Sunday, October 30, 2016
I peg it up Sneinton Hermitage and pop into town. There's a pub I want to check-out and tick-off on Bridlesmith Walk, that Tony Mac has tipped me the wink on. A plaque was unveiled last week in Nottingham in honour of Herbert Kilpin, who was credited with founding Italian football giants AC Milan. Kilpin was born at the back of a butcher's shop on Mansfield Road in Nottingham. It was the 100 year anniversary of his death last Saturday. A bus and a bus stop carrying his name was unveiled by the Sheriff of Nottingham. He made 23 appearances for the Italian club in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century.
The Herbert Kilpin pub is adjacent to the pretentious Junkyard bar - where they sell you two-thirds of a pint. I admire the photo of Kilpin adjoined to the wall in the downstairs bar. I sink a couple of pints of 'Kilpin' (Black Iris Brewery) - the pub's signature ale. The Rolling Stones 1966 hit 'Paint it Black', with the haunting sound of the sitar, is bouncing off the walls. Ms Moon is chillin' on the new SCS sofa with a can of Strongbow, watching the latest happenings in Emmerdale Farm, when I finally return to base.
It was the 50th anniversary of the 'Aberfan Disaster' last Friday. As Ms Moon turns in for the evening, I tune into a heartbreaking documentary called 'The Aberfan Wives' Club' - this was set up over 50 years ago, they meet up each week, to this day. The documentary is heartwarming and uplifting.
On 21st October 1966, at 9:15am, a build up of water on a colliery spoil tip caused 1.4 million cubic feet of slurry to slide down the tip covering the village of Aberfan in minutes. The local school was wiped out. 116 children and 28 adults lost their lives that day. Had the landslide happened half an hour earlier, the school would have been empty. The following day would have been the half term holidays - nobody would have been there.
The National Coal Board and the sloping shoulders of their chairman, Lord Robens, tried to absolve all blame. They even gained access to the disaster fund, using £150,000 of monies raised to clear up all the debris. They were found guilty of negligence and were wholly culpable - the money was paid back. Roebens never stood in the dock. I hear a radio reporter talking to a man (a boy at the time of the disaster). He says that he became an adult that day, as there were no other children to play with in the village, as they were tragically taken away. That thought sits with me for the rest of the evening and the ensuing sleepless night - for him probably every day of his life.
I end up kipping on the sofa, I just can't shift this flipping throat infection. They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away - what a load of old tosh. Murphy the budgie likes to share an apple with Sticky. But he always ends up spitting it out everywhere and getting himself in trouble. We've both kept our heads down this week, after 'Shoegate' last Saturday - when we accidentally threw out Hunters and Uggs to the value £400 - the lads at the tip were quaffing champagne all weekend.
I'm back down the tip again on Saturday morning, playing it safe, just disposing of old cushions from the settee. I call by Majestic Wines on Castle Boulevard. An overzealous shop assistant, behind the counter, has me sampling various glasses of Red. I exit the shop £40 lighter and with a slightly giddy head. We shoot over to Cambridgeshire just before twelve bells.
'The Skipper' (my youngest) is back from Uni in Leeds this weekend. He and his pals are at the Detonate Halloween Festival on Nottingham Racecourse in Colwick, across the road from ours. Last year, at the fag end of Detonate, I went to get some cash out from a petrol station just up the road. I found a youth dressed up as a banana, flat out on his back, inebriated - I asked him if he had slipped on his own skin.
The A1 is as clear as a bell. The leaves on the tree-lined carriageway are full of beautiful changing shades of colour. We bump up in the picturesque village of Buckden. We enter the stylish and lavish lobby of the George Hotel, with its leather and chrome chairs and log fire. I have a pint of Mosaic pale ale from the Adnams Brewery.
The Alfred Hall Memorial Ground is 12 miles away. I wander up the stony path, past some ugly-looking flats, admiring the huge leylandi that tower over the ground. It's £5 on the gate and £1 for an excellent programme. The pitch is as flat as a pancake. I enquire with the gateman whether it's 4G or not - you could play Pot Black on it.
Ms Moon catches me chatting to an enthusiastic committee member in the corner of the bar. The World's laziest footballer, Olivier Giroud, is giving a post-match interview on TV - I doubt the bone idle sod has broken sweat, despite scoring a brace.
Over 2000 people will attend the Club's Annual Fireworks Night, a week on Sunday - a massive fundraiser for Eynesbury Rovers FC. Today's visitors are Peterborough Sports, who are said to have waved some lolly around. They have won 14 games and lost on the one occasion. I spot a 'Proper Hopper' clad in an old school Parka - his programme is safely secured in a plastic folder. Ms Moon has a good old moan when a stray shot in the warm-up catches her on the ankle - I phone up Murphy the budgie to retell the tale, we both have a good chuckle.
We stand to the left of the away dugout. They seem quite cocky and self-assured. The same cannot be said of manager Jimmy Dean, who is seriously pumped-up and focused on the task in-hand. I don't blame the guy, there's a lot at stake today.
Rovers take the lead from a hotly-disputed free kick. The delivery is perfect and met with a looping header at the back post. Dean is rocked and livid with his team, who are shaken by the goal, after having a lion's share of the possession. He keeps his cool, demanding more from his team, preferring to cajole and encourage, rather than kick them up the arse. Parity is restored, with Mark Jones on hand to blast home a rebound after a stinging shot is parried by the 'keeper.
There's a commotion just before the break, as a tackle flies in at the corner of the pitch where our view is obstructed. Our man 'Jimmy' queries whether the tackle is two-footed. He is bad-mouthed by a spectator, who is asked if he would like to continue the conversation in the car park afterwards.
There's a cruel twist of fate with five minutes of normal time remaining. For once Rovers' striker Allan Jones finds some space before unleashing a curling shot from 25 yards that hits the top corner of the net. The celebrations are memorable, with the home 'keeper Greygoose joining the pile-on close to home dugout.
Jimmy Dean sportingly applauds the winning 'wonder goal.' I also note he shakes every home players' hand at the final whistle. The man shows class, despite being bitterly disappointed with an under-par performance from the League leaders.
Man of the Match: Joshua Sanders (No.4 for Sports)
Sunday, October 23, 2016
Jesus wept, Murph and I are proper in the doghouse. We didn't know that the Hunter wellington boots and UGGS, that we've lobbed out and that are now sitting in a skip at the tip, were worth more than the takings of Robbie Williams new single (£400) - they wouldn't have made it on 'Flog It.' We've had the hairdryer treatment off the 'Princess.' X-Factor is watched in stony silence. Murphy normally whistles along to 'Motown Night' - even he keeps his head down.
I slope off into town for a few jars on Sunday lunchtime - Murphy is told to lie low as Ms Moon is still seething about 'Shoegate.' I have a quick Scoop at the Hop Merchant - the artist formerly known as the Turf Tavern - on Nottingham's Upper Parliament Street. I slip into Copper City across the road for a nice pint of Ghost Rider. I notice they are advertising Storytellers: An Afternoon With Andy McNab, on October 29th. I'd have liked to have attended this, but we'll be in St Neots at a United Counties League top of the table clash.
It's Tuesday evening and I'm sat in the Gamston Lock, a short drive away from West Bridgford's Regatta Way ground. White Van Man mops up a 10 oz gammon steak with ultimate ease, as The Taxman and Sticky labour over a beef 'n ale pie. I'm full of cold and have a throat infection. I shouldn't really be here, but have been slowly going stir crazy working from home.
The game tonight is a cup tie, with South Normanton Athletic the visitors. We bump into a groundhopper from Wiltshire, who is highly entertaining. We both tip one another a few grounds to visit. I really want my bed now, South Normanton are leading 1-0 with 30 seconds remaining. The Taxman and I have a history of cup tie extra-time games at numerous grounds in our county. The inevitable equaliser is bundled over the line with seconds remaining.
I phone up Ms Moon to say I'm going to be late back. I can hear Murphy whistling away in the background, blissfully unaware that the Canaries of Norwich have blown a two goal lead at Craven Cottage. We endure a further 30 minutes, witnessing a missed penalty, a sending off and two further goals, resulting in a replay. It was good to catch up with Butters and Dringy too.
The lurgy gets the better of me on Thursday - I even miss my Mindfulness and Meditation class. I stroll along the banks of the Trent on Friday tea-time, before hooking up with Ms Moon at the Trent Bridge Inn. Murphy and I are in bits for most of the evening, as poor old Kym Marsh gives a TV Times gong piece of acting, on the Rovers Return staircase, that will live long in the memory, following a breach of the Highway Code from David Platt on the cobbled streets of Weatherfield.
Murphy and I avoid the shoe rack and tip on Saturday morning. I spend the majority of it in the kitchen listening to the Danny Baker Show and Fighting Talk, whilst knocking up a chilli. Bournemouth v Tottenham are kicking off on Five Live as we head off to Wolverhampton.
Paul Gambacinni is playing some cracking tunes on his Pick of the Pops show on Radio 2. His attention turns to 1988, when he plays a song by the German World Miming Champions, Milli Vanilli, called 'Girl You Know It's True.' The lyrics reduce me to tears - Murphy and I could have written the words to this 'song' when we cleared out the shoe rack the other week. There's a drop your bacon sandwich moment in the car when Ms Moon coughs up she bought their double album on cassette - I ask to be dropped off on the hard shoulder so I can hitchhike to the ground.
We avoid the M6 Toll and stick to the A5 and A460. It's like a scene from Emmerdale Farm as cows are herded up a country lane, with a tractor in tow, full of manure, before we take a right hand turn into the ground.
I leave Ms Moon to put some 'lippy' on and listen to 'Gambers' spinning the hits from 1988. The pictures I've seen of Brinsford Stadium, on the Net, don't do it justice. It's without doubt the coolest ground we've been to this season. 'Rock the Casbah' by The Clash is booming out the PA as I admire the tree-lined surroundings and immaculate playing surface. Coffee and Bailey's is on offer at £1.60 a cup.
The DJ is still churning out the toons - 'Lip Up Fatty' by Bad Manners is the pick of the bunch. Chelmsley Town are the visitors. Watford striker Troy Deeney was born in Chelmsley Heath and played for their youth team before being picked up by Walsall. He was subject to a £25 million bid by Leicester in the summer.
The music from the PA doesn't reach the dizzy heights of pre-match, although we're treated to Wonderwall by Oasis. I strike up a conversation with a lovely guy called 'Daz' who knows the local scene like the back of his hand - he has years of experience in men's and women's football in the Black Country. Daz is confident of victory despite a poor show in the first half.
Daz is ecstatic, he fist pumps the chilly fresh air. The guy just loves the game. There's no bad-mouthing officials, or querying decisions. He's totally immersed in the beautiful game. Unlike a couple of visiting supporters who at the end of the game hurl abuse at Ms Moon's 'toyboy' - calling him a 'pencil-necked p***k.' Oh deary me.
Man of the Match: 'Daz' - My supporter of the season so far.
Sunday, October 16, 2016
Three pints of real ale at the Borough, in Lancaster city centre, with its leather sofas, chandeliers and antique tables, fail to lift my spirits. It's the night's talking point. I fire a tweet off to the Club asking for email contact details. They say they'll look into it. The player's Dad tweets me - he is distraught. I'm hoping Lancaster City act fast, so I don't have to take it further with the Lancashire FA.
It's Sunday afternoon and I'm slumped in a chair in the back room of the King Billy, which is nestled in between high-rise flats in inner city Sneinton. I sink two pints of Snake Eyes from the Black Iris Brewery, situated in Shipstone Street, Nottingham.
A visitor invades my Twitter timeline. The clown is from the 'Groundhopping Gestapo' - to be honest he's reminiscent of Corporal Jones from Dad's Army - I block the blithering idiot after clocking a tweet he sent to his flock, flaming me.
The Taxman is a late withdrawal from the East Midlands Counties League fixture between West Bridgford and Dunkirk. White Van Man rocks up, before kick off, on a chilly evening, sporting a pair of shorts - I'm wearing a thermal vest. We're treated to a 4-4 thriller, with the game being played at a furious pace but in a wonderful spirit.
I catch a good football question thrown out there by Perry Groves on talkSPORT. Who is the first player from the USA to score 50 goals in the Premiership ?
I pop into Keyworth Cricket Club's HQ at Platt Lane on Friday evening for the Junior Presentation Evening. It's great to bump into folk who I've not seen in a while. I help out a bit with the Under 10s and Kwik Cricket teams - to be honest it's banter and encouragement, I can't coach for toffee. I did spend over 20 years playing for this great Club - and have taken away so many memories, with long-winded stories to tell.
I'm sulking on Saturday morning after taking a good gubbing at Pointless from Ms Moon last night. I'm down the tip for 8:00am on the dot, where a very friendly chap helps me unload the rubbish from the 'Rolls Royce.' I drop into Morrisons to pick up some bits and bobs for supper - Brian Matthew is playing 96 Tears by American psychedelic rock band the Mysterians - it's head and shoulders above The Stranglers cover version.
Ms Moon has shot over to Colwick to pick up her Mum. Auntie Val is off to Cornwall on her holibobs with her son and daughters. The meeting point is the Windsor Castle in Lye, near to Stourbridge. Poor old Sticky is relegated to the back seat of the on-loan Merc, as the 'Queen' waves on the throne with her walking stick in the front seat. Graham Norton plays the excellent Tom O'Dell's (born in Chichester, Sussex) new single - 'Here I Am.'
We stick the car in Lye Town's ground - it's a corker if you haven't been. No disrespect is intended to the local residents, but you wouldn't expect to unearth a jewel in the crown like the Windsor Castle around here.
We've booked a table for five. Sticky is already necking a pint of 'Mellow Yellow' when the rest of the 'Moon clan' tip up. Ten real ales are on show from the Sadlers Brewery. We're shoe-horned into a snug corner table. I shout up a 'Double Decker Windsor Club' sandwich that even Scooby Doo would struggle to polish off. We wave off Auntie Val and Ms Moon's sisters.
Cradley Town's ground on Beeches View Avenue is only a couple of miles away. Cradley is a village in the Black Country and Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, with a population of just under 13,000. It was once the centre for iron-making, with nearby Cradley Heath once producing the anchor chain for the ocean liner, RMS Titanic.
Former D***y County footballer, Steve Bloomer, was born in Cradley. He was named in the Football League Top 100 Legends, after scoring 317 goals in 536 appearances in the old Division One (now Premier League) - second only to Jimmy Greaves. There is a bust erected of him at the i-Pro Stadium. He also scored in his first 10 appearances for England - a record held to this day.
Cradley Town FC were founded in 1948 and are nicknamed the Hammers. Players to have made it into the Football League include: 'the 'Flying Postman' John Williams ( remember him beating Notts County's Kevin Bartlett in a sprint-off at Wembley at the 1992 League Cup Final to win £10,000). Larger than life goalkeeper Alan Nicholls played for Cradley having been released by Wolves. He made 65 appearances for Plymouth Argyle before tragically losing his life in a motorcycle accident at the age of 22 years old.
I fish out of my pocket the tried and trusted ten year old dictaphone. The 'Hold' button has fallen off. It's a gonna. I have to Google how to use the Voice Memo on my i-Phone - that's how thick I am, folks.
The ground is situated in the middle of a housing estate. Ms Moon shoots off to fill up with diesel, as I trek up the gravelled path towards the ground. The incline is steep, when I finally reach the summit I'm very kindly pointed towards the turnstile by a friendly secretary.
Blimey Charlie, the ground is a belter, probably the best of the season with its Club Shop, Snack Bar, and the red and black painted corrugated iron stands. The views out to the Worcestershire hills are breathtaking.
The sun's out and so are the teams. Ms Moon is fuelled up. We stand opposite the dugouts on this three-sided ground. Cradley are full of confidence after two wins on the bounce, they play like a team, encouraging one another. They score an early goal and increase their lead with a smart finish from their best player the No.10 jacket.
It's 2-0 at the break, but all I can think about is that box of Family Circle - I'm having a sugar rush despite the 'Scooby Snack.' Ms Moon has wandered off up to the Tea Bar to grab a couple of hot drinks. I've clocked a bloke wandering around the ground with a pint glass full of raffle tickets. I've a feeling it's going to be our day. I ask for the numbers, my ticket is a strip out - it's a formality, Ms Moon has the winning ticket.
Cradley bag another as the game peters out. The officials have done well despite the 23 year old ref getting earache off a whinging Dudley Sports manager as the teams walk off at the break. The father and son (only 16 years old) assistant refs have done well too.
Attendance: 50 odd
Man of the Match: Scooby Snack
Quiz Answer: Clint Dempsey
Sunday, October 9, 2016
Sunday morning's sky is blue-painted and sun-kissed. We stroll down the banks of the River Trent, past The City Ground, before taking a left turn down the Radcliffe Road, with Trent Bridge cricket ground to our right. We soak up the rays on wooden benches outside the Larwood and Voce Pub and Kitchen - a 'Best Sunday Roast in the UK' winner in 2015. Lunch lives up to expectations - we'll give them a good write-up on Trip Advisor, despite an unsupervised 4-year-old Darcy (obviously from West Bridgford) tearing around the restaurant, with her Liberal-voting Mum oblivious to it all.
We tune into BBC2's 'Savile' on Sunday evening. British documentary filmmaker Louis Theroux is on some sort of guilt trip as he retraces his steps of a fly-on-the-wall docu with serial sex offender Jimmy Savile in 2002. The witness interviews are harrowing and haunting - Ms Moon is in floods of tears.
There's not much doing during the week. I spend the night on Monday at a Premier Inn adjacent to Stansted Airport. The following day I race around Suffolk and Cambridgeshire visiting clients. I'm dog tired on my return to HQ and unable to crank myself up for my midweek football fix.
I noticed the Nottingham Post tag me in on some photos they've published on their Twitter account about the county's craziest pets. One is of Murphy Palmer the budgie, who was listening to the final day's play in an exciting finish to cricket's County Championship.
I begin the weekend by sinking a couple of pints of Oompah from the Greene King Brewery in the Starting Gate in Colwick, as Ms Moon nurses a pint of Strongbow cider. We see the night out with the usual, intense battle of BBC's Pointless game show. I scroll down my Twitter timeline before bedtime and notice that little old Dunkirk FC have dumped Lincoln City out of the FA Youth Cup at Sincil Bank 5-4. That's embarrassing for the Imps.
We're up and at 'em early doors on Saturday morning. I wash a few pots up and iron a few shirts with Murphy perched on my shoulder whistling Reflections by Diana Ross and the Supremes - I daren't tell my little lad he's woefully out of tune, as he might stick the beak in.
We're returning to Lancaster, the reviews of the Giant Axe Stadium have sucked us in. The Sun Hotel and Inn on Church Street in the town is a hidden northern gem, with ten real ales on offer. There's a stroke of luck as Ms Moon pulls into the Charnock Richard services off the M6 - Graham Norton is playing the intro to Robbie Williams new single 'Party Like a Russian' - it's limped into the midweek chart at No.53 - help is available to you all who have downloaded it.
Lancaster is gridlocked with traffic, Ms Moon somehow chances upon a spot in the St Nicholas Arcades car park. We wander around the town admiring the Georgian architecture. I'm drooling over a greasy £1.30 sausage roll at a local bakery as Ms Moon tries to bag a jumper in Next. We're reunited outside the changing room as Next FM plays 'My Star' by Ian Brown - what a cool track. 'Mooney' tries on more outfits than Naomi Campbell. I would have bought a copy of the Big Issue off a lady selling them in the street, but it had a photo of Craig David on the front cover.
We sling Ms Moon's courtesy car ( no sign of the injured Audi) into B&Q, before wandering over the road, crossing a bridge and entering the Water Witch a canalside Good Pub Guide entry. The place is bustling with folk, with a 45 minute wait for food - we'll grab a pie at the ground later. I have the pint of the season - 'Off the Wall' from the York Brewery - I daren't have two or I might be giving the assistant referee some grief for a dodgy offside decision.
Lancaster is the city and county town of Lancashire with a population of just under 50,000. It's situated on the River Lune and has a strong real ale scene which we'll discover this evening. Former Blackburn Rovers and Southampton striker James Beattie was born in the town. So was singer John Waite who had a worldwide hit 'Missing You' in the 80s.
It's £8 a piece on the gate and £2 for an information-packed programme. Great question: First 'keeper from outside the UK to play over 500 games in the Premiership ? The ground is to die for. I've seen so many photos from respected photographers Onion Bag and David Bauckham. There are two bars on either side of the ground serving real ale. We drop into Dolly's Diner for pie 'n peas and snap up a couple of raffle tickets for the £40 draw. The music from the PA is random, ranging from Emeli Sande to Mott the Hoople. Sticky Palms is reduced to tears when a Little Mix single is played - poor old Murphy is missing out on this potential Mercury award-winning toon.
Droylsden are experiencing a miserable run without wins, Lancaster, on the other hand, are 'on the up' but without their big cheese Jordan Connerton, who has 'a slight knock.' The Bloods from Manchester look menacing before the hosts take the lead on the counterattack with Jacob Gregory keeping his cool having hoodwinked the full back to put Lancaster 1-0 up on five minutes.
There's always an undercurrent to the game, which finally boils over when Droylsden's Ryan Winder is shown a straight 'Red' after an off-the-ball incident. Droylsden rally with 10 men and continue to look the better team, playing out from the back with the excellent Dominic Rouse - Lancaster prefer to get the ball forward early.
The visitors bitch and moan to one another. The ball isn't sticking up top. Their number 10 whinges and complains - he couldn't trap a beach ball in a telephone box. Droylsden are a constant threat from corners, so it's no surprise that their equaliser comes from the head of giant defender Josh Heaton. I get chatting to a former director of Lancaster at the break who tells me they were a tad unfortunate to bow out of the FA Cup to Conference North team Kidderminster Harriers last week.
We exit the ground in silence. Four blokes are stood behind us, one is smirking, but we have no proof. It takes all the enjoyment away from a beautiful experience and fantastic Club.
NB: I contact Lancaster City FC to complain, they ask for a 'brief description' of the details. I await their response.
Man of the Match: Dominic Rouse
Quiz Answer: Mark Schwarzer
Sunday, October 2, 2016
I check the scores on my phone as I walk back to the car. Norwich are beating Newcastle Utd 3-2 up at St James' Park. They've just got to play-out a few more minutes injury time. Canaries supporter, Murphy Palmer the budgie, will be doing the Michael Jackson moonwalk on one of the bars in his cage. He'll be lining up the Jaegerbombs on his table. I arrive home to a lounge plunged in darkness, with a towel draped over his cage. I check my phone, those nasty thieving Magpies have scored in the 95th & 96th minute to pinch a win. Murph will be nasty in the morning.
We arrived back from Whitby the other weekend to be met by a police helicopter circling above the house with its search lights on full beam. The place was mobbed out with Rozzers. There was an attempted murder in the woods behind the house. Four people were later charged.
The following morning I was awakened by a man crying and wailing. He was shouting out the name of his four year old daughter who had been missing for five minutes. By chance I see her walking through the front door of a neighbour's house. I reunite Mum and Dad with their little 'un, it's a magical moment, my heart is racing ten to the dozen.
It's Sunday afternoon and I'm sat in the beer garden of the Bulls Head in the affluent village of Woodhouse Eaves, near Loughborough. I'm with former Notts County and Chesterfield goalkeeper Mick Leonard. We drive through a security barrier at Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College. In the distance four football matches are taking place. Mick and I worked together at the Notts County FC Academy. We've come to see how the lads are getting on. It's great to meet all the parents and kids again. We've not worked at the Club for two years now, but have left a legacy.
Monday morning is eventful too. Ms Moon is sobbing down the phone at 8am. Some idiot has driven into the back of the Audi at a roundabout near Donington Park Services. That bloody car is jinxed, its spent more time in the garage than Kevin Webster and Tyrone Dobbs.
The news this week has been dominated by Big Sam's sacking as England manager. What's even sadder is that Dudley-born Allardyce has pulled out of the unveiling of a blue plaque in honour of 'Busby Babe' Duncan Edwards who grew up in the Dudley area and tragically died in the Munich Air Disaster in 1958 at the age of 21 years old. Sir Bobby Charlton, a teammate of Edwards, stepped in at the last minute.
I'm in the kitchen on Saturday morning knocking up a chilli. The excellent Colin Murray has returned to the chair in Five Live's award-winning show Fighting Talk. One of the panelists is asked who the nicest person in sport is. They tell a tale of a 100 Sunderland fans stranded at Bristol Airport a few years ago following a 1-0 win in Cardiff. The fans are raucous and jovial on the plane. One even waves his false leg in the air. An overzealous easyJet pilot is having none of it and boots them all off. Sunderland chairman, Niall Quinn stumps up over £8000 to ferry the supporters the 310 miles home in a fleet of taxis.
A story about David Beckham is also told. Becks is walking down a street in London when he passes a paramedic treating a pensioner who has stumbled and fallen on the pavement. Beckham returned ten minutes later with two piping hot cups of tea and coffee for the distressed pensioner and paramedic.
Destination today was meant to have been Great Wyrley in Staffordshire where we were taking in Wolverhampton Sporting Community v Ellesmere Rangers in the WMRL. The Met Office are forecasting monsoon-like conditions over there. I quickly scan a fixture oop north where the weather is kinder and plump for Harworth Colliery v Dinnington Town in the CMFL North Division. I notify the club on Twitter of our impending visit. Joint manager Lee Danysz asks to see me before the game as he very kindly would like to donate some money to the Parkinson's Disease Charity.
Murphy the budgie is still being mardy. I stick my hand into the cage and wedge a piece of fresh brocolli (38p from Aldi) in with a clothes peg. I'm a little slow in removing my hand and feel the full force of Murphy's sharp beak - the vicious little b**ger. Revenge is a dish best served cold - I re-tune the radio into Radio 1 Xtra - he'll think twice before doing that again.
The route to Harworth is straight forward enough. It's the A614, A1 and A614 again. Mylene Klass on Smooth Radio is playing Woman in Love by Barbara Streisand - it's one of my guilty pleasures. We pull into the car park of the Recreation Ground on the Scrooby Road in Bircotes, half an hour before kick off. A guy in a mobility scooter does three circuits of the car park before disappearing up the road.
Harworth is a town in Nottinghamshire 8 miles north of Worksop with a population of 8000. The local colliery opened in 1921 and served the power stations on the river Trent. In the mid 90s the pit was mothballed. The headstocks were demolished in 2015.
World champion road cyclist Tom Simpson was raised in the area. In 1967, at the age of 29, during stage 13 of the Tour De France, Simpson collapsed and died climbing the ascent of Mont Ventoux. The post mortem examination found that he had mixed alcohol with amphetamines. His body was returned to Harworth where his internment took place in the local church. There is a small museum dedicated to his achievements in the sports and social club.
It's £3 on the gate. We snap up a couple of tickets for the meat raffle. I like the ground immediately. The playing surface looks lush, with the perimeter of the ground on the far side being tree-lined. We nip into Tom's Cafe. Ms Moon has eyed up a packet of Foxes Golden Crunch Cream on the top shelf. The lady behind the counter won't sell them, but very kindly lays some out on a plate. The biscuits turn out to be custard creams. Ms Moon, a fussy eater, doesn't like them and annoyingly nicks some of my Bounty bar.
It's Step 7 football, the same level my lad plays. Harworth are well on top. They take the lead from a corner when a header crashes off the woodwork and is toe poked home. The diminutive No.10 scores a second goal before half-time. I've managed to get my grubby mitts on the match ball on two occasions. Another skew-wiff clearance was coming my way to complete my first ever hat-trick until its scooped up by a beady-eyed five year old boy - he gets the daggers off Sticky.
I've noticed a chap perched on top of a grass mound viewing the game from outside the ground. The cheeky sod could have splashed out £3 to watch it. He almost looks offended when he has to fetch a few stray balls that are off the radar.
Harworth run riot in the second half and score a further 4 goals without a reply from the visitors. They have hit the frame of the goal on five occasions. Chief culprit is Tom Pick, who looks up to the heavens when he finally scores at the fag end of the game.
Man of the Match: Josh Davies (Great delivery - dodgy haircut though)