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, 4 September 2011


Or as the marker above at Truro station more accurately put it 300 and 3/4 miles from London was the suitably novel journey facing me on non league day. Having made it to the top of the reverse L shape that is England to watch Maidenhead take on Blyth Spartans in the FA Trophy ten years ago, the promotion of Truro City to the Blue Square Bet South had presented the opportunity to travel to the westerly point with a first ever trip to Cornwall for the Magpies.
As I waited for the bus to take me to Paddington I received news of the Magpies that had already arrived in Truro, some by the Friday night sleeper train and as I approached Paddington I recalled the largely successful fortnightly trips to the west country during United's brief and ultimately glorious spell in the Southern League. Just how much further I would be travelling hit home when the train reached Tiverton in under two hours, the only Devon club Maidenhead faced in that promotion season. The lionshare of the journey was still to come with that great achievement of the nationalised railway, the High Speed Train being wasted as it crawled to my destination. Strange to think that this journey was unchanged in my lifetime although a Cornwall fixture would have been impossible without an overnight stop for the first century of organised football, a nice contrast with the previous Saturday's game against Staines, opponents for over a hundred years.
Still I wasn't alone with enough fans on this train to make up a team with those already in Truro. With the stunning coastal scenery between Exeter and Newton Abbot, time passed satisfactorily on a packed train although the grey mist shrouding Dartmoor gave no hope of an Indian Summer's day. Passing over the suitably battleship grey Royal Albert Bridge, the dark clouds deposited drizzle and on arrival in Truro there was nothing to lift the gloom thanks to a dull walk along the ring road to City's Treyew Road ground.
After some welcome pints of Tribute in the cosy clubhouse the approaching kick off lured me outside to a distinctly underwhelming ground that will need plenty of work on it to obtain the grading necessary to stay at this level of football. Clearly money had been spent on an impressive playing surface and the talent to play on it, but what surrounded it was a basic county league ground with a small stand and an almost complete lack of terracing which was particularly annoying as there was none under the only covered standing area. Two sides consisted of temporary seating (uncovered along the side, covered behind the goal) which gave credence to rumours circulating in the bar over a move to push the local authority into building a new stadium for both football and rugby club, a policy which had led to no little controversy surrounding Chairman Kevin Heaney which was augmented by his role in a protracted takeover of Plymouth Argyle. This had led to an internet campaign by Plymouth fans to disrupt the game but this proved to be nothing more than cyberchat, unlike goings on a the previous home game which had led to a seemingly knee jerk draconian ban on Truro Independent Supporters Merchandise being worn in the ground. This explained what proved to be an unnecessary police presence and so everyone was free to focus on the football.
The first half produced little incident but set the pattern for the second period with Truro looking dangerous from set pieces whilst Maidenhead looked most potent attacking down either flank. Some well timed interventions by Leigh Henry helped to stop the former whilst the Magpies couldn't quite conjure up a goal scoring opportunity with the latter.
This all changed within two minutes of the restart when Maidenhead took the lead with a well worked goal. A quickly taken free kick by Will Hendry went short to Bobby Behzadi who found Manny Williams heading for goal. Williams unselfishly laid the ball off to his right into the path of Martel Powell who stunned Truro keeper Tim Sandercombe with a delicate shot which went in at the near post.
This goal sparked a period of Maidenhead domination and they could have gone onto seal the points with Williams again pulling the strings to give Alex Wall the opportunity to strike a fierce shot which was parried by Sandercombe, Daniel Brown's follow up being deflected wide.
Truro then took the initiative, Scott Walker forcing a good save out of Lumley before beating him with a neat   free kick only to see the ball hit the inside of the post. The loose ball fell straight to Barry Hayles to equalise from close range and the points were up for grabs once more.
It was Maidenhead's classy counter attacks pivoting on the fulcrum of star man Williams that still looked most likely to produce a further goal and so it was that after the diminutive striker himself had been denied at close range by Sandercombe, he capitalised on great work from Brown and Powell to feed substitute Anthony Thomas on the left wing. Thomas then cut inside to unleash a shot from just inside the penalty area to beat Sandercombe with a strike worthy of three points.
Thus the final whistle sparked celebrations from the travelling Magpies as the players went off to a well deserved night out on the Cornish Riviera. Wandering back to the station  the day was made complete when my 50/1 treble of wins for Thurrock, Farnborough and Maidenhead was confirmed.
So the perfect non league day. A journey a bit too long to repeat but definitely one worth making yesterday.

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