Most of the premier league football I have seen indeed should be played live here . Amused me in the local pub.
The media are full of the glamour of the FA cup. Sadly for many if not most teams that glamour is somewhat tarnished.
Not everyone is aware that the FA cup starts in August and ends in May. The early qualifying rounds are a god given chance for nonleague teams to make a small amount of money from the moderately attractive prize money on offer. By the time the first round rolls round in November the media suddenly awake with their stories of candlestick makers and funeral directors somehow managing to combine a job and a nonleague football career. Curiously they manage that on each of the other 364 days. As overheard at the recent Met Police FA trophy game a player when asked if he was playing on Tuesday simply answered negatively as was working. As Moriarty famously said in Sherlock “ that’s what people do”.
The glamour of the first round however comes with sadness too. The crowds at many grounds , sometimes famous grounds in FA cup parlor, were poor if not pathetic. The reasons may be varied. Clubs that decide not to offer deals and retain normal charges . Clubs that poorly advertise. Clubs that simply do not care as the league club imagines that the prize money more than compensates.
Let’s take a look at the winners and the rogues gallery. Starting with the rogues;
So where were the decent crowds? The nonleague sides playing at home. Hereford who are a reincarnated club but with great cup history had 4712 watch them defeat another nonleague side AFC Telford. Almost matching the highest crowd of the round at Luton v Portsmouth. 5333.
What realistically can be done? There are three options
To do nothing is not an option.
In short a sunny start followed by rain, lightning , thunder , dark clouds and a lot more in between .
Some proper football photographs later but these give you a flavour.
With only 4 games left this season each side had plenty to play for in this game played in bright sunshine at the excellent Imber Court. Met Police have come from being bottom of the division to potentially a place of safety but really needed 3 points, having been on a wretched run. Needham Market sit in the play off positions but with 4 sides on 58 points things were certainly tight.
The game was fairly even in the first half with a number of chances for both sides. Neither keeper though had real saves to make.
In the second half Needham Market took the lead but a Charlie Collins penalty evebed things up, until injury time when Roman Michael-Percil, who had been causing havoc in the Needham defence for the last 20 minutes scored a superb goal with a shot from inside the box.
Overall a great game , played at pace with none of the cyniscism seen often in league football. A special mention for the referee Damith Bandara, who was one of the best officials I have seen this season in league and non-league games. What I particularly liked was that he took no nonsense from the players nor the coaching teams, sending one of the Needham coaches off . This is a good referee and I look forward to seeing more of him.
To my knowledge I have never seen a club formally advertise groundsharing. Clearly it must go on at some level of course to alert neighbouring clubs who might clearly need a groundshare. Walton Casuals are an example having no ground of their own currently . But an interesting concept and why not.
Whyteleafe are a club in the environs of Croydon , sort of, who play in Ryman South and have a decent ground . This is their advert they put out today. Thoughts?
Live football is a great game and can be easily distinguished from the reality TV nonsense that so often represents the fare delivered from the Premiership. Skill levels may be greater in the Premiership but nothing beats seeing and smelling the action from close up. Things that would seem an anathema to stewards in league football happen weekly in the non-league arena. To put it simply, the rules are sensible. Fans can stand and drink beer on the terraces, fans can often bring well behaved dogs on a lead, fans can purchase good quality food at reasonable prices .
This is football played ny normal people and watched by those who genuinely love the game. To anyone with a camera there are many photo opportunities to observe all manner of real life at football.
Although I often go to non-league football games to watch and photograph the actions and the players, there are also some great images to be had from the fans and officials alike. Here are a few shots taken from the Ryman South game 2nd January 2017 Chipstead v Carshalton Athletic.
A cold afternoon that ended up little over freezing at the end saw an interesting and entertaining game which either side could have won. Carshalton missed a few good chances and also contrived to miss two penalties rather badly. Good value as always for £9.It is always easy being a football critic of course but the difference between the two sides and maybe the chance of Carshalton reaching the play offs, is taking your chances and taking them at the right time. Carshalton played the better football but the scoreline mandates that Chipstead played the more effective football and certainly looked better than a team that was 20 points below Carshalton.
Godalming were doomed from the first 5 minutes when they were 3-0 down and it was always how many goals were Carshalton going to score. In truth the teams were classes apart. Not many teams could have lived with the free flowing football and the movement displayed last night. The finishing was sublime. There will be far better match reports than this but this was a game to really enjoy and wonder how far this team can go.
Clearly 10-0 victory says it all really. No sendings off, no goalkeeper injuries, just ten good goals. to their credit Godalming kept going till the end and a few minutes before the end looked certain to score but even then the Carshalton defence were battling away to keep a clean sheet and cleared the ball off the line.
The fans enjoyed this game however the Godalming manager looked downcast all game and resigned this morning.