Where's The Tea Hut reflects upon local football South West style with a few trips further afield. Keep the faith & stay safe.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

The Prescot Cables Farce!

Saturday 28th November
UniBond Division 1 North
Prescot Cables v Salford City
Attendance: Me and quite a few other mugs who didn't have a clue
Admission: Nothing at the gate but a lot of wasted diesel
Tea hut purchase: Cheese & onion pasty from the shopping precinct £1
Programme: They cannot even put info on the club website properly?
Weather: Dry and sunny (which made this joke even more surprising)
Parking: Backstreets 15 minutes walk from ground (terrible set up)

Here is the statement I posted on Tony's Football Forum when I had calmed down after arriving back from sunny Merseyside yesterday (Saturday 28th November):


I'd just like to politely pass on how disappointed I am that Prescot Cables did not put information on their club website that there was a pitch inspection today, never mind the fact that the match may be in doubt?
I checked this website on 3 separate occasions before leaving for the match at 12.15. There did not appear to be anything to raise any concern about a possible inspection, never mind a possible postponement.
I have since found out from the away clubs forum (Salford City) that there was a PLANNED pitch inspection at 11am!!! If Prescot had kindly put this on their website I wouldn't have bothered with the risk and gone somewhere else instead.
It is not ideal to throw away gallons of fuel and waste over 5 hours to find nicely coloured pre printed posters on the gates saying match-off! By the time I arrived at the ground it was too late to go anywhere else. I saw quite a few other people arriving who had done the same as me and my colleagues. One lady even asked my friend "why didn't they mention an inspection on their website"?
This is not something I would normally associate with the UniBond League. Such a pity that a little notification in advance could have saved people a wasted journey (and a clubs reputation).

So there you have it. To say I am 'dished-off' with the incompetence that failed to sensibly notify spectators that this match was probably never going to happen is an under statement. In this age of compensation culture I should be able to claim fuel, vehicle wear and tear, sustenance, loss of hours and post-postponement stress. Prescot Cables failed to exercise a basic duty of care. All they had to do was put a simple one line message on their website, it would have taken half a minute. It cost me my day off, a lot of wasted time, wasted cash and my only chance to watch a football match.

The messing about I have suffered over postponed games these last few weeks makes me wonder whether it is worth continuing with this pursuit? After all, it is supposed to be about enjoyment and entertainment...... isn't it?

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Bad weather

A few weather related problems have hit the Krugg recently. Finally, these now look to be sorted out. Tea hut business will return as soon as possible. There may even be a return to action this coming Saturday (28th November). Fixtures at Prescot Cables, Farsley Celtic and Harrogate Town are currently under review.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Congleton Town

Saturday 14th November 2009
FA Vase Second Round
Congleton Town 0 Shildon 2
Attendance: 237
Admission: £6
Programme: £1.20p
Tea hut purchases: Tea 60p, Steak & kidney pie £1.50p
Weather: Late sun and the odd second half shower
Parking: Roadside, five minutes walk, easy getaway I'm driving through Cheshire an hour and a half before kick-off.
Rain, torrential really heavy rain and a deep grey sky.
Car headlights and half flooded roads.
Not good, another terrible Saturday.
I reach Congleton and decide to stay put in the car.
At 2.30 the rain eases and a chink of light splits the lead-dead sky.
I hand over my 5 quid at the turnstile.
"Its 6 pounds to get in here" says the flat cap.
I'm certainly not paying extra for the facilities.
The ground is the grimmest yet.
I'd seen the 2 north east mini buses on the entrance to the gate.
The Shildon-trippers are drinking up the stock of the clubhouse bar.
This grounds only toilet is packed full of punters, all bursting on pints.Two traps and no locks and the queues out the door.
Glad to return to the fresh air near the pitch.
Sodden sparse turf is swamping with mud.
A squish-squash warm up but the pitch holds firm.
Its time for the tea hut to cheer up my frown.
Programme perusal in my place in the line,
I'd never seen one with a look like this!
A nice glossy cover but the thing has a hole.
You can't put a hole in a programme cover!
It looks more like a birthday card than a match publication.
I order my tea and I ask for a pie but the pies are all burned. Its one of those cardboard hot ones with nothing inside.
20 minutes later it can just about be eaten but I leave all the crust.
My brolly has already slipped over knocking all the tea spilling.
My walk around the ground is blocked by a big mound of rubble.
A young lad climbs, slips and gets over the pile.
Builders waste and remnants cut the path behind the far touchline.
Perhaps the extra quid gate money is for this adventure playground?Locals grumble about the Congleton form.
Still second in the NWC league but they've not won in five.
Shildon are Northern League mid-table.
Rumour has it Shildons best players are out of contention.
Out come the hordes from the booze buster bar.
All cocky and loud and full of warm ale.
It takes ten minutes to tell the difference in class. Shildon push forward and their passes find feet.
2 first half goals are presented for effort.
The visitors look home-free for keeps.
Half time resentment and Teds had enough.
Ted won't pay for losers, no matter where.
The Shildon expedition force arrive back from their beer-break
3 quick pints and a pack of cheesy crisps.
Second halfs a done-deal as the visitors rest up.
A Congleton shot threatens a nearby greenhouse.
The wind blows it back.
Teds gone before the last quarter as the home flock mumble.
The wolf will go home with the lamb to the slaughter.
The mini bus driver for County Durham is warming the engine.
Thats when they get them out of that bar?

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Some more pictures

Here are some odds and sods from recent visits:

Ashton United

Gainsborough Trinity



Sunday, 8 November 2009

Ashton United

Saturday 7th November 2009
UniBond Premier League
Ashton United 0 Stocksbridge Park Steels 1
Attendance: 152
Admission: £8
Programme: £1.50 (Poor effort)
Tea hut purchase: Tea 70p
Weather: Cold, grey and lengthy prolonged rain showers
Parking: Roadside, 5 minutes from the ground, easy getaway
The North West had put up with rain for most of the previous 6 days, those smug incompetent weather forecasters had predicted a dry afternoon, they lied again, it rained. (I'm only interested in London) Weather Forecasters are as popular with me as Fraudulent Criminal MP's and Capitalist Bankers. The excellent looking pitch at the Hurst Cross stadium played remarkably well in the atrociously wet conditions, such a pity that neither of the two sides could produce any decent football to match their lofty league positions. Ashton were top, Stocksbridge third yet you would never have guessed from this drab squalid encounter, it was absolutely awful. The slate grey sky got darker and wetter as the afternoon progressed, the kick and hope football got looser and dafter to match it. It was 15 minutes before either side had a shot, if you can call a 'bobbler' rolling towards the corner flag a shot? If 2 passes got joined up it was a highlight, this was turgid pap at its peak. At least some entertainment was put on by the travelling band of Steels supporters, their endless repertoire of blunt Northern ditties echoed across the sodden terraces as their centre half sent another ball zooming out of the ground. How nice to hear the traditional White Rose classic: Yorkshire Yorkshire Yorkshire belting out (time and time again), when its placed alongside that other family-favourite: Lancashire, wink, w*nk, wonk you can perhaps get an idea what a rewarding experience this sub-zero jolly was turning out to be. Fine football and fine company, a pleasure indeed, all that was missing was a selection from the cheeseboard. If the tea hut had done a line in ear-plugs rather than cheap packet chips and cardboard pies, they'd have made a killing! I decided to sit in the main stand in the second half as yet more icy rain fell upon the 'die-hards' propping up the stanchions on the terraces of doom. It was only a small stand but it certainly boasted a large number of pillars and side wall obstructions. These blended in perfectly with the large protruding white dug-outs that complimented the poor visual planning for the odd passing spectator. Whoever designed the 'potential' benefits of getting a decent view from this side of the ground must have had a wicked sense of humour or they were simply rubbish at realising that people would only see a restricted part of the pitch! The rain, the cold and the rank-bad football on offer was not helping my mood, perhaps a tad of this emotion has sneaked into this visit report, my apology if this is the case but this was a truly pathetic days entertainment and one I will gladly forget. Not a very good advert for the UniBond Premier League, at least Stocksbridge got a goal, which in turn proved pretty easy to protect, their spirit in seeing the game out suggests they could have better days and perhaps be in some contention later in the season. As for Ashton, I unfortunately have to report that on this showing, they wont be top of the league for long. They seemed clueless in producing any momentum when they had the ball and to rely on desperate second half 40 yard pokes at goal suggests a lack of tactical astuteness? Perhaps I caught them on an off day, perhaps they will prove me wrong? I was thankful for the final whistle.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Gainsborough Trinity

Saturday 31st October 2009
Blue Square Conference North
Gainsborough Trinity 1 Gloucester City 0
Attendance: 378
Admission: £10 Standing, £11 Seats
Programme: £2 (Dreadful cover)
Tea hut purchase: Tea 70p
Weather: A fair, dry afternoon with a bit of sun and light cloud
Parking: Roadside about 5 minutes around the corner, easy exit
As the smoke from the coal fires drifted across The Northolme Stadium I was busy reading the matchday programme. Wisby the Butcher was offering Hog Roasts and Curds, there was a Pensioners Special between 12 and 3pm every Tuesday at the Sands Bistro and a jolly good Simon and Garfunkel tribute act was coming to the town on November 6th. Gainsborough seemed a homely quite little place nestling between Doncaster and Lincoln, it was a town slowly realising its identity, there had even been a few new shops opening recently. However, its population of 22,000 seemed 'almost' oblivious to the football revolution being orchestrated by the new chairman Peter Swann. A range of decent quality players had been introduced alongside a much respected big name Manager in Brian Little. Could the locals see the dream? Would they throw their lot in with these success hungry entrepreneurs? One got the feeling that the population didn't go too much for sudden-change, possibly a fact reflected in todays crowd of 378 (of which quite a few had made the three and a half hour trek from Gloucester). Trinity have never won much and have apparently spoiled their image with the older supporters by failing to produce anything like an entertaining style of football. That is what Peter Swann and Brian Little want to change. It looks like it might be a long hard slog by what I witnessed today. Both of these sides resided near the foot of the table, actual results had been pretty much 'pants' but there had been talk on the grapevine that some of the performances (from both clubs) had been promising? Both Trinity and City certainly needed something from the game and it was pleasantly evident from kick-off that they both fancied the win. For 15 minutes there was a lot of huffing and puffing, probing and shuffling but sadly little reward. Unfortunately this initial period set the tone for the rest of the game. It was all a bit scrappy, disjointed and fragmented. A few chances came and went but not many, it was easy to see why the crowds hadn't been flocking in and why Peter Swann and Brian Little may have a tough job to sell the new prototype of entertaining afternoons and lofty league positions. As for Gloucester, they looked a bit inhibited at times, they seemed to give too much respect to the home side and this often witnessed them snatching at first options rather than setting the stall out and providing some quality, edge and depth. All credit to their hardy bunch of loyal supporters who had made a mega long cross-country trip for little entertaining reward. At least there was a well stocked Tea Hut on the ground for them. I saw a good many of the City fans tucking into the Pukka Pie, Chips and Pea's special all for £3 cash. As I was under strict orders to stick to my tinned-salmon sandwiches I could only watch in covetous envy. As the sun dropped the more of the coal fires seemed to start up, there was a distinct old fashioned aroma of smoky winter days from years ago swirling around the ground, I think I was the only person to notice it, perhaps its just whats normal in Gainsborough? The second half saw little change from the first, both sides fluffed a couple of nailed on chances until Trinity's Mark Hudson found himself in lots of space on the edge of the box, he took the ball forward, snatched at it but still just about got it on target, it hit the inside of the post and eventually bobbled over the line, 1-0 to Trinity! I had a feeling Gloucester would not have the know-how and creativity to mount a serious fightback and that was the case, they had a lot more possession of the ball but they simply failed to generate serious goal scoring opportunities. Ultimately, this was a game that had first goal wins written all over it. As I walked past the Tea Hut with only a few minutes left they still had a few Pukka Pies left in the warming tray, boy was I tempted but I held my nerve and carried on walking, I was having an Indian Takeaway when I got home and I didn't want to spoil my hunger, you've got to be really starving to finish off two trays of Chicken Dansak and a Karahi.