Hope you’re enjoying the World Cup (unless you’re an England fan ;) ). I did try to make 09/10 my biggest ever season by setting a target of trying to beat my record of 14 games. In the end, I smashed that by getting to 34 games, most of which were quite enjoyable. The season started in a torrential rain storm on the North Devon coast and ended with a farewell to Christie Park as Morecambe prepare to move to their new ground – The Globe Arena. It will be hard to set any targets for 2010/11 given the fact that I’m entering the real world so who knows how much I’ll have to
waste spend on football or whereabouts in the country I will be.
Games Attended: 34
Goals: 106 (3.12 per game)
Most Goals: 7 (Lancaster City vs Southport, Tavistock vs Launceston)
Least Goals: 0 (Plymouth Argyle vs Hearts, Tiverton Town vs Chippenham Town)
New Grounds: 28 (Marshford – Appledore, Vicarage Field – Torrington, Home Park – Plymouth Argyle, Raydale Park – Gretna 2008, Mill Road – Barnstaple Town, The Conigre – Melksham Town, Upcott Field – Holsworthy, Deepdale – Preston NE, Shawbridge – Clitheroe, Knowsley Road – St Helens Town, QED Stadium – Bamber Bridge, Holker Street – Barrow AFC, Minehead Recreation Ground – Minehead, Kimberley Stadium – Saltash United, Marlborough Park – Ilfracombe Town, Kellamergh Park – AFC Fylde, Ainslie Park – The Spartans, McDiarmid Park – St Johnstone, Pennypit Park – Preston Athletic, DW Stadium – Wigan Athletic, County Ground (Leyland) – Lancashire FA, Ewood Park – Blackburn Rovers, Pennygillam – Launceston, Silver Street – Willand Rovers, Langsford Park – Tavistock, Spotland – Rochdale, Purvis Park – Percy Main Amateurs, Mossie Park – Charnock Richard)
Best and Worst
Best Game: Lancaster City 2-5 Southport – Great entertainment as Lancaster gave Southport a massive scare despite the Sandgrounders being 3-0 up at half-time. Lancaster maybe could have equalized before Southport confirmed victory late on. Credible mention also to Barrow vs Wimbledon.
Worst Game: Minehead 0-1 Devizes Town – The Western League’s worse two went head to head on a cold cold December afternoon as both sides decided to miss every chance presented to them. A scrappy goal decided this.
Best Team: Gretna (2008) – Quite easily brushed Ormiston aside when I saw them and looked very impressive when I saw them. Especially upfront. Although still didn’t get promoted from EOS 1st Division though.
Worst Team: Awards for Ormiston, Nelson and Minehead.
Best Player: Gretna 2008’s Tony Nicholson looked far too good for the EOS 1st Division.
Best Ground (Professional): Preston NE’s Deepdale is a great ground.
Best Ground (Non-League): I loved Melksham Town’s The Conigre with its corrugated iron and good views of the pitch.
Worst Ground: Motherwell’s and Hamilton’s grounds are truly dire and looking forward to having a season free from them in 2010/11.
Biggest Dump: Motherwell. Although Gretna as a town is a surprising dump too.
Best Programme: The Spartans excellent effort for £1 was the best this season. Some very close competition though from Percy Main, Morecambe and Preston Athletic
Worst Programme: The Lancashire FA Trophy Semi-Final programme was a bit of a piss take for £1. Also credible mentions to Tavistock’s and Holsworthy’s book of adverts.
Best Bar: Can’t comment on the quality of liquor at the grounds I’ve went to as I normally drive to games, but the interior of Bamber Bridge’s bar was great.
Best Food: Its normally a winner when you serve Scotch Pies and Irn Bru at a game, but Gretna’s Scotch Pies were so good that their’s are an easy winner.
Funniest Moment: Lancaster City vs Ramsbottom Utd – When Ramsbottom were given a last minute penalty in their LFA Trophy tie, it looked to be a winner. Until centre-back Bernard Morley swaggered up and launched his penalty high and out of the ground. Ramsbottom went onto lose 4-1 in extra time.
Best Punch Up: Blackburn Youth vs Chelsea Youth – A 22 man brawl that resulted in two red cards, one for each side, was surely the definition of a punch up.
Hardest Place to Find: Melksham Town was a pain in the arse to find, not helped by roadworks through the main road in the town.
Friendliest Club: Percy Main Amateurs. A delightful lot.
Most Miserable Club: Holsworthy and the worst tea lady in the World.
Best Supporters: Lancaster City
Worst Supporters: The “angry” woman at Holsworthy. An embarrassment to herself.
Best Song: Not many to choose from this season but AFC Wimbledon’s, “Barrow, Barrow, Barrow! Its an awfully long place to go!” wins it.
Coldest Ground: Minehead. By a mile.
Best Goal: Struggled to pick one as I didn’t see that many ‘great’ goals this season but I’ll go with Billy Mehmet’s winner in the Scottish League Cup Semi against us. A dire pitch but a great shot up and over Marian Kello in goal.
Most Attractive Female Employees: While the two females at The Spartans were probably slightly too young for me, the hot blond at Saltash Utd certainly wasn’t, so she’s a winner.
Special Merit Award: Jim Jefferies. You can tell he’s a Hearts man. Good luck to 2010/11 JJ.
For Hearts this season, it was nearly an absolute disaster as all the hard work done during 08/09 rapidly disappeared and by November, we were clearly staring at a relegation battle. End on January saw Csaba dismissed (probably deservedly) and Hearts through and through Jim Jefferies take over and although started off slowly (I sadly witnessed the first two dire games in charge) he led Hearts to a fairly respectable 6th. We were even within a small shout of Europe going into the 2nd last game which shows how far we’d come from the desperate times in November. As always recently with Hearts there has already been comings and goings and every fan has been delighted with the release of quadruplet Christian Nade, Larry Kingston, Michael Stewart and Jose Goncalves. Already in are Darren Barr and Kevin Kyle so it looks to be *says quietly* the makings of a fairly decent team for next season. I didn’t make it to Tynie this year, although managed to see Hearts 5 times away from home this season (4 defeats :| ), it looks unlikely I’ll be there for this season, but we’ll see.
Some great, great clubs I’ve visited this season and saw some great football, some dire football and some really really dire football. Also got to some gems such as Percy Main and Melksham Town and hopefully will get to a few more next season. The upcoming blogs will feature a review of every team I saw this season and then a preview of 2010/11.