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

Monday, 16 April 2012

Football is being ruined

I am sick and tired of habitual divers and inept, incompetent referee's continually disgracing the game of football.

The pathetic (rancid) examples witnessed during Manchester United v Aston Villa and the FA Cup Semi Final between Spurs and Chelsea emphasise how far todays (sordid) game has slid down the toilet.

No wonder people don't go anymore, a lot don't even watch it on TV.

One has to question whether it is time to find something more honest and morally appropriate to enjoy than the maggot-ridden (corrupt) world of football?

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Bacup Borough 0 Ramsbottom United 1

Easter Monday 9th April 2012
North West Counties League Premier Division
Attendance: 167
Admission: £6
Tea Hut stuff: Soup 80p
Weather: Continuous non stop rain, grey, dull, very wet
Parking: Just off Cowtoot Lane a few minutes from the ground
I've had a love-hate relationship with Bacup Borough over recent seasons. They have a charismatic ultra rustic ground on top of the hills above Bacup and when the sun is out there are some stunning views to enjoy, a great place to watch non league football. However, when there is a bit of dodgy weather about, particularly rain, they drive me mad with the uncertainty of whether the game will be called off or not, I've been here before when a late postponement has sent me home fuming after a wasted journey. I think I've been harsh on Bacup in criticising them, especially when you get in the ground and you appreciate just high up on the hill the place is and you then take in the significant slope that runs down from the farmers field touchline. It must be murder trying to drain this pitch, I owe you an apology Borough, I'm out of order for being unrealistic about how harsh the landscape is up here.
Anyway, against all the odds today, the game survived some absolutely awful weather, it had been raining quite hard since the early hours and already a number of NWCL matches had been called off elsewhere, I had feared the worst but the NWCL had twittered that the game was on, I made a phone call to the club just in case, at 1.20pm they confirmed the match would definitely take place. Well done Bacup. Todays game was vitally important in the sense that the snazzy visitors from Ramsbottom were league leaders (just), they were just in front of a hard-chasing Runcorn Town who had a game in hand, Rammy needed all 3 points today and with Bacup in a cup semi-final on Thursday, their large travelling support seemed mighty smug of the outcome. Frugal Glenn was back in the Tea Hut squad for todays game, he's been missing for a while due to moving house, plus the fact that he's now got 3 Indian takeaways just down the road and he's been blowing his spends in them not just at evenings but dinner times as well! I advised him on the importance of a well balanced diet. We were in the ground at 2.30 and rather than get wet soaking through too early we went in the wonderful Martin Peters Sports Bar just behind the nets. I had a pint of Becks at 2.85p. The place was pretty packed and everybody appeared well-up for the match.
The ground offers some protection from the rain in the format of an attractive little seated stand down by the corner flag, a covered terrace on the opposite touchline beside the halfway line and finally a bit of a cowshed type kop behind the goals at the far end of the pitch, this has been blocked off in recent times but it looks like the club are doing some work to the standing area under the roof and today there was space to stand at the front nearest the pitch.
Me and Frugal had economy-brollies so we stood in the open near the halfway line adjacent to the changing rooms. The rain was relentless but the pitch seemed to be holding up and we were quickly into the action. Bacup put pressure on the visitors straight from the kick off and got right into their faces, the fancy dans from Ramsbottom didn't like this one bit and seemed a bit rattled. Bacup got a few clear cut chances but fluffed them, this would prove extremely costly as Rammy slowly but surely dug in, held their positions and started to move forward.
They won more of the 50-50's and began passing around the chasing Bacup players, without creating too much up front Ramsbottom looked the better side by half time, Bacup lacked the cutting edge with which they started so brightly. It was back to the shelter of the Sports Bar at half time, Frugal Glenn got a 50p Bovril which he confirmed was the best he'd had all season, I got a soup for 80p, I think it was golden creamy vegetable or something, anyway, I didn't think much of it, it was a bit tasteless. I did think about having a portion of the famous Premiership Pie they serve from the kitchen, lots seemed to be trying it but I'd had a big dinner so I gave it a miss, maybe next time? The bar area was crammed full so we stood near the door next to one of those big fancy fruit machines with flashing lights. Frugal was taken aback when the thing started talking to him! "Hello... how are doing?" He nearly spilled his bovril "Its a lousy day isn't it... did you sit in the stand?" It was only then he realised that with the bar so full some bloke had wedged himself behind the machine next to the exit door on a small stool, he was talking on his mobile phone to somebody! The look on Frugals face when at first he thought the machine was talking was a picture.
The second half of the game was totally dominated by Ramsbottom, they more or less camped out in the Bacup half as the pitch got wetter, heavier and much more slippy. To their credit Bacup were hanging on for a draw and mopped up attack after attack with some resolute tackling. News had filtered through that Runcorn Town were getting beat in their local derby with Runcorn Linnets, it seemed to inspire the visitors to go all out for the 3 points, still Bacup held on. When the winning goal came it was through luck rather than craft, a shot from the edge of the box appeared to be covered by the Bacup keeper until the ball hit Grant Spencers backside and diverted its path into the empty net, cruel on Bacup but it was nothing more than what Ramsbottom deserved. When a Bacup forward was sent off for a rash challenge the game was up, Ramsbottom nearly got a second when Bernard Morley hit the post but Bacup were well spent in any case.
A crucial away win for the league leaders especially as news came in that Runcorn Town eventually lost 2-1. If Ramsbottom United win their last 3 games they win the league, Runcorn Town would not be able to catch them. Should be an interesting end to the season?

Monday, 9 April 2012

A very wet Bacup Borough

Back from intense sealed-wallet surgery, Frugal Glenn joined the Tea Hut squad for a traditional Easter Monday up above Bacup Borough's ground high on the Pennine hills, the welcoming holiday weather didn't let anybody down either.... it pissed it down! Visitors don't come much more hyped than the North West Counties Premier League leaders Ramsbottom United and what a battling performance they provided against some pretty stern defending from the locals. It was all splish, splash, splosh as the Rammy galactico's soaked out a vital 3 points from a 1-0 away win.

Visit report scribblings will be posted on here sometime Tuesday (I hope).

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Nelson 0 Rochdale Town 3

Saturday 7th April
North West Counties League Division 1
Admission: £4
Attendance: 45
Tea Hut Stuff: Cheese and Onion Pie £1.50
Weather: Dull grey sky and a bit chilly
Parking: On the road outside the ground

It looks better once you get inside
What should have been a simple enough trip for the Match Shed went a bit pear-shaped in the centre of Brierfield (which was the planned route). With only a few miles to travel before reaching Nelson FC a car was lying on its roof in the main street and the whole place was cornered off with police and ambulances. This meant the Match Shed had to negotiate quite a few tight back streets packed with terraced houses, parked cars and speed bumps. Eventually a path was found and despite losing 15 minutes the Match Shed still pulled up before kick off on Lomeshaye Way outside the ground they've titled 'Little Wembley'. At least it was only 4 quid to get in this version of Wembley and they had proper footballers. The ground is next to a public park in a quite part of the town and a bubbling brook runs all the way behind the Main Stand.

Great looking Main Stand
The stand is the first thing that strikes you when you pass through the turnstiles at the wide open park end of the ground. Its a long wimbledon-green structure that runs the best part of the touchline, it certainly has a charismatic appeal and has a decent number of plastic bucket seats to view the action from.

Shift! I can't see f*ck all!
The stand sits back a few yards from the pitch and notices are placed asking people not to gather in front of it by the railed fence. The only other buildings in 'Little Wembley' are a few portakabins and huts which house changing rooms, toilets, tea hut, VIP committee room and a small bar.

Hard hat zone at half time
This is a humble little club trying to make the best of limited funds so there is nothing swanky or flash to note here but I've seen a lot worse places and a lot that lack the friendly laid back appeal of the place. The other side of the pitch opposite the main stand is just hard standing and a railed fence, behind it there is a nicely trimmed grassed area adjacent to some fine looking terraced stone cottages, set back a little further is an enormous stone chimney which offers a great backdrop if you watch the match from the stand. 

One that Fred Dibnah missed
With around ten minutes to kick off I headed for the small tea hut which was just next to the mens bogs, ultra handy if you want to grab a quick pie after an urgent slash. A friendly lady was giving punters an explanation of the wide range of pies on offer, a fine selection indeed and all at decent prices.

Trendy price tags as well
She informed me and another chap that the pies were halal pies from a company called Tayyabah, she was clear in her recommendation that a lot of people found them very tasty. (Some later research I did identified that Tayyabah Pies come from a company called Sara's who are based in Blackburn). I opted for a cheese and onion pie at £1.50 and I put some HP sauce on it from a nice clean bottle, I think cheese and onion's are a rare breed at tea huts these days so I tucked in while I had the chance. It was very good too.

I decided to watch the start of the match from the stand. A local old timer sat on one of the front rows was having a go at a couple of Rochdale Town blokes who happened to stand at the rail in the total-exclusion zone that forbids standing up in front of the stand. "You can't stand there" he yelled, "You're blocking all the pitch", a bit of an over statement but the grumbling visitors sloped off heeding the bollocking. As regards todays game Nelson find themselves near the foot of the table but they do have a few games in hand on the clubs positioned around them, its a bit different for Rochdale Town who are doing really well this term, they occupy 5th spot which is a real improvement on some of the recent hard seasons they've endured. 

You can't stand there lads
Nelson have a bit of a multi-national influence to the team and they play an attractive style of football that really appeals when it comes off, unfortunately when it doesn't come together they can quickly find themselves under pressure. Something which Rochdale exploited as early as the third minute when Kristian Evans slotted home the opening goal, the Nelson defence was out of position and totally out numbered. There was a bit of extra drama after about 15 minutes when the referee appeared to suffer a nasty calf strain, after a hold up he tried to struggle on but it was no good, he had to come off and was replaced by one of the linesman. Luckily a spectator was qualified as a liner and had some kit in his car, this chap kindly decided to give it a go and raced off to get changed, a fine gesture. As the game wore on this same kindly gent got some awful stick from some very fickle players who slaughtered some of his decisions, a bit out of order I think, he seemed to do a fairly good job under the circumstances. The rest of the first half was end to end stuff and Nelson missed some nailed-on sitters, something which dismayed the regulars in the small crowd.

Looking for aggro
After some half time entertainment when one of the Nelson subs with a large beard went in the nets and spent a lot of time giggling for some of the worst totally misplaced shot-shooting practice from his colleagues I have ever seen, a young lad acting as a ball boy was running far and wide collecting ridiculously miss hit shots on goal, this was not a good sign for Nelson bringing on a mystery super-sub for the second half.

Keepers!......ooh err
As per the first half, Rochdale caught Nelson cold at the start of the second half and went 2-0 up, according to the Nelson regulars there was no chance of them coming back from 2 down? They were right. Rochdale ended up 3-0 winners and looked mighty pleased with the points. Back to the drawing board for Nelson but you cannot fail to admire the spirit in which they play the game, I can see why some of the small band of supporters just keep coming back for more.
I'm still pissed from last night Alf

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Return of the Tea Hut!

Nelson 0 Rochdale Town 3

The Tea Hut is back in business and it was North West Counties Division 1 stuff leading the way. A jaunt over to Nelson Football Club to be exact. A visit report will be on here sometime Sunday evening.