Friday, 31 July 2009

Running scared?

Reflecting on Burridge's pre season training so far.....

Not all Burridge players enjoy running. Paul Andrews certainly doesn't. A three mile run could put his back out for weeks, but so could a walk down the shops. He along with over half the twenty man squad are over 30 years old, so when this year's pre-season training concentrated on short sprints, instead of long runs along Netley's stony beach, there was a collective sigh of relief. With a month of training now under their belts, Burridge have 8 pre-season games in 24 days, before the start of the Drew Smith Southampton League season.

As always, optimism at the club is rife. What it's actually based on isn't entirely clear. Finishing one place above the relegation zone last season was in stark contrast to the runners-up spot the sport's pages of the Southern Daily Echo had predicted. Players at the club have never been shy in sharing their personal expectations for the season ahead. Anyone banking on them ever coming to pass runs the risk of dying disappointed.

When Bryn Schwodler, returning to the club two years ago after a spell at Romsey Town, said he was going to take the Southampton League by storm, it was assumed that he meant by some energetic displays on the wing, and perhaps a handful of goals, rather than an 84 day suspension from the Hampshire FA , for reacting to his sending off against BTC by throwing a chewed wad of Wrigley's gum in the direction of the referee's goatee beard.

Exactly how fit the squad is remains to be seen. While improvements in fitness have been made, in well attended training sessions, some players have been totally spent of their energies when it gets to the six inch leg lifts. This exercise involves lying flat on your back and lifting both legs together six inches into the air for various intervals of time. Those who've been able to do this exercise have withstood it for longer periods of time as the weeks have gone on, with some now able to keep up with manager Pete Lyons. He is 53 years old.

Press-ups force upon each player an unwelcome insight into the most personal aspect of their colleague's private lives. Players are lined up closely together, lifting themselves off the low wooden fenced perimeter of Netley country park. Arms shake as they push themselves up straight, while contorted facial expressions give way to barely contained grunts of toil on each unsteady thrust. Many player's partners have recently given birth, or are due to. Faced with this grisly display of press-ups, one is left to assume that conceiving a child is far more straight forward than some people would have you believe.

Training is always finished with a match. Any of the dog walkers unfortunate enough to witness one of these games would have legitimate reason to believe that an adult game of statues was taking place, such is the amount of time the ball is lost in thick thorn branches. The league's decision to make the senior division larger means more games. Taking into account the upcoming friendlies and cup games, Burridge could play up to forty matches in 2009/10. Any players wanting to be in contention to play in a significant number of these games will need to remain fit. A spot of running could well do the trick.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009


Burridge's number one

Pictured above: Ryan Jones: click picture to enlarge.

At last. Here it is.

The photograph we've been waiting for.

Behold, Burridge's new goalkeeper, Ryan Jones.

Just look at him stood there.

Are we really supposed to believe that his stance reflects the oncoming right winger, who by the look of Jones' position, has breached Burridge's defence? This must be why Jones is stood to his left - to narrow the angle of the oh so imminent strike at goal?

Not by the look on his face. Have you ever seen a young man so happy? That grin is seconds away from breaking out across his whole face, and no wonder really, once you realise why.

The simple truth is that his arms are held out to welcome whoever it is, who's just out of shot, in a warm embrace, to celebrate their arrival back from Wickes with that tin of white emulsion, and 3 paint brush pack, a snip at £7.49, thats synethic bristles guarantees the kind of great paint holding coverage one can only fantasise about.

But enough with the horseplay. It's time to get to work. If they get cracking, those rusty old goal posts will be spick and span in no time at all.

Clearly overcome by the arrival of paint, one wonders just how animated Jones would become if somebody were to offer him a hand full of grass seed to scatter over that unsightly barren patch behind him. Or better still, a roll or two of fresh turf. Much like goalkeeping, with grass, there's more than one way to skin a cat.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Greg Baker's secret to scoring penalties

(Above: Greg Baker, kissing Prince Charles' arse)

The only place more terrifying than Greg Baker's bedroom is Greg Baker's kitchen. Inside the cupboards, dirty plates are hidden like war crimes. The mouldy food that grows from them has been there long enough to answer back in French.

When I heard Jay Schwodler was moving in with Greg, in the flat next door to me, I knew I had to act quickly to protect myself from them. I'd lived with Jay before. To say his attitude towards cleaning was liberal back then is a bit like saying that Timothy O'Leary wasn't too uptight when it came to dropping LSD.

I could see Jay knocking my door through the spy hole. He wanted me to look at what he'd done to Greg's flat. When I saw I had to sit down. Two years of living with a woman has had a strange affect on Jay. He's been exposed to a world of bleach, stain devil, order and self respect. I'm not sure if it suits him. He'd cleaned Greg's kitchen and bathroom. I never knew his toilet bowl was white.

But what was that on the coffee table in the lounge? A box of Marlboro? I've never seen either of them take so much as single puff on a cigarette. And what was this? A slice of the lid neatly torn away. “For roach no doubt,” I said to Jay, who had no idea what I was talking about. Before I noticed on closer inspection that it revealed a packet of king size silver Rizla.

Suddenly it all began to make sense. Greg had always made out that the reason he never misses penalties was due to his German ancestry. Then there's his love of crisps and snacks. The fact his flat was a pig sty if girls weren't due to visit, not to mention how scatty he can be. Who else scrapes the side of their Kia company car on the wall of the car park.

I could take it that he never invited me over when he had girls round, but this? I thought I knew Greg. I felt so let down. So disgusted that he would use drugs and not invite me around to share them.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Training racket


Lee Fielder finished last Wednesday's two hours of ball breaking exercise on the shore of the Solent by running home. This first pre-season training session was too easy as far as he was concerned. To put this in context he also thought it was acceptable to arrive at training dressed in long sleeved skin tight black Lycra.

So rather than driving him to his front door, Kristian Hewitt dropped Lee off at Sundays Hill as requested and left him to run home in 25 minutes flat. Exactly how Lee's opinion got back to Burridge gaffer, Pete Lyons, is not as pressing an issue to the rest of the squad as how Pete will react during this week's session. Chances are he'll take the intensity up a few notches. Not something that'll endear Lee to many of the squad, who were forced to opt out of several drills to blow hard out their backsides.

From somebody who was carrying Rich 'Chinese-Monkey' Allan on his shoulders during the piggy back relays, I thought it was a perfectly adequate physical test for a first session back in the saddle. When Kev Willsher consoled me by saying that carrying 14 stone of Richie was a tall order, my reaction was when exactly did Richie lose 2 stone? With all this exercise and preparation I sincerely hope Lee can play for a whole season for the first time since 2004.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Messy session

Back to work

"Bloody dog wankers,” said Paul Andrews (left) after examining the sole of his shoe. It was 8:15pm and he along with 15 others had slogged their guts out during Burridge's first pre-season training session. Andrews' work wasn't done yet. He dragged a twig up and down the gripped sole of his trainer, trying to dislodge the clay brown soil left by a dog for his size 12 Adidas to mistakedly sink firmly into. Burridge gaffer, Pete Lyons, had his players charging up grassy slopes and carrying each other on their backs along the shore of the Solent for almost 2 hours. The water was still. On it sat the car transporter, the Tagus, thats giant orange hulk was unable to draw any attention away from Lee Fielder, who arrived dressed in long sleeved skin tight black lycra.

12 decked, 5,500 car capacity transport container, unable to take attention away from Fielder's lycra.

He reacted quickly to the jeers his team mates greeted him with by saying that the reason they couldn't wear a top like his was because they were fat bastards. While this may be true, the main thing preventing anyone else coming to training dressed like a contestant on 'Dancing on Ice' had more to do with fashion sense. Burridge were joined by former players Paul Dyke and Ben Wilson, as well as Luke Sanderson, who 3 months ago had gone into the Royal South Hants hospital for a routine arthroscope to remove some floating cartilage in his left knee. He left on crutches having been told by the physio that he'd never play football again. After a month spent peddling away on an exercise bike to strengthen the muscles around his partially torn anterior cruciate ligament, the only evidence of the injury was the plain white tubigrip he wore around his knee.

(Above: furthest left of the 3 with arms folded, Luke Sanderson)

Sam Hewitt's recorded the fasted time around the park's chapel in 33 seconds, over 7 seconds quicker than some of his team mates. Had those surprised at his speed been to the gym as often as Hewitt has lately, perhaps they might have surprised themselves. The biggest sigh of the night came when Pete Lyons announced that one of Burridge's pre season friendlies would be against VTFC under 18's, who won all four of the competitions they entered last season, without losing a single game. Marc Judd laughed to himself on the grass while smoking a cigarette. He would be on holiday that week and miss that game. Not many others will be so lucky.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Back in the saddle

Eat yourself fitter

Pictured above and absolutely nothing to do with what follows in this post: Bryn Schwodler, flanked by Mr & Mrs Rich 'Chinese Monkey' Allan.

68,000 patients needed treatment at the Royal Victoria hospital in Netley during World War 2. At 8pm next Wednesday 20 more names will need to be added to that list. By then Burridge would've finished their first pre-season training session in the grounds where the hospital once stood. Among them will be Lee Fielder, who before next Wednesday, included eating a baked bean pizza as one of the worst memories of his life. “I didn't want to appear rude or ungrateful in front of a mate's parents,” he said about the food Phil Layley's mum served up to him when he visited for tea, “so I ate the whole thing.” When asked if the experience was worse than breaking his leg, Fielder worked a Wrigley's in his heavy jaw and took a moment to think. The hesitation in answering showed just how much he dislikes baked beans. Some people feel the same way about exercise. Quite a few of them play for Burridge

Lee isn't one of them. Exercise remains his unrequited love. X-rays at the Southampton General Hospital found no damage in his knees, that during the last 5 years have forced him into leaving the field of play complaining of pain, sometimes long before the final whistle, until now. Nothing stronger than a pair of size 8 cushion soles have been responsible for him being able to run, for 40 minutes twice a week for the last 3, alongside the mouth of the River Hamble without complaint of anything other than exhaustion.

Anyone who hasn't questioned what effect leading the forward line for the now defunct Albion, 14 years ago aged 16, has had to the deterioration to Fielder's knees, might be inclined to believe that football to him means nothing more than an annual craze that begins in July and peters out by September. Speaking on Friday over a pub lunch, Fielder reiterated just how much he's looking forward to pre season training whilst eyeing up the tomato basil drizzled over the salad garnish that was served with his chicken baguette with the suspicion of a customs officer checking a passport with the name Osama Bin Laden.

The addition of 4 more teams (Hiltingbury, London Airways, Sholing Sports and Warsash Wasps) to the Drew Smith Group Southampton senior division increases the number of Burridge's league games to 26 games this season. If Fielder cannot maintain this newly found fitness it's unclear who else will provide the threat to become the first player to score as many as 15 goals in a season since Fielder did in 2003/04. Judgement at Burridge will largely be reserved until he arrives ready and able to play a game when winter has long since replaced grass with thick mud at most of the division's football pitches, rather than making cameo spectator appearances ten minutes after kick off so to avoid the responsibility of being linesman.

Other player's food hates:

Rich Allan – prawns, simply will not entertain eating them.
Paul Andrews – lots of things.
Kristian Hewitt – tomato ketchup.
Bryn Schwodler – mushrooms, courgettes.
Jay Schwodler – vegetables. More hard line than his brother.
Kev Willsher – not so much a hate, but will not touch beef.

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...