Saturday, October 8, 2011
Hyde 1 Nuneaton 1
It’s Thursday evening. I’m sat behind the goal at Loughborough Dynamo’s Nanpantan Sports Ground. I’m watching Gormhead’s lad playing in the FA Youth Cup 2nd qualifying round. It’s bucketing it down with rain.
Arnold are coasting, totally bossing the game. They are 3-1 up with 7 minutes to go. They can afford the luxury of a few substitutions. The final few minutes is the craziest I’ve seen in 40 years of football. Proper Keystone Cops defending. The Dynamo substitute rips the Eagles to shreds. He bags two and creates another. Arnold go down 4-3.
I’m gutted for Gormhead and his 17 year old son. No words can console him in the clubhouse after. I’m cheesed-off too. Arnold had drawn Brighouse Town up in West Yorkshire in the next round. It would have been an unexpected midweek chalk-off for Sticky Palms. Never mind, looks like I’ll opt for a night in with Mrs P and her hectic TV schedule.
Gormhead isn’t at work on Friday. Good job really as I’d have avoided him like the plague. It’ll take some getting over, conceding three goals in the final few minutes.
I’m scouring the Interweb for a few interesting news stories. Apparently Kieron Dyer has slipped on some bear shit in the woods and will be out until Christmas. Rochdale Council has proposed that they will name their new Sports Centre after former Liberal MP Cyril Smith, who weighed in at 29 stone. Apparently Smith still holds the record for the number of excuse notes written by a parent for ducking out of PE.
It’s Saturday morning. Yeah, you’ve guessed it, I’m sharing paper round duties with Sticky junior. The Daily Express, played out with Princess Diana conspiracy theories, lead instead with warnings of arctic conditions to sweep into Britain in the next few weeks. Bore off.
I valet the car before heading up to ‘Trumpy Towers’ on the Bronx. Rolf Harris is special guest on the Danny Baker Show. He tells an amusing anecdote involving former Beatle John Lennon. I pass White Van Man’s house. The curtains are shut; there’s no sign of life.
Trumpy’s not in the best of moods after England’s dismal showing in the Rugby World Cup quarter final. It’s no good moaning to me about it, as I don’t do ‘funny ball.’
We pick Dringy up in Compton Acres. It’s his first time out at groundhopping. Trumpy hasn’t seen him in 15 years. Dringy breaks the ice, and some packaging, by offering us all a chocolate brownie. We’re soon all chattering away.
Trumpy has already had two cans of McEwans and a bottle of Magners cider. He’s lined-up a pub in Cutthorpe near Chesterfield. For any new readers his sole mission in life is to make a financial transaction in every city, town and village in England, Scotland and Wales (shakes head in disbelief). It’s a hobby he has pursued for the last 25 years.
The pub in Cutthorpe isn’t open yet. We drop in at the four star Cavendish Hotel in Baslow. I make a few calls whilst Trumpy shouts them up. The hotel is located on the Chatsworth Estate. It’s like something out of the cult ITV period drama Downton Abbey.
Trumpy is lording it in a high-backed chair as a wedding party arrive in their Armani suits and Karen Millen dresses. We blend in well with our Topman jeans and JD Sports trackie bottoms. A waiter offers us champagne. We politely decline.
Trumpy nearly chokes on his bottled beer when he is charged £13 for three drinks by a smirking Notts County supporting barman. “Good health Trumpy.”
We drop into The George in Tideswell for a swift one. Well, it would have been a swift one, but Dringy and Sticky re-enact a Crucible quarter final frame between Terry Griffiths and Cliff Thornburn on the pool table. Trumpy is disgusted and orders another cider.
Lunch is instantly forgettable. We’re holed up in a Brewers Fayre about a mile from the ground. I have a chewy steak baguette; the boys prefer a more stable sausage and mash.
We park up on street just yards from the ground. A guy comes out of his house and warns us its residents parking only. He kindly lets us park up outside his drive. He’s a former groundsman at Ewen Fields.
Hyde is a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Tameside. It has a population of over 30,000 people. Famous folk from these parts include: the boxer Ricky ‘The Hitman’ Hatton, ex Man Utd winger Lee Martin and BAFTA winning screenwriter Danny Brocklehurst, whose dramas include: Clocking Off, Shameless and The Street.
During the 1960s Myra Hindley and Ian Brady were arrested in their home in Hyde, following the discovery of the body of 17 year old Edward Evans. Serial killer Dr Harold Shipman had a surgery in the town. He murdered several hundred of his patients.
Hyde FC play at Ewen Fields. It is also the home of Manchester City Reserves. The Glenn Hoddle Academy provides a pipeline of talent to the Club. The Tigers hold the record for the heaviest defeat in English professional football history. In 1887 Preston North End beat Hyde 26 (twenty six) 0 in an FA Cup match. The Club President is Sir Geoff Hurst.
One of Hyde’s managing directors is East Midlands record dealer John Manship, who is based in Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire. ‘Shifty Edwards’ has taken a particular interest in this, as John wheels and deals in rare soul vinyl.
In 2009 the Club was wound up in the High Court. The decision was reversed following frantic fundraising, including a bucket collection at Manchester City FC.
It’s £10 on the gate or £5 if you are a season ticket holder at a Premiership or Championship club. The programme is £2 and is just about one of the best programmes I’ve ever read. It’s up there with Rushall Olympic. The best quiz question in it is: Out of the 92 clubs which are the only two Wigan Athletic have never beaten?
The ground is everything I expected. A true classic. Trumpy and Dringy dive into the Tigers Social Club. I take a shufty at Ewen Fields. Manchester City’s major sponsors have advertising boards splattered all around the perimeter of the ground. Abu Dhabi and Etihad feature heavily. The Tigers shirt sponsor is City in the Community.
There is cover on all four sides of the ground. The pitch is immaculate. It’s rained all morning. It will be great to see the ball zip all over the park. The DJ bizarrely plays ‘United’ by Judas Priest, followed by ‘Tiger Feet’ by 70s glam rock band Mud.
Hyde are in red, whilst Nuneaton play in blue and white stripes. I’m stood in the ‘Boro.’ end. They have brought near on 200 fans with them, and are making one hell of a racket. I immediately spot Nuneaton’s Number 7. His left foot sticks out like a sore thumb. It turns out to be former Coventry City and Northampton Town midfielder Kevin Thornton.
He’s tidy in possession and decisive with his passing. I enquire with a few fans about his history. They say he got dismissed at Coventry for non-related football matters. He looks a tad heavy, but boy can he play.
Those pair of clowns (Trumpy and Dringy) come waltzing out the Social Club. It takes them five minutes to work out that Hyde are playing in red.
The game is high on quality. Both teams like to get the ball down, particularly Nuneaton. Thornton opens proceedings on 25 minutes. He pounces onto a threaded pass, rounds the ‘keeper and rolls the ball into an empty net. They’ve deserved it.Trumpy is jumping up and down with the Boro fans. He’s chanting, clapping and singing. “Well they are from the Midlands” he remarks.
Hyde restore parity against the run of play. Collett blocks bravely from the initial shot, but Ryan Crowther smartly tucks away the rebound. Game on.
We’re back in the bar at the break. Dringy buys a double round, just a 4% Stella for Sticky. I scan the half-times. Lincoln are already loosing at Tamworth. It’s last orders for Steve Tilson.
We stand with the Tigers’ fans for the second half as they roar their team on. They all seem to be necking cans of Red Stripe lager.
Gary Lowe must have given his team a right royal bollocking because they have come out all guns blazing. They pepper the Boro goal with some long-range shooting.
One of the Tigers fans clearly worse for wear from his Red Stripe bonanza has stripped bollock naked. He fails to negotiate the advertising hoarding and collapses on the floor. He finally gets his leg over and runs onto the pitch with the crowd in hysterics.
There’s not a Plod or steward in sight. He has his Andy Warhol moment and returns to his mates to a round of applause. He looks like Bez from the Happy Mondays.
Five minutes later a little boy is red carded by an overzealous steward for riding his bike up and down the concourse. The boy stares at the steward in disbelief. Honestly, local lad Danny Brocklehurst couldn’t write this script. I love the North.
Hyde have a late rally as Nuneaton shut up shop, content with a point. Spencer, Berkeley and Crowther all go close.
The final whistle goes. Hyde’s unbeaten run continues. It’s the best game I’ve seen in ages. We’ve one more trip up here this season. Hopefully it will be to Altrincham’s Moss Lane.
Man of the Match: Kevin Thornton
Quiz answer: Man Utd and Nottm Forest.