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Lumen Mundi

Y.. The Little Light

There is a little light,
A little light in your heart,
A little light that has tremendous power
If we allow, it can obliterate all darkness.
That little light in your heart
Let it shine.

by Aufie Zophy (1964 – )




Tuesday 7th January 2014 Calor Southern League k.o.:- 7.45pm
Premier Division

Stourbridge                                                     2
Luke Benbow 77,

Kayelden Brown 78,

Bedford Town                                                  1
Fejivi Okenabirhie 54,
referee:- Mr David Avent (Northampton)           attendance:- 261


The weather was still being miserable, with high winds and lashings of rain, but it wasn’t too bad in Stourbridge, when we got their and paid the princely sum of £1 to gain entry to the club car park! It was seven years and more than a thousand games since my last visit (Saturday 20th January 2007 – British Gas Southern League Division 1 Midlands: Stourbridge 0 Spalding United 0 attendance:- 181). The admission then was £6, but this evening, whilst I, as an old man, only paid £5, the regular admission price had been increased to £10. The programme had increased in price from £1.20 to £2.


The ground appeared to have been spruced up. On my previous visits, I had always felt that the stadium looked melancholy and hang-dog, but the seated area on the far side had been tidied up and somebody had splashed the paint around. There was a club shop which was open before the match (Graeme managed to apprehend a club badge!), but it was closed by half time!


The photograph above shows the large covered area behind the far goal. The one below is a picture of the cricket pavilion on the far side of the ground. In front of it, you can see the railing which borders the football itch and which is removed for the cricket season.


Stourbridge are just outside the play-off spots whilst Bedford are firmly anchored in the relegation mire at the other end of the table, some six points off safety. Despite their relative positions, Bedford gave a good account of themselves and, after a pretty turgid first half, they opened the scoring, much to the delight of Alan Biley, the assistant manager who formerly played as a striker for Everton, Derby County and Portsmouth. He stood among the crowd on the terraces urging his players to greater efforts, but sadly to no avail. Two goals in a minute from the home side swung the match their way and Bedford went home empty handed!


The official attendance was announced as 261, but my feeling was that there were many more people there than was officially announced!

Friday 10th January 2014 Sky-Bet Championship k.o.:- 7.45pm

Leicester City                                                  4
Richard De Laet 25,
David Nugent 48, 60 (pen),
Jamie Vardy 64,
Derby County                                                 1
Jake Buxton 58,
referee:- David Coote                           attendance:- 23,140


This was my second visit to see Leicester City in a couple of weeks and once again, the entertainment factor was high, particularly given my noted scepticism of Championship football.


Once again I had a place in The Walkers Lounge and a padded seat and team sheet, all for the princely sum of £35. This was a ‘platinum’ level match, which seemed to give the club the right to hike the prices to astronomical levels. I paid £35, but only because I was an ‘old man gonna die soon’. The price for the ordinary punter was £55!

There was a strange ‘happening’ during the match, I suddenly started to see little pin-pricks of light sparkling across the stadium. It felt like people holding candles or a bit like Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, when they saw the lights of the trackers in the middle of the night. It took me a while to figure out what was going on and all the while, these pin-pricks of light continued to multiply. Then, at last, someone in my part of the stand held up their mobile telephone with the light switched on and the scales dropped from my eyes! Never mind ‘Lumen Mundi’ (Light of The World), this was mindless idiots wasting mobile batteries!


Leicester City triumphed emphatically to go seven points clear at the top of The Sky-Bet Championship. They defeated manager of the month Steve McLaren and his Derby County side who had six wins and a draw from their previous seven games and they did it with flair and flamboyance and not a little skill.

Saturday 11th January 2014 Barclays U-18 Premier League
k.o.:- 11.00am

Stoke City U-18                                           0
Manchester City U-18                                 4
Pablo Maffeo 48,
Bersant Celina 71, 86,
Denziel Boadu 78,
referee:- Tom Swift                                  attendance:- c40


On Wednesday evening, Graeme had been involved in a road traffic accident which more or less wrote his car off but fortunately, he himself escaped any injury. Consequently, I abandoned plans to follow Chorley at Tamworth in The FA Trophy, 3rd Round and, instead  went with Graeme to a couple of matches he had picked out in Staffordshire. This purely eleemosynary act on my part, as Graeme will strongly acquiesce, is quite out of character for me! However, I took in two games and gained two new grounds.


The first one was at Stoke City’s Training Ground at Clayton Moor in Trent Vale. This was a lavishly appointed facility where I have never seen so many goal-posts gathered together in one place (a convention? a convocation? a constellation? Offers, kindly, on a postcard!). We were here to see the Stoke City U-18s and they were playing on the main pitch which even had a couple of small seated stands holding maybe 100 seats each. There was even a parents room where coffee and tea were available and I managed to snaffle a couple of team sheets from a steward down below.


Although there was a welcome from the stewards, it was guarded. The first team players (not playing in The Premiership until tomorrow’s match against Liverpool at The Brittannia Stadium), were training but spectators were kept well away. We were told not to take photographs … but only after I had already taken a few, and we were directed to use only one of the seated stands.

After a fairly uninspiring first half where ‘count the number of back-passes to the goalkeeper’ seemed the only way to relieve the monotony, the second half broke into action with the away side taking an early lead. It seemed to inspire them with confidence and they went on to win the match with three further goals which only served to emphasise the gulf in class and ability between the two sides.


Saturday 11th January 2014 Staffordshire County Senior League
k.o.:- 2.00pm
Premier Division

Florence Colliery                                         0
Uttoxeter Town                                           4
Kyle Esplin 37, 81, 90+1,
Nick Ward 38,
referee:-                                                      attendance:- 60


The second match of the day was a little gem. We had arranged to go and see a Staffordshire Vase match at Wolstanton, but when we got there, the referee had just called it off! Some six or so miles away, the match at Florence Sports & Social Club against league leaders Uttoxeter Town went ahead. I was pleasantly impressed with Florence Sports & Social Club facilities. There was a stand with some seating down one side and a refreshment kiosk at the entrance which purveyed oatmeal flapjacks filled with bacon or cheese or both with tea or coffee and £1 entrance fee!


At half time we ventured into the social section where we had drinks and crisps and learnt all about the colliery. It had opened in 1875 and was named after the eldest daughter of the third Duke of Sutherland, George Granville William Sutherland-Leverson-Gower (1828-1892). The colliery was opened in 1875 and for over a century until its closure in 1992, it supplied the coal to power the Potteries. In the Social Centre, there was a large wooden inscribed tribute to the miners who had lost their lives at Florence Colliery. There must have been about a hundred of them, all named and given their age. What saddened me, was the number of young people who had died. As young as thirteen, fourteen, seventeen and nineteen, what a waste!


Uttoxeter are top of the league, but their present facilities won’t allow them to progress on the football pyramid. However, they made short work of the home side, finishing them off with two goals towards the end of each half including a hat trick for Kyle Esplin.


The Uttoxeter Town reserve team were at the match to support their colleagues after their own match had fallen foul of the weather. There was also one mum there, whose son normally plays (for Florence), but today, he was suspended after picking up five yellow cards. Mum, however, still came to the match, armed with her Kindle!


Matches this season – 124   New grounds – 89

Matches this year  – 4            New grounds – 3

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