26 February 2017

Greenwich Borough 3 Faversham Town 2

Another new ground, this one very conveniently situated just opposite Eltham Green school, a short bus ride away. Borough play in the Isthmian League South - the same league as Tooting and Mitcham, Walton Casuals and Whyteleafe - and are doing pretty well, but have the worst ground I've seen so far at this level. There's a small stand at each side of the pitch, but that's about it. And it was easily enough to cope with the 150 or so crowd. The most notable feature is the slope from one end to another.

Borough started the game playing downhill, but didn't seem to make the best advantage of it. I'd have expected them to be able to get attackers into the Faversham penalty area quickly, but that just wasn't happening. More often Faversham mounted the most threatening attacks, but couldn't work them into goals.

Shortly before halftime Borough scored. It was a little against the run of play and I wondered if they'd be able to hold out in the second half, with gravity as Faversham's twelfth man. But they did and by 85 minutes were 3-1 up. There was a cold wind, a fine rain was falling and the Eltham GPO was beckoning so I missed the final stages when Borough had a player sent off and Faversham got a very late goal.

So, the usual inadequate match report from me but, if you're interested, Borough produced a highlights video. 

So, what of Bradley Pritchard, one of the reasons I chose to go this game. He played a full 90 minutes in the no 15 shirt as a defensive midfielder. He looked very fit (and a note in the programme says he's one of the best trainers - "the man just enjoys running", says his teammate Glenn Wilson). He reads the game well but his passing wasn't always accurate or well-judged. Most importantly, that smile was still there.

I don't think I'll start following Borough. There wasn't the friendly, mixed feeling of the crowd at Tooting and Mitcham, or the inventive chanting of Whyteleafe ("Leafe, Leafe, Leafe - All you need is Leafe!").  And the programme (£2) is very poor. Of course the team I really want to follow is Charlton but that remains impossible while it's owned by a deluded old twit in Sant Truiden.

15 February 2017

Karl and the C-word

Warning: in this post I quote the c-word several times. Look away now if this offends.

As we all know by now, Karl Robinson got a little over-excited at Wimbledon on Saturday after a volunteer at the home ground allegedly said "You fucking scouse cunt! I hope you die" and home fans unfurled a banner accusing him of being a "lying cunt". Terrible stuff. As Karl said "Certain aspects of it were disgusting and shouldn’t be part of any industry." I suppose we should be grateful he realises how offensive language can be.

But it was intriguing to discover, thanks to the Guardian's Fiver, that Karl had himself been found guilty of calling an opposition player a "fucking French cunt" (on 16 September 2014). The official record of the disciplinary meeting makes interesting reading. Karl's defence, taken straight out of Fawlty Towers or some other sitcom, was that he'd been misheard. Rather than saying "It's nothing to do with you, you fucking French cunt" what he'd actually said was "It's nothing to do with you, you should be on the bench, you cunt", following it up with "Fuck off back to France." The FA didn't buy it: he was given a four match ban, a £3000 fine and costs.

05 February 2017

Whyteleafe 0 Corinthian-Casuals 1

My second visit to the Whyteleafe ground, this time to see the real home team take on Corinthian-Casuals, a club with an astonishing history. The present day club is the result of a merger between Corinthians and Casuals in the 30s, but before then Corinthians had an amazing philosophy, epitomised in this quotation from Wikipedia:
Committed to the amateur game, the club only played friendlies, despite attracting the most gifted players of the age. Deprived of competition at home, the club made overseas tours, helping to establish football in Brazil, where the club Corinthians still bears their name. And today - and presumably at every match - the Casuals fans displayed a banner bearing the words "Obrigado por fazer parte da nossa historia" (thank you for being part of our history). One of their fans was even flourishing an old-fashioned wooden rattle.

We were far from Brazil. Neat passages of play by both teams but very little goal-threat. As I've said before, the ground is picturesquely situated among the Surrey hills, but those hills mean sunset is early and cold on a winter's day. As the chilly air settled into the valley after half-time the game grew even less animated. With about 15 minutes to go, Casuals got the only goal from a well worked free kick.

Both clubs seem destined for a mid-table finish. Most of the 168 crowd accepted the defeat with an appropriately stoic resignation, while the 20 or so travelling fans were attic in their celebrations.