Saturday, August 27, 2011
Clipstone Welfare 1 Yorkshire Main 2
We’re walking hand in hand around the streets of Paris. The pavements are sun-kissed and romance is in the air. I’m sick of football, groundhopping, scouting, coaching and work. It’s been a gruelling, punishing season I (we) need a break.
We scale the Eiffel Tower and have a Champagne cruise down the River Seine. We drink Muscadet and devour moules mariniere. The hotel is par excellence.. We adore the cafe culture and the slow pace of the city.
We’re back in the room resting before evening dinner. JK has recommended a rustic eatery just around the corner in St Michael’s Square. I foolishly turn my phone on and immediately hear the message alert tone. I click the button. My weekend is in tatters, ruined. I want to go home.
The text is from Gangsta’s Dad. New readers let me explain. Gangsta is my Godson’s little bro. We’ve had him at the Notts County’s u7s development group for six months now. He is showing promise and is like shit off a shovel.
Today he has been playing in the Cotgrave Tournament. The text says he has been invited in to our bitter rivals from across the water. Their scouts have missed him time and time again. He’s been spotted by a proper scout. A man who worked for Brian Clough for many years.
Oh well, I’m not bitter. I won’t take it personally. I haven’t spoken to Gangsta since ‘that text’, it’s nothing personal. I hope his team, Wolverhampton Wanderers, are relegated this season. That’ll teach the cheeky Red Dog a harsh lesson.
I’m in the Warehouse at Ergo Computing, a company I’ve worked at for 12 years now. ‘Goods In’ legend ‘Shifty Edwards’ is spitting feathers. He’s booting cardboard boxes about the place and sulking more than Forest’s Lewis McGugan.
I ask him what the matter is. He says he doesn’t want to talk about it. I dig a bit deeper and find out the real reason. Apparently he is unable to ‘listen again’ to the Steve White Northern Soul and Motown Show on Radio Sheffield because it got cancelled, so they could broadcast live from Goodison Park for the Everton v Blades League Cup tie. “Man up, Shifty lad.”
It’s Friday evening. I was hoping for an early drink with Mrs P and a quiet night in with a few Stellas and a bottle of wine. I’ve completely forgot that I’m due at the Tropeiro Brazilian restaurant on King Street in Nottingham. It’s housed in the old Hard Rock Cafe building.
I really have to crank myself up for going out. I’m not feeling it folks. I have a couple of Sagres beers and enjoy the experience of the rodizio (continuous service). You are given a beer mat with a red and green side. If you leave the green side up the waiter will continue to serve you. If you leave it on red it means you are stuffed.
I decline a drink after the meal and walk off my churrasco (barbecue). It’s siling down with rain as I walk alone down London Road and onto Trent Bridge. The floodlights shine brightly at Meadow Lane. Nottingham Rugby Club must be at home.
It’s 3am. I’ve woken up with a raging thirst. Those bloody Brazilians. How the hell does that Anderson bloke cover every blade of grass at Old Trafford, after going to one of them Brazilian barbeques?
I’m helping Sticky jnr on that damn paper-round again. He flicks on 96.2 Capital Radio, a station I despise. It's a bit early for 'Down With the Trumpets' by the Rizzle Kicks.
The newspaper headlines are depressing. Four English children are orphaned on a family holiday in Morocco after both parents are found dead in separate incidents, report the Daily Mail.
I’m driving up to the bottle bank, Mrs P’s empties (bottles of Pinot Grigio) need disposing off. I hope I’m not behind Trumpy Bolton in the queue.
‘Fighting Talk’, hosted by the distinctly average Gabby Yorath, is on Five Live. They’re talking about famous footballers who have disappeared off the celebrity radar. John Fashanu’s name crops up. I remember him arriving at Lincoln City from Norwich City for £15,000 in the early Eighties. It transpires that he now hosts the Nigerian version of Deal or No Deal.
I’m sat on the sofa waiting for White Van Man to pick us up. ‘The Skipper’ is joining us on ‘The Hop’ today. We’re watching Aston Villa versus Wolverhampton Wanderers in the ‘most exciting league in the world.’ It’s 0-0. If Alex McLeish gave a free coaching lesson on our back lawn, I’d shut the curtains.
We’re travelling executive style today. White Van Man is already trying to wind me up. He’s got Absolute 80s on the radio. Some awful UB40 track filters out the sound system.
WVM is piloting towards Cotgrave, ‘The Skipper’ tells him he’s missed the turn for Clipstone. Bless him, he thought we were going to Clipston near Tollerton. He’s proper got the face on.
Next weekend about 20 of us are off to North Wales for a long weekend. We’ve hired a big house on the cliff top in Abersoch. WVM reminds me that we’ve got an ‘Abba Gala Night.’ I must buy some white socks and a false beard.
As we’re driving up the A614 Absolute 80s comes up trumps with the Talk Talk’s classic 1986 hit ‘Life’s What You Make It.’
We finally reach the old mining village of Clipstone. ‘The Skipper’ asks what the two big towers are in the sky. They are of course the distinctive winding gear that took the miners up and down the shaft. It’s a fantastic sight and pleasing that they’ve been left as a lasting memory.
It’s £3 entry for WVM and I. I presume that kids are free. I snap up a programme for £1. It’s a really good effort for this level.
Clipstone Welfare seems a really friendly club. They are managed by former Mansfield Town midfielder Gary Castledine.
‘Shifty’ would be pleased, the Clipstone PA guy has slung on a Motown CD. The Supremes ‘You Keep Me Hanging On’ is the pick of the bunch. We take a pew in a stand that runs along the half-way line to the left of the clubhouse.
The Lido Ground looks out towards, what probably is, the old Colliery spoil heap. Today is a top of the table clash.WVM predicts a draw, ‘The Skipper’ says 2-1 to the visitors, whilst earlier in the day, Finley (our rabbit) had shouted out from under the shed that it would be 2-2.
The teams march out to a little medley the PA man has put together. Sadly and comically the CD keeps sticking. I notice that 18 year old Harry Hawkins is refereeing today’s game. My information is that the Nottinghamshire FA are fast-tracking this lad.
Clipstone are wearing a replica Newcastle United strip. It even has the Northern Rock sponsorship splashed across the front of the shirt. Maybe there is a story behind that.
It doesn’t take long for the visitors to take the lead. ‘Ryan’ pounces onto an under-cooked back-pass and knocks the ball past a startled goalkeeper.
Clipstone play the better football, ‘Cass’ and Danny Tighe control the midfield, but they tend to overdo it and have no end product. Things have been brewing up for a while, like they do when Notts and Yorkshire do battle. Main win a free-kick but their 6 jacket retaliates and kicks out. After consultation with his assistant ‘Young Harry’ sends him off.
Yorkshire Main increase their lead on the half hour, despite being one player light. ‘Ryan’ heads home a corner unchallenged.
The highlight of the day is at half-time. I poke my head through the tea bar and notice a sprightly young girl filling up a teapot with boiling hot water. All three of us have a brew. It’s marked with a 9.8 and will take some beating.
I check my phone for a few scores. My good friend Rammers’ team Shepshed are behind at Stamford. ‘The Skipper’ is spitting feathers; he’s missed out on winning the raffle by one number.
The second half is delayed whilst referee Harry Hawkins completes his evening paper-round.
We’re walking at the back of the goal towards the dugouts when Clipstone’s Number Three commits a horror two-footed tackle on a Main player. It’s in front of my 13 year old son, who is visibly shaken. I shout to ‘Young Harry’ that the challenge is ‘appalling.’ The full back is correctly shown Red.
Moments later Tighe fires a wicked free kick in from the left, the Clipstone centre half heads the ball into the roof of the net. Clipstone have a real go and pile on the pressure. Young Scully brilliantly tips an effort onto the bar.
There’s five minutes left on the clock. The young Yorkshire Main forward scurries away onto a through ball, he is completely wiped-out by one of the worse challenges you’ll ever see by the Clippo goalkeeper. Referee Hawkins allows the offender to escape with a yellow despite it being serious foul play (Law 12)
The goalkeeper shows no remorse at all. There’s no apology, a pat on the head or any sign of concern. The boy lays on the floor motionless. They put a blanket on him. It looks bad. ‘The Skipper’ is upset and asks if we can go home. It’s a very sad and tragic end to the day.
NB: Curtis Walker suffered a double-leg break. He will probably lose his job.
Man of the Match: Liam Scully.