Sunday, October 6, 2013

Altrincham 4-1 Guiseley AFC

I'm traipsing out of a rain-soaked Huish Park in Yeovil. The Foxes have beaten the Glovers 2-1. A rather grumpy and drenched blog legend, Trumpy Bolton, is limping up the single track road with his dodgy right hip. It's a miserable mile and a half hike back to the soulless Premier Inn.

He rivals White Van Man in the snoring stakes. Sticky only grabs a few hours kip. Trumpy still manages a couple of pints with his breakfast at Wetherspoons in the village of Street - it's only 10:00. We call in at Evesham and Coventry for a beer on the way home.

It's Friday evening and I'm at the headquarters of Keyworth Cricket Club. I present a trophy in memory of my father to the 'Professor' who has broken a few Club records this season. I only have a couple of pints and am back home for News at Ten.

I begin to research the history of Altrincham FC. I follow their former captain Mark Maddox on Twitter. Mark was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease three years ago at the age of 37. His fundraising has been immense. In April of this year he became the first person to complete the London Marathon with MND. I really want to meet him tomorrow, so text him my number.

I drive up through what they call in our village 'the Bronx.' White Van Man' has invited me up for breakfast. Bacon and eggs are sizzling in the pan as I admire the panoramic view out of his back garden, of the church in Bradmore.

The 'Mayor of London' picks us up at 10:30; 'Dafty' is also on board. After 20 years of flogging himself to death in 'the City' the 'Mayor' has finally returned home to roost. He's renting a huge farmhouse in the Vale of Belvoir; it's like Jock Ewing's Southfork Ranch in Dallas.'The Mayor' is soon blowing a fuse at 'White Van Man's' bleeping and hooting sat nav. WVM is ordered to press the mute button.

We're treated to an ancedote from the 'Mayor' about the time he played a charity cricket match in Barnsley against a Coronation St and Emmerdale XI. That miserable bugger Boycott was sat in the stand. Anyway, that fat ginger lad, who's always stuffing himself with sweets from Dev's shop or hanging around the kebab shop, came on to throw a few pies (rather than eat them). The 'Mayor' dispatched him all over South Yorkshire; leaving the boy in bits. His Mum and Dad caught up with the 'Mayor' at Tea to give him a ticking-off.

That bloody A50 has let us down again - 'Workmen in the Road.' We pull into the Smoker pub just off the M6 in the village of Plumley. It's a 400 year old thatched roofed coaching inn. I'm straight on the Robinson's 'Dizzy Blonde' as we get comfortable on the swanky furniture, chewing over the crud. Jazz-rap group US3's 1993 hit Cantaloop is playing in the background.

'White Van Man's' stomach is rumbling, despite a hearty breakfast. He clocks 'the Good Catch', 'the best chip shop in Hale and Altrincham' opposite Alty's Moss Lane ground. I manage a meat and potato pie. We decide to head to the Alty Social Club as Man City and Everton kick off for the second half. Dafty and I pretend we're back abroad again by sinking a few San Miguels. I've took a day off from coaching today; we're in the Cup at Newark. My mate texts me to say our 'keeper has come with two right-handed gloves.

A little ginger-haired chap (a common theme in this blog) gently persuades our group to buy a golden goal ticket. There's shock news on Twitter, apparently Feargal Sharkey has been named in the England squad. Roy Hodgson said: "A good Hart these days is hard to find."According to the comedian Bob Mills, Leyton Orient have the chant of the year: "We are top of the League, we are staying up."

It's a rather steep £13 on the gate, to stand on the terraces and a further £2.50 for a bumper programme, which is honest and to the point about last week's shock exit from the FA Cup against Evostik North club Trafford. It's a huge financial blow for Alty. Winnings from that tie alone would have been £4500.

Altrincham is a market town within the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford in Greater Manchester, with a population of 40,000. Former England and Lancashire fast bowler, Paul Allot, was born in the town. Altrincham FC were founded in 1891.  They have knocked out more League sides in the FA Cup than any other team. Former players include: Ryan Shotton, Alex Stepney and Duncan Whatmore, who was recently signed by Sunderland. Former Australian cricket captain Ricky 'Punter' Ponting is a shareholder at the Club. They were voted Conference North Community Club of the Year for 2013.
Today's visitors are Guiseley AFC. Regular readers may recall how I left prodigal son, Sooty the puppet in the Guiseley urinals last autumn. Former well known players include:Geoff Horsfield, Frank Worthington, Keith Walwyn and Dean Walling.

As I walk out the toilets in the bar, I notice all the dignitaries tucking into sarnies and slurping cups of tea in a private room. A lady is handing out team-sheets. "Could I have one please?" "No" comes her curt reply.

The ground still has an old-skool feel about it. The playing surface is outstanding. We position ourselves opposite the Main Stand. Mr Burns, from The Simpsons, is sat in a fold-up chair next to us. The teams enter the field of play to Emerson Lake and Palmer's 'Fanfare to the Common Man.'

The tallest guy on the pitch is the referee. But boy, oh boy, does he fancy himself, with his slick back hair, like the footman on Downton Abbey. His warm-up is extreme. "You're not playing mate", shouts out an amused 'Mayor.' He's as fit as a butcher's dog.

The visitors don't play like a side that have lost four on the bounce. They take an early lead on 3.05pm through Michael Potts, following good work by Swain. I rip open my golden goal ticket to find it has 6 minutes on it. I'm in the money. I'll donate it to the MND charity. Alty Twitter says 7 minutes, strangely at half time they announce 3 minutes. Apparently we kicked off late due to the referee having a final few looks in the mirror.

Alty have been poor in the first half; Guiseley look great value and could have easily added to their lead. Their's a slight delay to proceedings whilst the ref nips across the road for a facial. He's looked in more mirrors than Snow White.

Alty manager Lee Sinnott has made a double substitution at the break. They look fired-up and energised. Guiseley are blown away with a four goal blitz in an eighteen minute whirlwind as the game is turned on its head. I feel desperately sorry for the travelling support; some of who make a very early exit. Matters aren't helped that former striker James Walshaw has bagged a hat-trick.

Attendance: 838

Man of the Match: James Walshaw


Anonymous said...

Lovely write up. Don't let the locals catch you saying "Moss Road" - it's "Moss Lane".

Unknown said...

Make sure Nasty stays off the bacon and eggs, he is in training for Kilimanjaro! Tremendous read Palmer, let me know when the next trip is would love to join you. Chopper

Unknown said...

Moss Lane, Moss Road, its only chuffin Alrincham ! Keep Nasty off the bacon and eggs and the chips he's in training for Kilimanjaro....let me know when the next trip is Palmer. Chopper

Steve Daft said...

In training......took the dog for a walk yesterday. All the way...............Around the Rec!!!