more importantly it seemed for the Dulwich fans, a well stocked bar!

We stood with the Dulwich fans, and they sung and cheered the whole first half but it seemed their efforts were not being matched on the pitch as Needham were not put under any real pressure and deservedly took the lead. In fact the highlight of the half was when the PA announced that the Dulwich Deputy Chair requested that the Dulwich fan please get down from the roof of the (small stand) the fan said he would get down as long as we caught him! Drink rather than the excitement of the game had encouraged him to climb on the roof. His antics were the main topic of conversation among the Dulwich fans and he would continue to be the centre of attention in the second half!

A  few beers at half time and we returned for the last 45 minutes of the regular Ryman League season - Dulwich looked more threatening but it was Needham who scored again, playing on the break - Dulwich did get one back but Needham did not look in any real danger with ex Ipswich reserve and Cambridge Utd skipper, Ian Miller having a great game at centre half. For the last 10 minutes he had the help of ex Colchester player Kem Izzet in midfield as Needham secured the win and their place in the league.

The Dulwich fans continued to sing and cheer but even they seemed to have given up any hope of their team getting a much needed win. Their attention was again drawn to our drunk/punk roof of the stand climber, as he decided to have a sleep behind the stand - which created a queue of fans lining up to take his photograph - he may not remember much of the day but he will have many who can remind him along with the photographic evidence.

Dulwich fans increased their singing when they heard that other results meant they would be off to Bognor for the play-off game. So a good day out but the match never seemed like the important game it should have been possibly as Needham thought they may be safe anyway as Farnborough may be demoted for financial reasons and Dulwich may have known that it was unlikely that Enfield would get the needed win at Hampton and Richmond.

A beer fueled trip home meant a small headache in the morning ( thanks to a German smoked beer - from Bamberg) but i bet it is nothing like a the headache a certain Dulwich fan will have woke up with this morning!

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Season can't end soon enough

Tuesday 19 April 2016, Ipswich Town 1 Fulham 1 - Championship, Portman Road

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Bert played here

Saturday 16 April 2016, Grundisburgh 2 Felixstowe Harpers United 4 - Sufolk and Ipswich League, Senior Division - The Playing Field

For some it may seem strange to watch a match at a ground that really is just a roped off park pitch but there is far more to watching a game at Grundisburgh than that.

Most of my football watching life they have been the top dogs of local Suffolk football, nine time champions and seven Senior Cup wins (all held at Portman Road) but they still choose to stay at this level whilst previous opponents in Suffolk, Leiston and  now closer in footballing terms to the Football League than the Suffolk and Ipswich League.

There is talk that their success was down to paying players, but I would also like to think it was helped by a great little club bar and a village that gets behind their team.

That sense of hospitality still exists today and the level of organisation at times out shines many clubs at Thurlow Nunn level. A Clubhouse, small but plenty of seats, tea, coffee and homemade cake and then a quality programme - that was free!

No admission either but a box was passed round in the second half for donations, Hope spectators are generous as the club deserves the rewards.

On the pitch, at first I  thought we would be lucky to see 22 players on the pitch at the end as the ref seemed to struggle to impose herself on the game. But it became obvious that many of the opposing players knew each other and other than one harsh challenge in the second half they controlled themselves as we finished with 22 players on the park.

Felixstowe gained the win but Grundisburgh will feel they were unfortunate to not at least gain a point but Felixstowe scored late in both halves to stop any home team comeback.

As the season has to end by May you can catch a number of evening games in this league with 6.30pm kick offs, I would suggest you will find you will be most made welcome and the standard of football will not be that bad - oh and I would recommend the coffee cake at Grundisburgh.

I mentioned the quality free programme, and it had an interesting page on the history of the club and on reading it I found out that in 1945, 2000 German Prisoners of War, walking the Playing Field from the airfield at Debach, to see a game featuring fellow German POWs play a friendly match. In goal for the German team was a certain Bert Trautmann!

Friday, 15 April 2016

What no cover?

Mid Wales football grounds at Aberdyfi and Tywyn and no real cover, some do say that this part of the Welsh coast has it's own micro climate- even so, guess many fans spend their Saturday afternoons getting soaked!

Aberdyfi - Recreation Ground

Tywyn Bryncrug - Cae Chwarae

Not for me but you can also fit in some train spotting!

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Will Mick go?

Saturday 9 April 2016, Ipswich Town 1 Brentford 3 - Championship, Portman Road

A bad day at the office!

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Very, very poor

Tuesday 5 April 2016, Ipswich Town 0 Charlton Athletic 0 - Championship, Portman Road

Time to start the clear out?

Monday, 4 April 2016

Hidden treasure!

Sunday 3 April 2016 - Royal Union Gold Star Liege 0 Warnant 1 - Provincial 1 Liege - Complexe Naimette

An early Sunday morning start and it was off to Belgium for my first Provincial football game, fortunately I was travelling with two giants of the groundhopping world and Belgian football experts.

A smooth journey across the channel then a drive across the country found us in the city of Liege at lunchtime, we went in search of the ground first coming across the large athletics stadium that share the same name of the football ground. This was an impressive arena but surprising both the pitches were set up as Rugby Union pitches.

A quick drive down the hill and we found the home of Gold Star, at first we were not sure, we saw a fence, goal and even corner flags but could this be the ground we were going to see a game on?

A local was opening the clubhouse and we found out we were at the right place. We found a great clubhouse and a remarkable ground - OK it did not have any terracing or even a stand, no cover on a wet Belgian day but what did we care as the sun was out and we could rest against the steep bank because one of the reasons this is a great ground is that it is cut into the hill side with a small pitch cut into the hill above the ground and two clay pitches cut in the hill below the ground. This all added to a great view over the city - what not to like!

The club might seem to be playing on just a basic pitch ( with a great view) but the club has a history may would want as each Belgian club holds a number from when they were formed with Antwerp number 1 and Gold Star may be playing in little more than a local Liege league but they hold the Matricule (registration) number 40 a number couple with Royal in the title that many Belgian clubs would love to have.

The match itself was not the greatest, Warnant are pushing for promotion and took an early lead and could have added two more soon after if it had not been for some great goalkeeping but after that initial bit of excitement Warnant seemed happy to just sit back and break occasionally whilst Gold Star enjoyed the possession they only threatened the opponents goal right at the end.

The neighbouring athletics stadium