Saturday, August 22, 2009

Newark Town 2 Kinsley Boys 0

Barthez is lovin the whole Notts County saga right now, despite being a confirmed Tricky Tree supporter. He was tipped the wink by an unknown source that a takeover was imminent at Meadow Lane, a few weeks ago, and dipped his bread with Joe Coral. The Pies were 33/1 at the time. He’s had £20 each way. You’d do well to get 7/4 this morning.

Sitting by the pool from 9am until 6pm everyday in Majorca for the last few weeks does have its advantages. It’s meant I’ve caught up on some reading. I managed five books in ten days. The one that topped the lot was the autobiography of Specials rude boy, Neville Staple. He churns out anecdote after anecdote. I’d read it inside two days. If Two Tone is your tipple, then I’d recommend you splash out on it, or pay 20p for it, from your local library, like Sticky did.

It’s been a full on week. Monday evening I was down the training ground. On Tuesday it was Kimberley Miners’ Welfare, watching an excellent game of football, in Sticky’s favourite league, the NSL. On Wednesday Sticky junior put on his brand new dancing shoes and waltzed his way through the Asfordby Amateurs under- 13 midfield. On Thursday ‘The Skipper’ bowled an atrocious over at Kimberley CC, but redeemed himself with a textbook spell of batting, against the quickest bowler I’ve seen this season.

Yesterday (Friday) was a cracking day for Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club. Notts bowled out Australia for a measly 160. We watched it at work on the desktop scoreboard. The Auctioneer and I have little side bets on how many runs will be scored in a session and how many wickets will fall.

The kids have erected a tent on the back lawn and have slept in it for most of the week. I was going to drive down to the local fancy dress shop and loan a fox outfit, so I could pop my head through flap and scare the living daylights out the pair of them. I didn’t have the heart to do it.

It’s Saturday morning. It’s dawn. I’m restless in bed and can see the sun peering through the bedroom curtains. Mrs P’s shoulder injury has cost us all some sleep this week. I start researching the Newark blog.

Both cars are washed and vacuumed out. The garage is tidied up and looks spick and span. I take Mrs P’s empties up to the bottle bank. The good lady has gone to the hairdressers.

I rock up in inner city Nottingham at 11am. I’ve an important meeting with the chairman of one of Nottingham’s biggest multi-cultural junior clubs. The guy is charming and shares a vision for the club that I believe in. I’m appalled to hear that they receive less than £2000 in funding each year from the Football Foundation. How can you keep kids off the street with this lack of encouragement?

I promise him that I will get some new balls and equipment for the club. Sticky knows this is where he will find future professional footballers. The last five or six players Notts County have sold for good money have been black, mixed race and more importantly within a two mile radius of the city centre – David McGoldrick, Leon Best, Michael Johnson, Kelvin Wilson and Jermaine Pennant.

I nip down Highfields to watch the closing moments of Notts County Youth versus Doncaster Rovers. ‘We’ve’ lost 4-3 with ten men. I don’t hang around for the post-mortem. I walk back to the car park with former Nottingham Forest player and twice European Cup final winner, Ian Bowyer. He’s now a scout at Portsmouth.

It’s back home to pick up ‘The Skipper’ who’s making his seasonal bow. He went to a donkey sanctuary with nana and poppa yesterday in Derbyshire. I asked him whether he’d been on a scouting mission for ’King Billy’ at Nottingham Forest, as all and sundry know, from his radio and paper interviews, that he’s after a couple of defenders.

We pick up a heavily fatigued White Van Man. Boy does he look drained. He’s had a ‘shit week.’ ‘The Skipper’ doesn’t help matters by asking WVM if he supports Burnley. (WVM is a Man Utd fan) ‘The Skipper’ announces that mummy is seething that I’ve invited that ‘drunken bum’ Trumpy Bolton to her 40th birthday bash.

It takes WVM a full fifteen minutes before he’s effing and blinding. ‘The Skipper’ is chuckling his big head off on the back seat of the ‘Rolls Royce.’

We drive down the A46. The village of Scarrington is to our right. It’s a place that Ipswich Town manager, Roy Keane, resided at during his spell at Nottingham Forest.

Newark-on-Trent is a market town in Nottinghamshire with a population of 25,000. Its main industries have been: clothing, bearings, pumps, agricultural machinery and sugar-refining. Well known folk from the town include: former England rugby union full back Dusty Hare, ex West Bromwich Albion and D***y County left back, Shane Nicholson and former Leyton Orient defender Mark Smalley.

I had noticed that the glass shattering, appalling soul singer, Whitney Houston, was born in Newark, but thankfully, for all concerned, it was Newark in New Jersey and not Newark in Notts.

‘The Skipper’ is fed up with listening to Lewis Hamilton whizzing around the track in preparation for the European Grand Prix in Valencia on Sunday. He twiddles with the knobs on the car radio and tunes into Radio Trent. It’s a station that’s normally banned from the car when I’m piloting. He’s happy enough though, singing along to Welsh singer Duffy.

WVM begins to wake up and tells us a few anecdotes from his Ladies’ Day outing at Southwell racetrack last Sunday.

Newark Town somewhat bizarrely play in the village of Collingham, which lies 4 miles outside the town centre. Why on earth Newark Town Council doesn’t provide facilities or land for the Club I do not know.

We pass the picturesque Collingham Cricket Club. Sticky stops the motor and takes a few snaps. Twelve years ago at this same ground, blog legend, Barthez, threw down the stumps on the final ball to put Keyworth Cricket Club into the Sunday cup final.

We are met with the friendly face of Newark Town FC secretary, Jim Todd. He’s been involved with the club for over 40 years. The ground has a village green feel about it. We’re charged £6 in total for the three of us, which includes two programmes.

We lean on the barrier, as the sun beats down and the game kicks off. Kinsley Boys, from Wakefield, in West Yorkshire, arrive with a big reputation. They gave six of the best to a shell shocked Forest Town last weekend. Sticky can smell a few goals.

Kinsley start well and camp themselves inside the Newark half. The right back has an enormous long throw. He hurls in a few missiles at their forward, who is a Brian Deane lookalike in physique and running style. Two long range efforts are tipped around the post by the Newark ‘keeper.

‘The Skipper’ has seen enough after only fifteen minutes. He’s hooked up with a gang of lads. It’s jumpers for goalposts and five a-side.

Newark have made five changes from the midweek win against Ollerton Town. A few of the younger players are given a chance. Sam and Tom Wilford are 18 year old twins who patrol the right hand flank for Newark. They are both exciting and direct players. Sam rampages down the right in the 21st minute, he crosses to former Newark Flowserve striker, Calum Fraser, who blasts the ball into the back of the net.

Newark remain on top for the remainder of the half. Kinsley show very little evidence on how they managed to bag six the previous week.

The clubhouse is smart and cosy. WVM shouts them up. We all have Coke (that’s the drink and not the recreational Columbian drug). WVM and ‘The Skipper’ snaffle up a bag of crisps each.

Lincoln are losing at home to Burton Albion. The Pies have scored two in two minutes at Meadow Lane against John Still’s Dagenham and Redbridge. King Billy’s Tricky Trees are one down at Loftus Road.

On 46 minutes Sticky Palms is chased 60 yards down the touchline by an angry wasp, whose took exception to me not wanting to share my Coke.

In four years of groundhopping I’ve seen some fantastic names that players have. Newark Town have the best though. Their number 12 is called Liam O’Looney. He looks like Jesus Christ.

The Kinsley Boys 5 jacket is a scary looking geezer. He must run the doors on a Saturday night in Wakefield. He’s a dead ringer for former Northern Ireland centre half, Gerry Taggart. His style of play, though, is more Inspector Jim Taggart, than Gerry Taggart.

Calum Fraser wraps up a comfortable win, latching onto a whipped in free kick from Ellison. Fraser had earlier seen a deflected shot crash off the bar.

Kinsley Boys are awful. They’ve no width or game plan; unless it’s a throw-in. They’ve perfected the art of moaning and groaning. One after another find their way into the referee’s notebook for dissent or foul and abusive language. What must be going through the mind of my eleven year old son, who leads his village team with exemplary behaviour?

White Van Man has a smile as wide as the River Trent. He’s parked himself up next to the best piece of totty in Collingham. The smirk on his face is firmly wiped away when her boyfriend appears on the scene.

Newark could have won by five or six. As for Kinsley; well six goals last week, but not even six shots on or off target today.

Man of the Match: The Wilford twins.

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