Tuesday, 29 January 2008


It's only been two minutes in at his return to Newcastle United and already Kevin Keegan's being rubbished as tactically naive. It's as though the tabloids have expected him to've been attending seminars with Howard Wilkinson during his 3 year footballing exile. If so, he'd no doubt be resitting his exams after failing on the last module - How to hold a 12 point lead at the top of the Premiership.

Pictured: Brian Ferry - not available for cross Channel cruises to France

Keegan wouldn't have to worry about being left alone in remedial class though. Alongside him would be good old Steve McLaren who failed on - How to fulfill the basic requirement. Also a module that Brian Barwick re-took, after looking for answers all around the world, it turned out the answer was quite simple - don't employ Steve McLaren.

The papers have now got whiff of undisclosed source telling tales of Keegan's wafer thin team talk at the Emirates. "Just be better than them," is what Keegan was reported to have told his players before their three-nil defeat to Arsenal.

Such inspirational pre-match speech takes me back. No, not to Agincourt, but to Henry Cort Community school. When Buridge played on Sunday afternoons in the Meon Valley League. Back then Steve Whitfield was in charge, and when Burridge faced the might of title holders Fareham, Whitfield knew his Burridge children needed rousing words.

"Lads, I think we've a chance," he said. "The boats are out. Alot of their players will be missing."

This wasn't code for a secret formation. His whole theory on winning was based on a lose assumption that some of the opposition may have worked for P&O ferries (other ferry companies available).

Whitfield inspired Burridge to a 6-4 win.

As yet, Keegan hasn't won for Newcastle.

Monday, 28 January 2008


Saturday 26th January
Green Park, Millbrook

The pre-match warm up is a curious beast. Some players are quite content to stroll onto the field just a few minutes before kick-off with a woodbine on the go and get down to some light stretches.

This is perfectly acceptable.

As is discussing last night and what the lads may have got up to. Maybe waking up in bed alongside a woman who appears to be several stones heavier and a damn sight uglier in the cold light of the morning after, especially after a night spent drinking turbo shandies at the local disco.

What is not acceptable are lies. Like saying six foot three Greg Baker, (pictured left and not to be confused with 1990's Norwich City goalscoring sensation Robert Rosario), actually won any headers. Well, he did actually.

What's really not acceptable is an overly organised warm-up, managers with clip boards and players wearing bibs and performing all number of routines. This is what Inmar were doing directly before their home fixture with Burridge, suggesting to onlookers that they should perhaps be gracing more glamorous locations than Millbrook's Green Park.

But is that possible?

Yes it is possible.

I imagine you'd find better shower facilities at a Bangkok jail house.

Inmar's warm up continued. As time went on it became more elaborate and more players would join in. I was half expecting a clutch of androgynous men dressed in leotards to interpret the sliding tackle through the medium of dance. What I was really expecting was Inmar, after all that effort, to be half decent. Or at least to put their backs into it.

All they seemed to have was a goalkeeper with a terrible case of the shakes and had Kevin Keegan been present on the gantry to co-commentate, he would have no doubt mentioned that this goalkeeper did not have what is known in the trade as chocolate wrists. Ben Hutton marked a much more involved performance with a first half goal, shooting low away from the keeper, and Sam Schwodler made it two in the second half after tucking away Sam Hewitt's centre. Burridge had their first win in four games.

**NB A big thanks to Ben Rowe who donned the gloves for goalkeeping duties**

4-4-2: B.Rowe, L.Sanderson, M.Sanderson, K.Hewitt(c), R.Kelly (J.Schwodler), G.Baker, J.Newman (M.Reeves), J.Hewitt, S.Schwodler, B.Hutton, S.Hewitt (B.Schwodler)

Subs: R.Jones

Thursday, 24 January 2008


It was only two years ago that Burridge nearly folded, ceased to be, called it a day. No manager, no money and barely eleven players to call upon. I remember standing on the half-way line twenty minutes before kick off, making calls to every able bodied man I knew, and when they told me they'd love to play but they were going to Homebase with their girlfriend to look at some decking for their new maisonette, or that they'd been up 'til five in the morning drinking sambuca, I asked them who else they knew, and when I told that person that a starting midfield berth beckoned, if only they'd stop exactly what they were doing and drive straight to wherever we were playing that day for ninety minutes of excruciating tedium, I was usually told that they were going to Homebase.

So that was that. Burridge had been sunk by the first time buyers and their DIY compulsions. Things got so desperate that I knocked up a recruitment poster. That poster was printed out on the colour printer at work. Why, I must've gone through a box of A4 before sticking it to every lamppost and leisure centre within miles. I even went on the Internet. And what happened? Nothing. Well, not unless you count applications from teenage Nigerians who wanted to come to England to find their way into the professional game, but that's another story.

Burridge didn't fold. Somehow we got Pete Lyons involved. And last night there were twenty players at training. Burridge are in no longer in any cup competitions and the league title remains elusive as it ever has, but we have a club and for that we're thankful.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008


Sunday is only an hour and a half old. Greg Baker is unshaven in a hooded top and more crucially, he is drunk. He began the night some six hours earlier, wandering the streets of Bedford Place and drinking white wine from the bottle

But the pubs have all closed now and glass has been smashed against a wall by his assailant Luke Sanderson. Two policeman jump to the scene and Baker, now totally intoxicated by white wine served by the bucket at the nearby Cricketers has taken it upon himself to argue with the law. "Why don't you catch the real criminals," he bellows.

He is told to back off unless he wants to spent the night in the cells, but it's clear their authority is unrecognisable to Baker in this drink laden state. "I've no respect for you," he continued. "No respect."

Baker disappeared into the shadows, to no doubt throw up his Chicken-Land onto the bonnet of a Ford Cosworth and urinate into a letterbox. One can only hope Rottweilers are present. Clearly he is a man not to be trifled with. If female it's advised you approach with extreme caution.

Saturday, 19 January 2008


No game today. Heavy rain during the week saw to that. Three cups of super strength Nicaraguan coffee have seen to my fingers moving around the keys on my laptop at a ferocious pace. On borrowed time even at twenty to two in the afternoon because of Winter’s insistence of stealing daylight from us before a man’s had decent chance to do anything constructive. To perhaps get closer to finding whatever it is we’re all searching for. Not so my next door neighbour Greg Baker, who can count himself lucky to have found what he’s been looking for. Not in this case the back of the net from the penalty spot. Not even the head of Justin Newman from a pinpoint right wing cross. No. He made the discovery last Sunday afternoon as we watched Kenny Jones give Sol Campbell the right run around on TV.

Now don’t get me wrong, when not in the company of women I’m all for letting standards of behaviour drop a few notches, but it seems Greg Baker has sunken to new depths. At first I tried to pretend I hadn’t noticed him rummaging his index finger up his nostril like a burglar in a hurry, although this proved almost impossible when he decided to snack on his little green discoveries. Without any encouragement, Greg Baker, a man who commands a responsible position within the community, told me without a shred of self consciousness, how he enjoys their taste. Sunderland against Portsmouth at the Stadium of Light never quite held my attention after that.

I’ve been at his flat again today, thinking perhaps I’ve misjudged the fellow. He’s been busy shopping at Tesco. What has he bought? Six boxes of cereal, that’s what. He was eating a bowl. I say bowl, due to no clean dishes being available he was using a rectangular Tupperware container. For some there appears no hope.

Sunday, 13 January 2008


Saturday 12th January 2008
Durley Rec

At present Burridge are in fourth place in the Southampton Senior Division. Let's rewind to their training session at Wildern school on Wednesday night.

“It’s still in our own hands, lads,“ said Burridge gaffer Pete Lyons. “All we gotta do is hope Freemantle lose a couple of games."

Wise words. Words uttered by the same man who come 10:46 on Saturday evening was involved in ugly scenes at the Bugle in Botley. It’s been rumoured that a restraining order is in place to keep Lyons’ well away from not only pub juke-boxes, but any such appliance for fear of exposing his musical tastes to the public. He could have been forgiven for 'Against all Odds' by Phil Collins, but not for Kenny Gee and once Lyons' put down his pint and proceeded to use his right thumb as the mouth-piece to perform air saxophone, he succeeded only in including the deaf in the full horror of it all.

Drink had been taken. Not just in celebration of returning father to be Bryn Schwodler's twenty-ninth birthday, but maybe to drown out the earlier result. A third straight defeat. Burridge would have hoped to have turned over Durley, who before kick-off sat in tenth place. The first half performance reinforced this belief.

Justin Newman using every tuft of hair to flick home Jamie Hewitt’s set piece and it should have been more. Sam Schwodler looked more comfortable curling a right footer over the bar from distance than racing clear through on goal. In hindsight Sam Hewitt seemed better placed to score if he'd squared the ball, but as a forward Schwodler was entitled to shoot. Unfortunately for him he opted for a chip the Durley 'keeper gathered comfortably.

They were unable to build on this in the second half. Durley hitting back with two unanswered goals. The equaliser came straight through the middle and the winner headed home from a corner on the left. Burridge's only proper attempt was from newly introduced Bryn Schwodler, who shot over from long range. They remain in fourth place, which perhaps they should be grateful for. Bishopstoke and Netley probably don't realise that promotion means a good shoeing all over Millbrook from the likes of Spartans, Nursling and Bush Hill, who can all play, but don't mind mixing it either.

Burridge have now played fourteen league games, having won seven, drawn one and lost six. Thirty-one goals scored and twenty-two conceded. Only Freemantle have let in fewer in the division and it is they who sit five points clear at the top after winning away 2-1 at Sporting Wessex.

In other news, former skipper Rich Allan did two things I can't recall him ever doing together, by announcing both quietly and soberly that he would return to Burridge in the Summer after two seasons spent at Hedge-End.

The line-up:

4-4-2: GK:Stanfield, RB:J.Schwodler, CB:K.Hewitt (c), CB:Dyke, LB:L.Sanderson, RM:Jones (Baker), CM:J.Hewitt, CM:Newman, LM:M.Sanderson, CF:S.Schwodler (B.Schwodler), CF:S.Hewitt (Kelly)

Subs: Hutton

Tuesday, 8 January 2008


Saturday 5th January 2008

Meadowside Leisure Centre, Whiteley

Deep into the second half now. The pitch still holding up okay from the previous day’s rain as substitutes, every last one of them, with an eye on a hot shower having all but given up hope on a pulled hamstring out there. A shrill whistle stops play. Burridge retreating. Thirty-five days since their last game. Centre halves Kristian Hewitt and Paul Dyke holding a line on the penalty spot and letting the referee know exactly what they think of his decision to award Bishopstoke a free-kick out on the left flank, which on this narrow pitch is in an ideal position to whip one in the mixer and maybe regain a two goal advantage putting the game out of Burridge’s reach.

Dyke the antagonist, leading the protests, referring to several earlier incidents that went unpenalised, asking the referee what the difference is between a tackle from behind and a tackle from behind?

He’s not joking.

The referee isn’t either - saying, "I’ve explained it all before," pacing towards the defensive pair.

"It’s not my fault you’ve let in two goals, is it?"

"What?" Says Dyke in a state of disbelief. "I’ve lost all respect for you now ref."

A single goal separating the two sides since Rob Kelly’s right wing cross was palmed in the onion bag by ‘Stoke’s goalkeeper, who looked to all watching unable to catch even his dick in his flies. Somewhat reminiscent of Dave Beasant for Chelsea at the Bridge way back in 1991, in the days when they parked a line of Reliant Robins behind the goal, letting grass cutters from Norwich City's Robert Fleck slip under his grasp. 'Stoke's 'keeper enjoyed more luck and seemed rather more comfortable with the kitchen sink that Burridge threw at him from set pieces during the final few moments that produced no further goals and Burridge’s exit from the cup.

The Burridge line-up......

Light years ahead of the game - problems with left midfield? Play three central players instead.

4-4-2: Gk:Stanfield, Rb: J.Schwodler, Cb:Dyke, Cb:K.Hewitt (c), Lb:L.Sanderson, Rb:Kelly (cf:Hutton), Cm:Newman, Cm:J.Hewitt, Cm:M.Sanderson, Cf:S.Schwodler, Cf:S.Hewitt

Subs: Baker, Reeves, Jones


S.Hewitt - dissent
Gave ref verbals after his brother Jamie didn't get penalty for a swan dive.

Dyke - foul play
Got all Jackie Chan on someone's ass - left ground with tasty two footer.

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...