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The Martians were Here


Space Age

Ships float up forever out
Pilots who once sailed seas find new spirit 
Airborne crafts fill the air 
Children grow into machines that take them away
Earth was once their only home
And now the universe in endless boundaries is theirs
Geared up for foreign playgrounds, gone in an instant 
Eternity is only minutes away and just beginning there

by Earl Schumacker




Saturday 26th July 2014      Pre-season Friendly           k.o.:- 3.00pm

Clipstone FC                                                   0

Retford United                                              4

Ben Muirhead 20, 29,

Reece Thompson 27,

Liam Wilkin 34,

Referee:- Rob Rees                             Attendance:- 82


It was a day reminiscent of  a hot July one hundred years ago when the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the heir to The Austro-Hungarian Empire was exercising  the crowned heads of Europe and threat and counter threat darted across the continent like lightning flashes, and yet the weather in England that fateful July was just as hot as it has been this year!

I had decided on a visit to the quaintly named Kirton Brickworks for their pre-season friendly with Burton Joyce. Both clubs are in The Nottinghamshire Senior League, indeed, this coming season, both will be in the top division of that league after some re-structuring. I had consulted sat-nav and ‘Multimap’ on my computer and I had rung the secretary to confirm that the match was on and  set out in plenty of time.

I had spotted the fixture in “The Traveller” and yet, when I got to Kirton and followed the sat-nav directions, I found myself outside a large cement works. All was locked and barred, but just beside the main entrance, was a football pitch. Sadly, although there were nets, they were draped over the top of the goalposts and a match seemed unlikely.


I hurriedly re-consulted “The Traveller” and found that a match was on at Clipstone FC and sat-nav indicated that it was a mere 6.3 miles away! My troubles weren’t over yet! There are in fact two villages called Clipstone and for some reason, my sat-nav brought me to Old Clipstone where there was no football club at all. It was only when I realised that there was another, and larger, village, that I drove on towards New Clipstone and through the ribbon development until I eventually reached the ground on the far side!

On my way through the new village I saw  the landscape dominated by the huge, now redundant winding gear of a former coal mine. It stood alone, and lonely, with a large metal fence surrounding it and looking just how I imagine that one of H.G. Wells’ Martian spaceships must have looked in “War of The Worlds” after the epidemic had laid low the invaders.


I arrived at “The Worksop Vanhire Stadium” with a scant five minutes to spare before the match started. Admission was £2 and the raffle £1, but there was no programme. I didn’t recognise the ground at all! I discovered later that I had been there on two previous occasions (Saturday 14th March 2009 Abacus Lighting Central Midlands League Supreme Division:- Clipstone Welfare 1 Kimberley Town 2 attendance:- 306 and Thursday 14th February 2013 Nottinghamshire FA Senior Cup 3rd Round:- Clipstone Welfare 1 Linby Colliery 2 attendance:- 68), then, it had been called “The Lido Ground” (which has to be an improvement on its present nomenclature!).


The ground is neat and tidy and a good advertisement for local football. There was a small coffee bar and a good line of view on three sides of the ground with covered seating behind one goal and down one side. The probable reason why I could not remember it was, most likely, the time of year. Bright, hot sunshine bathed the arena, whereas my previous two visits had been in the dark depths of winter!

There was a very friendly atmosphere and I was soon able to elicit the names of both sides and all the substitutes and was even invited into the referees lair at half-time to add the officials’ names to my list!

I sat for most of the second half with Nigel Spalding and his wife. Nigel is the press officer for Clipstone FC (The “Welfare” was dropped the season before last after links with the former coal mine welfare club had lapsed).  He is a mine of information about the club, despite being a “Stags” (Mansfield Town) fan through and through. Maybe I should have told him that John Dempster, a defender with the club is the son of one of my former deputies!

Retford United are a comparatively new club having been in existence since 1992. Their previous incarnation, Retford Town, folded sometime in the 1980s. Both of these clubs presently play in The Northern Counties East League (NCEL), but Retford are a division higher than their hosts


The difference in status told, especially in the first half, when the visitors rattled in four goals in half an hour. Thereafter, the home side tightened up considerably and defended with resolution. A plethora of second half substitutions diluted the contest and there was no further scoring, but a much more positive aspect to the home side’s play.

It had been an eccentric day’s adventure, but the outcome was a great deal more that I might have expected and a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable match on a warm afternoon.

Matches this season:- 9     New grounds:-  7

Matches this year:-   122   New grounds:-  81


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