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Winter, Frost and Snow

Today’s a nipping day, a biting day;
In which one wants a shawl,
A veil, a cloak, and other wraps:
I cannot ope to every one who taps,
And let the draughts come whistling thro’ my hall;
Come bounding and surrounding me,
Come buffeting, astounding me,

(from ‘Winter My Secret’ by Christina Rossetti)


Tuesday 15th January 2013 FA Cup with Budweiser k.o.:- 7.45pm
3rd Round Replay

Milton Keynes Dons                2                        Sheffield Wednesday                   0
Shaun Williams (pen) 28
Dean Bowditch 75
referee:- L. Collins                                                        attendance:- 6,782

What a contrast to warm and balmy Spain! The hard, harsh, bone jarring ground and the biting cold (-5 degrees celsius on the way to Milton Keynes this evening), ensured that only those grounds with sophisticated under soil heating could promote their fixtures and very few, if any,non-league fixtures survived the arctic weather!

Despite this being an FA Cup fixture against a team in a higher division and the ground breaking possibility of a first appearance in the FA Cup 4th Round, MK Dons were having to work very hard to attract fans on such an inhospitable evening.

As usual, we went into the Red Dot stand where we met up with Phil and we all enjoyed a quite presentable meal………. well, my nephew, Conor, who aspires to become a professional footballer, went one better than his last visit when he enjoyed chips, rice and tomato ketchup! This time, he progressed to chips and baked beans and tomato ketchup. Professional footballers diets are the subject of meticulous scientific research. I rather suspect that his culinary tastes would be frowned upon in professional circles!


Sheffield Wednesday are not enjoying much success this season. They are one place outside the relegation zone and following their promotion last season are finding the higher league difficult to adjust to. MK Dons started quietly. There was no Luke Chadwick, the former Manchester United winger who is so often inspirational in their play. He is still out injured. However, in a largely drab affair, a goal in each half, the first from the penalty spot, sealed an historic victory for the home team and a 4th Round tie away at Queens Park Rangers.

Stadium MKTuesday 15th January 2013

Stadium MK
Tuesday 15th January 2013 There are plans, backed by Marks & Spencer, to complete the second tier and increase capacity to 32,000

Man of the match was Alan Smith who has slipped a long way from his days at Leeds United, Manchester United and Newcastle United. It was a controversial choice. There was no doubting his battling qualities, but he showed little finesse and marginal creativity.

Blackpool, searching for a new manager, requested permission to speak to MK Dons manager Carl Robinson, a request later denied by the Dons.

Wednesday 16th January 2013 npower League 1 k.o.:- 7.45pm

Coventry City                               1                   Tranmere Rovers                       0
Leon Clarke 20
referee:- G. Ward                                                        attendance:- 9,668

Ricoh might support Sky Blues, but recently, there was a rift over unpaid rent and even the possibility that they might be thrown ou

Ricoh might support Sky Blues, but recently, there was a rift over unpaid rent and even the possibility that they might be thrown out

Tonight was even colder than last night, so on went the WWII fighter pilot’s furry helmet as I handed over a whopping £7 for a car park spot near to the stadium. Fortunately, I managed to get an old man’s ticket for £12 and when I added a £3 programme, my outlay had amounted to the same amount that Chris paid to go and see Carlisle United recently!

Tranmere Rovers sit top of the division and have been there for most of the season. They had brought a respectable four hundred and eighty-seven fans down from Birkenhead and they dominated the early possession until a corner to the home side saw their striker and most effective player, Leon Clarke, hook the ball high into the net from inside the six yard box!

Some of the 487 Tranmere Rovers fans in the South stand in the first half.

Some of the 487 Tranmere Rovers fans in the South stand in the first half.

The cat and mouse tactics continued with Tranmere increasing the pressure as the game reached its final phased. In one goal mouth melee, it seemed that all twenty-two players were trying to hack the ball at the same time. Coventry held out and now find themselves only three points outside the play-off places under their new manager, Mark Robins, after early season flirtation with the relegation area!

Saturday 19th January 2013         npower Championship    k.o.:- 3.00pm

Crystal Palace                       0             Bolton Wanderers                0

referee:- R. Madley                                       attendance:- 17,033


Ah well, it had to come – a nil-nil draw that is. One hundred and sixty-one matches and six hundred and thirty-eight goals at a smidgeon under four goals per match and the whole house of cards came tumbling down at Selhurst Park on Saturday when you could have dispensed entirely with goalposts and nets and just passed the ball around the soft green carpet whilst snow flurries danced across the sward!



This weather more or less forces you to go and see matches at league level (although I did note that Chris took in a friendly at Loughborough University on their all weather pitch which ended 4-2 to the students against Barrow Town). I thought that if I had to find a match somewhat higher up the pyramid, I might as well go and see Bolton Wanderers in action, quite forgetting that they had engaged the services of the Crystal Palace manager Dougie Freedman. He wasn’t going to let his new team subside against his old charges, whilst Ian Holloway, the new man in charge at Palace, was definitely not going to allow his predecessor the scent of victory on his old stamping ground! I should have worked all that out and realised that 0-0 was a pretty likely scoreline!

The teams come out before the match. I hadn't bothered to sit in the away end, but with some pretty passionate home fans in The Arthur Wait Stand (£15 for OAPs).

The teams come out before the match. I hadn’t bothered to sit in the away end, but with some pretty passionate home fans in The Arthur Wait Stand (£15 for OAPs).

Well, Claire, before the match I popped into a very crowded local Wetherspoons. Having carefully considered the menu, I was talked into trying their curry of the day which I ordered with rice and a portion of chips along with a fine pint of something I think was called Cronx Bitter. The curry came with both pappadoms and naan bread and, towards the end, glowing from the engendered heat, I found myself unusually flagging – eyes and tum and all that nonsense! Whatever was in the curry was delicious – probably horse-meat straight from you know who’s superstore!


The ground, Selhurst Park, was not at all as I remembered it from my last visit in 1989 when Manchester United were the visitors and Charlton Athletic were the hosts (Charlton Athletic won 1-0 in front of a pitiful 1st Division attendance of 12,095). It was then, the 100th ground I had visited and considering that I had been to my first ground some twenty-seven years earlier, I hadn’t done too much ‘hopping’ in the meantime! Today, there was a strange mixture of the new and the old. Wooden seats in The Arthur Wait stand and behind the goal where I had stood on an embankment in the rain all those years ago, was a sweeping double decker stand with hospitality boxes.


The game wasn’t anything to write home about. The two sides cancelled each other out and neither goalkeeper was severely tested!

Snow on the roof of the main stand at Selhurst Park.

Snow on the roof of the main stand at Selhurst Park.

The snow really has set in and I don’t know where my next game will come from. No doubt, something will turn up………….. it usually does!

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