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

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Shoot Advert

From an age when football magazines were eagerly awaited by the public. I couldn't wait to get down to the newsagents. The new 'Shoot' publication with its glossy colour pictures and team tab charts was just the ticket.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Curzon Ashton 4 Salford City 0

Monday 21st October 2013
Evo Stik Northern Premier League Division 1 North
Attendance: 165
Admission: £3
Programme: £1.60
Tea Hut Item Sir? Not tonight Doreen
Weather: Dry & mild after a day full of rain
Parking: Club car park
"I am the passenger and I ride and I ride
I ride through the city's backsides
I see the stars come out of the sky
Yeah, the bright and hollow sky
You know it looks so good tonight"

Well so Iggy Pop sang? I certainly drove through the backsides of Oldham and Ashton to get to this game but unlike in the song this urban retreat didn't look that good at all I'm afraid. Bit like the Salford City performance.

Curzon Ashton look a cracking side this season and they had very little trouble swotting aside a lacklustre opposition who were sadly non reminiscent of previous Salford teams I've enjoyed watching. Where was the spirit, where was the fight, more to the point where was the football, to be blunt but perfectly honest... Salford were crap.

The Tameside Stadium is a nice enough ground and its seen many visitors from avid home and away fans to half-masted deranged groundhoppers over recent seasons, needless to say I'm not boring myself (and you) with yet another set of sterile daft pictures of big concrete empty terraces and a main stand straight from a lego box. Me and 18 other sad lost souls on the far side of the ground waited 7 full minutes past official kick off time for the referee to finish watching his favourite Monday night soap opera. After his Tetley tea and jammy dodgers we finally got around to the action (I wish).

Curzon coasted it from start to finish and hardly went higher than third gear. The Ashton side have not lost a league game all season and went 3 points clear at the top of the table after this light training session.

Never been a big fan of Monday night football, just needed some fresh air after a gloomy long day of rain, rain and rain, at least it was a dry evening over this part of the North West. Dont think I'll be doing any more Monday games for a while though.

Keep an eye out for Curzon Ashton, some good players and some attractive tactics. As for Salford, hate to say I fear the worst, I caught them a few weeks ago when they got a better result against Bamber Bridge but there's something not right, the style of football stutters and fragments far too easily, not sure if its the players needing to gel or too many Plan B's confusing confidence and consistency? They need to sort it out quick before they get sucked too close to the vent.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Witton Albion 2 FC United 2

Saturday 19th October 2013
FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round
Attendance: 693
Admission: £9.50
Programme: £2
Tea Hut Stuff: Meat and Potato Pie £1.60, Tea £1
Weather: Sunny spells turning cloudy, mild
Parking: Club car park
Uncut grumpy visit reporting is back in vogue. I've done the excellent Witton ground before so there's no twee little photographs or bland supportive statements about how nice it all is. As a token gesture I've put a pic of the programme up. There's too much arse-licking in non league blogging these days.

Flags, flares and a fashionable Karl Marginson v-neck, the best supported side in the NPL were in town. Although I reckon Albions officials perhaps expected more? They were block stacking the car park upon my 2.35 arrival, thankfully I got the Match Tank adjacent to the pot holed escape lane.

Wonder pies, smelly hot dogs and over priced tea bag stuff poured out from snack bar nirvana, my Meat and Potato was the best in 3 years, kid you not (almost as good as Glossop).

End to end football with chances a-la plenty. This was no hoof-a-thon fest. You always detect a good game when the time zips by. The flat capper next to me just giggled as Albion missed another 1 on 1 sitter.

FC's new signing Amjad Iqbal provided a faultless master class at centre back, perhaps he should have been down the road at Old Trafford? This bloke can play.

The FC fans sang the whole game long, Witton joined in a bit second half with that old dancehall classic 'Albion, Albion, Albion, Albion, Albion, Albion' (no problem remembering the lyrics then).

Late equaliser for the home boys before me and Noah surfed the storm from hell all the way home to the Pennine Hills. Did it rain or what! Think the 'odd light shower' forecast by those London luvin BBC smug faced weather droids was yet again totally incorrect. No apology given by em either. I nearly drowned on the M62 eastbound.

They do the Trophy tango again this coming Wednesday over at the wonderfully depressing Gigg Lane. Black puddings and tripe are strictly optional but remember the pies are pretty crap. Cant wait until FC can get that new ground built.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Rhyl 0 The New Saints 2

Saturday 12th October 2013
Welsh Premier League
Attendance: 814
Admission: £7
Programme: £2
Tea Hut Stuff: Tea bag £1
Parking: Club car park
Weather: Slate grey sky, slightly blustery, remained dry
Made the effort to get to Rhyl before lunchtime so I could have a nice walk down the promenade and look at the sea. This proved rather uplifting despite the backdrop of massed banks of off-shore wind farms. I'm afraid the vista got a lot worse when ones eye followed the horizon inland to the autumnal realisation of a typical British seaside resort and Rhyl's slightly sleazy run down sea front. The tarnished charm of the place wasn't helped by a slate grey sky and a chilled gusty breeze. A bingo caller was addressing two fat ladies in an empty amusement arcade, above it the flats for rent with the stained curtains looked like they'd been caught in the crossfire of some military fallout on the Gaza Strip. Never mind, I'd had a good walk and headed back to the Match Tank, the only people around seemed to be a few pensioners walking dogs, the obligatory jogger with the fancy DJ headphones and the standard sea front alcoholic knocking back a pre dinnertime bottle of cut price plonk. I decided to head for the ground.
Rhyl were back in the Premier League (Welsh style) this season and todays visitors TNS are the current champions. Looked a really decent fixture on paper and I was looking forward to the Rhyl side using home advantage to put the full time TNS fancy dans through their paces despite the visitors already being up the top end of the table again.
The ground is a fairly low level stadium with seating on all four sides, the car park end is open to the elements with the dominant 'Lillywhites Legends Lounge' looming large behind it, all the other sides of the ground have cover. I must say it looks a decent little stadium with a fine playing surface, perhaps the only gripe is that there are a lot of stanchions which can impede a clear view of the action.
I purchased a £2 programme which was well overpriced despite a couple of interesting articles from Rob Marshall, without his witty content it would have been purely daylight robbery. Next up was the Tea Hut or should I say 'canteen' as they are identified in the ground. I was having speciality pie and chips for my supper after the drive home so I was in the market for a decent looking burger. Unfortunately I was not enticed to part with £2.50 for what looked like an economy button burger on a tiny white roll, it just didn't seem value for money. I ended up just getting a tea for £1 a bag, I still had a remnant sandwich in the Match Tank which I'd eat after the game. I sincerely hoped the game would be better than what I'd seen so far with the programme and the catering?
I took a seat near the halfway line in the stand of many stanchions under the Sgorio TV gantry. A couple of TNS pie monsters were grumbling about a lack of ascertainable pasty filling and wiping gravy stained freezer-shop chips off their car coats.
As the game got underway I was amazed how well that TNS were passing the ball about. This kind of structured calm mannered approach is a rarity at the non league levels I'm more familiar with. TNS quickly went 1-0 up and Rhyl had still to touch the ball? After another 10 minutes this slow building TNS passing game was still going on, the ball was going from side to side, back to the keeper, then side to side to side again and eventually they would get near the 18 yard box before they'd lose possession and somebody from Rhyl would blindly hoof it upfield for it to all start all over again. In a non league football world where 3 passes on the trot can bring gasps of incredulous admiration this was like watching a bargain priced PoundLand version of Spain. Then it struck me that I had been utterly stupid to not clearly recognise that the home side where continually sat back mega-deep entirely in their own half with only one bloke up front and even he hardly ever got over the centre circle. Unbelievably Rhyl looked like their entire game plan was to just keep the score down! They had no intention of coming out of the defensive parked-up-coach across the 18 yard area to take part in a football match (period).
What could earlier have been construed to be fine passing football had now become a boring training ground example of simple 'attack and defence'. If the Rhyl public have to watch this gutless drivel every week I'm surprised they get an attendance in the stadium at all, TNS simply coasted it without any sign of fight-back resistance from the home side. Sadly, despite some locals saying 'the lads' would come out fighting for the second half, they failed to change tactics. Why they didn't decide to have a go is beyond me, they were getting beat and showed zero capability of getting back in the match, why not shake things up, get forward and have a go at getting something, anything, even pride from the game?
TNS went 2-0 up in that second period and still Rhyl failed to challenge them. Surely their players cannot be so inferior that they just defend and chase TNS tails all afternoon, why not put more people forward, get the ball wide, apply more pressure down the flanks? The whole game fizzled out as any kind of watchable spectacle well before the end, TNS strolled around with the ball at will (mainly from side to side) as the home supporters started to head home shaking their heads in disappointment, whether this was a recurring theme or I had just caught 'The Rhyl Experience' on a bad day is open to debate.


Currently listening to Brian Blessed reading this every week night on BBC 2 at 4.45pm
The book is a bargain half price at both Waterstones and Amazon at the moment.