Sunday, 31 January 2010

Bush Hill 6-2 Burridge

Southampton Trophyman Cup
Green Park, Millbrook

Paul Dyke celebrated his birthday by scoring an own goal. He wanted to put the ball out for a corner kick. Instead he put Bush Hill one-nil up. He was at full stretch. There was nothing he could do. Jonesy was in goal for Burridge. There was nothing he could do either. Bush Hill won the Southampton Premier League last year. Before the game they stood linking arms in a huddle. They all shouted something as it broke. It sound liked kicking out time in town. Burridge were taking pot shots at Jonesy. He wore a baseball cap to protect his view into the low sun. There was no escaping it. He looked like he'd escaped from a Young Offender Institution.

Bush-Hill were never in trouble, unless Burridge scored. It happened twice. Both times Bush Hill's manager went bat shit. When Bryn Schwodler's shot against the post he just went ape-shit. There was a consistency in his shit goings. The referee looked like he needed a holiday. Millbrook wasn't on the short list. There's no beach, nor are there any sights to speak of.

Jay Schwodler got hacked in two because he hacked somebody else. The hacking was done by Bush Hill's centre forward. His hair was cut right down to the wood. His and Marc Judd's hair combined amounted to even less than one imagines to be found on Gary Lineker's ball-bag. He had the number 99 on the back of his red shirt. Nobody asked him if it was because he liked ice-cream. The referee did not send him off. He was too busy thinking about his holidays. Jay lay in the mud moaning for water. Burridge manager Pete Lyons, ran onto the pitch with the bucket of cold water and gave Jay the wet sponge treatment. It seemed to do the trick. It's a versatile liquid.

Bryn Schwodler's goal for Burridge was good. His brother Sam's was better. He was nearer the half way line than the goal when he shot. Few players enjoy their goals as much as Sam. He shouted at no one in particular on the sideline. His voice was full of four letter words. The only ones that made you ever open a dictionary when you were young. It made little difference to the result. Next week Burridge play Wellow. It should be easier going. Although you're not supposed to say that.

Burridge lined up in a good old fashioned 4-4-2 formation.

GK:Ryan Jones
RB:Sam Hewitt
CB:Paul Dyke
CB:Kev Willsher
LB:Mark Sanderson
RM:Jay Schwodler
CM:Justin Newman
CM:Rich Allan
LM:Kristian Hewitt (C ) (Marc Judd)
CF:Ben Rowe (Paul Andrews)
CF:Bryn Schwodler (Sam Schwodler)


Thursday, 28 January 2010

Training: Ben Rowe forgets

(pictured above) Ben Rowe (in blue and black stripes) rushes to scene. Intimidatingly tall trees are of no consequence when a tabby cat needs rescuing.

Ben Rowe woke up in his clothes. It was dark. For a second he didn't know where he was. The chest of drawers gave it away. It was his bedroom. It was Wednesday after work. He was lying on his bed. When he arrived at Wildern Leisure Centre for training he told Burridge manager Pete Lyons, that he didn't feel well. “You look pale,” said Pete. He looked like shit. “Come to sweat it out have you?” Ben didn't answer. His face was mostly hidden under a woolly hat and a hood. What was on show was unshaven. He apologised for forgetting his three quid training money. He said he forgot last week too. He was honest and forgetful. It's a dangerous combination. In the game of six-a-side at the end of training he shouted for the ball. Jonesy rolled it to him. Somebody nicked off his foot. Ben threw his hands in the air. Why didn't anyone tell him he had a man up his arse? He thought it would be good to get back to bed. He wouldn't forget where he was this time. Least he hoped he wouldn't.

This Saturday Burridge go to Green Park, Millbrook, to play Bush Hill in the cup. Kick off is at 1:45pm.


Saturday, 23 January 2010

Proposal to the incumbent Home Secretary, Alan Johnson

(Above) Burridge's Mike Reed: disappointed on so many levels.

Bad weather has limited Burridge to only two games in the last eleven weeks, which might lead you to wonder just what players have been doing with all the spare time Saturday afternoon's have brought them. Has Burridge striker Paul Andrews finally conquered that particularly tricky stretch of sky line in his 1,200 piece jigsaw puzzle of the 1983 Crufts Best in Show? Has the voice of Burridge's back four, Paul Dyke, finally realised that his daily use of a canister of hair spray is responsible for wiping out a significant proportion of the world's population of guillemots? And has potty mouthed Sam Schwodler put the finishing touches to his matchstick model of the Cutty Sark?

All pertinent questions to which there are no clear answers to. The truth is that there was a time when Burridge gaffer, Pete Lyons', text message on Saturday morning telling players that the match was off was greeted with dread. Now, it's arrival is met with an air of inevitability. Burridge, along with many other local teams, face the prospect of rushing from work to play mid-week games once the clocks revert back to British Summer time in March. But why wait until then? If the season is to be completed before the football posts are taken down for the cricket season, then why not put the clocks back now? But this year why not put them back a little further than an hour?

Nothing drastic you understand. Putting them back about fifteen hours ought to do the trick. That way nine in the morning, when it is light, actually becomes six in the evening, which is the ideal time to commence games. By doing so I think you'll agree that we can eat through this fixture congestion in no time. While this doesn't solve the problem of the waterlogged pitches, it does at least provide a window in which to play the fixtures in. Football is our national sport, so whether this becomes reality depends ultimately on how seriously our government takes completing the 2009/10 Drew Smith Group Southampton League season.

Home secretary, Alan Johnson, the ball is in your court.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

No training and imaginary heaving bosoms

Above: Justin Newman comes to terms with Saturdays without football

Southampton had another finger of snow on Tuesday night so I called Wildern Leisure Centre to see if their outdoor football pitch was available for Burridge's Wednesday night training session. It wasn't. A girl's voice answered the telephone. It sounded like the ones I imagine you get on those premium rate numbers.

“I was just going to call you,” she said as I resisted any temptation to reach inside the zip of my fly. “We've not been able to clear the pitch. So it's not gonna be available tonight. Sorry.”

I broke the news to the players by text. Only Lee Fielder seemed pleased. He was probably glad of an extra week's grace for his newly pierced nipple to settle in. Self employed metal worker Mark Reeves, took the news somewhat less stoically. “Shocking,” he said. “I was really looking forward to training.” In a last futile gesture he crossed his fingers for the chance of a Burridge game going ahead this Saturday.

Not able to play football I was once again sat on the sofa watching it on television. Liverpool against Reading on ITV with a big drink in my hand to take the edge off Clive Tyldesley. “When he hits them,” he said from the gantry about Liverpool player Daniel Agger, “they stay hit.” Quite how Reading's kit manufacturers have managed to make such a mess out of blue and white hoops is beyond me. As far as I'm concerned no team has any business wearing that kit unless they're Queens Park Rangers.

Oh bum, has anyone seen the BBC's forecast for the remainder of week? Heavy rain is pencilled in. With heavy pencil.

Note to players: Are you planning on going to Milton Keynes to watch Saints next Wednesday? Let me know. That way I can give Pete an idea what we're like for numbers at training.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Only one game played since November 7th

(Above) Bryn Schwodler during hibernation on the kitchen floor of 21 Ranelagh Gardens sometime in 2006.

After losing a weekend to absinthe and darts, Burridge are ready to return to training this Wednesday evening now Wildern Leisure Centre's outdoor football pitch has been passed fit for play. Happy 31st birthday to Bryn Schwodler on Tuesday 12th. It's now thirteen years spent listening to Kristian Hewitt going off on one at you in Burridge colours.

Also, congratulations to Lee Fielder this evening for simultaneously negotiating the running machine at his flat complex's gym while keeping his shirt on despite having had his nipple pierced only hours earlier. With a mirror straight ahead of him we know what an achievment this was.

I'll be in touch if Wildern change their mind.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

White Wednesday

(Pictured) A well attended Burridge training session during the heady days of 2009.

2 is how many games Burridge have played in last 9 weeks.
7 is number of league games they've played since 31 Aug.
17 is the amount of league games they've left to play.
16 is how many Saturdays left before goalposts come down.
-1 is the daytime temp forecast for Thursday and Friday.
0 is the chances of playing this weekend.

NB Training is off on Wednesday 6th January because Wildern Leisure Centre is trapped under a centimetre of snow.

Reaction, so far, to 'White Wednesday's' cancelled training session has been muted:

"Okay mate," said penalty taker, Greg Baker, clearly irritated that the office hotties had decided to wear winter clothes to the office. "Thanks for letting me know."

"Ok dude," said centre-back, Paul Dyke, straining under the weight of tax returns on his desk.

Although player of 2009, Kev Willsher, was slightly more animated: "Nightmare!" Said Kev. "Can't see us playing for another couple of weeks.

Upcoming scheduled fixtures:

Jan 9 Home to Netley Central
Jan 16 Home to Wellow
Jan 23 Home to London Airways
Jan 30 Away to Bush Hill at Green Park

Monday, 4 January 2010

Kneed in the groin

"....Training starts again at Wildern school at 8pm on Wednesday 6th January. 17 more league games left between now and 1st May. You can read more on Burridge and trying to be nice to referees at 'When Saturday Comes' by clicking here..."

Burridge left-back, Luke Sanderson, (pictured above) went into hospital for a routine arthroscopy to remove floating cartilage in his knee in April. Eight months on and his future is still no clearer.

Operation: April 16th 2009

Luke still recalls sitting up in his hospital bed and taking a bite out of a ham and cheese sandwich when the physiotherapist walked in and through pursed lips asked him how he thought the operation went. He'd been omitted to the Royal South Hants for a routine arthroscopy, why was he being asked how he thought it was? “The way he kept fiddling with his pen,” said Luke. “I could just sense he was skirting over something.”

The physio put him straight. “Listen,” he said. “Your injury's more serious than we realised.” Still dressed in sky blue scrubs he looked down at the papers attached to his clipboard and told Luke that he'd partially torn his anterior cruciate ligament.
“Can I play football again?” asked Luke.
“No,” replied the physio, as if surprised that the severity of the injury hadn't registered with his patient. It hadn't. Although still groggy from the anaesthetic, Luke told the physio that he was wrong. Recognising that Luke was getting upset, the physio tried defusing the situation: “Look, you're not Michael Owen,” he said as he walked closer to the bedside. “But there's plenty of things we can do,” just that by now his patient wasn't in the right frame of mind to listen.

The injury: January 31st 2009

Burridge's game with Inmar FC at Fleming Park should've been remembered for a thirty yard shot by Ryan Jones that ended up wedged into the top corner of the net. Luke Sanderson didn't see it. When the ball left Jones' instep Luke was being helped slowly to the dressing room. His match had finished after twenty minutes. He was dribbling down the left wing when the ball was nicked away from his feet. He tried to flick it away from his opponent, but in doing so landed the blades of his left Adidas boot into the turf at an awkward angle. The weight of his body soon followed, collapsing on top of his left knee onto the mud beneath him. He lay back grimacing with both hands wrapped tightly over his eyes.

He remembers the referee asking if he was alright, he wasn't. Other players told him to stay down and after a few minutes he was helped from the pitch to the touchline
onto several sports bags that elevated his limp body above the cold wet ground. Mark Reeves put his England Nationwide puffer jacket over Luke's shoulders before going on to replace him as it continued to drizzle with rain.

Medical opinions

Having difficulty getting out of bed on a Sunday morning wasn't a particularly new phenomenon for Luke, but the reasons for doing so the morning after were different. His left knee had practically disappeared in swelling overnight making it both difficult and uncomfortable to move. Eventually he got an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon. It was booked for March 25th. After telling the surgeon what he'd previously told both the nurse at the drop-in centre and his GP at his nearby surgery, the surgeon nodded his head and said it sounded like a cartilage problem. Or to be more precise, a torn meniscus.

Once Luke's knee had been moved and stretched, the surgeon returned to his desk. No scan was taken. A simple arthroscopy is all it would take to trim away the torn cartilage. The surgeon muttered while writing down his diagnosis in Biro, “Right knee arthroscopy”.
“Left knee,” interrupted Luke, tapping the skin of his left knee that was still exposed by a rolled up trouser leg. “It's my left knee.”
The surgeon smiled. “Ah yes,” he said, mumbling, left knee arthroscope out loud as he re-wrote his notes, giving emphasis to the word 'left'. He advised Luke to expect a letter in the next few weeks with the date of the procedure.


Two weeks after the operation Luke began a course of physiotherapy. The idea of a future that didn't involve spending his Saturday afternoons playing football for Burridge hadn't become any more palatable to him. The prescribed pills had reduced the swelling in his knee and he was able to drive again. He also began using the exercise bike at the gym. It was very rare for anyone else to be in the gym when he visited and he was left with the music from his iPod to keep him company. At first his knee wasn't able to withstand much more than ten minutes peddling, but he soon built his stamina up to fifteen, then twenty-five minutes, and during the coming weeks his knee was built up from a withered muscle to something you couldn't tell in appearance to his right knee.

Once again he asked the physio if he was ready for football. “Well you can try it,” he replied, but in truth they both knew that what he said would make little difference to what Luke planned to do. Burridge began their pre-season training in June. Luke attended every session with a white Tubigrip support bandage around his left knee. During that time spent doing sprint relays and playing 5-a-side three touch matches he felt no discomfort in his knee.

The Comeback: 1st August 2009

A full month of pre-season training behind him he prepared himself for Burridge's first pre-season game against VTFC Youth on August 1st. It was raining again and he was selected by Pete Lyons to play in his usual position of left-back. With the referee thinking about blowing for half-time, Luke stepped forward to intercept a pass to the winger he was marking and landed on his knee. Burridge captain Kristian Hewitt heard the crunch from the penalty area. Luke held his knee tightly into the back of his thigh and buried his head down into the wet grass. The confidence he'd slowly built up in the gym and in training had been washed away in the summer rain. The only consolation was that his kitchen cupboard was still well stocked with plenty of the prescribed pain killers.

Life without Football: 2009/2010

When Luke pulls into the car park to watch Burridge play they have usually already kicked off. He watches from a distance and chooses not to get too involved. Not like the time he gave an opponent an earful from the touchline, who responded by asking how good Luke must be if he can't even warrant a place on Burridge's substitute bench. Or words to that effect. To the onlooker he doesn't look injured. He has no limp or visible scars, but words like that bring back the reality to him.

When he steps out of his car towards the pitch he'll say hello to Burridge manager Pete Lyons, who'll no doubt be pleased to see him. He may well ask Luke how he is and what he's been up to of late, but it's seldom that Luke ever tells him. There'll be a shout from the pitch, a succession of blasts from the referee's whistle and Pete will be caught up in the appeal for a penalty, a free-kick, maybe even a throw in, but in that effort the moment has gone. The two will exchange smiles and Luke will continue walking up the touchline, no doubt saying hello to whoever may be on the substitute bench, who are arguing amongst themselves about who is to fetch the lost Mitre from the thicket of brambles behind the goal.

Once more he'll be posed with the question of when he's going to play again and he'll tell them, as he did before, that he needs re-constructive surgery of his left anterior cruciate ligament. Just like Michael Owen did after twisting his knee while playing for England against Sweden during the 2006 World Cup and countless other professional footballers before and since.

Being self employed he can scarcely afford to be off his feet for a period of six to eight weeks immediately following any re-constructive operation. Not to mention the following eight months recovery time. He will be 28 in January, whether or not he plays again in 2010 is perhaps clearer than if he plays again at all.

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...