Histon’s most passionate fans?

03/19/2010

Located just a few miles away from the city of Cambridge, between the villages of Histon and Impington, stands the Glassworld Stadium, home of Histon Football Club.

 Comfortably sitting in mid-table in the league. Histon, nicknamed The Stutes may only be a small club, but they have a fantastic following.

 And you won’t find more passionate fans at the club than Dave and Ann. Current season ticket holders who have supported Histon for more than 20 years. They used to support Histon’s fierce rivals Cambridge United, but after they moved to the village, they began to fall in love with the club and haven’t looked back since.

 They recall what it was like when they first started watching Histon. “When we first started watching Histon there were just 20 people and a dog.”

 Now Histon are in the Blue Square Premier and Dave and Ann feel it has been a fantastic ride up until now. However Dave thinks it’s only a matter of time before the balloon bursts on the football club they love. He reckons that the smaller clubs can no longer compete with the bigger clubs in the league, and although he wants to see Histon become the first village side to enter the Football League, he feels it’s important for the club to hold on to where they are and become an established team in the Conference.

 But for the moment Dave and Ann are going to continue to enjoy watching the club they are mad about. They travel around the country to watch their beloved team play and now are owners of a motor home so they can continue their trips around the grounds. “The best ground we’ve probably been to is Notts County and the littlest has got to be Bognor Regis.”

 If there’s one last thing they’d like to add it’s “Histon is a great, friendly, family club and there’s always time for everyone who comes.” So why not pop in for a visit to the Glassworld Stadium. You might just fall in love and go back again and again.


Club Focus: Eastbourne Borough

03/06/2010

Eastbourne Borough initially started off life as Langley Football Club in 1964 and basically played on a field.  However over the years, the club has grown and although they changed their name to Eastbourne in 2001, they are very much a football club based on the community.

Eastbourne Borough is not only a football club though, it is a social club. It provides extra activities such as bowls for the community and has even been recognised for this by holding an international tournament involving England C in 2006. With these extra activities, it has helped fund the football at Eastbourne. Directly outside the ground there is also a field which has been used for the community, including youth and ladies football games.

The people involved with the club are mainly volunteers. I met Roy Young who has worked at Eastbourne as a volunteer for 15 years. He describes the club as a ‘family’. Roy is in charge of the food on matchdays and often works 9 to 5. But what is special about these volunteers is they don’t just do one job, they are heavily involved in all aspects of the football club. On my trip to Eastbourne, I even saw the chairman Len Smith with a drill in hand helping with the preparations for the match, which is unheard of especially in the Premier League and I was impressed with that. There is no millionaire behind the scenes at Eastbourne so everyone works hard and fights to see football played at Priory Lane.

Priory Lane itself is small compared to some of the other grounds in the Blue Square Premier. It has an official capacity of 4,151 and has 3 stands as well as terraced areas. The first stand as you enter the ground is called the Mick Green stand, which has been named after one of Eastbourne’s most influential players in their history. Then to the right of that there is the Peter Fountain stand and directly opposite is the River End stand. The home and away dressing rooms are the same size and come complete with Red bulls for all the players. However there is no accommodation for female officials, which will need to be reviewed as it against FA rules. The executive boxes above the dressing rooms have been designed based on the boxes at Crystal Palace and there is also a nursery which provides another linked back to the community. The tunnel leading out to the pitch is behind the goal which is unusual in modern times and the pitch has a new drainage system which cost £150,000. I have been told it does work very well considering the ground is situated on marshland. The dugouts have also seen improvements for this season. Eastbourne also boasts the most amateur programme in the league at only £2.

Lee Peskett describes Eastbourne as the ‘best pub team in the world.’ Lee has been watching Eastbourne since he was 12 and is now heavily involved in the club, having been a committee member since 2005. Lee is in charge of the press and is also a coach at under 7 level. He had supported Chelsea but now says he has ‘caught the bug’ of non-league football. When Lee started watching Eastbourne, 100 people would turn out to watch and the annual Bonfire event would attract a bigger crowd than football.

Now football is at the very heart of Eastbourne. Although once described as ‘only a park side’, Eastbourne is anything but that. It is a proper football club with loyal and passionate fans devoted to the club.


Ebbsfleet brushed aside by Barrow at Stonebridge Road

02/27/2010

This week I travelled to Stonebridge Road, the home of Ebbsfleet United. The game itself was an interesting one.  It was quite even throughout but Barrow made their chances count. I have to give credit to the Barrow fans though. They sang throughout in support of their team and generated most of the atmosphere. They are real football fans.

Ebbsfleet United 1-4 Barrow AFC

Attendance: 1,146

Barrow eased their relegation worries as they cruised to victory against fellow strugglers Ebbsfleet United at Stonebridge Road. The result saw Barrow climb out of the relegation zone with former Chester player Nick Chadwick putting in a man of the match performance, scoring a superb hat-trick.

Ebbsfleet(red) and Barrow(yellow) in action.

Ebbsfleet started the game brightly and could have been in front inside 2 minutes. First Magno Vieira broke through the Barrow defence and his shot was saved by keeper Tim Deasy. Then defender Darius Charles saw his audacious shot from halfway, bounce off the bar. The Fleet continued to dominate as the half progressed and their best chance to pull ahead fell on 21 minutes. A hesitation in the Barrow defence saw the ball fall to Moses Ashikodi. His pass found Vieira, whose curled shot was saved spectacularly by Deasy in the Barrow goal, finger tipping the ball round the right post.  However Barrow soon found their feet and against the run of play, they took the lead. The ball found its way to Jason Walker on the left and his cross, eluded Fleet keeper Lance Cronin and found the head of Nick Chadwick who headed into the empty net. 30 seconds later and it got worse for Ebbsfleet as Barrow increased their lead further. Winger Carlos Logan ran with the ball down the right, and his cross again found the head of Chadwick, who unmarked at the back post, made no mistake to make the score 2-0.  It could have been even worse for Ebbsfleet just before half time as Jason Walker raced through the Fleet defence, however his shot was well saved by Fleet keeper Cronin and Barrow went in at half time just 2-0 in front.

Ebbsfleet United started the second half exactly as they did the first and could have pulled a goal back instantly. A throw-in on the right found its way to Jordan Collins, who from the edge of the box fired a left foot shot towards goal, only to see his shot well saved again by Barrow keeper Deasy.

Ebbsfleet and Barrow battling for possession

Although Barrow still threatened to increase their lead, with both Jason Walker and Carlos Logan going close, it was Ebbsfleet who created the best chance on 63 minutes. Magno Vieira weaved his way into the box, but he shot directly at the Barrow keeper.

However Barrow did eventually make it 3-0 just minutes later. A nice interchange of passes between Paul Rutherford and Nick Chadwick saw Rutherford cross from the left and there was Chadwick again who headed in to seal his hat-trick. Ebbsfleet managed to pull a goal back when a Peter Holmes free-kick was headed in by Moses Ashikodi, to make it 3-1, but Barrow scored again. This time in controversial fashion. Ebbsfleet’s Leon Crooks seemed to have handled the ball in the box and although the referee didn’t give it, the linesman did, even though he was further away, and up stepped Jason Walker to slot home from the penalty spot to seal an emphatic 4-1 win.

Teams

Ebbsfleet United: Cronin, Pooley, Crooks, Charles, Collins (Ginty 71), Holmes, Bailey (Wills 87), Stavrinou (Welsh 58), Shakes, Vieira, Ashikodi.
Subs Not Used: Salmon, West

Barrow: Deasy, Spender, Jones, Bolland, Jelleyman, Rutherford, Hulbert (Boyd 87), Bond, Logan (Wiles 72), Walker (Blundell 85), Chadwick.

Man of the Match- Nick Chadwick

Nick Chadwick led from the front today and was rewarded with a superb hat trick. He found himself in the right places at the right times to help Barrow move away from the relegation zone.

Match Verdict

Barrow will be absolutely delighted with this result today. Although they didn’t create the most chances, they made the chances they created count. They were also very solid all over the pitch and very disciplined. Ebbsfleet will be disappointed with this result. They made too many mistakes and were punished for not taking the chances they created. I was disappointed with the Ebbsfleet fans who didn’t get behind their team where as the Barrow fans sang their hearts out for the entire game and showed their appreciation for a brilliant performance from their team.


AFC Wimbledon secure vital 3 points against play off rivals Luton Town

02/21/2010

  

This week I travelled to Luton Town as they played fellow play-off contenders AFC Wimbledon, at Kenilworth Road. The game was very entertaining, end to end at times. I was particularly impressed with the atmosphere at the ground and the attendance of 7, 736 which you would normally achieve in a league game,  gives credit to the profile of the Conference these days.  

Luton Town 1-2 AFC Wimbledon

Attendance: 7,736

 

AFC Wimbledon hopes of promotion were lifted as they beat play-off rivals Luton Town at Kenilworth Road. In a match that Luton dominated for large parts, it was AFC who snatched the points as Danny Kedwell scored the winner, to lift AFC to 6th in the table.  

Luton started the game on the front foot and could have gone in front within two minutes. Fred Murray found space down the left and his cross found Rossi Jarvis, but his goalward header hit the top of the crossbar. The visitors came into the game soon after with Nathan Elder and then Danny Kedwell both having half chances but neither threatened to test Tyler in the Luton goal.  

On 15 minutes Luton nearly went in front. Craddock was fouled on the edge of the area and from the resulting free-kick, Gallen saw his drilled shot well saved by AFC keeper Pullen who managed to tip the ball round his near post. Then just 3 minutes later Jarvis also had a great chance to put Luton ahead but he hit his shot into the ground when he should of scored.  

Luton and AFC in action

 

Although Luton dominated for most of the first half, it was AFC who surprisingly went ahead just before the half hour mark. Will Hendry’s right wing cross was met by on loan striker Nathan Elder, who from 3 yards out, saw his shot trickle over the line, despite the best efforts of Luton Keeper Tyler . However within 40 seconds, Luton pulled level. Kevin Nicholl’s shot found its way to Craddock and he gave keeper Pullen no chance, slotting the ball home.  

The rest of the first half saw the game flow from end to end but it was AFC Wimbledon who had the best chance to pull ahead just before half time. Danny Kedwell fed the ball to Steven Gregory, who crossed for Elder, but his header hit the side netting and both teams went in at half time level.  

After the break, Luton continued to dominate but failed to convert their chances. Asa Hall first fired over before heading over from 3 yards, after a cross by Nicholl’s on the right. This would come back to haunt Luton as on 63 minutes, AFC Wimbledon were in front. Kedwell collected the ball on the left, raced into the area, beat Luton defender Kovacs and unleashed a shot from a tight angle which cannoned off the post into the top right of the net, sending the travelling fans wild.  

This proved to be the winning goal and although Luton should have been level 5 minutes from time when Adam Newton shot wide when clean through, AFC Wimbledon held on and sealed a vital, winning by a 2-1 scoreline.  

  

Teams

Luton Town: Tyler, Newton, Kovacs, George Pilkington, Murray, Keane, Nicholls (Barnes-Homer 61), Craddock, Hall (Hatch 76), Jarvis (Howells 87), Gallen.
Subs Not Used: Gore, Blackett.  

AFC Wimbledon: Pullen, Hatton, Judge, Lorraine, Blanchett, Taylor, Gregory, Hendry (Conroy 80), Poole, Kedwell, Elder (Wellard 75).
Subs Not Used: Brown, Main, Duncan.  

Man of the match- Keith Keane (Luton Town)

The central midfielder was unlucky to be on the losing side today after his impressive performance. He was at the heart of everything Luton created in the game. He never gave up and wasn’t afraid to get stuck in and fight for every ball.  

Match verdict

Fair play to the AFC Wimbledon. They came with a game plan and it worked. Although they were on the back- foot for most of the game, they still came away with the win which would have delighted the travelling support. Luton deserved at least a point today and will be disappointed they weren’t able to convert possession into goals. Even the fans knew they should have won today and showed their frustration by booing at the end of the game.


Chester City- A Club On The Brink

02/16/2010

This week, Chester City were charged by the Conference for breaking five separate competition rules. The charges related to Chester not being able to fulfil two successive league fixtures within a week. The first being their game at Forest Green on 9th February, which was postponed when the players refused to board the team bus and the second being their home game against local rivals Wrexham on 14th February, which was called off due to an unpaid police bill. As result, Chester were suspended from the league for a period of 7 days, which has also seen their game with Kettering Town on 17th February called off. So what does the immediate future hold for Chester City, a club in enormous debt?  The future most certainly looks bleak for the Cheshire Club. On 10th March, they face a date with the High Court in London, with a possibility of being wound up over an unpaid £25,025 tax bill, but that’s only part of their continuing problems. The fans are also in protest over the running of the club that has seen Chester fall to the bottom of the Conference. Last season attendances averaged 1,972, whereas as this season the figure has plummeted to below 500, which has also taken its toll on the club.

The Chester players have also become increasingly frustrated with the situation the club find themselves in. They have only been paid one week’s salary in three months and this has resulted in many opting to move, leaving Chester with only nine senior players. Already this month the club has seen top scorer Nick Chadwick and midfielders Anthony Barry and James Owen leave. Defenders Rhys Meynell and Kevin Roberts also look set to leave as both have served a two-week notice to terminate their contracts.

Fans are even now calling upon the FA to ‘help pull the plug’ on the club and allow them and the supporters trust, City Fans United (CFU) to reform the club and develop it into a democratically owned, community football club. Supporters Direct also released a statement suggesting that “whilst the end of Chester City FC in its current guise may seem like a tragedy, it is not. We call on the FA to do what it can to pull the plug and enable a new supporter-owned club to rise from the ashes, so the story has a happy ending.”

However it seems that the Conference are reluctant to throw out the troubled club due to the implications it would have on the other 23 Blue Square Premier teams, even though even the fans have accepted the fact the club will probably not survive for too much longer.

This is sad news for a football club that has been in existence for 126 years and has produced talent such as Ian Rush and Lee Dixon.

Chester first entered the league in 1931 and have always remained in the lower divisions. Up to 1974/75, they were the only team never to have won a promotion but they broke that duck the following season as they finished 4th in Division Four. Chester have also caused one of the greatest League Cup upsets as they beat Leeds United, champions of the Football League, in the same season.

However, Chester’s off the field problems first started in 1998 as they entered administration for the first time and by 2000, they had lost their league status. By the summer of 2001, Chester faced going out of business. However 2004 saw Chester gain promotion back to the football league, claiming their first national title.

Chester’s money troubles continued and in 2009, the club entered administration for the second time. Their fate was finally sealed as they were relegated back to the non-league.

With Chester being placed in the hands of the administrators and debts of £7 million, inclusive of the chairman Stephen Vaughan’s £5.5 million investments, they incurred a 25 point penalty at the start of the season. This forced Vaughan to put the club up for sale for just £1. However it seems a buyer looks unlike due to the poor financial state of the club.

Chester City FC are just a number of clubs that now find themselves in financial difficulties. Premier league team Portsmouth have been threatened with administration, while Crystal Palace are the most recent team to encounter a 10 point penalty after falling into administration.

Still questions remain. Why are teams now struggling to cope financially with the demands of the country’s national sport? Is a financial crisis waiting in the wings? Or is the fact that football has been dominated by foreign owners and people not interested in the sport at all, who do not know how to run a football club? It is difficult to say at the moment. We will have to wait and found out.


Crawley beat Cambridge to maintain surge towards play offs

02/10/2010

This is my first post so be Kind 🙂

This week I travelled to Crawley Town Football Club as they played Cambridge United at the Broadfield Stadium. Crawley are exceeding expectations this season and find themselves pushing for a play off place. I was impressed with the way Crawley play their football. They play football the ‘proper’ way and dont look to hump it forward. I was a bit disappointed with the Crawley fans though. They hardly got behind the team and at times were out sung by the Cambridge fans.

Crawley Town 1-0 Cambridge United

Attendance: 1,108

Crawley Town continued their push towards the playoff places as they beat fellow play-off hopefuls Cambridge United at the Broadfield Stadium. In a week which saw Crawley’s star player Charles Ademeno stay with the Reds despite interest from several Football League clubs, it was Barry Cogan who grabbed the headlines with the only goal of the game.

Crawley started the game brightly and carved out the first chance, as a Thomas Pinault flick on found its way to Ademeno who shot harmlessly wide. However on 7 minutes, Crawley were in front. A mistake by Cambridge’s Aiden Palmer, who had a torrid afternoon, saw Barry Cogan work his way into the penalty area and fire a shot past Laurie Walker in the Cambridge goal, into the bottom corner. Crawley continued to show their dominance soon after, but it was Cambridge who created the next chance. Robbie Willmott, who had several glorious chances throughout the game, had a golden opportunity to level but his shot was blocked by the Crawley defence. However Crawley should have been further ahead minutes later.  A corner from the left  was met by the head of Eddie Hutchinson, who knocked it down to Ben Smith and his clipped cross was headed just wide by Ademeno, when he really should have scored.

Crawley and Cambridge battle for possession

Towards the end of the first half, Cambridge were beginning to grow in confidence and could have drawn level. Jai Reason’s pass landed at the feet of Danny Crow whose shot was well saved by Simon Rayner in the Crawley goal. But Crawley held on to go in a goal up at half time.

The second half saw Cambridge continue to assert themselves and it wasn’t long before they had their next chance to level the game. A Willmott free- kick from the left looked to have fooled Crawley keeper Rayner, but he was alert enough to stop the ball from finding the back of the net. Although for much of the second half Crawley were on the back foot as Cambridge searched for that equaliser, the Reds still had chances and were unlucky not to go two goals up, as a corner from the right was headed back across goal by Crawley captain Adam Quinn to Karl Broadhurst who headed over from 4 yards. Cambridge responded and when Danny Crow rounded Crawley keeper Rayner on the right, it looked like they could snatch a point but his cross into the penalty area, only managed to find the head of Crawley’s Simon Rusk who cleared to safety.

However Crawley held on to secure the three points in a game they deserved to win, which will further enhance their belief they can snatch a play-off place come the end of the season.

Teams:

Crawley Town: S.Rayner, S.Rusk, A.Quinn, K.Broadhurst, S.Rents, B.Cogan, E.Hutchinson, B.Smith (D.Forrest 82), T.Pinault, C.Ademeno (King 90), M.Malcolm (L.Killeen 88).

Subs Not Used: N.Jordan, Lake-Edwards.

Cambridge United: L.Walker, D.Gleeson, A.Palmer, J.Coulson, D.Partridge, J.Reason, S.Russell, S.Ives (A.Murray 73), R.Willmott, D.Crow (A.Marriott 82), L.Phillips (M.Beesley 70).

Subs Not Used: R.McAuley, D.Coakley

Man of the Match: Charles Ademeno (Crawley Town)

The striker was a handful for the Cambridge defence all afternoon. His trickery and skill was particularly impressive and he deserved at least a goal. He is a quality player and Crawley will be delighted they were able to keep hold of him until at least the summer as he will be a very important player for them as they push for the play-offs.

Match verdict.

Crawley Town deserved their 1-0 win today and were unlucky not to win by a bigger margin. I was impressed with Crawley today. They played the better football and created the best chances throughout the game. I feel sorry for the Cambridge fans. Their team didn’t show up today and at times lacked quality in front of goal. It’s now 6 games without a win and if this form continues, a relegation scrap could be a real possibility for them.