The One With More Fans Than Flags

Guiseley 2 Bradford Park Avenue 1

Unibond Premier Division

Those of you who tally such things may have noted that the last few games have left me gasping for my blogging breath, such has been the paucity of quality and desire shown by some of the season-end fixtures. Thankfully, this game broke the pattern.

pic of nethermoor park
A clash between neighbours (about 12 miles depending in your route), AND a potential title decider (both teams tied on points at the top of the Unibond Premier table). It promised much. And whilst the atmosphere was noticeable only for it's absence in such a game, the two sides put on a show that ably demonstrated how they have risen to the top of the table.

pic of a groundhopper
Ground Hopper chic
It is fair to say that neither Guiseley or BPA are afraid of opening their wallets. Avenue believe, rightly or wrongly, that they should be playing in bigger ponds than the Unibond, and after an ill-fated spell under Lee Sinnott (which should have worked in my opinion) they are now flourishing under John Deacy. Backed solidly by the wallet , and ego of Bob Blackburn,  they have assembled a group of giants in their bid to play Conference football. (incidentally, if any readers are unaware, this tale of last summer's exploits is a joy)

Guiseley on the other hand have stealthily assembled their squad over the last couple of years, and it shows. Whereas BPA play like an assortment of (relatively) talented individuals, Guiseley are defintely a team.

pic of guiseley and bradford park avenue

1300 people packed themselves in to Nethermoor Park to watch this game. And yet for much of it you could hear a pin drop. For such an important game, I don't think it was niave to expect some sort of atmosphere. But no, chanting was almost non existent, exubberant celebrations ont he terraces were kept in check. And most off-putting of all, there wasn't a single flag to be seen. I've never really got the whole flag thing myself. But others do, and it tends to be seen as the first sign of fanatical support amongst a certain section of support. That neither side showed any signs of this passion surprised me.

As you know, this isn't the place for incisive match analysis. I don't know enough, and I get bored writing my thoughts down. As proof of how little I know, the Guiseley player I had pegged as MOTM was pulled off after an hour, and the most dangerous BPA came off soon afterwards. Ergo, I know nothing, and we are all wasting our time on this site.

Bradford are a big side, with some more than competant players, but as I may have mentioned the overall ethic isn't as unified as Guiseley's. Both sides displayed enough to say that it will have to be a very good side that stops them both going up. Having seen most of the oppostion, I haven't seen anyone better. That said, Boston are rejuvinated, and Retford are much, much better away from home (and their current fifth means that all playoff games would be away) That leaves North Ferriby, who I only saw first game of the season, and wasn't overly impressed with. Table says they're any good, and we've established I know shit all.

The return match is tomorrow night at BPA's place. It promises to be a humdinger. If you can tear yourself away from Clive Tyldesley fawning all over Wayne Rooney, it'd be well worth the trip. Me? I can't get out of work early enough. Actually gutted.

Don't forget, there's more photos, including the best  combover I've seen for some time, on the Facebook fan pages....
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