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

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Sick of it

3 months of snow, ice, snow, ice, snow, ice.

Every other day its one or the other. At least it is where I live.

To make matters worse those completely 'incompetent' idiots who put themselves up as weather forecasters consistently fail to provide any accuracy on what we're getting next.

The amount of times my plans have gone to pot, simply because some dressed up dolly has told me a pack of made up gibberish about the next days weather is a disgrace!

To be honest I'm sick of it.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Garforth Town

Saturday 13th February 2010
UniBond Northern Premier League Division 1 North
Garforth Town 0 Salford City 1
Attendance: 118
Admission: £7
Programme: £2
Tea hut purchases: Tea £1, Minced beef & onion pie £2
Weather: Dull, overcast, cold, periods of icy drizzle
Parking: Club car park, sharp exit and an easy getaway
I turned right at Cedar Ridge and was immediately time warped back to the year of 1970. This wasn't the middle of Yorkshire, this was the Aztec Stadium in Mexico City and it was the World Cup Final. As I parked in the club car park I swear I could hear a samba beat coming out of the back of Simon Cliffords rusting Brazilian Soccer Schools van? Today the boys from Rio..... Pele, Tostao and Rivelino where taking on Italy and I had a ticket! I was shaken out of my magic dream by 'Allotment Man', he was banging on my car window, "shift your car forward" he grunted, "I want to get my bogie out"! For a few seconds I had this awful feeling that some escaped sex offender had found his latest target, then I realised the car was blocking the path of his gardening trolley. The intrusion to my slumber meant that my dream of the Aztec had vanished and I realised that Liam Ormsby and Chopper Kamara would now be replacing Pele and his gang, and it wasn't Luigi Riva and the Italians as opposition it was lowly Salford City in a second hand Blyth Spartans kit (yes they were in green and white stripes today). I decided to brave the cold grey gloom and enter the stadium.
I got my programme and decided on the tea hut under the stand as my first port of call, my pictures of the ground could wait a while, especially as the icy drizzle had arrived. I was taken by surprise by the tea hut man rushing around in a full chefs kit like the next contestant on Masterchef, wow, perhaps at long last I was going to be in for a culinary treat at a football match? Marked up on the menu at the tea hut counter were warm pork pie and pea's, chilli and chips, and of course... burgers. I think the warm pork pie and pea's item is a Yorkshire thing, I seem to remember they sold loads of this stuff over at Headingley when Leeds RLFC had a game, its never seemed right to me, I dont think they compliment each other? I asked the chef what other pies he had. "Only other pies are chicken, chicken is all I've got, just chicken". I agreed to take a chicken pie. I took a seat high up in the stand and took a bite of what turned out NOT to be a chicken pie but a minced beef and onion pie, weird! I didn't mind though but it was a little steep at £2, especially as it appeared to be one of those cheap supermarket pies that you can purchase for 50p. As we moved closer to kick off I noticed a burning fat smell emitting up to the stand from the chefs tea hut and quite a bit of banging going on. On my way to the Gents I passed the hut in what looked like one of those TV adverts showing burning houses who'd failed to provide a smoke alarm. All I could hear from deep inside the fumes and smoke was the chef shouting at his assistant "turn the bloody thing off"! Hope he hadn't burned that fancy checked apron? The big modern stand at Garforth is not to everyones taste, its design takes a bit of getting used to, however it does offer an excellent view of the pitch and there is a general friendly atmosphere about the place, everybody seemed to be made welcome. Apart from the stand, which seems to dominate the skyline, there is little else around the other sides of the ground but everything is neat and tidy and some good pitchside views can be had (weather permitting). It was good to see a decent travelling support from Salford, they were vocal and encouraging to their side and had brought along the big tangerine banner to mark the event. Later in the match as Garforth started to lose the plot (on the pitch this time) it was amusing to hear the Salford people chant "its just like watching Brazil" (for those unaware, Garforth wear a Brazil replica kit).
This was a real 6 pointer of a match as both sides found themselves down at the wrong end of the table. One could understand the reason why in the first half, Salford looked completey out of sorts and failed to put anything meaningful together whilst Garforth did rather better but still fluffed a load of clear cut chances. Garforth had enjoyed most of the possesion and surely it was only a matter of time before they got the breakthrough.There must have been some home truths discussed in the Salford dressing room at half time, they looked a much better side in the second half and they slowly started to apply more and more pressure on the home sides defence. It was on the hour mark when Salford got a penalty, it was clinically put away by Rhodri Giggs. Salford sat back a bit after taking the lead but unlike the first half, they now appeared more confident on the ball and a lot tighter in the middle of the park. Garforth were struggling to create worthwhile openings and a lot of their play fizzled out without creating danger. Salford hung on for a really important away win with 3 precious points to put in the survival bank. Garforth looked gutted (At least the tea hut wasn't).I made a quick exit on the final whistle and paid my last goodbye to Cedar Ridge. Pity about the massive stretch of roadworks on the M62 heading back west, almost all the way from the M1 junction east of Leeds following through all the sections to Huddersfield, thats one hell of a stretch of cones and reduced speed limits. Is it me, it appears everywhere is having lots of road repairs at the moment!

Thursday, 11 February 2010

L.F.A Ground, Leyland

Wednesday 10th February 2010
Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy Semi Final
Played at the LFA County Ground, Leyland
Clitheroe 3 Leigh Genesis 1
Attendance: 149
Admission: £8 via ticket
Programme: £1
Tea hut purchase: Tea 50p
Weather: A clear very cold evening
Parking: Public car park adjacent to the stadium complex
Things didn't get off to a good start for the big cup tie. Jenkins the cat has a thing about electrics, he doesn't like anything plugged in, no matter what the item. I made the mistake of leaving the nutter in the same room as my camera and its accompanying charger and Jenkins took his opportunity in clinical style, he unleashed one of his special Semi Final slashes (which he had apparently been storing up since dinner time) all over the camera. Needless to say, the mood in the house went up to Def Con 1 and Jenkins did a runner over the nearest hillside.As I only had twenty minutes before travel time, I had to take my back up camera to the match but it struggles with the gloom and fails to provide quality-images so apologies if the pictures are a bit grainy for this report. Several 'wanted' posters have gone up for Jenkins down in the village, cleary emblazoned with 'dead or alive', 'approach with caution', 'if caught, keep him away from the mains supply, including substations'. The temperature was already dropping as I arrived in Leyland. Located just south of Preston the town is the home of the splendid Lancashire Football Associations County Ground complex. I am told that Bolton Wanderers play reserve games here as well as there being representative fixtures for the County. It was forecast to be freezing tonight and it had already started to stiffen up the pitch. I'd been warned to get here early as there was bound to be a long queue as everyone had to buy a ticket from the reception desk, unless you'd taken the 'FA' advice to get one in advance. Some 50 minutes before kick off there was me, 2 stewards and half a dozen blokes stood around talking near the turnstiles. The long queue for the reception desk attendant numbered a total of 1 eager punter (me). The actual ground was not as sterile as some of these County places tend to be, it had a small covered hard standing area at one end, a grassy slope at the other end whilst a long seated stand offered good viewing down the far touchline. The near touchline housed the large office and corporate building which gave the ground more of a 'built in' presence rather than a wide open profile. Toilet blocks and a tea hut dwelling complimented the corner area just inside the turnstiles. I'd had a big Italian type teatime meal before the 'Jenkins the cat' atrocity so I didn't really fancy a pie from the tea hut (I noticed they were Hollands ones at £1.50 each), I also had a chunky Kit Kat with me for half time. I decided to just have a tea, it was only 50p but the paper cup would have struggled to house a boiled egg it was that small, two sips and it was gone.

By kick off the numbers in the ground had increased with the vast majority coming from Clitheroe, in fact I only spotted a small group of Leigh supporters all night. I was going to try and find Leyther Matt from the CN Forum but I wasn't too sure who he was so I decided not to cause a scene by asking strangers "Are you Matt"? Makes it difficult when everybody is wrapped up in woolly hats, scarves and dead animal skins (Jenkins might be added to that quota any day soon). I sat in the Main Stand and was most entertained by over-hearing the non-stop wit and gossip of a large Clitheroe fan who was holding court amongst his flock. He never took a break but he was very good, it included him shouting out pleasantries and sarcastic barbs to players and passing supporters alike. The Main Stand action even witnessed a live rat (looked like a mini version of Jenkins), it running up and down the place before disappearing behind a bin! What drama. On top of this I suddenly realised I had made a massive mistake in my match appreciation, it wasn't until Leigh equalised to make it 1-1 that I found out I had got the teams (and the supporters) mixed up! I naturally thought that the team in blue and white would be Clitheroe as those are their traditional colours, nope, Leigh were in blue and white tonight and Clitheroe had on some fancy orange and black stripes number. I even thought the big bloke and his entourage were Leigh fans, it was only at 1-1 when it dawned what a mistake I'd made. Numpty or what! That takes some owning up, what an idiot. I was a neutral but I should know the difference between 2 sides I'd already seen play earlier in the season. I put it down to the Jenkins attack and the stress of a knackered camera. As for the match itself, I considered it pretty good stuff. Both sides played some fine attacking football with Leigh in particular knocking it about quite well. However, it was Clitheroe who had the cutting edge and they decisively took their chances and never gave the Leigh defence a rest. Alan Coar and Danny Williams proved to be a real threat on the night. It was a bit of a shame that Leigh couldn't reach the final as they have had a torrid time of late, it would have given them a bit of sunshine during a dark period for the club. To lose their current home ground for next season, lose the main sponsors and then lose the club captain all in a row has been bad news indeed. Still, one has to applaud Clitheroe, they deserve their chance and they are a great little club, I hope they go on to win the trophy. I pointed the car for the hills and my thoughts turned to getting together an early morning posse. That Jenkins was out there somewhere.......and I was going to find him.

I like him really, he had a big meal when I got home and I cleaned up the camera.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Maine Road FC

Saturday 6th February 2010
North West Counties League Premier Division
Maine Road FC 0 Newcastle Town 2
Attendance: 68
Admission: £5
Programme: £1.50
Tea hut purchases: Tea 50p, Meat & Potato Pie £1.20p
Weather: Cloudless sunshine and reasonably mild
Parking: Club car park, easy getaway

The ground at Brantingham Road could be classed 'basic' but it appeared resplendently neat, tidy and shiny in the nice Manchester sunshine. What a wonder to receive a decent day for a football match. Time to forget about ice, snow and grit-lock, at least until next week. The team renowned for nurturing good junior players were taking on the runaway juggernaut from Staffordshire. 'The machine that won't switch off' had won 24 games out of 24, hammered in 74 goals and conceded only 7. I was a tad surprised a few more spectators had not tagged along to see this wonder of modern NWCL football, especially on such a glorious afternoon.
The bogs were locked but the tea hut was open and the old container served up economical tea at 50p a cup and Hollands pies for £1-20p, a lot more affordable than the wallet fleecing currently adopted by a few bigger name clubs in non league circles of late. The club deserves a lot of credit for providing the tea hut profile with limited attendances, lets hope people keep eating the pies and funding the service. I was directed to the changing room block for my pre-match toilet break, what an honour, I was going to have a bath and a few oranges but thought better of it. I later learned that a more public facility was open in the club building near the car park.
The match was more or less controlled by Newcastle throughout with quite a few chances being squandered. The two goals when they did arrive were both very scrappy affairs and Maine Road certainly did their utmost to get in and about the visitors and hit them on the break. One can see why Newcastle have opened up such a significant lead at the top of the table, (second placed Ramsbottom trail them by 25 points), they do play some quality football and are a joy to watch in full flow. For so long this club have missed out on the big league honours, I think this season its already a done deal and they'll get what they've chased for such a long time. Maine Road deserve credit for never giving up in this game a fact reflected by some hefty full on challenges in the final quarter, it reminded me of proper football with Roy of the Rovers style tackling. All in all this was an enjoyable afternoon and I would recommend a visit to Brantingham Road for non league aficianados who may visit the Greater Manchester area, it is not palatial, so dont go expecting fancy frills but I did find it to be a great little place to watch a football match.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Springtime in paradise

Well not quite springtime but it turned out to be a lovely day at Maine Road FC's famous Brantingham Road ground. How nice to see the sun again.

Read all about 'Roads' big game against runaway NWCL leaders Newcastle Town.

Story and artistically inept pictures due up around Sunday teatime (February 7th). Once my Mums had her Gut-Buster Dinner.