I’m not dead yet, honestly. I’ve been busy but I’m coming back. Watch this space. Or don’t. Your choice. Not Arsed.
I started this blog just before I turned 25 in October 11, last month I turned 26 marking another notch on my bat and the first anniversary of my blog. A whole year I’ve managed to keep this blog going, you wouldn’t think it though from the sheer lack of updates on it, however despite the lack of updating I still have managed to get over 4,000 hits on it, which isn’t bad considering. SO I suppose this means I best not let it all go to waste and actually get down to some writing and who knows, now that life is finally looking up for a change, I might actually be able to start updating more frequently with actually interesting things to write about, wouldn’t that be ace eh?
With that in mind what better way to mark my 1 year blogging anniversary than with a write up of one of my favourite things, a fantastic articulate paper fanzine. Make that TWO fanzines.
STAND: Against Modern Football is a new zine put together by some of the chaps behind such other well written publications such as Halcyon and PROPER and has contributions from some of the folk behind blogs that I have in my ‘blogroll’ (over there on the right hand side of your screen) who’s sites I can be regularly found mooching through such as THE HOVIAN & THE BIG TAKE OVER as well as a variety of like minded ‘Tweeters.’
The magazine does exactly what it says on the tin. It is a magazine dedicated to taking a stand against the world of Modern football by simply dissecting, discussing and pointing out everything that has made the so called ‘Beautiful game’ into a stale, dull and pricey state that it currently is. The best thing about this publication is that it’s written by a group of average blokes who all have one thing in common. Like me, they LOVE football, they have done all their lives, they’re the folk that have watched their clubs through thick and thin, paid thousands of pounds on season tickets, away trips both domestic and European, they’re the ones who live and breath football, who’s dads did the same and their dads and so on and so forth, but now they’ve had enough and their making their voices heard, and I’ll tell you one thing, them voices make for good reading.
So what is wrong with Modern Football exactly? Well, A LOT if I must be honest and if you haven’t cottoned on yet then you’re probably living under a rock, a fan of the egg chasing, one of the stupid sods featured on “Full Kit Wankers” or generally an encourager of one of the other thousands of problems with the modern game. What problems you say? Oh I thought you would never ask. Well there’s…Soccer A.M, ‘Unbelievable Tekkers’, Soccer Sunday, The England band, Stevenage and Palace ‘Ultras’, Goal celebration music, “Who are ya?”, Jim White and Sky Souce Claims, Sky Sports in general, Man Utd on Wall Street, Sheikhs, Oil barons, What will Mario do next?, Fancy dress costumes in the stands, half and half scarves, Forest Green Rovers falafel wraps, the Poznan, MK Dons, The Sports Direct/American Express/Durex Condom stadium, Did they or did they not shake hands?, John Terry, Joey Barton Nietzsche quotes, Talksport, Ejection and banning order for standing in the STANDS, £62 admission fee’s, administration/liquidation and parachute payments, second string teams in the FA Cup, Cardiff in red, ‘Stat-bantz’ …to name but a few.
I know some people may think that by me saying that encouraging and supporting any of the above list your part of the problem as somewhat patronising or condescending if you will, but sorry it’s true and you only have to read through this zine to realise I’m certainly far from alone with this opinion and I’m certainly not the only person in my current age bracket to think this way as well. I may well only be 26 years, and yes the majority of the years I’ve been watching football has been covered by Sky Sports and no I didn’t get to experience life on the terraces before the Premier League but that doesn’t mean to say I can’t get sick to death of watching the sport I’ve loved since I was old enough to walk become stagnant and stale for all of the above reasons mentioned. Despite my young age alot of like minded, similar aged lads have been brought up watching the football with ours Dad’s, Granddad’s (in my case my Grandma as well) and in some cases our great Granddad’s. They have indulged us with stories and tales of glory and woe supporting the football club that we have gone on to support, stories that involve such legendary players of the game such as Dixie Dean, Pele, Kenny Dalgleish, Eusabio, George Best, Maradona etc etc. Call it ‘Golden-age syndrome’ call it what you will but this was when football was truly the ‘beautiful game.’ I mean, honestly, what stories will the modern day football fan tell their kids in the future “well son, this one time Mario Ballotelli was caught playing with his iPad on the bench it was totes funny, it was all over Twitter” FUCK THAT!!!
Anyway, on to the actual zines themselves. STAND #1 was released around the start of the new football season and SOLD OUT in it’s entirety within two weeks and it’s not hard to see why. I mean this is quite literally the ONLY zine out there giving a platform to the football fan who hates the current state of the game, so as you can imagine there is a lot of heart and soul put into all of the articles but needless to say a small aspect of comedy chucked in there, I mean after all this magazine is basically tearing into Modern Football, it may as well take the piss out of it as well, for fuck’s sake though DO NOT CALL IT BANTER!
Some of the articles in the excellently presented Issue 1 include a look at the current Chicken farmer regime at Blackburn Rovers, a look at “Positive terrace culture” in Sweeden, the rise from the ashes of AFC Wimbledon and an obligatory “Are you a modern football fan” Quiz. However for me the two articles that stood out as particularly excellent where that of the current state of Cardiff and their Malaysian Red makeover written by Alex Brokenshaw who I actually met a few years ago during my unfortunate tenure in the UK Hardcore punk scene and a piece written by a chap who I’ve followed on Twitter for a while ‘Macca’ a.k.a @The_paris_angel a City fan talking about the pros and cons of City’s big takeover and the affect it’s had on the true ‘thick and thin’ fans image. As dubious as I was about the City article at first, as you can only imagine, it is actually an eye opener and genuinely a fantastic and funny read. If you missed out on Issue #1, what can I say? Gutted for you, however you can slightly redeem yourself with ISSUE 2.
Issue #2 was released a few weeks ago and again is another excellently presented publication. Throughout this issue there does seem to be a lingering theme with alot of the articles tackling one of the biggest issues faced in Modern Football and that is the cost of ticketing, which as some people may or may not be aware has risen, on average, by 716% since 1989, quite simply shocking. However, needless to say, the most important issue tackled in this Issue is that of the recent exposing of the Lies surrounding Hillsborough which is delivered in four very heartfelt articles written by four individuals who support Liverpool, Everton, Forrest and United alike.
Like I mentioned earlier Issue 1 is now SOLD OUT but as far as I’m aware there are still copies of Issue #2 left but pickings are slim from what I’m told and I guarantee that, like issue 1, this will sell out. You can pick up a copy directly from their ONLINE STORE for a measly £2 and you can keep up with the goings on of the publication via their TWITTER and FACEBOOK . Some issues can also be found at a few stockists like Weavers Door in Liverpool or Oi Polloi in Manchester to name a few. I seriously recommend you pick this up as soon as you can because this is unique magazine with a unique insight and is definitely going to get better with time if the current state of football continues down the road it’s going.
WARRINGTON TOWN 1 – 2 LEEK TOWN – FA TROPHY FIRST PRELIMINARY ROUND
So I’m back to trying to get some regular blogging done, which feels rather nice actually. For those of you who aren’t aware the last couple of months have been hectic, hence the lack of blog updates. I’ve gone and got myself married to a fantastic woman, I’ve moved towns and I’ve gone and got myself back into work after just over a year out, brilliant. Now that all these things have happened it means that now, even though I have a lot less spare time on my hands, I do have a bit of extra income which means I can finally go out and do activities, and purchase items which will give me some subject matter in which to actually commentate on in this here blog, which, and let’s be honest now, is what my blog has lacked….subject matter.
So anyway, like I mentioned before I have moved home and into a little place with my Wife in, well…Warrington. I know that straight away that will raise a few eyebrows and I have to admit, despite the fact my Wife comes from here, I’ve always been somewhat cynical and a bit harsh on Warrington. It’s only since moving here I’ve actually come to the conclusion Warrington isn’t actually that bad. I mean yeah it has it’s bad parts, but where doesn’t these days? Also, yeah it may not be as good a place as Liverpool or even Wirral in my eyes, but that’s because for me Merseyside has been my home for 25 years. To be fair on Warrington I’m starting to find some of it’s hidden gems that you only realise are here from living here and not just occasionally popping through to go to IKEA. I have no doubt that some of these gems will create some kind of subject matter for future blog entries.
However, I do have an issue with Warrington. Unfortunately, this is a Rugby League town, famous for it’s Cup winning side Warrington Wolves. Anyone who knows me knows that when it comes to Rugby, well I’ll be honest, I really don’t care for it. I played some Union when I was a kid in school but never stuck with it and I don’t believe I’ve actually sat down and watched a full Rugby match either on the telly or in real life since England won the World Cup v Australia back in 2003 when I was still in college. So as you can imagine the majority of people who do follow football in Warrington tend to support Utd, City, Liverpool or Everton and maybe perhaps a few other teams that aren’t geographically far away, that saying I have seen a few people in recent weeks wearing replica kits of Norwich, Palace, Ipswich and even Brighton & Hove Albion which is kind of odd. For the true passionate football fan in Warrington however there is Warrington Town FC.
Just like in most large towns around the country, or towns that are more famed for their Rugby, you’ll always find a little lonely non-league club hidden away in the middle of nowhere. Based roughly half a mile from my house on the banks of the Manchester ship canal overshadowed by the Cantilever bridge you will find Cantilever Park home of Warrington Town formally known as Stockton Heath Albion FC. Little fact for you, former Liverpool legend and World Cup winner Roger Hunt began his career here before brief spells at Bury and Devizes Town and then returned all before signing for Liverpool in July ’58.
Warrington Town are currently sat in 8th tier of English Football in the “Evo-Stick Northern Premier League Division One North” which is the league that the new birth Chester FC found themselves in a few seasons ago, in fact Chester’s first league match as a new-co club was actually against Warrington at the Cantilever. This Saturday just gone Warrington we’re scheduled to take on Division One South outfit Leek Town in the first preliminary round of the FA Trophy at the Cantilever, and seeming as I had the weekend off work, I love football of all levels and can never say no to an opportunity to visit a pastures new when it comes to football grounds, well it was a no-brainer really, and to make it better I invited my old man up for the day to experience some non-league cup football.
Prior to kick off I headed to the pub with my old man to watch the second half of the Norwich-West Ham game and take in a few scoops. As soon as that had finished we took the short stroll up towards the Cantilever and found ourselves with 10 minutes to spare before kick off and headed into the Sports social attached to the ground which at £2.50 a pint is a cracking little pre-match drinking option. After throwing back a couple of quick pints we headed through the turnstiles (pictured at the top) paid our £8 in and headed straight for the small snack bar that was serving the usual pie, chips and gravy option at £3, before heading over to the “Bridge End Terrace” located at the far end of the ground in the shadow of the Cantilever Bridge.
This was my first match day experience at Cantilever, although certainly not my first non-league match as I’ve frequented Marine, Chester, Cammel Lairds and even Burton Albion prior to their promotion 3 years ago, so it was all about first impressions today. To be honest, I can’t knock the ground at all. Considering how low down the pyramid ‘The Wire’ are the Cantilever is a decent ground, I mean it’s showing it’s age a little bit and obviously it homes a club with not alot of money behind it but there have been a few changes to help it bring it into the modern game a bit without going over the top i.e a fairly new smart looking clubhouse which has a balcony where you will find the club’s Directors standing during the match. There are 3 stands around the 4 edges of the ground. One stand is connected to the snack bar and the clubhouse located just behind the dugouts that homes about 80 seats, another stand located directly opposite the dugouts which homes about 100 seats and the ‘Bridge End’ terrace, which is a rather large all standing terrace behind one of the goals. In between all that there is plenty of standing space which in total can house 3,500 people (not that that is likely to happen anytime soon). Yeah it would be fair to say that I got a great first impression from the ground, cheap beer, cheap (and tasty) scran, decent entry price and a covered all standing terrace, what’s not to like.
As for the match itself the first half was a fairly dull affair, Warrington found themselves with the best of the chances but couldn’t make the breakthrough, no thanks to Leeks goalkeeper who was actually a cracking shot stopper, the first half finished goalless. At this point I headed for the Social for another pint with my dad but on my way round I couldn’t help but notice who was Warrington’s manager, Sean Reid. Sean is a former ex-pro who made his career in the lower ends of the football league with the likes of York, Preston, Chester and Rochdale oh and he also happens to have a brother, yep, Peter, the former Everton legend who happened to be there the week before to watch his brothers team progress into the next preliminary round of the FA Cup after beating Maine Road, unfortunately he wasn’t there today.
So after supping a couple of more pints at half time we headed back into the playing area where we found ourselves stood alongside the dugout as the Leek Fans (who by the way we’re in full voice even if there was only 26 of them) had moved to the Bridge End terrace. I love that about non-league, the fact you can swap ends at half time. As for the second half the match looked more lively, again Warrington creating most of the chances. They we’re finally rewarded with a goal when one of the strikers (no I don’t know his name) was brought down in the box and was rewarded a stone wall penalty which he cooly and calmly buried into the bottom corner sending the keeper the wrong way, 1-0 Warrington. However, this wasn’t to last. Just a few minutes after scoring the penalty, Town found themselves on the back foot and after a clever bit of play from Leek the score was even once again, 1-1. It got worse for Town as with 10 minutes to go a cross from the right was glided in straight on to the head of the Leek striker to make it 2-1.
In the last 10 minutes Town tried to get themselves back on to level terms and possibly push a replay but it was to no avail and Warrington’s dreams of pushing for a place in this years FA trophy will have to wait another year. My old man and I left the ground chuffed we got to see a decent entertaining game but a little bit gutted the Wire didn’t walk away with the win, we headed back to the pub to get more drinking done, watch the Liverpool-Sunderland game and then eat some Chinese food.
All in all, my first experience of the ‘The Wire’ was a good one apart from the score. I mean I wouldn’t sacrifice Everton and become one of them fellas that only supports a non-league club and bangs on about how ‘I support my local club and the ONLY’ who’s biggest dream is the possibility of seeing his team in the dizzy heights of a FA Cup first round draw at Carlisle, but I will definitely be making a few trips up to the Cantilever again in the future. After all, the ground is literally half a mile from my house and with the current state of the Modern game making it more and more difficult for the average fan to get to a big game with the hike in ticket prices and the soulless cylinder block modern stadiums and being told to sit down and shut up by stewards it seems like a bit of a no-brainer for someone who loves football as much as I do.
ShortSharpShock – 3:06
(Lyrics belong to the Liverpool Thrash band SSS and are not written by me)
Make them feel inferior
Tag them all as murderers
Theres noone else whos guiltier
THERES BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS
Buried all the evidence
The lies that you perpetuate
Through decades still reverberate
THERES BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS
No apologies or lessons learnt
There families left to hell on earth
Turning fiction into fact
You froze, you bottled it and cracked
How do you get to sleep at night?
How do you get to sleep at night?
Media and establishment
Re-write history when they want
Mckenzies filth wont be truth
THERES BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS
Duckenfields a murderer
Duckenfields a murderer
South Yorkshire pigs are murderers
JUSTICE MUST BE DONE
I may be an Evertonian but today, as I sat in the pub on my day off with my pint and a copy of today’s Liverpool Echo I found myself just overwhelmed that at last, after 23 years, THE REAL TRUTH, NOT Mackenzies “Truth”, Not the South Yorkshire Police’s “truth”, not Maggie’s “truth.” THE REAL TRUTH is finally out. Yesterday was just the beginning, now the true fight for Justice begins.
JUSTICE FOR THE 96
Loads to update on soon, and loads of new stuff coming up on my blog, the lack of activity recently has been due to moving Cities, getting married and starting my new job. I’m currently without a computer at the moment as well so please bare with me and I will get back to the blog soon. I have lots of plans and ideas to try and make it decent and plan to make 2013 a huge year for writting/photography and various projects, so yeh, more to come soon. Keep ya lids peeled
It would be fair to say that July 2012 will be, without a shadow of a doubt, THE most hectic yet most important month of my life. This month is the month that sees the biggest transition that has occurred in my 25 years of living…and NO, I’m not having a sex change. By the time this month ends I will have relocated 40 miles away from the home I’ve lived in since the mere age of 5 years old and I will also be a husband. It would be fair to say that despite how tight finances have been and how stressful organising a wedding is without bankrupting yourself is, that I know it will all be worth it in the end….or so I hope.
Between the move and the Wedding I also do have a shedload of other stuff going on that will keep me busy and active. This Saturday (7th) I’m head into town (Liverpool) with a group of fellas for a sort of stag do-ish Ale trail round some of Liverpool’s finest ale houses i.e Doctor Duncans, Ship & Mitre, Ye Crack etc etc. So this will probably get my Liver started for what is going to be a LONG alcohol induced month.
The following Saturday (15th) see’s Everton take on Morecambe in a friendly at the Globe Arena. So as this is a week before the wedding it would be daft not to head up to Lancaster/Morecambe way for an ENTIRE weekend and drink a shedload of ale, eat a load of curry and watch Everton for the last time as a non-married man. This will be followed up by the final suit fitting on the Sunday.
The following day see’s the big move 40 miles up the ’56 from Wirral, Merseyside to Warrington, Cheshire. Yeh, I know, hardly the most desirable of relocations, but due to circumstances surrounding my Missus’ job it has to be done. To be fair the area I’m moving to isn’t so bad, a little area called Latchford (unfortunately not named after the Everton legend) and the apartment we’re moving to is pretty decent.
The BIG day occurs on the following Saturday (21st) This is the day I become a husband. After 2 years and 8 months of engagement it actually now feels real and a bit scary but extremely exciting at the same time, all the usual cliched emotions surrounding an upcoming wedding I suppose. I guarantee that after all this time of organising, planning, stressing and panicking over the most minute of details that the day will absolutely fly by. Luckily 3 days after the Wedding I’ll be jetting off to Paris with the new Mrs. Barrell for a short 3 day honeymoon, happy days. So yeh, that’s my July, hectic, mad but with all the potential of being absolutely amazing at the same time, let’s just hope this shite summer weather we seem to be having swings it’s hook.
As you can imagine due to this absolute carnival of a month, I won’t be doing a running commentary on the what’s going on and the full nitty gritty details, but I will try and throw in a few blog entries specially regarding the 2 Ale Trails, the away day and trip to Paris, my apologise in advance if these attempts to blog don’t come to any avail though, I reckon I’ve got a decent enough excuse though.
I haven’t updated the blog in a few months now due to being busy organising a wedding and complete life change but as things are starting to come together nicely I’ve decided come back into the world and start blogging again, it’s just a shame I have to start at a sad point with the passing of yet another Everton legend and hero.
Just shy of two weeks ago one of the greatest goalkeepers to ever stand between the Goodison Park sticks passed away after battling with cancer. Though a Yorkshire man born and bred, Gordon West was a diehard Evertonian, a fantastic goalkeeper and a true ambassador of the club. Signed from Blackpool in 1962 his career at Everton spanned over 11 years which saw him start between the sticks over 400 times achieving 2 League medals and FA Cup winners medal and FA Cup runners medal. Although his career at Everton was nothing short of spectacular West only ever received 3 caps for England between 1968-69. After leaving Everton West had a brief spell across the Mersey in Birkenhead with Tranmere Rovers before retiring to take up a role in security as well as being a guest speaker at Sportsman dinners in Merseyside on many occasions.
West was one of those players that my Grandad and Dad would tell me stories about, his heroics and excellect performances in goal was a thing of legends, my Dad even went as far as saying that West was one his first true inspirational footballing icons and made him want to become a goalkeeper the same way Neville Southall inspired me as a young lad. West was known as fantastic character with a huge personality and would happily speak to any Everton and wind up any Liverpool fan. I was lucky enough to run into Gordon back in 2007 on the way home from an away trip to Fratton Park. Despite it being a miserably cold, wet December night and dull Everton draw, West, and one his sons, was happy to chat away to me for a good while whilst sitting in an empty services drinking a cup of coffee.
West was laid to rest after a huge service at Liverpool Cathedral a few days ago attended by hundreds of former Blue and Red players/managers and fans. He will be sorely missed by all Evertonians.
R.I.P Gordon West 1943-2012 – “Nil Satis Nisioptimum”