Saturday, September 29, 2012

Ossett Town 1 Ashton United 0

The BMI flight from Faro to East Midlands Airport is taxing the runway. I’ve buried my head into my Kindle for the entire trip, only resurfacing for a cheeky GnT. A small bald-headed fellow, sitting next to me, is reaching up to the overhead luggage compartment. We have not uttered a single word to each other on the entire journey.

I ask him if he has far to go. “Not far lad, Pontefract.” I explain that I intend to visit the West Yorkshire town later this year as part of my groundhopping fix. The guy says I would be made welcome and that he used to be chairman there.

He doesn’t go to watch so much now as he follows his lad, Anthony Lloyd, (ex Huddersfield Town, 43 appearances) who has just signed for Ossett Town. Their ground has been on mine and Trumpy’s radar for some time now. We bid farewell, with a promise from me to catch up with him later in the season.

A pleasurable hour, on Friday evening, is spent holed up in the Lounge of the Plough Inn at Normanton-on-the-Wolds with Mrs P. Mark, the landlord (or ‘Bum’ as we used to call him at school) has the best guest beer on ever. It’s called ‘Hood’ and is from the Lincoln Green brewery.

Later in the evening, following a bottle of Red, I’m sprawled out on the sofa watching Tiger Woods hunched over a putt on the 18th green to halve the match in the Ryder Cup. Murphy is on my shoulder squawking, tweeting and singing in an attempt to put Woods off. It does the trick as Tiger lips out. “Well done Murphy”, I whisper in his ear as I put the wee lad to bed.

I rustle up poached eggs on toast in the morning whilst listening to an old Daft Punk single on Ramone’s 6Music breakfast show. I mull over Friday night’s football scores; one sticks out like a sore thumb: Forest Green Rovers 3 Lincoln City 0. The Club are in a complete and utter mess. There’s even talk of them leaving Sincil Bank. My father will be turning in his grave.

I run a few errands before picking Trumpy up. Murphy needs some sand sheets and Finley requires topping up with hay and sawdust. Finley predicts a 3-1 win to Ashton, with Murphy calling a 1-1 score draw. I spot former European Cup winner Frank Clark popping into Bob Green’s the butcher in our village.

I leave Mrs P ironing whilst watching James Martin Saturday Kitchen and head off up through ‘the Bronx.’ Legend is often an overused word, but Trumpy is right up there with the likes of Cantona and more applicably George Best. He struts down the drive like Miss World on the catwalk. Actually, I’m lying; he’s limping quite badly.

We shake hands and wish each other a ‘Happy New Year’ – I’ve not seen him since March. He rummages around in his Jersey Airport carrier bag for his litre bottle of Bulmers cider. It’s 10.30am and the great man is up and running.

Once again, to explain to any astonished and disbelieving readers, Trumpy’s sole reason for living is to make a financial transaction in every village, town and city in England, Wales and Scotland. Sorry if you have just fainted.

Trips he has made since we last met include: Whitby, Filey, Exmouth and the Scottish Isles. He’s well chuffed to report that he’s visited the remotest pub in Scotland, off Skye. It was a £40 return, 15 mile boat ride.

I’ve accidentally tooned into the Sara Cox show on Radio One; Trumpy despises her, along with Rita Chakrabartri, Graham Norton and Alex Salmond. A car is on fire on the A610 as we approach the M1 North, passing a new Co-op distribution centre at Junction 28.

Trumpy is thumbing his way through the Good Pub Guide. First stop is the Silkstone Lodge Country Inn close to Barnsley. The great man tucks into a pint of bitter, while poor old Sticky settles for a Diet Coke. The barman is a die-hard Barnsley fan who knows his football inside out. He’s impressed how Nottingham-born serial prankster Jacob Mellis is settling in at Oakwell. It’s time to depart when ‘Endless Love’ by Diana Ross and Lionel Ritchie comes on the jukebox. These Yorkshire lads aren’t arf a load of big soppy apaths.

@BigBearBaker has tipped us the wink on a nice little eatery in Ossett. A feisty Irish barmaid pours the legend real ale at The Mews. I remark that a James Morrison song is being played. Trumpy says that he used to play for Millwall. He’s mixed him up with Steve Morison, bless him. The Irish lass and T Bolton are getting on like a house on fire. She’s asks him what brings him to these parts. He replies: “I’ve come to see you darling.”

We’re directed to the pub of the day called the Brewers Pride on the outskirts of the town, adjacent to the Ossett Brewery. It’s packed to the rafters and has nine real ales on the go. Barmaids serve strawberry beer and chocolate stout. We opt for two pints of Dorothy Goodbody’s from the Wye Valley brewery.

Trumpy has had a few by now and claims to have spotted a chap sat in the corner with a purple beard; he must be hallucinating. My God, the bloke actually has a purple beard.

Ossett Town’s Stade France - Ingfield ground is only just around the corner. Ossett is a market town in the metropolitan district of Wakefield in West Yorkshire, with a population of just over 20,000.

The town is mentioned in the song ‘It’s Grim up North’ by cult alternative techno group KLF. Famous folk from the Ossett include: Stan Barstow, Black Lace, Helen Worth (Gail off Corro), referee, Bobby Madley, who is to take charge of the Forest v Derby clash tomorrow and the novelist David Peace of the Damned United fame.

There’s bugger all where to park. We sling the ‘Rolls Royce’ in a pay and display, opposite the ground, to the rear of some dingy flats and dodgy take-aways. The legend waltzes into the Social Club, whilst Groundhopper takes a few snaps. It’s £7 on the door and £1.50 for a glossy programme. A friendly official thrusts a team sheet into my hand.

It’s a given where Trumpy will be. He’s already shouted me up a pint of lager. It’s as dead as a doornail in the club. Russian TV are about to show the Fulham v Man City game. Trumpy is already looking cosy, although he complains about being able to see the build-up play from the clubhouse window, but not the goals from where he’s sat.

There’s quite a stiff breeze, but sunny conditions, as the teams swap ends and the whistler blows for the start of the game. Ashton United play a league above but it doesn’t show in the early stages of this FA Trophy tie. Trumpy enquires whether I’ll be asking Ashton’s Oscar-winning actor, Warren Beattie, to sign my programme.

I take my customary stroll around this neat and tidy ground which backs onto housing and a main road. I catch up with Jez the official Ashton United photographer. We have a little chinwag about our pal Smiffy from the award-winning blog Six Tame Sides.

I’m desperately disappointed with the visitors; they don’t seem to have any fire in their bellies. Ossett on the other hand are the spirited underdog. After a spell off pressure they take the lead with a neatly worked goal by Shane Kelsey.

Ashton are absolutely awful in the final third, with impressive Ossett stopper Wesley Milne having a cigar on. Trumpy makes another trip to the bar while I field a few calls. Mrs P texts to tell me that ‘The Skipper’ has headed one in from a corner.

The swirling wind spoils the second half. Ossett look comfortable with their lead and have further chances to increase it. Former Huddersfield Town and Notts County winger Simon Baldry still looks the business at the age of 38.

I manage to catch a word with Anthony Lloyd’s dad, the guy who I met on the BMI flight. His son is having a fine game at full back.

Things begin to warm up a bit when a couple of Ossett Town wags roll up ten minutes from time. I stand with the 20 or so Ashton fans behind the goal for the final few moments. The Ossett keeper’s net is never threatened.

There’s a little dance and jig on the way to the car when Mrs Trumpy phones her beloved to confirm an away win for the Foxes up at Middlesbrough.

Attendance: 88

Man of the Match: Wesley Milne


Mike Smith said...

Talking of toons .. surely that classic from James comes into play here ...

"Ossett Town, Ossett Town, Ossett Town,sit down next to me".

Hope Jez was saying nice things !!

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