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Bits and Pieces

My Uncle Percy Once Removed

My Uncle Percy once removed

his bobble hat, scarf, overcoat,

woolly jumper string vest,

flared trousers and purple Y-fronts

and ran onto the pitch at Wembley

during a cup final

and was at once removed

by six stewards and nine officers of the law.

Once they’d caught him.

by Paul Cookson (1961 – )




Monday 26th May 2014 UEFA U-19 Championship  k.o.:- 3.00pm

Elite Group

Montenegro                                                    0

Ukraine                                                           4

Victor Kovalenko 45+5,

Dmytro Bilinoh 56,

Viacheslav Tankovsky 64,

Artem Habelok 73,

Referee:- Marcus Hameter (Austria)   Attendance:- 375


Bank Holiday Monday and it was Chris who found out about this tournament. Why are tournaments like these not publicised more widely? Jack and I decided to go, Graeme was on a Norwegian cruise, so it was just the two of us and I collected him from the Thrapston Services onThe A14. It was a real bonus as far as Jack was concerned, two new Football League grounds to add to the thirteen he’d already achieved this season! I’d been to both grounds, indeed, I’d even been to Fellowes Park, Walsall’s previous stadium (Monday March 7th 1977 – FA Trophy 3rd Round 2nd Replay: Chorley 2 Wimbledon 0).


We arrived good and early and even had time to enjoy(?) a pint of M&B Mild in a local hostelry and to make a rare visit (there was nowhere else to go!), to MacDonalds for a mac-chicken burger and chips!


The Bescott Stadium is pretty impressive, despite having a stadium capacity of only around ten thousand spectators. Today, there were fewer than four hundred, but the lady in the club reception, despite being run off her feet, made a special and successful effort to go and find team sheets for us.

We had heard that England had already beaten Montenegro 6-0 and that Scotland had drawn 0-0 with Ukraine in the first round of matches. Today’s matches were second round fixtures and the final round was scheduled for Thursday with both matches commencing at 3.00pm to avoid advantage being given to any team still in with a chance of qualifying.

Montenegro fought well in this match and the sides looked fairly evenly matched throughout the first half, until Ukraine got their noses in front with a goal in the fifth minute of first half added time. In the second half, Ukraine romped away with the game, scoring three more times and Montenegro, not well served by their substitutes, looked a pretty ragged outfit by the end of the contest!


Monday 26th May 2014 UEFA U-19 Championship   k.o.:- 7.30pm

Elite Group

England                                                            2

Lewis Baker 76, 82,

Scotland                                                           1

John Scouttar 51,

Referee:- Manuel Ribeiro (Portugal)   Attendance:- 835


Needless to say, we hadn’t taken down the post code for The Pirelli stadium, so we drove to Burton and nothing looked familiar so we stopped to locate the post code and when we entered it into the sat-nav, we found that if we had continued driving along the road we were on, we would have arrived there in less than five hundred yards!


There was rain as we parked in the spacious car park at The Pirelli Stadium and collected sandwiches, Yorkie bars and “The Non League Paper” from The Co-op over the road and then enjoyed a further, much better, pint of real ale at a hostelry hidden beneath the railway bridge adjacent to the ground.

I’d been to Burton Albion a dozen times before including three visits to their previous ground, Eton Park. Last November and December, Burton Albion, along with Chesterfield and Hinckley United (now, sadly, defunct), hosted The UEFA U-17s Womens European Championships, and I managed to take in four games at Burton Albion, three at Hinckley United and the final at Chesterfield.


 Jack, camera poised!

There were plenty of kilts in evidence as we entered the ground and met up with Chris and Martin and the crowd was substantially larger than the turn-out at Walsall this afternoon.


The match was a pretty tense affair and defences dominated until Scotland broke the deadlock with a well worked goal from full back John Scouttar after 51 minutes. At last, England started to play. They pressed the Scots back into their own half, but it was twenty-five  minutes before the pressure told and the equaliser came. A scant six minutes later the winner came courtesy of the same Lewis Baker who had scored the first England goal. At the end, England just about deserved their victory against a brave and spirited challenge from the Scots.


Chris, camera crashing!

Tuesday 27th May 2014  ProKit UK Essex Olympian League k.o.:- 6.45pm

Premier Division

Kelvedon Hatch                                                4

Michael Daniels 2,

Chris Neville 6 (pen), 19 (pen),

Garry Smith 37,

Newbury Forest                                               2

Jason Reynolds-Blanche 51, 56,

Referee:- Tony Phillips                          Attendance:- 41


It rained on Tuesday. No, that is a radical understatement, it rained cats and dogs on Tuesday and it continued relentlessly and unremittingly all day and all night. It was a risk driving down to Essex for this match, but nobody was answering their mobile number and in the end, I just went – along The A14, M11, A414 to Ongar and then the A128 down towards Brentwood.

Kelvedon Hatch FC is situated down School lane on the edge of the village and the entrance is not easy to spot. It was on my third traverse that I sought the assistance of a local passer-by, who pointed out the narrow entry down to the village hall. At the end of a short lane, there was a large asphalt car park and the village hall, which looked like the front end of a traditional fire station, and the pitch with limited dressing room space to the right of the top goal. Adjacent to the changing rooms was a small spectator facility where tea and coffee were available. The pitch had metal railings on two sides and rope cordoning off the other two sides of the pitch.


Kelvedon Hatch, of course is famous for its nuclear bunker built in the early 1950s at the height of the cold war as a headquarters for government (and other worthies) in the event of a nuclear attack (the rest of us didn’t count!). You can see above, looming into the mists and low cloud, the radio mast which serviced the bunker and from which government could broadcast to the rest of us, totally meaningless orders in the event of national destruction!

Nowadays, the bunker is a tourist attraction, but as I drove past this evening, it didn’t look a particularly attractive place to visit!


After all the rain (and it was still continuing to fall like stair rods), the pitch was in superb condition. You could have played bowls on it and whilst the conditions were slippery, there was no heaviness in the turf. There were plenty of ‘hoppers’ amongst the crowd – probably seventy-five percent of the attendance and the spectacle laid out before them was well worth the visit!

Kelvedon took control of the first half with four goals, two of them coming from the penalty spot. At half time, it just seemed to be a question of how many they would score. The second half was a completely different kettle of fish. Newbury Forest brought on the quixotically named Jason Reynolds-Blanche to add fire power to their attack and he grabbed a quick brace in the first ten minutes of his arrival. Thereafter, hard though they strived, they could not cut the deficit further and subsided to a 4-2 defeat. They were undone by some bizarre first half goalkeeping errors and a rash tendency to try to play the ball around in defence, rather than hoofing it away up the field. Kelvedon Hatch go into their remaining game knowing that a win will seal runners-up spot in the division.

I drove home in the gloom, mist, spray and sweeping rain, but the match had been worthy entertainment.


Thursday 29th May 2013 EUFA U-19 Championships   k.o.:- 3.00pm

Elite Group

England                                                                   0

Ukraine                                                                   1

Calum Chambers 90+4 (og)

Referee:- Manzano Gil (Spain)                 Attendance:- 735


The final round of matches in The U-19 Championships saw the top two sides playing each other at Burton Albion. Chris and I drove over to Burton via Repton where Chris collected a stair gate (a must -have item on everyone’s household list).

We got there in plenty of time, revisited the Co-op for further re-fuelling and collected team sheets from the club shop. In side the ground, we met up with John from Horwich and found ourselves seats high up in the well populated stand. As a helicopter flew overhead, Chris mused that it was flying to make the Ukrainians feel ‘at home’! These are troubled times back home for Ukraine.


We didn’t know, until half-time, that ONLY the winners would progress from the group. As things stood, England with six points, needed only a draw to secure their passage. Ukraine had four points and so they needed to win to go through. It seemed that, throughout the match, England were more determined not to lose than they were to win, which is a dangerous tactic, even against opponents as seemingly lacklustre as Ukraine.

In the fourth minute of added time at the end of the match, Christian Walton saved well from a point blank shot from a Ukrainian forward, only to see the ball re-bound of his own full back and into the net. Even then, England struck a post with a well taken free-kick, but Ukraine were not to be denied and at then end, there were scenes of wild jubilation as players and coaches and management vented their delight and deposited their shirts amongst the crowd. England slunk off with their tails between their legs! They deserved to lose and their tactics had been unlocked – too late for them to engage plan ‘B’.



Matches this season:- 228   New grounds this season:- 159

Matches this year:- 90          New grounds this year:- 73

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