Doesn't Smell Like Team Spirit

Thurnby Nirvana 1
Shifnal Town 2

AND just like that, the Beat The First Man football blog of indistinction is back. By dope demand, as King Bee might have it. And you thought there musical content was predictable. In yo' face, blogosphere.

I have been looking for an opportunity to visit Thurnby Nirvana ever since I learned that Thurnby Nirvana existed. They're called Thurnby Nirvana for crying out loud! Why would you not visit?

A Beer Bore's Delight
PREMATCH cocktails were taken in the Cow and Plough. Not really within walking distance, but such a cracking pub that you really should make the effort to visit if you ever find yourself in the Leicester area. Really, it is a stonker. And then it was off to Dakyn Road for some FA Vase action.

MY heart sank. If the name promised much, the approach did all it could to piss on my dreams. Set in the midst of a bleak housing estate that Mike Leigh might think twice about, it was as far mystical as Michael MacIntyre is from rib-tickling. The Bone Shaker shuddered to a halt on the road outside the ground, and I made my disheartened way inside.

I say "inside", but having navigated one of those queues they lay out in the Post Office, which wind hither and thither for half a mile for no discernible reason, I was greeted by a clubhouse you couldn't swing a kitten in. Inside a man grated cheese.

Got Crampons?
THE ground itself is about 400 metres below sea-level, meaning that spectators either enjoy panoramic views from what passes as an accidental sun terrace, negotiate their way down the Cresta Run, or opt for the most oddly positioned stand I have witnessed on my travels.

WITH hard standing on three sides, it seemed odd that so many folk congregated on the far side (this is of course a relative "so many") but once stood amongst them, it was apparent that this was Hopper Central. Tips  on comb-overs, memories of Aldi shopping bags, and experiences of the Sex Offenders Register all readily exchanged.

THE home side set themselves up 4-4-2, whilst Shifnal, celebrating their first mention in this post, opted for a slightly more unpredictable 5-3-2. Although a cynic might contend this was more of a 4-3-2, such was the ease with which Nirvana got down the right hand flank. They could have gone ahead in a matter of moments, when the first of many forrays down that wing saw a ball cut across the face of the goal, but the Nirvana strike force reluctant to break in to a sweat to get on the end of it.

AND so began the in-fighting. They say a team reflects it's manager, and never was this more self-evident than within the ranks of Thurnby Nirvana. Their manager, who's name I cannot fathom, does little on the sidelines other than bellow and berate. This attitude of impending failure carries itself through his team, as they heckle and cristicise each other at every opportunity. Misplaced passes, straying out of position, and all other standards of the non-league, and indeed the professional game, are highlighted. But the positives regularly pass by unheralded. It makes for an ugly and uninspiring team performance, and fairly stultifying viewing.

Some Grown Men, Running.

IN a rare moment of clarity, after 20 minutes, Jordan Smith, who could still be playing at a much higher level if he could arsed, worked his way into the Shifnal box, before chipping over the onrushing keeper. One nil, and, in the interests of balance, wholly deserved. Shifnal had offered little, looked horribly exposed on their left hand side, and really were there for the taking.

SO obviously Thurnby retreated in to their shells, and Shifnal began to work out how to play against them "Get it to Rico, and let him turn them" was the call. Rico thought he was good. He had highlights. And Fancy Dan boots. He had to be, surely?

WITH thoughts of halftime oranges in everyone's minds, Shifnal got themselves a corner. Perhaps thinking their manager needed something extra to bollock them for over the next fifteen minutes, Nirvana allowed the aforementioned Rico to ghost in towards the far post, and wallop, the BTFM Outside Broadcast Unit picks up the story:

SECOND half I figured I would take my leave of the corduroy set, and took up a vantage point on top of Alpe D'Huez. Having never scaled anything higher than a mole hill, I can only assume that the smell of weed is synonymous with lack of oxygen at such heights, and that seasoned mountaineers are used to the sensation.

AFTER an hour, Shifnal broke through the home defence, only for their previously anonymous striker to be hacked down ruthlessly. See the subsequent drama unfold below in substandard technicolour:

THERE now follows a confession. Halfway through the second half Thurnby had a player sent off. I have no idea what for, although I assume it was a bad tackle as there was a Shifnal bloke lying prone on the floor as he wandered off. He would have stayed on the pitch too, as the ref seemed to have neglected to pack that integral part of the refs armoury, the red card. Apparently, it needs brandishing, as simply saying "OFF!!" does not constitute correct procedure. If the lino hadn't rushed to his aide, we could have had all manner of hi-jinx.

DOWN to ten men, Nirvana were up against it. The managers insistence that they "delivah" whenever the ball crossed the half way line wasn't helping, as the Shifnal back three had no problems dealing with high balls. It was the only area of the pitch they had any physical presence, and yet Thurnby continued to play right in to their hands. They continued to get joy past both fullbacks, but lacked the killer ball. A shame, because with the right service one imagines their forwards would be a real threat. And hopefully more interested.

Something Dramatic Nearly Happens
THURNBY Nirvana's problem seems to be that they don't like each other. It is always someone else's fault when it goes wrong. The concept of The Team is a hard one to quantify, but on this showing it is something they are a long way from. At full time, the shouty gaffer cut a forlorn figure as he trudged back to the dressing room, no doubt to do some more shouting and swearing. I suppose you could argue that Kurt would be happy with such a carry on. He was never the happiest soul, and not even his mother would claim he had the voice of an angel. Ah well, nevermind.

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Cath Arsis said...
3 October 2010 at 11:46

He's back! With a corker too! Thoroughly enjoyed your discomfort vicariously!

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