My two piece navy blue shell suit
I was met at Burridge by Martyn Barnett, who along with several other of our players, had finished putting up the goal nets. He had something to tell me.
“Chris Pye was on his backside,” he said, “it was me who laid on the goal.”
It took me a second to work out what Martyn meant. Then the penny dropped. He was referring to my previous match report, where I'd credited Chris Pye, and not himself for setting up our winning goal against Hedge-End Rangers reserves. Clearly someone was paying attention.
Once again, injuries had trimmed our eighteen man squad down to twelve fit players. Many of us arrived in the new Burridge tracksuits which club manager, Paul Dyke, had bought for just over a £100. I too had worn mine. It's a navy blue two piece shell suit made by Jani, which no doubt alerted the suspicion of the security guard inside Tesco on Burgess Road, when I stopped in for a Lucozade. Back in my car I heard a nasty ripping sound coming from the stitching in the garment's shoulder when I reached over to my glove compartment. Fortunately, no damage appears to have been done.
It's all referee's fault, says referee
I recognised our referee as he arrived in the club car-park and asked him how his pre-season has been going.
“You know what?" He said, “players just don't want to button it. The season hasn't started yet and I've already given four yellow cards and sent a player off.”
There was a slight delay when I asked if he was still enjoying refereeing.
“I dunno,” he said, working a mint around his jaw, “there's too much lip from players these days."
Just when I was ready for him to blame the dissent on a copy-cat culture of the Premier League teams, the conversation took an unexpected development, when he said:
"The thing is, most of it is the fault of referees.”
He was casting a portion of blame in regards to dissent at the door of the refereeing establishment.
“Too many referees don't take charge. Standards have dropped - they really have. If I ever do give up and become an assessor, that's the one question I'll be asking myself: does this referee take charge?”
There was no chance of the referee not taking charge tonight. From my experience, this referee didn't tolerate any dissent whatsoever. I'm always amazed when players chose to ignore this. BTC went down to ten men mid-way through the second-half, when one of their centre-halves talked himself into a red card. As he continued to argue over a penalty decision, I heard him say: “Well fucking send me off then.” The referee obliged, but the centre-half wasn't finished yet. "Know what, Gra? You used to be a good ref."
Given that this player was over the age of thirty-five, (that's the minimum age requirement to play veteran's football), and on first name terms with the referee, it seemed inconceivable he would get himself sent off. Surely he knew what was coming next when he effed and jeffed it out with the man in black. But that's the game sometimes. It doesn't matter how old you are, or how many games you've played - not many of us can look at ourselves in the mirror and say we haven't succumbed to our base instincts at some time or another during play. Kristian Hewitt then scored the first of two second-half penalties. This after Dan Jackson and then Chris Pye had given us a two-nil lead at half-time.
At 2-0, nobody batted an eyelid when Sam Hewitt finished a sequence of possession amongst the back four with a pass back to goalkeeper, Ryan Jones. It was just another day at the office for the stand in centre-back, with an assured and composed performance. But then something freaky happened. His back pass skipped up high off the longish grass and arced over Jones' head. Now Jones had himself a problem. He was under attack from friendly fire and there wasn't a thing he could do about it. He chased after the ball, but ended up with it caught in the net like a prime catch of mackerel. We all stood there in a state of shock. Sam Schwodler broke the silence.
"I'd have been bollocked for doing something like that," he shouted.
He'd taken some fairly loud criticism during the game for getting caught offside, which he seemed to have taken personally. Sam Hewitt stood there trying to detach himself from events of the previous thirty seconds. After the lord mayor's show of the derby games with Hedge-End we had a pretty underwhelming attendance of what I estimated at two: the injured Kev Willsher and Martyn Barnett's girlfriend. So, Sam can count himself lucky that nobody was present to capture the moment on camera and stick it on YouTube. Not all footballers are as lucky as Sam. Remember Wayne Hatswell? He got himself into a real mess here. Match of the Day pundit and former Arsenal full-back, Lee Dixon, didn't cover himself in glory here.
|Sam Hewitt, (in stripes), reflects on his 'friendly fire' on Burridge goalkeeper, Ryan Jones|
Sam's own goal didn't effect the outcome of the game. By time we had a 4-1 lead, BTC were down to ten men. Space and further goals came from Sam Schwodler and Marc Judd, whose cameo appearance up-front resulted in two goals.
Burridge line-up (4-4-2): GK: Ryan Jones, LB: Mark Sanderson, CB: Dave Williams, CB: Sam Hewitt, RB: Mark Reeves, LM: Chris Pye, CM: Martyn Barnett(c), CM: Kristian Hewitt, RM: Dan Jackson, CF: Lee Fielder (Marc Judd), CF: Sam Schwodler.
Burridge kick-off their Southampton League season next Saturday at home to Netley Central.