Wednesday, 27 August 2008

What Happened To The Football Scratch Card?

Saturday 23rd August 2008
Pre-Season: Bishopstoke 2-4 Burridge AFC
Venue: Eastleigh Rugby Club

Now hold on just a minute there, buster. If I'm not mistaken that's a brand new pair of Stan Smiths you’re wearing. If you've got fifty sheets to blow on new pumps, you can damn well afford to cough up a few quid on the football scratch card, can’t you? Come on, you tight wad - it's only fifty pence a go and if the team you pick matches what’s under the silver foil then you’ve just won yourself ten whole pounds.

No I'm sorry Queen Park Rangers are already taken, what about Queen of the South? Look, there are still twenty teams left to choose from, so just pick one will you. So what if all the proceeds end up going to the club, it's not like we couldn't use the extra cash. Do you think the Laundromat just waive their fee for putting our stinking kit through the wash? Get with the now, man - there's a recession going on. For the record it costs fifteen big ones to get our gear washed. With at least twenty fixtures scheduled this season I’ll leave you do to the math.

How about you, Jay Schwodler? I imagine you’re still pretty sore after having two sets of football studs impaled into your chest and groin. Don't take this the wrong way, but I don’t think anyone was that surprised when you lost control of the ball on the halfway line, but what followed was pretty brutal. I thought we were going to have to lash you back together with gaffer tape. I suppose you’re right, it was a bit like that scene in The Empire Strikes Back: when Chewbacca collects the various pieces of C-3P0 off the floor, after he’s been blown to bits by an imperial storm trooper in the Ugnaught recycling facility on Bespin Cloud City. But like the referee said, Jay - just an accident, right.

Wait a minute, guys - don’t go. I’m sorry for raising my voice, it’s just that the football scratch card was one of the few times we’d get to sit down together as a team. There I was thinking that a Saturday afternoon here at the Bugle after a 4-2 pre-season win against Premier Division Bishopstoke would be the ideal time to rekindle the spark for that once special weekly routine. I guess I was wrong. Too many of you seemed to have had your head turned by the slot machines. Now that really is throwing your money away, but if it’s paying out maybe you’d like a go on the football scratch card. Northampton, Bristol City, Rangers and Sunderland – they’re all still left and only fifty pence a go.

4-4-2: A.Rookie, B.Schwodler, M.Sanderson, K.Hewitt (c) (Willsher), Baker, Fielder, Newman, Allan, J.Schwodler, S.Hewitt, P.Andrews (S.Schwodler)

H/T: 1-1

1-0 Own goal - 'Ave it!
2-2 Sam Hewitt - Lineker!
3-2 Greg Baker - Penalty.
4-2 Kristian Hewitt - free kick from the by-line

Bad Boys - Bryn Schwodler - 2 points.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Paul Andrews Meets His Match

Thursday 21st August 2008
Aerostructures Veterans 1-4 Burridge AFC
Venue: Hamble

I can’t tell you how great it was to see Paul Andrews back in a Burridge shirt. Okay, so it was in goal - but when a man’s life has been turned upside down by addiction you take one step at a time. And I think you’ll agree that keeping goal in a 4-1 victory away to an Aerostructures veteran eleven is a pretty giant step by anybody’s standards. Not so long ago Paul Andrews was a free scoring centre forward. Teams from either side of the Itchen were powerless to stop him climbing to the top of the scoring charts in the 2005/2006 season. Ever since banging in a hat-trick against nine man Cadnam on March 18th 2006, first team appearances have been limited by a persistent back injury that came to cut him down in his prime.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since that unforgettable day. You could say a lot of boiling water, because even then everybody knew Paul was a heavy drinker. Without football in his life he became a slave to his vices. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for him to get through as many as six cups of tea before the start of Football Focus. Often unable to summon the energy to drive the three miles to Burridge to watch his colleagues play, Andrews spent his afternoons sat in the lounge of his two bed terrace so strung out on tea he was able to Soccer Saturday in its entirety.

It wasn’t just the weekends either. Paul, like a lot of us out there, would start his day with a cup of tea - white with none. Then he’d be off to work, fixing leaking radiator valves or whatever he had in his plumbing schedule that day. Just that one cup was never enough. Not for Paul Andrews. Unfortunately for him he just so happens to work as a plumber, an industry riddled with similar addiction. He was hitting it hard, but nobody questioned it. That was the way Paul Andrews led his life. But he was drinking an excessive amount of tea. Even by a plumber’s standards.

Then one day I came to understand how an addiction can take over a man’s life. It was at a party. One I had thrown. Paul had eight bottles of lager that needed to go in the fridge. No sooner had I pointed him in the direction of the kitchen I realised what I‘d done. I’d thrown the man into the lion’s den. My kitchen was nothing but a monument to every facet of his addiction. From the fridge in which stood a one litre carton of semi-skimmed milk, to the box of one hundred and eighty teabags on the work top, right to the very devise that boils the water - the kettle.

It may not have been a brushed stainless steel Magimix 11566, but those things retail at £69.95 and despite the viscous rumours I do not embezzle the club funds on my own person. If I did, I wouldn’t fritter them away on such material objects, you can be sure of that. No matter. Kettle aesthetics are of little concern to the addict The sight of my 1.7 litre Breville JK46 was enough to send Paul Andrews over the edge. I’ll give the man his dues, he went a good two hours before succumbing to the demons. By 10pm his goose was well and truly cooked. There he was stirring his teabag counter-clockwise about his mug, insisting that he’d been fine once he’d sat down and had a nice cup of tea.

Earlier this month Andrews fled the country in a desperate bid to free himself of the monkey on his back by taking a week’s leave in the 18-30 district of Magaluf. There in a three star self catering hotel he began to sweat out a week of abstinence from the very thing threatening to take over his life. Within days he was rumoured to have been talking of nothing but tea, blind to the sight of semi naked drunken women that surrounded him. Andrews has since said that his week in Magaluf was not only far from enjoyable, but really an experience he would have benefited from much earlier in life. We’re just glad to have him back taking one day as it comes.

4-4-2: Andrews, L.Sanderson, K.Hewitt (c), M.Sanderson, J.Schwodler, Fielder, Newman, Allan, B.Schwodler, S.Hewitt, S,Schwodler (Rowe)

H/T: 0-2


Sam Schwodler - lob
Sam Hewitt - in off cross-bar beauty
Ben Rowe - Lineker!
Bryn Schwodler - that's two for Lineker!

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Burridge Still Waiting On Sandwiches

Saturday 15th August 2008
Pre-Season Friendly
Colden Common 2-1 Burridge AFC

Burridge were left shell shocked after their 2-1 pre-season defeat at the hands of Colden Common when they were not offered sandwiches in the Black Horse - the public house over the road from the Main Road Recreation Ground that Colden Common frequent after games. Burridge captain Kristian Hewitt’s thorough search of the public bar didn’t find so much as an empty packet of pork scratchings let alone a tray of sandwiches cut into triangles. Reaction was divided in the Burridge camp to the absence of any sandwiches. Some players held a bar side vigil for them, whilst others chose to leave the Black Horse for team sponsor - the Bugle Inn in Botley, believing that even if the sandwiches existed they’d be congealed by the time of discovery and not fit for consumption.

Burridge had been dealt an even larger blow when being left with the refereeing bill. Although no strangers to financing large sums of money to the Southampton refereeing Association, Burridge felt it the home side’s duty to cover refereeing costs as is practise in the Southampton Senior League. Colden Common pointed to the mowed playing surface and the one gallon Tupperware pitcher of refreshment complete with a set of matching plastic tumblers they’d supplied as hosts. It remains unclear if that liquid was supermarket’s own orange squash or a known brand of isotonic fluid because Justin Newman poured the whole lot down his throat without paying any attention to flavour or his team mates.

The refreshments were appreciated but Burridge didn’t think that they justified a refereeing bill that came to a staggering twenty-eight pounds. A full three pounds over the highest payment they’d ever made to a referee. Although unable to deduce exactly what this 12% increase covered, they were pretty sure it wasn’t football boots. Not judging by the referee’s choice of Patrick, which despite being well maintained with dubbin were part of a range that stopped being produced at the turn of the century.

Burridge Manager Pete Lyons had the capital available in his trouser pocket and paid the referee in full. The club’s finances have been under scrutiny of late after auditors found suspension monies that remain outstanding to club chairman Barrie Becheley. An unnamed source pointed the blame in the direction of Sam Schwodler, whose one hundred and twenty-day repayment terms have been breached. Chief executive of British American Tobacco - Paul Adams, was quick to leap to Schwodler’s defence, allegedly commenting that such claims were totally spurious and that Schwodler remains one of the industry’s leading creditors of the last ten years.

Burridge have two pre-season games left before the big kick off.

4-3-3: R.Rookie, L.Sanderson, K.Hewitt (c ), M.Sanderson, Baker, Judd, Jones, Newman, Fielder (S.Schwodler), S.Hewitt, B.Schwodler

H/T: 1-2

Scorer: Lee Fielder - Direct from a right wing cross.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Bad Boys Versus The Credit Crunch

Times are a little hard these days. There's not a whole of money going around. So let's stop lining referee's pockets with our hard earned wedge.

Last season we racked up 23 yellows and 2 red cards. All in all getting stung with a £225 bill in suspension fees. The vast majority of which we haven't stumped up.

This season 90 Minutes will be keeping regular tabs on the Bad Boy League, with points being awarded for anyone giving the men in black jip.

2 points for a yellow card.
4 points for a red.
Plus a bonus point for accruing five yellows.

Here's the Bad Boy table for 2007/2008

  1. Sam Schwodler 5 yellows - 13 points (£58)
  2. Kristian Hewitt 3 yellows & a red - 10 points (£47)
  3. Sam Hewitt 3 yellows & a red - 10 points (£24 - red card never reported)
  4. Paul Dyke 4 yellows - 8 points (£32)
  5. Greg Baker 3 yellows- 6 points (£24)
  6. Justin Newman 2 yellows - 4 points (£16)
  7. Ben Stanfield 1 yellow - 2 points (£8)
  8. Jaimie Hewitt 1 yellow - 2 points (£8)
  9. Ben Hutton 1 yellow - 2 points (£8)

Those who fall foul of referee's may do well to hold their tongue this season, as the winner of this infamous league will be awarded a special prize. Perhaps performing a back, sack and crack wax on yours truly, I don't know. Your suggestions are welcome.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Of Course I Don't Mind Sharing My Birthday With Your Wedding

The clock is ticking, not long 'til the big day now, and what's more - Scott Burnet's getting married.

It takes a big man to know that his wedding day is always going to play second fiddle to somebody else's birthday celebrations. So when I found out my buddy and former Burridge skipper Scott Burnet was getting hitched to Kaiyee Tang, in Nottingham in September, I knew what he was driving at. I’m not going to lie to you, I’m a popular guy. People tend to like what I’m all about. If all the people we share as friends had to choose whether they were going to Scott’s wedding or getting messy with me on the brewskis, I’ve got a pretty good idea where most people would end up.

Let's face it, driving the 168 miles up the M1 to Nottingham for a Monday morning was always going to be a tough sell. So once people got wind that the wedding thing coincided with my thirtieth birthday it was a case of what are we waiting for? Let's get the Hell up to Nottingham while gas is still whatever it is a litre and get wasted. Hey, while we're there why not check out Scott's wedding. Why not indeed, you’d be crazy not to. Once that's done there’s always the mini bar in my hotel room. Then when we're through we can throw that twelve inch Panasonic TV out the window, get the party started by getting rock 'n' roll on Travelodge's ass.

I’m pretty close to the Burnet family. Scott’s dad - Stu, well he’s like an uncle to me. I’ve shot the breeze over a Heineken on his beautifully maintained lawn on at least two occasions in the last five years. He might tell me how his day working down the docks has been and I know it’s his way of saying as much as he loves his first born son, he would totally prefer to the sink some jager-bombs with your’s truly than go all the way up to Nottingham and see Scott get married. So well done, Scott. It was good thinking having this double whammy.

I even heard you're getting a cake. Guys, you shouldn't have - what's that? It's your wedding cake? Oh, I get it, it's a surprise. You've even disguised the fact that it’s my birthday cake by putting a miniature bride and groom on the top layer. The groom’s even got ginger hair, just like Scott! I don’t know? All that trouble just so I didn’t think that it's really my birthday cake. That's sweet, it really is - but I guess it is my thirtieth.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

If It's All The Same To You I'll Gloss Over The Second Half

Saturday 9th August at Burridge
Burridge AFC 2-7 VT FC Reserves

Now is not the time to try and work out how we conceded six second half goals against a team who’ve been training with the army since June 1st. I’ve been playing this great game of ours for quite a few years and during that time there've been some set backs, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s in life’s difficult moments that we discover who we really are. When faced with these sobering realities there’s only one thing to do, and that’s bottle it all up deep inside.

So what if Dawkins has vetoed your promotion to corporate strategy for the third consecutive quarter, we can’t have the new hottie from accounts see you like this - spending your lunch hour slouched over the steering wheel, sobbing into your crab paste sandwiches. It’s not the way men are supposed to behave. Not in public. We must bury our disappointments, until such time as we get onto the football field. Then and only then can we behave like the delicate flowers we really are.

Take for instance the time I finally plucked up the courage to reveal my true feelings to the barmaid at my local. Up until that moment I was just that guy she’d see from time to time pushing his trolley ten feet behind her at the supermarket. Or from the bedroom window of her third floor flat, up a ladder leant against a telegraph pole with a pair of binoculars around my neck. Once she had blew me out I did not for a moment feel it necessary to acknowledge the bitter sting of rejection that festered in my gut by rolling my socks down past my ankles and sinking to my knees where I stood, staring wistfully into the distance. Just so maybe one of her co-workers who had seen what had happened would playfully ruffle my hair as some way of consolation.

That’s pretty much how Burridge skipper Kristian Hewitt reacted when VT’s fifth goal hit the back of our net. I couldn’t blame him, we were taking a good licking and although this is probably not the way he chooses to behave when the electricity bill hits the doormat, such feelings have to seep out somewhere.

The reasons how we collapsed during the second half to a team who were playing in their seventh pre-season fixture remain elusive for now. Maybe we’ll never fully comprehend how a younger side who began training in a military stockade some seventy days previous to this game; fed only on a diet of raw meat, during which time they didn’t so much as set eyes on a single woman, came to rip us apart so emphatically. Oh well, It doesn’t really matter how. If we do come up against such opposition again we’ll be ready. With our hands on heads, looking up to the heavens and screaming, "Dear God, no."

4-4-2: Rookie, L.Sanderson, K.Hewitt (c), M.Sanderson, J.Schwodler (Jones), Baker (S.Schwodler), Newman, Allan, Judd (S.Hewitt), Andrews (Fielder), B.Schwodler

H/T: 1-1

Scorers: 1-1 B.Schwodler - on my head son.
2-7 S.Hewitt - pick that out!

Thursday, 7 August 2008

I'm Not One To Honk My Own Horn, But Yes - I Take A Mean Throw In

I don't care what other people say, I think we've got a fine bunch of players at Burridge. Take Bryn Schwodler for example. With the kind of balance and athleticism available at his disposal on the left wing, he doesn't need me to tell him that he could have played at a far higher level of football. Then you've got Kristian Hewitt. Great poise and a shot with the strength of ten tigers. That’s without even mentioning Kev Willsher, Justin Newman and Jay Schwodler. All exceptional players and all on the Burridge rostrum. So yes, I know what you're thinking - how does a regular bloke like me get a place in the starting eleven? Well, it's simple - I take one mean thrown-in.

Throwing in may only take a moment to perform, but it takes a lifetime’s dedication to master. A good throw in taker is the master of disguise. He may use wild gesticulation as the necessary diversion to steal fifteen yards up field before releasing the ball. Or perhaps puff out his cheeks like a bullfrog as if to throw the ball long only to go short in the opposite direction. Yes, the master of the throw in is a wily creature, but he must continue to dominate his environment or his environment will dominate him.

Be warned though. There are people out there who’ll have you believe that the throw in is nothing more than the method of reintroducing the ball to the field of play. It’s just a throw in, they scoff. Once I hear my art marginalised as something trivial my hands begin trembling. Instead of concerning themselves with what grip to use on a soaking wet Mitre Pro-Max, never for a second failing to consider the ball’s maxloc3 air retention system, they turn their attention to violence.

Thankfully that hasn’t yet been necessary to resolve such disagreements. I just stare straight back with a pair of cold blue eyes and let my throwing in to do the talking. When all’s said and done I don’t take myself that seriously. Not with the sort of clowns who are going to bad mouth the throw in. I imagine they’re the kind of yahoos who thought that Miles Davis was just making a racket when he released Kind of Blue. Or that The Great Gatsby’s just a book.

I’m certainly not going to compare the powerful first person narrative deployed by F. Scott Fitzgerald through the character of Nick Carraway, in arguably one of the greatest literary works of the twentieth century with my throwing in, no matter how sublime it is. It’s not my place. My place is on the touchline. Standing with the ball held behind my head. About to partake in the motion that is the very bedrock to either diffusing a tricky defensive situation or the catalyst to begin another attack. I’m talking of course about the throw in.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

An Open Letter To Departed Goalkeeper Ben Stanfield

Where does the time go, Ben? I can’t believe it’s almost two years since you made your debut in-between the sticks for Burridge in the Southampton League. Everybody knows that goalkeeping is no easy ride. One mistake and that ball is in the back of your net. When that happens you can always rely on your team mates to let you know exactly where you went wrong. If the game we love no longer allows an outfield player to go ape at his goalkeeper with a burst of colourful language from a stationary position fifty yards away from goal, then maybe it’s time to call it a day.

We all felt safe in your hands though, Ben. Apart from that one time at Bishopstoke when my booted clearance rebounded off Mark Reeves’ buttocks and sailed over your head. I cut you a pretty mean glance that day. Nothing personal, just thought you could have done better that‘s all. That’s what makes our relationship special, Ben. We can just go ahead and say it how it is. Least that’s what I thought, until I heard you’d left to join Romsey Town.

Why spend your Saturday afternoon's watching your team mates continually fail to find feet with simple ten yard passes if you’re not enjoying it anymore? Life is too short. I’m sure you have your reasons for leaving. Reasons you obviously don’t want to share with me via text. It’s okay, I understand. Romsey Town play in the Wessex League, they’ve got a proper ground with floodlights and I bet they don’t charge you a fiver a game in subs. I’m not taking the fact that you’ve left the club personally. Yes, we’re friends. Of course we are, but first and foremost our relationship is a professional one. You are a competent six foot plus goalkeeper and I am not.

Just one thing before you go. Look me in the eye and tell me we didn’t have some good times together at Burridge. Take the away fixture with Hythe and Dibden reserves as just one example. You might’ve thought that coming off junction 3 of the M27 and cruising down the A326 was going to be as good as it got that day. Well, you were wrong. Hythe didn‘t just play at the local park. They had their own ground. They had floodlights too. You couldn’t miss them. Halogen lamps mounted on what must’ve been fifty foot high girders. They weren’t turned on, I’ll grant you that, but it was a February afternoon. What would you have me do, Ben? Arrange a solar eclipse? Some things are beyond even my control.

Like getting you to answer my Facebook messages, clearly outlining the pre-season itinerary. We can’t play games without a goalkeeper, it’s something other teams tend to notice. Perhaps you think goalkeepers grow on trees, Ben. Is that it? Well, I don't think you would have become team leader of a reputable IT recruitment consultancy if you thought that was the case. We’ve lost players before, we’ll bounce back again. If you can't enjoy a season that comes grinding to a halt by Christmas anymore then fine. I guess Burridge isn’t the place for you anymore.

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...