Friday, 23 January 2009

Bitton, Glossop and Mumbai

I saw a good film this week, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ the acclaimed flick from director Danny Boyle. It is set in Mumbai and is the story of how an 18 year old orphan from the slums is only one question away from winning the top prize on the Indian version of ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’. It really is a great watch, and the main thrust of the story is all about fate. Or Destiny. Or to use a line from the film: some things are "just meant to be". If you already haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.

I’m not sure if I have ever believed in fate, that your life is already mapped out for you. I think I would like to believe, if only for the reason that it has a fanciful appeal that mocks any sort of logical explanation. But a couple of things have happened recently that have made me think twice. This time last week I did a short post ahead of the FA Vase game between Bitton AFC and Cogenhoe United. In that piece I wrote about my home town, Glossop, and mentioned their tie with Stewarts & Lloyds Corby. I was prompted to bring that up because I had seen that the FA Vase had been in Glossop ahead of their game.

Roll forward one week, and it’s been quite an exciting few days. On the Saturday, Bitton edged out Cogenhoe 2-1, whilst Glossop North End overcame their Northamptonshire opponents by the same score, but in a far more dramatic fashion. Glossop’s winner arrived deep into injury time to the delight of a packed Surrey Street. There is an excellent write-up of that game here from 'Sticky Palms'.

The draw for the Fifth Round Proper (down to the last 8 ties now) produced its own little bit of magic for me; Bitton AFC was pulled out of the hat with a home tie against...Glossop North End! Fate? To say I am excited about the draw is a bit of an understatement. I’m fit to burst and I have thought of little else all week.

And then news later in the week that the FA are taking the Vase on its countrywide tour to Bitton on the day of the game (7th February) and it will be on display in the Bitton clubhouse prior to the match. This is unusual, as the Vase is normally on view to the public in the weekdays preceding the tie. Ordinarily, I would not therefore have seen it, so the fact that the Vase will be at Bitton on the matchday is a real bonus. This will add a touch of luster to what promises to be quite a special day.

Last week I explained how the FA Vase gets very little mention in the media. As if to prove me wrong, we got back from Gloucestershire last Saturday to see the Sky Sports News banner scrolling across the bottom of POSH Mate's TV screen with all the FA Vase scores, including the results from Bitton and Glossop. Shows what I know. But then, quite bizarrely, that same evening, the FA website declared that the game at Glossop had been postponed and did so again in a report on some of the other Fourth Round ties the following day. Beggars belief really, but don’t get me started on the FA.

As for another big media institution, the BBC, well… I think someone in their football office has been reading my blog. Late last Friday they published a mini news item about the exact two games I featured on my blog that same day and the words “chase FA Vase” appear in the title of their piece. Coincidence? Do you think I should sue?

Anyway, back to Bitton AFC v Glossop. What a great draw. Bitton are thrilled with another home tie, and both sides know that there are no easy games left. The Glossop fans are engrossed in the competition and, although this presents a round trip of 370 miles, plans are already underway for booking and filling coaches, note the plural. First impressions suggest that the away support could reach triple figures and Bitton will also attract a good home crowd, with the visit of the Vase providing even more of a pull.

I really can’t wait for this Fifth Round game, the countdown has begun. In the meantime, I’ll be twiddling my thumbs and passing the time with other matches (including my son's debut for Chertsey Town Juniors this Sunday) and no doubt the odd movie or two. There seems to be a number of good films on general release at the moment, I can't decide what to see next; I might even go and watch ‘Slumdog’ again. I know - I'll let fate decide.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Go Glossop 2 GAMES AWAY FROM WEMBELY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
J's cousin and sister