Sunday, September 17, 2023

Lincoln City 1-1 Carlisle United

Faggsy and I head towards the exit of Radford FC's Selhurst Street ground. Big Glenn will be grinning like a Cheshire Cat after seeing his team comfortably beat Bourne Town, from Lincolnshire, 2-1. We turn left onto Radford Road, one of Sticky's favourite areas of inner city Nottingham.

Three youths are 'dancing' on the corner of Shipstone Street as some God damn awful Grime music blasts out of an amp that's sat in a shop doorway. We pass Black Iris Brewery, one of Nottingham's finest tap houses. We walk up the steps of The Lion, on Mosley Street. There is no end to the searing heat. I sink a pint of Wheelbarrow, an extra special bitter from the highly-rated Lenton Lane stable. We jump on the tram and head back into town. More beer is quaffed at Ye Olde Salutation on Hounds Gate and the Fox and Grapes in Sneinton, before heading home for an early night and a good night's sleep.

I'm having a quiet day in the house on Sunday. Ms Moon is still holidaying in the Costa del Sol. I traipse all the way down to Victoria Retail Park, in Netherfield, to buy some clothes from Next. It's so hot, that I make the call not to buy any food from Marks and Spencer Food Hall or Morrisons supermarket. It's a decision that I will come to regret.

I need to get some food in for the week. Carlton Tesco is just a few minutes walk away from my crib. I'm met at the door by a member of the customer service team. This is a miracle in itself, as in seven years of shopping, I've yet to witness anything above average service at the worst shop in Europe. Their poor run of form continues with the breaking news that all the fridges have broken down and won't be back in action until Wednesday.

I'm out on my feet and can't be bothered to trudge up the hill to Tesco Express. I settle on a couple of tins of tuna. I'll have to make a sandwich for tea. The curse of Tesco strikes again. Monday and Tuesday are spent working in the best paper shop on this Earth, and, where I might add, the customer service is second to none.

I can't be bothered with any live midweek football action. I settle in on Tuesday evening and view the 150th Anniversary Heritage Match between Scotland and England, up at Hampden Park, in Glasgow. The Three Lions barely break into a sweat. One or two of the players are on top of their game. Let's hope this continues during Euro 2024, particularly when it matters against top opposition. I'm still fuming we couldn't beat France in the World Cup, with five Les Bleus regular starters unavailable through injury.

It's Wednesday morning and I'm walking through the gates of 'The Bay' (Notts Sports Club) home to Nottingham Rugby Club, Boots Hockey Club and more importantly Notts CCC 2nd XI. I sit and chat all day to 'Leeds Tony', Derek, 'Ticknall Terry' and Wayne as Notts 2s and Northants 2s play out a rain-affected draw.

The opening bowlers for Notts are Jake Ball and local legend 'Big Luke Fletcher.' Fletch is returning from ankle surgery which has hampered his testimonial season. Drurs and I catch him grazing on the boundary down at fine leg. Fletch is a cheery character who always enjoys some craic. Drurs says to him that he's noticed that Fletch is a guest speaker at the Notts Cricket Lovers Society in October. He remarks that he has a couple of tricky questions lined up for the Big 'Un."Fire away" says a chuckling Fletch.

The Lady Bay chip shop, on Trent Boulevard is the highlight of the day. The batter is perfect and the fish is succulent and fleshy. I bump into Lynn, who works at a local primary school. She is the mother of Carlton Town skipper Niall Davie. I wish her well on the club's big day out in the FA Cup on Saturday.

I meet up with Tony Mac on Platform 6B at Nottingham Railway Station on Friday morning. We hop onto the 7.45 to Sheffield. There's a short wait for a Northern train to Scarborough. Today's 'Jolly Boys' outing is to port city of Kingston upon Hull, the birthplace of William Wilberforce, who was the leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. One of my closest friends, Ackers, is also on the trip, as he went to university there 40 years ago.

We're holed up in Thieving Harry's Cafe on the marina by 10.30. We look out onto the sun-kissed estuary as we demolish a full English breakfast accompanied by a pot of Yorkshire Tea. Hull is another northern gem. We end up walking 12 miles, finishing up in the historic Old Town, with its Grade II listed pubs and cobbled streets.

It's a lovely trip down memory lane for Ackers, who you can see is trying to fathom out the changes to the  city as he retraces his steps at old haunts such as Peel Street and student digs towards Cottingham. I love the architecture, statues and street art. One mural, which has replaced a graffiti-covered gable end in Russell Street, has a painting of guitarist Mick Ronson, Fine Young Cannibals lead singer, Roland Gift and The Housemartins Paul Heaton.

We are both fagged out on our arrival back into Nottingham at 11pm. I have forty winks before arriving at the shop for a Saturday morning shift. I feel all warm and fuzzy after yesterday's brilliant trip oop north. Thanks for organising Tony Mac. I know it made Ackers' day.

Bloody hell, I'm back at the train station again today (Saturday). I'm on the 12.38 East Midlands Train to Lincoln Central. I'm a bit gutted, to be honest, as I'm missing Carlton town's biggest game in their history, as they try to qualify for the next round of the FA Cup, at Rushall Olympic, near to Walsall.

The Imps are at home to Carlisle United. I alight a packed out train and walk in the opposite direction to Sincil Bank. I find a Batemans pub on a back street called the Dog and Bone. A flirtatious barmaid with plenty of chat, pours me a hazy pale ale from Sharps Brewery.

I wander down to the city centre and take a left turn through the Stonebow and onto the High Street. I stop at a confectionery store to grab a cold drink and some sweets. I've paid £25 to sit in the SRP Stand. I arrive ten minutes before kick off as nothing took my fancy on Poachers' Playlist apart from Primal Scream.

I sit close to the Directors' Box where Hall of Fame inductee and former legendary manager Colin Murphy usually sits. There's no sign of his presence today. The Imps have announced a depleted line-up, with four attackers missing through injury. Reeco Hackett-Fairchild ploughs a lone furrow as centre forward.

Nottingham Forest loanee Fin Back is playing right back for the visitors. I also notice a Nottingham born midfielder, Callum Guy, is making his 150th appearance for the Cumbrian side today. We had him at Notts County Academy before D***y County swooped, after Howard Wilkinson closed down the Pies' youth set up in 2006.

There's an impeccably observed minute's silence held for club stalwart Doreen Ashton who passed away recently. The first half isn't up to much. Carlisle take the lead from a set-piece; it's Lincoln's achilles heel according to the knowledgeable guy sat next to me. The Imps make a change at half-time and appear on the front foot in the opening moments of the second half. Recent recruit, Ethan Hamilton, who has arrived from Accrington Stanley, hits a long range left footed shot to equalise. There are chances at either end before the ref blows his whistle at 5pm on the nose.

I check Lincoln City's Twitter feed on the train journey home. I'm devastated to read the news of Colin Murphy's passing today. He was one of Lincoln's greatest managers, building two amazing sides and discovering umpteen players who were to go on to greater things such as Trevor Peake, Glenn Cockerill and Gordon Hobson. 

He is the guy who plucked Stanley Victor Collymore from out of Crystal Palace reserves, where 'Stan the Man' was playing as a bit part left winger; this was when Murph was the gaffer at Southend United. Collymore went on to be one of the greatest strikers ever to play for Nottingham Forest.

Danny Cowley gave Colin Murphy the opportunity to lead his team out at Wembley in 2018 in the Imps' first ever appearance at Wembley in the Club's 134 year old history. What a fantastic gesture by Cowley and a proud moment for Murphy too.

Rest in Peace, Colin xx

Attendance: 8,514

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