You will have heard me remark in earlier submissions that I trust the crowd won’t impede my view of the match. Not much chance of that at the moment. The long grass on the bank is another matter, mind. I know it's August and all that, and we have got a succession of home games but even so, the crowds are a bit disappointing aren’t they? Not in quality I hasten to add, indeed not, a finer selection of discerning football aficionados it is hard to imagine than the RCA faithful, much experience of the game, know a good player when they see one, fair and impartial commentators, and fond of a pint; no you can’t knock the quality, but the quantity? A fine young side developing, a super standard of football, and embarked on an FA Cup run that sees us a mere ten games from Wembley, assuming we make the semi final. What more could the good people of the City of Sunderland want? Quite a bit it seems. Well, a Ryhope Derby with both sides in fine fettle, followed a week later by the visit of Liversedge in the first qualifying round of the cup is a decent offer I reckon. Maybe the undecided will decide this week.
View from the Cemetery
Pink balls? It’s not really cricket is it? The first attempt at a Day/Night test in England last week, and I suspect it may turn out to be a collector's item, wouldn’t be surprised it there was never another one. The weather and the light are all against it here. Wonderful in Dubai, or the Caribbean, but Birmingham or Manchester? I’m far from convinced. I am however convinced about the West Indies team. Atrocious. Poor old Andy Roberts was on the telly, a proud man, proud of the ferocious, intimidating and simply superb bowling of him and his colleagues back in the day, but looking sick and clearly ashamed and embarrassed by the efforts of the current squad. I don’t think England are that brilliant, indeed I strongly recommend a wager on the Aussies this winter down under, but the Windies were simply pathetic, and have another couple of tests to play before they can get into the old crash, bang, wallop malarkey where they may do better. It brought back memories of the great West Indies teams though, and the masochistic pleasure of watching the fast bowlers torment the latest chinless wonder from the public schools of England, while Geoff Boycott made sure he spent most of the time up the other end shaking his head. We had Sir Geoff and Ian Botham; they had Holding, Marshall, Ambrose, Lloyd, Richards, Greenidge and the rest. Wasn’t really a fair match was it? A bit like watching England v Germany over the years in football. Quality, planning and organisation versus shambolic selection and haphazard tactics. It is a little known fact that Gordon Greenidge was born in Hampshire and would have been delighted to play for England if it had occurred to the selectors to ask. What a surprise. Happy days.
Matches, Croatia and Serbian football, SAFC surprise, athletics, Mo, sprinters.
Did you watch the Athletics World Championships over the past couple of weeks? Didn’t see much myself, but I did watch over the last weekend. Pity about Mo Farah not winning again, except that I sort of think that it is better for real champions to compete until they are beaten fair and square rather than retiring wondering if you might have won another one or two. Go out on your shield, as they say in the fight game. And the sprint relays were good. Noticing the way the ladies team, all fit girls obviously, went loopy as the boys, all fit lads obviously, won made me wonder what they would all be doing by way of celebration that night, probably a nice cup of tea and early to bed I reckon. Possibly.
I did spend some time wondering which country ANA stood for, until the commentator pointed out it was "Accredited Neutral Athlete" or Russian for short. Never mind, they all seemed as fast as ever, despite having no further access to pharmaceuticals, allegedly. Does make you wonder what the point is of banning the country, but allowing the athletes to take part anyway.
I believe I left you in midweek contemplating the wonders of modern Germany as viewed on my latest trip overseas. Did I mention the beer? Think I did, I just like reminding myself. I will report on other points of interest around the continent in later editions. With any luck it will keep me going until Christmas. Anyway back to domestic concerns. All smiles here on the Ryhope meadow at present. A win in the Cup no less and a three points start in the league. Poor crowd the other night, but the atrocious weather probably accounted for a good few who might have turned out.
I said in my first View of the season that I would fill you all in on my summer travels, a miracle in itself I know, what with me being deceased, but don’t worry, I don’t intend to post pictures of interesting foreign cemeteries. No, this has a football focus. So here we go.
Should you ever find yourself in the southern German city of Regensburg there are two things I recommend you should do. First, try the local beer, from the Thurn and Taxis brewery. Absolutely top class. I am not a lager drinker as a rule, but this stuff is even better than the usual German beer, which means it is very good indeed. Cheap, hoppy, flavoursome, not too gassy, and knocks your block off; what more could you want?
Summer is officially over, and the football is back. And so am I. I will recall some of my summer wanderings in coming editions. Cricket will take a back seat now, although I am a fan; tennis, I’m not a fan, same for athletics and the like, overall let's get back to the real thing I say. It seems more than a bit ridiculous to me, but here we go with the FA Cup of all things, first Saturday in August and only thirteen games from Wembley. A cracking tie to start though, Garforth have had some great times not so long ago, so they will be keen. Best game on in the North East on the day I reckon, so maybe a few extra in. Will the pies last? And how do we look? A few new faces and not many missing from last season, so things are quite hopeful, or so the lad in charge says. We certainly have a very busy August with the Northern League not helping much with a rash of home games in the first few weeks of the season; think the fixture computer needs a reboot, or maybe just a boot.
Football in July, an interesting thought. My sporting instincts are normally focused on golf, cricket and horse racing in the height of summer, but there is no doubting that tonight’s game is enough to get your mind on the winter game straight away. A strong and young Sunderland side will be a big test for RCA. Our best performances are usually against the best sides; I notice South Shields are speaking of their comeback point against us at their place as the most important result of their league season, so pro opposition should incentivise our lads tonight.
Feels like it might be a bit of a slog from now to the end of the season, a good few still to play and most of them away, and nothing to play for except pride and league position. And what does pride come before? Correct at the back. This sounds a bit pessimistic, which is not really fair. I think our form has been reasonably decent since we slipped out of the Vase, a few good wins and some close defeats, including the obligatory couple of three two losses. Up at Morpeth the other night our old friend the shaven headed Irishman notched his usual goal against us, and the Tasmanian devil from Pennywell known as Joe Walton got another. Although he was remarkably quiet on the night was Joe, no ranting and raving at all, he must have been right off colour. Always been one of my favourites has Joseph. Him and Scotty Richards. Anyway what is it with our old boys? Rasher does it every time, and Closey usually scores his only goals of the season against us. Thankfully he has moved on from today's opponents, otherwise I would fear the worst. And Sparky was banned on Wednesday which was probably just as well. My spies though tell me it was a good game, good possession by Morpeth versus excellent attacking on the break from our bold lads. Missed a few chances I hear which could have made a difference, and suffered from the old last minute of the half problem for Morpeth’s equaliser. In this case the 49th minute of the first half, which makes it feel worse. But a good show against a top side, well done boys.