Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's Eve playlist

As usual I've made a mix for New Year's Eve and here it is. This time available on Spotify. It's going to be the year of the Tiger and they have this beer on in the Minster at the moment (pub not the actual Minster), so I dare say I will see the New Year in with a few pints of it.
Fluke – Atom Bomb
Deadmau5 – Strobe
The Chap – I Got Flattened By a Pig Farmer
Hot Chip – Shake A Fist
New Order – Confusion
A Certain Ratio – The Big E
Friendly Fires – Paris
Kraftwerk – Musique Non Stop
LCD Soundsystem – Daft Punk Is Playing At My House
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll
Mexican Institute Of Sound – Dub-A El Tiempo Es Muy Largo
Booka Shade – Outskirts
Fever Ray – Keep The Streets Empty For Me
Little Boots – Stuck On Repeat
Ellen Allien – Einsteigen
Apparat – Can't Computerize It
Future Prophecies – Thunder & Lightning
Burial – Unite
No Bra – Super Subway Comedian
Mouse On Mars – Wipe That Sound
Passion Pit – I've Got Your Number
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Love Burns
The Smiths – Shoplifters Of The World Unite
Stereolab – French Disko - 2006 Remastered Single Version
Pavement – Gold Soundz
Paramore – That's What You Get
Franz Ferdinand – Do You Want To
Manic Street Preachers – You Love Us
The Russian Futurists – Our Pen's Out Of Ink
Cornershop – Born Disco: Died Heavy Metal
Blur – Song 2
The Chameleons – Perfume Garden
Junior Boys – Parallel Lines
The Stone Roses – One Love - Full Length - Remastered
Luciano Pavarotti – Son Salvo - I Puritani
Editors – Bullets - Single Version
Future Of The Left – Fuck The Countryside Alliance
M83 – Violet Tree
David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust
The Wedding Present – Kennedy

Monday, December 28, 2009

End of year round up

This year saw me see go to 41 games the vast majority of which were at the Unwin Ground in Ely. Unlike last year where there were plenty of foreign football trips to some of the more obscure outposts of Eatern Europe, this year all of my football was concentrated in England and more often than not Eastern England. In the Premier League I visited Villa Park and Craven Cottage, the only other league ground being Peterborough's London Road. The second most visited ground after the Unwin was Cambridge United's Abbey Stadium. The other grounds were all non league and included Julius Martin Lane (Soham Town Rangers), Milton Road (Cambridge City), The Walks (home of the hopefully temporarily defunct King's Lynn), The Nest in Outwell (home of Outwell Swifts, but at the moment being used by Wisbech), and a couple of trips to Sherbourne Stadium home of Newmarket Town.

Highlights of January were Cambridge United beating Woking 4-1 with Rodders in attendance on what was a bitterly freezing day and Ely City finally dispensing of Great Shelford in the Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup.

Febraury was pretty much devoid of football as the weather was bloody awful and the only match was fortunately one of Ely's best performances that I have seen as they dispensed of Soham Town Rangers , 3-2 away in the Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup Quarter Finals.

March saw a lot more football being played and there were some memorable days out, Macca came up for Cambridge United's game against Burton Albion and although the Brewers lost 2-0, it was a great day out for all, and although it hailed the start of Burton's attempts to blow automatic promotion, they finally managed it at the end of the season, although unfortuantely to the expense of Cambridge who almost caught them. Other highlights included a first trip to Newmarket Town where they beat Fakenham Town 3-1 and an away win for Ely at King's Lynn

April was a disappointing match as all the games involved Ely losing the only game of any not was when the rserves lost 4-2 to Great Shelford.

In May I finally got to see Aston Villa, however the lads were knackered and they went down 3-1 to Fulham, but a good day was had by all.

July saw a few friendlies, but the most impressive was the Villa kids beating Peterborough 3-0 at London Road, although Ely's Doug Unwin memorial game against Soham, which Soham eventually won on penalties was an enjoyable evening despite the result and quality of football.

The start of more competetive football in August wasn't too great, although a trip to Villa to see them beat Fiorentina 1-0 with a goal from Emile Heskey was a bit of a treat and Cambridge United's 3-0 victory over Gateshead in the Conference came as a welcome restbite from the dreadful football Ely were playing. The matches at Villa Park and the Abbey were also Sean's first trips to Villa Park and the Abbey respectively.

Highlights of September were Villa's victory over Portsmouth and a goal fest at the Unwin where Ely overcame Diss Town 5-4 after extra time in the Vase. The poor old Diss striker got booked for scoring his team and his own 4th goal to put Diss ahead, but it was all in vain.

October was a disappointing month, although we started off dreaming of Wembley when Ely beat Eynesbury Rovers in a great game which ended 3-2 at the Unwin. The other highlight was when the reserves beat Lakenheath 4-3, with Lakenheath bringing a surprising number of fans for a club at this level, and despite the pressure they put on the linesman he had the last laugh ruling out a last minute equaliser for offside.

Highlight of November was Cambridge's game against Kettering, which Cambridge unfortunately lost 2-0, but marked Mark Cooper's last game at the Poppies before he went on to manage Peterborough.

December was a snowy and quiet month with the highlight being Villa's 3-0 victory over Hull City in a very convincing win.


The year started off with what was going to be a pattern for the rest of the year with Ely losing 1-0 to CRC, unfortunately compared with recent games against CRC this was a respectable result for the Robins.

The weather and lack of football was the lowlight of February.

March saw Ely visit Cambridge City and for the second year running they have achieved the award for arseholes of the year. Firstly the stewards pissed Mick off then the same obnoxious fans as last year pissed me off. This was topped off by some of the worst weather possible at a football game and Cambridge winning thanks to a Ben Lawrenson own goal, although you would have thought that they were Brazil the way they were acting. Hopefully I will never go to this shitehole ever again. A 6-1 defeat at Wisbech would have been low point, but we had a good evening and having to placate Nige was a laugh, so we won't dwell on that!

In April Ely's loss against local rivals Mildenhall Town was ludicrous with some of the craziest refereeing ever ruining the game that Mildenhall eventually won 4-2. That said we have seen some more ludicrous refereeing since and the way that Ely have no control of discipline is never going to endear them to visiting officials.

There were no lowlights in May and no football in June and July wasn't too bad apart from Ely not doing their confidence levels too much good with a 6-1 defeat at home to Bury Town in preseason.

August saw some pretty poor results for Ely, but losing to Wisbech 1-0 in the FA Cup was an especially low point, as I was having to control Sean and I didn't see much of the match, and I am getting a bit sick of losing to Wisbech.

For some reason Ely never finish a mid week home tie in cup competitions off in normal time and this can be frustrating on a work night. Therefore, the low point of September was actually an Ely victory. They took King's Lynn Reserves to extra time in the League Cup, but it was cold, Mick was off with flu and I couldn't be arsed to stay for the penalties, as Ely had again snatched a draw from the jaws of victory. I'm not proud of myself, but I legged it and missed an Ely victory on penalties.

October saw some dreadful football, but Ely losing to CRC 5-1 in the Cambridgeshire Cup (which was a welcome distraction last season) and then a 4-1 loss to them in the league also at home were incidents that were particularly hard to swallow.

The football in November and December has been / was good, with the only lowlight being snow ruining the potential for some Boxing Day football.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing day blues

Well it's been a cold and snowy Christmas period. I had toyed with the idea of going to Port Vale v Burton today, but was put off after a few public transport problems in Stoke over the last week.

The weather has improved here, but Rocester's game against Biddulph was still called off, so here I am without a match to go to on what is probably the most boring day of the year.

It looks like the Villa v Hull game on 12 December was the last game of the year.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sad news about Kings Lynn

Kings Lynn have unfortunately gone out of business and this seems to mean that their reserves will also fold, despite rumours earlier in the week that the reserves might take the place of the first team.

It's a shame as Kings Lynn has got a decent history of football, in fact I think if my memory serves me that it was the first town to have a newspaper dedicated to football.

The Walks where they played their home games for many years will be sorely missed, although I presume some bastard developers have had their eyes on it for a while.

Let's hope something can be done, I've also heard that the bloke who runs the speedway is interested in doing something with football, but we'll have to wait and see.

Another Ely win

It's not often that I get to write 'another Ely win' at the top of the post, although to be honest they made a hash of the Vase game at St.Ives on Saturday and lost 3-0, but I was at Villa and it wasn't the league.

On Tuesday night the Robins played Newmarket in a game that was previously a draw, but was replayed after Ely had been found to have an illegible player on the pitch, and ironically it was Ely who prospered with Newmarket now losing a point from the fixture and Ely gaining 2.

Ely started off brightly and had a number of the opening chances with Newmarket being hemmed in at the back, however we feared that Ely could be hit on the break and that is exactly what happened, and on 43 minutes after a very bright start for Ely, Stephen Bell made it 1-0 to Newmarket, which was another ironical twist and one that we predicted. He'd played for Ely up until recently and quite often for the reserves, he was a player I thought deserved more of a chance, he obviously did too as he adsconded to Newmarket. If it was any consilation at least the goal was a deflectio, but that's how it finished at half time 1-0 to Newmarket.

The second half got off to a better start though as on 47 minutes Robbie Mason made up for getting booked for swearing at the linesman (despite the ground being covered by signs saying to keep the bad language out of football) by scoring a superb ball that went into the top corner and gave the goalkeeper no chance.

It was to be a short lived victory though as Jamie Lane went down the other end straight from the kick off and levelled things up for the jockies.

Again Ely put the pressure on, but despite having 3 out and out attackers on the pitch in Impey, Mason and Fielding they never looked like scoring. However, in the end Newmarket must have felt that justice had to be done and obliged with an own goal on 76 minutes. It seemed to provide the catalyst Ely needed as 3 minutes later Scott Fielding scored a very nice goal to put Ely in the lead for the first time. What followed was a squeaky bum of a quarter of an hour, but in the end Ely ran out 3-2 winners.

Monday, December 7, 2009

William Mc.Gregor statue

I had to steal this picture from the Birmingham Mail and it just shows a minature version of the ststue that has recently appeared outside Villa park at the corner where the Trinity Stand meets the North Stand, so more about this later.

One way traffic

On Saturday I was up at Villa park for the clash between Villa and Hull. I can't get up there that often, so I had originally pencilled in the Hull match as one of those that Villa should win. However, Hull have hit form over the last few weeks and as Villa seem to struggle against the teams that they'd be expected to beat it was a calculated gamble.

Fortunately Hull must have read my mind and didn't put up much of a fight at all. Villa had most of the play and Hull didn't get a shot on goal even though the referee seemed intent on taking the names of all the Villa players and turning a blind eye to infringements by Hull players, it was still a bit too easy for the Villa. Richard Dunne put Villa ahead with a shot that looked like he was imaganing the ball was Thierry Henry's head. Then on 28 minutes James Milner who was again on fire (Gareth who?) took the opportunity when Myhill came out to clear the ball for a throw in. Sidwell who wasn't playing reacted quickly, Luke Young took a throw in and Milner managed to lob the keeper while he was still trying to get back to his goal line.

Milner and the Villa midfield as a whole played well and the defence managed to cut out what few attacks Hull had, but Villa still look like they need a natural goal scorer. Agbonlahor is great, but he isn't a poacher, Heskey just isn't right for the team and John Carew, you've got to love him, but he isn't exactly mr.Consistant. In fact Villa with a reliable scorer would have been 5-0 up at half time. Instead they had to wait until John Carew came off the bench for the lacklustre Heskey to get another goal on 87 minutes, and that was a penalty. Young was brought down in the box and he wanted to take the penalty, as did Milner, but Carew wanted it and who would be daft enough to get in an arguement with him. So that's how it finished 3-0 in what was an easy victory.

Pictures: Richard Dunne celebrates his goal
Zayette for once doesn't bring Gabby down

Monday, November 30, 2009

A purple patch

Well, Ely City have had a few good results of late. I missed a couple of games, when I went to Cambridge United v Kettering and then the weekend after when I was in Poznan, but the Robins carried on with their good form on Saturday.

Things got off to a flyer against Norwich United when Chadwick fired the ball home from inside a crowded box to put the Robins 1-0 up on 7 minutes. Ely could have and should have extended this lead with Grant Robbins and Chadders again coming close in the 10 minutes that followed. The Ely forwards looked a bit makeshift with Grant Robbins and Scott Fielding stepping in for a suspended Robbie Mason ( no surprises there we have a sweepstake on how many cards he will pick up this season) and an awol and not sorely missed Nick Impey, but after 40 minutes they realistically have had 4 goals. For once the midfield looked solid and with Big Ben Lawrence making his come back Ely looked a bit more solid in defence.

However, as often happens Ely decided to implode. On 42 minutes the Planters planted a goal in Ely's net and then on the stroke of half time Ely were penalised for sloppy back pass that for some reason Lee Pacey in the Ely goal decided to catch. Norwich didn't score directly from it, but made the most of the ensuing mele in the penalty area to go 2-1 up.

The second half was all Ely though and on 60 minutes Grant Robbins equalised from the spot. He then gave Ely the lead and Dennis Lightening something to think about with another goal on 79 minutes. To round things off Ben Lawrence scored a 4th for Ely on his return to the Unwin (well for the first team) on 88 minutes.

Next up is St.Ives in the vase, although I will be at Villa for the Hull game and then the curious replayed league game against Newmarket a week on Tuesday.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Factory Record's playlist

Here’s a playlist of artists who appeared on the Factory record label. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any Stockholm Monsters’ stuff or anything by Crispy Ambulance, but there are still a few decent tunes here:

Joy Division - Digital
The Durutti Column - The Fields of Athenry
Cabaret Voltaire - Baader Meinhof
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Talking Loud And Clear
New Order - Bizarre Love Triangle
Happy Mondays - W.F.L.
A Certain Ratio - The Big E
Section 25 - Inspiration
E.S.G. - Bam Bam Jam
The Wake - Carbrain
Quando Quango - Love Tempo - Remix
James - Hymn From A Village
Anna Domino - Land of My Dreams
The Railway Children - Something So Good
Electronic - Idiot Country
The Other Two - Superhighways

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Club focus -- Kettering Town

Yesterday we went to see Kettering Town play Cambridge United, so I thought it might be good to look at a club who have hit the headlines on several occassions over the last few years.

Poppies chairman Imraan Ladak must be saddened to see that Mark Cooper will be moving to replace Darren Ferguson in his role of manager at Peterborough. Especially as Cooper got Kettering promoted from the Conference North and has now fired them to the higher echelons of the Conference National. This was after a couple of ill fated managers who seemed like pblicity stunts filling the role at Rockingham Park with both ex player Ron Atkinson and Paul Gascoigne failing to ignite anything on the field. In fact the 39 days that Gazza was in charge at Kettering were perhaps some of the most bizarre and he was finall made to quit after one bottle of booze too many.

A little known fact is that Kettering are one of the oldest clubs in the World being formed in 1872. They climbed through 12 divisions to reach the Alliance Premier ( now the Conference) in 1979 and they remained there until 2001 finishing runners up in 1981, 1989, 1994 and 1998. They came close to getting a place in the league in 1974 when they weren't elected by coming up 5 votes short, although they will perhaps go one better and gain promotion this season. They look good for a play off place at least, although Oxford are going to take some toppling for the automatic place.

In a couple of weeks Kettering will take on Leeds United at home in the 2nd round of the FA Cup in a game that is going to be shown live. The first time they were shown on live was in the FA Cup ain 1994-5 when Sky broadcasted their game against Plymouth Argyle. Last year they reached the 4th round by beating Lincoln City, Notts County and Eastwood Town. They finally lost to Fulham in the 4th round in the first time a match between premier league and non league opposition has not been shown live on TV (well, obviously since they started showing FA Cup games live in TV). This started all sorts of conspiracy theories about anti muslim sentiments with both Ladak of Kettering being a Moslem and Al Fayed at Fulham, perhaps there was something in it. I on the other hand think that ITV after having to show games with non league games in the early rounds and having to big up the magic of the cup probably thought this was one of the few opportunities a network channel would have to put on the big 4 teams.

Kettering are also known for trying to give up their sponsorship to charity, but they didn't have as much luck in attracting charities as Aston Villa, Barcelona and Brondby have had, and gave up before advertising briefly a Palestinian charity.

Anyway, it would seem that bigger and better things could be around the corner for the Poppies

Poppied off

Yesterday me and Sean finally got to what many others wouldn't term as proper football, but when you have suffered so many games at the Unwin, it's definitely what we would term proper football. The game was Cambridge United v Kettering and it was an entertaining game even if the result and the weather conditions weren't exactly ideal.

Just before the game started I saw a few bos with Sky cameras and someone who looked like Barry the barstad Fry stood out side the place for the suits. Now Barry Fry is not the most popular person at Cambridge United, so I took no notice and thought that I had been mistaken. However, it turns out that it was the last game in charge of Kettering for manager Mark Cooper, who will be joining Barry and the boys at the not very posh Peterborough club as of today.

Anyway, his team gave him a fairly decent send off and went 1-0 up on 90 seconds with an own goal bouncing over the unfortunate Danny Potter's head. Cambridge tried to hit back at Kettering and came close with the usually clinical Chris Holdroyd spurrning a chance at the other end.

This was more or less how the half progressed with both Cambridge and Kettering being hampered by the windy and stormy conditions. Cambridge kept Kettering pinned in their own half for most of the half, but never really looked like scoring, whereas Kettering looked quite dangerous on the break.

The second half was more of the same with a few moments of handbags in between the football. Me and Sean moved around the stand a bit, but it didn't seem to bring any luck to the Us. Cambridge dominated for long periods and Holdroyd, Saah and Hatswell all came close to equalising. When the referee announced that there would be 5 extra minutes to play we lived in hope that Cambridge could finally make one of the chances count. It wasn't to be though as in the 93rd minute Elding ran up the other end for the visitors and made it a decisive 2-0.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fun at the Unwin

A few days ago I said that I was longing for some proper football and I did toy with the idea of going to Cambridge V Kidderminster, but I wouldn't have had time to get back for the bonfire night display, so I decided to go even further down the pyramid and visit Ely Reserves against Lakenheath in the Cambridgeshire league.

The crowd was pretty low as you would expect, but the standard was not much different to the Ridgeons League and Steve Bell and Tom Beech, who are perhaps more associated with the first team were having a run out for the reserves. Lakenheath also brought a few fans who seemed most intent on barracking the poor lad who was running the line than watching the game.

Things started off badly for the second string Robins when Lakenheath scored on 4 minutes. However 3 minutes later Dean Missen was clean through ang got brought down in the box. The defender was rightly given his marching orders, although the Lakenheath fans were busy moaning that he was offside and therefore the first offence should have been taken into account. However, as the linesman didn't give the offside, correctly in my opinion he had to go and up stepped Tom Beech to knock the penalty into the back of the net.

Now Ely had a one man advantage and the Lakenheath fans were claiming that every foray into their half was offside. Ely didn't take long to make their advantage count with Dean Missen extending the lead on 14 minutes. Ely didn't have it all their own way though and a lovely goal by Lakenheath on 41 minutes meant that the sides went in at the break on level terms despite Ely having an extra man for most of the first half.

In the second half Ely capitalised on their extra man advantage and Lakenheath didn't really get into the Robin's half. Bell looked particularly impressive on the left wing and you have to wonder why Dennis doesn't make him a permanent fixture in the first team. On 60 minutes Ely finally took advantage as Adam Salmons slotted the ball into the back of the net.

Despite Ely's dominance though it really didn't feel like the game was over, or maybe that's because I'm more used to the first team throwing away wins! However on 81 minutes it really did look like it was game over when another foul in the box. Paul Skinner converted the penalty this time as Tom Beech had limped off a couple of minutes earlier when he had been brought down just outside the box. He actually seemed a bit pissed off about the penalty as he was standing just behind me when the decision was given. I can only think because he wished that he had been on the pitch to convert it himself.

At 4-2 it looked like Ely had sealed victory, or did it? On 88 minutes with Ely having lost their shape after using up all of their subs Lakenheath made it 4-3 and set up a tense finish.

In extra time the unthinkable happened and Lakenheath found the back of the net with what would have been the last kick of the game. However, the linesman who had had to put up with the Heath fans appealing for offside all through out the first half had given an offside this time and the match finished 4-3. What goes around, comes around.

So although I'd been hankering for some higher level football this was a game that I thoroughly enjoyed and was glad that I went to.

Shoegazing in Cambridgeshire

Here's my second playlist on Spotify that I put together yesterday:
Slowdive – Alison
Chapterhouse – Mesmerise
My Bloody Valentine – Soon
Ride – Vapour Trail
Drop Nineteens – Winona
Moose – Play God
Curve – Coming Up Roses
Catherine Wheel – Eat My Dust You Insensitive F***
Amusement Parks On Fire – You Made Me Realise
Amusement Parks On Fire – Blackout
Flying Saucer Attack – In The Light Of Time
The Airfields – The Long Way Home
Lush – Ladykillers
Pale Saints – Throwing Back The Apple
Stereolab – Ping Pong - 2006 Remastered LP Version
Spiritualized – Soul On Fire
The Telescopes – High On Fire
Cocteau Twins – Iceblink Luck
Asobi Seksu – It's Too Late
Deerhunter – Rainwater Cassette Exchange
The Boo Radleys – Barney (...And Me)
Kitchens Of Distinction – Drive That Fast
M83 – Violet Tree
Sigur Ros – Gong
Architecture In Helsinki – Tiny Paintings
Cranes – Sleepwalking

Friday, October 30, 2009

Krautrock on Spotify

I've just had a free afternoon, so I decided to put a krautrock playlist together on spotify. Here's the info:
Here's a littl playlist I put together on Spotify:
Faust − Giggy Smile
Neu! – Gedenkminute
Kraftwerk – Pocket Calculator
Amon Duul 2 – Gala Gnome
Kraan – Sarah’s Ritt Durch Den Schwarzwald
Triumvirat – A Bavarian in New York
Can – Vitamin C
Hoelderlin – Schwebebahn
Brainticket – Jardins
Grobschnitt – Solar Music Berlin
Hoelderlin – Die Stadt
Agitation Free – Kahn El Khalili
Eloy − Awakening

And here's the URL:

More disappointment at the Unwin

Tuesday night saw Ely again lose to CRC. This time it was in the league and the result was a convincing 4-1 victory for the visitors. Nick Impey scored a rare goal in the first half to pull the Robins back to 2-1 and up until half time it looked like Ely could get back into the game as they pushed for an equaliser. However, it was not to be and eventually CRC pulled clear with 2 goals to win the game convincingly.

It also looks like I'll have to wait a while for some higher level football, as I planned to go to the Cambridge v Kidderminster tomorrow, but it means that I might not get back for the fireworks, so I might have to make do with Ely reserves v Lakenheath tomorrow.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Real football

I guess I need some soon looking at recent posts, but God knows when it's going to come.

Lost impetus

Apologies for the lack of impetus of late, but last week I was in Moscow and really didn't have enough time beforehand to keep the site up to date a 5-1 defeat at the hands of CRC in the Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup for Ely didn't really give me the inspiration to write very much. This was followed by a 1-0 victory over Hadleigh United with Robbie Mason again netting the winner. Then I was off in Moscow and didn't have time to update this site. While I was away Ely were defeated 8-0 by Histon 'reserves' and then lost 3-2 to Leiston on Saturday away. I didn't go to a game on Saturday, as I was busy with Sean's birthday.

The trip to Moscow was excellent though, seeing some people I hadn't seen for years and a trip to Lenin's mausoleum where I had never managed to get into before despite having lived there for 3 years ranking among the highlights.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The ref's the star

Last night in Ely's 3-1 defeat to Dereham Town the ref was really the star performer with a series of strange decisions. First of all was Ely's goal. It wasn't clear who scored it and in fact it didn't even appear to cross the line, but the goal was given and we were glad for the Ely lead. Obviously a few minutes later the ref saw the error of his ways and decided to give Dereham a penalty with an imaginary hand ball in the box. So at half time it was 1-1 with neither of the goals being deserved.

The second half started off with Ely somehow contriving to concede a corner from the kick off and a headed goal going in for Dereham. This was probably the only deserved goal of the game and was certainly the only one the ref wasn't involved in. It did however underline that although the ref made himself be the pantomine villain there were plenty of attitude problems in the Ely squad and players who were performing under par.

The third goal for Dereham was due to a strange decision by the ref. After several of the Ely players complained about an elbow in the face for Wozzer, the ref decided to deal with the dissent by giving Dereham a free kick just outside the Ely box even though the ball had been cleared. If anyone knows if this is legitimate in the rules of the game let me know, as nobody I know has ever heard of this happening before.

So that was it, Ely fought on, but a few minutes later Chadwick got sent off for a second silly booking and it finished 3-1.

They were 2 difficult teams for the officials to handle, but some of the decisions were extremely questionable.

On our way to Wembley

It's still a long way off yet, but on Saturday Ely took a further step in the FA Vase with a win against Eynesbury Town.

Of course, it was an Ely display, so it wasn't a straight forward win and when Tony Beck put Ely ahead on 22 minutes we knew that there would be a few more twists and turns.

Eynesbury got back into the game early on in the second half, in fact for a while it looked like they would win with 2 goals to put the visitors 2-1 up. However, Robbie Mason saved Ely, not for the first time by scoring on 59 minutes and on 81 Tony Brown scored a brilliant goal to put Ely into the next round.

When the games start flooding fast

I'm getting a bit worried that this site is getting a bit of an Ely City diary, but the games are going in thick and fast at the moment and I don't have any time to write about anything else at the moment, so I guess that's the way it's going to be for a while.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More extra time

I don't know why, but every time Ely have a midweek game that's in a cup the game always goes to extra time. We had the never ending story of Shelford last season, an epic fight against Soham away and a cheerless end to the Cambridgeshire Cup run on a very cold and wet evening at Cambridge City and then there were the heroics of the game against Diss last week.

Last night Ely took on Kings Lynn Reserves in the Ridgeon's League Cup Preliminary Round. For most of the match Ely dominated and a Robbie Mason goal separated the teams after a defensive error in the first half. Ely continued to dominate, but with 3 minutes left disaster struck again and Kings Lynn sent the game into extra time.

I'm not proud of myself, but as Mick wasn't there, I'd had a day off work the day before with a heavy cold and getting home at midnight after another disappointing game didn't fill me with much joy. So for the first time since in 1996 when I was at a Moscow Spartak game that went into extra time in temperatures of about minus 20 and was on course to finish at about midnight I left a game early. Football God will strike me down!

I didn't miss a dramatic end though. Well maybe I did, the game finished 1-1, but Ely went through on penalties.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Not impressed

Yesterday Ely took on Wivenhoe Town in what could already be billed as a relegation battle. Wivenhoe are a team who have been sinking like a brick over the last few seasons and the position they are in at the moment doesn't suggest that they will be in the Ridgeons Premier last season.

In the game Ely had most of the ball and just couldn't score, unfortunately the fans and the players decided to take their frustrations out on each other in a way that wasn't big or clever. Brady Stone was sent off late on for a tackle that most people would say he was lucky not to break his opponents leg. I'd rather say that he was unlucky, as his intention was clearly to break the strikers leg.

In the end Robbie Mason came off the bench again to score the winner 4 minutes from time, but let's be honest this was football at its worst

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Goal fest in Ely

Some things on Tuesday night when Ely took on Diss in the replay of the 2nd qualifying round of the FA Vase. Autumn was back with some football in the dark for the first time in months and a cup tie at the Unwin ended in extra time, as it did on so many ocassions last season. However, after the last Ely match I went to ended in 0-0 at Newmarket, Tuesday night's game ended in a goal fest. As may have been predicted the Diss player pictured in the club focus for Diss, Xavier Huckle, who is pictured in the club focus below did score against Ely again. In fact he scored 4 times, but it wasn't enough to save Diss.

Trevor Munns has stepped down as Ely manager and now Dennis Lightning has taken control of the team again at least for the time being at least and he got off to a winning start.

We predicted a lot of goals from the start when Grant Robbins scored after only a couple of minutes. However, we had to wait until the second half until Ely managed to extend their lead when Nick Impey put the second goal in just after the break.

As we have come to expect though Ely can easily snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and Huckle pulled a goal back a couple of minutes later to make it 2-1, and yes it was a defensive error that led to the goal.

Ely hadn't finished though and on 72 minutes Impey struck again and our legs were getting all trembly thinking of Wembley. 3-1 up with about 15 minutes left, could Ely possibly cock it up? Course they could. 2 late goals again by Huckle sent the game into extra time and Diss seemed to have the impetus.

It really looked like Ely had blown it when Huckle scored his and Diss's 4th in extra time. He went mad and got booked for taking his shirt off. David Ginola he certainly wasn't.

Time for Robbie Mason to step up though and like he did last year in a cup game against Shelford he scored 2 goals and Ely ran out 5-4 winners. Bring on Eynesbury Rovers in the next round

Monday, September 21, 2009

Club focus -- Diss Town

Tomorrow night Ely have a second round replay in the FA Vase against Diss Town after a 2-2 draw in Diss at the weekend. Diss are currently second in division 1 of the Eastern Conties league, while Ely are struggling in the Premier. Diss also have a bit of a history in this competition after winning the FA Vase in 1994, but it's a long way from Wembley yet!

Diss were formed in 1888 and one hundred years later they became founder members of division 1 of the Eastern Counties League. They have played in the Eastern Counties since, but from 1993 to 2006 they played in the Premier division. This year they will probably be hoping to gain promotion and last year despite missing out on promotion did win the division 1 league cup.

Famous faces at Diss have included ex-Norwich and Chelsea player Robert Fleck, who managed the team until being replaced in 2008 and Mathew Upson, who is from the town, but I'm not sure if he has any connections to the club.

The nickname of Diss is the tangerines, they are the only club apart from Blackpool that I can name in England that wear this particular colour. Their badge is representative of the town's coat of arms that are connected with the River Raveney that runs through the town and is famous for shrimps.

The photo above shows Huckle celebrating after scoring the equakising goal with Ely that led to the game ending 2-2. Let's hope we see none of that tomorrow

Another Villa win and another Pompey defeat

On Saturday I went to Villa v Portsmouth, and it was Villa's 4th consecutive league win and Portsmouth made it their 6 defeat out of 6 a record in the Premier League.

Villa controlled most of the game without having to break too much of a sweat. The first half was all Villa and the pressure finally paid off when Stylian Petrov was upended in the area and James Millner scored from the spot. Villa continued to pile on the pressure and it again paid off when Gabby Agbonlahor scored a beautiful goal on 43 minutes. It was almost over at half time, but as usual, or as it seems as usual Villa didn't finish them off in the second half.

There were chances for Milllner, Sidwell and Ashley Young in the second half, but Pompey probably had the best of the chances. The statistics say they had more shots on goal, but some stout defending from Richard Dunne and James Collins along with Brad Friedel and his magic magnet gloves meant that they never looked like breaking the Villa down, and that's how it finished 2-0 to the Villa.

Other events included a couple of drinks with some Pompey fans outside Tesco, seeing the Pompey weirdo who they always publish when they want to show how mad Portsmouth fans are and David James making a fool of himself trying to juggle a ball when the game had been stopped.

All in all a good day out and a great result.

The pictures show Steve Sidwell having a shot and Gabby celebrating his goal.

Lack of camera

I haven't actually had a lack of camera recently. I just haven't been to any new grounds, so I haven't actually taken any photos at recent games. I'll try and remedy that situation soon.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Don't mess with Football God from Kyiv to Newmarket

Football God is a figment of my and Phil's imagination. He was always there looking over you awarding hardcore football fandom and punishing the fair weather fan. The funny thing was that it actually seemed to work. If you went to the trouble of going 100 miles for a meaningless Ukrainian 2nd division game with no public transport back to Kyiv, you could rely on Football God to provide a sunny day with plenty of goals and a free lift home with a friendly truck driver who was making a delivery to Kyiv (true story). Similarly if Tatarchuk went home early because the game was dull or the weather was bad the last 20 minutes would be a flurry of goals and excitement. He certainly rewarded the faithful and punished the weak.

So when I entertained Joe on Saturday and had a football free weekend and Ely won 7-1 and Cambridge won 7-0, I was expecting the worse when I went to Newmarket for the game against Ely on Tuesday night. And surprise, surprise the final score was Ely City 0, Newmarket Town 0. See what I meas about Football God (come on play along with the joke a bit).

To be honest, I can't really complain as it was the first 0-0 I have seen since Arsenal Kyiv drew with FK Kharkiv on 17th May 2008, so that's a lot of games with goals. The weather was also very good and both teams put in a lot of effort in what was a very well balanced game. It must also be remembered that it was the first time I had ever seen Lee Pacey keep a clean sheet and indeed the first time I had ever seen an Ely team keep a clean sheet.

Ely dominated the first half, but Newmarket were able to keep Mason and Impey quiet with some good zonal defending that didn't allow for much manouevering around the box. The first 20 minutes of the second half were dominated but Newmarket, but when one of the Newmarket players fouled Brady Stone and then got lippy with the ref, he was given his marching orders and the balance was tipped back in the favour of the Robins. However, despite some good chances Newmarket didn't cave in and just before the whistle a superb save from Pacey saved the day for Ely.

A 0-0 draw, but an entertaining evening out with a good solid performance from 2 teams who hopefully won't struggle at this level against some of the richer clubs.

CSKA Kyiv go belly up

I was texted on Saturday by Phil to let me know that CSKA had finally called it a day. I won't go into the details too much here, as I have talked about CSKA and what they meant to me in several places on this site.

After Arsenal took their place in the top division it was always going to be a struggle for survival. There was then the problem with their ground (photographed on this site and you can look at through the tags) which saw them having to play at Dynamo's training ground at Chapaevka, outside of Kyiv. When I was there they got relegated to the regional 2nd league. Most people thought that they wouldn't take part in the 2nd division last season, but they did and just missed out on promotion. However, they didn't seem to have the finances and stomach to face another season down there and it's shocking to think that 8 years ago they were knocking Red Star Belgrade out of the UEFA Cup.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A walk in the park

On Saturday me and Sean went to Cambridge United v Gateshead and apart from spending an arm and a leg it was a great day out, unfortunately I forgot my camera, so there are no pictures to go with this report.

Cambridge United won the game easily with the young centre forward Chris Holroyd providing the heroics scoring a splendid goal 5 minutes before the break and a penalty in the last minute. His performances this season have been impressive enough for him to get a call up for the England C squad.

Gateshead looked out of their depth for much of the match and the consecutive promotions, including last season's play-off victory might mean that they have bitten off more than they can chew. It is still early on in the season, but it would appear that their best hopes of staying up are for another club to implode, as Chester with their 25 point deduction and Forest Green Rovers with their incredibly poor form look set for the drop and even this early on it seems that Gateshead might join them if they don't find some form soon.

Cambridge will be expecting to compete at the top of the table, but despite an emphatic 3-0 win a team with confidence would have produced so much more. The emotional scars of 2 successive play-off losses are there for all to see and yet another management change with Martin Ling taking over from Gary Brabin won't help settling the squad. I can't really see them go one better and getting back into the league at the end of this season with Oxford finally playing without a points deduction and strong Wimbledon and Luton sides in the same division. However, one silver lining is the young Chris Holroyd, who seems to be filling the boots of Scott Rendell well, after the talismanic centre forward left the Abbey for the team that defeated the Us in the play-offs, Torquay United.

That said, Cambridge at times produced some sublime football and when their passing game works it is very, very good. They had several chances to take the lead before Holroyd scored in the 40th minute. The second half was more of the same and the Cambridge defence had very little to do and on 66 minutes Andy Parkinson made it 2-0.
This obviously frustrated Gateshead as a minute later their French midfielder Pelonde dived in with a reckless challenge and was given his marching orders. Cambridge were now on cruise control and finally extended their lead to 3-0 in the last minute when Mrk Beesley's shot was handled in the area and Chris Holroy popped up to put the penalty away and end the match on a high for Cambridge.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Club focus -- Gateshead

Gateshead will play Cambridge at the shabby Abbey today and they certainly are a club with a chequered and interesting history.

The original Gateshead Football Club started life in Division 3 North in 1930 when South Shields folded, and they got off to a good start, in their second season they narrowly missed out on promotion to Lincoln City. However, they did miss out and then stabilised their position in Division 3 North.

Their finest moment probably came in 1953 when they reached the quarter finals of the FA Cup, narrowly losing 1-0 to a Nat Lofthouse goal for Bolton, after they had already beaten Liverpool in the 3rd round.

In 1958 Gateshead found themselves in the newly formed fourth division, after missing out on a place in the 3rd division by only one point. Just 2 years later they failed in an attempt to apply for re-election and were booted out of the league. They lost their place to Peterborough United in a move that seemed to have a lot more to do with their geographical disadvantages rather than footballing ability. One of their first reactions was to try and join the Scottish League, a move that didn't prove successful.

In 1968 Gateshead became founder members of the Northern Premier League. However, by 1973 they were somewhat bizzarely playing in the Midland League and eventually went out of existence. They were to be replaced by Gateshead Town and then Gateshead United, but by 1977 Gateshead was without a team.

In 1977/8 a new Gateshead club was formed and they started out life in the Northern Premier League. In 1983 they won promotion to the Conference, and then spent most of the 1980s yo-yoing between the Conference and the NPL. Two of their best seasons came in 1995 and 1996 when they finished 7th and 5th in the Conference. This was to be short-lived though as after financial difficulties they found themselves in the NPL North.

Gateshead have been bouncing back though and apart from plans to move from the ludicrous athletics stadium that they currently play at, which holds 11,850 people, successive promotions has seen them rise from the NPL to the Conference National, where they are playing this season.

In recentish years 2 of the most famous / infamous characters associated with Gateshead are Lawrie Mc.Menemy and Ali Dia, both of whom played for Gateshead and both of whom made a 'name' for themselves in the other end of the country at Southampton. Lawrie Mc.Menemy was the coach at Southampton during their most successful years, where as most fans would probably rather forget Ali Dia. Ali Dia was signed by Southampton by Graeme Souness and was made out to be the next George Weah, in fact he arrived in the Premier League with a letter of recommendation from Weah himself. However, either George was having a laugh or the letter was a fake, as Dia looked like he had never kicked a ball in his life. Dia also played in the North East at Gateshead and Blyth Spartans before disappearing into thin air.

The top picture shows Gateshead's badge which depicts 'the Angel of the North' a sculpture designed by Turner Prize Winner Antony Gormley in 1994 that is situated on the outskirts of Gateshead.

The second picture shows the original Gateshead's first kit, the current club where white shirts and black shorts.

Friday, August 28, 2009

No mid week sport special

I didn't make it to a game on Wednesday, there was just too much to think about, regarding work. I saw Arsenal cheat Celtic on telly instead. I have some plans for tomorrow, but don't want to tempt fate after the aborted attempt to go to Histon on Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back to work tomorrow

Well this post is completely off topic and unfortunately I'll be back to work tomorrow, so here's a video of what I was doing last week, to cheer myself up. On a brighter note Villa murdered Liverpool at Anfield, rather unexpectedly last night. I also discovered the Mexican Institute of Sound, when I say discovered I mean I downloaded their album after reading an article on them, so I didn't discover them at all. Tomorrow night it's Ely away at Histon reserves and hopefully I'll be at that too. The weekend is a bank holiday, so things could be worse.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Too little, too late

On Saturday Ely took on Kirkley and Pakefield and as predicted Kirkley and Pakefield won. The result also put them top of the league, and they should be there or there abouts at the end of the season, although it is very very early days yet.

Russell Stock put the visitors ahead on 5 minutes when he beat the offside trap and not long after Chris Henderson, who had a blinder for the visitors, beat 3 Ely defenders to make the score 2-0.

It remained 2-0 for most of the match and again Ely didn't look like getting back in the game. When Stephen Bell and Chris Strecki were introduced with 10 minutes to go, Ely looked a lot more lively and in the final minute Strecki scored a goal that nobody thought was going in, least of all the extra wide Kirkley goalkeeper. He must have been doing something right though, as it was the first goal that Kirkley and Pakefield have let in this season. However, for Ely it was too little, too late.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Club focus -- Kirkley and Pakefield FC

Last week I was on holiday just up the road from where Kirkley and Pakefield play, so perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that they have a badge that looks like it belongs on a sign for a caravan park.

Kirkley and Pakefield take on Ely this afternoon and it would take someone with a lot of optimism to predict a win for Ely. Ely have had a very mixed start to the season, but Kirkley and Pakefield have got off to a flyer.

The first records of a Kirkley Football Club come from 1887 when a Kirkley team merged with East Suffolk to form Lowestoft FC . In 1890 another Kirkley team was formed and in 1897 they reached the final of the FA Amateur Cup.

For most of their history though Kirkley have been in the shadows of Lowestoft, who are certainly the best supported club in the Eastern Counties League and probably are the best supported of step 5 clubs as a whole. Kirkley started to step out of the shadows in 2004 when they won promotion to the Eastern Counties from the Anglian combination. The following season they won promotion to the Premier division and finished 3rd in their first season there.

In 2006/07 Kirkley merged with Pakefield boys who themselves were formed in 1981. What prompted the mergere, I don't know, although I'm guessing that it was due to Pakefield's stadium and Kirkley's success on the pitch. The club now play at the 2000 capacity Walmer Road ground in Pakefield and there are over 50 teams playing under the Kirkley and Pakefield banner, which isn't bad considering the population of Pakefield is about 1400. It has to be remebered though that Pakefield was once a separate community from Lowestoft, but now it is difficult to see where Pakefield starts and Lowestoft stops.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Holiday Mix tape (off topic)

Tomorrow I'll be off on my holiday, so here's a little mix tape I've put together for the occassion. I should really get round to doing a spotify mix at some point, but as I'm not taking my laptop here's an eclectic selection of some of the stuff that I've got on my computer at the moment, and transferring to my mp3 player.
1. Slag Boom Van Loon -- Poppy Seeds (Boards of Canada remix)
2. 65days of static -- the Fall of Math (65 dos remix)
3. Bibio -- Fire Ant
4. Venetian Snares -- Vokeheads
5. Boredoms -- Ant 10 (Lindstrom remix)
6. The Lea Shores -- Brand New Day
7. Kraftwerk -- Trans Europe Express
8. BMX Bandits -- Milky Way
9. Pissed Jeans -- False Jesii Part 2
10. Black Moth Super Rainbow -- Born on a day the sun didn't shine
11. Ruthless Rap Assasins -- Crew from the North
12. Everything is Made in China -- Buy 4 get one free
13. Felt -- Red Indians
14. Hartfield -- Nine Ball
15. House of Love -- Destroy the Mind

Listen and then delete it:

The curse of Wisbech continues

Ely Cty's run in the FA Cup was over before it began when Ely lost at home to Wisbech in the Extra Preliminary Round Yesterday. Wisbech Town destroyed Ely home and away last season, despite having a mediocre season themselves and having to play at the Nest in Outwell. Things didn't get better for the Robins yesterday.

To be fair Ely were without 10 players due to suspensions, injuries and holidays, but Wisbech were probably having similar problems and hadn't got off to the greatest of starts themselves having lost their first 2 games.

I was distracted by Sean for most of the first half with him demanding stuff and playing football on the pitch behind the new fence. However, Wisbech seemed to have the best of the first half and went in at the break 1-0 up.

Ely looked a better prospect in the second half, but never really worried the Wisbech goal with Robbie Mason and Tony Beck squandering several chances. The first really close cut chance came when Stephen Bell came on off the subs bench.

Nevertheless the game finished 1-0 and Ely only had themselves to blame. The goal for Wisbech coming from a goalkeeping error and what chances they had being squandered. It might be a new season, but it was definitely the same old story at the Unwin.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Club focus -- Rapid Wien

Rapid Wien or Sport Klub Rapid Wien, or Rapid Vienna, as they are known in English provide the opponents for Villa next Thursday in the play off for the Europa League. Let's hope Martin is going to take it seriously.

Rapid Wien play at the Gerhard Hannapi stadium in a picturesque area of Vienna, if there was any part of the city that isn't picturesque. Gerhard Hannapi himself was a midfielder who started his career at Wacker Wien, but went on to play for Rapid from 1950 -65 captaining the club and winning the Austrian League 7 times. In 1999 he was named Rapid's all time greatest player.

Rapid were founded in 1898 as Erster Wiener Arbeiter Fussball Club or First Workers' Club of Vienna as it translates into English. Their green and white shirts are now world famous, but they started off playing in red and blue and decided on the change to green and white in 1904. Since then Rapid have frequently worn red and blue as their away colours. Last season they wore green and white at home and er green and white away, for those of you watching in black and white.

In the inter war years before Anschluss Austrian football was at its most dominant and it has been suggested that catennacio was born here rather than in Italy. Argentinian coach Helenio Herrera made it famous with the dour Inter team of the 1960s, but it was based on a system created by Karl Rapan from Austria, although he spent most of his time managing Switzerland, so perhaps it wasn't that popular in Vienna.

After the Anschluss Rapid found themselves in the regional German leagues -- it was all regional then. In 1938 they won the Tscammerpokal, which later became the German cup with a 3-1 victory over Frankfurt and in 1941 they became 'German' Champions by beating Shalke 04 by 4 goals to 3 despite being 3-0 down. Perhaps in this game they were helped by the rythmic clapping that Rapid fans do for the las 15 minutes of every game and has been said to have turned results in their favour. This rhytmic clapping known as Rapidviertelstunde first started in 1913 and can still be seen today.

Overall Rapid have won 32 Austrian titles, however the big money of FK Magna and Red Bull Salzburg has helped to put an end to their dominance. That said they have scored 11 goals in their first 4 games of this season and last week demolished Karnten 5-1

This weekend and up for the cup

It's back as Sky keep telling us. That will be the Premier League, allegedly the greatest league in the World, if you believe Rupert Murdoch, and why wouldn't you? (Ha Ha). It will probably be the first competetive game of the season that I go to too.

Most Pro and semi pro teams started last Saturday, but I was at Villa Park for the friendly against Fiorentina. Villa take on Wigan tomorrow, so let's hope they get off to a flying start.

On the local front, and probably the game I will go to, Ely take on Wisbech in the FA Cup qualifying rounds. So if the media have noticed this year, and let's presume they haven't with all the salivating over the return of the Premiership, it will be time to see patronising articles, as journalists try and act all humble at lower league clubs. In that case let's hope they haven't. I have to say I did enjoy the first round where Andy Townsend was visibly suffering at Histon last season though, really, a day out at Histon is as qualty as it gets for some of us.

Anyway, back to Ely, just for a moment. Ely City will be playing Wisbech, as I just said, and for me this is a must win game as they really did the Robins over home and away last season. It also represents my last chance to see the Robins for a week, as although they take on Newmarket in midweek I won't be around to see it. I really think I should go to the Ely game, as people might start thinking I'm fairweather after missing the first home game of the season last week.

My other option is for a first visit to Histon in a mouthwatering tie against Oxford United. I really think I should make more effort to get to Histon on week, but I don't know if this will be the week.

Club focus -- SSV Ulm 1846 Fussball

A couple of weeks ago I was in Ulm in Germany and a very nice town it is too. Obvioulsy, I looked up the local football club, who are SSV Ulm, but unfortunately they were playing on the Friday and I was leaving on the Thursday.

They play in the regional leagues, so finding any definitive information on them was a tricky job. However, one of the more outlandish claims that they make in several places on the net is that the club started playing football in 1846 -- this seems odd as it would make them 9 years older than Sheffield FC, who are commonly regarded by all as the oldest club in the World. When you consider that the full name of the club is Scwimmm and Sportverein Ulm, I reckon that someone is telling porkies. The earliest record of them playing is 1926 under the banner of Ulmer RSV.

Since then there have been a series of mergers. The latest being in 1970 when TSG Ulm and 1.SSV Ulm merged.

I'm sure they are probably a nice club and judging from the evidence they have a pretty good fan base. I just wish they would get their facts straight!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More football from the darkside

On Tuesday night the Ely first team took on Dereham away and ran out 3-2 winners, which was a pretty good result. However, I wasn't there and had to wait until the day after for my live football fix, as Ely Reserves took on Manea, in what was for them a preseason family. I could have stayed at home and watched England pull back from 2 goals down to draw 2-2 with Holland, but I didn't.

The performance wasn't as convincing as the last time I went down to see the reserves and I wonder if the friendlies are against weaker clubs in order to bolster confidence in the season after a poor season for the reserves last season.

Ely won this encounter 2-1. They played pretty well in the first half, and went in 2 up at the break. The second half after a few substitutions saw Manea take charge. However, one of their better shots knocked my pint off the fence. In the end the game finished 2-1 to the Robins.

For most of the game Sean dribbled a ball up the sideline and Nadiya complained about then not kicking out the match ball near her. She did get a touch in the end, and it wasn't a bad evening out, although perhaps predictably the football on offer wasn't the best.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Delph makes his debut for Villa

Fabien Delpn takes on Marco Marchionni in the game between Villa and Fiorentina

More pictures from Villa v Fiorentina

Villa and Viola

On Saturday we went to Villa v Fiorentina. The previous two encounters between the 2 teams were also both friendlies, with Villa losing 2-1 in 1992 in Florence and 4-0 in New York against the indominatable team of 1999. Villa were to make amends for these poor results with a fine display on Saturday. The game in 1992 was played in front of only 4,939 fans, so it seems strange that the Birmingham papers were moaning about a crowd of 22,915 on Saturday. I think that they were forgetting that it was only friendly and is probably the first season that Villa aren't expected to improve on their previous positions. The previous pre-season friendly at Villa Park was 2 years ago against Inter of Milan. This was seen by a bumper crowd of 38,000, but although Fiorentina have cemented themselves as Champions League regulars they are never going to have the same pull as Inter. The papers were blaming Villa's lack of pre-season signings on the poor crowd, ironically they were also praising Villa's new signing from Leeds, Fabien Delph for his performance.

Delph certainly looks like a decent signing and was definitely man of the match. Milner, who on Sunday was called up to the full England squad also impressed, as did youngsters Albrighton and Delph when they came on in the second half.

Villa dominated most of the match and a wonderful goal from Emile Heskey put Villa ahead on 13 minutes. Craig Gardner also had a good match and peppered the Viola goal with a number of speculative, but dangerous shots.

Villa didn't have it all their own way, although they certainly deserved the 1-0 victory. In the first half Brad Friedel was nearly beat by a shot that hit the crossbar and in the second half substitute goalkeeper Brad Guzan helped steer Villa to victory. Guzan saved a penalty after Marco Marchionni's cross hit Curtis Davies on the chest, however a penalty was given -- this was given after Villa had had 2 good penalty shouts turned down for fouls on James Millner and Ashley Young. Anyway, no harm was done when Guzan pushed Alberto Gilardino's penalty on to the post and it went out of play.

So it finished 1-0 and 3 generations of Holloways went home happy.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Club focus -- Fiorentina

Next Saturday I will be at Villa Park for the friendly with Fiorentina. When I lived in Italy Fiorentina were one of my favourite teams. I saw them twice, once against Roma where they went down to a last minute goal by Dmitry Aleinichev and was with the Fiorentina fans when they played Lazio. At the time they had a lot going for them with Batistuta knocking the goals in and Trappatoni at the helm. Despite starting the season off well they were eventually pipped for the title by Milan and also finished behind Lazio. At the time they were likeable as they had a left wing fanbase, whereas fascism was on the rise at most serie A clubs (although I have heard that since then Fiorentina have also become more right wing). I also admire them for being the only city in Italy without a Juventus fanclub and the city was full of anti 'gobi' merchandise (hunchbacks, as Juve are often known) when I went there.

Fiorentina were formed in 1926 by Luigi Ridolfi a memeber of the fascist party when CS Firenze and PG Libertas joined together. In 1931 they got into Serie A and moved to the Franchi stadium, which is seen as a masterpeice and was designed by Pier Luigi Nervi. Their first piece of major silverware was the Coppa Italia which they won in 1941, however the war stopped them perhaps going on to further glory. In 1956 they got their hands on the scudetto, and the following year became the first Italian team to reach the European Cup Final (well it was only the second one) where they lost to the all conquering Real Madrid, who had beaten Reims the year before in the final and would go on to beat Milan the year after.

In 1961 Fiorentina got their hands on some European silverware when they beat Rangers in the final of the first ever Cup Winner's Cup. In 1969 they went on to win the Scudetto again despite being up against a formidable Milan team and Gigi Riva's Cagliari.

Things were quiet at Fiorentina until 1980 when the controversial Flavio Pontello took over the club. He was unpopular for breaking a lot of traditions, but won some friends by breaking the bank to sign players like Eraldo Pecci from Torino, Daniel Bertoni from Seville and Pietro Vierchewod from Sampdoria. There was also a young player by the name of Roberto Baggio who was coming through the ranks.

In 1982 the hatred of Juventus started in earnest when Fiorentina lost the Scudetto on the last day of the season when Juve were awarded a dubious penalty. In 1990 they had even more reason for complaint when they lost to Juve in the final of the UEFA Cup, again with a few dodgy decisions going against them. They also lost Baggio to Juve which prompted riots on the streets of Firenze. This led to the famous film director Mario Cecchi Gori taking over the club and he bought in some great players like Brian Laudrup, Stefen Effenberg and the toast of Firenze, Gabriel Batistuta. However, despite a start filled team a young Claudio Ranieri couldn't get them to achieve consistantly, and the 3rd place under Trap when I lived in Rome was the most succesful finish in the Cecchi Gori era.

In 2002-2003 Fiorentina didn't start the season after going bankrupt. A new club known as 2002 Associazione Calcio Fiorentina Viola was formed and competed in C2, where they climbed back from to now be regular performers in Serie A again.

It is rumoured that their Viola shirts came from a mistake in the washing of their original red and white shirts. However, surely they would be Rosa rather than Viola.

A friendly with more than a few goals

Yesterday I actually had the day off and I had nothing planned so I decided to go and watch the reserves. They were playing Northwold, who I can't find any information about whatsoever. the only player I recognised from Ely was Steve Bell, who I thought would be the best player on the pitch and duly responded by putting Ely 1-0 up. However, he wasn't the best player for Ely. They put on a mystery player after 20 minutes and substitiuted him with 20 minutes left, but in that time he had a huge impact and Ely scored 6 of the 8 goals that they would eventually win by.

I have know idea who this player was but he was clearly playing below his level and I have a sneaking suspicion that he may have played for Histon and Cambridge City in the past. I'm just hoping they have enough sense to put him in the first team.

I'm glad I went down for this game, as it makes a nice change to see Ely on the right side of a hammering for once.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A friendly with a bit of a bite

To be honest last night's match wasn't really a friendly as the Doug Unwin Memorial trophy was at stake as Ely took on Soham Town Rangers in a local Derby. The last time the two teams met was at Soham when Ely beat them in the Cambridgeshire Senior Cup last season.

Soham play in a league above Ely, but the opposition finall brought out the best in the Robins in what was probably their best pre-season performance. I have to say probably as I've missed a couple due to work and the Villa game.

Ely were unlucky to go in at the break one goal down to Soham. However, they battled well in the second half and Robbie Mason scored a spectacular equaliser.

The weather was dreadful, and I was alone with the kids, so I was quite thankful that the managers agreed to go straight to penalties and it did give the kids some extra entertainment. I feel that if the game had continued rather than going to penalties Ely would have probably gone on to win it. However, it wasn't to be and despite Pacey saving one of the shots Soham went on to win 5-3 on penalties.

The team finally seems to be gelling though and I think that Impey and Mason might go on to have a good season, which starts in the Eastern Counties on August 8th.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hopefully not starting how they mean to go on

Last night Ely City played Bury Town in a friendly. I wasn't expecting the Robins to beat a club who have always played at a higher level, but the result was a bit of a disappointment.

Ely went 1-0 down early on due to what was a defensive / goalkeeping error. However, they did manage to pull one back with some nice moves, but as was the case last season discipline and the defence looked a bit iffy and I know that it was a friendly, but some of the commitment shown even now was questionable. Another question has to be asked about where the manager, who is supposedly building a new team was.

As soon as Ely equalised Bury went up the other end and some foolhardy goalkeeping that would have led to a red card in a more competetive match led to a Bury penalty. Pacey did make ammends later on in the game by saving a penalty, but Ely were really outclassed. It was 3-1 at half time and 6-1 by the end of the match. Let's just hope it isn't a sign of things to come.

Ely play St.Neots on Saturday, but I'll be at work and next Tuesday they are again at home with a pre-season friendly against Soham. I'll be in London that day, so hopefully I'll get back in time

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bright future?

The Villa slogan is 'proud history and bright future', obviously having an American owner cranks up the bullshitometer a few levels, but yesterday's performance at Peterborough would suggest that the future is bright for Villa.

Villa started the game with some established players namely Brad Friedel, Carlos Cuellar, Zat Knight, Curtis Davies, Nicky Shorey, Nigel Reo-Coker, Steve Sidwell and Marlon Harewood, but by the end of the match it was virtually a youth team on the pitch. Furthermore in the starting line up it was youngsters Andreas Weimann and Barry Bannan who impressed the most. It looks like Marlon Harewood's days at Villa are numbered though as he was guilty of squandering a series of chances.

Talking of squandering chances Peterborough looked good for the first 20 minutes and squandered chance after chance. However, and not wishing to be nasty as I had a good day out I think that Posh will be out of their depth in the Championship, their ground looks more like that of a league 2 club, not surprisingly as they have spent most of their history down there and are in the Championship after 2 consecutive promotions; but more worringly for them their players looked out of their depths even later in the game when they were basically playing the youth team with Osbourne and Sidwell thrown in. It seems like their big hero is George Boyd, maybe he was having an off day, but he looked and played like Juan Pablo Angel on a very bad day.

That said Boro started off well and if it wasn't for flapping in front of goal could have taken the lead. However, on 25 minutes Austrian youngster Andreas Weimann scored for Villa and from that moment on Villa dominated.

Peterborough started the second half off well, but this obviously had the effect of annoying Curtis Davies, who on 53 minutes walzed through the Posh defence before playing a one-two with Marlene Deadwood to put the ball in the back of the net. After this Villa didn't look back and on 71 minutes Steve Sidwell hammered home to make it 3-0. His prize was to stay on the pitch, as for the last 10 minutes Villa played with 10 different players to those they had started with.

A good day out especially with a fine Villa win. The Peterborough fans seemed alright and the divided programme with one half being dedicated to the Villa game and the reverse half for the Spurs game was a good idea. I wouldn't mind going there again although Peterborough can't be described as a good place for a drink or for football. The only boozer we found was a Yates's where if you didn't have a Brummie accent you were drinking orange juice or coffee. This does have its advantages though: On the drinking front the bar near the ground is welcoming to away fans and doesn't try to fleece you for a pint. On the football front the prices for league matches are about the same as some Conference teams charge and judging from the programme it shouldn't be too hard to get in if you aren't fussy about which end you go in.

Anyway, not a bad birthday game and I even got a cheesey game souvenir scarf for 2 quid

Notes on the photos from top to bottom
The main stand before the match
Brad Friedel in goal for Villa
A Villa attack
Villa do some rare second half defending

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Club focus - Peterborough United

Villa start their pre-season programme with a trip to Peterborough on Saturday and I will be in attendance, so let's have a quick look at the club known as the Posh.

In 1932 the original Peterborough team, Peterborough and Fletton United folded after being suspended by the FA.

In 1934 Peterborough United were born and made their ultimate aim to become a member of the football league, however they had to be content with starting life out in the Midland League and their ambitions of getting into the league seemed a long way off. They might have started off by adopting the nickname of Peterborough and Fletton whose nickname had come from an advertisement player manager, Pat Tirrel had put in a local paper asking for 'Posh players for a posh club', but the new team were beggars rather than playboys. They had to get a loan to play in the league and to pay to play at the London Road ground, which they still use and the original green shirts were supplied by a local clothes shop. They struggled at the start and even after the supporters' club supplied them with blue shirts in 1939 they didn't improve by much.

Peterborough's big break through came in 1960 when the Posh finally managed to gain election to the league where they took Gateshead's place in the old fourth division. In their first season in the league they gained promotion mainly due to the 52 goals Terry Bly scored.

Peterborough stayed near the top of the 3rd for the next few seasons, but in 1968 they were relegated to the basement again due to financial irregularities. In 1974 they were promoted again and in 1979 they went down again. In the mid nineties they spent a couple of seasons in the 2nd tier, which is the highest they have ever been in the league. They will again play in the second tier next season after winning promotion to the Championship at the end of last.

Last season saw them change their badge too, perhaps that isn't that unusual, but it seems that they combined the wishes of the club's historians, the local council and new kit manufacturer's Adidas.

Anyway, hopefully it will be a good day out on Saturday.

Notes on the pictures from top to bottom:
Peterborough's new crest that came in to use last season
The original crest
The original shirts donated by a local clothes shop that were worn from 1934 -39
The shirts donated by supporters in 1939
The shirts they won promotion in last season

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New Look Ely?-- The pre season starts here

Last night Ely took on Cambridge United in the first pre-season game of the season.

A lot of people had predicted a new look Ely side and many thought that Trevor Munns would more or less replace the whole team. However, this didn't really come to fruition and the team that took the pitch against Cambridge was pretty much made up of players who were at the club last season. New faces included Adam Dalby, Dave Daniels (who was at the club before) and 2 trialists, Dave Werthmann from Mildenhall and Lee James from Lackenheath. Therefore it might be concluded that the biggest differences last night were the new fence all around the pitch and the new kit, which actually had the badge on it and saw the red shorts being replaced by white shorts. Oh, another big difference was that there was a crowd of 560 instead of the usual hundred-odd, but that was mainly due to the visitors being Cambridge United.

Cambridge United more or less put out 2 different teams for each half. The first half of the game being played by what was basically the starting line up for Cambridge with a couple of trialists. The second half saw Cambridge make 8 changes. Mind you, Ely also made a lot of substitutes in the second half and as there are no squad numbers in the Eastern Counties a number of players ended up with the same numbers on. I'm sure there were 3 number 12s at one point. No wonder the local journalists behind me were getting headaches, although to be honest if they spent more time watching the game in front of their eyes than discussing Chelsea they might have a better chance of putting together a match report rather than focussing on the fact that Daryl McMahon, who hasn't been given a new contract at Cambridge United, was playing.

Not surprisingly Cambridge won the game, as they are 4 steps above Ely and it was definitely a friendly match, although in the first half judging by a couple of the challenges from Chadwick and Mason on Us players it looked anything but. Mason was lucky not to get booked and I suspect he would have been in a competetive match. Ironically a trialist for Cambridge called Robbins put the visitors ahead on the half hour mark with what I have to say was a typical goal for Ely to concede: a defensive error followed up by the ball being put in between Pacey's legs.

Ely tried to respond but I don't remember thinking that in any point of the game they really looked like scoring and on 41 minutes another trialist, Amory made the score 2-0.

As I said earlier there were alot of changes made at half time by Cambridge and a lot made during the half by Ely, so in some ways it was difficult for either team to find the shape they would have liked to. Any ideas of flowing football in the second half were also put to pay by what can only be described as a monsoon taking place during most of the game. It's funny how the slightest mention of the words football and the Ashes prompts the sky to open up isn't it? Anyway, it perhaps aided Ely and stopped a rout, as you have to remember that Ely went down 1-0 to Cambridge's reserves / youth team AKA CRC twice last season, so a mixture of these kids and seasoned pros would have expected to have inflicted real pain on the Robins. The weather made sure they didn't, although Holroyd made it 3-0 in the 83rd to make sure of the result.

In conclusion there is no conclusion. The weather, the difference in levels of the two clubs and the fact that it was a friendly and the first friendly at that makes it hard to get any knowledge of how either Ely or Cambridge will play during the season.

Monday, July 6, 2009

A quick look back at last season

July 2008
The season for me started as early as July and got off to a somewhat predictable start with Dynamo beating Illychivets Mariupol in one of their customary 2-0 without breaking a sweat home victories. The following week saw Arsenal Kyiv draw 1-1 with Kryvbas Kriviy Rih in a rather lacklustre performance. The only highlights being the fact that all the lads, apart from Sid were present and that Arsenal actually scored against Kryvbas. I wasn't expecting entertainment in either of these games and I certainly didn't get it.

August 2008
August got off to a flyer with Dynamo slipping up against an inspired Metalist team in one of the best Ukrainian league games I have ever seen. The only pity was that Han wasn't there to see it. Dynamo then a few days later got a nasty fright from Drogheda in the Champions League qualifiers, but finally managed to scrape a draw and go onto win 3-2 on aggregate. What a difference a few months makes though as Drogheda are now fighting for survival, where as Dynamo stormed to the title and made it to the UEFA cup final. My final game in Ukraine came on 10th August when Arsenal drew with Zorya Luhansk at Obolon stadium. It was a bit of a depressing end to my year back in Ukraine to be honest with most Arsenal fans missing the game due to a boycott after the wrongful arrest of some ultras and those who were there didn't celebrate or make a noise. Not that there was much to make a noise about in the rather dull 1-1 draw. Trips to Obolon tend to be depressing anyway, but as I left the stadium leaving a forlorn looking Ewig behind I saw Yura Zuba fighting some small kids for posters. He obviously wanted the posters to sell on Nivkiy market. Needless to say at that point I couldn't wait to get home. Not that the football was of a great standard when I returned. The first 2 matches were Rocester games. However, the end of August saw Burton beat Lewes 5-2. Burton looked great, but it would have been difficult to predict that they would go on to win the Conference, as Lewes were already gaining a reputation for being out of their depth in this league.

September 2008
September started off with one of the biggest shocks: Rocester actually won a game in fact they easily beat Oldbury United 4-1. It would appear that Oldbury though could beat Rocester on 2 other levels by being the worst side in the Midlands Football Alliance and having even more overweight fans than the Rocester (quite literally) massive. The next game was a charity match between an All star team and a mixture of Rocester and Uttoxeter players. Needless to say that the Allstars that included several ex-pros and David Beattie ( I wonder if Sheffield United had known what he was up to) and Tony Mowbrary. Then it was another Rocester game where they were back to their old ways losing 4-1 to an impressive Coventry Sphinx side. In September I also moved down here so on 20th I ventured down for my first Ely City game, which ended in a 1-1 draw with Harwich and Parkeston. I also ventured to Cambridge City the week later but the less said about that the better.

October 2008
I started October off by subjecting Macca to a dreadful game where Ely lost to Histon Reserves and it was bloody freezing. October also saw the start of the Great Shelford saga with the electric in the town going with Ely 1-0 and only a couple of minutes remaining. The next game was a shock Ely victory over Needham Market. Ely won 3-1 and I seem to remember it was a beautiful sunny day. I thought that I had imagined that until I looked back on this site at the pictures from the time and saw that it actually was a very nice day. I also met Mick in October which changed my football experience in Ely for the better, although it was on a very cold a rain night as Ely went down 3-2 against Wisbech.

November 2008
November in general saw some unfavourable results for Ely including a 3-0 defeat to Whitton United, who eventually dropped out of the league, although I suspect they might pop up at a lower level this season. I also went to the Abbey AKA the Shabby for the first time when Phil and his glum mates came to see York lose 1-0 to a Cambridge side who were still trying to find their stride.

December 2008
December started with Ely again beating Shelford this time 5-1, again though the result didn't stand as Ely allegedly had players who should have been suspended, although it appears that this wasn't really the case. Anyway it gave us the chance to take the mickey out of their leprechaun like Physio. I just didn't realise at the time I would have another 2 chances to see him in action. Ely also lost to an impressive Lowestoft side, but I don't think one of their fans was too happy about Nadiya asking him if he was Father Chrsitmas. Highlight of the month was definitely when Cambridge played Histon on Boxing Day. It was a 2-2 draw, although Cambridge deserved to win after being 2-0 up. It was a great atmosphere though even though the public transport system did its best to prevent me from getting there.

January 2009
Again most of the results in this month were ones that weren't too favourable to Ely with the highlight coming on 27th with Ely finally ridding themselves of the Shelford demons. However, it was probably the coldest day of the year and it took extra time for them to defeat them 2-0 with Robbie Mason returning to spur the Robins on. Elsewhere I went to the Shabby twice, once Rod was there. It was good to see him after having subjected him to a poor Ely game earlier in the season. In this game Cambridge beat Woking 4-1. I also took my dad to that game and the game between Cambridge and Oxford that ended in a 1-1 draw. The tickets were cheap from work and it was slightly annoying to have to sit with part time footbal fans, who probably prefer rugger ( as they call it), but the standard was high and I expect Oxford to do better in the coming season.

February 2009
The weather in February was appaling and therefore I only made it to one game, a shock and impressive victory over Soham Town Rangers away in the 1/4 final of the Cambridge Senior Cup. The game being the prize for finally defeating Shelford. Ely won 3-2, with the large space around the ground helping Big Ben get the long throws in.

March 2009
March began with Ely going out in the semis of the Cambridge Invitation Cup against Cambridge City losing 3-2 under unfortunate circumstances. The German groundhoppers seemed friendly enough. The Cambridge City fans were their usual knobish selves. A few days later Cambridge United put a dent in Burton's promotion hopes with a 2-0 victory. Macca was up for that. Burton actually looked dreadful in that game, so hopefully they will perform better after nearly losing the automatic promotion place after a run of poor results at the end of the season. I also sort of broadend my horizons with a few trips to some other localish grounds. The first was a trip to Kings Lynn where Ely beat their reserves 2-1. Kings Lynn have a terrible reputation, but they seemed friendly enough to me without actually dispelling some Norflok stereotypes. I was impressed by the ground, so I'm a bit shocked they have been kicked out of the Blue Square North, due to the poor facilities at the Walks. The next trip was to the quaint village atmosphere of Outwell where Wisbech have been playing whilst their ground goes through redevelopment. The less said about the game the better though as Ely went down 6-1. I also visited Newmarket, who beat Fakenham 3-1. I really enjoyed this day out, although I think that the entrance and the programme reminded me of football in the ex-Soviet Union, which made me look on it favourably. That said the beer was good and the locals (apart from the fat manager, who lost it when some kids got on the pitch at half time) were friendly.

April 2009
April started with a win for Ely over Leiston. I was beginning to think that Trevor Munns was going to start working magic after taking over the manager's seat from Dennis Lightning. Leiston had had a great season in the league, FA Cup and FA vase. Some people say they had put a weak team out, maybe they had. The other 2 Ely games I went to saw them lose to Stanway and to Mildenhall (in an extremely bizzare game - check the site out for more on that one). The other game was a reserves game that Ely lost 4-2 against the old nemesis Great Shelford.

May 2009
I went to one game in May and finally it was a Villa game. It was a great day out with a great atmosphere. Unfortunately Villa lost 3-1 after an impressive season they were looking knackered.

Anyway pre-season 2009-2010 starts tomorrow. So now it's time to move on.