Sunday, 8 March 2009

Football Plus A Little More Football

A week on from the fantastic game at Glossop, and I've now had time to calm down a little and take a few things on board. It has been a very busy week for me, mainly at work but also at home. I was so shattered yesterday evening – both mentally and physically – that by the time I had got my son to bed, and my wife was out partying with friends, I was ready for bed myself. 9pm on a Saturday evening. How sad is that? After a good night’s sleep, it is time now to put a few things into perspective:

1. Glossop In The Semi-Finals! Stating the obvious I know, but that really does sound good. Imagine what the Glossop fans must be feeling; a whole raft of emotions coursing through their bodies. 5-2 against a strong Marske United side was a great result, but the thing that stood out for me was the performance. The Glossop team really do have some strong players, and in the two games I have seen them play I have been impressed with a number of them; David Hodges, Ashlea Gotham and Rick Bailey to name but three. The Hillmen are riding high at the moment; their fans must be besides themselves, praying they can negotiate the final hurdle and grace Wembley.

2. It is Chalfont Next. Yesterday, Chalfont St Peter and Needham Market played out their Quarter-Final replay. After 90 minutes, it was 0-0. After extra-time, it was 0-0. After 5 penalties apiece, it was 5-5. Chalfont scored the first sudden-death spot-kick, but then Needham's Jon Sparkes missed and that was that. Chalfont St Peter v Glossop on March 28th, the return leg at Glossop one week later.

3. Tickets Please? There was a huge crowd at Glossop for the Markse game. The inevitable questions about the Semi-Final games have already started. Will the games be all-ticket? Will they be moved to bigger grounds? (AFC Fylde did this in last season’s Semi-Final). I think we won’t know the answers to these questions for a few days yet, but I really hope that the games, particularly the second leg in Glossop, stay at the club’s home grounds. It just won’t be the same if it moved to a bigger, vacuous venue. Let’s save that scenario for Wembley.

4. A Little More Football. Away from the FA Vase, there is no avoiding football. My son has signed up with Chertsey Town U9s and he had training on Friday night; I played in a game of ‘kids v parents’ at the end of the session, and after a day of playing golf in impossibly boggy and waterlogged conditions, this almost killed me. Blessed with no footballing skills whatsoever, trying to control a ball as ten ‘wasp-like’ 8 year olds swarm all over you is impossible. Especially for an old crock like me. Saturday morning my son was then involved in a 1-0 defeat against league leaders AFC Brooklands. It was a close tense game, and I’ve never been so nervous watching a match. Despite the defeat, it was a great team effort and my son won 'Best Effort' award, for the second week running. I maybe a crocked Dad, but I’m also a proud Dad.

5. Even More Football. Now my son is the proud owner of the full Chertsey Town kit and tracksuit, and is a fully fledged member of Spencer Day’s revolution at Chertsey Town, he can now get into their home games free of charge. I and a friend took our respective offspring along yesterday to Alwyns Lane to see Chertsey Town beat Badshot Lea 2-0. Chertsey still have an outside chance of promotion from the Combined Counties Premier League and are chasing table toppers Bedfont Green. In the few months since I saw Chertsey Town lose at Arundel in the FA Vase, they are a noticeably improved side. With Spencer Day’s money improving the club facilities and now trickling down through the youth structure, the future looks bright at Chertsey.

6. Semi-Final Plans. Arrangements are now underway for the next FA Vase game, which is 20 days away. The Glossop fans are sorting out their scarves, flags, musical instruments, songs and transport for their long journey down to Buckinghamshire. I have yet to make contact with the Chalfont club or fans, but I’m sure they are still celebrating after yesterday’s nail biting win. For me it will be a short hop around the M25, 30 minutes at the most. Time for me to chill today and relax with my family; the toughest decision I’ll have this Sunday is choosing which pub to visit near Chalfont St Peter from the ‘Good Pub Guide’. It’s a hard life.

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