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.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Too much show not enough business

The BBC's Football League show has come in for some harsh criticism recently in a polemic on its own 606 message board that went viral.
Although the article goes a bit over the top in its denouncing of the show there is an undercurrent of veracity in its tone that should be acted on with regard to the extra bits of dressing that surround the reason we all tune in - the highlights themselves.
Firstly its worth mentioning that the BBC's coverage of the Football League is streets ahead of what was offered on ITV year after year in its Football League Extra programme which tended to show the absolute minimum, basically just the goals with a heavy emphasis on the top division.  However the BBC seems to be trying too hard to differentiate the Football League show from the Match of the Day programme that precedes it. 
MOTD gets it just right with a simple formula of action, post match interviews and studio analysis, that the Football League Show would do well to copy.  Instead it sees it self as some sort of community programming by wasting airtime with viewers comments and the short fat bald goatee phenomenon which is Clem, a man who seems to alienate the manager of every club he visits.  Cut all this show and get down to the business of the football.  There is so much credit to be given by the BBC's commitment to its coverage of every single team to the extent that a blank weekend in the Championship makes no difference to the depth of coverage, it would be a shame if it were ditched due to the parts which were wholly disposable.

Bale Out

Bale mania reached ridiculous heights this week when ITV commentator Peter Drury exclaimed "at last he shows some humanity" after the Welsh winger missed a penalty against Werder Bremen.
Already we've had Richard Keys applying the "better than Bale" test to any player deemed worthy of praise by his co presenters, now Drury seems to be saying he thinks he's either an alien or an unfeeling tyrant!
All disregard the fact that Ryan Giggs might have something to say about Bale being the best left winger in his country let alone the rest of the world.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Choules Rules

One of the minor what ifs of recent Magpie history came during the short reign of Carl Taylor at York Road in 2005.  The former assistant to Alan Devonshire returned as manager with Tony Choules coming in as assistant having previously achieved amazing success at the helm of Northwood.  The season ended in relegation leaving many to ponder what would have happened if the pair had stayed in the roles that had brought them success.
After leaving Maidenhead Choules ended up at Uxbridge where he has been ever since.
This season has been disappointing for the team from Honeycroft but they ensured the dismal weather would impact most on the mood of those favouring black and white stripes on Saturday.  Despite being two divisions below United they thoroughly humbled them, racing into a two goal lead, then after Maidenhead had clawed their way back into the game to level the score, the Reds pulled away again with two more goals, much to the delight of the bench. Maidenhead meanwhile were left pleading to the referee for set pieces such was their inability to fashion the goals their status suggested they merited.
At the other end events were reminiscent of an almost embarrassing trip to Swindon Supermarine in the same competition a few years back when young keeper Nick Hart almost threw the game away only for the Magpies to pull back a 3-1 deficit with only ten minutes on the clock.  This time there was to be no second chance for Dexter Burt.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Our Wayne

Looks like Wayne Rooney might return to action this weekend if only on the bench.  The media is alive with speculation as to what sort of reaction he will get from the crowd.  During the week long drama of his threat to leave and subsequent agreement to an improved contact many United fans expressed a feeling of betrayal that "Our Wayne" might be leaving perhaps for their biggest rivals.  Regardless of the irony that the same sentiments still emanate from Goodison Park about the fact that Rooney only became a United player because he was willing to leave his hometown club for a shed load cash and the prospect of honours its time football fans woke up to the reality that football is a career and therefore footballers will behave in exactly the same way we do at work.  Yes we may enjoy our job but we will always be looking for a better deal/promotion elsewhere.  So time to stop getting sucked in by badge kissing, "dream to play for this club" type statements and instead pass judgement on a players value by how they perform on the pitch, nothing more, nothing less.

Gulls Pipe Down

I'm not an opponent of music at football grounds per se, but for me once the whistle blows for kick off the action  should speak for itself.  If there is a resulting lack of atmosphere then that's down to either what's on offer on the pitch and/or apathy off it.
As the man in charge of the PA at York Road I'm happy to pledge that I will play celebratory goal music over my dead microphone, and I'm no Nick Clegg.
In future I just want to hear Chelsea Dagger by The Fratellis played at the Darts.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Maidenhead back in business

Good to be back at York Road yesterday after an unwanted three week break due to various cup clashes.  Maidenhead followed up their win at Dorchester with a committed hardworking performance to earn a point against a well organised Ebbsfleet outfit.  As with the first day of the season the Kent team looked favourites to win but lacked a quality striker to score more than once.  Attack aside they look quite calm and composed and will certainly give Wimbledon a good game on Thursday night.  For my money Bruce Wilson's equaliser was the best Maidenhead goal I have seen this season whilst Ashley Carew's deft free kick showed how much Ebbsfleet must have missed him at set pieces following his early dismissal at Wimbledon the previous Saturday.  Great to see Will Hendry back in Maidenhead colours, adding much needed creativity in the forward midfield role.  The referee played a key role yesterday, supervising some pre match repairs to a small section of the York Road pitch, then appearing poised to give a penalty for a challenge on Alex Wall before changing his mind.
Depending on their cup fortunes Ebbsfleet look a good outside bet to return to the Premier at the first time of asking, whilst Maidenhead look set to climb back to midtable safety once they catch up with their games in hand.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Blinded By The Light

Much discontent in N5 today as a disciplined Newcastle team conducted a smash and grab raid from the Arsenal.
Always seemed like it was going to be one of those days from the moment I sat down on the tube next to a couple of men, one of whom was taking the other to the game although he confessed to his friend that he didn't really like football and would be giving up his season ticket at the end of the season. This was compounded when I took my seat in the stadium next to a woman who put her head in her hands for the entire game, moaning from the first whistle about the quality of the Gunners' performance. This was in stark contrast to the atmosphere in Shepherds Bush pub The Green the previous evening when I found myself surrounded by a group of Swedish and Norwegian QPR fans sporting beatific smiles fuelled by alcohol and a win which maintained the Rs top spot.
Although Newcastle's accomplishment is to be admired, their win came at the expense of killing the game as an entertainment spectacle. The attritional nature of their play with concomitant timewasting tactics was justifiable in the context of Arsenal's league position but scarcely helps the Premiership's lofty claims for excitement.
The Magpies' win came as a result of their only chance of note at the end of a first half which hitherto had only seen the Gunners look like scoring.
A free kick was launched high into the box and was headed in by Andy Carroll whose run was not only unchecked by the Arsenal defenders but also met by the inferior physical presence of goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski who also had sun to deal with.
After the break Arsenal briefly threatened to equalise before Newcastle's strategy of compacting their defensive unit to allow the Gunners width safe in the knowledge that they could deal with the inevitably aerial crosses that resulted, led to a clean sheet for the Toon and more fully deserved acclaim for manager Chris Hughton.