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

Sunday, 27 March 2011


Saturday 26th March,
Evo Stik Northern Premier League Division 1 North,
Trafford 1 AFC Fylde 4,
Attendance: 147,
Admission: £7,
Programme: £1.50,
Tea hut purchases: Cheeseburger £2.50, Tea 80p,
Weather: Cloudy,
Parking: Car park outside the entrance, easy getaway I picked Frugal Glenn up from outside Booze Busters and swung the Match Shed around for the M62 come M60 around Manchester. It wasn't even dinner time. Due to the 'Overpaid-Spoilt-Jessies-Eleven' playing Wales this afternoon live on Sky a lot of non league sides chose to kick off at 1pm, Trafford was one of them. Cannot blame them really, its probable that more punters would turn up for an early kick off rather than not at all with the 3pm game on the telly (even it is the overpriced characterless Sky version that most people watch in the pub). Can you believe we didn't even get delayed highlights on terrestrial tv for this international qualifying status match, I'd only have a good moan anyway but thats not the point, pay for view television has already taken rugby league and cricket away from the normal man in the street and nowadays we're left to pay our extortionate BBC licence for a bit of poxy cycling, boring womens swimming and a few sports cars following each other around millionaires race tracks! Give me the Northern Premier League live action any day. As we approached Junction 10 of the M60 I half expected a traffic jam, besides this being the turn off for Trafford FC its also the connection for the unholy designer shopping hell of The Trafford Centre (cue shiver from Frugal Glenn), I kept a firm grip of the Match Shed steering wheel, dozens of daft women in big 4 x 4's were swopping lanes at random and generally failing to drive in a straight line, the Match Shed didn't like it one bit. Miraculously I got the car down the slip road without any of the women hitting us. No sooner had I got within a couple of miles of the ground when I discovered the local council had closed the road. Some jobsworths on triple time were digging a hole on the very road junction highlighted on my scribbled directions for the ground (unbelievable, I know). I thought councils didn't have any money any more? The only reason the road was closed wasn't because of the hole, that was on the pavement, it was for parking the bloody vehicle that they came in! Frugal Glenn admirably took on the responsibility of emergency navigator and promptly directed me into a multi storey car park (with no 'U' turns) in Urmston town centre. He was immediately sacked.Half an hour later we picked up some diversion signs and luckily fell upon the Shawe View Stadium, the nicely kept home of Trafford Football Club. You take a sharp corner by the Bird in Hand pub and the narrow lane takes you down to a spacious and well maintained large car park directly adjacent to the turnstile entrance. A gang of well dressed Fylde committee looking men entered the ground at the same time as me and Frugal, they made a direct dash for the Tea Hut (they looked pretty hungry) only to be extremely disappointed that the shutters were still down and it wasn't yet open for business despite it only being 30 minutes to kick off. To make the situation worse you could hear the burgers sizzling as they pre-prepared them on the griddle inside the hut, that gorgeous smoky smell of flash frying beef wafted out towards the slavering Fylde committee men who stomped around for a short while before following me and Frugal Glenn into the tiny bar in a nearby portakabin. I ordered a pint of Stella at £2.90, I needed a drink after all that stress in the Match Shed. We watched the end of Englands innings in the Cricket World Cup clash against Sri Lanka on the big screen, it was obvious we hadn't got enough runs.Ten minutes before kick off we were back pitch side and in a rather large queue for the 'now-opened' Tea Hut. Unfortunately the Fylde committee mob were ahead of us in the queue and appeared to be buying in bulk. Two nice ladies seemed to be doing a good job of getting everyone served and we were soon at the counter. I was taken aback at Frugal Glenn placing his biggest ever order at a football ground Tea Hut, it turned out his wife had put him on a diet and he'd been struggling for over two weeks now. He promptly ordered Chicken Curry Pie, Peas and Gravy with a Bovril on the side. I noted that the hut was dishing out Peters Pies which I've not been too keen on in the past so I went for a large looking cheeseburger which came on a nice fresh roll. It was most enjoyable which is nice to note after quite a few bad experiences at other grounds in the recent past. Frugal Glenn liked his purchase as well, apparently the Peters Pie was spot on? Looking around the Shawe View ground it comes across as an appealing environment to watch football, its well kept and has a spacious feel to it whilst still offering good views of the action.It has stands on 3 sides all of an identical structure, the two down each touchline offer seating and the one behind the nets offers a covered terrace, just beside the covered end a young lad with a rucksack pulled out a large Trafford FC flag and hung it on the nearby fence, there wasn't a massive crowd today and it was good to see a bit of enthusiasm for the local team, especially from the younger elements, lets remember Old Trafford is only a short distance from here. The match programme gives a good run down of the squads and recent performances, all in all a decent publication. Trafford are 16th in the NPL Division 1 North and have had a couple of welcome away wins recently against well respected opposition, namely Chorley and Clitheroe. AFC Fylde have strengthened their profile this term and currently reside in 4th spot in the table, they beat Lancaster City 4-1 earlier in the week, todays game had the makings of an interesting encounter. I dont think it was the Barcelona type kit that Fylde played in but they certainly put on a master class of entertaining passing football in the first 45 minutes. The first goal went in with only half a minute on the clock and by half time they were 3-0 up. To their credit the young Trafford side tried to match them and played some very neat football themselves, they never gave up but they couldn't create the clear opportunities to get back in the game.Shawe View offers a nice level looking playing surface but there did appear to be a few bobbly patches on closer scrutiny, not a critisism as there was a hell of a lot of good passing football on offer in this game, usually its hard to truly judge a pitch as the ball is usually being hoofed twenty yards up in the air. I'd say the pitch at Trafford compliments the high standard of the rest of the ground. AFC Fylde certainly appear a very good side, whether they can take the momentum to some end of season reward remains to be seen, they seemed to ease back a bit in the second half and let Trafford come onto them a little more but the game was never in doubt, they went 4-0 up when Michael Barnes finshed off a sublime move in the 58th minute, Trafford bagged a consolation goal when Kyle Harrops cross come shot sneaked over the keeper with a minute left to play. All in all a very convincing high quality performance from AFC Fylde, I'm impressed! They look strong in every department.Having said that I do feel there is some hope for this young Trafford side, they play the game the right way and with a bit more punch up front they could well develop into something like the finished article, Centre Forward Tom Bentham could do with a bit more support when they go forward, perhaps too often he was left on his own against some very competent Fylde defenders. I do hope they keep trying to play the right way though, such a welcome change after weeks of watching hoof-ball across the Northern Leagues. It was back to the Match Shed for me and Frugal Glenn come full time, neither of us fancied cramming into the portakabin bar to watch The Playboys on Sky, no disrespect to the portakabin bar either (my glass of Stella earlier in the day was first class), it looked a great place for a quite pint under more normal circumstances, besides Frugal Glenn had a date with a plate of grated carrot and iceberg lettuce.


Katy Cat said...

Hi Uwdi, glad you enjoyed your postponed visit to Shawe View and that the tea hut met with your approval (as we always knew it would

This has sometimes been a difficult season in what’s increasingly become a difficult league. North One has latterly developed into something of boundary between genuinely big clubs now in a process of renewal (Chester following Halifax), arrivistes like Fylde (and with all due respect: they’re a good side) and a larger number of outfits who are probably at or near the limits of what’s realistic based on the obvious in resource constraints. Trafford fall into that category so, yes, a future based on developing younger talent is almost certainly the way ahead. That’s difficult because it runs the risk of player turnover placing the team into semi-permanent transition but it’s not impossible and there are signs of progress for us to build on.

Of course, being able to expand the supporter base (c130 has been pretty much the average for several seasons now) would also help and it’s where pub football has a lot to answer for. Sure, there’s a very big club not so far away, yet if just 50-60 people in this area (which is well populated) swapped their Saturday Sky and Stella session for just a few games at a real club it would make a huge difference. In the meantime, we like groundhoppers here and we’re glad you like us – thanks for such a good write-up :)

Uwdi Krugg said...

Thanks for that informed response Katy.

muldoonican said...

Top review. My local team. I was probably in front of you yesterday when you took that last picture.Katy is right, I don't go to every match but if Trafford could get to around 300 hundred plus per game it would create a bit of a buzz in the area. But here is a small criticism of the committee, why don't they get out and about in the local schools spreading the words to the kids. At the moment it is free to get in with an adult. FC Utd manage it at my lads' school in Urmston. I often imagine a busy Shawe View with hundreds of fans there, like when chester visited in January. But they are all cheering the home team. Its a great ground and plenty of room for expansion should the need ever arise.
John, M41

muldoonican said...

I was probably just out of camera shot of your last picture yesterday! Katy is right a few more fans are needed here . It would be nice to regularly have the 700 that were here for the Chester game every week supporting the home side. A 250 average is certainly achievable. I do a lot of the Saturday home games with my little lad, only because of my ground hopperish ways. We both follow MUFC but realistically we are both only going to see live football together here and not at OT. Here is where I have a criticism of the committee. FC United's Margy comes to our school to do training with the kids, yes I know he lives locally, but no one from Trafford has come round to say there is a club down the road that is free to get in for kids with an adult!!!! Why not? The only bit of advertising to show that a match is on are a couple of A4 posters, one near the Bird and one on Moorside Road. Pathetic. I fear some of the self serving members like to keep their little club their own pet project. If they made more of an effort recruiting instead of yapping at the bar crowds might be bigger and the attractive football that Trafford do play might one day lead to the success that maybe would see this ground developed further and the team hold their own in a higher league. Rant over. Nurse, the meds please.

Katy Cat said...

At the risk of hijacking Uwdi's blog but with I hope relevance to other clubs...

In terms of demographics, Trafford has a good fit with the potential to expand its supporter base: it's a well populated area with a healthy economic profile (at least relatively) and a significant bias toward families. Add in accessibiity and a lack of competition and, well, you wonder what the club aren't doing. It then doesn't take a leap in imagination to work out that tapping this potential isn't so very hard - persuading one of the universities to provide the research (insight) set (or getting Urmston GS to do the same), would be a starting point. Marketing TFC as a local community club, on your doorstep with football for all at a realistic price would then become an realistic goal. No pun.

If they you build it they will come as someone once said...

< Ends marketing debate >

Reynard The Fox said...

Nice report Uwdi. Nice to see the views of the people involved with the Club too.

Hodders said...

Thanks for the heads up on Trafford's ground Uwdi. FC United have a friendly there in August so that should hopefully up the attendance.