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 August 2011

Forward March Halted

Felt like two points dropped yesterday after an opening half an hour where the Magpies were every bit as dominant as in the win over Thurrock but were only able to score once. 
The die was cast in the second minute when a Manny Williams effort from close range hit the post. This was the signal for United to set up camp in the Staines half, gradually ratcheting up the pressure. 
Ex Magpie Louis Wells was able to push a Chris Taylor long shot round the post in the twentieth but cracked in the next wave of attack when he was only able to deflect a Will Hendry effort into the path of Williams who helped the ball over the line to break his duck for the season.
So the afternoon looked set fair for a third successive win for Maidenhead and the chance to erase their negative goal difference, but a soft penalty let the visitors back into the game eleven minutes ahead of the interval. Striker Richard Butler seemed to be going nowhere in the box but once goalkeeper Billy Lumley went to ground, he was presented with the opportunity of an outstretched arm to tumble over, and as was repeated several times on Match of the Day that evening, the referee pointed to the spot. 
Butler got up and converted the spot kick himself with the equaliser changing in the tone of the match, Maidenhead going into their shell and reverting to the virtual 8-0-2 formation which ubiquitous in the Devonshire years. Unlike the previous Saturday at Bromley where two disciplined banks of four had both repelled attack and provided a midfield outlet for respite, Maidenhead seemed to be pinned to the eighteen yard line and it was only the post which stopped Butler giving Staines an unlikely half time lead.
After half time Maidenhead again started strongly but Staines looked equally dangerous on the break so that although Hendry and Bobby Behzadi went close in the dying minutes it was David Wheeler who had the best chance to score in the second half, Lumley standing up well to make the save.
Looking ahead to Monday's trip to Farnborough the wisdom of squad rotation, particularly in the ageing back line in self evident but the lack of a replacement for Daniel Brown's energy and drive in the midfield to compliment the creativity of Hendry and Taylor means Bradley Quamina's return to fitness cannot come quick enough.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

'Rockin Magpies

Maidenhead United's home record over the last 12 months and their all time home record against Purfleet/Thurrock had one thing in common until last night, one solitary league win. The recent home record is well documented and when combined with the annual miserable defeat against the Fleet before a sparse crowd at York Road you could say expectations were low as I walked down to York Road last night. Picking up the team sheet eyebrows were raised at the amount of churn in the starting eleven following Saturday's impressive win at Bromley. Still it was ten years since the nadir of a defeat against a Purfleet team unable to field a goalkeeper and the current Thurrock team had had a rough start to the season after their AGM Cup reprieve.
Hopes were raised after a bright Maidenhead opening which was capped in the twelfth by a goal from Martel Powell.This followed a fierce strike from distance by Daniel Brown which goalkeeper Craig Holloway could only parry to Powell who applied an exquisite finish to curl the ball inside Holloway's left hand post.
Maidenhead continued to dominate and effectively won the game in an exciting two minute spell midway through the first half. In the twenty sixth minute Manny Williams made a strong run down the middle only to be hauled down outside the penalty area. Alex Wall thumped the resulting free kick into the wall, the ball being deflected wide for a corner from which Will Hendry received the ball in the left corner of the box only to be chopped down for a penalty kick. Anthony Thomas scored from the spot then from the restart the Magpies swiftly turned over possession to get on the attack again, Wall making it three when he despatched a loose ball in the box. Two goals in two minutes and Maidenhead out of sight at home for the first time in eighteen months!
A great forty five minutes work was sealed in stoppage time before the interval when Powell picked up a Williams pass to score his second. After the break Thurrock predictably picked up, Brown heading an effort off the line and Billy Lumley saving well from a Dean Cracknell longshot but there was no denying the Magpies three points and a second consecutive clean sheet to balance the disastrous opening four days of the season. Lets hope this heralds the start of a more profitable home record this season.

Monday, 22 August 2011


I had a sad start to the week this morning when I found out Trevor Kingham had died after a long illness. My first meeting with Trevor was a salutary one. It was sometime in the early 90s at a Maidenhead United match. We talked about a Reading game I had recently attended and so next time we met he called me "Royal". On both occasions he made me feel really welcome in his presence and, due to him being on the MUFC committee at the time, by extension welcome at Maidenhead United Football club.
These first encounters told me the sort of person Trevor was, a football supporter. This may seem a simple thing to say but in my eyes its a hard test to pass. Firstly Trevor loved watching football anywhere and everywhere. Secondly, and more importantly, he loved watching football in the company of fellow afficianados whatever their allegiance. Finally, and most importantly, he loved doing anything he could to improve the experience of everyone watching the club.
The last point was self evident by the way he threw himself into the cause at York Road when he arrived about twenty years ago. His detailed account of this time can be found in the five issues of the first ever Maidenhead United fanzine, The Shagging Magpies, which he co-produced with Steve Beard and proudly told me made the top 10 fanzines list (albeit in the Sunday Sport!). The story of the day he went to Millwall to claim some unwanted seats from the Den to install in the main stand at York Road gives a flavour of what must have been hundreds of hours that he spent working to improve the ground. In addition he did anything he could to help the club run better from Youth team secretary to chief steward and, for one day only, cameraman (pictured right).
I got to know him properly during the 1994/95 season which began with the first ever visit of Aldershot to York Road. It meant so much to Trevor to see a four figure crowd watching a Maidenhead home game that he disappeared from his daughter's wedding to catch the action before heading back to the reception. Aside from games I also spent plenty of evenings over the next two years with Trevor helping to produce the match programme on the club photocopier. This included his regular column "Terrace Talk" which was always reproduced in a tiny font as he had so much to say in every issue. These evenings provided a great opportunity to hear some of his tales of the terraces particularly watching QPR and England. I can remember one tall story about QPR fans' innovative use of walking sticks in the late 60s which seemed extraordinary until  I read a northern club's fanzine article recounting a visit to Loftus Road about the very same. Another topic was Euro 92 when he was accompanied by a journalist from 4-4-2 magazine and delighted in showing him things from a fans eye view. Then there was the epic saga of his trip to Italy to see England earn the point to qualify for the 1998 World Cup.
Sometimes I came across tales of Trevor quite unexpectedly. For example one Christmas I opened a present in the form of a history of the English game to see a picture of Trevor being escorted off the Loftus Road pitch by a policeman after leading a pitch invasion during a game as part of a successful protest campaign against the farcical plan to merge the Rs with Fulham. Another time I was in a pub in Bloomsbury after a political meeting and got chatting to someone who used to play for Trevor's Sunday team. He was that kind of guy, well known and well loved by all.
Tartan at Barton
Above all though I remember some great days out at the football with Trevor. The pictures on this page give a flavour of these times, a trip to Bognor (top) when we smuggled him and Chairman Logic into Butlins, Trevor sleeping under his QPR blanket, and a mad day at Barton wearing tartan (pictured right) which took the edge off the first and worst of many Magpie defeats at that strange place.
A football match was always the only excuse required to get away from it all which I found out when Trevor picked up on my Preston North End connection to invite me to join him on a trip to see another club who he spent many hours watching and in this case organising supporter coaches for, Plymouth Argyle. Trevor had lived in Devon for a time and thought nothing of driving down for a Friday night fixture at Home Park.
As the century turned Trevor became a less frequent visitor to York Road and eventually moved abroad. He last returned, all the way from Turkey for our 2007 appearance in the FA Cup first round at Horsham. He hung around for the next home game on the following Tuesday, the last time I saw him.
Early this year, on hearing he was seriously ill I sent him a card and was bowled over to get a reply from his daughter Denise. She told me he still wore two Maidenhead United T shirts with pride, speaking with great fondness about the club and I gladly sent him some Magpie posters to decorate his room.
Perhaps its fitting that he survived through the summer until his beloved QPR kicked off in the top flight of English football again. As for Maidenhead United I can think of no bigger tribute than if anyone says the name "Trevor" those of us of a certain vintage automatically think of Mr Kingham: gentleman, loyal supporter, friend.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Lindos FC

Spotted this ground whilst wandering round the Lindos acropolis. 
What a great location for a ground!

Hayesmazing Lane

Maidenhead have never been the best of starters but two consecutive 4-0 defeats helped to eclipse even the opening month pessimism of 1995 and 2005. Still hope springs etc. and the irrational optimism which places faith in coincidental events left me in no doubt that Hayes Lane, Bromley was the place to be on Saturday. In my seven previous visits to this part of Kent I had seen five Magpie wins and two draws. Coincidence or with recent results in mind had Drax worked out a flawless plan to beat Mark Goldberg's Bromley?
Pre match, soaking up the hopeless consensus of the Tuesday night defeat at Dorchester in the bar, I looked across the pitch and failed to share the stubborn keep calm and carry on nature of the cricketers playing in the teeming rain on the neighbouring cricket pitch, not helped by the big screen showing an all too predictable late collapse by Arsenal in their lunchtime match against Liverpool.
Still having ploughed through crowds of tourists understandably bewildered by the tube shutdowns in central London, and suffered a stale pint of Amstel, it was time to hit the impressive Bromley terraces, steep with just enough cover behind each goal. From the kick off the partnership of Scarborough and Saroya looked solid, and United showed confidence in their forward moves. Chief attacking protagonist was Anthony Thomas who capped a superb first half display with a fantastic individual goal in the ninth minute. Driving forward through the inside right channel he went through the Bromley defence like a knife through butter before applying an accomplished finish to post an early rival to last term's goal of the season by Ashley Nicholls from almost the same spot.
Bar the kneejerk reaction which always follows a goal Bromley had little response to going behind for the first time this season and indeed it was Maidenhead who could have gone into half time further ahead with both Manny Williams and Max Worsfold being denied. Indeed the impressive Bromley centre back Joe Dolan was the key factor in keeping the deficit to one. United also had a good claim for a penalty when a Bromley defender developed a bee like attraction to Alex Wall's yellow shirt grabbing a good handful of it to a total lack of interest from the referee.
After the break the Bromley management almost inspired an immediate comeback when a fierce Orlando Smith strike was parried by debutant goalkeeper Billy Lumley. This set the tone for the second period with Lumley imperious at the back, dealing with any Bromley effort with calm efficiency. With no way through for Bromley, Maidenhead grew in confidence helped by the introduction of Will Hendry for Williams. Hendry, bar his customary petulant caution, clearly relished his role just behind frontman Wall as Bromley became increasingly desperate for an equaliser which four minutes of stoppage time could not facilitate, the final whistle bringing a reward for those Magpie fans who had also made the midweek trip to Dorset.
So six United wins and two draws now at Hayes Lane, I just hope our appalling record at home to Purfrock isn't similarly extended on Tuesday night.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

No Case For the Defence

Bizarre opening day in the Blue Square Bet South with three clubs getting soundly thrashed at home. Unfortunately the Magpies were one of them in a somewhat inevitable defeat after a pre season consisting of nine  wins. So its very much as you were in terms of home form, with York Road providing Tonbridge Angels with their welcome gift of three points. The Angels looked a pretty solid in defence putting in some committed tackles to block the United attacks with a goalkeeper in Lee Worgan more than capable of anything that got through. In attack Tonbridge moved the ball forward swiftly practically going 4-2-4 with effective use of two wide men, the left sided of which Chris Henry turned Leon Solomon inside out to score the opening goal from a tight angle. As the game drew on the ponderous nature of the Maidenhead defence increasingly revealed itself with an embarrassing mix up allowing Jake Beecroft to score the second before the back line stood waiting for an offside flag whilst Jon Main raced clear to make it three. The goal of the game saw Ade Olorunda make it four. All in all an afternoon in which any delusions that the season would be anything but a relegation battle were dispelled. Tuesday night looks like being a real six pointer with opponents Dorchester also going down 4-0 on Saturday. At least I had Mark Smith's excellent new Maidenhead United history to remind me of better times past on the way home. 

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Trams Crash

The Combined Counties League has had rather more publicity than usual this close season due to the innovative election of Guernsey to its ranks and also bucked the trend by starting their league programme a week earlier than the norm. The Channel Islanders are starting in Division One and are expected to progress to the Premier Division where, having seen a couple of good contests last season, I opted to take another look having no interest in pre season friendlies which I am sure carry much weight for coaching staff but denuded of the context of competition have little relevance for a layman like myself. So I left home and crossed the road into Hounslow where I traversed to the other the side of the borough to watch Hanworth Villa take on Croydon.
Hanworth was a West London suburb unknown to me until it became part of my route to see the Magpies play at Hampton and its sleepy nature was reflected by the Rectory Meadow ground being tucked away behind the Village Hall.
Free viewing/entry was seemingly available from the adjacent park but paying £5 not only gave you access to a neat well manicured ground but also provided the opportunity to purchase an excellent programme for a further pound.
Both clubs seem to have gone far in recent years, although in opposite directions. Hanworth are looking forward to their first FA Cup tie later this month, a five year target met by turning a park pitch into an enclosed ground. Two dugouts are the only construction on 3 sides with a woodland path behind one goal. On the clubhouse side there is a 100 seat portable stand (containing turnstiles which I'm sure are soon to be installed) and a small covered metal terrace. There is also a well populated beer garden between the clubhouse and the pitch.
Croydon on the other hand are a club in decline. My initial memory is of an ambitious outfit duking it out with Maidenhead for promotion to the Isthmian League Premier Division. Their nickname was taken from the new Tram system in the borough and the Surrey club seemed to have big spending plans of their own, snapping up Magpie star striker Chuk Agudosi after he sensationally walked out of York Road on the eve of the 1999 County Cup Final. However despite beating United to the Isthmian League Division One title in 2000 the Trams soon went into sharp decline which was hardly surprising given their woeful support.
Indeed the Trams only retained their current status due to an AGM cup reprieve the full details of which I read about prior to kick off in the programme to a soundtrack of the drone of the dual carriageway in the absence of a PA.
The editor quite rightly lamented the way the new Windsor club were given a place in the Premier Division pushing Bookham out. With Villa finishing strongly they must be worried by the threat that their hard work over many years in building a club ready for Senior football might be thwarted by the Royalists who have a reported budget which would make one or two Blue Square Bet South clubs a little envious. Furthermore the protestations in the media that this is a new club ring hollow when they have the same management team and many of the same players that won promotion to the Southern League Premier Division two years ago.
However if Hanworth can show the same purpose and vigour apparent in their opening day display they shouldn't have much to worry about. 
The game began with a contrasting clash of styles, the Villains opting for an up tempo direct approach whilst Croydon adopted a measured passing game. Villa's pressure paid off as early as the seventh minute when Ricky Harden capitalised on a defensive lapse to score from close range.
Croydon continued to sit too deep with early substitute Duane Antonio being a real thorn in their left flank. Lawrie Shennan then scored twice in a minute to put the result beyond doubt midway through the first half.
Although looking likely to be routed at this point Croydon worked hard to get back into the game after the break but a fourth goal in the 63rd minute by Antonio off the post after the keeper failed to collect a cross confirmed the Middlesex club as early season pace setters.

Post Script:
The Maidenhead Advertiser report of Windsor's opening game against South Park gave rise to another blast from the past with former Croydon Keeper James Wastell denying ex Magpie favourite Ryan Ashe a late winner.