About Me

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Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom
I'm a director of Maidenhead United Football Club. For ten seasons one of my roles at the club was to produce the match programme. The aim of this blog was to write football related articles for publication in the match programme. In particular I like to write about the representation of football in popular culture, specifically music, film/TV and literature. I also write about matches I attend which generally feature Maidenhead United.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Howay The Mags

The renaissance of Blyth Spartans’ FA Cup ginatkilling form will rekindle memories of Maidenhead’s trip to the North East almost eight years ago.The occasion was the last 32 of the FA Trophy, the furthest the Magpies in the competition to this date and in this case literally the furthest the Magpies have ever travelled to a game ever.The Trophy remains something of a Cinderella competition, lacking the glittering prizes of the Cup but nevertheless providing a real chance of worthwhile glory for the higher echelons of non league football.The 2000-01 season was Maidenhead's first in the Isthmian Premier, and rather like last season, United were struggling to establish themselves after promotion.The Trophy provided something of a distraction from league woes. In the first round old enemies Hampton were summarily despatched 4-1at the Beveree thanks to a superb second half display from the much maligned Lee Channell who after missing a first half penalty went onto hit a second half brace to put United in front before setting up goals for Steve Croxford and Freddie Domingos to secure victory.Next up were Enfield and after two postponement, United prevailed by a single goal from Joe Nartey. Unfortunately the game was marred by a double sending off Andy Morley and Nartey both seeing red with the consequences being felt two rounds later in Northumberland.Round three was played just five days later, with Nartey again proving to be the difference, this time in deepest Essex as he hit a late winner at Braintree after Obi Ulasi had levelled the scores.So the scene was set for a 650 mile round trip to Blyth on Saturday February 3rd, and with some trepidation due to the wintry weather, coaches and hotels were booked for a weekend away.The team left on Friday to stay the night in Newcastle, with the supporters gathering at 6am at York Road to hit the north. A trouble free
journey saw the Magpie fans arrive in good time to have a pre match pint and catch up with fellow fans who had sought alternative means of transport.The teams took to the field in front of a bumper crowd of 902 on a stereotypically icy winter's afternoon in the north east.The Magpie contingent earned their spotters badge early on when a Byker Grove extra informed us that we were Cockney unmentionables and spirits were lifted further when Matt Glynn gave United the lead with a stupendous goal after 21 minutes.The scheming midfielder struck a sweet volley from just outside the box which flew into the top corner, striking the stanchion enroute, giving a glimpse of a talent which promised much but sadly delivered little.Spartans struck back before half time but Maidenhead stuck manfully to the task before the game ended with a tragic denouement which sums up cup football. Four minutes were left on the clock so a draw looked favourite but Maidenhead pressed hard for a second winning a corner. Croxford rose highest to head goalward only for a Spartan to clear off the line and set up a counter attack down the left wing.The cross was too hot for Richie Barnard to handle, the ball falling invitingly for a Blyth player to fire home the winner from close range.So a day that promised much ended in frustrating defeat, but rather than wallow in defeat a strong cohort of Magpies elected to stay over in nearby Whitley Bay. After being given a standing ovation on leaving the Blyth club house the Magpies boarded their coach for the short trip down the coast, time enough for a quick game of room bingo.Then it was out for a night on the town, ignoring the snow blowing in horizontally from the North Sea which ended in a bar hosting the overdue final of Miss G String 2000. One individual got a bit carried away, using his black and white scarf to snare unsuspecting young ladies. To protect the innocent he will only be known as Mr Logic.