Sunday, 17 September 2017

BFC 0-3 Aston Villa, Saturday 16th September 2017

***photos to follow

‘If you lived in Brazil, you’d be dead by now’

The more seasons change, the more things remain the same.  (Away) shirts in my size sold out?  Check.  Hand dryers in East Stand still p*** poor?  Check.  A gazillion new signings for me to make a snap judgement on?  Check. A Londontyke making ridiculous pre-match bets?  Check. (Slacki putting on a Palace/Reds double.  Neither came in.)  A dodgy pen given against us?  Check.  Welcome back!  After a summer of traipsing around Europe watching 23 matches of teams I couldn’t really give a s*** about, it was great to finally see the Super Reds.  And it wouldn’t be the same if we (I) didn’t start our season in imperiously losing form.  Christ, I wish I was still on holiday.

Course, it was destined to be.  We were playing the Villa, a side we’ve not beaten at home in a 130 years of trying.  130?  Yes, it’s that well known landmark anniversary wot everyone celebrates: 130 years since we were formed, or sumfing.  130?  My God.  We were promised a fleet of legends pre-match, and we got ‘em: Paul Cross and Colin Walker.  I just dreaded one of them being Brooce Dire (actually, later I was told he DID come out – with Sir Bobby, AKA ‘The God Squad’ but Salisbury must have been tipped off about an impending pitch invasion by Annoyed of Peckham, cos I missed it, as Salisbury came up to chat and drop off Wembley tickets.)

Oh, and while I’m at it, a 500 pence programme.  WTF?  I asked my dad if he thought he would ever live to see the day we’d be charging a fiver for a programme at Oakwell.  ‘No.’  130 pages we were promised too (see what they did there?) but was I the only one thinking that in a programme based on a multiple of 4 pages, this was impossible.  (OK, yes I was; I presume the programme must have been 128 pages or 132, unless it was stapled differently to norm.)  Still, I was amused to think that arch BFC programme collector P. Waddington, of Penistone, had turned down my offer of purchasing one for him, only for him to get to Oakwell and find them sold out.  (He nabbed one later for £7.68 on ebay.  Irritatingly, we actually had a spare ourselves as Phil got his beak involved and thus 2 were bought for a P. Ompey).  Oh well. 

Another annual event is also my missing out on the pub pre-match on my opening game.  As the years go by, I’ve noticed a trend: my dad always has his birthday on the last day of August, and as such, I feel duty-bound to treat him to a meal.  So it was that we found ourselves at Cannon Hall farm having dinner amongst dozens of little kids.  It seems Peppa Pig and George (whothef*** is ‘George’?) were visiting.  It was pram central.  The food was pretty s*** as well.  Though I had a wry smile that the toilets of ‘The White Bull’ (that’s the name of its ’restaurant’) were labelled ‘bulls’ (men) and ‘heifers’ (ladies).  I’ve seen a few heifers over the years in Barnsley, I thought.

So, onto the match.  A traditional 5:30pm KO, to suit the global audience wot were surely tuning in.  Boy, I bet the X Factor’s viewing figures took a hammering tonite.  (If it wasn’t/isn’t on, forgive me, I haven’t seen Satdy evening telly in 20 years.  It’s still s***, right?)  So, yeah, there was this big team rocking into town to take on village misfits Aston Vanilla (what do you get if you cross a….oh, nevermind).  Hurrah!  We’d finally see a player of class and distinction – Conor Hourihane.  But, luckily, Villa haven’t yet found a way of utilising him efficiently, so he pretty much stood around in what I’d call the deep lying Jacob Mellis position.  And after struggling to get out of our half for the first 10 mins, there was only one team in it: us.
Barnes, Hamiill and McCarthy all whipped in great crosses.  One pullback resulted in an airshot (I’d love to blame Moncur, cos I think he’s s***, but truth is I’ve no idea who swung and missed).  A majestic chest control and volleyed cross by Hammill landed virtually under the bar.  Still not a Red in sight.  And did we really head wide from 4 yards off a corner?  Looked like one Barnsley player challenging another.  In the middle of all this, Bradshaw (our one centre forward) was strangely anonymous, never where the ball was landing.  Then the inevitable…Villa score from their only two visits into our half, both calamities of our own undoing.
McCarthy and Adomah chase down a Villa throughball; McCarthy is patently being stripped for pace, but fear not!  Davies comes hurtling out of his goal and for a split second appears favourite to gather – only he doesn’t and it somehow goes through him.  Adomah is left with a tap-in.  Whyohwhyohwhy do we have to work so hard for a snifter of an opportunity, while we just GIVE the opposition goals?  Then, a minute or two before half time, a ball over the top is stared at by one of our defenders, while Davis runs onto it for Villa.  Jackson makes a fabulous challenge, putting the ball out for a corner with his studs. The linesman starts flagging like mad.  He’s a bit excited for a corner, I reckon.  But no!  He’s given a penalty.  I guess he had to get spotted somehow, bless.  Adomah fires home, high into the net.  

We are properly up against it now and Hecky goes all radical, bringing on not one, but two subs (I guess it would be harsh on Moncur to drag him off alone; it wasn’t ALL his fault).  Ugg-boots and Hedges on for Moncur and Barnes, we’re going 4-4-2 instead of Bradshaw on his own up front.  Result?  Well, to cut a boring story short, Villa score 9 mins in with  free header and coast to victory, with Uggy missing 2 glorious chances to score (but at least he moves to get into these positions; Bradshaw was virtually statuesque).

*** Hamill.  It’s difficult to put my finger on it, but he looked our biggest threat, till Uggy late on.  The chest and volleyed cross, 1st half, was sublime.  Not his best game, but still the best we have. 
** Potts.  1st half in particular, he won balls, was prepared to bring the ball forward and brought others into the game.
McCarthy.  Defends well and gets up to help the attack.  Reminds me a little of Bree, ironically (considering we were playing Villa, though Bree was out).
Twitter MOTM: Williams

What is it with Villa and Brum fans?  When they’re not dragging out ‘Villa…Villa…Villa….’ (‘F*** off, f*** off, f***’ retorted the Ponty and that was the end of that) or that End of the Road dirge (Brum), they only sing about each other.  Perhaps if they got behind their teams, their sides wouldn’t be so bad.  Though why Aston fans think I’ve only come to see the Villa, god knows.  Still, nice touch of them to get their cameraphones out along with the Reds support in homage to terminally-ill Reds owner Patrick Cryne.  Please BFC, don’t get relegated before he bites the big one.
Players?  I couldn’t quite see what the excitement was regarding Williams.  I thought the game passed him by, so Twitter MOTM, obvs.  Bradshaw looked lost on his own, and second fiddle to Uggy when he wasn’t.  Had the presence of Sam Winnall, without the goals.  Uggy looked lively – shame he’s not ours.  The centre halves looked alright (Jackson/Partick Thistle bloke) apart from going AWOL for #3.  Potts looked excellent too, certainly a presence at 6 foot odd, blond and centre mid.  Barnes had a couple of good runs, and more’s the point (compared to Ryan Kent) whipped a couple of good crosses in.  So he was subbed at half time.  Davies caught and saved perfectly, but continues to be capable of the crucial blunder.  A poor man’s Luke Steele.  And Thiam’s only input was to outrageously flick a ball to their player with his 1st touch.  Learn to do the simple things, idiot, and the rest will follow.  Thereafter did a passable interpretation of Brendan O’Connell (without the skill).
Anyone for Wolverhampton next week?

Onwards and upwards!

Drink du jour: A couple of lagers pre-match, including some p*** poor Yorkshire watter (Saltire?) and Jack and coke on the homeward bound.  Well, at least the train journey is worth coming for.

Away: 3,268 (looked more)
The Damage:
£23.70 train
£5 prog
£2 zine
= £30.70

The Tunes:
Big Balloon (Dutch Uncles)
Biggest Bluest Hifi (Camera Obscura)

Friday, 12 May 2017

Newcastle United 3-0 BFC, Sunday 7th May 2017

‘You never saw the lips on that dog' (Tina Tyke, for the uninitiated)

Welcome to...the Sports Direct Arena

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder.  I can confirm otherwise.  Having lived outside the north east for over 20 years, and having not seen the Super Reds at the Sports Direct Arena since the Premier League (19 years ago – how time flies!), I still despise them.  Admittedly, the Mags have provided plenty of comedy over the intervening years (Bowyer and Dyer fighting on the pitch, relegations, crying Geordies, unpopular owners - I wouldn't change them for the world!) but every time I see a black and white striped shirt I still get that feeling of irritation, verging on hatred.

Like our chances..a tall order.

Luckily these days, I don’t have to put up with their rubbish.  Do they still think they are ‘bigger than Barca’?  Do they still think they have a divine right to win things?  Well, the short answer seems ‘yes’.  Even on attaining promotion, all they do is bleat about whether Mike Ashley will give them the ‘war chest they deserve’.  Mind, even Slacki fell into their trap.  Something about ‘they should be in the Premier League, really.’  Christ, this raises my heckles.  WHY should they?  So, come to that, where should WE be?  Cos if this is about size of club, size of crowds…what are we?  Division 3?  I actually quite like it the way it is, where the league is decided upon RESULTS and we supporters of ‘teams like Barnsley’ celebrate the small victories cos we know we’ll never win owt (major) while ‘teams like Newcastle’ spend the last 50 years wondering why they haven’t won the kind of trophy they 'deserve'.  And by that, I don’t mean the division 2 title (isn’t this their 3rd in 30 odd years?)

Oh yes, there was a match.  You all know the drill.  We pay 32 quids to watch a match from the heavens.  Though actually, it wasn’t that bad a view – for a seagull.  You are high enough that you can see the action, though too high to (usually) know which player is which (though I can see Callum Elder is s*** from here).  Dave complained of vertigo and (seriously) I found myself a little dizzy looking around the stadium. 

The teams line up.

And for 20 minutes we made it even more difficult to see, cos we were camped in their half, busy creating nothing.  But neither were they.  Then they broke on our left (the north eastern press raved about this, but all they did was get the ball across to where Elder can’t defend…then doubled up on him giving him even less than the no chance he already had, before a ball was cut back for Perez to flick home).  It was all a bit too easy and no more than we expected, I s’pose.

Only in Geordieland...WKD on offer.

Second half, we were pegged back.  Davies started pulling out the saves but it was only a matter of time.  They blazed one over an open goal before Davies parried another one straight to a Mag.  2-0, game over.  Or was it?  Weirdly, we had 2 big big chances to nick a goal, as Watkins came on and headed one at the keeper when he should have done better, while….I can’t remember the other chance (this IS 5 days later) but it was a good one.  I think someone was clean through….anyway, imagine if both of those had gone in!

The north-east's biggest conservatory.

By now, the Reds crowd was in good voice, baiting the silent Mags about the Championship championship going to Brighton, but then it happened.  For the 3rd time that day Newcastle made some noise (3-0, £10m Dwight Gayle came on and scored within minutes) and before the cheers died down, news came through: those Albion idiots had conceded to 10 man Villa and the Mags could celebrate like they’d matched their finest achievement of the last 48 years.  Which of course, they had.  Let’s just say one advantage of this was that we only had to listen to a minute of crowing before it was full-time and we could escape the stadium and into the empty streets.  Otherwise the only noise I heard outside the away end was the clatter of rain on the roof (it wasn't raining; it's the sound of Geordie applause at the SD Arena).  As for us, like our season since January, our eagerly anticipated trip to the north-east was an anti-climax.  Unlike some other teams, September cannot come SLOW enough for us.

Can you make out ANY of our (outfield) players?

*** Davies.  Saved us from conceding 5 or 6.
** Watkins.  Came on and FINALLY we had a presence up front.
* No idea.   The rest were just dots moving around a pitch.

Londontykes' MOTM:  1. Davies  2. James  3. Watkins

We might rate Scowen, but he was certainly muscled out of it today by bigger, better players.  Hopefully the scouts were watching and he’ll stay!  Elderwas a catastrophe.  Nevermind the hapless defending, he sh*ts himself in possession, either miscontrolling or letting it go under his foot and out of play. Bradshaw was weak up front.  I’m losing faith.  Kent…guess what?  Took on players till he lost it.  I'll miss shouting at him when he's gone.

Pre-match north-eastern tradition that it is…where else can you find a topless bar before midday on a Sunday?  Sure enough, Slacki and Andy found the right place.  (***Note: they both SWEAR they didn't know this till the beers were bought).

Sir Bobby.  Head and shoulders above the rest.

Drink du jour: f** all pre-match (see above – Sarah wasn’t especially interested in drinking in a titty bar) though a multitude of quality ales later as we bar hopped; Kronenburg (strangely smelling Goth bar), Asahi (Wagamama – food pitstop), Brooklyn (cinema bar), Krusovice and some wheat beer in the craft pub.  So my weekend wasn’t all wasted.  Also enjoyed Slacki upturning his Jager in his he drank pure energy drink, wondering where the good bit was...

The Damage:
£32 ent
£3 prog (anyone want a free Rafa poster?)
£42.25 travel
£24 travelodge
= £101.25

Pre-match outside #9.

Sports Direct panorama.

Those deemed not good enough.

Outside the elderly (by SJP standards) East Stand.

Inside, looking at the ginormous West Stand.
The view from Row X.

'Dessert' Geordie-style.  A dish of pork crackling.

Monday, 1 May 2017

St. Pauli 2-1 Rot Weiss Ahlen, Friday 7th August 2009

St. Pauli 2-1 Rot Weiss Ahlen, att. 22,294

(report to follow, when I have time to copy it up!)

Inside the Fanladen

Welcome to .....

The entrance

Behind the Gegengerade

The Gegengerade

club shop in the sudkurve

Skinheads St. Pauli

Making use of the office shredder.

The teams come out.

The Ahlen fans

Pre-match meet 'n' greet.

The infamous flak tower.

Looking down the Gegengerade.

Packed in like sardines.


Victory huddle.

The fans show their appreciation.

To the victors - we salute you.

The Main Stand empties.

View over Millerntor.

The Gegengerade emptying.

That's some clean up job.

The Main Stand.

Home time!

The flak tower.

After match demo
('Make up the mouth' - shut your mouth? say sorry?)
Sankt Pauli! Sankt Pauli!

celebrating a famous victory

Sunday, 30 April 2017

BFC 1-1 Burton Albion, Saturday 29th April 2017

‘It won’t suck itself.’

The early bird catches the empty car park

Let’s start at the end.  It is 3:30am and I am stuck somewhere in Crystal Palace.  I have fallen asleep and missed my stop on not one, not two, but THREE nightbuses.  I have ended up in Palace twice, with the other journey broken up at Farringdon when I awoke heading back to Kings Cross.  Actually, I don’t remember whether I got off at Palace or not the 1st time; maybe I just stayed on the bus for the return journey? Cold in Crystal Palace at half three in the morning, I gave up.  There was a cab office in front of me.  Taxi to Peckham?  £16.  So, my recent good run has come to an end.  Just shows the state I was in after the match.  Well, the last home game of the season comes but once a year…and things could be worse. The Captain had flu, so couldn’t make the game, but still trained it up from Southampton to Waterloo to hand over our train tickets.  (There’s a lesson to be learned there, Phil.)

The point I gave up and got a taxi.

I arrived at Oakwell early; my dad had my ST and I was through the turnstiles by 2. It’s a bit weird being in a virtually empty stadium pre-match, though it made a change watching the players warm up.  One last chance to win a home game this season and without a win in 8.  By contrast, we’ve never conceded a goal to Burton, a record I was keen to continue.  We’ve also never lost to them (4 games and counting).  0-0 would be perfect.  All records could stay intact!

The Super Reds warm up.

Kicking towards the away end, we carved out chance after chance.  No, scrub that. It was a vaguely open game but the best 2 chances fell to Burton; a free header over the bar and a chance on the back post where their bloke seemed to cross it when the goal was gaping. More fool him. Then, slightly out of the blue, we scored.  (I say out of the blue. I’d been nodding off again, like I’ve done the last few home games. Age?  Boredom?)  Kent burst past a player on the edge of the box and laid it off just before he was royally taken out.  The ball was then cut back and Moncur dug it out and netted to his right. A fine finish from the only bloke who looks like scoring for us right now.

The Burton contingent.

2nd half, we came out all guns blazing.  No, really.  Bradshaw had a shot blocked, another was narrowly missed, and MacDonald nearly scored with an incredible overhead kick from a corner, the keeper saving low to his right.  Needless to say, from our best 5 minutes of the match, they score.  Burton send on ex-Leeds man Varney and he scores with his 1st touch, another free header off a corner.  BFC, here’s an idea: mark the centre forward bloke on corners.  The reason he is a centre forward is probably because he is more capable of putting the ball in the net than his teammates.  (Note, this theory may not necessarily apply to BFC.)

The Ponty v Burton.

Thereafter, not a lot happens. Kent takes on everybody and blazes over (twice).  Hecky realises Jones won’t get any better and brings on Mowatt (Scowen switching to right back) before realising that Burton have no interest in attacking and pushing Scowen back into midfield and going to a back 3 (in reality a back 2; how AWFUL was/is Elder?)  We carry on 2017’s Oakwell theme of never looking like scoring. Armstrong is even sent on for his customary ‘looks like he could do something but doesn’t’ cameo.  The ref blows for full time, but not before Hedges is given a minute and a half to win it for us. Most pointless substitution of the season?

Injured or timewasting?  Let's just say the stretcher wasn't needed,

*** Scowen.  He’s here, he’s there, he’s getting kicked everywhere. Is it illegal to give yellow cards for fouls on ‘arr Josh?  A couple, he was sent proper flying.  Though part of his ‘problem’ is being so quick to nip in and win balls. His other ‘problem’ is his ability to drive forward 60 yards with the ball, as he did on one run 1st half.  A final Oakwell appearance before he signs for someone better (richer) than us? 

** James.  Cool, calm and calculated.  He makes time for himself where no-one else can.  A final Oakwell appearance before we can’t afford to make his loan permanent (not that he’d want to).

* Moncur.  Another promising attacking display from our #10, playing the #10 role.  I can see us building next season’s team around Moncur (till a poor run of results has him blamed for being too lightweight and subsequently banished to the reserves.)  Don’t forget where you read it first.  

Londontykes' Top 3:

A new plaque has appeared in the East Stand concourse.

MacDonald was twitter MOTM, but he had nowt to do (though marking Varney in the 52nd minute woulda been good).  Elder and Jones were in competition for most inept fullback performance of the season.  Thank god they’re on loan.  Elder in particular struggles to control a ball, hesitates, and lacks any positional sense.  And we already have Kpekewa for those things.  Up front, Bradshaw was anonymous. It’s ok saying we need to play him balls to feet, but Scowen did once (2nd half) and Bradshaw failed to control it.  Watkins was another one you never saw, least not till late on.  As for Kent – what can I say that I haven’t already? If you see him once, you think ‘crikey, he looks good’ but if you watch him 30-40 times you see he’s the same every game. Beats players and loses it. No end product whatsoever.  And while I’m at it, how comes he’s the club’s young player of the year?  If we can’t vote for Hourihane in the main award (cos he’s not out player) how do we give Liverpool FC’s Kent our young player?  Either way, says it all about the efforts of our OTHER young players.  (Like Villa’s Hourihane, I’d give our young player to Villa’s Bree – THAT’S why they bought him, cos he was being dead good, like.)

Oh yeah. Roberts got the supporters’ POTY trophy.  Hopefully his injury will put other suitors off the scent.  As for the Londontykes’ POTY – crikey, I’d better start totting things up.  I don’t have a clue who’s in the running!

Regarding tactics yesterday, how many times did I see us try to pass it THROUGH a massed defence on the edge of their box?  Get the ball OUT WIDE and WHIP IT BACK IN.  The one time we did, Elder (of all people) drove it across and their fullback nearly put the put the ball in his own net.  The closest we came in the last 38 minutes.  To quote a bloke who I used to work with (and couldn’t stand) ‘it’s not rocket science.’  (His other favourite line, which he would repeat every Monday without fail was ‘HAPPY MONDAY!’)  He thought this was truly hilarious.

I left just before the end, to catch the train.  Was there a pitch invasion? I suspect not, as the Ponty weren’t all lining up by the hoardings as per.  Another great tradition killed by the club.  But I did hear the tremendous backing of the crowd towards Heckingbottom et al AFTER the final whistle.  Nothing like creating an atmosphere AFTER the (home) season has ended.

Onwards and upwards!  (We’ll come 23rd next season.)

The cameramen wait for the game to begin.

Drink du jour: Erdinger in #7, and choose any of vodka, gin and JD on the train. Not sure I needed the extra beer in the Parcel Yard, or red wine in Caminos (see earlier).  I don’t think I was the only one ‘tired and emotional’ yesterday, as a few fans in the East lower kept singing ‘Reds, Reds are falling apart again’ to the tune of Joy Division’s ‘Love will…’ 

Away: 1,238, or approximately twice what Bristol City brought.  A fantastic effort from the tiniest team in the division.  Well done the Brewers on staying up.  Hopefully another cracking away day to look forward to next year!

The Damage:
22.20 train
3 prog

The Tunes:
Dead Elvis (Death in Vegas)
Geogaddi (Boards of Canada)

Panorama v Burton.

'Atha laikin Dyer?'

I'm impressed with this initiative (whatever I thought of Dyer, the player)

The old Main Stand.

This is how it feels to be lonely...

Who knew I sit near the 'F' of 'Barnsley F.C.'?

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