Monday, January 29, 2024

Stocksbridge Park Steels 0-0 Carlton Town

There was a lovely moment, for me, the other week, whilst wandering through the backstreets of Hyson Green. A young lad, be around 9 or 10 yrs old, came  flying out of a front gate and started dribbling a football down the road. “Who do you support?” asked Crazy Steve. “Pass Move and Grin” shouted out the boy. It’s a community club that does a lot for the underprivileged in the area. It brought a smile to my face and made my day.

Sean Paul's window cleaning services rocked up on Wednesday morning. It's a fall from grace for the 51 year old Jamaican rapper, but I guess we all have to make ends meet. He can always do a spot of Karaoke across the road at the Nags Head. I was in a taxi in the Algarve, just after the European Championship in 2004 were held there. We passed a football stadium close to Faro Airport. I said to the driver: " Who plays there?" He replied: "In July, Sean Paul and Simple Minds," .. lol

I'm in massive trouble with Ms Moon, later in the day, when I blurt out that there's going to be a massive scrap between Cain Dingle and Aaron on 'The Farm,' I tell her that I read at work in the Inside Soap magazine that Cain is going to kill Aaron with a monkey wrench. She's absolutely fuming folks. 

It's Thursday morning and I'm mooching around Sneinton Market. I call in to see my Bosnian barber, Mr Eko, for a holiday haircut. Thankfully he doesn't offer me a vodka shot; it's just a strong percolated coffee. I wander through the market, up into Hockley and down towards Carrington Street. 

Huge crowds are gathering outside Nottingham Crown Court. Back in June of last year an awful atrocity happened in our great City. A madman attacked a school caretaker on his way to work. and two students walking home together after a night out. All three were to lose their lives. Others too were badly injured  in the attacks. The defendant has just been sentenced to indefinite hospital order after admitting manslaughter charges.

I stand amongst the Press as the grief-stricken mother of student Barnaby Webber reads out a prepared statement. She is angry that the system has let them all down. The CPS, Nottinghamshire Police and the NHS all come under fire.

It preys on my mind, for the next hour or so of my walk, what those poor, bereaved relatives must be going through. The attacks brought our City to a standstill as there was an outpouring of public grief when a number of vigils were held. 

I catch the 26 Southwell bus, on Saturday morning close to an award-winning chippy called Oceans, which sits at the bottom of Carlton Hill. Ms Moon and I demolished a chippy tea from there on Thursday evening.

I jump off at Florence Avenue where I’m joined by Alan Murphy, who is head of the supporters group. We make the short walk down Stoke Lane, crossing the rail tracks where a Nottingham to Lincoln train has just whistled by.

There’s a small gathering of fans at the ground, as a Silverdale coach driver squeezes his vehicle through the club gates. It’s my first outing on the team coach as I usually travel by train or cadge a lift.

The second pick up point is at Millers Barn, Phoenix Park, where there is also a tram stop. We drive past a memorial stone that’s laid on the roundabout. It pays tribute to the miners who died from fatal injuries at Babbington Colliery between 1841-1986.

My first ever day at work was on 7th September 1981 at this very coal mine. I use the term ‘work’ loosely, as I was white collar staff. 

Memories came flooding back, the other evening, when Channel 4 screened a documentary called ‘Miners Strike 1984: The Battle of Britain. It was Margaret Thatcher versus National Union of Miners leader Arthur Scargill.

It was a long, bitter two year feud with neither side willing to compromise. The notorious, cocky, baton-wielding Metropolitan Police were based at Linby Colliery where I later worked, at the height of the strike.

The Management team and players are picked up, as are a few more at Junction 29. The Woodhead Pass is a pig of a road as we approach Stocksbridge. We sit in standing traffic for what seems an age.

The players and staff seem in a relaxed mood as the club look to continue their good form as the race for the play-offs enters the final stages. There’s plenty of chit chat and banter as the bus drops off some beer thirsty supporters on the high street.

The pubs don’t look all that, and I’m not one for viewing a game through beer goggles. I tag along with the infamous fish and chip reviewer ‘Danny Bhoy’ and his 12 year old lad Reuben.

It’s a steep climb up the hill towards the highly-rated Shelly’s chippy, that’s been open for over 30 years. I’m gasping for air but admiring the panoramic views of the Pennines, as the kind lady behind the counter throws us in three fresh haddocks, coated in two lots of batter, into a piping, red hot fryer.

The long wait for the chippy lunch bears fruit. Underneath the crisp batter is thick, fleshy meat. The chips melt in your mouth. Danny is suitably impressed, although he’s disappointed that they’ve ran out of curry sauce. The lady, behind the counter, mistakenly gives my haddock away to another customer. There’s no fuss or drama as I settle for a huge piece of cod. For good measure, and as an act of goodwill, she wraps up a couple of fish cakes.

There’s a hive of activity in one of the best clubhouses in Non League Football. Maidstone have just pulled off a major Cup upset at Portman Road, despite defending an astonishing 38x shots. The Millers field a strong team. Speedy winger Lamin Manneh is missing as is Lewis Durow, after a final whistle misdemeanor the other week. It’s a shame as both have looked in fine fettle. 

I bump into Carlton supporter Stuart and his legendary dog ‘Barton’ (Joey). They’ve had a bit of lip off the 'Stocksbridge Baby Squad' behind the goal. I suggest to Stu that he unleash Joey on the young ‘uns. Stuart says he’ll probably lick them to death.

Entertainment levels are zero in the first half, it’s an absolute snooze fest. Steels look most likely to score with their 9 jacket looking lively. 

We agree in the clubhouse that we’d take a point as it stands, as Steels are our bogey team. This stat is repeated throughout the second half by DJ Murph. Carlton improve in the final half hour with debutant Jebbison stinging the hands of the home ‘keeper.

I’ve stuck up for referees on here for years. The FA seem to fast-track the younger ones up the Pyramid too prematurely. The latest trend, for the men in black, is to get their cards out way too early, instead of letting common sense prevail. Today’s buffoon has zero man management skills and is another FA robot. Jebbison is sent off after two harsh yellow cards.

I don’t do 0-0s, but will take one today. It’s a tough place to come to. and Steels are a better side than their League position suggests.

I jump onto a tram at Phoenix Park, alighting at Queen’s Walk in the Meadows area of Nottingham. The Big Man is having a gathering for his 50th birthday, at a gin bar called The Botanist on The Avenue, in Sticky’s favourite place, West Bridgford .. lol.

I manage to get lost in the Meadows, which is easy to do with its rat runs and ginnels. I finally emerge onto Trent Bridge. I swing by the TBI pub where Ms Moon and daughter Becky are drinking following afternoon tea at Josephine’s, opposite Nottingham’s Theatre Royal. A well oiled Trumpy Bolton gives me a hug following Leicester City’s FA Cup win over the Bluenoses.

I’m on shop duty early doors on Sunday morning. I’m back home just after 9 am. I grab a couple of hours kip. I’ve had my pass stamped by Ms Moon to attend a charity event for the homeless called Beat the Streets. I meet music aficionado Tony Mac in the Barrel Drop on Hurts Yard.

It’s a cracking afternoon’s entertainment.  The Rain Age and Bloodworm knock it out of the park in the Rescue Rooms. I'm seeing them both again at the hipster Jam Cafe on Wednesday evening. We bump into newlyweds Casually Dan and Katie. 

We take a short break in Junkyard where we partake in a couple of rocket fuel craft ales from Amundsen, Norway and Basqueland, Spain.

Local band, Board Marsh, are playing upstairs at Rough Trade. The place is mobbed out with gig goers. They play a rip roaring set, and are definitely one for the notebook.

The night ends in tears for our man Mac. He’s totally unimpressed with feel good factor band The Chase (from St Ann's) - I liked ‘em. He announces he’s off. I’m dog tired so join him. He misses his tram home to Hucknall by seconds. He can’t ’arf pick ‘em.

Attendance: 210

Man of the Match: Danny Bhoy for picking that chippy out

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