Photo competition with Campo Retro winner

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Congratulations to Non League Review – winner of the No Standing & Campo Retro photo competition.

There were several pictures in the running from the many entries we received, including shots from Geraint Duckfield and Laurence Reade, but we felt that the picture above was the most evocative and, therefore, deserved to win.

Thanks to everyone that submitted their football shots.

Football Comedy – Ripping Yarns, Golden Gordon (BBC 1979)

BBC4 started re-runs of the classic comedy series from Michael Palin and Terry Jones, Ripping Yarns, last night.

Episode two of the second series of Ripping Yarns is ‘Golden Gordon’, a loving parody of a non-league football fan and Yorkshire football in general, filmed around Barnoldswick and Keighley.

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It is 1935. On a stereotypically cold, wet, windswept and bleak West Yorkshire hillside sits the Sewage Works ground, home to Barnstoneworth United. Once a mighty team in the Yorkshire Premier League, they have now fallen on hard times.

Barnstoneworth United haven’t won a match in six years. After losing 8-1 to Brighouse, depressed United superfan Gordon Ottershaw comes home and smashes the furniture in his house in fury (my Dad, half-jokingly, used to say that he came home and kicked the cat, Lofty [named after Nat Lofthouse] when Bolton lost). His wife Eileen (Gwen Taylor) quietly accepts this. She keeps trying to tell him that she’s having a baby, but he seems not to notice.

“Eight One – Eight bloody One! – And even that were an own goal!”

Ottershaw has been teaching his son (who’s first name is Barnstoneworth, middle name United) every detail of the club’s results, players and statistics (again, my Dad has an almost preternatural ability to recall the scores of every match he’s ever been to, dating back to the mid 1950s). Over dinner, having memorised the 1922 side perfectly, his father chimes in at the end, sighing as he speaks:

” Won none. Drawn none. One cancelled owing to bereavement. Lost 18.”

A die-hard supporter, Ottershaw laments the clubs latest troubles over his custard pudding:

”Centre forward’s off with boils, two half back’s are going to a wedding and the goal-keepers got a cold. Chairman’ll sort it out.”

The Chairman in question will definitely sort it out. He plans to sell the club to a scrap merchant and walk away from it all with some brass in his back pocket. His only opinion of Gordon Ottershaw is that:

”It’s a form of madness you know, wearing your scarf in bed.”

Barnstoneworth are in dire trouble. On the training ground you’re more likely to hear ” He’s got my shorts on”  and ” Can I go at half past six?” than you are any sounds of encouragement or tactical nous.  But Gordon has a brain wave. He will round-up all the best surviving ex-Barnstoneworth players for the coming Saturday’s cup tie against Denley Moor Academicals. That will save the club!

The idea comes to him when he’s visiting (nay pleading) with the scrap dealer not to buy Barnstoneworth United and sell his beloved club down the river.  The subject of when Barnstoneworth last won a game comes up… Quick as a flash superfan Gordon has the answer:

“October 7th, 1931. 2-0 against Pudsey.“

“Haggerty F, Ferris, Noble, Codren, Crapper, Davis, Sullivan, O’Grady, Kembell, Hacker and Davitt*. Davitt scored twice, once in 21st minute, once in 28th minute…”

”Davitt, he were hell of a player.” says the scrap merchant. ” He were bald weren’t he? Head like stainless steel.”

“That’s right. He once scored with the back of his head from 28 yards against Barnsley reserves in 1922.”

Saturday comes, and the Cup tie against Denley Moor Academicals kicks off. United only have four players (and three pairs of shorts), whereas the captain of the Denley Moor team is the famous Eric Olthwaite. Things look bad, but Gordon arrives with the old team who take to the field. Davitt opens the scoring with his bald head, and, shock of shocks, Barnstoneworth eventually win 8 – 1.

“8 BLOODY 1!”

‘Golden Gordon’ ends with Gordon smashing up his own home in celebration this time. Clock, photos, radio go flying out through the window as the Match of the Day theme plays. And it still hasn’t registered with him that his wife has been trying to tell him she is pregnant throughout the entire episode.

*The mighty Half Man Half Biscuit named their third album McIntyre, Treadmore and Davitt in tribute to this episode, and the front cover is a still from the programme.

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See also A Visit to Gordon Ottershaw’s House, by Merrick Cork, which talks about the Yorkshire footballing inspirations behind the episode.

WHO ARE YA? Callum Jones, Press Officer for FC Halifax Town

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Media Officer at FC Halifax Town

1) Who are ya?

Callum Jones, 23

2) Who do you support?

Manchester United

3) What was your first game?

United v Wimbledon, January 1997.

4) What do you do for a job?

I work as a Press Officer for the Skrill Conference club FC Halifax Town.

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

I had a fledging career for both Vauxhall Motors and Chester City FC in my youth. Now, I’ve worked for Chesterfield, as well as FCHT.

6) How did you get into it?

I’ve always loved football, and all sport, so when it came to picking a degree, a Sports Journalist seemed ideal. Working within football clubs is a fantastic career and I’d recommend it to anyone. Working a matchday does not feel like real work!

7) What do you get out of it?

You get to watch football as a job! No, in all seriousness, you get to meet a whole range of people, and no two days are the same. The chance to work in a variety of roles, from radio commentary, to writing a match report, is thrilling too.

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

Be committed. You don’t always have to be the most talented, but if you show desire or commitment, it will get you places. And always enjoy yourself, no matter what.

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

I’ve not got too far down the road yet, don’t there’s not a great deal I would change so far. But making less mistakes and better decisions always come to mind.

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

David Beckham. I even had a few terrible haircuts like him too in days gone by.

Cheers Callum.

Yorkshire Groundhopping: Brighouse Town’s Dual Seal Stadium

Our kid invited me to go and watch Brighouse Town play Tadcaster Albion last Saturday in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division – a mere 5 minute walk away from his house. With my nephew in tow, and suitably wrapped-up against the strong and bitterly cold wind, I paid my £5 to get it at the turnstiles.

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The DualSeal Stadium has one main standing/seating area and a variety of huts, housing the toilets, changing rooms and club house.

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There is a very friendly club dog who has free rein to roam around the ground.

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The club house is warm inside, but the facilities aren’t on the same scale as BPA’s Horsfall Stadium:

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BPA’s game was called off due to a waterlogged pitch, so some familiar faces from the Horsfall were here for the Brighouse match.

The pitch is very exposed, and the recent bad weather had turned much of the playing area into a quagmire, but at least the game was on.

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The recent high winds had also demolished one of the dugouts, with the other one shored up with rope!

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The wind was blowing a gale, and wind-assistance played a big part in Town’s early goals.

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With Town 5-0 up at half time the game was over as a contest, and the Albion players were dejected and frustrated. They were reduced to abusing the officials and each other, and I have honestly never heard so much swearing from football players at any game I’ve been to. Not that I was offended, but it wasn’t too cracking in front of my 13-year old nephew who will have learnt a few new words!

One of the Albion players was booked for calling the lino a c**t, the last swear word in a long stream of invective.

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At the half time break, we left the touchline and made our way over to the Main Stand.

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The standing/seating area does provide some shelter from the wind and is warmer as a result, but when the rain comes in sideways, blown in on the wind, in the second half you still get wet.

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The view was decent, only obscured by the scaffolding poles keeping the stand up!

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Albion did manage to score a (scant) consolation goal, with Town ending up 8-1 winners.

Verdict:A friendly club with a decent little ground, but desperately in need of funds for much-needed improvements. Probably best to visit there in the Spring or Summer!

WHO ARE YA? Roy Mason, Steeton AFC Manager

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Roy Mason, Manager of Steeton AFC

1) Who are ya?

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Steeton AFC crest

Roy Mason, manager of Steeton AFC, I am, despite the youthful looks, 44.

My role as manager involves much more than the running of the club. I get involved in the commercial side, website updates and helping write the clubs programme – non of which the Premiership managers would dream of, but it’s part of the job at this level. As manager I need to generate my own funds to push us on more professionally and also help publicise the club at any opportunity. Those who know me would say I never miss an opportunity to get the club into the local media!

2) Who do you support?

I support Bradford City, a club that has had its ups and downs. I was there on that fateful day on May 11th, 1985 [GM – the terrible Bradford City fire tragedy, where 56 men, women and children lost their lives] and the bond the supporters have with the club is second to none. Last season was a just reward for all those who have stuck with the club throughout the years. They are the most local club to me and I firmly believe you should support your local club.

I also take a keen interest in all West Yorkshire’s non-league sides.

3) What was your first game?

It was a home game against Walsall in the early 80’s. Bobby Campbell was the main man in those days. It was a 0-0 draw but enough for me to go back and the next game saw them beat Wigan 7-2 and I was hooked!

4) What do you do for a job?

I am a footwear buyer for a mail order company; my job takes me all over the world and has allowed me to see the odd game abroad. I’ve visited Barcelona, FC Porto, Fenerbache & Fiorentina to name a few clubs. So, I’ve sometimes been able to combine my work with hobbies. I’ve done a bit of TV guest presenting with work and this has caused much amusement from my players over the years!

It can be hard juggling both jobs and sometimes you leave yourself with no spare time!

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

Not professionally, however I played for Steeton before I became manager, and Keighley Phoenix as well as a couple of Keighley’s succesful Sunday sides, Druids Arms and St Annes Celtic.

6) How did you get into it?

I’ve always been interested in off the field activities as well as those on the field. I became assistant reserve manager, before taking on the position of player/manager with the reserves. After a season doing that I then took over the first team and have guided them to become one of the top WRCA Premier Division sides and in my tenure with the help of a great backroom team we have transformed the club.

7) What do you get out of it?

I love being involved with grass roots football and working with people who feel the same and devote a lot of hours for nothing. I live in the village [of Steeton] and I’m proud to be putting something back into the community as well as pushing myself to be the best I can as a manager.

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

Go for it – local clubs are crying out for help at all levels. Get involved you will make so many friends and get a great deal of satisfaction from it and you have no idea where it could take you.

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

Not a lot really – a broken leg at 24 cost me 18 months out of the game and if I could wind the clock back I would have ridden the tackle instead!!!

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

Playingwise, it’s Stuart McCall – a man who gave 110% in everything he did. He was a fine example to any player in always giving your all for the club. I was very disappointed when it didn’t work out for him at Bradford City when he returned as a manger. Maybe he was too close to the club…

Managerwise, I admire Bill Shankly and Brian Clough a lot for their grasp of the basic principles. Their method was keep the game simple and be honest and upfront with players.

In the modern day, Jose Mourinhio seems to have a great man management style and the players want to play for him.

Many thanks, Roy.

You can follow Steeton AFC at www.steetonafc.co.uk

WHO ARE YA? Alex Jones

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Alex Jones

1) Who are ya?

Alex Jones, 25, Live in North Yorkshire, work in Leeds. Played Semi Professional football for Bradford Park Avenue, Harrogate Town and Eccleshill United.

2) Who do you support?

I support Leeds United

3) What was your first game?

Leeds United 4-0 Liverpool (Elland Road, 1994)

4) What do you do for a job?

I’m a Global Business Researcher in the Oil & Gas Industry.

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

Played for Bradford Park Avenue 2007-2009, Harrogate Town 2009 and Eccleshill United 2010 & 2012-2013.

6) How did you get into it?

At a young age, my Dad took me to a few games, then I got selected to play for Leeds United & Middlesbrough Academy.

7) What do you get out of it?

Made me into the player I am today, helped me progress my social skills and progress my communication skills. Taught me leadership to the point where I have been captain of a Semi Pro football club.

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

Take every opportunity which comes your way, plan your future alongside football. Keep in contact with all your managers and friends at clubs (you never know when that might come in handy in future).

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

The only thing I would change is not going to University, that put my career on hold just as I was getting to the best part of my Semi Pro career. I went to Uni as I thought my future wasn’t in football.

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

Two words – DAVID BATTY.

NEAR POST – GOING THE DISTANCE

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Truro City Fans

After my re-blog of the Game of the People article “Truro fans defy the farce of regionalised football“, in which describes how fans of Truro City “will cover some 11,500 miles this season to fulfil their Southern League Premier fixtures[…]an average of 500 miles per away [game]”; I thought I’d look into which team’s fans travel the furthest and shortest distances.

Longest Distances

As previously stated, Truro City fans travel an average of 500 miles per away game.

Debate rages over whether it’s Plymouth Argyle or West Brom fans who travel the most miles per season. Newcastle United are further away from other stadiums as the crow flies but the road infrastructure means that their away fans travel less miles to games.

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Carlisle United Fans

Carlisle United fans have several long-distance away fixtures this season. When they play Bristol City away, it’s a roundtrip of over 550 miles, and Peterborough is over 450 miles there and back; but when United play any of the teams in or around London, its a whopping 600 mile plus round trip!

When Carlisle played Torquay in the FA Cup it was over 720 miles there and back, with a coach journey of nearly 12 hours!

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Tranmere Rovers Coach

If Tranmere Rovers ever play Brighton and Hove Albion away, that’s a 550 mile round trip, and Cardiff to Newcastle in the EPL is nearly 650 miles there and back.

If followers of Truro and Carlisle think they travel long distances then they should count themselves lucky that they don’t support an MLS team and travel to away games.

This from the Guardian Sport website article “MLS: Where 1,000 miles is a short trip for away supporters“:

The average journey for North American fans is still one of the longest you would undertake in most other leagues; the bigger journeys are more expeditions than road trips; Portland Timbers fans going to New York is the same as going from London to Baghdad. LA Galaxy at Boston is longer than Tokyo to Manila.

The journey those Fire fans made to Toronto clocked in at 1,000 miles round trip, and that’s their second closest game; in England, no-one can travel that far at all, and it’s pushing the longest trip most European fans would have to make. Only fans in Russia can hold a candle in terms of the distances travelled to see a team play, and even there, the average distances tend to be exaggerated by a small number of teams in Siberia and the far-east.

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FC Tom

Siberian football teams include FC Sibir Novosibirsk and FC Tom Tomsk, and FC Terek Grozny are based in Chechnya.

Novosibirsk to Moscow to watch Sibir play Torpedo is 3,355 km by road, and takes 41 hours, so that’s a 6,710 km and 82-hour road trip!

Novosibirsk to Volgograd (home of Rotor Volgograd) is over 6,500km there and back, and each leg of the journey is 40 hours by road.

Grozny, Chechnya to Moscow and back to watch CSKA or Spartak is nearly 3,500km by road, and Grozny to the Urals is nearly 5,750km there and back!

Krasnodar is just a short hop, skip and a jump away at 680km away from Grozny, so only a 1,360km round trip.

Vladovostok FC travel 15,000km west towards the more populace side of Russia every away game.

Chinese football fans watching away fixtures also rack up the kilometres. Fans of Tianjin Teda who travel to Wuhan Zall undertake a journey of 2,280km there and back, whereas Wuhan to Beijing to watch Beijing Guoan is a road trip of over 2,300km.

Pity the poor coach driver!

Shortest Distances

In my previous article “CAN WE PLAY YOU EVERY WEEK?“, I featured Garrison Gunners and Woolpack Wanderers, who share a ground and play each other every week.

The two teams play in The Isles of Scilly Football League, which is the world’s smallest football league.

The Isles of Scilly are 30 miles off the south-west coast of England, so fans of either side who actually live on the island don’t have far to go to follow their team. However, for any fans travelling from the mainland it’s a different matter.

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Travelling Chester Fans