You are here: Home > Uncategorized > June 2020

June 2020

Football training


Practised heading the ball:

Missed it – nutted the neighbours wall.



Perfected my sideline throw:

Fell in the mud – forgot to let go



Worked on my penalty kick:

A real bruiser – my toe met a brick.



Gained stamina – went for a jog:

Ran round in circles – lost in fog!



Developed my tactical play:

Tackled the goal post – it got in the way.



Exercised – twenty-eight press-ups:

Did pull a muscle – but no major mess-ups.



At last – the day of the match!

Came through it all without a scratch.

The ref was amazed how I kept my nerve;

He agreed it’s not easy to be the reserve!

by Celia Warren



Another month goes by and it is another month without football (well, you wouldn’t exactly expect to see much football in June, but this time last year, I saw nine matches in the month – amongst all the cricket, that is)! Coronavirus (or Covid-19) is still threatening, but the government, which to date has been outstanding only by its incompetence, is now relaxing the great lockdown that started in early March and from the beginning of next month, even the pubs will be re-opening! Football has recommenced at the upper echelons (Premiership and Championship), but the games on TV and behind closed doors are poor viewing fare, and I haven’t managed to sit through a single game yet! Cricket is scheduled for a top tier start in the middle of July with a three test series between England and The West Indies, but, yes, you’ve guessed it, there won’t be any spectators there! Pakistan have also arrived and are in quarantine in Worcester before beginning their preparations for a test series after the West Indies finish.


Boston United FC, Jakemans Stadium, York Street, Boston, Lincs

Boston United’s York Street Ground on 9th September 1971, the season they were runners-up to Stafford Rangers in The Northern Premier League

This season I was hoping to reach 100 matches at Boston United, but that seems very unlikely, with the present number of matches being just three games short of the ton! Next season, the club begin a new era in a brand new stadium on the outskirts of the town at Wyberton, just to the south of the town (and not far from where I used to live when I was a headteacher in Boston 1978-83). Work commenced in July 2019 and the stadium is expected to be ready for matches from September of this year (although it will not be wholly completed). I went to my first match at York Street on Saturday 23rd September 1978 to see: Boston United 2 Macclesfield Town 0 (attendance:- 2,100), in The Alliance Premier League. On the 22nd November 1980, I was in a crowd of 6,004 who saw them humbled 0-4 by Rotherham United in the FA Cup 1st round. I saw them defeat Rochdale 2-0 in Nationwide Division 3 on 6th March 2004 (attendance: 2,466). My last two visits were a thrilling FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round Replay on 17th October 2017 when Chorley eventually emerged victorious by 4-3 after extra time and having only ten men still on the pitch! My final match was on 16th December 2019, in The FA Cup 2nd Round Replay, when Boston, rather unluckily, succumbed to Rochdale by 2-1 in front of 4,190 spectators. Below are a few artist’s impressions of the new stadium and a photo of the ground as a work in progress. I will certainly miss York Street. It was one of the definitive non-league grounds in this country, an absolute cracker!



“The Blinder” by Barry Hines – first published in 1966

Probably ………. the best fiction football story I’ve ever read! By the author of “Kes” and a real gritty tale of Northern lad with chip on shoulder who makes it good at football – but upsets a few along the way!

“The Rise of Gerry Logan” by Brian Glanville

Yet another great football yarn from The 1960s (first published in 1963), it tells the story of north-east starlet who comes to the bright lights of London – and the even brighter lights of Rome, but, like Lennie Hawk in “The Blinder”, his fatal flaws catch up with him ….. or do they?

“The Big Shot” by James Lee

Another cracking soccer story from the 1960s, priced at 12/6 when new (sixty two and a half pence in real money!), it tells the story of Sandy MacSporran, the star striker of unfancied fourth division Lancashire team, Muggleton United, who fight their way spectacularly to Wembley for the FA Cup Final and take on the mighty Tottenham Hotspur. Do they win?

The Jimmy Seed Story

I’ve always had a soft spot for Charlton Athletic ever since I was a teenager and first read this book. Jimmy Seed was a North-Easterner, being born at Whitburn almost within sight of Sunderland FC. He signed for them as a sixteen year old and almost missed out, because of The Great War and joined Welsh club Mid-Rhondda after only one appearance for the Roker side. He later played for Tottenham Hotspur and Sheffield Wednesday, but his heyday in the 1930s was taking unfashionable Charlton Athletic from the old Third Division to Division One in successive seasons and keeping them there for twenty years! It is a cracking little book full of tales of events long forgotten – Tottenham’s relegation in 1927/28 with a record 38 points – one less than SEVEN other clubs and his audacious attempt to sign Stanley Matthews for … £13,000. I’ve read it several times over the years and can well understand why he became such a hero at The Valley. If you ever get the chance ……………………..!!!


Ajax, The Dutch, The War
by Simon Kuper

Simon Kuper is a Ugandan born journalist who has travelled the world on football stories. This insightful volume looks at the Jews, some eighty thousand of whom were packed into a ghetto in that part of Amsterdam where Ajax played. Less than a quarter of them survived the war. In wartime Holland, many Dutch people were ‘collaborators’ except, perhaps where their football club was concerned! But what of England and The Nazi Salute in Berlin in 1938? Let those without sin …………! This is an excellent read and deals reasonably sympathetically with The Dutch without the use of rosy coloured spectacles! I never knew that 90,000 people were in place in Berlin for he kick off of The German League Final on the day that Germany invaded The Soviet Union!




Last month, I did several longish walks – 16, 18, 20 miles, but this month I have concentrated on short bursts involving a stretch of hill on the road into Gretton which is about a third of a mile in length. The hill comes about midway around the 1.75 mile circuit of the village, a circuit which I try to do twice every day, come rain, hail, or shine. At first, at the beginning of the month, it would take me about 7 – 8 minutes to make the climb. As the days went by, I reduced this to six minutes and then five minutes, until the last ten days of the month when I managed to get below five minutes and even below 4 minutes and 45 seconds. The record for this short climb now stands at 4 minutes and 34 seconds, and I am hoping that during next month, I can get below four and a half minutes, which is a speed of around 4.4 miles an hour! That is proper speed walking!


However, I did do one long walk on the last day of the month:

Tuesday 30th June 2020

A gloomy, iron grey firmament greeted the intrepid traveller, venturing down Church Walk, and across the fields and railway line to Thorpe by Water, The River Welland looking particularly serene. Up on the hill, Seaton village nestled and The George & Dragon, a seventeenth century village pub, was barred and shuttered. Onwards to Morcott, with a splendid view of The Welland Viaduct along the way and the odd little narrow bridge under the former spur line to Uppingham. Morcott to Glaston, where The Old Pheasant Inn (formerly The Monckton Arms), was also shuttered and barred. Across the fields to Uppingham for a modest repast (chicken sandwich and bottle of Lucozade Sport) on Tod’s Piece where Uppingham Town now play football. Legend has it that Tod was a farm hand of prodigious strength, who accepted a wager to scythe the field – seven acres, two roods and 16 perches in size – in one day, and having started at dawn, he completed the task by dusk, accepted his winnings and promptly fell down, dead! The field thereafter known as Tod’s Piece. Lovely view of The Eyesbrook Reservoir (it could have been a Scottish Loch) and onwards to Lyddington snuggling down in the dale, before repairing back to Gretton via The Weir with St James’ Church peeping over the tree tops! Twenty-three stiles and 17.75 miles

The double track main line looking towards Corby and Kettering and away from The Welland Viaduct. There is an occasional local service from Corby to Derby, but mostly, this route is used when the main line from London to Leicester via Market Harborough is disrupted.

The river Welland was looking particularly photogenic this morning, peaceful and quiet and hardly moving.

The village of Seaton bestriding the far side of the Welland Valley from Gretton

A very impressive view of The Welland Viaduct with its eighty-two arches

This is obviously a bridge for the local farmer, for their are no roads either side of it, but it does look rather narrow for, say, a tractor to negotiate. Above it is the spur line from the Market Harborough to Peterborough line. The spur line went the five or six miles to Uppingham and as Uppingham was (and is) the major town in the area, it is surprising that the line was not, initially, built to go through the place!

This is another, smaller viaduct on the same line as The Welland Viaduct and the spur line to Uppingham doubles back on itself underneath these arches.

There are some thoughtful farmers who keep well regulated pathways through their fields (and their are others who are not!).

Sometimes, the tracks the farmer creates are semi-overgrown through misuse?

Tod’s Piece – Uppingham Town FC

The Eyesbrook Reservoir from the top of Stoke Dry


The Bede Gate and St Andrew’s Church, characterised by its short, stubby spire atop the tower, in Lyddington

Gretton Weir, looking very low!

The top of St James’ Church in Gretton. Gretton sits at the top of a hill and all walks finish with a climb back up into the village!

There is a mistake on the signpost. Lyddington may be two and a half miles down the road, but Uppingham is nearer five miles by road from Gretton!



A Father’s Day card from my youngest son, Liam! Not too sure about the sentiments!!!


Stalybridge Celtic FC

Bower Fold, home of Stalybridge Celtic. This picture was taken in 1922 at the beginning of Celtic’s second (and last) season in The Football League Division 3 North. They came 7th in their first season and 11th in their second season, but “small” crowds meant that there weren’t able to compete financially, they said, this despite the fact that their average attendance in 1921/22 was 5,840 (almost 2000 more than neighbours, Rochdale who were playing in the same division!). They left to join the Cheshire League where they stayed until the formation of the NorthWest Counties League in 1982. They now play in The Northern Premier League


“Ar Tarn” by John Lee

Probably my favourite United Counties League team, Desborough Town’s claim to fame is that they have played in the top division of the League (and its predecessor, The Northants League), for their entire history! John Lee is the secretary and driving force behind the club and I believe he might still have copies of this excellently researched, hard-backed volume at the very reasonable price of £5.00!!! In the photo (from the championship winning team of 1966/67), front row left, is a very youthful Ian Addis who went on to play for Barnet and even later to become a colleague headteacher in the county and still attends matches when he can!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS