Newcastle United Fans Have Knobs.

It must be official, it's on the internet





Cheeky backheel to Who Ate All The Pies
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Bullseye

Sometimes, you just have to let the footage speak for itself.

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And Now Crystal Palace Get In On The Act

Coming in to BTFM Towers via @CalneEagle on Twitter, another foul-mouthed abuse of the hard work of the good people at XtraNormal

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A typical conversation with a Spurs fan

Hot on the heels of the Conversation With a Gooner, the reposte:







Tip of the hat to Ollie @ Who Ate All The Pies
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Latin Leather

This is exactly the sort of action I didn't see at Harrogate Railway Athletic on Saturday

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How To Endear Yourself To The Opposition

Now that, Mr Ronaldo, THAT is showboating

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The Land That Time Forgot

Harrogate Railway Athletic 0 

Prescot Cables 0


Evostik Division One North


There is always a risk when you go to an unscripted live event that events may conspire to provide a spectacle that doesn't live up to your expectations. Having been to Harrogate Railway before, my expectations weren't all that high. And having a mole in the Prescot Cables camp, I knew I was unlikely to see a team of Galacticos stride out in yellow and black.

Pete was desperate for any action at all.
That said, I was completely unprepared for the utter tripe that made up the bulk of my Saturday afternoon. One good reflex save, a goal mouth scramble, and a hit crossbar, coupled with a red card and that was pretty much that. Actually, that synopsis paints a much more enlivening picture than I intended.

Do You Come Here Often?
Wandering around God's Waiting Room, I was struck by a slightly more important point than "my, what a dash both benches cut in their new League-issue attire". And that was: where's the future for clubs like HRA? We all know that non-league football is a hand-to-mouth existence. But really, looking around the rabble that had collected at Station View, I really couldn't see how they were going to pull together an under 70's team in the next few years. They are not alone in this. That non-league football is the reserve of doddery old men with fat noses and ear hair is a cliché that is nonetheless true. But some clubs do at least boast a vocal minority of teenage lads, for whom the novelty usually wears off. And a few middle-aged dads with banning orders from local proper clubs (this may be doing them a disservice, I appreciate!) But there was none of that at HRA yesterday.

No, me neither
I'm not sure what the future is for Railway, and clubs like them. The committees need to wake up and become proactive, I think. Not just short term, quick fix measures like "kids for a quid" or youth team admissions. The problem is bigger, across the board. And whilst kids are always the long term potential fan-base, today's population is more mobile than ever. Getting them when they're young is all well and good, but they invariably move away. The focus surely has to be on enticing those who move in to the area? Somewhere like Harrogate is a major draw for out-of-towners. So what are Athletic, and their neighbours Harrogate Town, doing to sell the club to Southampton fans and Everton fans who move to the area? Forget marketing to the kids, get the dads, and mums, down. They'll be spending the money. They'll be telling their friends. And they, ultimately, will take the reigns of the current management committee.

video
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Idiots In Charge Of The NPL

We all know these are tough times. For all of us. Money is tight, and if it is tight for us, it is near non-existant for non-league football clubs. As such it would, perhaps, to be fair to expect the people tasked with looking after the welfare of those clubs to do what they can to lessen the burden.

When you go to watch a football match, what do notice? The big and burly number 6? The fleet footed winger? The quality , or otherwise, of the pies, perhaps? I have have been to too many games to quantify. And never, not once, have I found myself thinking the sartorial elegance of the respective benches was lacking.

But I must have been in the minority, because the suits of the NPL have issued the following to every club in the Evo-Stik league:

  • 1x polo shirt
  • 1x t shirt
  • 1x pair of shorts
  • 1x woolly hat
  • 1x pair of socks
  • 1x Bench Coat
  • 1x pair ¾ pants

Read that list again, and tell me this is a good idea. The league committee, threadbare as it is, have spent coin of the realm addressing an issue that wasn't there. Add to this that they expect referees to enforce the dress-code, and that any transgressions  will be penalised with a £25 fine, and it is clear that the suits do not have the first idea what they are doing.

For one thing, where;s the rain coat?
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The One Where The Magic Of The FA Cup Meets Award-Winning Pies

walking down wembley way
Walking Down Wembley Way
Without inviting anyone to share unduly in my own private hell, I have, in recent times, become very familiar with the Woodhead Pass. For those lacking an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Notts/ Yorkshire road network, the Woodhead is the shortest route from Sheffield to Manchester, winding it's merry way as it does across the Peak District. So it was perhaps unnecessary for me to repeat the journey one more time in order to expedite a visit to Glossop.

Unnecessary, that is, until you learn that Glossop North End recently won an award for the Best Pies in all of football. Which is no little boast. And a man of my stature cannot let such things pass him by. So, the onset of this season's FA Cup, and a visit from Wigan Robin Park (no, me neither) brought the plan together quite majestically.

glossop north end
Surrey Street is a funny little ground. Clearly it was once on the outskirts of town, but now it seems to be in entirely the wrong place. My contacts advised me it was the land that time forgot, but truth be told, it is a lovely little place. It doesn't look too inviting from the outside, but once you pass through the turnstiles, it has everything you need. Namely a pitch, enough cover, a clubhouse. And pies.

the friendship
But before we launch in to the usual half-arsed report, a quick mention of the pre-match drinking hole, The Friendship. Uninspiring northern pub-by-numbers to the untrained eye, I was given the heads up on Twitter by @GlossopNorthEnd and what a lovely place it was. From the old boys playing dominoes, to the Lords-like reverence for cricket, it really was my idea of pub heaven.

pete the first man
Pete. The First Man. See?
And so, the game. Er, yes, the game. It ended 2-2, and the second half was much better than the first. The mood after the match seemed to be that it was a below-par performance from both sides, and certainly no one seemed to have a good, or for that matter horrendous, game. No one really stood out. There were no fat blokes or man mountains to pour scorn upon. The home fans weren't overly enamoured of the visiting bench. And that was pretty much that. GNE probably just shaded things, but WRP took the few chances they created, and deserved the replay on that basis alone.

award winning pie
An Award-Winning Chicken Balti Pie
As for the pies... Well, after all the hype, I was expecting something sensational. What I got was a better than average pie, which was let down by the pastry. To this connoisseur, it runs a distant second to Goole.

Kind regards, the chubby one off Masterchef.
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QPRs maddest fan

We've all been there. The red mists descend. All of a sudden the players wearing the shirt are expletive deleteds. And the only possible solution is to shout. And then shout some more.



Many thanks to @TheBallIsRound on Twitter for pointing me in this direction.
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Sent For An Early Bath

Cracking little video this. As ever, it features a huge over-reaction by a willy-waving idiot footballer.
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Are Away Days Better Than Home Games?

There is something magical about a good away game. Be it a weekend in Scarborough, a curry in Forest Green, or just a road trip to Hereford, my footballing memory retains far more of the accompanying adventures than it does of the actual game. A home game is invariably routine. The same pub, the same faces, the same vantage point. But go to an away game, and all bets are off.

Not sure I'd go to many in Poland though.

polish football fan

*edit: just found another pic. Who's booking the coach? (both are worthy of clicking on for full glory)



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Roberto Carlos

Roberto Carlos, still got it. (after about 1m 10sec)

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From The Mouths Of Babes

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How To Deal With Pitch Invasions

Americans. Famed for their tolerance and understanding. And ill-fitting football shirts.

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Goalkeeper Cock Ups Of Our Time #724

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US High School Soccer Racism

When I was a mere slip of the lad, and accidentally stumbled in to a one-off appearance for the school rugby team, more by virtue of neing a lard-arse than any competence at the game, no-one came to watch. And that's how it should be. School kids playing sport is not good spectator fodder. Mainly because the fact that they are kids makes them shit at it. So the double-handed concept of loads of people showing up, the tv cameras being there, and it being deemed the perfect platform for some ill-thought-out racial protest is completely alien to me.



A little context is probably needed here. South High is in the old stockyard/meat-packing district of Omaha, where 47% of the student body is Hispanic, and that percentage goes up for the soccer team. Meanwhile Lincoln East, well, isn't. And kids being kids, what better way to celebrate than make some pathetic immigration display. Pathetic.
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Cool Shirt? Or Horrific Shirt?

I really can't decide whether this retro-graphiced design is better than the recently announced Chelsea suits, or as bad as the 1996 vintage Liverpool suits. Thoughts?



Puma Foundation Stadium T-Shirt>>Lifetime Return>>White Soccer T Shirt
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Whatever The Opposite Of The A-Team Is

There was supposed to be another in-depth piece here concerning the tactical ambivalence of Warrington Town v Crewe United of Northern Ireland in their annual Peace Cup. Something the two teams cobbled together int he aftermath of the Warrington bombings. And a mighty honourable undertaking it no doubt is.

However, given that nobody told me the game kicked off at 1pm, all I can tell you about the game is that they need to work on their PA system. And that it was a very one-sided game. Exactly who mullered who, I don't know.

So, instead of the usual insight, have a video of the reason I journeyed over in the first place.

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