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

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Farsley AFC

Saturday 31st July
Pre Season Friendly
Farsley AFC 0 Guiseley 5
Attendance: 219 (Head count)
Admission: £5
Programme: £1.50
Tea Hut Purchase: Cheese sandwich from the Bar? £1.50
Weather: Cloudy and slightly chilly at times
Parking: Club car park, easy exit
Driving through West Yorkshire you come across some great names for fish and chip shops, or should I say 'fisheries', which is the traditional name for your average chippy around the area. Cow Head Fisheries, Fat Crag Fisheries, Stump Cross Chippy and Neds Pie Tub all flashed by as I made my winding way towards the Pudsey area of West Leeds. Tell you what, there are some fantastic looking Indian Restaurants as well, especially in the Bradford section of the journey. One that stuck out was 'Ackbars' a big plush place rumoured to be the best Indian in the North West, Mmmm, wouldn't mind a Chicken Dansak, Pilau Rice and a couple of Chapattis right now! By the time I eventually pulled up in the big Farsley car park I was bloody starving! My mind was full of food. I was in the mood to have my first big pig-out of the season and I couldn't wait to hit the tea hut (large style).
First I had to bag my match programme, I'd read about the new styled Farsley publication on the club website, the new offering was going to be sold both in the ground and simultaneously on-line. Strange not to find a programme seller inside the ground? I made my way to the club shop and asked the man if any were on sale. "Good job you enquired early" he said, "we've only printed 35"! So now I have a very rare item, a first edition Farsley AFC programme. My next task was finding that tea hut. I scanned the ground, I went behind the shop and then beside the stand and even walked all the way around the pitch, this couldn't be right, there didn't appear to be a tea hut? Surely Farsley had at least a small snack bar, even a burger van would be better than nothing. What was I going to do now? I couldn't last out till home time. I decided to go in the bar, I couldn't really drink as I was driving but surely they had some food? I was right, they did have some provisions but I have to say it was truly basic fayre, bread rolls! You could have beef, ham or cheese. Wow, spoilt for choice or what! I was feeling reckless so I chose cheese, the young barmaid grabbed my one pound fifty and thrust the cellophaned package in my hand. I was gutted. I trudged off to the seats behind the goals (mumbling) and tried to make the best of my prison-food dinner, not a great start. To be fair, one has to consider that Farsley are a born again club rising from the ashes of the defunct Farsley Celtic. Celtic had Conference North status, the new club will ply its trade in the Premier Division of the Northern Counties East League. To get everything ready for the fast approaching season they probably haven't had time to sort out a decent tea hut yet, lets hope they can get something in place before too long. The cheese roll would pacify me until I got home for my Braised Beef and Onion Muffins which my wife had promised me. I love soft flaking rich beef cooked to perfection in red wine on a big warm muffin, especially with some big fat chips on the side .
Enough of this food gubbins, I'm getting sidetracked from the action! Todays galactico opposition were the Conference Norths newest conscripts 'Guiseley', they only live down the road so this was a bit of a derby match. Guiseley did really well in the old UniBond League last season and apparently have a very decent squad for the coming campaign. They've got a classic white and navy blue kit and today they played some classy looking football as well. They passed the ball well, utilised space to the premium and clinically attacked the Farsley back line with rewarding results. Ex Stalybridge playmaker Warren Peyton was having a field day in midfield. To win 5-0 away from home is impressive, I know its only a friendly but it is still a big tick in the box for development and confidence. Farsley had done pretty well in their other respective pre season games. They struggled to keep pace with Guiseley in this type of mood. The Guiseley faithful made up more than half of todays modest crowd and they were greatly appreciative of the fine football. Farsley stuck to the task right to the last and did create a number of clear cut opportunities for themselves, alas, the finishing was a bit woeful, something I had noted whilst eating my cheese sandwich before kick off, it seemed that 9 out of every 10 warm up shots went over the stand (that is not an exaggeration either)! At least the home fans had their plastic pint pots of ale to cry in, the bar seemed to be doing a roaring trade.
The game was played on a nice looking pitch which seemed well trimmed but did give the odd bobble now and again. The ground itself is very tidy and well looked after. It sports a decent sized main stand and a covered, partially seated home end behind the nets, the other end is open with hard standing and the opposite touchline has good open terracing affording excellent views of the action. Its a homely place if a little low on quirky character, Throstle Nest is certainly a decent ground to watch your football. I sincerely hope Farsley can make a go of things this season, they should offer a stern test for their respective league opposition in the Northern Counties East (if they can improve the quality of their shooting). As for Guiseley, without doubt, they will make a fine addition to the Conference North. It will be very interesting to see how they perform early season.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Sheffield FC

Saturday 24th July
Pre Season Friendly
Sheffield FC 2 Boston United 3
Attendance: 112 (Head count)
Admission: £6
Programme: £1.50p (for this & the Harrogate Town game)
Tea hut purchase: Steak pie (Pukka) £2
Weather: Started sunny, went cloudy, stayed dry
Parking: Club car park, lucky to get a sharp exit
I made the decision to get to Dronfield, home town/village of Sheffield FC, via a scenic journey through the Peak District. Bit of a mistake really. It took me nearly 3 hours to do the 50 odd mile trip and the last 15 of these witnessed emergency rally driving manoeuvres just to make kick off. The big problem was the exceptionally long tail back crawling through the terrible bottle neck of Glossop, take it from me, it is not recommended, I'd advise anyone to avoid the place at all costs, come home time I took the M1 & M62 motorways even if it did put an extra 20 miles on the clock. To exacerbate the situation once I found the ground there was nowhere to park. The surrounding roads and streets offer zero opportunities to dump your car, unless you want to half park the kerb on the busy A61, the match-cruiser has cost me enough hard cash in the last month without forking out for further repairs. My only option was to enter the already packed car park. I dont like places that allow block stacking and the doubling in of vehicles, it can take an eternity to get out again. I just managed to wedge the match-cruiser (or match-shed if you like) up against some cones next to the office, I was so far out in the only driving lane I would be sure of a sharp exit (excellent).
Upon entering the BT Local Business Stadium I immediately realised what a great little place it was for football. It had that charm and ambience associated with a quality non league football set up. Courteous friendly groundstaff, a nice chap doing 'alfresco' match announcements, kitchen staff doing heat-thermometer checks on the pasties and excellent little stands with seating behind the nets and terracing down the touchline, all superbly complimented by a lovely looking playing surface. I liked it! I had heard that not all sides of the ground were accessible? Maybe I was wrong, however, on my visit you could get to all four sides, the only restriction was that you couldn't stand on the steep sheeted bank down the far touchline and the dug outs were blocked off down that side meaning you had to double back rather than walk all the way around (not really a problem to me), I rated it a very good viewing experience.
I got a programme (with good reading) and tucked into my Pukka Pie as the teams came out. Todays opponents were the respected Boston United, a few punters dark horses for Blue Square North honours this season, newly promoted and looking resplendent in their sky blue away kit they certainly looked the business. The grapevine drums have been banging about the sharp skills and goal getting attributes of Bostons new forward Miles Hunter, having seen Miles play for his 60 minute spell today, it appears Boston have found a diamond! He's fast and clinical and difficult to mark, he looks like causing mayhem for a good many defences this season, he has some good solid support from the other Boston forwards as well.
This was a top match for a friendly and both sides played some really good football, it was end to end entertainment for the most part. Sheffield themselves look to have signed a top quality player in the very nippy and proficient Ash Burbeary, signed from Gainsborough he looks the business and oozed quality when he was on the ball, also nice to see Curtis Woodhouse still doing an expert job in midfield.
There was plenty of action for the crowd to appreciate, something the travelling band of supporters from Boston would be glad of, especially as they snatched a late victory after being 2-1 down well into the second half. The Boston followers will surely see some top notch football this season and I would agree with those in the know, they will be in with a very good shout for a bit of success.
With the added bonus of the Coach and Horses pub right on the doorstep with its own half-time gate it truly is a wonderful set up at Sheffield (pity I was driving), many a football fan will be like a kid in a sweet shop at this place, a much enjoyed visit. At the final whistle I quickly dashed back to the match-cruiser and was relieved to find a clear path to the entrance, a number of later arriving cars appeared to have been left 'Starsky & Hutch' style purely at random, blocking even further cars in. I took the A61 towards Sheffield city and picked up signs for the M1, a good days football!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Cheadle Town

Wednesday 21st July
Pre Season Friendly
Cheadle Town 1 Witton Albion Reserves? 1
Attendance: 82 (Head count)
Admission: £5
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.
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).

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Yorkshire Amateur

Saturday 17th July
Pre Season Friendly
Yorkshire Amateur 3 Barnoldswick Town 4
Attendance: 31 (Head count)
Admission: £5
Programme: £1
Tea Hut purchases: Tea £1, Cone of Chips £1
Weather: Dry and fair with sunny spells
Parking: Street outside the ground, easy exit
I have always found the city of Leeds a bit of a mare to drive around. After leaving the normality of the M62 and going down that nice road past Elland Road you're thrown into the urban chaos off a couple of dual carriageways and then it all goes a bit 'washing-machine'? I eventually found the scenic little home of Yorkshire Amateur FC after 3 wrong turns and 2 sets of 'passer-by' directions, the post code given for the ground is simply not the place, something which may have had something to do with half the Barnoldswick side turning up at 5 minutes to 3pm? There were a few other hoppers attending this game and it was good to have a chat to pass the 20 minute delayed kick-off. This was my first visit to a Northern Counties East ground and much impressed I was by the charismatic setting amidst the lovely trees and greenery.I'd already bagged a humble programme and was further pleased to see a little kitchen type tea hut in operation, great stuff. Two chaps in regulation aprons had already got a traditional greasy smell emitting through the hatch with economy burgers and cones of chips the apparent signature dishes of choice. I got a large tea in a plastic cup which was a bit steep at a quid-a-bag and later sampled the chips at half time (I bottled out on the burger, they looked a bit anaemic in the big dry buns), they did have a great selection of relish on offer though. A fine looking pitch and sunny skies for the most part provided just the footing for a good quality friendly. The home side are hoping to make a challenge for the top division this season with a new management team at the helm in Paul Lines and Steve Milner (ex Ossett Town & Guiseley). Visitors Barnoldswick have just achieved premier league status in the hotly contested North West Counties League.There was plenty of commitment and effort on display but it was extra special to see some decent passing and a selection of exceptional goals (plus a couple of penalties). I dont think I'll see a better finish than that executed for Barnoldswicks third goal all season, a well placed 10/10 long range net buster! Even the officials seemed to have really good games today?It was a shame there were not more spectators than the thirty odd I counted, something which is similar for actual league games I believe (strange really as the ground is in a big catchment area not far from the centre of Leeds), but those in attendance certainly got value for money today.I'll keep an eye out for Yorkshire Amateur it will be interesting to see how they progress, as for Barnoldswick Town, they looked a classy outfit today with some very decent players, their baptism in the NWCL top flight will be very hard but I have a sneaky feeling they might just upset a few of the established big guns in the division, should be well worth watching. The final whistle went just after 5pm, a good afternoons sport slightly marred by me steering the 'match-cruiser' the wrong way across one of those horrendous Leeds one way traffic light junctions, I managed to just beat the tight bend and the high curb sending locals and shoppers into a sharp retreat, I was saddened to see that one woman lost control of her baps as they spilled out onto the street (oh dear). At least nobody got hurt. Perhaps I should get the train the next time I visit Leeds?

Wednesday, 14 July 2010


Tuesday 13th July
Pre Season Friendly
Chadderton 3 Leigh Genesis 3
Attendance: 64 (Head count)
Admission: £4
Programme: Not tonight Doreen
Tea Hut Purchase: Large tea at 50p
Weather: Continual swirling rain, terrible
Parking: Street outside the ground, easy exit
The back streets of Chadderton are a Wayne Rooney miss-hit from Oldham Athletics Boundary Park. Tonight, the Andrew Street ground was a smudged wet canvas of gloomy damp raincoats. The rain clouds all joined hands and they brought the wind too, this was going to be hard and so it jolly well proved. 4 coins for the pleasure, the gate man smiled 'enter' and so the evening began. Chadderton play in the lower division of the North West Counties League, their all red kit slightly spoiled by the odd player in odd coloured socks, Frugal Glenn thought 4 quid on the gate deserved a proper kit (slightly harsh but an opinion paid for none the less).
The top of the bill presented Leigh Genesis, a respected Evo-Stik club currently going through a transitional 're-gluing' period. 5 minutes before kick off the ground staff put the posts up and the punters shuffled trance like to the sheltered little stand. If only the roof had withstood the years a little better, the rain was being blown in and chilly cold wetness was everywhere. The weather won the event in the first half, a hoof, a punt and a charge was the general pattern of play as the sides found little 'joined-up' momentum. Chadderton took the lead and on went the rain and on went the wind. Time for the glowing beacon of the Tea Hut. Nice to see a decent sized big cup of tea and they only took 50p, people called for pies but the pies had all gone, they'd left it too late, off they trudged in soaking misery.
It appeared Leigh had adopted the deranged Sven Goran Errikson strategy for multiple changing substitutes from half time onwards. There were more Leigh subs warming up than actual paying spectators! They couldn't have got this lot on a coach, perhaps they hired a train? During the second half there must have been a sub coming on every 5 minutes. Chadderton even got in on the act, they started putting players back on who had earlier been taken off, it was all very confusing and made the fragile proceedings a bit of a mockery. I understand the need for fitness, new tactics and giving trialists a shot but dont take 4 pounds off people for public park antics (please). I see Chadderton were advertising free admission for their next friendly against Winsford United, no disrespect to Leigh but they are not that big a draw, perhaps £2 may have been a fairer admission price this evening (hope I'm not appearing too tight).
At least we got some goals and after Chadderton went 3-1 up all credit to the multi-changing Leigh squad for a good fightback and levelling the very wet proceedings at 3-3. People had been leaving in one's and two's well before the death, those left at the final whistle all seemed relieved for the conclusion (for goodness sake where is my enthusiasm, this is only my second game of the season). I'm afraid it was that kind of an evening, no disrespect to the clubs, it was good to get back in the car.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Prestwich Heys

Saturday 10th July
Pre Season Friendly
Prestwich Heys 0 Padiham 0
Attendance: 37 (Head count)
Admission: Free (Very reasonable)
Programme: In your dreams!
Tea Hut Purchase: Took my own water
Weather: Hot, humid, sunny spells
Parking: In the adjoining club car park, easy exit
What better way to start the new season, a fine and dry trip to the respected home of Manchester FL Premier League playboys Prestwich Heys. Tucked away behind some trees just off the busy M60/M62, the location hosted those esteemed visitors from the North West Counties League, Padiham.

Frugal Glenn who'd decided to make the trip alongside me was mighty pleased to find free admission at the solitary turnstile, a bonus for his early season budget "big-time" as he subtly put it. The fact he spent the next 15 minutes nervously 'on-the-move' was slightly negative behaviour but he didnt want to bump into any kind of official going around with a hat (which didn't materialise). Glenn was also sporting a rare 'brand-new' t-shirt for todays game which even had a football theme, he'd bought an Italian world cup number in a fire sale at Asda's the day after they'd been dumped out of the competition, it cost him (as he put it) " a very fair 2 quid"?
There is not much in the way of stands and terracing at Prestwich just a small building housing a cosy looking bar and an ex-container style changing rooms section. The pitch is nicely railed off with accompanying hard standing which in turn is spaciously sectioned off by a concrete perimeter fence. A tidy little set up for their league standing and it looked mighty fine in the warm July weather. I didnt expect a fancy tea hut for a friendly and I am not sure what would possibly be on offer for an official league game, however, the bar was open and a few people had cool pints of ale to withstand the sultry heat.
The hyped up North West drought had made an effect on the pitch which looked hard and dry (understandably) but it does look a good flat surface at Prestwich.

The game itself was a hard fought encounter with some very blunt challenges, none of that World Cup diving and screaming here, even early doors both sides were ploughing in extremely hard, it appeared the game might have boiled over but it gradually simmered down and for most of the first half a kind of ping-pong, back and forward, kick and rush collage of football cuttings put itself together.

I got my water out of the car at half time which gave me the weird sensation of drinking a hot water bottle like you put in the bed on a cold winters night.
During the second half both sides put some nice passing movements together and some good chances appeared at both ends. Prestwich looked quality in midfield and Padiham have a real cut and thrust attitude up front, it was entertaining stuff after that dour first period. I know these games are just about fitness really but it was good to get back on the groundhopping merry-go-round and both me and Frugal Glenn enjoyed the afternoon, shame it ended 0-0, I went all last season without a goalless draw and now I've chalked one up in the very first game!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Notification of 'Tea Hut' Friendly games 2010/11

Welcome to the new football season everybody!
I've had a good look regarding whats on offer pre-season friendly wise and it gives me great pleasure to announce my early season visits to some fantastic football grounds. So far there are 6 definite games I'll be attending but there could very well be a couple of late additions to expand things even further. It works out that 4 of the 6 locations will be new grounds for 'Wheres The Tea Hut', with a couple of return visits pencilled in for some mouth watering fixtures at Mossley and Witton Albion. Here is a complete list of the respective dates and games:

Saturday 10th Prestwich Heys v Padiham
Tuesday 13th Chadderton v Leigh Genesis
Wednesday 21st Cheadle Town v Witton Albion
Saturday 24th Mossley v Bala Town
Wednesday 28th Oldham Boro v FC United
Tuesday 3rd Witton Albion v Stalybridge Celtic

To get in the mood for the forthcoming action here is a little snap from a couple of seasons ago when I ventured to the lovely Bower Fold ground of Stalybridge Celtic for a pre season game against Macclesfield Town.