Saturday, 31 July 2010

Pre season concludes

The Imps' last two pre season games were vastly different. The first saw what i would imagine is our best line up take on Championship side Norwich City at Sincil Bank on Wednesday night. The second match just two days later saw a side made up of youths, fringe players and coaching staff take on local non league side Grimsby Town in the Lincolnshire cup.
Lets start with the Norwich match first.
For me this was City's best performance of the pre season. We looked much more solid at the back than we did against Celtic and restricted a near full strength Norwich side to only a few chances, most coming from long range.

What has been noticeable this pre season is the pace City have on the wings. In Mustapha Carayol and Adam Jarrett i feel we can really cause teams problems and get behind sides which is something we really lacked last season. Of course this is only half the answer, as you still need somebody in the middle to convert the chances but at least in Broughton and Facey we have a couple of battering rams who should be able to cause enough trouble in the box and get on the end of the chances created. Only one of them will start each game and at the moment Delroy is a little off the pace fitness wise, but i still feel we will get more goals from him than Drewe but as long as we score i couldn't care less who gets them.
Hopefully McCallum will become the fox in the box and weigh in with a dozen or so goals. I am slightly worried about where the goals will come from in midfield but i hope O'Keefe will help us out in this area. Everybody had a solid game against Norwich so it looks like its ticking over nicely.

Now on to Grimsby.
This was a Lincolnshire cup tie. Normal sides play mixed sides; with reserves and youths given a match. The previous year's winners (Scunthorpe) get a bye to the final and the other two sides play each other with the winner going through.
I am not sure how Grimsby retained their place in the competition because the rest of non league sides in Lincolnshire play in the Lincs shield (the Lincs cup is only for league sides) but somehow they did. I would assume that should they fail to win promotion next season they will no longer play in the Lincs cup, and go into the Shield along with Boston (who were once a league side) and big fat Ron's new side Louth Town.

We were meant to be meeting up with an old school friend who, for all his sins, supports Grimsby! At school he followed Liverpool as i followed Norwich, how times change. Unfortunately due to work he didn't make it to the pub so we made our own entertainment, I was unbeaten at pool although my opponent claims it was by default!
The pub was called the Imperial and is definitely a "Home fans only" pub. I wasn't dumb enough to have Imps colours on, something i was thankful for as the pub filled up with Cods all set for their big cup match against their lofty football league opponents.

The friendly barmaid informed us that due to "Police advice" all drinks after 5pm had to be served in plastic glasses. At least they were the more sturdy type and the round was cheap enough. To be fair it was quite a smart pub it was just a shame about all the Grimsby Town memorabilia on the walls. Funnily enough there was none from the last 6-7 years, there must be a reason for that.

The glass is always half full in Adams world!!

About 7pm we made our way to the temple of sin. I had a quick look in the shop just to see if they had produced a "Season review 2009/10" DVD for some reason they hadn't! Mayby we should get a facebook group up to petition them to make one!

I was quite disappointed to find that no programmes were to be produced for the game. I would have thought as this was Grimsby's biggest game of the season that they would want to cash in. I also thought they had to produce one as it was a county FA competition. This is the only match in City's pre season that nothing has been produced, a shame when fellow non league sides like Staines and Walton produced programmes.

The Imps line up was totally different from the Norwich game. Goalkeeper coach Paul Musselwhite started between the sticks, Assistant Manager Ian Pearce started at Centre back. The rest of the side was made up of Youth players and players who only made fleeting appearances Wednesday night. Clapham and Facey were also included due to their lack of match time having started pre season later than the rest of the squad. The only player who i would say will start at Rotherham next Saturday to get a run out was striker Gavin McCallum.
Grimsby on the other hand had a full strength side out barring the goalkeeper. This was down two facts that 1) their season starts a week after Lincolns and 2) When a side plays a team from a higher division they normally play their strongest side so they don't get a total hiding.
The Imps took the lead when McCallum finished from close range only for the cods to get a fortunate equaliser when Musselwhite should have done better. When they scored the cods went mental with drums going and chants of Neil woods black and white army. The Imps fans had a feeling of "so what?" about the whole game. Grimsby went 2-1 thanks to some poor centre back marking from Pearce and Miller left a westlife lookalike unmarked to head the cods into the lead!! Blundell park erupted again!!! They had the lead against Lincolnshire's more successful side! (well their reserves anyway!!)
Within minutes McCallum had made it 2-2 and was greeted by a warm round of applause from the away fans, no real celebrations or anything as it was only a run out from the reserves and youth team for the Imps and a chance to model the new 3rd Kit. Grimsby then scored two quick goals to give them a 2 goal lead over the young Imps and that's how it stayed till half time.

The second half was a let down compared to the first. Grimsby had the lion's share of the game with Musselwhite making 3 or 4 great saves. At the other end Hutchinson missed a good chance for the Imps and that was that. Good as Musselwhite played, i would have liked to have seen the youth keeper get to play the last 30 minutes or so as playing against a conferance side would be a good test for him.
Imps forgotten man Chris Fagen did play the last 30 minutes so maybe there is a way back for him but i wouldnt bet on it, which is a shame as i believe that he has something about him.

Admission £5 (or £3 for scrounging students!)
Programme -NONE!!!
Ground 2/10
Food Burgers got a 7.5/10 (would have been 8.5 if they were a tad warmer)
Imps man of the match DELROY FACEY!!!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Lincoln City 1 - 4 Celtic XI

Well here we go,the first home friendly of the season and its Scotland's 2nd most successful side Celtic fc who sent down a mixture of reserve/youth team players down to take on the Imps. It was a big day for Lincoln as it was also our community day. With loads of activities for kids and families to do before the match like penalty shoots outs, meet the players etc etc.

For some reason i wasn't overly looking forward to this match. A match against any "XI" can often be a let down. Personally, i am never bothered who the other side puts out as long as i am there to watch Lincoln, but these kind of matches attract the floating fans who help boost the attendance and only turn up if the opposition puts out a decent side. In the past few years we have only sold out for the Liverpool game who had a few first teamers playing. Both the Arsenal and Villa games attracted good crowds and we were hoping this would to.
In the build up all week all we heard in the local media was that Celtic were going to bringing up to 4,000 supporters down for the game. In the end that, not to put to fine a point on it, ...was Bollocks. They were given 3/4 of the co-op stand when half would have been plenty. In all fairness it was a crap turn out from the home fans as well.

Driving down Lincoln high street on our way to the match it was obvious that there were plenty of Celtic fans around and secondly there were plenty of police about. Although we didn't see it at the time subsequent reports suggest that a fair amount of trouble had kicked off. Speaking to people i know who watch or have watched Scottish football on a regular basis this was no surprise. Nor were the IRA songs or the ARG-EN-TINA! chants inside the stadium. All in all this wasn't what you would want when you are trying to promote and get new fans down to watch Lincoln City. Obviously not all Celtic fans were up to this, far from it in fact as quite a few were mixing and chatting with the Imps fans but as we all know it only takes a few dicks to tar everybody with the same brush.
Anyway rant over.

The programme this season will cost £2.50 as it has since 2002/03. This is something the club deserves credit for as again they seem to have come up with a very good programme and have resisted the temptation to bung a cardboard cover round it and hike up the price. It was decent enough with plenty in it for both clubs.
I had a brief chat to the stewards who all seem fit and ready to go for the new season as ever and we made our way into Sincil Bank for our first home game of 2010/11.
Then another down point. I always try not to buy any food in the ground due to..
1) It is normally crap
2) its a rip off

But seeing how it was quite hot a cold drink was required. That will be £2 sir!! A bottle of water comes in at £1.50. The food has also gone up. Although it does now come in a crappy plastic box, quite how that improves the taste i am not too sure.
Just to really piss me off the club DJ played Irish rover over the PA and "You'll never walk alone" when the teams came out. As the home team surely we should have had our anthem the Dambusters blasted out?

The match started at a decent pace. Celtic have a Champions league qualifier this week so it wasn't a huge surprise that their side contained mainly reserve and young players although they did look good on the ball. The match was keenly contested in the opening exchanges with Celtic creating the better chances. The Imps were again looking dangerous on the wings as we tried to stretch the Celtic defence. Adam Watts again started with was another huge plus point for the Imps.

It was a bit of a surprise when Lincoln took the lead through Adam Jarret as he beat two men and blasted past the keeper. Up until then the high point had been watching a group of Celtic fans fighting with each other in their section of the ground and for some reason letting off smoke bombs. I can understand it for a Slavia v Sparta Prague derby but for a crappy pre season match? When the guy with the flares was kicked out the Celtic fans applauded the police as he was marched out. Celtic scored two quick goals about ten minutes before halftime to turn the game on its head.
HT 2-1

In the second half Celtic started to take control and put the Imps under pressure. Just as it looked like Lincoln had weathered the storm and were getting a foot hold in the game, again Celtic made it 3-1 when Anyon making his home debut in goal rabbit punched a shot out in the penalty area, The ball was passed across the area and slammed in.
On the next attack it was 4-1 when a curling shot from the edge of the box nestled in the bottom right hand corner. The shot wasn't travelling at a super pace but it was well placed. Even so, i think the keeper should have got to it, given how much time he had. When Anyon gathered a cross a few moments later a sarcastic cheer went up from a couple of city fans with was met by a glare from the keeper. Hopefully it was first game nerves and to be fair he was always in for a hiding today.
FT 1-4

4-1 was harsh on City as we had competed well through out most of the game, but it was a good work out for the side. The defence still needs a bit of work but i think things are ticking over ok at the moment.
Next up we have our toughest challenge yet. Championship side Norwich City at home on Wednesday night, the side that got me into following and watching football when a certain Chris Sutton was the most deadly striker in England way back in 1993.

Admission £15
Programme £2.50 solid as ever
Food Fleech gave the hot dog a 1.5 out of 10. I think the chip shop outside the ground will do some great business this season.
Man of the match DELROY FACEY.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Bishop Storford 0-2 Lincoln City

This was the 3rd match of our London pre season tour but thankfully due to it being just north of London we didn't have to use the M25. The trip took us less time than expected. We left Retford at 4.00pm and arrived at Bishop Storford just before 6.00pm.
The ground is on the outskirts of town so with plenty of time to kill we decided to go into the town in search of food. Bishop Storford seems to be a quaint little town, quite hilly with lots of old fashioned style pubs(which i prefer). Parking does seem to be a problem though and we must have done at least three laps of the town before we worked out where to park. On our circuits we had spied the excellent looking "Kebabery" take away.

The Kebab was indeed very nice. In fact i would say it is leading the Kebab standings this season. The meat and the salad was very fresh and it came in at £5.20(large lamb donner)
After feeding we headed back up to the stadium and arrived at 7.00pm.
Tonights admission was a bargain £5 for adults; which is half what we paid at fellow blue square premier outfit Staines Town in our first pre season match. On the down side no programmes had been produced for the game. Later on i went hunting for a team sheet and found one but it isn't the same as a programme.

The ground is tidy enough. You enter in one corner and to your right is the main stand and snap bar. I had a look in the clubhouse bar and it seemed nice enough. There is covered terracing behind each goal. Opposite the main stand sits a much lower stand with about 5 rows of seating in it. All in all a decent enough ground and set up.

The club shop is in the far corner of the ground and sells the normal stuff. Badges were the standard £3.50. One different thing they did have was a computer set up so you could search there database to see what programmes they have in stock.
We ambled around the ground and stood on the stand opposite the main stand.
Imps manager Chris Sutton came over and thanked us for coming down and we had a brief chat with him about how pre season was going and the up coming Celtic game. It was nice of Chris to come over and chat. Sometimes he may not come over great in interviews and stuff but he was a total gentleman to us. Although i felt a tad nervous chatting to him, maybe a tad in awe i guess.
We also had a chat with a Bishop Storford player about this and that. He told us he had played for Barnet a few years back when City had won 4-1 at Sincil Bank. He had been out for ten months but was on the way back and would not be playing tonight. Good luck to him.

We just had time for a cup of tea before kick off and what a cup it was! Only 70p and poured from the pot the way tea should be!
We sat on the terrace behind the end City were attacking and the Imps were quick out of the blocks. Chris Sutton had told us before the match that he expected this to be our hardest game so far but the Imps took control early on. Albert Jarret in particular looked dangerous on the wing. It was good to see Adam Watts back and although he looked a tad rusty at times, he was his normal solid self.

City took the lead through Cian Hughton when he beat a couple of defenders and shot into the top left hand corner. McCallum and Broughton missed further chances as City piled on the pressure. At the other end the home side looked dangerous on the counter but the final ball often let them down.

Second half sub Andy Hutchinson got the second goal halfway through the second half with a glancing header from about the penalty spot and that was that. As normal with these games the second half wasn't as good as the first with both sides making plenty of changes. City brought on old hands Paul Musselwhite in goal and centre back/assistant manager Ian Pearce for the last twenty minutes or so. With the last kick of the game Drew Broughton missed a penalty in what looked like a Chris Waddle Italia 90 effort.

All in all a cracking day out. Baz even made a new friend who he spent all the game chatting to about various things, including Lincoln and how Germany had a "young old side" at the world cup!

Admission £5
Programme none
Badge £3.50
Tea 9/10 best football tea i have had for years!!!!
Kebab 8/10 the standard has been set!!
Ground 7/10

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Walton Casuals 1 3 Lincoln City

This was the 2nd of 3 trips to London and as it was a Friday night game we decided to make a weekend of it and take in a couple of games the next day as well. We left Retford at about 1.45 pm all set for a weekend of jolly japes and excitement! I must first thank Fleech and Baz for all the planning with the hotel booking and route planning on this trip. My contribution was to ermmm... Well i found the two Saturday games for us, and I did bring the trusty bottle of Sambuca. A worthwhile contribution i am sure you will agree.

Just like last time the M25 was determined to hold us up. As normal we chatted and debated about the normal stuff, like pondering if Fleech should get some John Lennon style shades for the season etc etc.
We thought that as soon as we got off the M25 we would be ok and in the bar at the ground well over an hour before kick off..Oh how wrong we were. We managed to get lost and after doing a few laps of Staines (yes the place we were at the previous week) we decided to head for Sainsbury's; to empty out bulging bladders, re-group and find out how to get to the ground.
Now here is where i claim the credit.
We were on the outskirts of Walton but didn't have a clue where the ground was. All we knew was that it was near a leisure centre. Upon entering Walton we saw a sign for the centre the only problem was that we were as good as past it when i saw it. We doubled back and indeed it was the correct way!!!
Adam Barlow supplier of Sambucca and 1st class dircetions(Lincoln United,Burton Albion and now Walton) take a bow!!!

We arrived in good time thanks to me and got a prime parking place near to the exit. It was £7 quid to get in and £1.50 for a well presented but thin programme but as in the case of Staines the other week, any programme is better than no programme. Club badges we £3.50 and the people serving in the shop seemed over the moon that they managed to sell a couple! The Retford Imps; spreading happiness where ever they go!

After a long journey is goes without saying that the first place i wanted to head was the club bar! Being the gentleman that i am, i got the first round in (Carling £2.80 a pint) and it went down very well. The bar is what you expect at this level with some good pictures of former players and teams etc on the walls. On such player is former Blackburn and West ham player and now sky sports pundit Tony Gale who is now director of football at Walton. He was chatting to Chris Sutton (who thanked us for making the trip) about when the playoffs started. 1987 was my guess.
Also in the clubhouse was the food hut. While i was guzzling more beer the other three were eyeing up the food counter which nobody had yet been up to. It was like when you were about 14 with your mates looking over at a group of girls you wanted to ask out but were all waiting for each other to make the first move. Just as they were breaking out into a cold sweat Baz swept in first and ordered the first burger of the tour this opened the flood gates and led the women serving to ask why they had been so shy in coming forward. If i only got this reaction when i was 14 at the discos.

We haven't had a decent full back since Ben Dixon left the club what do you think?

After Tony Gale had asked Baz if he enjoyed his burger we headed out to watch the 1st half. City knocked the ball around quite nicely and were 2-0 with two goals for new signing Mustapha Carayol. I know its still very early but he does seem to have a bit about him and could be a very important player for us this season.
Just before halftime Walton got on the score sheet with a great free kick from about 25 yards out. Well we were never going to keep a clean sheet were we?

After another trip to the clubhouse for more ale we swapped ends for the second half. City added a third from trialist Joe Anson and that was that.The game petered out and city gained their 2nd win of the pre season campaign. Overall i enjoyed Walton. The ground is nice with plenty of covering and seating, cracking little club house and shop and friendly people. I would guess there were about 20 Lincoln fans there.

Admission £7
Programme £1.50 3/10 very nice to look at but £1.50 for 6 pages one of which was an advert was poor value for money. At least they did one though so hats off there.
Clubhouse 7/10
Ground 7/10
Burger 8/10 £3.00

After the match we headed for Feltham where our hotel was, We picked up a kebab for supper but i was disappoined with mine. The meat was a tad too well done for me but on the other hand Baz likes his meat well done so he loved it. Horses for course you could say.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

London Shenanigans part two

After all the excitement of the previous day we needed a good nights rest. Although it was a tad hot in the room its was bearable and the two milkshakes i got on the midnight quest to the nearest ASDA came in very handy. The Local newspaper came in handy for reading material on the pan but that was about it. Our room seemed to be the quieter of the two as unbeknown to us till the next day the other room was glued to Coronation Street till 1am in the morning. Hard core or what!! Fuck the pubs and the clubs of London this is where its at!!

"I say love do you think anybody will be watching this crap on the late night repeat?"
"Don't be so Fu#king Stupid you dozy old sod!"

After a spot of fresh air outside to allow for either a smoke or an outbreak of wind (since the previous nights kebabs made their last stands) we made a charge for the breakfast bar and for me it was a disappointment. It started off ok, we got decent seats where we could see BBC news on the TV (which was showing the same crap that we saw an hour previous in the hotel) The breakfast started ok, A reasonable choice of cereals, croissants and yogurts but that was the highpoint. The cooked breakfast was a big let down. On offer were sausages, bacon, scrambled egg, tomatoes, beans and that's your lot sunshine, well, apart from toast. As most people know i would rather watch Grimsbys 5-1 win over Lincoln or a Coronation street special from 1984 than go anywhere near bacon so for myself it was a lean breakfast. All this was washed down with the weakest apple juice known to man. All this for £7.50. The others thought the breakfast was spot on so it may just have been me. I gave it a 3/10 the others around the 7/10 mark.

Soon after breakfast we were on our merry way to find Corinthian Casuals with such optimism not seen since the rebel fleet set of to destroy the 2nd Death star in Return of the Jedi. However just as the rebels soon learned that a handful of crappy X and Y wing fighters may not be quite enough to tackle the entire might of the Imperial fleet and a fully armed and operational Death star, we discovered that my non league football ground guide book, Baz's newly bought A-Z street map of London along with his previously researched directions and a half drunk bottle of raspberry flavoured sambuca were no match for the boroughs of South West London; with their lack of street signs, one way systems, and so forth. We bravely battled on before resorting to asking somebody who gave us directions and got us nearish to the ground.

"Talk to me boys where the fuck are we going?"
"Fuck knows mate we've gone off the edge of the map we're fucked"
"Sambuca anybody?"
"Fuck it lets ask this knob here"

In the end we arrived at the ground with time to kill.
We were going to watch the first day of the Geoff Harvey vase. The first match saw the hosts Corinthian Casuals take on Kingstonian FC with Tooting and Mitcham playing Staines Town in the 3.00pm Kick off. The winners played each other the next day in the final and the losers played each other for the 3rd/4th place. All this for only £8 quite a bargain if I ever a saw one.

We were greeted at the turnstiles by a couple of gentlemen who quite simply are Corinthian casuals through and through. They gave us one of the warmest welcomes I have ever had at a football match. As we chatted you couldn't help but be impressed by their passion, not only for their club, but for football in general. They told us how they have more or less built their ground by themselves, and told us about their clubs history. We need more gentleman like Mr B Phillips and Mr R Phillips in football. Take a bow chaps. I get the impression that if we came back here in 5 years time or whatever they would remember us, not only that but they could tell us who was playing, what the score was and who scored the winning goal.

We had a ferret around the ground and very pleasant it was too. Covering was available on three of the four sides with seating down one side. I had a look in the club house and it seemed pleasant enough, again the staff inside were very friendly and couldn't do enough to help. I was tempted for a pint but 10.40 was a tad early even for me and i didn't want to be skint by midday. I told the guys i was off in search of a badge. Unbeknown to me the guys had told one of the chaps outside on the gate i was looking for a badge and if he shouted BARLOW at the top of his voice in the clubhouse he would find me, which he did and i subsequently bought a badge for the standard £3.50. They are very proud that they are the only football club in the country whose badge is designed by the heraldry commission. Great quiz question that.

See its not just me who can't spell!!

Today we were going to support the home side, so strolled round to the far end that Corinthian Casuals, in there pink and chocolate halved shirts, were attacking in the first half. Not only does Ryman employ hot young chicks in its shops but it also sponsors a non league football division. Kingstonian play in the premier division while the Cor-cas play in the division one southern, one league below. This made them the lowest ranked side in the competition.On a national level they are on a par with the same league as Lincoln United where as Kingstonian play at the same level as Retford and Worksop.

For the first half an hour you would have thought that the hosts were the side in the higher level. Not only were they on top but they played football on the floor. Most of it was two touch stuff and great to watch. At the back Kingstonian were struggling to pick up the movement of the Cor-cas number 10.

The home side took the lead with a great goal on 22 mins. The player beat two defenders then hit a dipping shot from outside of the box right into the top left hand corner. It was one of the best goals i have ever seen at this level. A few moments later it could well have been two as another long range effort smacked against the top of the crossbar.
This was the Que for Kingstonian to finally wake up and start playing. Again they played the ball on the floor and slowly started to get a foot hold in the game and forced a couple of corners.

The equaliser, when it came, was a sickener for the home side. A ball was pumped to the left hand side if the Casuals defence just outside of the box, The left back than headed it back to the keeper. Alas the keeper was out of position towards the left hand side of the goal. The ball gentle flew over him and nestled gently in the far corner of the goal for an undeserved equaliser. The rest of the half saw Kingstonian on top as the Casuals heads went down after the own goal.
HT 1-1
We made our way round to the food counter at half time to check out the snap, WAGS and MILF'S. The burgers got a 7/10 (i didn't have one) and were £3. As on the previous night the burger sauce was a plus point. It must be a southern thing and very nice it is too even though none of us quite knew what is in burger sauce.

The second half was pretty tame compared to the first with little goal mouth action. Plenty of subs were made as well which broke up what rhythm the game did have although Kingstonain were it has to be said shading it. In truth we all wanted a draw because if it was level after 90 mins the game would go to a shoot out (which it did) woo hoo!!
After what seemed like an age the ref signalled that the penalties (or kicks from the penalty spot as FIFA call them) were to be taken at our end. This was good news as it saved us the embarassment of having to sprint all the way round to the other end of the ground to see them. Childish it would have been yes, but you all know you would have done the same!!
Kingstonian went first and it was their keeper who stepped up first. I can't remenber how the scoring went but it was 3-3 after the first 5 were taken so it went to sudden death kicks. It ended 8-7 to the Casuals as they advanced to the final. One penalty was ordered to be retaken due to the keeper coming off his line early which i felt was a bit OTT for a pre season game. Even the other keeper though it was a tough decision

After all the excitment and with plenty of time to kill till the next match at 3 pm we headed into the borough to find some fodder.

The centre of town was typical of a London outer borough with the range of shops being confined to Pizza, rip off Kentucky chicken style places, Kebab shops and hair dressers. We managed to find a decent fish and chip shop and were very impressed with the fare on offer. £5.20 for large cod and chips, and you got a chunk of lemon with it. 8/10.

The 2nd game was a bit boring to be honest. Staines won 1-0 and that was about it. The highlights were confined to watching a groundhopper trying to chat a WAG up, the linesman going down injured and waving his flag with all the enthusiasm of the North Korean flag wavers at the world cup, and Baz trying to count the number of people in the ground. As he did this I reminded him that there could be 50 or so in the bar getting plastered on Sambuca shots, alas after me going on about this for about 10 minutes he went to investigate, surprisingly enough there were no sambuca supping fans in the bar.

The way home was the smoothest of the weekend. The high point was Baz pointing out "That fat cunt" struggling to get out of his tiny car at the petrol station. With all four windows open the fat cunt in question could hear this and seemed a tad annoyed! can't think why?!

Addmission £8 (for two games)
Programme £1 very good
Ground 7/10
Badge £3.50

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Staines Town 1-2 Lincoln City

Football is back!!!!!!!
The first pre season match is always a high point for me, the weather is normally great,the result of the game doesn't matter,you get a chance to check out the new signings and to top it all off this time we get to go at a new ground. And with this being a good 3 hour drive its a great chance to have some banter with the guys. Not many Lincoln fans made the trip which to me makes it even more special. All the Imps fans there deserve a huge pat on the back for being there. I can think of plenty of fans of various clubs who "give it large" on message boards or in the pub but never travel to these kind of matches, yet they are the first to slag the side off even though they didn't see the match.
Staines Town play their football in the Blue Square south premier league (two below Lincoln, one below Grimsby) they are based in the south west of London. This means you need to negotiate Europe's longest metal snake, the M25 motorway the road which circulates London.
So armed with sandwiches, The non-league guide book, and a bottle of sambuca, we set off around 10 am. The traffic was fine till we hit the M25; It took us a good hour and a half to crawl around London which fucked up our beer time as we made it to the ground at about 2.20 pm. The banter on the way down was what you would expect; conversations about the normal; beer, women, and food. Also we were trying to decide if the chap driving a Chelsea tractor on the motorway was indeed Mr Burns due to his lack of chin!

Mr Burns!

To our surprise Staines looked like a decent enough place. Although there was no sign of Ali G, maybe the football ground isn't in the "westside" of the town. The ground is just off the motorway and it was easy enough to get parked up. The stewards seemed to be of the "good old boy" types and were very friendly and helpful. We payed our £10 at the turnstile and entered our first match of the season.

Programmes were being sold for £1 and although there wasn't a great deal in it, it was good to see that the club had issued one as many non league clubs don't bother, so hats off there. A raffle was also being collected near the turnstiles but i am afraid the prize of either a jigsaw or a cuddly elephant didn't entice me enough to buy a ticket.

To the right as you enter the ground is the clubshop/shed and the food hut. I didn't have any hot food but the reports i had from two of my travelling companions were very positive. The burgers were £3 each and went down very well.
Normally i get a metal badge when i go to a new ground but seeing how they came in at £4 i didn't bother. If you are a member of the Staines supporters club they are £3.50 which is still at the top end of what i normally pay. I can understand that they want people to join the club but i am sure that i am not the first nor the last to be put off by the duel price list.

We ambled round to the far end of the ground so we could stand in the shade. We had a brief chat to the Imps goalkeeping coach Paul Musselwhite about the training at the Army base the Imps had been at all week. Apparently the had been "working their balls off" all week. A bit like me then.

As is often the case in these sorts of games, the Imps fielded almost two different sides in each half. New signings, keeper Joe Anyon midfielder Josh o'Keefe and winger Albert Jarret all made their first starts for the Imps. The match was quite a tame affair with City controlling the play as you would expect. Also as you would expect Staines took the lead on the 24 minute mark. Somethings don't change.

Lincoln were soon level with a finish from close range from Scottish trialist Scott Anson. So it was all level at 1-1 at half time. Half time brought a raft of changes as City looked to give the whole squad a run out. In the second half Lincoln took control of the game alot more and pinned Staines back in the own half for much of the game as fitness levels started to show. If anything, City played too much pretty stuff instead of going straight for goal. I never thought i would write that. Don't think i will be writing that in a league match review though. Lincoln took the lead when a free kick into the box was headed in by another new signing Canadian international Gavin McCallum. This guy could well be the signing of the season and yes we have a Canadian flag on the way!

Imps boss Chris Sutton

The game petered out with City looking more likely to score but Staines gave them a decent workout especially in the first half. It has to be said though that City did make a hell of a lot more subs that the home side so its not surprising that Staines tired towards the end.
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable start to the season. Staines made a very good impression and its a cracking club to visit. My only gripe being the prices in the clubshop.

On the way back we stopped for a Kebab in Dunstable. It came in at a hefty £5.20. The chili sauce was hot and the salad was fresh although the meat wasn't as hot as it could have been so its a steady 7/10 from me. It was washed down with warm cola, a couple of Sambuca shots and some Percy pig sweets.

Next up is another trip to London on Friday night to see the Imps play at Woalton Casuals. Its a stay over trip, then off to watch a two more games in London the next day. (non Lincoln ones)

Admission £10
Programme £1 5/10 not a great deal in it but at least they went to the trouble of doing one.
Food The burgers got a steady 7/10 from Baz(£3)
Ground 8/10 decent enough and the club staff were very helpful
Match quality 6/10
Man of the match Mr Burns.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Putting the boot in!

As we all know England were pretty poor out in South Africa. And it seems like Leicesters number one Scotland/Rangers/Rushden and Diamonds fan has been having his say in the Metro Newspaper!!!! (see writers name)

Shame England didn't show "rocking good from over there isn't it!!! At least i didnt lose any money to him! And just for my good friend heres the highlights of the England v USA game... In Lego!!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Germany v Argentina

Come on Germany you have stuffed England so could you please help me win my bet that you will get further than Spain. I am sure most people in England would rather see Germany win than see that smug cheating drugged up little shit who is charge of Argentina grinning his way into the semi finals.
Paul the psychic octopus has predicted a German win so we are half way there. Should Germany lose this match then i feel they should be forced to listen to their 1994 world cup song that they recorded with The Village People on repeat all the way back on the plane back to Germany.
Can't say fairer than that can i?