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, 29 October 2017


23 Seasons watching Maidenhead United
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Part 8: 2001-02
Management 023.jpgAfter several seasons of non stop excitement and achievement it was somewhat inevitable that something of a fallow season was due. Thanks to the self aggrandising move by the Isthmian League hierarchy to expand the divisions to 24 clubs to accommodate more clubs in 2002-03, the 2001-02 season had a feeling of marking time.  With only one club promoted and one relegated, it wasn’t long before the Magpies and many other clubs in the Premier Division knew they would be neither and so the league season lacked a competitive edge.
This meant the knockout competitions had a higher profile, and having gone without silverware in 2000/01 for the first time in his York Road managerial career, Alan Devonshire was certain to put that right.
The squad continued to improve with the signings of right back Andy Rose and midfielder Paul Kelly, whilst striking options were widened with the addition of Ricky Ibe and Paul Scott.  As the season drew on further enhancements were made with the signings of centre back Orlando Jeffrey, hard man midfielder Jamie Jarvis and creative youngster Rod Saunders.
The season began in the same way as the last one with a comfortable win by a three goal margin over Harrow Borough, this time at Earlsmead. By the end of August these remained the only points gained, with a further blow to progress coming when a broken leg at St. Albans ended the season for inspirational midfielder Matt Glynn.
However one month later by the time the Cups started, fifteen points were in the bag when a super volley from Barry Rake secured a 2-0 win at Enfield who were ground sharing at Boreham Wood.
The FA Cup saw United pull possibly the toughest draw out of the hat in the shape of Aldershot Town. The problems at the previous season’s league match meant Thames Valley Police decided to treat the match as training exercise, the unusual sight of police horses trotting up and down York Road sticking in the memory as a late Ibe equaliser took the tie to a replay which was won comfortably by the Shots.
The Magpies fared a little better in the FA Trophy, winning at the League’s fastest rising club Northwood, with the day dominated by speculation that Wood’s star striker Lawrence Yaku would be joining United the following summer. Interest in the competition was ended by a defeat in the next round at home to Hendon.
In between the two ties, Jarvis had arrived at the club and made an instant impact on home debut against Sutton. A combative player in the mould of Vinnie Jones, Jarvis barely lasted ten minutes of his York Road bow, seeing red after running half the length of the pitch to floor a Sutton attacker who had clashed with United keeper Richie Barnard.
A Lee “Porno” Channell hat trick at Hungerford meant the first stage of the League Cup was comfortably negotiated, only to fall at the next hurdle, losing 5-3 at Hampton just before Christmas.
December also saw my personal final “home” game as I left Maidenhead to move up to London, where I still live sixteen years later.
At the turn of the year Gravesend & Northfleet and Canvey Island were already well ahead of the chasing pack meaning there would be a two horse race for the title, with Maidenhead coasting in mid table with Croydon already looked marooned in the one relegation spot.
With their Premier Division status all but assured, United embarked on a run of ten defeats in twelve matches from February, the start of the run coinciding with the departure of club captain Tim Cook for Chesham.
Aided by the arrival of the internet message board, the run sparked a period of introspection at the club, with supporters airing criticisms of the team’s rigid 5-3-2 playing style, a sense of ennui enveloping York Road which would remain for the next year, as having achieved so much in a short period, the club searched for its next challenge.
This feeling was not helped when Cook returned to York Road with Chesham in April taking all three points in a resounding 4-0 win, crowds falling by 21%  by the season’s end. This brought with it two wins to ensure Maidenhead maintained their sixteenth final placing  of the previous season, with once again a County Cup Final to look forward to.
jarvis Goal v Slough 19.03.02.jpgThis had been reached thanks to a straightforward win over Flackwell Heath in the quarter-final, and a terrific 3-2 win over Slough in a thrilling semi-final at York Road.
Midway through the second half, goals from Channell, Ibe and Jarvis (pictured right celebrating) looked to have returned the Magpies to the final once more, but with all hope seemingly lost, Slough somehow revived, scoring twice then pushing United all the way to final whistle.
The final itself was played at Wycombe against holders Chesham United, and ended in a goalless draw. A fact that somewhat helped my mood having missed the match thanks to being bumped off a flight home from Barcelona. Maidenhead regained the Cup thanks to a 4-2 win in a penalty shoot out, to ensure that once again Alan Devonshire had put silverware in the United boardroom.  
With thanks to Mark Smith’s book One For Sorrow Two For Joy for the statistical content of this series.
To read more about this season visit www.mufcheritage.com

Sunday, 1 October 2017


23 Seasons watching Maidenhead United
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Part 7: 2000-01
Life in the Isthmian Premier Division seemed a piece of cake for the newly promoted Magpies as they trounced Harrow Borough 4-1 on a sunny opening day of the season at York Road. The loss of striker Chuk Agudosi to Croydon and goalkeeper Garath Ormshaw to retirement was shrugged off as debutants defender Andy Morley and midfielder Matty Glynn started their Maidenhead career with a goal.
A third summer signing, Richard Barnard, proved to be a more than adequate replacement for Ormshaw but it took eight matches for him to keep a clean sheet as United struggled to adjust to playing at a higher level.
Only three days after their opening day triumph, the Magpies were taught a footballing lesson at Billericay, one of four consecutive defeats before fellow strugglers Dulwich Hamlet were beaten by the odd goal in five, the highlight being  a trademark strike from distance by Billy Cove.
A second win on the road in September at Croydon was much enjoyed. Not only as another defeat of the previous season’s champions but also as a first clean sheet shutting out Agudosi.
However this win barely stopped the rot. A cup tie at Hitchin which saw a goal from substitute Lee Channell, ended in acrimony with assistant manager Carl Taylor upbraiding fans for their lack of support for the striker who had replaced Agudosi. Hitchin were beaten on penalties in the replay at York Road which set up a somewhat exotic trip to Nottinghamshire in the next round which ended in defeat at Hucknall.
By the time Christmas had arrived there were just two more wins, one in the FA Trophy at Hampton and three points earned at home to Basingstoke, but the tide turned with a Boxing Day derby win over Slough. Despite the freezing conditions, there was an electric atmosphere at York Road with an Obi Ulasi goal the difference between the two teams.
Seasonal weather looked likely to halt the revival but a sterling effort by HItchin supporters to clear the Top Field pitch of snow four days later, allowed the Magpies to claim another three points. A week later I joined in the operation to make the York Road pitch playable for the visit of Aldershot, the title favourites being trounced 3-0 in front of a season’s best crowd of 1,213, the win capped by an absolutely stunning individual goal by Adrian Allen.
Having made some headway in the fight against relegation, United were entitled to be distracted by the FA Trophy, two wins in a week over Enfield and Braintree setting up an unforgettable trip to Blyth Spartans. Matt Glynn’s early goal at Croft Park was worthy of winning the tie, but Spartans prevailed with a late winner, leaving the supporters to enjoy the delights of Whitley Bay, later that evening.
Progress was also made in the County Cup as Slough left York Road with nothing again, followed by Reading and Windsor to see the Magpies reach the final once more. Whether this would be a consolation prize following relegation, or a party to celebrate staying up remained in the balance with the wet winter combining with cup runs to create the by now traditional fixture backlog.
Twelve matches were still to be played with twenty six days of the season remaining, with the league firm in their insistence that the full programme be completed by May 5th. This left the threat that the final day might see some teams play twice but the results were such that this was not necessary leaving a curious final table with four clubs short of the 42 game mark.
The outlook was starting to look bleak  for the Magpies when they lost the Easter Monday return derby against fellow strugglers Slough. Another defeat at eventual runners up Canvey Island two days later meant just four points had been earned from five fixtures in April with the following weekend bringing two games over the two days.
The first at home to Purfleet provided the ideal opportunity to for a much needed win, as the opposition were so short of personnel that they had to put an outfield player in goal for the whole match. Maidenhead were unable to take advantage though and lost 2-1. Only 24 hours later, hopes rose with a hard fought 1-0 win at Gravesend & Northfleet. Reading loan striker Nathan Tyson giving the Magpies an early lead which they hung onto.
Completing the double over bottom markers Dulwich set up a match on the final Tuesday of the season against Carshalton, who were also battling to stay up. Two goals from Glynn made sure that yet again Maidenhead fans were celebrating at York Road in May as the three points meant the Magpies had made it into a second season in the Isthmian League Premier Division. Carshalton were relegated alongside Dulwich and Slough, although the Rebels Wexham Park curse over the Magpies held good to the end, as United lost the Berks & Bucks Cup Final to Chesham in their last appearance at the ground.
With thanks to Mark Smith’s book One For Sorrow Two For Joy for the statistical content of this series.

To read more about this season visit www.mufcheritage.com