Tuesday 24th August, Whiteley, kick-off: 6:30pm
Their player-manager was still complaining to Dykey when I got out the showers. One or two of our players knew him. I think his name's Whitey. I passed him as I walked back into our dressing room. He'd changed into a shirt and tie and although his brown hair was thinning a little, he wasn't ready to give it up to the clippers yet. He wore it combed to one side. All of his players had gone home. I didn't stick around to hear exactly what he was saying; I was certain he was still stewing over an offside decision given by Joe Hill. Dykey followed me in, letting the door close behind him. “He's going to let one decision ruin his night,” said Dykey, shaking his head, “Jesus, I went to his wedding.”
Click pic to enlarge: Burridge do a bit of morris dancing prior to the match. All pics by Luke Sanderson
Dykey had put himself on as a substitute for Joe with about fifteen minutes of the game left.Joe took over as linesman, wearing Dykey's black hooded Le Coq Sportiff coat. It hung over his shorts making it look like he wasn't wearing anything underneath at all. Five minutes later he raised his flag for offside against Veracity. Whitey couldn't contain himself. He walked within two yards of Joe and called him a cheating cunt. Joe told him to fuck off, then asked the referee to have a word.
“I didn't come here to be cheated,” repeated Whitey as he pointed at Joe. “He's an absolute disgrace.” I never did ask Joe if maybe he had given us the benefit of the doubt, because at the time there was less than ten minutes left and we were winning 6-0; it didn't really seem to matter a great deal, but it mattered to Whitey. He'd been in a much better mood when he heard Dykey say he was coming on as substitute. “Your manager's coming on?” said Whitey, smiling. “Highlight of the night.” He wasn't smiling now. I was stood in front of him when Sam Schwodler started moaning at Veracity's linesman over an offside decision. “What's the point in him doing that?” Whitey asked me. “You're already 6-0 up.”
Paul Dyke and Rich Lodwidge with their heads firmly in the clouds.
After the final whistle he began directing his complaints at Dykey, going so far as to accuse him of getting Joe to cheat. Dykey didn't rise to bait. I followed him off the pitch toward the dressing rooms, calling him by the number eight on the back of his shirt, so we could shake hands. I half expected him to ignore me. He didn't though. We shook and he wished me well for the season, but I could see he was still pissed off.
The signs were there from the start. We were using our Mitre footballs for the game, but when Veracity restarted after our first goal, one of their players hugged the ball into his chest to check the air pressure, shaking his head in disapproval and tossing it to the referee to check. In the second half we'd mysteriously changed to one of their Adidas footballs. It made no difference to the final outcome. Rich Lodwidge scored two in the first half. Dykey later joked that at half-time he'd told Rich he wasn't doing too badly for our worst player on the night. Rich completed his hat-trick in second half, tapping in after Joe Hill had centred from the right. Dan Drinkwater scored emphatically in each half and Joe Hill got one for himself.
Former players Bryn Schwodler and Rich Allan come down to say hello.
It was getting dark when I got outside to the car-park. Whitey had called it a day and drove home. I put the crate of club bottles in the boot of my car. Even in the bad light I knew it was about time I hosed off the mud caked to the crate's base and promised myself I'd do it before the weekend. A handful of us went to the Parsons Collar, a nearby pub that shares a car-park with the Solent Hotel.
The barman apologised to me for taking too long getting my receipt from the chip and pin machine. I doubt he'd had much practise, seeing as other than two customers the place was completely empty. We sat next to a flat screen TV showing Sky Sports News feeding through the latest Carling Cup scores. Hursty was pleased, Davide Somma had put Leeds United one up against Leicester City.
left to right: Ryan Hurst, Sam Hewitt, Jonesy (yellow jersey), Dan Allen.
Along with Jonesy, he'd been to get a tattoo done in Woolston earlier in the day. They rolled up their sleeves, untaped their bandages and showed us their raw inked skin. Hursty had got a Leed United tattoo, with LUFC inked onto his right bicep. Jonesy had seize the day done in Arabic on the underside of his right bicep. He had to drive home half-way through getting it done to get the original Arabic print because the tattoo artist was paranoid about getting it wrong. We didn't stay for a second drink. Leeds lost the game 2-1.
Burridge goals were scored by:
Rich Lodwidge 3
Dan Drinkwater 2
Joe Hill 1
The Burridge 4-4-2 formation:
GK: Ryan Jones
RB: Dan Allen
CB: Sam Hewitt
CB: Ryan Hurst
LB: Mark Sanderson
RM: Rich Lodwidge
CM: Kristian Hewitt
CM: Dan Drinkwater
LM: Mark Reeves
CF: Joe Hill (Paul Dyke)
CF: Sam Schwodler
Burridge kick off their league season on Saturday afternoon against Michelmersh & Timsbury Reserves at Mount Pleasant in Hamble, kick-off: 2:30pm.