Thursday, 26 November 2009


Saturday 21 November - Yorkshire Main (home) Lost 1-2
Wednesday 25 November - Hull City 3 Everton 2

It's been a busy week. Despite no programme production I don't seem to have had any more time to get owt done (especially any of those daft little jobs the wife's been banging on about for the past few months!). The pile of unread newspapers continues to build and I've still not had chance to watch a copy of "The Damned United" lent to me some three weeks back. I think I need to go part-time!
I did get one "task" out of the way this week. On Monday I went Christmas Shopping. Well no, that's not quite true, I accompanied Alison on a Christmas shopping trip. It wasn't half as bad as I'd imagined, especially given the horror stories I'd heard from friends who've already "done their bit" as it were. And lunch at Frankie & Benny's always makes a trip to Hull worthwhile!
Oh, and I’ve also found time to "Back the Bid". Yes, on the day that Adam ("Lord") Pearson and co. presented their Hull 2018 case to the Football Association in London, I pledged my support "online" and I've since sent out the text. The World Cup. In 'Ull. A "reet grand" idea if you ask me!
I can see it now. Sitting there in nine years time among a capacity 45,000 crowd in the newly revamped KC Stadium watching, say, an Algeria side skippered by the then veteran Kamel Ghilas, taking on a USA side for whom the 27-yr-old Jozy Altidore is leading the line in his third World Cup.

And as the crowd disperses, I imagine I'll stay behind and watch the stadium staff get to work unfurling the huge sponsors banners that are needed to cover the large tracts of seats that won't be required two days later when the venue is again in use - for Hull FC's home game in front of the Sky cameras and just over ten thousand fans. Of course, in the intervening years the Dullers will have made numerous requests to return to their "spiritual home" at the Boulevard; unfortunately these will have stalled due to (a) the lack of the old Threepenny Stand to piss up against and (b) the inability to move on the travellers who decided to make a home at the one-time proposed NHS-funded training and lifestyle centre!
Should Hull be successful in its bid, I can inform those in charge now that I will be available to act as "Guide" for any proposed tours of the area’s real ale hostelries that might be deemed integral in helping our visitors "get a feel for the place". In fact I’ll do it for free - well perhaps a little “subsistence” money wouldn’t go amiss.
Anyway, if you’ve not yet supported the Hull bid please do so
Talking of ale, Denis Cox at Hutton Cranswick informs me there’s a nice pint to be had at Bentley Colliery. I already await the trip there on January 23 with great anticipation. And as I passed the White Horse in our village square at lunchtime I'm fairly certain that was the legendary former Robin Paul Fletcher busy working on the place? But I digress...again!
The ale certainly wasn’t a factor in my trip to the KC Stadium on Wednesday – an extortionately priced pint of Marston Smooth in a plastic glass on a cold, autumnal evening doesn’t do it for me. Mind you, the coffee at nearly two quid a cup isn’t exactly an alluring alternative. Thank God the fare on offer on the pitch was enough to (almost) merit the £25 ticket.
Having spent the most of this season (and last) finding consolation for poor results from the KC in good ones at Low Farm I’m starting to experience a bit of a turnaround. No longer is the standing joke after a midweek match that “at least we don’t have to come again Sat’day”; City are starting to win a few.

Indeed, following the thrillers against Stoke and Everton, it’s a real disappointment that unless the FA Cup intervenes, my Tiger trekking for the season is all but over.
After the Bullard show against the Stokies the win over Everton was perhaps even more impressive in that it showed City are by no means a "one-man band" (and Marney scored for chrissake!)

Wednesday’s game was also in direct contrast in terms of the finale. While injury-time versus the Potters was the cue for Big Jan to prompt unprecedented scenes of delirium, the overriding feeling against the Toffees was that of near nervous exhaustion as Duke flapped at crosses and then Leighton Baines lined up a last-gasp free-kick 20 yards out. Thankfully he struck it into the wall and a few agonising moments later impressive referee Martin Atkinson blew for time and another very valuable three points.

On the way home, with my compatriot Biff not quite willing to acknowledge publicly that he couldn’t have thought of many better ways to spend his wedding anniversary (sorry Steph!), one caller to BBC Radio Humberside said how much it all reminded him of City in the Eighties – “plenty of goals scored and conceded, Horton in the dugout…and the threat of financial ruin never far away!”

City in the Eighties featured a couple of times in Wednesday’s match programme, especially the excellent article by the Yorkshire Post’s Phil Booth on the current lack of midweek “treats” (i.e. matches under the “blazing floodlights”).
Therein he recounted “probably City’s most infamous night match in the club’s history” - the trip to Turf Moor on May 15 1984. That night the Tigers travelled in the knowledge that a three-goal win would secure promotion to the old Second Division but anything less would hand that prize to Sheffield United. Along with some 4,000 others, I made that trip along the M62 for my 16th away game of the season (17 if you include the ill-fated same journey in January, which had been curtailed when we met other supporters' coaches - and City's team bus - coming back following the game’s postponement due to bad weather).

Burnley were simply not prepared for the size of the Tigers' following that May evening and along with countless others, I was still queuing outside the turnstiles when Brian "Bunter" Marwood (above) put us one up. And only just inside when his second made it 2-0 soon after. But that’s where the fairytale ended and the memory of that pocket of Sheffield fans dancing about behind the left hand goal after the final whistle has left a scar ever since. Points the same, goal difference the same but the Blades went up by virtue of having scored more goals.
Of the five matches mentioned by Booth in the piece, I’m privileged to be able to say “I was there” for four of them – Burnley in ‘84; Duane Darby’s six against Whitby in the FA Cup replay at Boothferry Park in 1996; Nick Barmby’s sumptuous show at Hillsborough in 2004; and the Play-Off semi-final second leg with Watford at the KC a couple of years back.

All would make it on to my personal list of favourite floodlit games, along with the 4-1 win over Walsall in September 1979 (my first night match), a similar result at Preston in April 1985, and two Friday night wins in South Wales - 1-0 in the FA Cup at Swansea in February 1987 and 2-0 at Cardiff in November 1994, a game accompanied by Deano's legendary "Coke can" incident prior to scoring City's second from the penalty spot!
Memorable for vastly differing reasons is the 1-1 draw at Exeter on a Tuesday evening in 1993. The game itself was largely forgettable but it was accompanied by one of the best pre-match "sessions" I ever undertook, beginning in Torquay on preceding Sunday afternoon!

City’s current upturn and especially Wednesday’s win helped ease my disappointment at our first defeat in nine Central Midlands League games, which occurred at the hands of Yorkshire Main last Saturday.
The Doncaster side repeated their recent League Cup success at Low Farm courtesy of another solid performance aided by one of our poorest – if not the poorest – of the season to date. We actually started brightly enough, only to concede two sloppy goals inside five minutes around the half-hour mark. And in fairness, despite seeing their number reduced following a sending-off – striker White seeing red for wearing gloves, sorry, after an altercation with young Owen - Main rarely looked like relinquishing the points. Farny struck the post in one of our few real chances before Pursey capped a fine move with our solitary reply in injury-time.

The defeat was only our second of the season, our first at home and it now means we head off for two consecutive away games in need of a win or two if we’re to force our way into the leading pack.

Saturday also witnessed another first for the Farm in the availability and consumption of hot meat pies at the ground. Six days on I’m still confused as to the origins of just how such tasty morsels appeared; though it probably has something to do with the newly-formed TAPAS (Tetley And Pies Appreciation Society) group pictured above. I shall endeavour to find out more but suffice to say, a very welcome addition to the match day routine they may prove to be. (And, no I couldn't possibly manage two Clarkey!!)

This week we head off to South Normanton for the first of the aforementioned back-to-back away games. It should see a welcome return for skipper (and tea boy) Andy Graham as well as a brief return to three o'clock kick-offs thanks to The Shiners' impressive Lees Lane home having lights.
Whether it will also witness a return to winning ways remains to be seen...

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