Burridge 4-1 Inmar
Saturday 31st January 2009
Paul Andrews had vowed to never do it again. There he was though, patrolling the touchline once more, a linesman's flag held firmly behind his back in a gloved right hand. "The way I see it," he said. "You've got six and a half other days in the week to sit around eating biscuits and drinking tea." To the 29 year old plumber, Saturday is football day and he pulls no punches when explaining what goes through the mind of a substitute given the short straw of linesman duties: "Honestly?" Asked the man whose back injury has prevented him from playing much football over the last three years. "That somebody gets injured. Not badly, just cramp or something." He finished last season on a high, coming off the bench to tap in the seventh goal against Comrades Reserves. Burridge had been missing chances like that all season. It was Andrews first and only goal of 2007/08.
The attendance for the 31st January's Southampton League fixture with Inmar was made up of Burridge centre-half, Kevin Willsher's Dad, whose high visibility bomber jacket remained the highlight of the first half. Other than the four corner flags, that required a ten pound deposit, pitch five of Fleming Park Leisure Centre's only other feature comes courtesy of many dog's bottoms. Ten long minutes passed before Andrews' flag was called into action. He's worn that pair of World Cups for as long as anyone can remember, and reaching down to tie the laces of those size elevens isn't for those with a disposition to heights. He'd yet to fasten the back support around his waist when noticing only twelve others getting kitted up amongst the laughter of the dressing room. Burridge manager, Pete Lyons, hoped to give him a run out. “It can be frustrating when you do come on,” explained Paul, who has been reduced to a series of ten or fifteen minute cameo appearances. “You want the ball. You want to do stuff.”
Andrews caused quite a stir in 2005, by saying he was only interested as playing as a striker. That coming after eight steady years holding down the right back slot. What was he thinking? The 2005/06 season wasn't a good one for Burridge. Colin Barfoot called it a day as manager a week after Christmas and fielding eleven players became increasingly difficult. They had to wait 'til the 15th October for their first win of the season. Andrews tapped home the winner that day. He added eight more goals during the season. Nobody scored more and Burridge just about avoided relegation. His back's not been right since. It was his girlfriend who suggested Pilates, but Paul wasn't sure about going. He always thought it'd be filled with old women. Then his cousin, a decent cricketer, suffered a similar back problem to which Peter Moores suggested Pilates as the best treatment for it. That was good enough for Andrews. He now joins his girlfriend, Kate, at a class on Tuesday evenings at Wildern school.
The place looks different to the one he and four other team-mates left fourteen years ago. "Other than her it is full of old women," he said. "But you still get a bead (of sweat) on." Sometimes his back plays up at work. The same couldn't be said of his ears. The floorboards he ripped up are being replaced by a couple of chippies who are working with him. "I've never heard so much crap in all my life," said Andrews, reacting to their back to back playing of Michael Jackson's 'Earth Song,' that reverberates around the kitchen from the tiny speakers of an iPod docking bay. He'd prefer Capital Gold. Inmar were looking down the barrel of a gun having already conceded four goals to Burridge. There were fifteen minutes left when Paul was put on as substitute. The game was over as a contest, but he still wanted the ball. He didn't see much of it. Leaving the club isn't on the agenda though. Twelve years with one club is too long to just walk away from.
2 for Rich Allan.
2 cracker-jackers from Ryan-Jonesy-Jones & Greg Baker.