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Bloody Buses

Bloody Men

Bloody men are like bloody buses –
You wait for about a year
And as soon as one approaches your stop
Two or three others appear.

You look at them flashing their indicators,
Offering you a ride.
You’re trying to read the destinations,
You haven’t much time to decide.

If you make a mistake, there is no turning back.
Jump off, and you’ll stand there and gaze
While the cars and the taxies and lorries go by
And the minutes and the hours and the days.

Wendy Cope (1945- )






Tuesday 26th November 2013 EUFA Women’s U-17 Championships k.o.:- 12.30pm
Group Stage

Scotland                                                                      2
Kirsty Howat 60,
Alyshia Walker 68,
Germany                                                                    4
Jasmin Sehan 12, 35, 77,
Sakia Meier 9,
referee:- Zuzana Strpkova (Slovakia)                      attendance:- 172


Hinckley United went out of business a few weeks ago! 

This sign has rarity value!

It was Graeme who spotted that The EUFA Women’s U-17 Championships for 2013/14 were being held at the end of November and early December, not only in England, but in the Midlands at four football grounds – Hinckley, Telford, Burton Albion and Chesterfield. However, we made an inauspicious start. We arrived about ten minutes before kick-off on MONDAY, only to find that the Marston Stadium in Hinckley was deserted, and that we were twenty-four hours early for the match!


When we did get there on Tuesday, a full half-hour before kick-off, we found the arena was a hive of activity. EUFA officials droned around like flies round the honey pot. Mind you, some were helpful and provided us with a team sheet, others handed out EUFA fans and, just before kick-off, each team booted five footballs into the crowd. Sadly, we were not successful!


It is just about a month since Hinckley United went spectacularly bust. The team has gone, their season expunged from The Calor Southern League records, but, of course, the ground remains. It must have been a ticklish dilemma for The Official Receiver and EUFA to ensure that the matches went ahead on schedule!


There were about a hundred young school girls at the match, mostly, it seemed, shouting for Germany for some reason, and The Germans established an early dominance which lent credence to my prediction before the match that they might score ten! After two early goals, and a third ten minutes from half-time,  ten was still a distinct possibility. In the second half, however, we saw a different Scotland. They tore into the tournament favourites with determination and flair and scored two well deserved goals just after the hour mark. It really looked like a comeback was on the cards, but whether they faltered, or ran out of steam, Germany scored a fourth with fifteen minutes remaining and ran out worthy winners.


Tuesday 26th November 2013 Sky-Bet League One k.o.:- 7.45pm

Shrewsbury Town                                                1
Gozie Ugwu 16,
Oldham Athletic                                                   2
Charlie MacDonald 44,
Danny Philliskirk 75,
referee:- James Adcock attendance:- 4,563


I had already booked a spot of hospitality for this match by telephone and been a little surprised at the price (£45). Graeme did say that when he went to Shrewsbury with Chris, that the entrance fee (£22) was much more than they expected for a match at this level. I was interested to see how the hospitality compared with other similar experiences.


I’d been to Shrewsbury twice before, but both times to Gay Meadow. My first visit in 1973 was for a match against Bolton Wanderers who, at the time, were pressing for the Division III championship (Friday 13th april 1973 – Shrewsbury Town 0 Bolton Wanderers 2 attendance:- 6,574). I got severely beaten up after the match by a gang of Shrewsbury fans who chased me into the town centre and gave me a good kicking next to a bus stop queue, none of  whom did anything to stop the onslaught!


Needless to say, I wasn’t keen to re-visit, but I did so on Saturday 18th December 2004 for a Coca Cola League Two match against Mansfield Town. Thirty years earlier, I had paid 40p to stand on the terraces. This time, it cost me £17.00 for a seat in the stand! Oh, I nearly forgot, Mansfield Town won 2-0 in front of 3,469 spectators.


I liked the ground. It holds just over 9,000 spectators in four discrete stands around the pitch. This means that the corners are open and I am sure that another 3-5,000 seats could be added if necessary.


The hospitality was fine. I have probably been to better, but that would be at Premiership level at Manchester United or Arsenal, or Liverpool or Everton, but I also enjoyed a very cosy hospitality occasion  at Morecambe FC last season. There was a two-course meal, a free drink, Sports screen TV, programme, team sheet, half-time coffee, padded seats and an interview with a player following the contest. Team sheets and extra wide padded seats and half-time coffee is provided with your ticket at MK Dons, and you can purchase a meal from the counter with large screen sports on every wall!


Oldham Athletic were the visitors, and they won a tight contest with a late goal from Danny Philliskirk, to plunge The Shrews into a relegation dogfight! I used to watch Danny Philliskirk’s dad, Tony, knocking in the goals for Bolton Wanderers in the late 80s and early 90s!



Wednesday 27th November 2013 Uhlsports Hellenic League k.o.:- 7.45pm
Premier Division

Shrivenham                                                            0
Thame                                                                     1
Louis Cordice 53,
referee:- Mark Niermerski                                attendance:- 41


Shrivenham is one of my favourite Hellenic League grounds, although it had changed somewhat from my last visit, in October 2010. It is no longer possible to drive right up to the ground and park outside. That entrance has now been reduced to a pathway and cars are encouraged to use nearby streets for parking. Other than that, not a lot had changed. My son managed to down several gallons of 6X (and a couple of Jack Daniels) and the home team manager was pleased to hand me the team sheets and to ask me to pass them onto the gate man when I had finished with them!




The ground is compact with a concrete path all round the pitch and a seated stand for perhaps 100 spectators down the far side of the pitch. Behind the goal is a covered area with seating for perhaps 25 and standing room for many more. It was here that most of the crowd tended to congregate.


Son, James, sampled the 6X and showed of his ‘Movember”!

Sadly, Shrivenham are no longer the force they used to be in The Hellenic League Premier Division. They are struggling this season and lie fourth from bottom with five wins and twelve defeats! By contrast, the visitors, Thame, are buoyant, lying in seventh place in the table with twelve wins and six defeats. Considering that there was but one goal in it, this was an excellent match! Shrivenham missed a bagful of chances but fell behind, early in the second half to a strike from Louis Cordice which proved decisive as Thame ran out the eventual winners!


Friday 29th November 2013 EUFA Women’s U-17 Championship  k.0.:- 12.30pm

Group Stage

Italy                                                                          2

Manuela Giugliano 7,

Gloria Marinelli 76,

Portugal                                                                    0

referee:- Ana Minic (Serbia)                   attendance:- 391


Back to Hinckley on Friday lunchtime for another match in The EUFA Women’s U-17 Championships. “Women’s football!!! Kill me!”, said Jonny on my Face Book page, but I think he should try a couple of matches. It can be like watching football in slow motion, it can be like watching players struggle through syrup, but it can also be thoroughly engaging and there is no doubting the tenacity and determination of the young players.


The tournament, itself, is well organised and we found information easy to come by from friendly officials. Of course, there were the hordes of noisy school girls to add a little atmosphere, and before the match, they booted balls, once again, into the crowd and  once again, we didn’t catch any!


The Portuguese Team

This particular match was a pretty dour encounter. Italy scored after only seven minutes and Portugal huffed and puffed to no avail, even pushing their influential defender Diana Gomes into the attack in the second half. It was all to no avail. Italy soaked up the pressure, there were precious few real goal opportunities and then Italy scored a second in the last five minutes to kill the game off!

Both of these teams are in England’s group. Italy have already beaten England by 1-0, but England beat Austria in their other match by 2-1. England against Portugal could be a group decider!


Friday 29th November EUFA Women’s Championship   k.o.:- 7.00pm

Group Stage

Scotland                                                                 0

Spain                                                                     0

referee:- Irina Turovskyaya (Bulgaria)         attendance:- 313


This particular match in The EUFA Women’s U-17 Championships was held at Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium. Scotland had plenty of support amongst the crowd, some even wearing kilts on a very cold evening.


The Spanish Team



They should have won this match. They started tentatively, giving The Spaniards far too much respect, but in the second half they missed some incredible chances and would not have been flattered by a 3-0 scoreline! It was not to be, however, and they went home with only one point to show for all their superiority!


The Scottish Team


Saturday 30th November 2013 Leicestershire Senior League  k.o.:- 3.00pm

Premier Division

Rothley Imperial                                                     3

Guy Love 44,

Toby Howard 67, 75,

Allexton & New Parks                                           2

Nick Hookway 57,

Mason Holwell 80,

referee:- Kevin Allen                                 attendance:- 24


I needed a match fairly close to home today, because this evening, we were travelling up to Saltaire for a christening tomorrow. So, I chose Rothley Imperial, having initially included a morning visit to Leicester City’s Training facility for a Barclay’s Premier Youth Alliance U-18 fixture against Chelsea! I didn’t get to the training facility until after kick-off courtesy of traffic hold ups between The Langtons and Oadby and then, it took me another hour to get to Rothley, despite sat-nav’s assurance that the journey was a mere 34 minutes!


Graeme is wont to quote my appalling record in The Leicestershire Senior League. I have been to only three current clubs in the league (including today’s visit to Rothley) and that is something that I need to rectify in the near future!


Rothley, (when I eventually found it) is in Mountsorrel and is attached to The Rothley Sports & Social Club. There is a children’s nursery as you enter and the club is perched up on a hill behind that. There are no stands or spectator cover, just a couple of dugouts, a big one for the home team and a smaller one for the visiting team! There is, however, a perfectly good club house with changing rooms on the lower level and a bar and tea bar on the upper level and it was from here that I enjoyed watching the opening half hour of The Rugby League World Cup between Australia and New Zealand.


There was a pretty small crowd for this top of the table clash, and most of those came with the away team. They were a rowdy, foul mouthed bunch and I was quite pleased to see their team go home empty handed! It was a close contest, however. Only one goal separated the teams at half time, but in the second half, the match was soon back on level terms. Two goals from striker Toby Howard seemed to have sealed the game for the home side, but Parks came battling back with an eightieth minute goal, but were unable to make their pressure tell and nick an equaliser!


Some very atmospheric pictures from Rothley Imperial!


Matches this season – 100, New grounds – 76

Matches this year – 200, New Grounds – 120

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