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Monday, 27 August 2012

Lincoln City 2-3 Maccelsfield Town

pre game chips and curry
The Imps may have lost the last couple of games at Cambridge and Newport but today's loss against the Silkmen was different, for it was the first time this season that we have been awful and out played for long periods of the match. Whilst i concede that the manner in which they took the lead; with a penalty in the second half, was incredibly fortunate and in my view never a penalty. The outcome reflected the match. In layman's terms they deserved the three points.
Last week i missed city's match at Newport as i was at Doncaster races. Although the Imps lost, the reports that i read and various tweets indicated that after going 2 down early, City bossed the game for all of the second half and were unlucky to come away with a 2-1 defeat. I meanwhile, was having a much better time of things and successfully managed to select and back four winners from the eight races ran. This resulted in a healthy profit that meant a previously unplanned curry at the Gurkha restaurant in Retford later on in  the evening and went someway to purchasing the new Imps away kit this afternoon.
Anyway enough about last week, lets focus on today's game. Or in other words from thoroughbreds at the top of their game to Donkey's asses and mules who are at the the other end of their sport.
Whenever Lincoln City and Macclesfield Town lock horns inevitably two names spring to mind, those being Keith Alexander and Richard Butcher who are sadly no longer with us. On Thursday evening former Imps chairman Rob Bradley's new book "There or thereabouts" which is a biography of Keith's life was launched in the Centre Spot at Sincil Bank. By all accounts it was a great evening with several guest speakers sharing their memories of the great man. I haven't got the book yet, but by judging from feedback from people who have its a great read that will appeal to all football fans. Unfortunately the clubshop didn't have any in stock for today's game, which is a bit of a shame because you would have thought that plenty of Lincoln and Macc fans would have purchased copies.
What they did have in the clubshop however was the sparkling new all white away kit. I haven't bought this season's home kit yet (That can wait till the end of the season when they are in the sale) but i was keen to get the away outfit as it is rather smart. I quite like the fact that the badge is embroided and not a stuck on effort. I never have players names and numbers of the back of shirts but i must say that the red writing we are using this year is rather smart and makes the strip as a whole, look very much the same as England, who are currently ranked by FIFA as the third best international team in the world; above nations such as Italy and Scotland. Unsurprisingly there wasn't a huge crowd in for today's match up. Many of the fans who did turn up though donned yellow socks for the match in a mark of respect for big Keith. I too joined in in this tribute but i fell short of tucking my jeans in them. Macclesfield normally brought one of the smaller followings to Lincoln back in the football league days and only 78 made the trip today, which is a shame because on this showing they have a half decent side that could well be challenging for a playoff spot come the end of the season. The overall crowd was only 2009 which is a bit of a worry. Some people always try and spin lines about August crowds being low because of holidays etc, but i don't think we can pin the poor crowd totally on that. Also, if the Imps put in many more displays like this in the coming weeks the crowds could well plummet further. Macclesfield have had a decent start to the season; recording two wins since their opening day defeat at Hereford United and they looked a useful outfit here today.
In the last couple of matches the Imps have conceded early goals that have left them chasing the game. Once you can forgive, twice in a row is unfortunate, three times is downright careless. However the Imps defence yet again conceded early when a good cross into the box took a deflection off the ref and fell to Fairhurst who buried the chance in the 12th minute. Lincoln had to make a late change to the line up as Tom Miller suffered a groin strain and was replaced with Graham Hutchinson at centre back and it took the defence a while to settle. The Imps did get back into in it the 31st minute when Jamie Talyor converted our first real chance of the game,.from then on Lincoln had the better of the play, but as in the previous two matches failed to make their pressure count, and we all know what happens when you do that..

After being on the back foot for the last 15 min's or so in the first half, Macclesfield came out all guns blazing in the second and it seemed only a matter of time before they took the lead. Paul Farman in the Lincoln goal was doing his best to keep the visitors out with a string of fine saves, as City struggled to deal with Macc star man Kissock who managed to annoy both the City players and fans with his diving antics. When Macc did finally retake the lead there was an element of fortune about it.
The aformentied Kissock and city centre back Andrew Boyce were chasing for the ball about a foot outside of the penalty box, which led to Boyce taking him out with a crunching tackle. Now as we sit pretty much in line with the line i can honestly say that it was outside the box. The ref however (and his is the only opinion that counts) pointed to the spot. Farman then pulled off not one but two fantastic saves before being beaten at the third attempt as the Lincoln defence was slow to react both times. I was more pissed off with the defence's laziness than the ref's poor decision. We can't do anything about crap decisions, but we can do something about not being alert in certain situations.
best view in the house of the "Penalty" incident 
1-2 soon became 1-3 when Barnes-Homer caught Mills napping and coolly beat Farman with a cheeky chip from the edge of the box. Lincoln did make the scoreline look a tad more respectable in the final few minutes when Jamie Talyor chased down a lost cause and sent in a low cross for Boyce to convert from close range but that was as close as Lincoln came to a late fight back.

As i said earlier the scoreline flatters the Imps somewhat. We were second best for much of the game as our midfield struggled to hold onto the ball, thus struggling to relieve the pressure on the makeshift back line. I was a fan of Mark McCammon last season but he hasn't really had a pre-season this year and he looked a little rusty. However i am sure that with more games he will be leading the line again and bullying defenders. A few Imps fans have questioned the absence of Josh Gowling from the squad but i dont think he would have changed the result had he played.
This is Lincoln's third defeat on the trot and it was by far the worst one. On the plus side there is always another game just around the corner in English football and there is a bucket load of games for us in September with four of the games being at Sincil Bank as the below poster shows.
See you all at the Bank fellow Imps

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Long Eaton United 0-1 Retford United

It was a bit of a last minute decision to attend this game but i am glad we did as it turned out to be a decent evening out and both sides played their part in a decent game which was played in tricky conditions. Long Eaton is nestled just inside the Derbyshire side of the Nottighamshire/Derbyshire border. Its also on the far side of Nottingham from Retford so it is a bit of a bitch to get to. All this added up to us missing the first five minutes or so but chatting to folk who got there early we didn't miss much/anything of note.
 On our way through the winding roads of our beautiful county we encounted a pretty heavy downpour which did raise concerns that the game could be called off, but the rain eased off and although it did rain on and off it wasn't heavy enough to hamper our enjoyment of the game.
 After parking up we dodged the puddles and approached the turnstiles and parted with our £5 entrance fee which seems to be the going rate for this division. I didn't see any programmes for sale at this point and assumed that due to this being a huge game that would have attracted fans from far and wide, the programmes had all been snapped up. Speaking of snap, Felice and Barry were a tad on the hungry side. (Fucking starving was the way they phrased it i believe) so they dashed into the clubhouse in search of food. Unfortunately they were to be disappointed, because it appeared that the club weren't serving hot food. However the club had put some food on for weary ground hoppers. On the bar sat a plate of cheese rolls and ham rolls that were wrapped in sweaty clingfilm and on sale for the bargain price of £1. To be honest they weren't the most appetising things i have ever seen, so i can't really blame the chaps for not purchasing one. Plans were then hastily made to visit a kebab shop on the journey back. The reason Baz said he didn't purchase was that in his view the ham was too thin. There is no pleasing that boy sometimes.
Long Eaton's Grange Park is a tidy little ground which is dominated by the "Big Jim stand" which is a smart seated stand which is split into two sections. Obviously it isn't segregated, as you can imagine crowd trouble in the NCEL is rare. Retford are one of the better supported sides in this league and they had again travelled in good numbers and had taken over the left hand side of the stand with the home fans congregating on the right hand side. To the right hand side of Big Jim's stand is a small covered standing area. The only other covered area in the ground is a small seated area on the opposite side of the ground to the two afore mentioned stands. There is no covering behind either goal but there is hard standing all around the ground. Given the weather it was hardly surprising that this game had attracted a low gate. The three of us braved the weather and stood behind the goal that Retford were defending in the first half.
Both sides have made good starts to the season. Retford had won two from their three fixtures while Long Eaton had taken maximum points from there first three matches.
The first half wasn't short on entertainment as both sides created plenty of chances but failed to take them. I would say that the hosts had slightly the better of things. I saw Retford record a fine 3-0 win on the opening day and they looked defensively solid however tonight they looked a little unsure although the conditions weren't really helping either side play the ball on the deck.
At half time we ventured back to the clubhouse to get warm and have a cup of tea which Mr Oxby treated us all to. I spied a pile of programmes for tonight's game behind the bar and bagged one for £1.50. I didn't read it there and then, but now having read through it i must say i am very impressed with it. Long Eaton are managed by former Imp loanee and former Worksop assistant gaffer Mick Galloway and his column is quite interesting and its good to see a manager talking sense. There is plenty to read in the programme and you can tell that the editor has put alot of time and effort into it.
Sky Sports news was on in the club house with the main score of note being The Rangers FC upsetting the odds yet again by beating Falkirk away in the cup. There were no other Scottish teams of note playing tonight but quite a few football league matches going on. Not that that is of any interest to me these days.

For the second half we strolled round to the other side of the ground and sat down thus resting our weary legs. Although the stand was far from full, it did mean putting up with the local Long Eaton nutter, who was not only very vocal in his support for his heroes but was also intent on commentating on the match into a little voice recorder thing. He was the kind of character that you would only find at a non league ground.
On the pitch Retford got better as the game went on. Long Eaton tried to hit Retford on the break but as in the first half their finishing let them down. Then with only minutes to go Retford's pressure paid off as they grabbed the points, after they took the lead following a goal mouth scramble when the home side failed to clear their lines. I am not sure what happened after the goal but somebody from the Retford bench was shown the red card.
On the way back we made a trip to a kebab shop but as i am now back in training i gave the food a wide berth. Even i was quite impressed with the fact i managed to resist bad food after a midweek football match.

Elsewhere in the footballing world, Inter continued their Europa League campaign with a good 2-0 win away at FC Vaslui in the first leg on Thursday night. I will leave you with this video of the goals. The game was a very important one for Inter skipper Javier Zannetti who played his 800th game for Inter. The man is simply a legend.

See you later.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Cambridge United 2-1 Lincoln City

The first away trip for the Imps and a decent one to boot. We have always enjoyed our trips to Cambridge but haven't been in recent years. It is also one of the few grounds that i am yet to see City lose at. In two visits here i have seen a 0-0 draw in 02/03 and a 1-0 City win, courtesy of a Franny Green goal in the season that saw United lose their league status. We had managed to muster three hardy souls up for this trip. Baz was again missing in action but for once he had a decent enough reason as he was celebrating his 40th birthday. So its a big congratulations to him from all the Retford Imps.



The journey did get off to a rather chaotic start because when Felice picked me up it became apparent that Lee was in distress as he had somehow managed to cut himself shaving and was spurting blood all over the inside of Del boy's motor. Thankfully some kitchen roll and a hungry caterpillar plaster seemed to do the job and we were soon on our merry way down to deepest darkest Cambridgeshire.
We had plenty of time to kill so we stopped at Cambridge services for refreshments, in the absence of a Burger King,  KFC was the nourishment of choice. As we dined the Imps team bus pulled up and the whole squad wandered in. Thankfully they didn't head for the McDonalds.
Whenever i travel to a town or city i always like to check out the local press to get a feel of the local area and also,when the imps are in town, to read a preview of the match from the other side of the ring. Felice was still gnawing away on his large variety bucket so i headed over to WH Smiths and picked up a copy of Tuesday's Cambridge News for 50p, which in hindsight was about 30p too much. Cambridge does seem to be a sleepy middle England kind of town and the local cricket leagues got more column space in the paper than the U's home match with the Imps. Elsewhere the main talking point in Cambridge seems to be the plan to put in another cycle lane through the town. Boy, life must be tough down there. It seems that Tuesday is business focus day in the paper which may not be the most interesting thing in the world to many, but i found it interesting enough, and it passed the time as we journeyed around Cambridge. I have never spent much time in Cambridge but it does seem like quite a nice place and the kind of town you could spent a weekend in. As for the paper i am sure my guinea pigs will have fun crapping all over it when it gets used as cage bedding. Although it has to be said that the non league paper is their poo poo paper of choice.
Normally when we travel to Cambridge we park up at a sports complex nearby. This time however we searched for somewhere closer. And after about ten minutes or so aimlessly driving round like moths looking for a lamp, we parked up on a side street a short walk from the Abbey stadium. On our way in we had passed quite a few City fans. We normally have a decent following at Cambridge and it looked like tonight was no exception. To walk to the away end we had to go past the club shop and offices so i was able to pick up the programme (£3) and check out the club shop, which was a tad disappointing. I already have a CUFC pin badge but Del boy didn't and he was most disappointed that they didn't have any with just the crest on. He is never happy that boy. The programme is quite simply outstanding with plenty of articles to read and very well presented. I know this is only the first away game of the season but its going to take a hell of a programme to prevent Cambridge winning the programme of the year award.
For tonight's game the city fans were placed behind the goal. In the programme for the Kiddeminster game and on various websites, the information was that both terracing and seating was available to Lincoln fans but it transpired that only seating was available.
Quite often in this situation United could have been accused of just trying to make an extra few quid out of the Imps fans by only opening the seated area which cost £3 more than the terrace (Macclesfield Town are rather good at this little trick)  however they only charged the terrace price for the seats and deserve huge credit for doing this. Not only this, but the away fans do seem to get the best stand in the ground which is quite a novelty. The only other place this happens, that we have visited in recent years, in my view is Rochdale. £15 to sit in Cambridge's away end must be one of the best value for money deals that we will encounter on our travels this year. Wherever you sit in the away end you get a decent view although it does seem strange how far back the stand is set from the pitch. I can only conclude that the long term plan is or was to move the pitch about 20 yards in the direction of the away end once all four stands were redeveloped.
This is a  big year for United as they  celebrate their centenary season. The chairman has provided funds for the manager and most tipsters have backed them to be challenging for the playoffs at the very least. They were moments away from taking three points away at Forest Green before a late equaliser denied them on the first day of the season.
One of the main criticisms of Lincoln manager David Holdsworth last season, was the fact that he made too many changes to the city line up from game to game. A sort of tinker man if you will. However tonight he kept faith with the same line up that played so well on the opening day of the season. Alas all didn't go according to plan as United took the lead within three minutes when a pinpoint cross was met by Tom Elliot whose header flew past Paul Farman in the Lincoln goal. This was going to be a real test for City and a good indicator as to the character of this Lincoln team. For a good five minutes or so after the goal Cambridge really built up a head of steam but Lincoln managed to hold them out and gradually settled into the game. Rob Duffy lead the line up front very well and gave the Cambridge defence plenty to think about, but he wasn't getting a huge amount of help from the ref who blew for pretty much every challenge the poor sod made. Lincoln's main threats were coming from Dan Gray's long throws and the pace of winger Luke Medley. On 38 minutes Lincoln were awarded a corner which Adam Smith took and was headed home by Andrew Boyce. Unfortunately i didn't see the goal as i was returning from purchasing a Bovril, i did get get to see the corner being taken but not the goal. A case of sods law striking on the first away match of the season.
The goal rattled Cambridge who were all over the place but unfortunately City couldn't capitalise. So from total despair after 3 minutes Lincoln went into the halftime with their tails up and ended the half looking much the better side.
At halftime Felice and Lee dashed down to the "smoking area" at the side of the stand for a quick puff. Felice also had time to pick up a burger at the snap bar which he rated with an impressive 9/10 although how it had room to fit it in after the huge KFC bucket at the services is anybody's guess. Away from home this season Lincoln are decked out in an all white Real Madrid style strip which looks the dogs bollocks. However it will be interesting to see how much red sauce and the likes gets spilt on them at games. I will be getting one at the Macclesfield home game, so its odds on that i will be one of the first to spill something on it be that beer, kebab sauce, curry etc.
For the first twenty minutes of the second half Lincoln really took the game to their hosts, who at times struggled to put two passes together and get out of their own half. Lincoln continued to press and had an Adam Smith effort hacked off the line. Once that happened you knew what was going to happen. In most football matches there will be a time when your side is on top. If you dont score when you are on top then the odds are that you are going to be in trouble. And with the game entering the last 15 minutes or so, trouble arrived for the Imps. Since the goal, Lincoln had failed to make a mistake at the back all game and looked good to claim a point. Unfortunately full back Dan Gray got on the wrong side of the Cambridge winger who managed to get to the byline and cross the ball in for Moke who slammed into the back of the net; giving Cambridge the lead with their first meaningful attack of the second half. It was tough on Lincoln, very tough, but that's football for you. If you don't take your chances you are in trouble. The Imps tried to rally but you never felt that we were going to get the goal that would have given us a share of the points.
  Ok so we lost but i didn't feel down hearted about it. At times over the past few seasons we would have collapsed after conceding an early goal. We could still do with being a little sharper up front but all in all i feel we are going in the right direction. I just hope that it isn't another false dawn. We have had enough of those over the past few years.
It will come as no surprise to regular readers of this blog that we managed to get lost in Cambridge after the game. After a few wrong turns we decided to switch the sat nav on and surprisingly enough it got us back on the right track in no time. Isn't technology great. The plus side of getting lost in the centre of Cambridge was getting to check out the nightlife as it seems as if Tuesday night is student night in Cambridge. Even after a defeat there is always a plus side.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Lincoln City 1-0 Kidderminster Harriers

Well here we are folks. The 2012/13 season is upon us. Fans up and down the land dream that this season will be their season where their side is basked in glory as they sweep aside all before them on the way to the championship. After the Euros and the Olympics, football is back and the video below gives you all a taste of what the next nine months has in store.
 It has to be said that expectations are not particularly high at Sincil Bank this time around. As we all know cash is rather short in supply and after another dreadful season last time out, Imps fans just want to see a little stability and hopefully not spend too much time looking over their shoulder at the dreaded relegation zone. Is that really too much to ask? The last week of pre season hadn't been ideal for the Imps. Firstly the last pre season game of the campaign against Leicester City was called off on "police advice", costing the club about £30,000 in the process. City did play Leicester at the Foxes' training ground and got stuffed 5-0. Then a couple of days later we flogged last season's leading goal scorer Sam Smith to BSP rivals Cambridge United for an undisclosed fee, believed to be around £25,000. I must admit i was a bit of a Sam Smith fan last season and certainly didn't want to see him sold. However at this level we can ill afford to keep a player who doesn't want to be here so its the best for all parties that we cut our losses on him. This move has cost me money as i had a bet with Baz that Smith would smash the 20 goal barrier this season but with Smith now having moved on the bet is null and void.

 Speaking of Baz he was again missing in action for the season opener as he was away; down south on holiday and with Lee again a no show, it left only Felice, myself, and Josh to represent the Retford Imps on one of the biggest days of the season. Those Retford Imps who missed out on today, hang your heads in shame.

 Looking back over the years i have been following them, City have normally been slow starters. I have never known them win the first two league games on the trot, with a win and a draw being the best start i have experienced. Even in the years when we have won the first league match of the season it has more often than not been a false dawn. Back in 1995/96 City started the season with a bang, with a fantastic 1-2 away win at Championship favourites Preston North End. About a month later City were rock bottom of the table and manager Sam Ellis was sacked. In more recent times Lincoln started the 09/10 season with a solid 1-0 home win over Barnet, but manager Peter Jackson only survived a handful of games before being relieved of his duties. A decision i believe was the starting point of the rapid decline of this football club. Given all this it is hardly surprising that i wasn't exactly looking forward to this season's opener against Kidderminster; a side that were very close to making the playoffs last year and are being tipped by many as dark horses to make the playoffs this time around.
After stuffing our faces at the chip shop we ambled over to the club offices as I needed to pick up my season ticket. To save costs the club has asked season ticket holders who have renewed season tickets to place them in last seasons plastic wallets so as to save costs. This action alone shows how much the club is watching the pennies this year, although i believe that if you didn't want to do this they would give you a new wallet. Eager to help the club out i have decided that i will be keeping my season ticket inside my 1997/98 wallet. This was the last time we managed to gain a promotion and so it is a little happy reminder to me of a time when we had a board that knew what they were doing, a manager who talked a good game AND got results (Sir John Beck) and a time when the likes of Doncaster, Scunthorpe, and Hull were finishing below us on a regular basis. Oh how times changed, as the three clubs mentioned are now on a totally different level to us. Swansea City finished in the bottom half of League 2 that season, they are now looking forward to a second season of Premiership football.

 
Normally one of the first things that one does at a football match is purchase the matchday programme. However there was a fire at the printers on the Friday night which delayed the arrival of the programmes, although the club were hopeful that they would arrive by halftime. Unfortunately this didn't happen but they were available from the club office after the match. I wasn't that desperate to purchase one there and then as there was ale-a-plenty to drink in Retford post match, but i did buy one from the club's Ebay account the next day. City have kept the £2.50 cover price but reduced the size to 32 pages to keep costs down. Personally i would have liked to have seen the club revert to a smaller A5 size issue but i am glad that they have not bothered adding a glossy cardboard cover as this makes them harder to store. Overall the editor has done a decent job given the budget and tools he has to work with. It probably won't win any awards but it does the job and is a decent read for home fans although there could do with being a bit more information on the away side in my humble opnion.
 Anyway on to the match.

In the build up to the game Imps gaffer David Holdsworth had been up to the normal mind games by saying how we were down to the bare bones, with both Alan Power and Gary Mills set to be out but in the end both made the starting line up.
Due to having problems with the computer i am writing this blog a week after the game so i am not going to bother doing a detailed match report but rather more give my impressions of the game and my thoughts on the Imps  going forward.
Last season Lincoln were their own worse enemy at times and conceded some stupid goals by putting themselves under pressure. On the showing of this match  we look much more solid at the back, with Tom Miller and Andrew Boyce. City have a pretty mean looking pairing; one that will not be pushed around as we have been in previous seasons. We had real problems defending long throws last year but we looked a totally different beast this game, and although Kidderminster had plenty of long throws they never really looked like causing us problems with any of them.
At the other end of the pitch City went in with a classic 'big man little man' combination with Rob Duffy and Jamie Taylor up top. I have read and heard quite a bit about Duffy but have kept an open mind on him. On this showing he may not be bursting the back of the net every week, but he will give centre backs plenty to think about and looks to be a very streetwise type of player. In truth the target man role is one that often gets overlooked with fans often quick to get on their backs if they don't score. In past seasons we have had players like Drewe Broughton, Steve Thorpey, and Tony Battersby playing in this role. Players that would hardly get many fond words from the City faithful. I believe Duffy will be much more effective than that merry little band but whether he can reach the highs of City's last really decent number 9; Mark Stallard, remains to be seen.
The main benefactor of Duffy's hard work was Jamie Taylor who is perhaps the cleverest footballer on  City's books; his tactic of playing on the shoulder of the last defender gave the visitor's defence problems all game. His goal just beofre half time was well taken and in truth was no more than what he and City deserved and with a bit more luck he could have had more goals.
Overall City deserved the three points. Paul Farman in the Lincoln goal had to be alert to make a smart double save early in the second half but apart from that the visitors didnt really look like getting back into the game. Lincoln did start to drop a bit too deep during the last twenty minutes or so which invited Kidderminster to come forward a little too much but nerves are always going to play a part when you are defending a one goal lead on the opening day of the season. The ref certainly seemed to be enjoying himself and the Lincolnshire sunshine, as he added 4 additional minutes at the end of the first half and six at the end of the second. Quite where he found all this time nobody is quite sure but to be fair to Lincoln, they saw it out pretty well and managed to run down the clock to take a deserved three points. One of the more interesting moments of the match was a heated disscusion between Rob Duffy and Andrew Boyce after a Kidderminster move ended with them hitting the post. The two Lincoln players had to be separated from each other by their team-mates, and a game of fisty cuffs between them was avoided. Was it a storm in a tea cup or are there deeper problems? In my view definitely the former, but it is something to keep an eye on.

I am reluctant to draw too many conclusions from the opening game of the season but based on this performance, Lincoln look like they will be a hardworking side with a little bit of know how on playing the ugly side of the game. We 'be challenging for honours but hopefully we will be competitive in most games. Of course all this may be tripe but thats just my impression from watching the first game.
One game down forty five to go, lets hope that alot of them are like this.
Nice Sunday morning read :-)

Saturday, 4 August 2012

The season starts here.

So after a few weeks of faffing around with pre season friendlies the 2012/13 season started for real last night. In the form of Europa league third round qualifying action. Over the last decade Internazionale of Milan have been regulars in the Champions league famously claiming Europe's most prestigious club title in 2010 when they defeated Bayern Munich 2-0. The run to the final included a fantastic 3-2 aggregate win over everybody's second favourite team FC Barcelona. However after a poor season in Serie A last season, Inter find themselves in Europe's second competition; the Europa league. And due to them claiming the last place they start their campaign in the third qualifying round, three weeks before their League campaign begins.

 Alot of football fans tend to bash the Europa league and come out with same old "We aren't really bothered about it", "the thing gets in the way of the league" kind of comments. The 1990s were a barren spell for the club on the domestic scene but the club gained three victories in the UEFA Cup so i have always had fond memories of this competition.
First up for Inter is Croatian side Hajduk Split. When the draw was made Inter were drawn to play the first leg at home. Hajduk, fearful of a nearly empty stadium for the return leg should they get a good kicking in the San Siro, requested to reverse the draw and play at home first. However as the below highlights show, it didn't help them a huge amount.
 
So after that result it looks like Inter have one foot in the "play off round", should they win that then they will be in the group stages.
All in all its been a great week for the Nerazurra after the announcement of a 200 million Euro investment from a Chinese group of investors and plans for Inter to move into a new Stadium by the start of the 2017/18 season. As you will have seen in the video Inter have an all red away kit this season. Although its not a colour i like to see Inter in, red, in China, is a colour that symbolises good luck and prosperity. Lets hope that plenty of that comes Inter's way in the 2012/13 season.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Lincoln City 1-1 Gainsborough Trinity

Today saw the annual Lincoln City community day. Basically this is the club's open day where fans can meet players, collect autographs, and pose for pictures with the squad. There is also plenty of other stuff for kids, with stalls of various games, rides and face painting etc. All of this is great if you have kids but of very little interest to 33 year old men with no kids (no activities for Guinea pigs i am afraid) It all seemed quite popular though so who i am to knock it? Josh certainly enjoyed himself even if Felice didn't seem to impressed at having to shell out for him to have a go on some of the rides. The high point of my pre match experience was the first visit to our favourite chip shop to tuck into fish and chips and yet again it was excellent and was washed down with a nice can of Red Bull.

The big talking point of the day was the whereabouts of a Mr Barry Oxby. In the days and weeks building up to the game Baz had said that he was heading up to Cannon Park to watch Retford United take on European opposition in the shape of Welsh side Porthmadog. Fair enough you may say. However at about 2.45 pm i was viewing Twitter (The whole world now revolves around Twitter) and saw that the kick off at Retford had been delayed by 15 minutes. Now i know that United had a decent season last year, but i wouldn't have thought that interest in the Badgers had rocketed to such a level that crowd congestion had caused the game to be delayed due to the hoards of fans through the turnstiles. Having a man on the scene meant that we could get the bottom of the mystery. Or so we thought.
I texted Baz asking what the atmosphere was like at Retford and the answer came back

"Dont know, at Clumber"

Hmm now what did he mean? My first reaction was that he was in the watering hole of the the same name in Ordsall, knocking back a few dozen sambuccas and pink gins before the game, so i sent a further text to find out if he was in the pub. He then replied that he was at Clumber park lake and thus wasn't going to attend any football matches today. Shocking behaviour i am sure you will agree.
One can only assume that he was indulging in a spot of birdwatching and on the lookout for the infamous Ruddy duck. For those of you who don't know what one is here is a video showing what they look like, so if you spot one don't be afraid to say hi. And if you don't get bored with the video after about 30 seconds than congratulations you have lasted longer than i did.



Its safe to say that this reason for missing a game could well result in a trip to the Kangaroo court, although seeing as Lee has been like the scarlet pimpernel this season he could well have a bit of a wait to have his case heard. The way that Lee and Baz are hogging the court i wont have to buy a hot drink till at least January at this rate.

If truth be told that was the most entertaining thing about the game, as the match had a real "can't be arsed" feel to it. The game kicked off a few minutes late (which will have had some of the sad ground hoppers in uproar) Lincoln scored in the first half, courtesy of a Rob Duffy penalty, with Trinity pulling level in the second half thanks to a Phil Stamp header. I am a tad behind with the blog so i will spare you the in depth match report. The main talking point of the day was the whereabouts of Josh Gowling. It later aspired that he was at a friend's wedding and was placed on the transfer list on Monday. Trinity had a couple of Lincoln old boys in their side in Shane Clarke and Danny Hone with the latter getting a great reception from the City faithful (and rightly so) The highpoint of the game came at halftime with the draw for the "Name our Stadium" campaign which had raised an impressive £21,000. Congratulations to the 12th man scheme that won the draw. City's financial plight has been well documented, but even in these tough economic times its great to see City supporters digging deep to help the club we all love keep going.
Did i get up to anything else this weekend? Ah yes i went to Clumber Park Sunday :-p
Aye up me duck