A brand new season, and an extremely strange one for me and the amount of changes not only for me but also in the football. Its extremely hard to set stadium targets this season when I don’t know what part of the country I’ll be in or how much money I have to spend on football (currently £0). I’ve decided to just focus on all the changes to preview 2010/11 and have a look at hopeful grounds I’ll be visiting in the Southwest.
1) I’m not longer a student
The major change for this season, it means I’m no longer in Lancaster (although having a girlfriend up there still helps ;) ) and no longer have a student loan to help me out either. Therefore football will have to take a back seat until a source of income is coming in. Also means my geography is limited to Devon/Cornwall and possible cheeky trips to Somerset until this situation is rectified. There are still closeby (ish) grounds that I’m still yet to visit, so all is not lost and I’ll get onto these later.
Even if I do manage to get to a sneaky Northern Premier League ground, it will no longer be a “Unibond Ground” as the sponsorship deal with the league ended after 16 years with the 09/10 season. The league will now be named the “Evo-Stik League” for at least 3 seasons, not as catchy, but I’m sure it will stick. (I’m so sorry)
With the recession, there were always going to be casualties as football teams spent far more than they had. When old teams “die” or go down the tube, new teams rise from the ashes and obviously need a place to go. A few new teams have ended up in leagues that I frequent often – some of these teams have been quite lucky with their new divisions, while others have already been hindered by the nonsense league they have ended up in. But at least they have a team. Here’s a few of the new teams I might be seeing this season:
-> Merthyr Town
The new team from Merthyr Tydfil have ended up in the Western League, a league for Southwest based teams. With Merthyr Tydfil being that well known Southwest outpost in Wales, this might seem a strange one. However Merthyr have a history of playing in English football so the new MT team deserve to be somewhere. I bet though teams like Bridport (108 miles away) and Elmore (98.5 miles away) will be delighted with the long drive to S.Wales. Not.
(Merthyr - A town in Wales)
One way of making friends if your ex team has just gone bust is to get in a new league, keep your head down and try to work your way back up. Chester FC then clearly haven’t read those rules as after going bust and creating a new side, or a reformed one – the debate goes on. Chester were placed in the Northwest Counties League, at least 3 or 4 divisions lower than they would be. Obviously not happy with this, they appealed and won, now becoming the 23rd team in the Northern Premier (Evo-Stik) League Division 1 North. Some teams are furious with this decision and Chester have kept opposition clubs happy by charging £10 entry to watch Level 8.
-> Farsley AFC
Dissolved only 1 league below Chester City, Farsley have ended up in the Northern Counties East League Premier without a fuss and have managed to get where the old ‘Celtic’ team play at Throstle Nest thanks to Leeds City Council buying it for football use. Their season in the Conference in 07/08 really harmed Farsley’s old club and I hope they can rise up again, certainly more than Chester anyway.
4) New Sports! (Well, more sports)
After playing half of season (well 3 games) for my Rugby League team at University. With a 33% win ratio, I’ll have you know! :p It means I’m quite keen to see a few RL games this season along with football. Not only RL but I’ll try and get in a few cheeky other sports in, although if I’m stuck down in the Southwest there isn’t really a lot. And I refuse to watch Rugby Union, its gash. I’m taking this new sports thing seriously for the blog that the first game for the new season (although it will count as Summer 2010 in RL terms) will be hopefully at one of the teams I picked out of a hat to support for RL.
I know I’ve said this for ages, but I really will try. I might even create a logo, although I have the artistic skills of Stevie Wonder with Parkinson's so don’t expect much.
6) More random waffle
You might notice some of the rarely used links down the left hand side. Unless you read this on facebook then you should click ‘view original post’ and have a look at my blog. Go on, its ok. I hadn’t forgotten about these links, well actually I had – but I will try and fill them up this season out, especially if I can’t afford to go games. (Which currently looks likely) With some of this waffle, you might even get some opinions. ;)
(A random waffle)
I’ve got a few targets in the Southwest, football and RL.
- Torquay United (Plainmoor)
- Elmore (Horsdon Park)
- Witheridge (Edge Down Park)
- Crediton Utd (Lords Meadow)
- Brighton & Hove Albion (Withdean Stadium)
- Gateshead Thunder (Gateshead International Stadium)
- North Devon Raiders (Pottington Road)
So yeah, enough targets, hopefully more. I’m sure I’ll get to other obscure places or wherever Mother Nature wants me to go when the postponement machine kicks in. I also have the Southwest Challenge Cup for this year which has given some tasty fixtures out. Bring it on!