Sunday, 2 December 2007


Saturday 1st December

There were no blue jeans tucked into red football socks on the sidelines today. A prior engagement was keeping the Burridge gaffer Pete Lyons away from Gang Warily in Blackfield, so he couldn't see if his lads could turn over Sporting Wessex, as they had done by a goal to nil earlier in the season and maybe get some foothold on third place in the table.

So Pete made a call to his old sparring partner Birksy. They'd played together in God knows how many games during their hay-day back in the eighties, when a splash of Brute still counted for something. Birksy couldn't make it either, but his boy could. So Mat got the call and he'd have played alot more games for Burridge during the two years since he signed up if it hadn't been down to plain bad luck with injuries.

Don't think he's standing trial for pinching a jar of pickles from the local greengrocers, but still he's off to Australia to start a new life. He's already finished at work, so there'll be no more knackered sprockets or oil changes on Nissan Primeras for a while.

Standing at five-foot- eight, wearing two days stubble and never too keen at having his picture, alongside Lee Fielder who that can't be said of. The caretaker-manager partnership watching Burridge toil away on a slick green top, occasionally counter-attacking on the open spaces the wide playing surface provided. The only goal of the game came from Wessex midway through the first-half, about the same time Jamie Hewitt was forced off with a neck spasm. Burridge continued to play with spirit but chances of equalising faded with the light to winter darkness.

B.Stanfield, J.Schwodler, M.Sanderson, K.Hewitt, L.Sanderson, G.Baker, J.Hewitt (M.Reeves), J.Newman, R.Kelly, S.Schwodler, S.Hewitt

Tuesday, 27 November 2007


Saturday 24th November

So eighteen winters have passed and we find ourselves with parched throats standing at the bar of the Bugle in Botley and for Sam Hewitt, whose birthday it is this very day, a new age. The age of man and with it his very first legal pint. The rest of them lean on the bar waiting to be served, listening to the latest scores coming in from the wide-screen TV behind them.

Jeff Stelling says, "….The deadlocks’s been broken at the Emirates." His hair’s still a suspicious shade of dark brown. "….And Arsenal have had to wait almost eighty minutes to get it."

Arsenal and Sam Hewitt both. The young man will have to wait a little bit longer. There’s only one member of staff behind the bar, but it’s not the girl who’s expecting and not the young lad who’s usually good for a couple of quid on the football card. No. Some bloke who’s all beady eyes and long face.

Burridge didn’t have to wait so long on the field of play. Inmar put up little resistance and it was all over after twenty minutes as crash! A lonely Inmar defender confirmed to the world he got the final touch to a Rob Kelly cross by lying prostate in the mud with his head in his hands. Bang! Ryan Jones thumped home number two. Wallop! Justin Newman cracked home direct from a corner. A fourth came early in the second half from the head of Rob Kelly. Arsenal are top. Burridge are third. Just not in the same division.

B.Stanfield, J. Schwodler, P.Dyke, K.Hewitt, L.Sanderson, R.Jones, J.Newman (M.Sanderson), J.Hewitt (M.Reeves), R.Kelly, S.Hewitt, S.Schwodler

Booked: P.Dyke, S.Schwodler

Saturday, 17 November 2007


It’s been said by many that it provided the foundations on which our empire was built upon. I’ve enjoyed it in the ancient medina of Tangier and been soothed by it at some dilapidated hospital out in the bastardised far reaches of the Siberian tundra, but seldom have I - if ever - tasted a better cup of tea than what passed my lips from delicate china during half-time in the away dressing room of Michelmarsh’s Jubilee Hall ground. Not everybody agreed. Burridge warhorse Justin Newman was stroking the lonely hairs on his head and said, “Hardly a builder’s cuppa, is it?”

“Oh I dunno, Justin,” replied Reevesy who was gulping down his second cup. “Tastes alright to me.” He’d been warming the bench and now a good old cuppa was on hand to return the favour. Here amongst the leather seated chairs of the changing room, like some giant interior of a Ford Capri, Burridge gaffer Pete Lyons delivered his half time team talk. The scores tied at one each. Michelmarsh had taken the lead from close range with only a couple of minutes on the clock. It took a little time for Burridge to get a foothold in the game, but that they did.

It was Sam Hewitt, who with a dexterous swing from the outside of his right boot found the oncoming Sam Schwodler, who after side stepping the goalkeeper was left with an unfavourable angle from which to shoot upon, not to mention a defender covering the goal line. It would appear that geometry is another string to the third Schwodler, who wrapped his foot around the ball finding the necessary angle to equalise. There were to be no further goals. Schwodler ran off. Arms outstretched, screaming skyward. As weeks pass it’s fast becoming a very common sight.

B.Stanfield, L.Sanderson, P.Dyke, K.Hewitt, J.Schwodler, S.Schwodler, R.Jones (B.Rowe), J.Hewitt, J.Newman, R.Kelly, S.Hewitt

Tuesday, 13 November 2007


Saturday 10th November

The ball ran harmlessly out of play. Hythe attackers retreated into their defensive positions ready to face another goal-kick from Burridge goal keeper Ben Stansfield. It never came. The referee was pointing to the penalty spot. Before this moment Hythe had been putting most of their efforts into whining at the referee. Not even a throw-in decision against them on the half-way line could prevent then from becoming parodies of Ben Kingsley in the gangster flick - Sexy Beast, when trying to tempt ex-con Ray Winstone into one last bank job. Interesting then that not a single arm was raised in appeal. Burridge centre-half Paul Dyke was first on the scene, running towards the referee in disbelief.

"Fuckin’ Hell ref," he shouted. "For what?" The ref pointed to left-back Luke Sanderson, insinuating that he’d impeded Hythe’s inside right. For once Dyke was almost lost for words. He continued to protest whilst standing in front of the ball which was now placed on the penalty spot.

"Out the way you tosser," cried someone from the Hythe faithful. Dyke obliged out of duty rather than obedience. The penalty was scored. It didn’t matter. Burridge were already three goals up thanks to Jamie Hewitt, Sam Schwodler and Justin Newman. In Sexy Beast, Kingsley becomes such as aggressive nuisance that Winstone batters him to death with a shovel. Burridge did not use this method to defeat Hythe. They didn’t even use the tried and tested method of questioning their opponent's - who are from out of town - alleged confusion between family and carnal matters. They scored a fourth instead through Sam Hewitt.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007


Saturday 3rd November

The afternoon sun in Barcelona stung my eyes. I had to seek shade. Although a good twenty-five hours into my day I was still fairly sure I could trust the hotel receptionist to ensure the incoming telephone call could be transferred direct to the Irish Bar I forget the name of off La Ramblas. Amazing how obedient staff can be when they can smell Stella Artois about your breath.

"Ola, Senor Marks?" asked the bartender. I told him I was the very same. "Call for you from Ing-land." I took the receiver from his hand, stubbed out my Lucky Strike and prepared myself for the news by taking a hearty slug from my bloody Mary. Burridge had won 3-1. The goalscorers were Sam Hewitt, Rob Kelly and Schwodler.

"Schwodler?" I asked. "Was that Jay or was it Sam?" Hysterical laughter followed down the telephone line.

"Jesus, Marks - you really must be sinking the booze down there," said my informant still laughing. "Jay or Sam?.....that's priceless, really it is." I put down the receiver realising what I'd just asked and ordered another drink to celebrate.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007


Saturday 27th October

Pete Lyons took a couple of hearty gulps from his pint of Guinness, looked out the window into the distance and told his wife that he was too pissed off to go out tonight. That seemed okay with her, she didn’t really want to go out anyway. Not tonight. Most people in the pub were watching the final scores come through on the vidi-printer from the forty-two inch plasma screen. Manchester City had just got clobbered by Chelsea at the Bridge. “Professional footballers should never get done like that,” piped up somebody at the bar. “Not by six goals.”

That might be the case, but they did. Nobody’s infallible. People make mistakes and didn’t Pete know it. He’d been Burridge gaffer for about eighteen months now and when things were good they were great. Like when they creamed Hedge-End’s young bucks four-zip almost a year ago, but when they were bad they were downright rotten and this defeat stunk to high heaven. Blowing a two goal lead didn’t sit easy with anyone and no amount of booze could cloud that. Not in the couple of hours they were drinking for, anyhow.

Sam Schwodler gave Burridge the lead and Kristian Hewitt made it two with something from the very top drawer. Dribbling past player after player ‘til there was nothing left but goalkeeper. You’d never guess to look at him - quietly amusing himself at the fruit machines. Slightly overweight and with a dodgy back but there was still gold in those boots of his. He was one of the last. A footballer not an athlete. Pete drained the last of his pint. “See you later, lads,” he said. “I’m going home to watch the Saints match.” For a man who needed some cheering up this seemed the worst idea possible.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007


Saturday 20th October

Jamie Hewitt’s goal was all that separated Burridge from Sporting Wessex. Before kick-off the referee checked the state of each player’s studs. Wary that his twenty-five quid costs could be rendered worthless under the weight of any libel from a reckless tackle. The kind that could cut to the bone even without assistance from the serrated edge of a football boot stud. But he need not have worried. Heavy rain has yet to turn recreation grounds across the south into quagmires. Players for the best part still hold faith with rubber studs. They’ll be no amputees this afternoon. Not from poorly kept footwear, anyway.

So he breathed life into the silver receptacle he shall communicate through now. It replaces his tongue during an afternoon where he no longer has a name. At best he’ll be referred to as “ref.” Through cupped hands and ever hoarser throats. But mostly he’ll be cursed by the coarsest of Anglo-Saxon from every corner of the field, by twenty-two men who sometimes even allow their hatred towards each other to dissipate momentarily in their consensus that this nameless man has not the slightest clue what he’s doing. And all for twenty-five pounds. What price sanity?

So for backing the referee turns instead to his linesman. There is nothing. Not here in the grass roots of the game, where substitutes are not only deemed surplus to requirements, but asked to run the line. Instead they drown in apathy, with only a fluorescent flag for company. Their bad decisions aren’t an effort to change the outcome of the game. They’re just too busy gawping at the snug fit of denim sat around the arses of opposing player’s girlfriends to notice that chances are squandered by a player in an off side position. By ten yards or so.

Monday, 15 October 2007


Saturday 13th October

Overcast skies cooked up a muggy afternoon at Burridge. Aztecs were quickly one ahead and before long they got another. Unfortunately for them it was at the wrong end. Scoring an own goal is rather like getting caught short in public. It’s a messy affair assumed by all others to be an accident and tried at all costs to be forgotten about. Not this one. Luke Sanderson’s left wing cross was met by a Hythe defender’s pristine volley, that was hit so sweetly it was in back of the net before the keeper could blink. In terms of getting short in public it was like evacuating your bowels in the font of a well attended family christening.

Jerseys of synthetic polyester hung damply from player’s chests into the second half. No more so than Greg Baker who placed the ball on the penalty spot once more. He’d made it two-one earlier from twelve yards. Stood with hands on hips at six foot-three, jet black hair sodden from running up and down that right flank, as the previous night’s alcohol intake ran so readily from his pores. With him and him only responsibility lied to seal victory.

Players took positions outside the penalty area as they must. Statements of encouragement echoed for both parties. They are merely protocol. For this moment Baker’s mind is free of clutter. No longer occupied by morbid thoughts of mortgage payments, over draught fees and hired purchases of two seat sports cars. There’s only two things now - doubt and belief. The two diametrically opposed emotions wrestle for supremacy in his mind’s eye, interrupted only by the referee’s whistle. Baker’s signal to begin his run up and strike cleanly to make it three one to Burridge.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007


The petrol gage light never did come on. That's what Justin Newman said and he should know because he was driving the damn thing. Many wondered how that knackered old club mini-bus ever got a M.O.T this side of the millennium, let alone ferry the first eleven to their fixture with East Lodge in Portsmouth. Didn't matter of course. It came spluttering to a halt in a lay by. They'd just exited the M27 as well as the Hampshire Cup. Burridge gaffer Pete Lyons had to leave his Guinness to stand longer than he would have liked, as he made the mile or so journey to the empty vehicle.

Players stood scattered outside on the pavements as that old engine guzzled back a jerry can of diesel like some poor old nag fit for one place - the knacker's yard. Burridge weren't out of the woods yet. Newman had to negotiate a steep camber that required him to give the gas plenty of welly, which he did. So back to the boozer and back to the drawing board as Burridge came unstuck once more.

The pitch itself was rather like that old bore who picks the England side. It was dry, lifeless and a little too long. I'm not talking about his post match interview of course, which demonstrate the charisma of a down at heels sales rep, who's seen one service station too many. No, but his hair. This was quite probably due to the field's close proximity to the mighty Solent sea, whose viscously corrosive salt air may have rendered the pitch this way. So Steve McClaren's hair still remains a mystery and so do Burridge. Who are these men that sometimes suggest sometime they might just do something other than a Ben Hutton consolation goal.

B.Stanfield, R.Kelly, P.Dyke, M.Sanderson, L.Sanderson, K.Hewitt (S.Froud), S.Schwodler (J.Schwodler), J.Newman, G.Baker, B.Rowe, B.Hutton (S.Hewitt)

Sunday, 30 September 2007


Saturday 29th September

You’d be forgiven for missing the unmarked and narrow entrance to Burridge. The two hundred yards of potholed dirt track are more in keeping with the road surfaces one might find in some former Soviet outpost like Chechnya. Although on reflection, and later inspection of your vehicle’s alloys in the pea-shingle car-park that follows, this is perhaps a little unfair to the dedication of the Chechen highways agency. Such journey is fine for your Range-Rovers of this world, but not your graphite Audi TT, as Burridge penalty taker Greg Baker will surely testify to.

Reward for the struggle is the leafy green expanse of Burridge, which this afternoon had benefited from some light drizzle. A surface that would perhaps offer Burridge chance to stroke the ball around to feet. This was achieved only in spasms and Comrades could have been more than two up at the break. Burridge fought back as they’d done so in their previous two fixtures. Veteran Justin Newman, who’d not long been introduced as a substitute, pulled one back.

Burridge had now shrugged off the apathy that plagued them so during the first half. Now there was a stomach for contest. Centre-half Paul Dyke, no stranger to controversy, provided further drama. He’d already managed the defying feat of talking himself into the referee’s notebook even though a free-kick had been awarded in his favour. When heading in the back post he ran off and did what only teetotallers can - a somersault. Both sides had chances. Comrades took their’s. For the third week running Burridge were left to rue defensive mistakes and missed chances. Of course, it still remains anyone’s league, just as long as that anyone can string one or two wins together. This remains painfully elusive for Burridge at present.

Monday, 24 September 2007


Another game and once again Burridge found themselves on the wrong end of seven goals. Barrie Becheley has been their chairman for some eighteen years now, that proud moustache droops proudly over his lip like Joseph Stalin. How crestfallen he was - Becheley that is, not Stalin - to see his life's work in ruins. To think that architects were consulted and blueprints drawn up, but all in vain. Burridge's dug outs have collapsed. The place where substitutes think - hang it all! If I knew I'd be sitting here I would have got stuck into the hard stuff and pints be damned - is no more.

The kind of high winds unable to fully excite kites into life were simply no match for the superstructure made from concrete and straw, which is now just a pile of rubble. When Kristian Hewitt smashed home for one-nil, Pete Lyons' belief that Burridge could still bag this title didn't sound like piffle. It sounded feasible.

They've got the stomach for it. Pubs up and down the streets of Southampton and beyond will testify to that, but have they got the legs? Bishopstoke's forwards made them run and run and then run some more. Hewitt's second wasn't enough to prevent them going three-two down. Ben Hutton arrived at the back post making it all three each and it seemed a share of the spoils. With the clock ticking down Bishopstoke struck a fatal blow. There was little time to recover. Burridge have yet to win in their blue and black stripes yet this season.

S.Schwodler, P.Dyke, L.Sanderson, M.Sanderson, S.Froud (J.Newman), M.Reeves, K.Hewitt, G.Baker (B.Rowe), J.Hewitt, R.Kelly, B.Hutton

The following booking need to be paid for:

Greg Baker v Netley £8
Sam Schwodler v Netley & Hop £16
Paul Dyke v AP £8
Sam Hewitt v AP £8
Kristian Hewitt v AP £8

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Burridge 3-4 Durley

Only ten minutes gone. Burridge already a goal down. Their skipper Kristian Hewitt draws a hand across his bristled jowl. With the ball mercifully hoofed into a nearby farmer’s field there is rest bite. Time for lungs to suck in air as lactic acid burns, burns, burns. It’ll take Durley a good moment or so to get past those curious horses and make their way back through a thicket of brambles to restart the onslaught. Where younger fitter men want to expose his flank as he and his team mates chase shadows under a late summer sun.

That weary back has seen it all over ten years. First learning his craft at Compton. Then onto Albion and was it really six? Six whole years ago that Hewitt last pulled on that now long and sadly extinct green and white hooped jersey of AC Delco? Where good times and goals flowed freely. Before the drudgery of Ordnance Survey. Where atmosphere was jettisoned in favour of revenue. When management all but snuffed out his talents. The list of players on their books to scale of a telephone directory.

But despite Durley’s domination, Hewitt - now four years into the umpteenth incarnation of Burridge - leaves the field at half-time two-one up. Sam Schwodler equalising. Sam Hewitt hitting number two and the Durley keeper’s confidence. Who made a dog’s dinner out of his strike. Then the second half. The Durley fight back. Within a blink of an eye it’s three-two. Again Burridge find resolve. Luke Sanderson the grateful recipient of another goalkeeping spillage, smashing the leveller. But Burridge were dead on their feet, the ball a burden to their heavy legs. Durley a yard quicker across the field of play. Their winner came late. They go into the hat for the next round.

B.Stanfield, L.Sanderson, P.Dyke, M.Sanderson, R.Kelly, K.Hewitt (S.Froud), M.Reeves, S.Schwodler, G.Baker, B.Hutton (K.Willsher), S.Hewitt (J.Newman)

Monday, 10 September 2007

AP Sports 0-1 Burridge

St George 5th Playing Fields

Burridge won by a single goal against AP Sports. It was scored by none other than Sam Schwodler. The man who continues to defy the odds. The man who had a night to forget on his debut as a goalkeeper last season. Back on that rainy night the boy couldn’t catch a dose on a fortnight in Benidorm. What happened? He picked himself up, dusted himself off and grew into that goalkeeping jersey, ‘til that jersey became him.

These days he’s finding himself in an attacking midfield position. Once again there are scores to settle. If it’s not with the past - or more accurately - last week; when he fluffed his lines with the goal gaping. Then it’s with the opposition, who’d moments before he scored had kicked him up in the air. Left-back Luke Sanderson sent the ball up to Kristian Hewitt. He diverted the flight of the ball with a strong barrel chest into the path of Schwodler - who placed home beautifully.

Off he ran. Arms outstretched. Swearing furiously. Rather like Diego Maradona after scoring against Greece during the 1994 USA World Cup. Only difference being that Maradona later failed an ephedrine doping test. Something about the power drink - Rip Fuel. After running out of his Argentinian purchased stash his personal trainer scored him some U.S supply, which apparently was where the drug was traced. And there was me thinking it was cocaine.

Now I’m not suggesting Schwodler be tested. No, I put his spectacular finish down to the hours no doubt spent watching elder brother Jay playing football in the garden. Way back when. Pirouetting, juggling, sending the fear of God into green houses. Thinking to himself - look at that. There’s an example. One to avoid at all costs if I’m to succeed!

B.Stanfield, R.Kelly, M.Sanderson, P.Dyke, L.Sanderson, G.Baker, B.Hutton, M.Reeves, S.Schwodler, K.Hewitt (R.Jones), S.Hewitt (J.Hewitt)

Monday, 3 September 2007

AFC Hop 3-2 Burridge

Cutbush Lane

The referee’s stopwatch ticked its last. Eighty-nine minutes had been played with the scores two all. God knows how! Burridge could - no, make that should - have put this game to bed long ago. Sam Schwodler, who’d already received his second booking of the season, seemed to have made two-one, three. Had that been so, cigars would have been smoked, neat triangular passing met by cries of ‘Ole!’ Taunting the hapless opposition into chasing shadows like hungry dogs.

Alas, no. Out of nowhere a Hop defender, with the benefit of a double jointed hip, came good and clawed the ball away. Many chances had been squandered. Burridge were now forced to go all out for attack. Desperate for a winning goal. As for AFC Hop? Well, they kept at it. You had to give them that. They’d gone a goal down inside two minutes when Sam Hewitt bundled home Rob Kelly’s cross. Their scoring chances were few and far between. Only three more in number than Peter Crouch’s getting anywhere near Abby Clancy’s pants if he weren’t a professional footballer. But unlike Burridge, AFC Hop took their chances. All of them.

Hewitt’s goal was levelled by a header from a set piece before half-time. Luke Sanderson reclaimed Burridge’s lead in the second half when he volleyed in from inside the box from a corner. Once again AFC Hop scrambled a goal. Leaving us here. Deep in the eighty-ninth minute and Burridge trying to cook up a winner. Instead, Hop counter attacked, striking low and winning the game. The scorer screaming in delight into the face of left-back Sanderson. An unidentified Burridge player, clearly disappointed, drop kicked the ball into the AFC Hop scorer’s midriff. Halting his celebration, but starting a melee. An ugly end to a senseless game.

Ben Stanfield, Mark Sanderson, Jay Schwodler, Luke Sanderson, Rob Kelly, Ben Hutton, Justin Newman (Mark Reeves), Greg Baker, Ryan Jones (Matt Birks), Sam Hewitt, Sam Schwodler

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Netley Central 1-4 Burridge

Burridge began a new league campaign at Station Road. Entering the field in their changed strip of all red to contest their awaiting hosts in blue. Twenty-two players set against green baize like some almighty Subbuteo table. The scene was set. Set to witness Kristian Hewitt strike. And how! Hitting a thirty yard rocket flying at goal. Breath was held. Time seemed to stop. The ball gathered pace. It was heading for the top corner. It was what dreams are made of. It was one-nil to Burridge. Whose each and every outfield player raced towards Hewitt in a red embrace that screamed yes at the top of their lungs in hearty celebration. It rang in Netley’s ears. Who were left with nothing to do but make their way back into position in silence.

The floodlights flickered their way into life as the second half got underway. Netley attempted to throw the kitchen sink at the Burridge, but in doing so they left themselves exposed. Ben Rowe burst through on goal. Calmly tucking away to make it two. Sixteen year old Rob Kelly swung in a centre from the right flank. It sailed in. Frustration got the better of Netley, giving away a needless penalty. Newly introduced substitute Greg Baker did what he usually does from twelve yards and scored.

Netley’s last minute penalty was scant consolation. This Burridge performance made you forget about all those desperately indifferent performances on cold February afternoons. When the ball spends more time threatening car windscreens in adjacent car parks than goalkeeper’s reflexes. Mediocrity that as years pass seems to grow in weight. Making you think, that surely you have something better to do. Anything. Even if it’s creosoting that broken fence in the back garden. But that fence can hold out for another year.

Sunday, 15 April 2007


Saturday 7th April
Burridge AFC 3-0 Priory
Burridge Rec

Burridge eased to victory with second half goals from Mark Sanderson and Sam Schwodler, but they had to wait 'til late in the first half before finding the breakthrough. Ben Hutton skipped through on goal only to be felled illegally by the oncoming goalkeeper, leaving the referee with little choice but to destroy the serene atmosphere with a shrill whistle, pointing a fully extended index finger to the stained white grass of the penalty spot. This act - as it always does - reminded me yet again of the words uttered by my PE teacher from the well worn comfort of his threadbare brown sofa of the staff room, "Nobody should miss a penalty," he said shaking his head with disdain. But they do.

Chris Waddle blazed his high into the Turin sky during England's penalty shoot out defeat in Italia '90, making me whole heatedly believe that he had lost his mojo, much like Samson, after setting clippers loose on British soccer's most infamous mullet, that even during the time was viewed with the suspicion of the sinister bouffant of a fairground gypsy working the dodgems. Waddle went onto become the darling of Olympique Marseilles with a lightly highlighted coiffeur.

Midfielder Greg Baker - who's yet to miss a penalty this season - stepped forward. By which point I couldn't see anything other than that old brown sofa sloped along the goal line, with sir sat upon it drawing heavily on a cigarette, baiting Baker and all penalty takers across the planet with thos words. The low strike with the instep of his right boot had sufficient purchase on it to evade the goalkeeper's clutches and roll into the net, banishing the old brown sofa to the confines of my mind. Until the next penalty of course.


Wednesday 4th April
Fryern Rec

Thirty-five old year Justin Newman put Burridge ahead striking crisply from outside the area. Capital levelled before seventeen year old Sam Hewitt - who four days earlier - put Burridge in front from close range. In the evening sun many of Hewitt's age bracket occupied the basketball court that lay adjacent, congregating rather than playing an American sport for giants. The metal caged perimeters holding them captive in the limbo of post World-Cup single tournaments. Of which I remember playing with my friends into one goal as if life depended on it, each under a moniker like Cameroon's Cyrille Makanaky or Enzo Francescoli of Uruguay, poaching for goal and passage to the next round. Buying time to sit behind the goal, poking fun at less fortunate competitors like Barry Smith, rushing home in a flood of thinly concealed tears, under no illusion that being knocked out of the first round of a twenty man tournament marked the end of his life until that particular balmy Tuesday evening became Wednesday.

Such vivid memory bought back why the council construct these courts, when in 1986 Dad, desperate to see England in less than half an hour cheated out of a World Cup semi final with Belgium by the hand of Maradona in the Azteca Stadium of Mexico, still have the patience to untwine the clunky metal chains of the swings to their normal position for me to sit and face a concrete wall covered with Anglo-Saxon tirade and graphic phallic scrawling like some modern fertility hieroglyphic. Basketball may be a foreign sport, its playing environment of caged fence and hooped net leaving little to excite the hearts of saboteurs. But sometimes in unseemly circumstances the unlikely prevails - Burridge succumbed to two late goals.

Sunday, 1 April 2007


Saturday 31st March
Burridge Rec

Ben Hutton thumped a goal in either half giving Burridge victory against table toppers Team Solent, but it came in the usual unusual circumstances. Returning from injury, Hutton was only on the field as a first half substitute after a nasty injury to 17 year old attacking midfielder Sam Hewitt, who's made quite an impact during his short time with the club. It was from a right wing cross that the youngest of the Hewitt brothers, quite literally, attacked the far post. In his determination he collided perilously with the metal goal frame and fearing he'd broken a leg an ambulance was called. When it arrived the stretcher bearer asked rather perplexingly which post the injured rookie had clashed with, as if perhaps it was paramedical procedure to reprimand any inanimate object guilty of causing injury, which in this case was a goal post, with a shaking fist and furrowed brow.

In the home team dressing room before kick-off, Ben Hutton had taken two lustrous items of footwear from his kit-bag that caused his fellow team mates to avert their gaze from a burning glare usually associated with staring straight into the sun. These little beauties were in such pristine condition they wouldn't have looked out of place hanging with the other pearly whites of Tom Cruise's cake hole, from where words these days usually emanate a scientologistic bent. How anyone can take a religion seriously started by L. Ron Hubbard, a man with an initial as a first name is baffling. But when your boots are as white as Tom's pegs, you have to let them do the talking. Had they done so, I don't think many - particularly Sam Hewitt in his delirious state - would've been surprised, but victory was Burridge's.

3-5-2: B.Stanfield, P.Dyke, L.Sanderson, J.Schwodler, G.Baker, S.Schwodler, J.Newman, M.Sanderson, K.Hewitt, J.Hewitt (M.Reeves), S.Hewitt (B.Hutton)

Booked: B.Hutton, G.Baker

Goals: B.Hutton

Saturday, 31 March 2007


Wednesday 28th March
Norman Rodaway

Burridge entered this game struggling. Several players were held hostage by the M27 with kick off fast approaching, forcing 51 year old Burridge gaffer Pete Lyons to relive his 1980's Follands FC hey-day, without the benefit of shinguards in the centre of a five man midfield. While the sword of Damocles dangles precariously over the head of suspended top goalscorer. He'll have to answer an assault charge after launching a chewing gum missile into the goateed beard of referee Mr Graham, in reaction to being sent off on the 24th March at Stoneham Lane. Rumours of a publicised trim and shampoo of said referee's beard have yet to be substantiated.

Things seemed to be swinging Burridge's way just before half-time when Hedge-End were reduced to ten men when strawberry blond former Burridge centre-half Ben Wilson was unable to resist booting the exposed rear end of former defensive colleague Paul Dyke. Perhaps it was pay back from the six foot four postman for the infamous attention Paul Dyke bestrode upon red haired folk across the land on prime time BBC television earlier in the year.

The scene was now set for an unlikely smash and grab Burridge victory. 31 year old Jamie Hewitt cut inside from the left flank and from thirty yards unleashed a right footed thunderbolt that's trajectory was scarcely halted by threadbare goal netting. Hewitt howled into the evening sun, lost in giddy ecstasy, shimmying away from team-mates who were eager to engulf him in embrace for a spectacular goal that marked a famous win.

3-5-2: S.Schwodler, M.Sanderson, P.Dyke, J.Schwodler, P.Lyons (L.Sanderson), S.Froud, J.Newman, G.Baker, K.Hewitt (P.Andrews), S.Hewitt, J.Hewitt.

Unused (and crocked) sub: B.Rowe

Booked: M.Sanderson, G.Baker, J.Hewitt.

Goal of season: J.Hewitt

Monday, 26 March 2007

BTC 3-2 Burridge AFC

Another game, another melee. Bryn Schwodler was red carded before invitations were exchanged between players to meet later in the car park to carry out various threats, that may or may not have stemmed from dubious refereeing decisions, serving as an unnecessary reminder that football is indeed a very funny game.

It's unsurprising that so many referees come off as a bunch of panto villains - ego high on their agenda, when they kneel at the altar of their heinous deity Graham Poll. A man so conceited that he felt it necessary to upstage the greatest platform in soccer, namely the 2006 FIFA World Cup, by giving a Croatian three yellow cards.

One can only beg the question in solemn prayer - dear Lord, where will it end? But alas there's no answer. Understandably, God's got priorities that don't quite stretch to justice in the Southampton Football League. Someone really ought to have a word in his shell like about time management.

When jumping on this haggard bandwagon, this gravy train with biscuit wheels that continues to isolate and chastise the referee as a separate species, gloriously ignoring the responsibilities of players who perhaps drive them to such states of incomprehension, we have only fuelled Mr Poll's self worth by criticising him in the same breath as God, creator of the universe.

Catapulting Poll into martyrdom and his referee brethren across Blighty into jihad against common sense. Herein lies the problem. It's 2007, we still have no hover-boards and robots don't prepare our meals. Tomorrow's World may have lied to us, but it doesn't have to be this way. The olive branch is extended, Mr Poll and your referee children. Let's stop fighting.

4-4-2: Ben, Luke Sanderson, Mark Sanderson, Paul Dyke, Jay Schwodler, Sam Hewitt, Kristian Hewitt, Justin Newman, Steve Froud (Ben Rowe), Jamie Hewitt, Bryn Schwodler.

Goals: Justin Newman from the spot.
Bryn Schwodler, a cracking left footer.

Yellows: Luke Sanderson
Reds: Bryn Schwodler (after two yellows)

Monday, 19 March 2007

Burridge AFC 0-3 AFC Solent

Long before the lad's mag market stumbled upon brutal air-brushing techniques that could propel any woman to equal stature of Aphrodite, something sinister was allowed to exist. If one casts their eye back to yesterday, jumbled memories of the Joy Of Sex book bring confused images of virulently bearded men whose insistence to adopt various unflattering positions confused our young minds. Justin Newman - a thirty-five year old - like minded young and virile man, has produced two children into this world to testify to the former. But, come Saturday afternoon it appeared he had tired of the touch of woman folk. He'd found something new.

After exchanging petty hacks with each other around the centre circle, Burridge midfielder Newman and his opposite number fell to the deck, in seemingly pre-coital embrace. With Newman laid flat on the grass, clearly aware of his new friend's choice - or perhaps lack of -toothpaste, a horde of players came rushing in like excitable wildlife lovers at the pen of mating pandas.

Of course, the referee failed to see this. Such a claim seemed somewhat wild, but the official was at least consistent with his inability to see little else for the rest of the afternoon, which was at best, a untidy and scrappy game. The only high point for Burridge coming in the form of seventeen year old debutant Sam Hewitt, who put into an energetic and courageous performance. Naturally, Burridge will point to the long list of injured players. But any team is only as strong as their weakest link and on current showing Burridge are just a little short of the mark.

Monday, 12 March 2007


and (cough, cough) Test Park 4-3 Burridge

Burridge began their double-header fiasco, and....well, they lost. Bryn Schwodler netted, while Greg Baker scored two. One was a little beaut, mind you. He made a very loud cry after doing so too, but enough of that. After seemingly having it in the bag with ten minutes to go - they lost the first game 4-3. Oh well.

Anyway, to the good bit. Where the goodies win, shall we?

Such has been the unforgiving rainfall of this football season, Burridge had to travel to the outer reaches of Stubbington to fulfil a double headed fixture with Test-Park. On first inspection, the playing surface looked fit only for agricultural grazing land, not for footballers of the highest calibre to stroke accurate passes to the nearest given millimetre. Not at all.

One could only feel pity for the lonely set of goal posts, who were held prisoner by rutted grass - their neglect only magnified by the strangulation of the two crossbars from entwined layers of electrical tape. Each colour of adhesive representing the passing of another hour and a half of tedium and long ball mediocrity. But with no other way to attach the net to the quadrilateral necessity of the goal posts, the sorry old white frames would continue to wear snippets of the past while they waited for Saturday once more. The wonderful day when footballers would look upon them with awe as symmetrical rulers of their domain, rather than the cold indifference of the early morning dog walker, who would recognise them only with a turbulent hosing from a four legged friend's bladder.

All the goals came in the first half. Skipper Kristian Hewiit finally rattled the ball home at the far post from close range after Test-Park offered resistance. He ran off in jubilant celebration with both arms outstretched to the sky, evoking powerful images of Gary Lineker in all his Mexico 1986 World Cup pomp.
Test Park equalised with a penalty after Paul Dyke was adjudged to have brought down his marker. But left back Luke Sanderson popped at the far post to thump home from an almost identical position to Hewitt. It was his first goal of the season and enough to give Burridge victory.

Monday, 5 February 2007


Burridge notched their second win on the bounce against Bishopstoke. Many will recall that Bishopstoke were the opposition when Ginger-gate was born forty-two days earlier. This caused both the BBC and the tabloids to scrum fervently to get the truth behind this radical incident. This resulted in the general public daring to dream about the possibility of a utopian world, whereupon red haired individuals would be treated as equal members of society. The full impact of human rights activist Paul Dyke – the flame headed protagonist of what is now being called the hair war, and his moral crusade against the derogatory use of the G word, won’t be known for years, perhaps even decades. The history books will be those responsible for his immortal effigy. Dyke’s absence from this fixture, only served to fuel rumours of his fragile state of health as a result of constant media hounding.

Anonymous claims have been made of his sighting in dark glasses and long coat, about to flee the country by private helicopter to the Venezuelan capital of Caracas. Further speculation suggested his doing so is in order to lead a militant vigilante organisation known as the Ginger Panthers, who are financed by an unnamed underground consortium; whilst operating a strict code of zero tolerance to hairism. At the time of going to press this hasn’t been fully substantiated. Many Burridge players believed that Bishopstoke’s changed jerseys of bright orange were a coded message of solidarity to the missing centre-half. But again, this was never fully substantiated. Influential drifter Jaimie Hewitt put Burridge a goal up, when he calmly slotted home. Greg Baker made the game safe from the penalty spot after Bryn Schwodler’s weaving left wing run was stopped by foul means. ‘Stoke pulled one back late on, but it wasn’t enough.

4-4-2: S.Schwodler, L.Sanderson, S.Froud, M.Sanderson, J.Schwodler, J.Newman, M.Reeves, K.Hewitt, G.Baker, B.Schwodler, J.Hewitt. Unused sub: M.Birks

Scorers: J.Hewitt, G.Baker (pen)
Booked: J.Hewitt

Monday, 29 January 2007


Saturday 27th January 2007
Cutbush Lane

Burridge earned victory at AFC Hop in only their fourth game in twelve weeks, during a season that has so far been interrupted by heavy rain. Any pre-match nerves were evaporated by Burridge left sided midfielder – Greg Baker; who among the locker room’s stink of liniment, successfully deployed a P.E.D, a Performance Enhancing Distraction to give it its full name. It was Connecticut’s Roger Sperry, winner of 1981’s Nobel Peace Prize for his experimentation on the two sides of the brain, who led us to such terminology. The P.E.D occupies the attention of the left hemisphere of the brain, whereupon analytical functions are located, often responsible for deposits of anxiety, self doubt and all the other negative aspects that can choke a sportsperson’s performance. Just ask Tim Henman.

During 2001’s Wimbledon semi-final, his wild card Croat opponent Goran Invanisevic appeared to be staring defeat in the face, before anxiety overwhelmed Henman. Leaving his forehand as powerful as the timid flicks of a butterfly catcher’s net in pursuit of an aglais urticae. If only Greg Rusedski was on hand to offer Tim his anecdote on Pete Sampras and his inherent fear of dessert spoons. Greg Baker was far more proactive. In a moment of selflessness, he disclosed his much closeted pre-date bathroom grooming ritual, guaranteed to provide longevity to a new relationship. Such was the weight of this revelation, Burridge players and the left hemisphere’s of their brains, were simply unable to manifest doubt. So despite being held back in their own half for much of the first period of the game, Burridge found strength, quite possibly by boring their opponents into submission. Second half substitute Lee Fielder raced onto a through ball and neatly lobbed the ball over the out coming goalkeeper’s clutches for the only goal of the game.

3-4-3: Ben, P.Dyke, J.Schwodler, M.Sanderson, J.Newman (L.Sanderson), G.Baker, J.Hewitt, K.Hewitt (M.Reeves), B.Rowe (L.Fielder), B.Hutton, B.Schwodler Unused sub: M.Birks

Scorer: L.Fielder
Booked: P.Dyke

Sunday, 14 January 2007

Someone's Popular: The 19 Yellow Cards

(Pictured left: Luke Sanderson denies Bryn's birthday was rubbish)

Hello again and thank heavens for Dykey's spat with the BBC. It kept us all entertained, after yet another week without football due to the wet weather.

So far, Burridge have racked up 19 yellow cards and 1 red. (That's you Mr K.Hewitt.) Only Justin Newman has coughed up the £8 booking fee. Actually, the list doesn't make pretty reading. In fact it makes us look like a right bunch of dirty bastards, rather than the choirboys we really are. But, I commend the team for their excellent discipline in the new year. No bookings so far in 2007.

Greg Baker - yellow cards on:
1. 16/12/06 versus BTC
2. 23/12/06 versus Bishopstoke

Matt Birks - yellow cards on:
1. 02/09/06 versus AFC Target
2. 23/09/06 versus Capital

Paul Dyke - yellow card on:
1. 16/12/06 versus BTC

Jaimie Hewitt - yellow card on:
1. 23/12/06 versus Bishopstoke

Kristian Hewitt - two yellows made red on:
1. 23/12/06 versus Bishopstoke

Ben Hutton - yellow card on:
1. 14/10/06 versus Spartans

Mark Reeves - yellow card on:
1. 21/10/06 versus VTFC res

Luke Sanderson - yellow card on:
1. 23/12/06 versus Bishopstoke

Mark Sanderson - yellow cards on:
1. 02/09/06 versus AFC Target
2. 14/10/06 versus Spartans
3. 21/10/06 versus VTFC
4. 23/12/06 versus Bishopstoke

Bryn Schwodler - yellow card on:
1. 02/09/06 versus AFC Target

Jay Schwodler - yellow card on:
1. 23/12/06 versus Bishopstoke

Sam Schwodler - yellow card on:
1. 23/09/06 versus Capital

Monday, 8 January 2007

Ginger Gate

What about that Paul Dyke, eh? He's now become something of a local celebrity, has he not? For those of you not in the know, and if so, where have you been? Living under a rock? It's the biggest thing since....since Richard Nixon's impeachment. Those of you who attended the game with Bishopstoke at the aptly named Bishopstoke Rec will remember Saturday 23rd December 2006; the day of Ginger-Gate.

I suggest the uninitiated see the last match report: in a nutshell, Burridge centre back Paul Dyke was told "Oi, shut up ginger," by the ref. Now the Echo, The People, The News & Screws, and even the flaming Telegraph are all other this item friends. All over it. It's like Terry Waite in Beirut, just more relevant.

I, Mark Sanderson - the coffee induced claws behind 90 minutes of sheer Burridge - and also the agent of Paul Dyke can be contacted on 01489 776659 to arrange exclusive interviews with the man of the moment, who I think you'll agree has suffered quite enough. PS Channel Five, forget it. This is big boy shit, I 'll speak to the Kaplinsky on the Beeb or Sky, no one else. In the meantime I've penned some words that go along to the tune of Dad's Army. I call it: (Don't break) My Ginger Heart.

Who do you think you are calling Dykey ginger?
Do you think that's very fun?
He is the boy who will do your tax returns
He is the boy who moans at refs but never learns
So, who do you think you are calling Dykey ginger?
I'm a bald ref who can't speak proper, son.

It was in the local news
On Dykey's character it's a slur.
Now it has gone national
And its racism that's been inferred.

So, who do you think you are calling Dykey ginger?
The P.C. lawyers can see a tidy sum.
Will the ref do ten years for his viscous racial attack?
Or will he send us all off in his next game when he's back?
So, who do you think you are calling Dykey ginger?
I'm a bald ref with a speech impediment, son.

Looking back (bringing back the blog)

I haven't posted here since 2012 – that’s five years of not blogging. The blog is/was about Burridge AFC, the football team I played f...