Sunday, August 21, 2016

Ramsbottom United v Sheffield FC

It's Friday evening and I'm heading over south of the river towards the village of Keyworth. The Green Army have a Central Midlands League game at home against Holbrook St Michaels. 'The Keyworth Georgie Best' (Sticky jnr) is back in his yard after a week of shifting crates of Super Bock and smoking himself to death on Mayfair tabs in the Algarve. The youngster bumped into Alan Shearer in some swanky bar.  He takes his seat on the bench. Jack's one of them lads that you have to put your arm around and tell him he's good. I know he's taking his 'ball seriously this year, when he doesn't spark up a crafty fag at half-time.

Keyworth play a beautiful game and are two to the good, when on the hour, junior is let off his leash. The boot and run, neck-breaking football of the last few seasons is now a distant memory. Keyworth manager, Steve Pembleton, knows his onions. There's a few flicks and tricks from the crowd-favourite, but in the main he keeps his game simple. The match is in the dying embers when 'Georgie' picks up a loose ball 25 yards out. He spots the 'keeper off his line before delicately floating the ball over him and into the roof of the net. The crowd behind the goal applaud. It's a beautiful moment that sets my heart racing. There's no arms raised, fuss or skidding on his knees, he just nonchalantly walks back to his mark. That's my boy.

My other lad hasn't doesn't bad either. On Thursday, news came in that he'd passed his A-Levels and is off to Leeds to study Business and Management. I just hope he stays away from Elland Road, or at least doesn't apply for the manager's job.

It's been a football fiesta this week. On Monday night Rammers and I bumped into Groundsman of the Year Neil Swift at Basford United. They had a sun tan-off competition, which Swifty won by a country mile. Wednesday was spent in the charming village of North Littleton, in Worcestershire. Bromsgrove Sporting were the visitors. John Ramshaw was on a spying mission as his team Rugby Town are due to play Bromsgrove in the FA Cup on Saturday. We managed a swift pint of Espirito De Carnaval from the Wadworth stable in the Ivy Inn before seeing Sporting turn over Littleton 3-0.

Murphy is livid on Saturday morning, Ms Moon has left 6 Music on his radio. Uncle Brian, on Radio 2, has already put in a one hour shift. I must teach Murph to tune the radio in with his beak. The young canary is a bundle of nerves as his team have a local derby with the Tractor Boys on Sunday lunchtime. The weather forecast looks wretched. I feel sorry for all those folk heading to Edgbaston for the T20 Finals. Ms Moon is dispatched to Netherfield Retail Park to purchase a couple of brollies from Poundland. I give her £2.10 and tell her to keep the change.

The skies are reasonably clear on the M1 as we head oop north. Fearne Cotton and Martin Kemp are having a shocker on Radio 2. I slip on my Motown CD that Ms Moon very kindly bought me from Morrisons. We're soon tapping our feet and 'singing' to The Supremes and Four Tops. Blimey Charlie, it's looking black over Bill's mother's, as darkened clouds roll in from Saddleworth Moor on the M62.

I'm looking forward to a real ale or two at the Fisherman's Retreat and the Irwell Brewery Tap, that comes highly recommended by those lovely, warm friendly folk on the Ramsbottom United message board. I'm really excited about the day, as Ms Moon suddenly pulls the car up on the corner of Bye Road. I see the blood drain from her face. The car is stuck in first gear and is clunking, banging and knocking. Chuffing hell, we should have brought the 'Rolls Royce.' Heavens to betsy, she only bought the darn Audi a few weeks ago.

It suddenly dawns on me there'll be no football for us today. I leave a raging Ms Moon to ring up the breakdown company and trudge off up the road towards the pub. It's siling it down with rain. I've forgotten my coat and my hoodie. All I have on is a thin fleece. I ring up Murphy Palmer the budgie in his cage as a river of rain gushes down from my head onto my face. Murphy whistles 'Cry Me A River' by Justin Timberlake down the phone. It's out of tune, but topical and beautiful, and makes me weep and wail even louder. Murphy reminds me that I did 40 consecutive weekend games last season. I end the call and break down in tears. My phone goes off again, It's Murphy whistling 'Dry Your Eyes' by The Streets - I block him.

There's no sign of the bloomin' pub, it must be further up the hill. Chuff that for a game of soldiers, I'm soaked to the skin. I about-turn and head back towards the car. We're parked on double yellow lines on the corner of the road. Our abandoned car is causing mayhem with the traffic and neighbourhood. It's like a scene from the cartoon series Wacky Races. Ms Moon looks fit to blow a gasket, I think the car already has. She walks up the road and grabs a disgusting meat and potato pie and a bag of Walkers plain crisps. It's hardly the romantic lunch we'd dreamt about.

I'm gutted about missing the ales, lunch and having a shufty around the town. Ramsbottom is a market town in the Metropolitan Borough of Bury in Greater Manchester. It lies on the river Irwell and has a population just shy of 18,000. The town's skyline is dominated by the Peel Monument which stands on Holcombe Moor, it's a memorial to local lad Sir Robert Peel, who was British prime minister and the founder of the police force.

The local cricket club has seen famous Aussies such as Brad Hodge, Michael Clarke and Ian Chappell don the Club sweater. The defunct pub, the Corner Pin, was where the band Elbow played their first gig. The Black Pudding World Throwing Championships are held at The Oaks pub on Bridge Street each year. The Rammy Festival takes place in September. Sticky and Murphy's favourite band, Smoove and Turrell, are playing, along with Julian Cope, Gaz Coombes, Fun Lovin' Criminals and The Selecter. Ramsbottom United FC were founded in 1966 and play at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium. Floodlights were installed in 1996 from Oldham Athletic's Boundary Park ground.

I tweet the Rammy Utd timeline to tell them of the catastrophic events. They very kindly offer assistance. What a wonderful club, I can't wait to come back. John the Glaswegian breakdown driver tips up at 1pm. The car ends up on the back of the truck as we make the depressing trip back to Riddings in Derbyshire, where the bloody heap of scrap was bought from.

John is a brilliant story-teller and an ex pub landlord. He's picked up many a written-off and broken down car, of the rich and famous. John tells some brilliant anecdotes of his time as a landlord in Levenshulme in inner-city Manchester. He's fascinated and intrigued with our groundhopping hobby. He mentions that he was named after the Tottenham Hotspur, Scottish international player John White, who tragically lost his life on Crews Hill Golf Club, Enfield in 1965 after being struck by lightning whilst sheltering under a tree. He was only 27 years old.

We bid farewell to John, whilst we pick up the courtesy car. I'd like to stay with him for the rest of his shift as he was such a cool guy. Ms Moon shoots off to Morrisons, whilst I slump on the settee, sulking about missing the game. At least my team, Lincoln City, are winning, with new striker Jonny Margetts bagging all four goals.

I flick on the T20 cricket, Notts have already made an early exit. I watch Durham bowler Mark Wood cutting Joe Root in two with a 92mph delivery. I open a bottle of Punk IPA, it's only 5pm, it's going to be a long night. Poor old Rammy have lost to the oldest club in the World, Sheffield FC, 2-1. It warms the cockles of my heart when 'Snap Dragon' from Ramsbottom makes a generous donation to the Parkinson's Disease charity. I can't wait until we return to this wonderful club.

Footnote: Ms Moon's run of bad luck continued on Sunday morning when the courtesy car refused to fire up. Next time we're in Riddings we'll give Frank Butcher's Car Lot the swerve. She can't 'arf pick em.

Man of the Match 'The Keyworth Georgie Best' and John the vehicle recovery driver.


Simon Harris said...

Another quality read Sticky ! Chopper

John the Glaswegian said...

Thanks for the terrific feedback,can't believe i got another man of the match award at my age,ha ha,hope the cars fine and your adventures carry on.