Our last home match, against Whitley Bay, was a busy one here at Meadow Park, on and off the pitch, with a couple of medical emergencies resulting in the unusual sight of two ambulances sitting behind the bottom goal deep in the second half. Hopefully both the Whitley Bay player who looked to have a nasty leg injury, though maybe not the break that was many people's first reaction, and the elderly spectator who took ill are both well, fingers crossed. Many thanks due to the doctor in the crowd, a Whitley Bay fan, who stepped in to help and advise with care of the spectator, no doubt an occupational hazard for doctors to be called on when they are near an incident, must get a bit trying for them, but a great comfort to the rest of us; anyway, very well done that man!
View from the cemetery
Could have been and should have been an unlikely Wearside double on Saturday, when the lads at the SoL managed a first home win of the season while we were going well at home to Consett. Two up inside eight minutes and in front until the 89th minute, and then good enough to get in front again after Consett’s equalising penalty, we still managed to concede a second equaliser with the last kick of the game. Not for the first or even the second time this season, it is becoming a bad habit. The performance was good, particularly early on, but Consett are a bit of a bogey side for us and no mistake. Still, you couldn’t say it wasn’t entertaining, especially the first eight and last seven minutes.
You can have too much of a good thing they say, so presumably this applies in spades to your humble correspondent’s drivel. Blame the fixture secretary is my only defence. Quite a rush of games, four home matches in eleven days is tough on everybody. Pitch to keep right, clubhouse to keep stocked, programme to be written, and changing rooms to be cleaned; mucky so and so’s some of these footballers, and not just the away sides, I understand there are major rumbles of discontent from those who wield the mops. Lads, clean up your mess!
Good day on Saturday gone. Very tight, competitive game against a tough side who you could tell are used to winning over the past few years, but in the end we just had enough to squeeze past Stockton Town. So we play one game and here we are in the last sixty four, seems a bit harsh on some of those who have been playing since September, but we don’t make the rules. My old dad used to say that as he slaughtered me at some game or other. Except he did make the rules. I digress, but do these exemptions for last season’s successes help clubs to prosper? Maybe, I’m not sure. It might be that those early season games get you into the swing of things. In any event there were some parallels between Saturday’s game and last season’s first game in the Vase, against Bridlington at home you might remember, some time early in September. Both went to extra time, and both times we scraped through. Mind, a midweek replay down at Stockton would have been a bit less daunting than last year, when we faced a long journey and a late night in Bridlington, which was not a very popular possibility with certain parties, as I recall.
Two thousand, six hundred and fifty one. A nice number. Most of you will not need telling that was the crowd last Saturday at Mariners Park for the Shields derby. Amazing. A bit embarrassing for those clubs, I hesitate to name names, who can generate barely any interest in the biggest city in the North East, but maybe it's just one of those things. Very good for the league in general and non league football on Tyneside in particular, TV and press coverage and a lot of word of mouth about what good entertainment and good value the Northern League offers. It should help us all.
However back to the business in hand. Vase today, against interesting opposition and in international week so not much else to do and hopefully a good few will take a trip to Meadow Park for their football fix. I don’t think anybody will be disappointed. We played Stockton a while back in a cup tie and a cracking game it was. Maybe Wembley for the winners?
I saw our friends from the Stadium of Light on TV last week, not very good was it? Another unwanted record for the bold boys, worst start ever evidently. Still, don’t despair, with that lot you just never know. I was going to consider the relative strength of the teams they have played this season, starting from the premise that nobody gets relegated by getting beat off Arsenal, so I went to look at the SAFC website. I don’t say it’s impossible to find results on the website, but I couldn’t find them. I did notice however that the five headings on the first page are Buy Tickets, Buy Kit, Buy Merchandise, Book Hospitality, and Book Hotel Room. And then there’s a little logo in Chinese, which is helpful. Entertaining and revealing when people give themselves away unconsciously isn’t it? Don’t ask us how we are doing, just spend money and get on with it.
Still, there are more important matters. Mister Trump continues his outlandish bid to become President of the USA, and might be getting closer. A frightening thought is President Trump, although I think Hillary will still make it. Americans are amazed that we are so interested in their politics evidently, as they have no interest in ours. But then we aren’t likely to blow them all up. Then again it is supposedly true that a random selection of Americans asked to point out Britain on a map usually pick Japan. And most Americans don’t have a passport, and maybe as few as 10% ever travel overseas. Which you would think should give them time to think about their own affairs with more care.