2013/14 Pre-Season

Hello again! Well it’s been a while but I’m going to blame the weather and Gateshead FC for the demise of my usual weekly cyber-scribbles. I know the weather can be a rather unforgiving mistress for us non league nutters but the staff at Gateshead have to take some of the blame too! After calling off their 3rd round Trophy tie with Barrow FOUR times at slightly more than the 11th hour on a couple of occasions (2 of which were mid-week) they finally played the game on the 5th time of asking…… at Barrow?? And got beat 3-2!

By this time me & the big fella were well over £150 each out of pocket & sick of the sight of Tyneside! and our “FA 34” came to an end after 20 games and unfortunately without a back-up plan :-(

So for this season we’ve decided to concentrate on the cup exploits of 30 different non league sides from in & around Manchester. Hopefully a few of these teams will do well and go far in the various FA competitions but there’s also lots of other local silverware up for grabs so I can pretty much guarantee a full season for me & the Rhino this year :-) and we’re even setting up an internet radio station covering all that’s non league in Greater Manchester broadcasting (as soon as I get the paperwork through) via this website on Thursday nights at 7pm! How cool is that?!? lol with a bit of luck we should be up & running mid Sept. :-)

A full list of the teams & leagues we’re covering as well as how to contact us if you want to make sure your team gets the coverage it deserves or to be a regular part of this live non-league-nonsense, go to our “About Us” page or click here

On to the pre-season… Saturday 3rd of August was my 40+ something (can’t remember) birthday! and there was plenty of football in town for me to find a game worthy of celebrating the fact I had somehow managed to survive another year on this planet :-) for those of you that know me well, you’ll know I’ve already been dead once! OK it was only for 6 seconds but it counts! It was a long time ago & I was only a kid but after coming back to the land of the living I woke up to find that not only had I lost a leg I also had a really sore arse! The doctors told me they had removed skin from my butt cheeks to repair various other burns I had sustained but as I said, this was back when Garry Glitter was on Top of the Pops presented by Jimmy Savile followed by It’s a Knockout so a kid waking up with a sore arse back then was fairly common I suppose…..

Moving swiftly on…. The game that stood out for me today was Curzon Ashton’s home friendly with the Isle of Man national team. Where else would a 1-legged bloke be on his birthday other than watching a football team whose shirt logo sported 3 legs?! The Rhino told me he had to work Saturday morning but would do his best to get there for kick off or get there as soon as he couldn’t make 3pm.

With my trusty bus pass in hand I made the short trip from Droylsden & arrived at the Tameside Stadium around 2.30. On entering the ground and as I was buying a programme, I was confronted by a very nice young lady called Gemma who is a die-hard Curzon fan and was also selling “golden goal” tickets, I’ve never won one of these things but today was my birthday & you’ve gotta be in it to win it! So I bought 2 and went off in search for the first beer of the day :-)

3 o’clock and with still no sign of the big fella, we’re off! I didn’t have to wait long for the first goal either, just 3 minutes in when the ball was whipped in from the left and met perfectly by Curzon’s Matt Warburton who directed his header passed the outstretched Dawson to give the home side an early lead. The announcement came over the PA that the golden goal was timed at 3 minutes, oooh 3 minutes on the 3rd of August… my birthday & I have 2 tickets???

The rest of the first half was a totally one-sided affair with the home side dominating possession and creating all the chances. Considering it was supposed to be a friendly, the IoM team were either really poor or hell bent on just kicking out at anything or anyone in close proximity to the ball as the pitch seemed littered with Curzon players clutching at their ankles & shins! Chris McDonagh managed to avoid the flak and put another passed Dawson in the visitors goal before Referee John Walton called ceasefire an end to the half & I went in search of a pie with Curzon 2-0 up.

Well, I was a bit disappointed that the canteen didn’t have any pies on my birthday & i had to make do with a hot dog, but on a lighter note I met Gemma again and she told me that nobody had come forward to claim the £48 golden goal prize! I quickly tore open my tickets to reveal the numbers 47 & 84 hmmmm :-(

Gemma must have felt sorry for an old bloke celebrating his birthday on his own so sat with me for a while as we watched Curzon increase their lead putting another 3 past the Manx outfit without reply with goals from Matt Kay, Ryan Humphries & Ryan Brooke. So things looking good for the Ashton side with a 5-0 win and five different names on the score sheet, but as for the Isle of Man… they were off to Salford City for a “friendly” with them the day after & all I can say is good luck trying to kick 7 bells out of those guys!

On the bus back to Droylsden I took one of those sad “I’m on my own” type photo’s of myself that I’ll put on here so you can download it & reduce to a wallet size then print off for you to keep :-) While taking this snap-shot, the Rhino texts me to say he’ll meet me in the Sweaty Spaniard… oops, I’ve been told by the 2 delightful Scottish landlady’s of Droylsden’s No.1 tapas bar not to call their wonderful establishment by that name so I’ll have to think of a new name for it because I can’t pronounce it’s actual name… anyway by the time I got to the SS the big fella was on parade :-)

The rest of the evening got a bit fuzzy with various people buying me stupid looking drinks for my birthday! Needless to say, I woke up the next morning with a nan bread stuck to my right ear & what i’m hoping was red onions in my hair :-( I do however recall reading a text on the Rhino’s phone while he was in the toilet congratulating him for coming second in today’s Wildlife & Nature presentation from the North West origami club??? Yeah right… working all day was you??? Of course he’s since denied all knowledge of such a text ;-)

One week later and I’m off to see my local team… the Bloods! Once again the big fella was “working” again but this time I had a back-up plan…. Burkey :-) yes my non league know-it-all pal was coming up to watch Droylsden take on Northwich Victoria.

The game was billed as a pre-season friendly but was chosen as host game for the Tony Downes memorial game. Local lad Tony sadly lost his life back in 2007 while on tour in Afganistan and there is now a cup in his memory to be presented to today’s winners by Tony’s parents, Ronnie & Sheryl who are also the Landlord & Landlady of the pub next door… the Kings Head.

Only £5 admission today with the proceeds going to “Help for Heros” which we were more than happy to pay and we made our way to the bar for a quick pint before kick off :-) while we were downing our pre-match refreshments, I explained to Burkey how I thought the Rhino was part of some sort of secret paper folding society & how convinced I was about seeing a text on his phone confirming my suspicions the week before… “really?” my flaxon friend replied, “I always had him down as a Morris dancer” lol lol… class :-) :-)

We took our seats in the main stand for kick off and without a team sheet or programme between us I relied on Burkey to fill me in on who’s who on the pitch, “I don’t know anyone 1 leg” was not what I wanted to hear from BBC radio Manchester’s non league expert so we just went off shirt colours & numbers in our match analysis with phrases like “that No. 7 looks alright for a fat lad don’t he?” – pure professionalism :-)

Latham, the Droylsden keeper had to be on top form throughout the day pulling off at least 6 fine saves from the impressive looking visitors but as Burkey pointed out they were all on his left side as the Vic’s took the lead slotting the ball home passed Latham’s right lol – smart arse!

The visitors were by far the better side on the day and considering they’re in the division below Droylsden i’m now fearing the worse for my home town team :-( Burkey didn’t make things any better either as he kept telling me he wouldn’t be at all surprised if the bloods were relegated again this season! Back to back relegations? I don’t think my old heart could take that :-(

The Rhino finally turned up with about 15 minutes left in the second half and Burkey said he could hear bells on his ankles as he walked up the stairs! I somehow can’t see him as a Morris dancer but knocking up a swan from the front cover of a Jizz-Mag?… yeah, I can see that happening ;-)

The less said about the game the better for me after Northwich battered us 3-0, although I did have rather mixed emotions when I saw Vic’s chairman & big friend of ours, Jim Rushe holding the trophy. Jim works tirelessly for his team and it’s always nice to see someone who deserves it winning something :-) congrats to Northwich & good luck for the new season.

Burkey on the other hand had stopped his relentless bloods-bashing as he had found out his beloved Hyde FC had been thrashed by a massive 8(eight)-0 away to Forest Green Rovers in the Skrill premier league! “I’m gutted 1 leg” came dribbling from his lips “that means they’re going to write the word ‘eight’ in brackets on the results page” lol I’m not sure fella but just in case… ;-)

Back in the SS and me & the big fella are hard at work consoling Burkey as he spirals into a massive bout of depression unable to shake off the crushing news from Forest Green. “cheer up fella, at least you’re not bottom of the league, don’t forget Aldershot had 10 points deducted before the start of the season so you’re golden”

It didn’t seem to be working so I called for back-up, after a quick call to my girlfriend she told me whenever she was feeling down custard always made her feel better so with that the Rhino lined up a few Warninks Advocaat’s on the bar and made him drink them :-) he disappeared for half an hour or so presumably in the Gents, before re-appearing looking a little paler and wanting to know what time the next bus home is? lol… bless him

So that’s that… we’re up to speed & looking forward to our new venture for the new season. Doncaster on the 17th as the FA Cup starts all over again with Armthorpe Welfare taking on Glossop North End in the extra preliminary round looking like a good day out for me & the Rhino to kick off with.

We’re hoping to get out & about each weekend and visit grounds we’ve never been to around the country but it all depends on our local 30 teams doing well in FA comps but if they don’t at least this time we have a back-up plan :-) hopefully some of you will want to be part of the radio show (gawd knows we’re going to need all the help we can get!) or if you are a non league blogger let me know and I’ll give your site a shout…..

Until next time Blog-Buds…..





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