The Onion Bag Awards 2017-18

 8th Annual

Onion Bag Awards

2017-18 Season



Quite simply a visit to The Oval , home of Glentoran FC is as good as it gets. The place just wreeks of history . From the moment you turn into Parkgate Drive and the 'Old Lady' comes into view you are immediately spellbound. It feels like you are making a pilgrimage to football mecca.The massive main stand overpowers you and you can literally smell the bygone European night matches as the history simply overpowers you into submission , even when the stand is empty.

The vast open terraces , the large covered stands , the location backing on to the ship building dock yards, the aeroplanes flying scarily close over the main stand to and from the nearby airport.Photos of George Best playing for Glentoran hang proudly in the boardroom , along with many others including the famous european nights , the trophy cabinet etc , a visit to theclub's famous 'Milk Bar' , meeting the locals all make visitng The Oval a very special place to visit , very special indeed.

A visit to The Oval is like visiting 'sporting heaven' - The place just is dripping in history and is a must visit if you want to know what being in heaven feels like !




York Street is clearly built for higher leagues for it is a fantastic football ground. The ground has cover on all four sides with spacious terracing and seated areas.
Boston United were members of the Football League from 2002 until 2007 and are heading in the right direction to return to the former glory days.

The indications are that they will be moving to a new ground on the outskirts of town sooner rather than later. I suggest you try to pay York Street a visit before it is too late , then thank me later !

View all photos from Boston United 

Special mention for : Millhead FC 


Very difficult to pick a 'winner' as almost every club gave a good welcome. Special mention however goes to Ricky Rea , Secretary at Glentoran FC who went above and beyond to make me feel a valued visitor. He even gave me a personal tour of the club , including the boardroom , which was like entering an Aladdin's cave. As Ricky shared some of his stories of the club you could feel his passion for the club he has supported from boy to man covering over 60 years. It was a very memorable experience.

Special Mentions for : Atherton Collieries , Dodworth Miners Welfare, West Didsbury & Chorlton.


 Peterborough Sports: The salty mouthed elder on the gate left a bad taste in the mouth.There was no need for his waspish tirade. It was only due to his age I kept tight lipped. Case closed. However it was an exciting fixture on a dreadful pitch.


Sheffield Assoc Challenge Cup 2nd Round

This match was an end to end classic as both teams went toe to toe. Miners scored midway through the first half, Church equalised within two minutes.      HT 1-1.Then with about twenty minutes left the fireworks really started.Miners went back in front and then like the first half Church quickly equalised to make it 2-2.

Both teams continued to attack and missed plenty of chances. 15 Minutes left Church then counter attacked and scored a great goal to take the lead for the first time 3-2.With time running out Miners equalised to make it 3-3. This was then followed by two misses of the season by both teams. First Miners forward was 6 inches from goal and toe poked it to their goalie , who was lying on the ground. How he failed to score nobody knows. Then amazingly minutes later Church missed a very similar goalden chance much to the utter disbelief to the vocal crowd.

But then seconds later Church snatched a winner. Cue the big pile up of players and coaches in celebration. Miners came back for more to force the game into extra time but sadly just fell short. Both teams were applauded off by everybody in recognition of a pulsating game of football. Brilliant entertainment !

Runner Up
Check-a-Trade Trophy Quarter Final
Lincoln City 4 Peterborough United 2
Both teams attacked from the off in front of a bumper crowd in full voice. Large away support which only added to the occasion. The game could of swung either way until 2 very late Lincoln goals. Brilliant game.


Athersley Recreation 0 Hemsworth MW 0
Usually when watching either of these teams play we are always rewarded with goals and usually plenty of them. But sadly this was just awful. It was a long night and the tempation to leave early was high and levels of endurance was required to stay to the final whistle.


  I always enjoy visiting The Welfare Ground,in the shadows of the transmitting station high up on Emley Moor. But I always save a little room so I can visit the tea hut who always produces delicious fodder. There is plenty of choice available including a homemade 'Emley meat and potato pie' which is my favourite.     The happy ladies behind the counter are also an added bonus ! 

Special Mentions for : Leek Town , Kidsgrove and Ashton United 



Mr Keith Donkin - Frickley Athletic

Keith has been a Frickley stalwart for many years but sadly in the past few days he passed away much to the shock to many people in both football and cricket circles.Anyone who has ever been to a Frickley home game will know, or know of, 'Donks'. He loved his sport, especially the Blues & Barnsley & all things cricket related. He has been the unmistakable 'voice of Frickley' over the years in his role as stadium announcer at the Westfield Lane. If you've ever won the Golden Goal or Half Time draw, then you will have heard his velvet tones. Anyone that met him face to face will have been hit with his favourite question - what is the weight of a cricket ball? (5.75 ounces if you're interested).

Until very recently I shared many away day trips with him. He was always sharing his fantastic stories from yesteryear with me and they always ended with a chuckle and his elbow in my ribs to confirm the punchline.

At Frickley's last home game of the season just 3 weeks ago he retired from his matchday microphone duties where he gave his last public speech to the crowd. As he spoke his voice began to quiver with sadness as he said his farewell.

RIP Keith


The Itinerant Football Watcher
by Peter Miles

Blog link - here
Peter is very well known in non league football circles and where he hasnt been probably isnt worth visiting anyway !.I love to read his overseas adventures (and there are plenty of them) but after doing so his reports always leave me wanting to visit for myself.
Peter also produces some great photo sets from his travels and they can be viewed HERE  
I am sure you will enjoy his work as much as i have. Don't worry, it will be time well spent ! 

Roden Cup Final

Hope Valley League
Roden Cup Final 2018

Stoney Middleton 4 
Buxworth res 4
Buxworth win on penalties
atten 100ca 


The Roden Cup was first played for in 1953-54 when it was won by Tideswell and today Stoney Middleton were attempting a league and cup double having been crowned champions last week. This years final was played in the lovely town of Bakewell. Idyllically situated on the banks of the river Wye, the biggest town in the Peak District National Park's mellow stone buildings, medieval five-arched stone bridge and quaint courtyards are a magnet for painters, photographers and sightseers alike.

The ground is situated in the town centre in a lovely spacious park where the pitch is surrounded by mature Lime trees. Adjoining is the cricket and croquet club. It all makes for a lovely tranquil setting , it was just perfect. The players changed in the cricket pavillion some 75+ yards from the pitch. 

It was a very enjoyable match where the 'underdogs' Buxworth were the better team in the first half but it was Stoney who took the lead. Buggy hit back but just a few minutes later but Stoney scored a jammy deflected goal just before HT 2-1. Second half Buggy hit back with 3 goals to take a 4-2 midway through the 2nd half. With 15 minutes left Stoney started to press forward more and more and made it 3-4 with eight minutes left cheered on by the Stoney fans who with their horn in full voice. The in the 92nd minute they somehow equalised , cue the mini- pitch invasion to join in the players goal celebration. 

As the game was coming to an end the ref actually stopped the game to ask the Stoney captain to go over and ask the Stoney followers to stop making so much noise ! - never seen that before.Buxworth comfortably won the penalty shootout to win the cup. It was a cracking finale to an entertaining match. FT 4-4
the wining penalty
Both finalists were presented with silverware and the runners up's cup was far better/bigger than the winners cup ! 
It was a fantastic visit to Bakewell, lovely town and surroundings, fantastic final, 8 goals and the drama of a penalty shoot out .... it was the cherry on top of the Bakewell Cake !! 


Thurrock FC

Isthmian League - Premier Division
Thurrock 0
Leiston 0
atten 139

View all photos from Thurrock 

Thurrock's ground is virtually situated on the inside lane of the M25 for it is that close. I thought Ship Lane looked fantastic & very well maintained despite the club deciding to fold at the end of the season. Had a lovely chat with the Chairman/Owner who shared his real reasons as to why he has decided to call it a day after 33 years. Its a big shame because its a lovely set up.

Despite no goals it was a very enjoyable game between two fully committed teams. It never let up as both teams went full power for the victory.
Leiston even managed to miss a late penalty but i feel Thurrock definitely deserved something from the game for effort alone.

Lovely big main stand painted in the club's colours. Plenty of covered standing and a ground with a very spacious feel about it.
Full marks to the group of Thurrock fans who made plenty of noise throughout. But sadly their visits to Ship Lane are numbered as their Ship will soon be sailing. Unless they are thrown a 'life-jacket' and a buyer comes in to buy the club ,the club will fold forever. A big shame for it is a lovely club.