Saturday, November 17, 2012

Real United 4 Holbrook St Michaels 5

I take a final glance at Nethermoor Road as I head out the exit and saunter up towards the High Street. Rammers was bang on the money when he said that Guiseley, on their day, really are the Arsenal of the Conference North. Whitby and their famous Cod have been well and truly battered.

Trumpy is holed up at the White Cross pub, opposite Costcutters. He’s chuffed to bits to have seen 3 out of the 7 goals. I spot the legend stumbling out of the pub front door and staggering towards the ‘Rolls Royce.’

I take my coat off and reach into the pocket to check if Sooty is alright. What a smashing day out the puppet has had. His hometown club have found the back of the net on seven occasions. He’ll be whispering in Sweep’s ear all night about that 30 yard swerver Josh Wilson thumped in.

Hang on a minute, he’s gone. My heart thumps ten to the dozen. Sooty is missing. It’s a long miserable drive home. I don’t care about Sports Report and James Alexander Gordon. Tears stream down my face: Sooty is missing, last seen in the urinals at Guiseley AFC.

I could perhaps phone Guiseley Police Station, but they’ll be too busy dunking their digestive biscuits into their Yorkshire Tea to bother investigating a missing puppet. I break down in a flood of tears when I get home. “How could you lose Sooty; shame on you” says a bitter Sticky Jnr. Murphy’s chirping away; he was never fond of Sooty.

I take one final throw of the dice. I boot up the laptop and register to the Guiseley Fans’ Forum. I begin a thread with a missing puppet plea. By Monday morning it has become a source of interest in the West Yorkshire town. Good news finally arrives. A dressing room attendant has found Sooty in the changing room. They’re going to keep him as a lucky mascot.

I really mustn’t have a big, fat, large wedge of cheese again before bedtime. I wake up on Saturday morning having had the most ridiculous dream. League 2 Barnet were entertaining Accrington Stanley. Former Southampton and Everton striker James Beattie was sent off from the field of play following a high tackle on Dutch international Edgar Davids.

I chuckle to myself at this preposterous scenario as I make a pot of tea for one. England are all at sea in India, the follow-on is inevitable. One or two have lost their hunger.

Mrs P announces that we’re off down to one of those dreadful retail parks. Apparently Sticky Palms needs a new coat for Christmas. I’m up and down the catwalk, glancing in the mirror like Naomi Campbell. I’ll knock the ladies dead in this little £85 number.

“I’ll give my new coat an outing this afternoon in Stoke Bardolph, love.” “Not on your Nelly”, replies Mrs P, “You can’t unwrap it until Christmas Day.” Bugger. My phone goes off; it’s Mick Leonard, Head of Youth at Notts County. He’s caught me red-handed, tossing it off at Riverside Retail Park. He re-directs me to a game he wants me to go to.

I race off to watch it and call in at Highfields Hockey Centre, on my way home, where Notts County u15s are entertaining Luton Town. The Hatters are very impressive. I leave with the score at 2-2.

I knock myself up a cheese and onion baguette and catch a few minutes of the north London derby. Former Eastwood Town manager, John Ramshaw, has arranged to pick me up outside the The Fairway pub in Keyworth at 1.15pm. As I waltz out the back door, Finley, our pet rabbit, who is famous for his crap score predictions, announces that he thinks it will be Real Utd 4 Holbrook St Michaels 4. Right oh, Finley.

We drive through the hamlet of Plumtree and turn right down Tollerton Lane, passed Nottingham City Airport. There appears to be a lion on the loose opposite Regatta Way. It turns out to be ex Coventry City FA Cup winning captain, Brian Kilcline, who’s out for a jog with his dog. Rammers remarks that maybe ‘Killer’ lives in one of the nearby caravan parks.

Parking is a bloody nightmare around Sneinton, with the threat of clamping on every street corner. We sling the car outside the pub and cough up a couple quid in the parking meter. You wouldn’t give the King William IV a second glance, with its scruffy exterior and the backdrop of high-rise flats. It had stood idle and boarded-up until 2007, when this Victorian pub re-opened its doors. It’s a hidden gem. The Reaper is propping up the bar. He shouts up two pints of Flying Rat.

Rammers is holding court as Tottenham Hotspur take a trouncing at the Emirates. We‘re treated to a few non- league anecdotes from the legendary Geordie manager. There’s just enough time for a pint of Scarlet Macaw, from Oakham Ales, before making the five minute journey east to Real United’s Stoke Lane home.

Poor old Rammers is having trouble parking again. I tell him to stick his vehicle in the Ferryboat Inn opposite the River Trent. It’s another glorious day as the geese and ducks gather on the banks of the Trent.

A couple of lads wrapped up in Manchester United scarves are on the gate. Rammers bumps into recently appointed manager Nicky Kennerdale. Rammers signed Nicky when he was the gaffer at Hucknall from Northwich Victoria for £5000.

Nicky is full of enthusiasm and is ably assisted by former Grimsby Town centre half Matt McKenzie. Uh, oh, guess who Sticky has just clocked, only a referees’ assessor – the one without a sense of humour. I try to josh with him; he’s having none of it.

Real United Club Director, Roger Henry, emerges from a Portakabin and makes a beeline towards us. Roger is top man and a driving force behind the meteoric rise of this inner city club. He makes Rammers and I very welcome.

Roger has signed a lease on the former Gedling Town ground and has secured a major sponsorship with Mercedes Benz. Former Notts County legend, Michael Johnson, is an Honorary President of the club.

As the referee blows the whistle to start the game, under the watchful eye of the assessor, I decide to do a head count: just 16 folk have bothered to turn out.

I don’t believe it, Jaylee Hodgson is playing up top for Real. He’s had more clubs than Peter Stringfellow. He plays international football for Montserrat, where famously in 1983 Duran Duran recorded one of their albums.

Jaylee poses for the camera, whilst spending five minutes doing his shoelaces up, having swapped his boots with manager Nicky Kennerdale. Holbrook take the lead with a fine solo effort from their big number nine.

Dalton Stephens skilfully turns his man in the box and fires off a shot to restore parity. It’s not long before Jay Lee performs his party piece to put a smile on Roger’s face.

Real’s Chief Scout, Pablo Grossett, has rocked up. Him and Rammers reminisce about how former Hucknall Town manager Bryan Chambers used to reel off his team selection in the changing room off the back of a fag packet.

The second half is a crazy game. Real are cruising at 4-2 when their left winger, Lance, is sent off for a soft challenge on an opponent, accidentally clipping his heel. I bet the assessor was sticking his chest out at that one.

Real United look fagged out; they just can’t keep the ball as Holbrook find their second wind. With minutes remaining the visitors make it 4-4. Finley looks like he’ll be mopping up at Bet Fred. He’ll be ordering his carrots online from Waitrose.

Right at the death a ball is pumped into the area, it skims off the back of the head of a Holbrook player and nestles into the corner of the net. Roger looks devastated, close to tears. But what an entertaining game of football these two sides have laid on for us.

Man of the Match: Holbrook No.9

Attendance: 16

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