Wednesday 21st July
Pre Season Friendly
Cheadle Town 1 Witton Albion Reserves? 1
Attendance: 82 (Head count)
Programme: What do you think?
Tea hut purchase: Had a chicken roast at home
Weather: Threatening dark sky but mainly dry
Parking: End of the street next to the car park
I'm writing this after having a tooth out so bear with me. At last nights game I felt like a sentenced man on death row (dead man walking), I hate the dentist and to be honest I was not in the best of moods, the thought of the following mornings 'difficult' extraction had me at a low ebb. I've decided to split this report into two sections, the good and the bad, it could have been a Clint Eastwood special if I had chosen to include the ugly as well, however on second thoughts the less said about the state of the Cheadle Town toilets the better (lets just say the 'Gents' behind the stand are the worst facilities I've had the misfortune to suffer for a very, very long time). Enough of that I say, lets get on with the good bits.
1. The ground is very handy for the M60 motorway.
2. I got a very convenient parking space (mind you, I was 40 minutes early).
3. The main stand at Cheadle Town oozes that quirky charm and visual primacy that just embraces everything great about non league football grounds.
4. There are some great low flying planes to watch as they descend to Manchester Airport.
5. Witton Albion had a very smart all yellow away kit.
6. Both sides really wanted this game, raw hunger, total effort.
Oh Dear....The Bad Bits
1. A £5 admission charge is simply 'not on' for a friendly involving a non league reserve side. Most Witton players didn't even know each other?
2. The media information and the Cheadle website had this game down for a 7.30 kick off, when I asked the Ref he said nobody told him, we kicked off at 7.45!
3. Quite a lot of Cheadle players didn't have the proper kit on, white shorts instead of black shorts. If you want to take money in the region of 5 quid off people, wear the right pants.
4. Rank July weather once again, we were surrounded by black clouds for the most part, I believe parts of the North West ended up flooded! We got away with it at Cheadle but ever since they announced a drought 3 weeks ago, its doshed it down at some stage of the day.
5. I'd had a very big tea before I arrived at the ground but any temptations for later-timed snacks were aborted as there didn't seem to be any proper catering staff. I did see the gate-lad rush into the hut now and again to get someone a pie but it didn't inspire one with confidence (no disrespect intended).
6. Worst of all, I dropped my camera! Doing this from waist height onto hard concrete is not the brightest trick in the book. A few bits fell off it but the main frame and lense seem ok? I'll have to see how it goes on Saturday? Any enthusiasm I had left for this game quickly disappeared after this major disaster.
7. As I kept fiddling with the camera doing some kind of an incompetent damage-assessment I only managed to miss the Witton Albion equaliser! I really am a plonker!
8. I just knew (even before kick-off) that Cheadle wouldn't switch the floodlights on. I was correct. Darkness fell towards the last quarter (it was pretty dull to start with anyway). If we kicked off at the so-called advertised time, 7.30, we would have been ok but the late start really justified the sensible requirement of floodlights, we didn't get them. Again, if you charge the rate (5 quid), please provide the basic service.
There you have it, not the best visit I've done, some good stuff, probably more bad stuff, have to say I'm not a great fan of watching reserve sides. Had I have known upfront would I have bothered? Probably not. At least both teams gave it their best, Cheadle especially, some real drive and enthusiasm about them, perhaps on another day I would have enjoyed it a lot better.... like I said, I hate going to the dentist (time to mess about with that camera again).