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, 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.

1 comment:

Lenny Baryea said...

Good spot re Phil Mitchell-lookalike James Wastell in the Advertiser!

He was a top keeper back in the day, probably still is.