Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's playlist

It's a bit off topic, but here is my traditional end of year play list of the bands that I have listened to most this year:

End of 2012 by jim_bomb on Grooveshark

Highs and lows of games in 2012

The year started off with an Ely victory at home to Mildenhall on 2nd of January in fact Ely continued their good form and I also saw them beat Walsham-le Willows. The only defeat that I witnessed was when Peterborough were convincingly beaten by Portsmouth, who themselves were on the verge of imploding.

The bad weather continued in February, although it did improve towards the end of the month and if Ely's 3-0 win over Felixstowe and Walton was convincing enough, I was in for a real treat when I saw the biggest win that I have ever seen when Thetford beat Cornard 10-0. It could have been far worse for the visiting team as Thetford were on electric form and were 5-0 up within 20 minutes.

March was a bumper month of mixed fortunes. It started with Ely beating a sorry Great Yarmouth team 2-0 at home before suffering a rare home defeat against fellow title contenders and eventual champions, Wroxham. Ely then faced Yarmouth again, but this time away. Ely won the game 4-2, but some ridiculous refereeing saws Pacey and Chadders sent off and Diaper having to play most of the game in goals. The Robins picked themselves up to beat Royston in the Semi Finals of the Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup. However, the suspensions would eventually play their part on Ely coming second instead of first in the league. One life line that we witnessed was when Wroxham went 1-0 down at CRC.

The effects of the poor refereeing and ensuing suspensions were there for all to see when the Robins started off April with a defeat to Stanway. We followed this up by seeing Peterborough lose 1-0 to Forest, who after being in a relegation position for most of the season pull clear of the pack. Then came the footballing highlight of the year. Ely took on local rivals Soham Town Rangers in the final of the Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup, a great performance by the team, a man of the match performance by Chris Strecki and an extra time winner by Adam Murray saw the Robins win 3-2 and take the trophy home. There was also some unfinished business left, and things went well for both Ely and Thetford, but perhaps not as spectacularly as we would have liked. We saw Thetford secure promotion with a 3-1 win over Long Melford, which was enough to secure promotion, but not enough to win the league, which went to Godmanchester. Ely beat Norwich United on the final day of the season, which secured them second place in a spectacular season.

The only game in May we went to was Stevenage against Bury. Stevenage ran out 3-0 winners and secured themselves a place in the play-offs, but it was a bridge too far this time for Boro.

The period for friendly games started off with a fixture which can't be considered very friendly in anybody's book when King's Lynn took on Wisbech Town. There was a huge crowd at the Walks and an experimental Lynn team went down 4-1 to Wisbech who even then looked like they were going to have an impact in the Eastern Counties this season. Meanwhile at the Unwin, Ely were finding out in the friendlies that it was probably best not to tinker with a successful team. The new signings weren't really gelling and a draw with Huntingdon was followed by defeats to Deeping Rangers and Histon.

The the month started off with Villa beating Posh in a friendly at London Road and not long after the competitive football was underway. Ely started the season with a draw at home to Kirkley & Pakefield. They then totally destroyed Rothwell Corinthians 7-1 in the FA Cup, which was marked by a terrific goal, as part of a hat-trick by Richard Gammon. Unfortunately things weren't going so well in the league as they followed this up with a home defeat against newly promoted Godmanchester Rovers. The month finished with a bizarre situation at the Abbey when the match between CRC and Mildenhall was abandoned due to torrential rain. Oh, yes the good old British Summer struck again. The next day the sun was out so I decided to go to Cambridge Women v Crystal Palace Women. It wasn't a great game and Cambridge won comfortably, 3-0 after being gifted goals by the Palace Keeper who wasn't getting much leverage on her goal kicks. After the fine win against Rothwell, Ely crashed out of the cup losing in a replay at the Unwin to lowly Bugbrooke St.Michael's.

September was another match filled month, and Ely began to find a little bit of form. In the home games in the league that I went to they beat a poor Wivenhoe 4-1, a strong Gorleston 2-0 and blotted their copy book by losing to Brantham. In the league cup the Robins comfortably saw off Downham Town with a 5-0 win. The other games that I went to were Cambridge Women 2 Norwich City Women 3 and Peterborough disastrous start to the season continuing with a 2-0 defeat at home to Wolves.

October was one of those months where I took on too much work and only managed to get to one game. The game was Sean's birthday trip to Villa and like last year the game was marred by a Villa sending off. Joe Bennett can't have too many complaints and Villa did well to hang on for a draw after Christian Benteke had put the Villa ahead.

We started off November with a trip to the Walks and an exciting encounter saw King's Lynn defeat Halesowen in the last minute to win 3-2. Ely City recorded a league win against CRC and then in the 2nd Round of the Vase we went to Hatfield where the Robins won 7-3.

The weather got the better of most of the majority of fixtures in December. We had been looking forward to a trip with Ely to Bethnal Green in the Vase, but for an unexplained reason the game was called off. They played it when the weather was worse a week later, but I couldn't go. However, Ely won and have set up a mouth watering tie against Spalding in the next round. The only game I got to was a decent match in Mildenhall where Ely came away with a respectable point against a team who wee top of the league.

End of year info on live games seen

Here are the teams in order of games won and points scored from the games that I went to in 2012:

1 Ely City
2 Thetford Town
3 Aston Villa
4 Wisbech Town
5 Stevenage
6 Portsmouth
7 Cambridge Women
8 Stanway Rovers
9 Bugbrooke St Michael's
10 Deeping Rangers

The most goals that I saws in a match was 10 and these were also the biggest home and away wins:

25/2/12 Thetford Town 10 Cornard United 0
17/11/12 Hatfield Town 3 Ely City 7

The stadiums that I visited were
The Unwin Ground, Ely (23 times)
London Road, Peterborough (4 times)
The Abbey Stadium, Cambridge (3 times)
Mundford Road, Thetford (2 times)
The Walks, King's Lynn (2 times)
The Wellesley Ground, Great Yarmouth (once)
Broadhall Lane, Stevenage (once)
Villa Park, Birmingham (once)
Gosling Sports Ground, Welwyn Garden City (once)
Recreation Way, Mildenhall (once)

I saw a total of 39 games and a whopping 143 goals

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day Derby in Mildenhall

Today it didn't start raining until later in the afternoon, so it was a good job that Ely's trip to Mildenhall was scheduled for 11 o'clock and although it was cold it was sunny.

At the start of the day Mildenhall were top of the league, and Ely were 13th. However, Ely after a poor start to the season have managed to put a decent run of results together and due to the bad weather and an extended run in the Vase they have a fair few games in hand. We were hoping for a belated decking of the Hall, but it was always going to be a tough game.

Mildenhall were the team who were fastest out of the blocks and came close from a free kick on 6 minutes. Ely managed to get into the game at about the quarter of an hour mark when Porky Claydon came close with a header. The game was then end to end stuff, but it was Mildenhall who took the lead on 20 minutes when Kris Thomas put the hosts ahead. They only stayed in the lead for 2 minutes though when Adam Murray forced a diving save from Pope, who was excellent in goals from the Hall, but on this occassion Austin Diaper was the quickest to react and scored the equaliser.

The rest of the half was pretty even and Ely's best chance was when Claydon put the ball just over on 43 minutes.

The second half started with Ely going for the jugular and Adam Murray had a shot cleared off the line in the opening encounters. However, Mildenhall kept going and were soon in the ascendancy with a volleyed shot coming close on 55.

The closeness and the end to end action of the game was probably best illustrated in the 68th minute when Mildenhall hit the bar and then Luke Parkinson came close at the other end. There were no more goals in the game though and the game finished 1-1, which was probably the right result, but didn't do Mildenhall any favours as it led to them surrendering top spot to Walsham, who won later in the day.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

History of the Real Madrid shirt

Love them or hate them the Real Madrid shirt is probably one of the most iconic in the game. They have had such an influence that clubs have often tried to mimic their all white kit. In 1961 Don Revie took over at Leeds and changed the clubs strip from yellow and blue to all white in an attempt to make the club 'the Yorkshire Real Madrid'. Crystal Palace also had a brief stint in an all white kit between 1964-65 after they decided to honour the Madrid club who played them in a game to open the London club's floodlights.

Real Madrid were founded in 1902 and have always worn white shirts with white shorts, although the first kit was accompanied by black socks rather than the more familiar white socks of today.

Real Madrid were also open to outside influences though and in 1925-26 they introduced black shorts after seeing London side Corinthians wear this combination. They were impressed by the idea of having a kit that looked like an English team's. however after losing 5-1 and 2-0 to Barcelona they decided they might be better off going back to the white shirts.

Not many changes happened to the shirt in the next few years, but in 1931 the Third Republic came into power and Real Madrid had to remove the crown from the badge.

They got their crown back in 1942 after the Civil War when wrong won out against right.

The next changes came in the 1950s. In 1952 they lost the knots from the collar and in 1955 they changed the black socks to white socks. It seemed to do them well, as in 1956 they won the European Cup for the first time.

Nothing much changed over the years of domestic and European glory which followed over the next couple of decades. The next big changes to the shirt came in the 1980s when shirts were changing everywhere with the introduction of synthetic fabrics and shirt sponsors.

The first visible shirt manufacturers were Adidas and the first sponsors were Zanussi in 1982, shown below by Miguel Porlan Chendo.

Between 1985 and 1994 Hummel were the kit manufactures and Kelme took over the mantle between 1994 and 1998. It was in 1998 that Real won the European Cup for the first time in 32 years.

Since 1998 the club have worn Adidas shirts and although there have been some experiments with the colours of the brands 3 stripes on the sleeves the white shirt has remained. In 2002 the company introduced a plain shirt to celebrate the clubs centenary.

And here are the 3 kits the clubs are wearing this season




Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy Football Day

If ever there was a day worth celebrating it would be World Football Day, and according to the United Nations that's today - 10 December.

I'm not sure if it is a real thing, as the only place I can find anything about it is on the Shakhtar Donetsk site.

Happy Football Day, everyone!

The curse of Winter continues

On Saturday I had been looking forward to what was going to be the highlight of the season so far with Ely travelling to Bethnal Green in the FA Vase. After a midweek snow alert when South Cambridgeshire and Essex was hit by a flurry of the white stuff I gave Dean a call to see what the situation was. I felt a bit happier to hear that in London it was cold but sunny and as the tube ran under the pitch at Mile End Stadium the chance of the game being off was slim.

The weather was pretty stable until Friday evening when there was a bit of a downpour, typically when I was standing outside at Crusaders' training session, but nothing to worry about. Therefore I was a bit shocked when an hour later Mick called me to tell me the game was off.

The next day was cold but sunny in both Ely and London. The Crusaders' game was on and I thought about going to either King's Lynn or Thetford in the afternoon. However, after the Crusaders' game I was suffering with flu and then spent most of the weekend in bed.

So another weekend without football, and to rub salt into the wounds it looks like Ely will now be taking on Bethnal Green next weekend, which would be great, but I've got visitors and could have gone to the scheduled home game against Stanway, but not have a trip to London.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Club focus - Bethnal Green United

Next weekend Vase fever returns when Ely visit Bethnal Green of the Essex League in the 3rd Round. Bethnal Green play at the Mile End Stadium in Tower Hamlets. Like Hatfield's ground in the last round it's a multi-sports complex, which includes facilities for most sports you could think of. Bethnal Green are fittingly a community club and share the ground with Sporting Bengal of the Kent League.

As a club that were founded for that very purpose they are a modern club. The club started out in 2000 and only became a senior club in 2009 when they won the Middlesex League and joined the competitive Essex League. In 2009 -2010 they finished fifth and won both the cups on offer, which is indeed commendable when you look at some of the quality on offer in the league.

At the time of writing they lie 4th in the Essex Senior League after finishing 9th last season.

That time of year again

It's that time of year again when the local football is at the mercy of the weather. At this time of year I usually volunteer for some extra Saturday work, as apart from anything else I could do with the cash. This year has been no different and I'm quite glad I volunteered for work last Saturday and this Saturday. Last week Ely's match against Haverhill fell foul of the weather, the pitch was waterlogged. This week I'm working too, but as Crusaders' game this morning was off due to a frozen pitch I would have probably been stuck at home anyway.

Let's just hope the weather improves next weekend for a trip to the Mile End Stadium when Ely take on Bethnal Green in the next round of the Vase.