Around the Blue Square


Last weekend saw the curtain come down on another thrilling season in the Blue Square Premier. And after visiting 9 grounds, watching 9 games and talking to various different people, my travels around the Blue Square came to an end.

 What a ride it has been. I have come from not knowing about the Blue Square Premier, to an avid fan. I have seen some fantastic games being played, most notably Luton’s 6-1 demolition of Ebbsfleet United. I have also met the most passionate fans like Dave and Ann, who follow Histon home and away and follow their team no matter what. It just shows you, you don’t have to support a big team to absolutely love watching the beautiful game.

 My Journey began at Priory Lane, the home of Eastbourne Borough. Here I met some fantastic people, working as volunteers, helping to prepare the ground for match day. I even saw at one point, the chairman Len Smith, drill in hand, helping with the last minute repairs. I have no higher praise than for these volunteers, who give up their time in order to help run the football club. I would like to thank Colin Hutchinson and Lee Peskett for showing me around such a fantastic club and I am glad they can look forward to another season in the top division.

 My next stop was Histon and the Glassworld stadium. Histon are only a village side and their rise up from the bottom leagues to the Blue Square Premier has been remarkable. Although I witnessed probably the dullest game of all my travels, I was able to speak to Histon captain, Matthew Langston, who has probably scored the most special goal in Histon’s history as they beat Leeds United in the FA Cup. This was also a great experience and I have to mention Graham Eales,  who works tirelessly and is well respected around the club for giving the chance to show my around the club.

At Crawley Town

 Crawley was my next destination as they played host to Cambridge United. Although Crawley boss Steve Evans has put together a strong team and were unlucky not to be challenging for promotion, I felt that the crowd did not do enough to get behind the team. I was standing in the away end and the Cambridge fans were making more noise and their team were losing!

 The next stage of my journey, took me to Chester. I was meant to go and watch the derby game between Chester City and Wrexham, but as a result of the police not being paid, the game was postponed. Consequently, this event along with the Chester City players refusing to get on the team coach on their way to play Forest Green Rovers, saw them expelled from the Blue Square Premier. To see yet another team erased from the game is sad and this has to be echoed by all football fans. But I honestly do hope Chester can rise again and make their way back to the top pyramid of non-league football and maybe even further.

 Luton Town provided me with the best atmosphere I have experienced at a Blue Square Premier game. Luton actually lost the game 2-1 against AFC Wimbledon, but the 7,000 plus crowd made the game entertaining. I was definitely impressed with such a huge crowd which would probably beat most attendances in the two bottom tiers of league football and even though they were tipped to win the Blue Square Premier this season, they finished 2nd, and I am strongly tipping them for an instant return to the league as they compete in the play-offs.

Ebbsfleet vs Barrow

 Onto Stonebridge Road, the home of Ebbsfleet United, where unfortunately for the home side, I saw them on the receiving end of two heavy defeats. The first one being a 4-1 defeat by Barrow, meanwhile the second game a 6-1 defeat by Luton Town, was the best game I have witnessed not only in the Blue Square Premier, but throughout my time following football. Luton were 1-0 down at half time and not playing very well. The funny thing was at half time, the Luton Town fans were all disappointed but I heard one of them say ‘wouldn’t it be funny if we battered them second half.’ The team must of heard him as they not only scored 6 goals, they completely outclassed the opposition.

 I then made the trip to AFC Wimbledon and even had the privilege of taking my girlfriend for her first experience of non- league football. She absolutely loved it and I think I have passed the bug onto her. Although I don’t think she was impressed with the language of the home fans, but that’s all part of football.

Action from Newport County vs Maidenhead United

 The Blue Square South was my next destination and a trip to champions Newport County. This was to be my first experience of watching Newport and after they played Maidenhead United off the park with some neat football, they thoroughly deserve to be in the Blue Square Premier next season and I wish them the best of luck.

 My last trip of the season was a Thursday night trip to Hayes & Yeading, which in truth left much to be desired. I did however for the first time, witness a female referee, officiating a game. However after dreadful performance, it will be a long time until female officials start refereeing league games.

Final Thoughts

 The Blue Square Premier has taught me that football is not only about money and winning, it’s about enjoying the game. I have seen the passion and commitment shown by not only the players, but by the fans and everyone involved with every club and it has really impressed me. The standard of football is not as good as some I have seen in the league, but you can’t beat the atmosphere at some of the grounds and being amongst proper football fans.


Final Weeks of the Blue Square Premier Season- The Ups and Downs (Before Todays Games)


With Just 3 weeks and only a handful of games left to play of another exciting Blue Square Premier season, there is still so much to play for at both the top and bottom of league.

Here’s all the information you need to know about what can still happen in the final few weeks.

At The Top.

Stevenage currently lead the table with 84 points and with a game hand in hand over 2nd placed Luton Town. They have been around the top of the league for much of the season and are now have to be considered the favourites to clinch the title and reach the Football League.

In-form Luton Town are not far behind on 82 points and are pushing Stevenage all the way and will be hoping to pip them to the Conference title. However the play-offs look the most likely for The Hatters.

Oxford, York City and Rushden & Diamonds occupy the remaining play- off places and it looks likely they will stay there come the end of the season.

6th placed Kettering still have a chance of reaching the play-offs as do AFC Wimbledon, Crawley Town and Mansfield but they will all have to win all their games and hope one team slips up if they are to make it.

Down The Bottom

Grays Athletic’s fate has already been decided, having been relegated two weeks ago after a 0-0 draw against Kettering. This week they were also dealt another blow as they were deducted two points for fielding 3 ineligible players.

The other two relegation places are still wide open, but at the moment Ebbsfleet United and Forest Green Rovers make up the rest of the relegation zone.

All the teams up to 10th placed Altrincham can be mathematically relegated but only an incredible turn of fortunes can see this happen. So the relegation scrap seems likely to be between Ebbsfleet United, Forest Green Rovers, Eastbourne Boro, Gateshead, Salisbury and Barrow.

Rushden & Diamonds Strengthen Their Play-Off Hopes


 This week I travelled to Kingsmeadow, the home of AFC Wimbledon. I had never been to the stadium before, but I must say it is an impressive ground for a team that has only been existing since 2002 and have fans who are really passionate about the team.   


 Attendance 3, 640

 AFC Wimbledon’s play-off hopes suffered a dent as they were narrowly beaten by Rushden & Diamonds at Kingsmeadow. However the game will be over-shadowed by the controversial winning goal scored by the Diamonds Craig Farrell, that saw them edge closer towards promotion.   

AFC (blue) and R & D (yellow) battling to win the ball


 The game started brightly, with both teams eager to secure the win, but it was Rushden & Diamonds that created the first meaningful chance of the game on 10 minutes. A throw-in on the right found its way to Aaron O’Connor who found himself one on one with James Pullen in the Wimbledon goal, but his shot was well saved. Wimbledon responded but Brett Johnson’s shot was easily saved by Diamond’s keeper Dale Roberts.   

 Both teams continued to battle throughout the entire first half, but neither team could find that all-important goal. Diamonds left-back Kurt Robinson saw a speculative scissor kick shot sail over the bar, while Wimbledon’s Will Hendry saw his 30 yard strike fly well wide. However Wimbledon had the best chance of the half just after the half hour mark. Glenn Poole received the ball on the left and his cross was met by top scorer Danny Kedwell, but he headed just over and both teams went into the break level at 0-0.

 After the break, the game flowed in much the same fashion as the first. However Wimbledon should have been in front within 5 minutes of the restart. Ricky Wellard passed the ball to Kedwell on the right and his cross was met by Hendry, after Wellard has missed the ball, and he shot straight at Diamond’s keeper Roberts when he should have scored.   

AFC (blue) freekick


 This would come back to haunt Wimbledon as soon after, Rushden & Diamonds were in front. Aaron O’Connor fed the ball through to striker Craig Farrell who ran onto the pass to slot the ball  past keeper Pullen and into the net. However as the ball was played in, Farrell looked offside, but luckily for the travelling fans, the linesman failed to notice and the goal stood, giving them a 1-0 lead.   

 Rushden & Diamonds began to assert themselves on the game, but Wimbledon still searched for that goal to draw them level. Sam Hatton had a free-kick saved by Roberts, while Luke Moore saw his shot sail just wide.   

 With 6 minutes injury time added, Wimbledon continued to push forward with Wellard heading straight at Dale Roberts but the Rushden & Diamonds defence held firm and held on to secure a vital away win.   


AFC Wimbledon: Pullen, Hatton, Judge, Lorraine, Johnson, Poole (Elder 63), Gregory, Hendry (Adjei 54), Wellard, Kedwell, Moore.
Subs Not Used: Brown, Conroy, Duncan   

Rushden & Diamonds: Roberts, Corcoran, Osano, Stuart, Robinson, Porter, McNamara (Huke 70), Byrne, O’Connor (Akurang 85), Farrell, Tomlin (Louis 74).
Subs Not Used: Day, Wolleaston.   

 Man of the Match- Jamie Stuart (Rushden & Diamonds)

 Captain Jamie Stuart had a solid game today at the heart of the Rushden defence. He dealt with everything that was placed upon him and he and the rest of the defence will be absolutely delighted to come away with 3 vital points.   

 Match Verdict

 Rushden & Diamonds will be delighted with picking up the win today. In an even game that could have gone either way, it was a controversial decision made by the linesman which settled the game. AFC Wimbledon wil be very disappointed not to pick up at least a point today and now face an uphill struggle to clinch a play-off place, which the fans desperately want.