Saturday, 24 January 2009

Enough Is Never Enough

AFC Hop 1-1 Burridge
17th January 2009
Cutbush Lane, West End

It would’ve been just as easy to help the ball on its way up the field, but that’s never been his style. Instead he remains patient. Looking for the right pass, in order to keep possession. To relieve this constant pressure that Burridge are coming under. The game’s prickly. It always is when you’re one-nil up against AFC Hop. They’re right in your face. Centre halves, midfielders too, telling their wingers and their strikers in no uncertain terms that Burridge aren‘t up to it. “They can‘t deal with us,“ that’s what they tell them. Shouting at the top of the lungs from sixty yards away, “Skin them all day long, they’re shit.” Still another ten minutes until half time and protecting the ball from the angry swings of their metal studs. The ball remains safe from harm, his body does not. It’s the ankle that’s the problem. Like the rest of Justin Newman, it’s thirty-seven years of age.

Monday morning always comes around fast. The kids are still asleep when he struggles out of bed at 5am to drive up the A34 through Oxford to work. The stiffness and bruising will keep him company longer than Lee Fielder, who joins him for the journey to work.. He may be eight years younger but a catalogue of injuries have finished Fielder from football. Ten years ago he was banging in twenty five goals a season. Now he’s testing the electrics at an MOD base. Newman’s still going strong. The ankle’s is holding up okay. It wasn’t like last time. Back then he heard the crack, but that was a long time ago.

The sign in the changing rooms across the league always read the same - please don’t clean your boots in the shower. They always say please, but Justin Newman isn't one to follow the rules. Otherwise he’d have packed football in like all the others who’ve come and gone and lost interest, lost their edge, gone soft and gone shopping with the missus. Not Newman. Not yet. Where would he get rid of all that whatever it is that builds up during the working week? Where does anyone? In the gym? No, far too boring. Down the pub? Like his Granddad almost every day with a drink in his hand at the Bricklayers Arms in Maybush. Always with a fag on the go. That’s what got him in the end. Something’s got to. But sod that too.

Football was always the answer. School came in the 1980’s. They boxed and if you got caught well there was only one place you could go. Just like on Saturday afternoon. Sat down there in a heap in the mud. A set of studs imprinted on his ankle, looking up at the referee in disgust. "What d’you mean you didn’t fucking see it?" He runs it off, eventually. Later on the referee puts his head around the changing room door to apologise. He didn’t see it. Fair enough, he didn’t have to come over and say that. I wonder if Graham Poll’s ever done that. If he’s ever said sorry I missed it?

Hop get their equaliser late in the game. Two, three, four, five of them, swarmed around the referee; all wanting and needing to know how much time’s left. There wasn’t enough. Not for them. For Justin Newman and those who don't just love, but need the game of football, there will always be enough time for another Saturday afternoon on a muddy recreation field. For that you can be certain.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Burridge Play Down Seriousness Of Rich Allan's Behaviour

By flagrantly ignoring the behaviour expected of a 31 year old man, Burridge midfielder Rich Allan has caused something of a stir by being caught dancing in public to Chesney Hawkes’ 1991 number one record “The One and Only.” Allan, who works as a painter and decorator and ever present in the Burridge starting line-up this season was seen dancing between seventeen and twenty-one minutes past eleven on Saturday evening at The Riverside, a Chinese Restaurant on Bridge Street in Bursledon that later converts into a disco. It’s left some people angry and in particularly representatives from Mr Hawkes’ record label - Sergeant Poppy Records, who have “profoundly condemned” Allan‘s actions.

After it emerged that Allan, of Hawthorn Close, Southampton, had been out with other members of the Burridge squad to celebrate Bryn Schwodler’s thirtieth birthday,
the Chertsey based independent record company said that, “Nobody wants to see thirty something men do that, and we profoundly condemn what he’s done.” Although it’s widely believed that Rich Allan meant no malice, he’s come under intense criticism from members of the music industry, who say there’s simply no place in society for men of a certain age to be dancing in public to Chesney Hawkes.

Recent scientific research into the behaviour of thirty-something males at social occasions have found set patterns that normally include - a desire to blend into the surroundings, maintaining a stare towards their shoes and quietly drinking themselves to death. Allan met only one of these criteria, but failed to do so quietly. Onlookers described his movements on the hastily prepared dance floor, which later stretched into Charles & Eddie’s “Would I Lie To You?” as immobile. Although he did try and compensate for that by enthusiastic gurning.

Hawkes who first came to the public’s attention after reaching the number one spot eighteen years ago, has worked hard to find a new and younger audience. A five date 2009 tour of Butlins holiday resorts is testament to that, where he will be showcasing material from his latest album, “Another Fine Mess.” The sixteen tracks are available on CD at the very reasonable price of £11.56 that includes postage and packaging.

Since being under scrutiny it has been found that Allan has “Moving On,” the 1998 debut album from 911 on his iPod. While insistent that the download was performed by his fiancĂ©e, the discovery has done nothing for the public’s perception of Allan’s behaviour. Officials from Burridge said the club will support Allan, hoping the events of last Saturday wouldn’t hamper the team’s progress. Although not available for official comment, Chesney Hawkes said he wanted to put the last week behind him, reported to have been “embarrassed” by it all.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Referee Very Keen To Explain Offside Rule

Saturday 3rd January 2009
Southampton BTC, Stoneham Lane
Comrades Reserves 1-4 Burridge AFC

Saturday’s match official between Comrades Reserves and Burridge left everybody flabbergasted when he chose to send a player off from each side for what appeared to be nothing more than handbags at dawn. Although unable to fully explain his decision to dismiss eighteen year old Burridge substitute Ryan Jones, he did at least give second half Burridge linesman, Paul Andrews, the full benefit of his understanding of the offside rule.

While quite unable to avoid forcibly communicating his point with his hands, the official miraculously managed to avoid using table condiments in fully conveying his depiction of law eleven of the game in a monologue lasting a mere ten minutes. An act that seemed even more selfless, seeing as he chose to ignore his linesman at every given opportunity.

One can only thank heavens that just fifteen minutes of the second half had passed when the referee noticed that Burridge had changed linesman, otherwise Andrews would have been left bewildered with what exactly he was supposed to be doing with a fluorescent green flag on the end of a bulbous wooden handle. Luckily, there was a referee on hand with some sense.

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...