Canvey Island

 26th January 2013

Canvey Island 3 v Harrow Borough 0 

Ryman Premier League
Gate: £10
Atten: 304 
Food Drink: Coffee £1 Choc bar 80p 
Pre Match Meal: I had a Mega No 1 - with extra Bubble ! at the Blue Cafe in Town. 
Ground: A lovely ground situated just yards from the coast. Very friendly and colourful. It was simply wonderful.8/10
Match Enjoyment:  not the best first half, but the second was most enjoyable with some cracking goals. The boys in yellow fully deserved the win.7/10

 View all photos from Canvey Island (52) 
 Match Report from Club Website

The Signs were there !

 Even for a ground hopper the best plans can be ruined by the weather. If truth be told a trip to the Essex coast was not my first choice today but in a twist of fate, that's where i ended up and i was very happy i did, because i had a great day in this unique little part of England.The Dutch are famous in these parts as well.  Not only did they invade a few times, sailing their armada up the Thames and occasionally coming ashore on the party islands of Grain, Sheppey and Canvey but they also helped build the original sea defences. The townsfolk were so impressed they adopted all things Dutch except for Schteeeve Maclaren ! aka the wally with the brolly !
The Mega No1 - what a beauty !

The words 'straight forward' and 'Dartford Tunnel' are not normally used in the same sentence but today they most definately were which helped Linda no end and it made for a pleasant journey in the winter sunshine. Listening to radio 5live and all the traffic and snow problems in the north made our journey even more fun. We arrived in beautiful warm sunshine and in plenty of time for our pre match meal at the Blue Cafe in the town. Now today i was set a challenge by ordering a Mega No 1with extra bubble , just the name had provoked my curiosity. After i polished of that 'bad boy' it was time to set off for the ground albeit with a struggle trying to stomach a Mega No1 !.
The prospects of a good day out were already in progress so i had to to go to the positively named, Prospects Stadium home of Canvey Island FC

Home is where the heart is !
The Canvey Monster ?
The ground is situated literally yards from the Thames Esturay with the North Sea a little further out and lying only just above sea level. When i was in the Blue Cafe i was told about the Canvey Island Monster, which is the name given to an unusual creature whose carcass washed up on the shores of the Island in the 1950's, so out of curiosity off i went down the sea shore whilst walking off my mega no 1 in search of this mythical beast !

 I must say that already at this early stage, The Staff who were on the turnstiles get my vote as 'Most friendly welcome' they were were excellent full of genuine smiles and stories until you mentioned the team Concord FC and then the conversation nose dived, never took off and came to a crash landing ! (if you pardon the pun !). As the chap on the gate admitted they were well and truly turned over by their fierce neighbours recently his head and voice visibly lowered in shame, but never the less to me quite amusing !.

 As you enter the ground you immediately notice the 'Sea Level' sign. I asked myself will Harrow Borough be 'out of their depth' today and could the locals even 'fathom' defeat ? only time will tell. As i walked round i noticed a memorial wall , dedicated to loyal and valued fans who had sadly passed away. What a lovely touch this was by the club. I was fortunate to get chatting to a lifelong fan Mickey who told me every story behind every plaque. The old boy had kept me enthralled for a long time and he was quite clearly as passionate about 'his team' as the people whom he was describing.

The first half was an average affair at best, with Harrow possibly having the better opportunities to score. Canvey had a genuine penalty appeal turned down for hand ball, this then lead to the most outrageous reaction i had ever seen from a home steward. He was so upset he cursed so loudly, kicked the railings, and yanked his dogs lead up so high that the little jack russell flew two feet into the air before landing on all fours- quite extraordinary !

Now the second was far better and on the hour the Canvey No9 hit a cracking goal , touch, turn, pivot, smack, top corner. What a corker ! then from there, Harrow's defences were broken and wave after wave of attacks from the Seasiders and two more goals followed. The Londoners were sunk with no life jacket.

As i was walking round and enjoying the surroundings and a cup of coffee and totally relaxed ,a local chap decked out in yellow and blue,started chatting, "what you wearing a West 'aam scarf for ?" I knew this was West Ham country so i did not give it much thought earlier that morning. "You wanna wear yellow" he continued and then out of nowhere he then started bombarding me with Essex Jokes, they were funny to begin with, only out of courtesy i chuckled at his punch line delivery. But when it reached twenty the hilarity began to erode.
The only Essex joke i remembered from the comedian was...  Paramedic attending an Essex girl lying in the road after a serious car crash "where you bleedin' from"? enquired the paramedic ...  "Romford" she replies
 It was like having my own stand up routine in front of me, but the problem was, i just wanted a peaceful day out and the chap would not stop in his comedic bombardment. He just did not realise that , I just wanted to wear the scarf and watch the game !

I'm still standing !


Sutton Utd

12th January 2013
Sutton Utd 0 v Wrexham 5

FA Trophy 3rd Round
Gate: £12
Atten: 755
Food Drink: Hot Dog £2.20 Coffee £1

View all photos from Sutton (54)

It was an eventful start to the day as Princess  was in a particularly playful mood as it was her birthday and her presents had to be good ones. Linda was in a stubborn mood as the weather was very poor and the preferred to stay in the warmth of her garage. After some persuasion Linda finally accepted that we were going to a match what ever the weather. Little did i know Linda got her own back when the post code i had pumped into my little darling led me a mile away from the ground at least. The little brown sign was not the easiest to find, much to Linda's amusement.

Sutton's claim to fame in recent times was their famous FA Cup 3rd Round victory in 1989 which attracted a bumper crowd of around 8000. I can still remember watching that game on tv and noticing the pack terraces.Although the biggest crowd ever was  14,000 Vs. Leeds United, FA Cup 4th Round, 24th January 1970.I suppose those numbers will never be reached again with todays health and safety mentality. A casing point , as todays game was in serious doubt until 13.50pm. The culprit being and area of the pitch which had been sanded due to an overflow from a waterspring and had become a little boggy. The rest of the pitch looked excellent. After nearly an hour after the Wrexham management had arrived was the game called on. Both clubs wanted the game to be played and finally their wish was granted. Fortunately a possible jobsworth ref was persuaded otherwise. To be fair the ref did have a very good performance when the match was played.
I was determined to get a pic of the inside even if it was called off !
Ground: 7/10
A unique ground in someways due to its shape and size and openess.The running track is now long gone but its earlier presence is still quite evident by the curvature of the perimeter fence, which remains set back a little way from the playing area. The ground is dominated by the large grandstand which when opened in 1953 at a cost of £3,000 in time for the Coronation, seated just over 1,000 spectators. It could be fair to say that some of the facilities need updating, such as a small lounge/bar to congregate before kick off and at half-time over the far side as the tea hut took a battering. Maybe for league games this is never a problem. The Club shop is excellent and is manned by some very helpful, enthusoastic volunteers. I was given a very nice welcome by the Chairman, Mr Elliot who's passion for the club was written all over his face. I loved the main stand, it reminded of my Gran , seen better days yet still had warmth and a feeling of love once within its company.
Club Shop
Match Enjoyment: 6/10
Apart from a 15 minute spell midway through the first half , Wrexham were always in control.
Their first goal was a little fortunate but then they took over and 13 minutes later were 4 goals up.
The game was over as a contest by half time as the Dragon's fire  had extinguished anything Sutton could muster. There were no 'leeks' in these Welsh boys and they made Sutton look like Mutton and very sheepish. They gave them a clinic in finishing.

Rusthall FC

5th January 2013
Rusthall FC 0 v 0 Bridon Ropes

Kent Invicta League
Gate: £4 (incl colour prog)
Atten: 36

View all Photos from Rusthall (25)

Jockey Farm is the home of Rusthall FC - A lovely rural setting in the Kent Countryside ,a few miles outside of Tunbridge Wells.A quirky main stand which you must drive through ! in order to get to the car park - never seen that before.Backs on to a local farm , very peaceful environment. Rusthall itself is a charming village which still relies on its independant retailers 6/10

Where Linda took me !
I knew something was wrong !

Match Enjoyment: The runners and riders at Jockey Farm , where the going was officially soft (heavy in places !).gave their all in this energetic long distance race . It ended in a dead-heat and photo finnish Bridon Ropes nearly tied themselves in a knot with some dodgy defending and nearly hung themselves.Rusthall nearly fell at the first fence when Bridon hit the inside of the post. But all in all neither of them showed any pedigree or stamina and they both weakend in the final furlong (last ten minutes) and neither of them could pass the winning post.
Both teams gave it their best crack of the whip. 5/10
This was my first 0-0 since November 2010 - Burscough v Colwyn Bay. My day started at the A* Cafe , but skill wise ,this match was more like a C-minus !

sliding tackle !
lovely rural location

Billericay Town

1st January 2013
Billericay Town 0 v Chelmsford City 1

Conf South Division
Gate: £12
Atten: 1,211 (Bumper crowd for local Essex derby, nearly 3 times the average gate)

Ground: 8/10 The random nature of the stands and buildings around the ground only add to its charm. The main ground improvements of the past are due to their superb three FA Vase successes in the mid-late70's. Made more enjoyable by Chelmsford who came in large numbers.
The main stand aka The Cow Shed is an interesting structure.
Billericay have a great rivalry with Chelmsford City others include fellow Essex club Canvey Island. Locally there was a competitive rivalry with Basildon United but as the two clubs haven't played at the same level for around 30 years this rivalry is largely forgotten.

Match Enjoyment: 6/10  At times this Essex derby was more 'scream' than 'ream' as both teams cancelled each other out. But as the game grew older, vintage claret came out and the goal nabber Slabber took his goal well.But the 'Shoe Army' never lost their Soul or should that be sole. !
Food and Drink: 2/10 The queues for the tea hut were very long and then the electrics went. The bar was jam packed and difficult to get served or even move ! But not to worry as i had a big brunch in town.

View all Photos from Billericay (48)

It was a beautiful New Years day morning. The air was crisp and fresh and the sun was wonderful as i made my way on the M25 and Dartford Tunnel virtually hassle free.
They say The Only way is Essex, so here is my chance to see.
maybe some "ARGie" bargy ? ...well jel ?
After my tasty brunch at  The Blue Boar in town and a walk around, which was very pleasant.I arrived at The New Lodge, home of Billericay Town FC to a very friendly welcome in anticipation of a cracking ,feisty Essex Derby. The "Shoe Army" v The Clarets.

According to the locals the foundation of the nickname "The Shoe Army" stems back from an away visit to Margate FC. During an important game 'Ricay had scored and the fans were banging on the advertising boards with their hands admist their euphoria. However the security at "Stalag Margate" told them in no uncertain terms "do not bang the ad boards with your hands" so instead the 'ricay fans proceeded to remove their shoes and use them as technically it was no longer their hands !. (please note another endearing story of the people of Margit !) and so the name has stuck to this very day.

The Clarets came in their large numbers

A visit to The New lodge comes highly recommended to any football enthusiast.