The problems of success, eh? Irate neighbours complaining about the vast crowds flocking to Meadow Park, and more to the point, parking their jalopies without due care and attention. The vast crowds that is, not the irate neighbours. Ryhope police turned out in force, both of them, had soothing words with the most annoyed gentleman in question, and then enjoyed the match. It's a tough life in the thin blue line alright. And all this with barely three figures in attendance. Still, at least the big game was on, despite much concern in the previous couple of weeks as the old precipitation looked like it was going to precipitate a heart attack or two, or at least a punch up among the ground staff, which would probably amount to the same thing. Not a pretty sight in parts, the pitch not the ground staff, but overall it seemed to play OK. Quite a lot of cursing and head shaking on Monday morning though. But the game was won! Fifth round, can you credit it? I thought the boys from Sleaford gave our lads quite a shock early on, came at us hard, and it took a while for our passing to swing into action. They were strong and effective and no mistake were the Lincolnshire lads. However we gave ourselves a shake and just about deserved the win, and certainly the winning goal did. A thing of beauty.
View from the cemetery
Fourth Round of the Vase eh, well who would have thought it? Not many this time last year, that's for sure, when we were sitting not so proudly at the bottom of the heap. A few club knockers were out and about. True we were playing a bit better by then, but it still looked a long way to safety, and we certainly weren’t worrying about any cup ties, I do know. But this season? A different kettle of fish indeed. Slow start admittedly, but since September solid, very solid I reckon. And this Vase run is fairy tale stuff. Most exciting thing to happen in Ryhope since the chip shop caught fire. So bring it on. Don’t know much about Sleaford except they must be very decent, but hopefully we can do the trick. If and when the rain stops that is.
Happy Vase Day. Should be a good event this Saturday, looks like there will be a good turn out from Taddy, probably hoping to find some decent beer if nowt else. Difficult in Ryhope. They sound like more than a half decent outfit as well, so they will be travelling in hope. I’m looking forward to it, as long as nothing drops off anywhere in the wind, and no one stands in front of my viewing spot, in the corner, opposite the chapel, if you need to know. Will there be plenty of pies available for our guests? Always run out of something. And what sort of side will we be able to get out? Looks like the old injury and illness curse has returned with a bang, which combined with suspensions and ineligibility means it might be a thin squad. But then it was thin most of the time a few weeks back and it didn’t seem to stop us much, so you never know.
I used to know a girl by name of Elsie; no, I’m sorry, wrong song. I meant to say “and throughout it all I ate it up and spat it out”, contradictory lines from the signature tune of the 20th Century’s greatest vocalist, Francis Albert Sinatra. And leaving aside a few million dollars or so I think old Frank is quite a good metaphor for our bold lads. We certainly do it our way. Usually second best for most of the game, and usually run out winners. Frank couldn’t act much, but he won an Oscar. Although last week by all accounts, and by the result, was a bit different from usual for us. Second best and got beat, sounds like old times. Many old times. Let's hope they are not coming back. I don’t think so, there is a resilience about these boys that I like a lot. Probably wasn’t a bad time to end this unbeaten run of heavily disputed length anyway, lots of games against good sides to come, a tough Vase game amongst them, so let's get another run started I say. I may be optimistic.
People may know that I have pronounced views on the value of Radio Newcastle, its stupid name for a start, and that they are rarely very complimentary. But it can be inadvertently entertaining some days, especially the football coverage. It can happen to anyone, but they had a real afternoon for bloopers on Saturday. Del Boy, he of “The world is our lobster, Rodney”, would have been proud. Listening in for a report on our defeat at West, little chance obviously after they have covered the various Tyneside games, but we live in hope, I caught the end of the Newcastle/Sunderland phone in with a very cheerful Gary Bennett enjoying the woes of the disconsolate assorted radio Mags. John Anderson was trying to be positive but rather spoilt his assessment of the way forward for the good lads of the toon with the advice to Steve McLaren that he needed to “rattle a few feathers” in the Newcastle dressing room. Be worth watching, that. Later he was trumped by someone who claimed he had seen "the net rattled”. Cheered me up anyway.
The football away day, what a great British institution. Brings back memories I can tell you. From the rougher end of football in my case, the DFA Sunday Cup being my favourite. A trip to Spennymoor or such like to play the local heroes from the Dog and Ferret was an adventure indeed when you usually got no further than pork chop hill. And even then struggled to get a side out. And had to make liberal use of the old wrong un. We had a bloke still signed on for ten years after he died. First name on the sheet, old Ralphy. But not for the County Cup, oh no. Hamstrings cleared up, the lads took it seriously and went home on Saturday night with no more than a few liveners inside them, and all were there bright and early Sunday morn in the car park of the Blue Bell waiting for the bus. Happy days. Admittedly with a good few cans in carrier bags as well, but you can’t expect saints on a Sunday morning, can you…