Thursday, March 11, 2010
Droylsden 0 Eastwood Town 1
I can’t stay at work late tonight. I finish at 4.20pm, on the dot. I exit the ‘Bond Bubble’, jump into ‘Sally Gunnell’, race out the car park and off the industrial estate. I’ve an important meeting tonight readers and I can’t be late. It’s Sticky junior’s parents’ evening at school and word on the street is that the night promises comedy value and star attractions.
I change out of my work clothes and shower and shave – I’ve got to look my best. Mrs P is astonished at my effort levels. I splash on my Ted Baker after shave (it’s only used for special occasions like weddings, Christenings and parties). I even pinch some of ‘The Skipper’s” hair gel.
It’s a fairly run-of-the-mill evening. Junior is doing well in most subjects. “Right” says Mrs P, “where’s your English teacher?” I feel my blood pressure rise and go a tad giddy. Bloody hell that gel has brought me out in a rash.
She tells us how junior has improved in all aspects of his English. I’m not surprised. I bet he faces the front in her lessons.
I’ve slept like a log on Friday night. I rise at 8am. Mrs P is eating a slice of toast and is watching the breakfast news on the BBC.
I slip into the kitchen to make another award-winning brew. I coddle some eggs. Brian Matthew spins his first toon of the day on his Radio 2 Sixties show – it’s Dave Berry’s 1965 hit ‘Little Things.’
I’ve asked Mrs P if she’d like to accompany me on a shopping spree to Nottingham this morning, as I have to get kitted out for a fortieth and fiftieth birthday party tonight. Sticky has some vouchers to spend at his number one favourite clothes shop – H&M.
I spot a ‘summer special’ green fleece on the rack – it will replace the green groundhopping coat that has served me so well from this store for the past two seasons. I will probably give the fleece an airing for a pre-season friendly.
I ring ‘junior’ up to make sure he buys a Mothers Day card. I can’t trust the pair of clowns to get a present, so I dive into Sainsbury’s to buy some flowers, which I place in a bucket of water and hide in the shed.
At 11.30am precisely I hear the tooting of a horn. The ‘Blue Rocket’ is purring at the top of our drive. I say goodbye to Mrs P and the kids. I wish ‘The Skipper’ good luck in his semi-final. The poor sod has got Osgood Schlatters in the growth plate of his Achilles heel. He’ll do well to last until half-time.
We head north up the Nottingham ring road and onto the M1. Radio 1’s Vernon Kaye keeps us all company.
Blog legend Trumpy Bolton is slumped in the back seat. He’s tucking into his one litre bottle of Bulmers pear cider. Trumpy and his long-suffering missus have been on a few weekend benders recently to Scunthorpe, Bewdley and Castleton, in Derbyshire’s Peak District.
Trumpy reminisces about the mother of all day sessions in Castleton. Apparently Mrs Trumpy was so pissed she fell asleep in her dinner and had to be carted off to bed.
He spots that The Groundhopper has procured a couple of cans of Stella. He laughs that I’ll be acting like a ‘Two Can Van Damme’ by lunchtime.
White Van Man brags that an alcopop has not passed his lips for nearly two months. Trumpy remarks that it’s ten minutes since his last drink.
White Van Man momentarily loses the steering on his car whilst clocking a young blonde girl driving a lavender-coloured Ford Zetec. He reports that his lady lodger is on a shopping excursion in Milan, while ‘Bruiser’ is on the razzle in Monaco.
It’s a glorious day. Eastwood Town assistant manager John Ramshaw will be topping up his tan in the Tameside sunshine.
WVM navigates the car past the Stocksbridge Reservoir and onto the Woodhead Pass. There’s still plenty of snow on the top of the Pennines.
Trumpy has a pub to chalk off in the High Peak village of Tintwhistle, in Cheshire. The pub was built in the 16th Century and is called the Bulls Head. The fashion designer Vivienne Westwood was born in the village.
We treat WVM to lunch. Sticky plumps for gammon egg and homemade chips. I wash it down with two pints of bitter.
WVM and Trumpy are all misty-eyed about the barmaid. She wears tight black jeans, an ‘I Luv My Duvet’ t-shirt and has a tattoo situated at the base of her spine.
The Groundhopper is more interested in the pub dog called Stanley, who sits beneath our table, chewing on an old tennis ball. He’s soon standing to attention and begging for food, when it’s finally served up.
Stanley will be frothing at the mouth at 4pm as 52 fell walkers are booked in for a three course meal.
The crafty so and so has the cutest of faces. He slavers over my food more than those two dimwits do over the barmaid. It’s an entertaining lunch, but we’ve a football match to go to.
We park opposite the Butchers Arms in Droylsden, on a cul-de-sac, next to some industrial units.
Droylsden is in the metropolitan borough of Tameside. It lies four miles east of Manchester and has a population of 23,000.
The first machine woven towel in the world – the terry towel – was produced by W.M.Christy and Sons Ltd, of Fairfield Mills, in Droylsden, in 1851.
Robertson’s Jam was a significant employer in the area but sadly it closed down in 2008.
Famous musicians from the area include: Herman’s Hermits singer Peter Noone, 10CC member Eric Stewart and Howard Donald from Take That: can’t see Mark Owen going on a pub crawl with Howie in these parts.
I notice on the website that Hull City assistant manager Brian Horton is an honorary president at the Club.
The Bloods chairman, Dave Pace, has generously allowed free admission to today’s game. It’s the reason why we have diverted from going to Hyde. Normal price is £10. There isn't a cat in hell’s chance of snaffling up a programme – the Butchers Arms is mobbed.
Trumpy comes hurtling out of the bar; someone from Eastwood has recognised the legend and pounced on him. Trumpy is shaking like a leaf. He’s not handling his new found status too well. “I know how David Beckham feels now” he mumbles.
It turns out he’s bumped into Eastwood ‘Booze Cruise’ member ‘Lank’ (more about him later).
It’s a wee bit chilly up here. Not that it seems to bother those pair of posers off the Eastwood management team – Paul Cox and John Ramshaw. Both parade up and down the touchline in shorts. ‘Rammers’ will be particularly upset with the overcast conditions as he’s spent the last half an hour rubbing in some Hawaiian Tropic sun tan oil.
The bald-headed, fleet-footed Eastwood winger, Lindon Meikle, is already posing problems for the Bloods full back with his pace and energy. He crashes a shot just wide of the mark and tees up Danny Holland who spurns a good opportunity.
Droylsden play a neat and tidy game. Stand-in Badgers ‘keeper, Ian Deakin, saves bravely from Gray and Grant. Droylsden have brought in some reinforcements following a miserable spell of form which has seen them tumbling down the table.
Trumpy is informed that Nottingham Forest – a club he despises – are already 2-0 down at Preston’s Deepdale ground. He remarks that Forest have struggled since Needham and Burns left the club.
We leave WVM to mark a cup of tea (he gives it a 7/10) and head for the bar. The place is stacked out with folk. There are people in here whose arses haven’t left their seats for the entire first half.
The two queues at the bar are the length of the room. But the hard-working volunteers behind the bar soon whittle it down. I’m served a pint of cider and a Tetley Smooth by a barmaid with a brighter orange glow than ‘Rammers.’
‘Lank’ has clocked us and pops over to introduce himself. He’s part of the Eastwood Booze Cruise and is absolutely hanging. Beneath his slurred speech lies a man with a passion for the game and the Club. Top man Lank.
We’ve been that busy chin-wagging that we miss the game’s only goal scored by Meikle in the 47th minute.
I suggest to Trumpy that we go behind the goal and meet the troops. There’s a serious injury on the hour, not on the field of play but to Trumpy’s cheekbone as the Booze Cruise posse ‘boing boing' with the legend.
Someone opens up a tin of snuff and allow Trumpy a sniff or two. He sneezes over the entire away following.
We’re suddenly attacked by the ‘Droylsden Ultras’ (half a dozen scallywags under the age of ten). ‘Roscoe’ stands up to be counted and chases them back into the home end.
We’re now back with WVM. Eastwood are beginning to turn the screw. Matt Bailey is strong at the back, Anton Foster marshalls the midfield, while Holland’s unselfish running and first touch catch the eye up front.
Droylsden waste a few half chances. They have so many new players it’s like a getting to know you session
Trumpy’s had enough and decides to nurse his battered and bruised cheekbone in the nearby Beehive pub. WVM exits to warm the car up.
There’s just enough time left to hear Paul Cox bleating at the linesman over a dubious decision, before jumping into the ‘Blue Rocket’ which is parked directly opposite the gates to the ground. I’ve two parties to go to.
Man of the Match: Stanley the dog.
Big respect to Droylsden FC for free admission. A very friendly, well-run club.