Monday, 28 September 2009

M&T Reserves 0-5 Burridge AFC

Date:Saturday 26th September
Venue:Timsbury recreation ground
Previous meeting: 4-0 to Burridge

Today's referee is a bit put out that nobody has foreseen what he perceives to be a clash of kit that threatens the chances of the game starting at all. He doesn't allow two clearly distinguishable sets of team shirts of blue and black stripes against yellow and black quarters get in the way of being deeply unhappy about both Burridge and Michelmersh wearing black socks. You can just imagine the sort of parties at his house. Those with the audacity to double dip their nachos into the salsa would be asked to leave and never spoken of again. After much ado he decides that the game can go ahead, but only after he's completed a vigorous boot inspection and insisted that all player's jewellery be removed.

They didn't let things like colour clashes get in the way of a game in the 70's. Click here to see George Best in camouflage.

Both Michelmersh and indeed Timsbury are small enough to have avoided being gatecrashed by a Co-op newsagent's unsatisfactory small range of magazines. Timsbury recreation ground has a thirty foot net erected behind one of the goals to stop motorists on the A3057 from coming under attack from footballs. Their blueprints obviously hadn't taken visiting Bryn Schwodlers into consideration. He inadvertently starts a short lived craze of worrying motorists that remains popular for the first half. Meanwhile goalkeeper Ryan Jones waits patiently for a warm up that never fully materialises.

Bryn Schwodler: goals have been joyless until now. Why?

Burridge start the game as they mean to go on. Ben Rowe is a big boned greyhound leading the invasion deep into M&T territory with the subtlety of a cordless Black and Decker brushing an invalid's teeth. Each one of his attacking runs comes with a featured commentary from Burridge midfielder, Justin Newman, that never hesitates to cast serious doubt over Rowe's goalscoring prowess.

Rowe does, however, have much to do with Burridge's opening goal, squaring to Bryn Schwodler who cannot miss. Moments later M&T are unable to let a similar opportunity pass and put through their own goal. M&T are unperturbed at losing. Their right winger's wearing a gratuitous amount of wet look gel in his hair and has a tattoo of some inscription around his wrist. Rather than go for the usual Roman italic font he's chosen something that could be described as shopping list scribble. He announces loudly to his colleagues that the key to M&T's comeback stems from passing the ball into feet. Advice he completely ignores by bothering nearby squirrel drays almost every time he receives the ball.

During the second half Ben Rowe momentarily silences Justin Newman's anti 'big-man up front' propaganda, by making it three-nil after another powerful run through the M&T defence. Bryn Schwodler adds two more goals to complete his hat-trick. Goals for Burridge are usually joyless acts for Bryn. Normally he'd trudge back to the half-way line with the thinly veiled disappointment only an eight year old boy who's torn open the wrapping paper of his birthday present hoping to discover Subbuteo but ending up with a cruddy Blue Peter annual can ever truly understand. Not today though. He skips away gaily and the world still doesn't know why.

Ben Rowe: constantly picked on by Justin Newman.

Paul Dyke is on hand to keep things serious. With the score now 5-0 in Burridge's favour he returns to his defensive post with word from the referee that there's eight minutes left to play. He signifies this by showing eight fingers as if he's expecting some kind of Burridge collapse. Shooting towards the A3057 during the second half M&T have a few sniffs at goal but only succeed in bothering more cars.

After the game Burridge are invited into the Timsbury club-house where most players manage to put aside their suspicions of ham sandwiches made with one slice of brown and one of white bread. The referee appears for a quick half to show he's no stick in the mud. His tie remains obediently pressed against his top button throughout his brief stay. By the merest raising of her eyebrows the lady behind the bar seems to make a class distinction upon me when I refuse a glass with my tin of 70 pence Coca-Cola. Ben Rowe certainly resented having to endure 'the big one' from Justin Newman all afternoon, but chooses not to seek revenge through any kind of physical violence. It wasn't really that sort of afternoon.

Pete Lyons sent Burridge out in a trusty old 4-4-2 formation:

Goalie Ryan Jones
Right-back Sammy Hewitt
Centre-half Kev Willsher
Centre-half Paul Dyke
Left-back Mark Emerson Sanderson
Right mid Jay Schwodler (Sub Greg Baker)
Centre mid Rich Allan (Sub Mark Reeves)
Centre mid Justin Newman
Left mid Kristian Hewitt (Sub Marc Judd)
Striker Bryn Schwodler
Striker Ben Rowe

Substitutes were: Marc Judd, Mark Reeves, Greg Baker, Lee Fielder, Mike Reed

Absent were: Ben Hutton (on free holiday in Cyprus), Sam Schwodler (still banned although he was present with baby Lennon), Paul Andrews (fixing leaky pipes),
Luke Sanderson (surrounded by geeks who could do with some fresh air while working on Games Workshop job in Birmingham).

Monday, 21 September 2009

Burridge AFC 3-2 Hythe Aztecs

Date: Saturday 19th September
Venue: Botley Road, Burridge
Previous result: 0-0
When what happened: Mike Reid missed an open goal.

Click pic to enlarge: Justin Newman's concentration isn't broken by a referee growing out of the Hythe player's back

If you're the type of person who doesn't enjoy violence and confrontation, don't worry. You can always try the next best thing, and that's shouting. Loud communication isn't simply welcomed on the football pitch, it's recognised universally as a kind of skill. If in possession of the ball without anyone in your pursuit, you can benefit from your colleagues telling you that there's no great rush by shouting, 'TIME.' If indeed whilst casually jogging down the wing one of the opposition is bearing down on you like a chariot, it is helpful for you team mates to warn you by shouting, 'MAN ON.' And so it goes.

Within some players lies a mortal fear of the silence that occasionally falls onto a football pitch when say, the ball is being negotiated from from a nasty patch of stinging nettles. So all encompassing is this fear that those who suffer from it refuse to allow the fact that they have nothing of significance to say from broadcasting it loudly to the world. Nuggets of wisdom like, 'C'mon lads, it's quiet' are shared freely. This level of insight is usually reserved for those who point at the sky and shout, 'AEROPLANE.' Although taken to it's logical conclusion, if everybody shouted their troubling observations, you'd end up with, “THIS PLAYING SURFACE DOESN'T SUIT OUR PASSING GAME,' or 'MY WELL PAID JOB AND SEMI DETACHED HOUSE CANNOT DISGUISE THE FACT THAT MY MARRIAGE IS A SHAM.'

Hythe Aztecs' yellow shirts and blue shorts is a replica of what Brazil have made so synonymous with winning in style. It seems no coincidence that comparisons between the two sides are absent. Hythe are no mugs though, having drawn 4-4 with the Echo's tip for the league, Warsash Wasps, the previous week. If I didn't know better I'd think that Burridge captain Kristian Hewitt was having trouble at home. His high pitched whine can be heard every time Burridge make a mistake. If he continues on like this all season I'm worried he'll get a stomach ulcer. His mood isn't helped when Hythe take the lead. Finding themselves clean through on goal they can do nothing but score. Today's referee, who looks vaguely like Lyle Lovett, awards Burridge a penalty when Bryn Schwodler is pushed from behind. One of Hythe's entourage, who's bravely leading the comeback for stonewashed jeans, misinterprets this decision as an open invitation to call the referee a cheating wanker. The referee gives him a stiff talking to, maintaining the kind of volume that's suitable when communicating between floors despite being stood two inches from his nose. With Greg Baker (who's scored 17 out of 17 penalties) in New York, Justin Newman makes a farce of the idea that taking penalties is difficult and belts in the equaliser. Hythe then take a fairly terrible corner kick that's met by a tame header that's still good enough to put them 2-1 up.

Pete Lyons gees up Burridge, who in the heat have chosen to spend the half time interval laid flat on the grass. After twenty minutes of the second half it's unclear just how Burridge are going to come back into the game, but there's something truly exhilarating when a football shudders against the crossbar. When Ben Rowe causes the ball to chime against the metal frame it stirs Burridge into life. Bryn Schwodler had been gliding across the field like Rudolph Nureyev in black leather Puma slippers all afternoon and he scores two late goals that rely heavily on his newly discovered confidence. Burridge had worked hard to win, but the toughest job was still in hand. As Burridge peeled their sodden kit from their tired bodies, one had to sympathise with Sam Hewitt's washing machine, whose job of successfully masticating soiled towers of nylon goes unnoticed every week.

Click pic to enlarge: Newly introduced substitute Jay Schwodler takes defensive position as Burridge's furthest forward player whilst indicating how far wide his earlier shot at goal went, but is still unable to nick this goal off his brother.

Thursday, 17 September 2009


Jesus holds arms out in dismay after getting his marching orders from Darth Vader.

We'd been doing so well getting on with referees this season, but three games into a new season have resulted in three yellow cards. The referee has written the necessary report to the Hampshire football association, who forwarded the paperwork to the club. Up until a few years ago there was a tendency for referees to not bother sending in the paperwork that a yellow or red card warranted because it took up more of their time. By doing so the guilty player would have no fine to pay. These days referees are far more thorough. If you do get booked this season you can find out if you've been issued the standard £8 fine by clicking here.

Greg Baker's ability to consistently score penalties, (up 'til now he's scored 17 successive spot kicks), is almost matched by his knack of picking up bookings for dissent. He got another against Sway.

Bryn Schwodler had his name taken for some good old fashioned time wasting, kicking the ball away from the opposition to delay them taking a free kick.

Ben Rowe was the most unlucky of the three. His crime was coming onto the field as a substitute too quickly for the referee's liking. As a result, the club will pay his fine.

Under normal circumstances Sam Schwodler would be applauded for getting this far into the season without any referees asking for his name. This achievement has been undermined by the fact he's not yet featured for Burridge this season, having been suspended until 27th September.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Hythe & Dibden 3-1 Burridge AFC

Date: Saturday 12th September
Venue: Jones Lane, Hythe
Previous meeting: 1-4 that sealed Hythe's title win.

The idea of living dangerously to Burridge striker, Paul Andrews, could easily be represented by being struck by the impulse to say yes to ten quid's cash back at the supermarket and blowing it frivolously on takeaway chicken tikka masala, nan bread, poppadoms, and those little tubs of gloop we're often guilty of filling ourselves up with before getting served our main. The activities Paul carries out on a regular basis are: making toast, drinking tea, watching Zulu, going to the toilet and drinking tea. Bearing this in mind, one can only assume Paul's neighbour is embarking on the final stages of a nervous breakdown. Thirty-one years on Earth had been inadequate in preparing me for the news that Paul had received a letter from the council advising him that his neighbour had complained about the noise he makes shutting his cupboard doors.

(All pics Roz H) Paul Andrews (number 17) tip toes towards Hythe's goal.

Within minutes of kick off Bryn Schwodler scored a very good goal. Hythe's goalkeeper shuffled back desperately to stop the ball floating over his head as though faced with the dilemma of attempting to catch a tennis ball perilously close to a cliff edge, during an ill advised impromptu game of cricket. Once he'd retreated as far as the precipice of the goal line he came to a sudden halt. The goal acted as a reminder that the idea of Bryn being a good footballer wasn't just an old wives' tale. Over the years fellow players have shook their heads in disappointment at Bryn's lack of application to the game, as if believing his preference of idly picking his hands on the halfway line over wilfully chasing down opposing full backs had somehow denied him a footballing career with the Moneyfields and Havant & Waterlooville's of this world.

Bryn Schwodler realises he's way out of his depth in the country dancing pageant.

His lax attitude's usually met by a cross word or two in his direction. Having never retaliated to the verbal joust thrown his way has given some the impression that Bryn simply doesn't care, but I think I know better. This silence isn't a sign of apathy, but a flashback to the countless long nights he's spent sat starring into space, oblivious of the hour hand fast approaching three in the morning as he wrestles with his own footballing mortality. Although on cold reflection the likelihood is that he just sits in playing Mario kart, one hopes lobbing a football over the head of a goalkeeper who clearly has an eye for dessert will draw a line in the sand somehow on the subject of Bryn's attitude to tracking back.

Burridge find a suitable area to set up their picnic.

Ryan Jones reflexes are slightly late today, but unlike Bryn, the young man is not open season to hecklers. Mainly because berating the Jones boy would be no more beneficial than scolding your young nephew, who having waved aside several toilet breaks in his eagerness to reach Thorpe Park, has wet the interior of your Mazda, within tantalising close range of the turn off to the service station. It was an accident of judgement, of course, and the experience of having to remove his soiled underpants in the car park will serve him in far better stead for the future than a tanning in front of a coach load of pensioners ever will.

Chinese Monkey Allan's surprise new direction into art

Seeing as Burridge showed little interest in scoring a second goal, it's entirely possible they scored their first too early on in the game. Holding onto the lead for most of the game against last year's champions was out of the question after Hythe scored two before half time. It's good to see that the Echo haven't been put off by Burridge's lowly position last year, by tipping them as this year's wild card in the senior division. If they're led to be believed Warsash will finish first, Hiltingbury second and Redbridge third. That probably won't happen. Although the Echo's predictions were rather put into context by the teasing headline at the foot of the page that read, 'Jayne Campbell gives her predictions for the veterans' division in next week's Echo.' Rarely have capital letters looked so futile.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Burridge 4-3 Sway (After extra time

Date: Saturday 5th September
Competition: Hampshire Intermediate Cup first round

Sway had taken the wrong junction off the M27. I know because the man next to me in the ever so close other urinal in the Burridge toilets told me. 'Had the directions all put into me Tom-tom,' he said, before continuing with the second and presumably more telling part of his anecdote that I was unable to give my attention to, being somewhat pre-occupied with the splash back of his rapid slashing that sprayed gently onto my hands. There is not, as far as I'm aware, a law that forbids a man from dying their hair blond after a certain age, but if the House of Lords were to pass one tomorrow, this was a man faced with a vigilante future. If of course he wasn't prepared to get his hair cut.

(All pics by Roz H) Chinese Monkey Allan hovers above the ground. Click on all pics to enlarge.

Today Burridge play in the first round of the Hampshire Intermediate Cup against Sway from the New Forest. There is a school of thought amongst some players that says you cannot tell the quality of the opposition by simply looking them up and down before the game. While that's mostly true, it doesn't stop some from carrying out pre-game analysis of the opposition, in the vain hope of gaining some valuable insight into their footballing ability.

This is never more so when teams from different leagues, who have never played each other before, come head to head. No detail is too slight to be bought back to football, from the sports bag the opposition carry out the car, to the manner in which it's carried, to the gait of walk. As a very basic example: anyone walking with legs splayed like they've a big set of knackers clinging-clanging together like a set of cannon balls is obviously the man for the big occasion. Such analysis is generally, a complete waste of time, but that's not to say it's the premise of the weak minded. Former Burridge centre forward Barry Smith was a long term advocate of such behaviour and he wasn't some nut. I've lost touch with him since he left to join the army because he was bored of working in customer services.

Sam Hewitt enjoys a private moment in public.

Ben Rowe and Justin Newman, January and February 2010 calendar shots respectively.

The referee waited at the main door of the changing rooms to inspect the sole of everybody's boots, not to check if anyone's taped a wrap of speed to the sole of their boot, but in case anybody's studs are unsuitably sharp. Having been through this process countless times I'm still waiting for a referee to say something like, 'Play in those, son? Not on my watch you're not.' They just have a quick look and nod. Both teams were queued up next to each other in the changing room corridor like they do on the telly. I may have spoilt the reflective mood by humming a high pitch blast of the Champions League theme. The first half's a bit like an Hollywood blockbuster starring Nicholas Cage, quite a lot of action but nothing really resembling a cohesive plot. The rest of the game follows on like sequels to it.

Proof that red socks and jeans can work if you want it to.

1-0 Rich 'Chinese Monkey' Allan waits patiently to head in after Greg Baker's shot had launched into the sky off the crossbar. I find myself ignoring the celebrations in favour of pointing my index finger repeatedly to my temple and insisting everybody concentrates. I don't know why.

1-1 Sway tap in a left wing cross. We all stare at the grass and look moody.

2-1 Sway's goalkeeper handles a back pass from his defender, which as we all know is against the rules, then throws a hissy fit when the referee awards Burridge an indirect free kick. Kristian Hewitt touches it to Ben Hutton and whizz bang it's in the back of the net.

2-2 Sway again cut in from left for 2-2. More moody looks at the grass.

2-3 Sway score on the counter attack after quickly clearing a Burridge free kick. Their tails are up. Burridge look spent.

3-3 Justin Newman crosses to Kristian Hewitt to take the game into thirty minutes of extra time.

4-3 What's this? Ben Hutton up for a corner? Check. Paul Dyke incognito on back post in red hair scores the winner? Check. Their goalkeeper throws another hissy fit and lashes out at the nearest thing which just so happens to be a bin. He sends it flying with a good boot. The referee sends him off, so some poor git has to replace him and put on his sweaty gear.

Keep looking above and you'll see Paul Dyke (furthest left in red hair) escape tight marking and score from Ben Hutton's knock down.

(Above) Sway's goalkeeper shows total disregard for tanning solariums whilst on hunger strike.

Pete Lyons in instant pain after picking up jellyfish

Burridge go into the hat for the second round all keeping their fingers crossed for an away day on the Isle of Wight.

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...