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View from the cemetery

View from the cemetery - April 2018 - 2

Submitted by Ghostly Gadgie on Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Cracking game on Saturday, on a tricky surface, although to be fair Dave and Graham had done great work to get the pitch fit at all, it was virtually flooded earlier in the week. And they will have had their work cut out to get it back into some kind of shape for tonight. But as I say, a cracking game, which we won well. Benfield will have been disappointed, given the great form they are in, but could have few complaints, and must have considered themselves fortunate to be in front at half time, with virtually their only attempt on goal of the first forty five minutes. It looked like it might be one of those days, but Nathan O’Neill’s super second half hat trick sorted that out. Nath started the season on fire, then had a fallow spell, so it is good to see him firing again and among the goals in recent weeks. His overall contribution was excellent as well, leading the line and putting himself about. To be fair, all of the lads played well, the passing and movement was excellent, although a couple of special mentions from me for Reece Noble, who joined in up the line continuously and didn’t waste a ball from full back, and young Dylan Elliott who was tireless and inventive in centre midfield. The battle of the golden oldies up front was interesting as well. Paul Brayson for Benfield and our own Colin Larkin have about a million goals between them, and long and distinguished playing records, but for once Brayson rarely got a look in after putting over a super cross in the first few minutes for the visitors' goal, while Colin continued his great form of late with great positional play and running off the ball, as well as his on field encouragement and guidance for his team mates. When you score a hat trick you are usually in contention for Man of the Match and Nath O’Neill was a deserved winner, but there were a lot of other candidates as well. Top six now, could get a place or two higher, let's keep it going!

The battle at the top of the First Division is hotting up nicely as Marske make an attempt on mission impossible, will we be giving them a hand on Thursday night when we go up to Morpeth? I hope so. Not because I have a preference, just because I want to see us win the game. While tonight’s match for our opponents is about the other end of the table, can the Roofers stay up? Personally I hope so, always find them good opponents, although you couldn’t say that about their changing rooms, as good as Marske’s I hear, which ain’t that good.

View from the cemetery - April 2018

Submitted by Ghostly Gadgie on Sunday, 8 April 2018

The view from the cemetery at the moment is usually of low clouds and rain, apparently never ending rain. But we did get a game on last week down in South Durham, and a cracking result against a good West Auckland team. Well deserved and I hear it could have been more, with the evergreen Mr Larkin in super form at present and often denied by the keeper making some great saves. We seem to be ending the season in fine form, and with most people available most of the time, that spell in mid season when we could hardly raise a side seems long gone, but where would we be if that hadn’t happened? Probably too high up the table given all the FA shenanigans, so maybe it's all worked out for the best. Big game against Benfield, with their own everlasting striker in young Brayson, and more tough ones after that, but top six looks like a realistic target, and maybe top four, who knows? One game at a time as the pro's say, and no doubt there will be some funny results over these last weeks as clubs try to fit a mass of fixtures in, and injuries and pre arranged holidays take their toll. A lively end to the season anyway, and a few home games to look forward to on nice Spring evenings.

And higher up than us, is it Morpeth or Marske for the title? Just on weight of fixtures and the likely problems of fielding a side I guess you have to fancy Morpeth, but given the funny results to be expected and mentioned earlier you never know. And it will be interesting at the other end, where RCA might have a say in who goes down. Synners and Washy are all but doomed but it's a tight fight between Bishops and Jarrow Roofing to escape the drop, with Penrith and Guisborough looking on anxiously. We have Bishops to play twice and the Roofers and Guisborough once each yet, with Guisborough and Bishops likely to be our last two games and both at Meadow Park. Might boost the gates.

Elsewhere Mr Coleman’s endless struggles continue, looks like he has a half decent side going forward now, much too late of course, but still absolutely calamitous at the back. Can’t defend crosses to save their lives and every time he signs a keeper they are worse than the one before. Unbelievable. Will they be able to stay in League One, that's what I wonder. Not without another round of team building, and to be fair his signings to date don’t fill you with confidence in his ability to spot a player. I’m afraid we will see.

View from home

Submitted by Ghostly Gadgie on Saturday, 31 March 2018

It's always nice to be back in your own plot I think. Travel is fine but home is comfy. And a chance to catch up on local sporting matters. Our boys firing well at present and storming up the league, a top six finish would be nice. Sunderland virtually dead and buried and it's looking like the new manager is not producing any magic. Certainly his signings, mostly loans I know, and with little money to spend, have largely been poor so far. It's a tough business is football management, but an old head of my acquaintance was of the view that it didn’t matter what kind of manager you were, tracksuit or best suit, hard case or soft touch, whisperer or shouter, all that mattered was your ability to spot a player. I think this is true at every level from Sunday morning to the Premier League. Certainly in the Northern League the cry of 'Where did you find him?' is often heard. David Beckham was recounting recently the tale of an England coach who when Beckham was twelve had failed to notice the will to win or the sweet right foot, but had noticed he wasn’t that big so dismissed his prospects out of hand. Even more entertaining the other week was the hapless Peter Grant, Assistant Manager of Scotland, saying that he hadn’t heard of Scott McTominay until he made his debut for Man Utd and hadn’t realised he was qualified for Scotland at all, but hoped he was. Obviously I don’t know the names of every potential young Scottish International playing for Premier League clubs, but I’m not Assistant Manager of Scotland am I? To be fair it's not like they are overloaded with talent. So, give Coleman a chance I say, but picking players is what it is all about.

Anyway after the last month or so it's good to be back and talking football. Three home games off the belt, chances for points and maybe Spring is finally here, what is not to like?

View from the far side

Submitted by Ghostly Gadgie on Saturday, 17 March 2018

Rugby is the overwhelming sporting interest in New Zealand, which makes you wonder why Sky call their Rugby channel Sky Football. But there you go.

Anyway you have little choice but to watch it when talking to the wife loses its appeal. And the standard is fantastic; of the rugby I mean, not the wife's conversation. Watched a game the night which finished 38-36, absolutely superb, ten tries, fast, great ball handling and a punch up every ten minutes, which adds to the entertainment value. It bears little resemblance to our fat posh boys waddling about, that's for sure. It's not footy though is it?

I'm keeping in touch and I see we had a belting win up at Whitley Bay the other night, I know they have their troubles at the moment, but even so a great win. And fifty points with a dozen games to go, we could be getting nose bleeds here, and what if we finish top four or five and FA come knocking? I only ask.

I see that one of the proposals being mooted to cope with the league's problems is to move to Scotland, in footballing terms at least. Blimey, given the standard up there we could be playing Celtic in a few years time. Interesting thought but not a starter I think, shame.

View from a New Zealand cemetery

Submitted by Ghostly Gadgie on Saturday, 10 March 2018

Once again by the miracle of post terminal travel, your intrepid commentator reports from around the globe. The very far side of the globe to be precise, Deep South Island of New Zealand in a little place called Hokitika. Seaside place, good beach, great beach sculptures from the masses of driftwood, spectacular sunsets, and much more importantly, a couple of half decent bars, although the price of beer is something disgraceful over here. They fancy the quality is good, but I am not convinced CAMRA would be impressed. Anyway enough of the sightseeing, this is a sporting column; which in New Zealand means Rugby Union. Well yes and no. Turns out the West Coast is a bit of a bastion of Rugby League as well.

View from the Cemetery - November 2017 - 2

Submitted by Ghostly Gadgie on Monday, 13 November 2017

A fun packed day out to Cheshire, enjoyed by all on Saturday I am told, with a good game, lots of red and yellow cards, some deserved, some maybe not so deserved, extra time, some nervous moments and a replay to look forward to after all was said and done. My spies tell me that we seem to have misplaced our shooting boots a little bit of late and that maybe cost us, with enough chances to have won the game, although to be fair Runcorn won the woodwork hitting competition 2-1 so they will be feeling aggrieved a bit. We started like trains I hear, then faded a bit, had more long spells on top as the game went on, but always had to be careful of the Linnets on the break. Good wide men and very much a shoot-on-sight policy are their trademarks by all accounts. A nice flat pitch as well, be a bit different tonight methinks.

A very good and game mascot as well, though not so good in his stint as goalkeeper when the subs were shooting in, and anyway it was not clear what exactly he was supposed to be. Pobably a Linnet we all assumed, a small finch with a very melodious song as I’m sure you all know, but Linnets don’t come in lurid shades of green and yellow as I recall, more brown with a dash of red. Still we nitpick here. I have always been a fan of the football mascot and the Runcorn chap seemed well behaved, unlike some of his colleagues over the years. Who can forget Cyril the Swansea Swan pulling the head off Millwall’s Zampa the Lion, or Robbie the Bobby of Bury removing the lugs from the Peterborough Bunny? And most famously of all that lupine lunatic, Wolfie of Wolves and his fight with the Three Little Pigs at Bristol City? All over a penalty competition. Which he won of course. Only a town like Hartlepool though could take their club’s mascot, the infamous H’Angus the Monkey, put him in a suit and tie and elect him as mayor, and keep him in office so long the authorities had to abolish the post to get rid of him. But can you remember his name?

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