|Four-pager, 20p. Boston's|
history weirdly stopped
DISCLAIMER: If you have stumbled on to this blog post because I’ve gone and written some kind of clever Twitter tag like ‘The Only Way is Essex’ please be incredibly disappointed to learn that it contains no reference to the popular county-specific television series. You will not find any advice on male chest waxing, my top ten vajazzle colour preferences, designer chihuahuas, fake tittery, fake tannery or how to look Reem when walking down Braintree High Street. It’s also likely that this blog will contain words and themes you won’t understand so please hit the ‘Back‘ button (the one at the top left of the screen) now. Or you could refresh Mail Online. This is about a football match played in Essex and not a lot else. LOLZ.
After four random football matches this pre-season, it was time to actually check-in with my team and see whether the new campaign is likely to bring me sunshine or showers. You’re looking for that precious something to cling on to as you once again board the rollercoaster - the new winger with the electric turn of pace, the centre-half with the commanding leap or the forward with a knack of being in the right place at the right time.
You look at the team before you, which is being pain-stakingly slotted together like a 2,000-piece jigsaw in time for the new season, and you sort, shuffle and sift the players. In your waters, you know who will work - and who won’t.
We are just seven days away now from the opening day assignment at Droylsden and, I must say, on today’s form United look 90 per cent of the way there. Sure, they were beaten at Chelmsford City but there wasn’t a lot to lose sleep over.
This was a starting XI shorn of five or six first-team regulars who should fill in what was missing and those who did play deserved one goal at least, if not a share of the negligible spoils on offer.
If nothing else, we’re all feeling a damn sight better than this time last year when we were facing the start of the season with a front-line of Julian Joachim (old, slow, disinterested), Mickey Stones (young, terrible) and Gaffer Lee (old, slowing, balding, only showing occasional glimpses of once great talent) and a defence with an average age of 74.
This time, we definitely have a lot more in Spencer Weir-Daley (whose football is often like his gangsta rap - sick), Marc Newsham (who is owning the Lincolnshire Senior Shield) and Mark Jones (the best thing to come out of Corby since Louise Mensch MP). With Dan Haystead returning to York Street for the 34th time and Nathan Stainsfield looking solid, the back end isn’t bad either.
Sadly, I don’t think Korey Dyer-Stewart will be joining them. He is allegedly a relation of ex-pro Bruce Dyer but as he limped off in the second-half sadly bore more of a resemblance to Kieron Dyer. After a sub-par display, he is unlikely to be offered a shirt number. I’m also slightly uncomfortable about supporting someone whose name would be more at home in a magazine for American teenage girls.
Talking of shirts, I was able to collect my new amber and black pride and joy at the match. Having not bothered for a couple of years, I decided to splash out after really liking the design. The stripes have returned, with a kind of amber sash on the shoulder/upper left pectoral/moob area featuring the club crest. It looks as smart as bumble bee chic can be. To make it all the more special, I decided to have a name on the back.
This is fraught with difficulty. There is an inevitability that if you pick a player’s name and number - obviously we all have our faves, even though we support the team as a whole - that they will then be sold and you’ve fed forty notes into the drain as people snigger at you.
So, the only safe bet is to get your own name on it. I therefore have a worryingly snug (I’ve been on the McDonalds shakes too much, clearly) replica shirt with ‘SHERGOLD 5‘ on the reverse.
Shergold I hope is self-explanatory. Five was the number I used to prefer during my glorious school playing career. An “uncompromising” and “tough-tackling” [sic] centre-half whose goal record for Boston Grammar School will forever be frozen in time on minus one.
The own goal blunder came sometime in 2006 when Ben Edwards, in goal, blasted a clearance against my exposed shinpads and then looked on in agony as the ball looped back clean over his head and into the goal from 25 yards. Oh how I wanted to score at the right end to put that blemish right. I announced my retirement shortly afterwards. Anyway, thanks to Craig and the club for getting the shirt sorted.
Chelmsford’s Melbourne Park ground was an athletics stadium and they are a big pet hate of mine along with people who write on their matchday programme, deliberate diving and tourists who walk slowly. Athletics metaphors abounded among the knot of hardcore fans from Lincolnshire but the view was fairly good.
Scotty, Shaun and I was reprimanded by a steward for walking around the far end of the ground. “We’ll get in trouble with the council if you walk round there,” he said. I’m sure our indiscretion has been minuted for the next full council committee meeting already. They also have very nice burgers.
On the pitch, the first half was played beneath crystal clear blue skies and as boring as hell. Nothing really happened as both sides cancelled each other out. In the second, the Conference South side won it when Anthony Cook thrashed in a half-volley from the edge of the box on the hour mark and Cliff Akurang rose unmarked to double the lead in the last ten.
United had some chances and were denied a clear penalty for handball in the second-half. But there was enough on show for me to approach next Saturday’s tour to Tameside - and season 2012-2013 - with a decent slice of optimism.
Next Match: Aiming for a midweek match in London now the Capital One League Milk Cup and the Conference Premier are underway.