Sunday, 29 November 2009

Who is Lee Fielder?

With Burridge's third consecutive match being called off because of a waterlogged pitch, we turn our attention instead to Burridge striker, Lee Fielder.

(Pic by Roz H) Lee Fielder takes warming up seriously.

Redbridge's manager, allowing himself a moment to think out loud over the nearby traffic of the A27, gave his assessment of the Burridge side: “This lot are fucking shit.”
Standing fifteen yards further up the touchline, injured Burridge striker Lee Fielder, put that observation into perspective by reminding Redbridge's manager that Burridge were winning the game.
“You what, mate?” He replied, dropping his linesman's flag onto the mud and turning his back on the game. "I'll knock you out in a minute, you prick."
“Get on with it,” Lee told him, as his right hand tightened into a fist around the plastic grip of his umbrella. “You're supposed to be running the line."
“I don't give a fuck,” replied Redbridge's manager. If half his team had started to lose interest in the game because they'd sooner look for someone to pick a fight with, why should he be any different?

That was in March, back when Lee still wasn't fit to play. He keeps himself busy by fighting his way into T-shirts from the children's department. If ever anybody starts taking pictures of a Burridge game whilst he's on the bench he'll start doing a few stretching exercises somewhere in shot of the camera. You'll never get to audition for the Davidoff commercial by missing a chance to look deep with your shirt tied around your waist. Not that Lee relies solely on football to express himself.

It's summer of 2006 and he's stood under the shade of a tree, watching Kristian Hewitt play tennis against Bryn Schwodler on an uneven clay surface in Fuerteventura. Each one of their strokes explores a new part of the baseline. Kristian offers his racket to Lee. After five minutes or so another of his forehands gets stopped by the net. Instead of retrieving the ball, he swats an imaginary pest away from his face with a heavy swing of his racket, then drops it on the floor and walks off the court, each step hitting the ground a little bit harder than the last. You got the impression it was only a matter of time until his hotel door got slammed off its hinges.

Most attempts to play consecutive games during the last five years have been interrupted by two things; firstly, a frown squashes his forehead together like a concertina playing a sad song out of tune, then he gets substituted holding his bandaged knee. He'd arrived for this year's pre-season training on the shores of the Solent dressed in black lycra. He looked like some evil gay superman, setting the pace in the sprint time trials. Then weeks later during a relay race something in his body clocked off for the day and he began to frown again. As he walked off the field everyone took a moment to spare a thought for the door of his car.

Nobody knows exactly what's wrong with Lee's knees. It might just be the wear and tear of twenty years spent playing football, but you can't help feeling that anyone who thinks that they're breaking news by saying that drinking the odd glass of milk is good for your bones, two months after breaking their leg, has nothing to lose getting a second opinion from a specialist.

Lee made an appearance from the substitutes bench during last season's mid-weeker with Northend. Burridge's one-nil defeat made Northend's chances of promotion to the premiership almost certain. Their manager was at ease with being no oil painting, and he didn't carry himself like one either. Maybe once in a while he'd do well to keep his trolley away from the dessert aisle, but still, he wasn't used to being called a big fat fuck. Not from such close quarters. Each word hit him with the smell of spearmint chewing gum.

Pretty much everyone had showered and gone home when he walked into Burridge's changing room to return the match card to Pete Lyons. “Well played," he said, as Pete swept up the empty Lucozade bottles and screwed up strips of electrical tape, that got stuck in the bristles of the broom's moustache as it made its way across the green carpet floor. “That number eight of yours,” he said, searching for the right word as he worked his tongue around the inside of his cheek. “He's a pretty fiery character, isn't he?” When he said character he meant wanker.
“What, Lee?” Laughed Pete. “Yeah, he's committed.”

Monday, 23 November 2009

Paper trail

Been checking this week's weather forecast. A fifth opinion didn't tell me anything the other four hadn't already. Heavy rain all week. So I telephoned the borough council first thing this morning about booking a football pitch. One that you can walk to from our's. One that can handle a bit of rain.

It's pretty straightforward. Just need to dig out the club's public liability insurance certificate, then submit it, along with some paperwork about our particulars, to the civic offices in Fareham. Once that's done, and only when that's done, we can play on Burridge recreation ground. So, there's no political reason why we can't play there. No conspiracy either, but you do have to fill out forms. The council say the league will have our insurance details. I'll make a call to Rod the result this evening. See if he has.

That way we don't have to play home matches at out of the way places like Titchfield Rec every time we get some weather. Where after about an hour someone from the other side notices that the set of goalposts at the top of the slope are about a foot lower than the ones at the other end.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Washed out

(Pic by Roz H)

When the rain falls in Burridge on a Friday night players know there's no harm in getting an eighth pint in. Rainwater covers the pitch in puddles that a responsible adult wouldn't leave small children or Shaun Wright-Phillips to play in unsupervised. During Wednesday night's training session at Wildern school's outdoor pitch, Pete Lyons, briefed the team.

“We're playing at home on Saturday lads,” said Pete, as the squad began limbering up to do some stretching exercises.

“So we're not playing then,” replied Justin Newman, having seen this week's weather forecast and remembering that a single downpour pretty much ended a training session there a few years ago. That was in August.

The pitch is only a few hundred yards away from a wide stretch of the River Hamble. Living and growing up so near to the coast, one often feels the calling to a life at sea, much like I once did. A friend and I left our worldly possessions behind, and with only what we had in our pockets: a packet of cigarettes, some lose change and a box of matches, we left for the water. Two hours later and we were back on dry land when the coastguard towed our pedalo ashore on his air boat, after strong tides and cramp prevented us from travelling further upstream to our destination of the Jolly Sailor in Lowford.

If Burridge want to play a home game between the months of November and January then their pitch needs to be irrigated, but that's expensive business. The club would need a grant. Burridge have already had a grant, or at least the kid's team have. Their application for drainage to their playing field was approved by the Football Foundation, who donated the club £20k to get to work on their pitch. Although we share the same name the two clubs have no affiliation and as of August this year their youth side have become a feeder club for Sporting Bishops Waltham.

Wednesday night's training session finished with an eight-a-side match with the twist being that players were allowed no more than two consecutive touches of the ball. This exercise was designed to improve ball control and awareness. Once the game got under way several things quickly became clear; firstly, both teams demonstrated a level of consistency that has seldom been witnessed under Pete Lyons' tenure, and secondly, the ball spent a significant amount of time on the wrong side of the twenty foot high mesh perimeter fence. Burridge centre forward, Ben Rowe, was one of the first to pick up on this. “You've got more time on the ball than you think,” he shouted to his team-mates, suggesting they relax a little which would enable them to be more composed next time they were in possession. His next contribution was to lose the ball in the branches of a reasonably nearby oak tree.

This week's Burridge feature in the Times is on Paul Dyke, which you can read by clicking here.

If rain falls on Burridge between Friday night and Saturday morning expect another game to be postponed.

Nothing yet.....

Monday, 9 November 2009

Netley Central 2-2 Burridge

Saturday 7th November
Station Road, Netley

(All pics by Roz H) Click on pic to enlarge. Jay Schwodler (red) maintains his concentration despite sharing his team's opinion that man in pink shirt (fourth from left) is in no position to give out stick.

Rich Allan wanted to know exactly what he'd done wrong. The referee said he'd no choice but to book him, without ever fully explaining why. Netley's centre half was far more forthcoming with an explanation. When the the ball squirmed loose from Netley's defence, Rich Allan was first to it, sending Netley's centre-half through the air like grit in a slingshot. “Fucking leg breaker, that was,” screamed the centre-half, seemingly unaware of the irony in the speed he got to his feet to stick his forehead into Rich's. Then some man in grey sweat pants, who looked like Rocky if he abandoned his training routine to go full time couch potato, decided he wanted to stick his face in Rich's too. Burridge retreated on a pitch where tufts of grass grew from the earthy soil like a moustache on the top lip of a teenage school boy.

Paul Dyke had bought his kit, but he wasn't fit to play. Nor was Marc Judd, but he had drugs. A handful of yellow capsules sat in the palm of his hand in the dressing room, before he chased them back like a shot of sambuca. “I'm going to get bollocksed on these tonight,” he smirked to himself. They looked like they'd been taken from a Kinder-Egg, rather than his friend's prescription for Chron's disease.

There hadn't been enough time for players to feel warm sweat trickle down their necks when Netley took the lead. Rich Allan took Bryn's flick on in his stride to equalise, but Netley found a way through to score an identical second goal some way before half-time. Burridge captain, Kristian Hewitt, didn't make it that far. The dull pain in his back caused a grimace that stretched tightly across his bearded jowls. He trudged off the pitch towards his pregnant wife, who was wrapped up in a woolly hat, and was replaced by Jay Schwodler.

Ben Hutton had almost dislodged the goalposts from their moorings from a free kick during the second half, but the score remained 2-1 with fifteen minutes left to play. Tempers were starting to run thin. Not least Paul Dyke's. He was running the line. When the referee blew up against Justin Newman, Dyke snapped; asking what fucking difference there was from an unpunished challenge by Netley seconds earlier. He put strong emphasis in the word, 'fucking.'

Up to this stage, Jay's most memorable contribution to the game was a tackle so mistimed it was a bit like coming in with Brian May's guitar solo when Freddie Mercury's still going on in a hushed voice about putting a gun against somebody's head and pulling a trigger 'til he's dead. Then Justin Newman swung a corner kick within tantalising grasp of Netley's goalkeeper, who at times looked incapable of catching the ball. He hesitated. Jay Schwodler didn't, using his head to score.

Click on pic to enlarge. Jay Schwodler (in front of blue number two) heads in his goal.

Burridge played in a 3-4-3 formation:

GK: Ryan Jones
DF: Ben Hutton (Marc Judd)
DF: Sam Hewitt
DF: Kev Willsher
LM: Mark Emerson Sanderson
CM: Justin Newman
CM: Mark Reeves
RM: Kristian Hewitt (Jay Schwodler)
CF: Sam Schwodler
CF: Rich Allan
CF: Bryn Schwodler

Other results:

AFC Hilyingbury 7-1 Michelmersh
AFC Redbridge 4-1 Durley
Hythe Aztecs 4-2 Wellow
Sholing Sports 3 BTC Southampton

Next week: home to London Airways

Monday, 2 November 2009

Burridge 3-1 Hythe & Dibden

Date: Saturday 31st October
Venue: Botley Road, Burridge

Click the pic to enlarge the current league table.

The man with no hair or front teeth told Sam Schwodler to shut his mouth. As far as he was concerned Sam was nothing but a big nosed prick for calling Hythe's linesman a cheat. He continued muttering something about straightening Schwodler out as he jogged into Burridge's half looking for a second equalising goal. Seeing as the judicial system have been mostly unsuccessful in ironing out every lively kink in Schwodler's personality, it may have been in the tax payer's interest for Hythe's number ten to share his strategy. Instead, he pushed one nostril shut with an index finger, propelling twin jets of air down through the other, sufficient to inflate a rubber dinghy, instantly evicting all manner of unwanted debris, along with any rent paying tenants, onto the grass beneath him in a trail of wet mess. The volume of which justified cordoning off.

(Pic by Roz H) Kristian Hewitt's view of his free kick as it gets groped by Hythe goalkeeper.

Burridge's first half lead from Justin Newman's neat finish had been cancelled out by a headed Hythe equaliser. Burridge's second goal came with compliments from Hythe's goalkeeper. Kristian Hewitt's intentions made quite clear when he began berated himself for over hitting a free-kick from forty yards out on the right-wing. Whilst Hythe's goalkeeper's peaked cap was able to improve his view into the low sun, it was inadequate in stopping him from letting the ball squirm through his grasp into the net. Disappointment prevented him from turning around to survey the scene of the crime, but behind him a row of semi-naked oak cast judgement upon him by pointing all number of gnarled wooden tentacles towards him accusingly.

(Pic by Roz H) Ben Hutton congratulates Hewitt is on his long range goal.

Sam Schwodler remained an effective outlet for Burridge, playing like a particularly nasty form of tropical disease, infecting opponents with little prior warning in a pandemic that quickly spread throughout Hythe's back four, leaving them in a delirious sweat. When Ben Rowe charged down the inside right channel to wallop in Burridge's third there was no time for Hythe to stop Burridge going top of the division.

Juddy makes sure that Justin Newman is dead after finding out it was him who broke into his car.

Burridge lined up in a 3-4-3 formation:

GK: Ryan Jones
DF: Kev Willsher
DF: Sam Hewitt
DF: Paul Dyke (Ben Hutton)
RM: Kristian Hewitt
CM: Justin Newman (Mark Reeves)
CM: Rich Allan (Jay Schwodler)
LM: Mark Emerson Sanderson
CF: Bryn Schwodler
CF: Ben Rowe
CF: Sam Schwodler

Burridge scorers:

1-0 Justin Newman
2-1 Kristian Hewitt
3-1 Ben Rowe

Pictured above: Burridge later on in the evening at Marc Judd's thirtieth birthday: Back row: left to right: Jay Schwodler, Pete Lyons, Ben Hutton, Sam Hewitt, Luke Sanderson, Paul Dyke, Ben Rowe, Kev Willsher, Justin Newman, Kristian Hewitt. Front row: left to right: Ryan Jones, Marc Judd, Sam Schwodler, Rich Allan, Mark Sanderson, Bryn Schwodler.

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...