Thursday, November 30, 2006

Not Football but ...

Thought you might like to see this - taken at 0730 this morning on Stalybridge Station..

And for those who do - I don't - meaning that's as I took it - no fannying around with Photoshop or owt - plus remember you're seeing a pic reduced from 2.5 Mb to about 25kb - twas a wondrous site nevertheless - and the 0737 was on time as well !!

PS my computer clock says 0001 - which means I'm now officially not a "sad twat approaching 50" - I am 50 !!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Glossop NE v Curzon Ashton

Thank heaven for broadband - up at early doors today, quick logon to find 0727 train "severely delayed" - gives me a chance to catch the only "fast bus" in town to get to Stalybridge to still connect with the 0737 to Manchester Picc - twas close this morning because "national Roads Inc" or whatever have messed with a set of traffic lights on the route - with a bigger delay. At least I made work on time - wow ! Anyways, Northern Rail - today - you're sh*t !! And "Network Roads" too.....

All day long it's been "Will it be Glossop will it be Bridge ??" Back to Stalybridge in the evening (cripes the 1711 from Picc was almost on time - bloody miracle - usually it's a case of "Trans-Pennine - you're sh*t"). Into the Buffet bar to be presented with a card from Sylvia - a card what someone has sent - to me - via the Stalybridge Buffet Bar address. I wonder why?? Derby postmark - will leave it till Friday ...

Home on 1815 - quick change - as I walk out - Mrs Smiffy walks in - "Bye love" - 1857 back to Bridge - options for a game still open even at this late stage !! A pint of Millstone "True Grit" helps me decide - tonight it's Glossop. Caught the 1928 bus, arriving at Glossop just after kick-off - to find that Curzon had scored, virtually straight from the kick-off.

It was all Curzon when I got there - a one-on-one was brilliantly saved by Glossop keeper Stuart Williams (my Man of the Match tonight) - and here I veer off sideways - a couple of years ago when Mossley were playing at Glossop, said Stuart had a blinder - we suggested he joined Mossley - we chatted with his Dad - who said "As long as he's under my roof - he stays at Glossop !" - never argue with an agent !!

Tonigt's "Man of the Match" - Stuart Williams

Anyway back to the game - totally against the run of play, a Curzon attack broke down - the ball was pumped up front - to find no defence whatsoever. Lee Blackshaw took full advantage to equalise.

Despite the equaliser, Curzon continued to "bomb" the Glossop goal - pushing the ball out wide - both sides - and causing havoc in the Glossop defence - thank goodness for the Man of the Match !! It had to come though - eventually - and 5 minutes before half-time Curzon's Mickey Norton (a player who should be playing several leagues above ) scored with a cracking left foot shot. Minutes later Curzon hit the post, but it was still only 2-1 at half-time - it should have been 6 at least.

Into the bar for a warm - finger still dodgy - realising that Curzon could play so far forward, they may concede three - but still score five !!

Second half saw Curzon go 3-1 up when the number 11 squirted one in from an acute angle on the right. Game over ?? No way. Glossop grabbed another goal through Blackshaw to make it 3-2 and ten minutes later they got a penalty which Young converted to make it 3-3. Unbelievable given the chances, the possesssion and all that stuff that Curzon had had....

The very "foul mouthed" Curzon bench .

However true to form with 5 minutes to go Curzon get a penalty which Moore put away to make it 4-3. Back to the centre circle and Curzon's Mickey Norton makes an absolute pillock of himself by wasting time, getting his second yellow and being told to walk. In the end it didn't matter as Curzon got their 4-3 win (obviously harder than their 7-0 win over Atherton LR on Saturday mind).

The "not so leaning" Tower of Glossop - with MOM in foreground.

Twas the right result in the end - on possession, chances et al - but Glossop made them fight all the way - so they've nowt to be ashamed of tonight - and Stuart Williams (MOM) - there's still room for you at Mossley !! . Managed to scab a lift back to Stalybridge and met Jason at the Buffet Bar to find that Celtic had won 2-1 - bring on Hinckley in the next round ...

There are other pics tonight - but not up to my exacting standards - and my hands were soooo cold (time to discover the makers of "fingerless gloves" ...)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Droylsden v Rushall Olympic

Another shambolic day in the life of public transport – but hey we got through – and got some football – so I’ll leave the “Rail rant” for now !!.

Got the call (via the web) that the Mossley game was off after last night’s downpour (hey I was in Longsight eating a massive roast beef dinner at a friends house – so I missed it all !!) - the alternative being touted was Curzon Ashton v Atherton LR – thought to myself – hey I fancy Glossop v Curzon next Tuesday – so it was FA Trophy time at Droylsden v Rushall Olympic.

Being a weekend of course there’s no trains from Mossley towards Manchester – a job that British Rail would have completed over one weekend now stretches into its fifth weekend. Got to Ashton (via Stalybridge Buffet Bar – natch – full of railway workers ordering sausage and egg butties instead of getting the bloody work done !)) OK. Now I’m not so good on buses (ask me a train time – no sweat – but buses – no) – and I had to find a dispensing pharmacy on the way as well to feed my drug habit (salbutamol !)

Arrived at Droylsden at about 1510 after a stop at “Boots the Chemist” – still 0-0. It was a fairly “nothing” sort of game – up one end, down t’other with nothing really outstanding happening – I could have said fairly even, but I’m sticking with “nothing”!

Early attack for Droylsden

Rained here too apparently - in one spot only !!

Then just before half-time Droylsden were awarded a penalty – OK he fell over but ….hmmm. Fearns duly despatched for 1-0, and there was still a chance for another before the whistle went – not taken mind.

Fearns makes it 1-0 from "dodgy pen" !!

Into the club at half-time for a pint and a warm – strange that most people hung around the door with their eyes on the telly (miles away) – leaving loads of room up at the bar !

Second half saw Droylsden double their lead after a comedy of errors in the Rushall defence left an open goal, duly taken . This seemed to turn the Rushall number 4 (captain Richard Brown) into “total loony” mode – nothing dirty mind, just full on 100% gob, gob and more gob.

And then it started raining – just like last night apparently – but there was still time for a third as a cracking through ball put Steve Daly clear and he made no mistake. Final score 3-0 - well deserved in the end. Once that first goal had gone in, Rushall seemed to lose most of the fight they’d displayed in the first 40 minutes

It was actually a game of “many natters” as well – in the first half I met Duncan Bayley, the Unibond supremo who told me that today he had his “FA Trophy hat” on. Known Duncan from my early days at Mossley back in the mid-80s – we discussed the “new” Unibond Division to be (needs FA ratification mind) and the state of Mossley AFC (I now know what needs to be done re ground grading at Seel Park – i.e. not much !!). Towards the end of the game I met Tony Cunningham – another name from the Mossley past (i.e. the mid 80s), now firmly behind Ramsbottom United – their game was off – he’d thought about the Mossley game – that one off too – so ended up at the Butchers Arms – and for those who remember young Phil (not so young now of course !), he’s over in Wales with his Mum watching the likes of Airbus UK and Chester City. And finally I met “Carlf” – the Droylsden snapper – who looks nowt like his avatar (because that is actually someone completely different !!)

Rushall go home... to "concentrate on the league"

Other results today leave me spoilt for choice now on Tuesday - either Glossop v Curzon or Stalybridge v Gainsborough in the Trophy replay - and of course the Celtic option does mean no driving and a chance of the odd beer in Buffet Bar / Hare & Hounds !! We'll see how I feel...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

TTTT 2006/07

The story so far in the "Tameside Top Team Trophy" - League Games only

1 - Curzon Ashton (35pts from 15 games = 2.33 pts per game)
2 - Droylsden (28pts from 17 games = 1.65 pts per game)
3 - Stalybridge Celtic (23 pts from 18 games = 1.28 pts per game)
4 - Hyde United (24pts from 19 games = 1.26 pts per game)
5 - Ashton United (21 pts from 17 games = 1.23 pts per game
6 - Mossley (16 pts from 19 games = 0.84 pts per game)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Fated tonight .....

Knew I'd never be back in time to get a lift to Fleetwood - but hey a sporting chance of going somewhere (Ramsbottom v Curzon Ashton).

They called it off at 1600.........

Coming home was fun - people running from Platform 13 to Platform 3 to Platform 13 to Platform 4 (not quick enough) - back to 13 then back to 3 - an absolute shambles courtesy Trans-Pennine Express.

Typical sh*t at Manchester Piccadilly...and it got worse AFTER this pic !

Still got home for tea - then off to the Britannia to watch the Celtic v United game - best I could hope for tonight.

They've got a power cut.... and have had since 1800 - therefore it was "quiet" !!.

Untypical sh*t at the Brit - nice pic though - eh ?

Hey ho stay for one and get the train up to Greenfield to watch the second half - dodgy decision for the free kick - but what a free kick it was (Nakamura). Got the call from Fleetwood......

Mossley lose 2-1 after an 85th minute goal.......

Home on 2153 - back in Mossley in time to buy the bread and milk from Rajas (Brit and rest of the row still "sans elec").

A very dark Manchester Road.

Not my idea of a "football night" .... well hacked off - almost tempted to hack in to some University of Central Lancs pcs and cause some sh*t - the one with the IP address ending in "12" must be fair game....But no - it's not fair to use "works knowledge" is it ??

Anyway Belper beat Glossop 2-1 in the Derbyshire Senior Cuo - so all is not completely lost tonight.

Onward to Mossley v Leek on Saturday - the "Lilywhites" latest six-pointer...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Belper Town v Clitheroe

OK - it's not exactly part of "Six Tame Sides" - but stuff needed to be done at Mother-in-laws while she was away (like sorting out a new kitchen !), so it was to ChristChurch Meadow we went for the football fix.

Nipped into the "George" before the game - to see a large band of Clitheroe fans - including Billy who I last saw, whilst accompanying a band of Clitheroe fans on the last leg of their sponsored walk to Mossley last season - first question naturally was "How are your feet ?".

To the game - two teams in trouble - so something had to give. Belper started well, and after 17 minutes Mushambi set up Chris Davies with a golden chance to make it 1-0 - but his feet got all tangled up with the ball - and the Nailers were left to rue that chance when just before the half-hour Darrell Avery found space down the left and his well-hit shot from a very acute angle went across Carney and crept in at the far post.

First blood to Clitheroe - Avery's shot creeps in.

Urged on by the usual small, yet voiciferous "Blue Army, Clitheroe then spent a ten munute spell camped in the Belper half, with Carney making one excellent save from Jones. Just before half-time Clitheroe doubled their lead when Exton (my MOM) outstripped everyone - again down the left - before picking his spot.

The "Blue Army" - with flappy flag !

The second half saw chances at both ends - Mushambi had one great effort for Belper which fizzed over the bar, and Clitheroe had further chances to increase their lead. It was "game over" on the hour though when Belper's Ashley Foyle "saw red" for one of those "last man tackles" that don't quite work ! Ten minutes later a shot came back off the Belper bar for Sargeson to make it 3-0 to the visitors and send the Clitheroe fans happily back up the A50 - apparently they don't use the A6 version of "going home" !

Mushy's shot just clears the bar.

The atmosphere was bleak in the bar afterwards (and not just because there was no "Pedigree" in the jug !) - much of was was borne out by the announcement this morning (Sunday), that Belper Manager Ernie Moss had tendered his resignation. Also met Brendan after the game - a guy I've known for a long time - we used to share Stafford Rangers matches back in the 80s.

I slithered off to go out for a meal at the "Elaichi" Bangladeshi Restaurant with Mrs Smiffy, daughter (up from Derby Uni) and sister-in-law Judith. A fine mixed kebab, followed by Tandoori Monkfish, washed down with some Kingfisher Beer. Fell asleep later .....

Other pictures available at

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Someone out there doesn't like me ...a comment below (on the "Slurp Early for Christmas" post) - a BIG comment on the "wristy" blog ( on the "Sneaked a Band in Tonight" post - hey ho - take it on the chin - and reply with vigour ....and a cheeky piccy - why not - stick it on here as well !!

Early checks imply that it's an FC United of Manchester fan - I will delve further on arrival at work tomorrow - because we have the technology !!

The Lights Go Out on Celtic ... Stalybridge Celtic v Farsley Celtic

I was going to call it something like "Holland v England - no Celtic v Celtic" - but events have led me to try to "steal a march" on local papers, message boards etc.

Arriving at 1955 (still need to time myself properly from the Buffet Bar - but hey I left there at 1814 back to Mossley, quick change, quick "hello" to Mrs Smiffy, quick run back to catch 1857 back...) - twas still 0-0 nevertheless.

On 20 minutes, Lee Ellington found some space on the left and let loose a terrific curler that the Farsley keeper just managed to put round the post. The next second all hell broke loose as the Farsley number 11 (no programme - no name !) wiped his feet all over Smith which led to a "bit of a do" adjacent to the dug-outs. When all calmed down the cards remained firmly in the ref's pockets ! It was fairly even after that but Bridge did have the better chances - a glancing header that went just wide, and shortly before half-time a Smith cross (oh he's over on the left !) saw Paul Sykes smack a a thundering header against the bar.

The "glancing header" photoshot.

0-0 at half-time - time for a snifter in the "Hare and Hounds" (Bombardier) - and time to see the Holland equaliser in the England game (from 57 different angles of course - lousy defending came to mind after the first of the 57 angles).

Back into the Fold to see Farsley take the lead when their number 11 (remember him from earlier) set up Grant to make it 1-0. Not long after that Keeling (?) got booked for a fairly innocuous challenge - this disappointed me, especially after the "kerfuffle" in the first half - if a ref chooses to let something like that go - and then pulls out a yellow for next to nothing - then in my mind he loses the respect of all and sundry - instantly.

Five minutes later an absolutely awful cock-up in the Stalybridge defence led to a second goal for Grant and Farsley - a back pass from Winn that went horribly wrong (did the keeper shout ? no idea). That was the turning point - any confidence that Celtic DID have went straight out of the window. Substitutions made little difference - the long ball (known as "hoof ball" in the Unibond and below) came into play, and as far as I (neutral) could see, that was the end of that. There was still time for Farsley to almost grab a third when a short free-kick 20 yards inside the Farsley half went horribly wrong and was quickly depatched up the other end. They missed however. And then the rain came down as if to add insult to injury.

The rain coming down .

There was still time for Pettinger to make a class save to keep it to 0-2 until - one quarter of the Stalybridge illuminations decided to call it a day. The ref dashed over to the dug-outs, discussed matters with Dickie Bird (borrowed his light meter) and said "on with the show" (the light meter/Dickie Bird stuff is of course a figment of my emancipation) It was all over bar the shouting (at the ref) anyway..

Lights out (note the lack of players attacking the lonely Farsley keeper)...

No doubt there will be recriminations all round tonight - the ref should have sent their 11 off in the first half - then he wouln't have created their first goal - the game should have been called off when the lights went out - the chants of "off" were almost immediate from the 'Bridge faithful !!) And as the players were leaving the field the "errant floodlight" started to flicker back into life - too late though - the flicker had gone out of Celtic when that second goal went in......

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Slurp Early for Christmas !!

We've had the first cuckoo of spring...first swallow of summer about the first Christmas beer of Christmas ?

Britannia in Mossley tonight - twas nice as well !

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Mossley v Kendal Town

This should be brief !

Started the day at 0500, then went off to Stalybridge to say "Hi" to the Alfreton Town mob (I was only 14 out on their "Guess the Attendance" sweep in the end) - returned to Mossley - some might say "Why ?" - I too am asking the same question.

First 36 minutes saw good Mossley pressure - chances for Eyres, Turley and Shillito come to mind - but then it was the usual "sucker punch" moment, although it was three minutes before half-time rather than the usual three minutes from full-time. Kendal's Dave Foster received the ball on the edge of the box - turned - and just smacked it - a truly superb finish I have to say. Once again half-time arrived and Mossley were chasing the game.

An early free-kick for Kendal - spot the "hole in the wall".

The second half really contained few moments of note - a header from Wright which went just over - a Kendal effort from afar which "caught the wind" and dropped on the Mossley bar - a Turley free kick late on which hit the post - and a lot of rain in the last 15 minutes. Somewhere in the middle of all that, Kendal's Beattie found time and space in the Mossley defence to receive, swivel and score to make it 2-0. The last couple of minutes saw the ball in the net at both ends - but both cancelled out by flagging officials (they may have been tired as well - I was certainly flagging by then).

The Kendal goalmouth did see some action - but ...

Another defeat, this time by a club that hadn't won a game since September. Mossley are in deep trouble - once again there was some "tinkering" at the back re team selection - but it's not "tinkering" that's required - it's something a bit more fundamental than that. Enough of this - it's starting to hurt - serious hurt as well....

"I wandered lonely as a Kendal 'keeper" - there were 21 others - somewhere.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A New Toy !!!

0500 today - woke Mrs Smiffy up - she's gone to London to see the Queen (OK, it's some educational conference but..).

Three hours later postie arrived - with this, all the way from Hong Kong:

Yes a genuine USB cup warmer - bought off EBay for a remarkable £4-48 (the packet also contained a £3 off next order voucher !). I've tried it out and it works ! So if you're looking for an unusual/totally stupid Christmas present, try - and no I'm not on commission !!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Staly Vegas - How Many More ???

Walking back to Stalybridge Station after the game last night - OK to the Buffet Bar for a quick snifter before returning to Mossley - I spotted these as I walked down Market Street.

Two more potential bars ?? Planning permission already granted ?? When will saturation point be reached ?? Will it go the same way as Ashton ?? Already, so many of these "establishments" seem to be closed during the week - turning the place into a "ghost town". And if it ain't a bar in 'Bridge it's usually a takeaway.

Thank heavens for the Buffet Bar ....and Cosmo Bingo (if you're into that sort of thing - which I am not !!)

Stalybridge Celtic v Witton Albion

Yet another camera crisis today – taking pictures at work, when the lens just refused to come out !! “Focus Error” was the message. Once again we have to hand out the bouquets to Argos in Stockport who – for the second time in about a month – replaced with no questions asked. Still it makes everything that much later having to nip in there on the way home from work so it was a question of home at 1830 – “Hello dear” – “Goodbye dear” and back out to Stalybridge on the 1857 (the “hello/goodbye” routine was also played out at 0715 in the morning – routine/rut call it what you will !

To football – my notes tell me that Witton certainly had the better of the few chances in the first half – a header glanced wide, a free-kick cleared off the line to name but two. What did surprise me, having watched Witton earlier this season against Mossley, was how quick, and direct Witton were. They passed to feet with quick one/two touch stuff and made Celtic look slow and clumsy at times. Still it was 0-0 at half-time.

It might have only been 173 - but Witton brought a few !

It was time for tea early in the second half.. However in the time it takes to dispense a hot dog, Witton took the lead (saw it out of the corner of my eye). On their first half shows, to me, no more than they deserved. Less than ten minutes later it was 2-0 as Gaghan scored his second of the night.

Witton Assistant Benny Phillips - ex-Mossley and ex-Stalybridge of course.

Then – a substitution after a lengthy stop for a clash of heads (during this lull I even managed a quick chat with Witton Assistant Benny Phillips who I’ve known from his days as Mossley Manager back in the 20th Century (!) – and had time to compliment him on his team’s performance) . Fish came on and almost immediately got involved up front, linking well with Ellington before getting Celtic back in the game with just under 10 minutes to go. Witton were now visibly tiring, and it was Celtic who were playing the quick/direct/slick stuff that Witton had displayed earlier. Several chances came and went including a shout for a penalty close to the end – but despite five minutes additional time, Celtic were unable to pull it out of the fire.

Another chance goes begging near the end.

One of those days I guess – number of times I’ve seen Mossley give the opposition 45 minutes start this season – tonight Celtic left it until the last 15 before they came alive – and by then it was too late. I’m sure people will say “It’s only the Cheshire Senior Cup” – but silverware is silverware, and a good cup run is often the catalyst for a good run in the league. Celtic were not at full strength admittedly – Sykes at number 5 – that was a wrong ‘un for me (now he IS a catalyst !),

Another point – a crowd of 173 – I hope the “stay aways” enjoyed Man United’s humiliation on the box – I know what sort of football I’d rather be watching – and I was.

Monday, November 06, 2006

For those who follow the Wristy blog ...

Yes I know it's been quiet since Dublin/Ireland - but tonight has seen the "moment I've been waiting for" since August Bank Holiday Monday.

Check it out - - it's made my day/week/month !!!!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Engineering works at Stalybridge Station

Just to prove they were actually doing something this weekend......

Stalybridge Station 1130 Saturday morning.

Stalybridge Station 2100 Saturday evening.

Hope it's all sorted by 0727 tomorrow morning !!

Cammell Laird v Mossley

The day began with a mad dash down to Ashton to get a new tyre for the Smiffycar – however even these “small jobs” seem to take time, so the 1038 option to Cammell Laird was missed. The previous thread covers most of the trials and tribulations of transport issues, but we got to the game about 10 minutes in.

Mossley took the lead when Melford Knight found himself in space on the edge of the box. However he scuffed his shot towards goal, where the Cammell Laird keeper managed to make a right cock of it, flapping the ball out as far as the waiting David Eyres who steered it into an empty net. Mossley started to look comfortable after this – but just not threatening enough. The CL keeper was having an absolute ‘mare – missing stuff and spilling stuff – Mossley were unable to take advantage though – which was to prove fatal in the end.

Lairds' keeper flaps it out to Eyres - who says "Thank you very much" - 1-0

The impressive trophy cabinet in the Social Club

A quick drink in the Cammell Laird Social Club at half-time - what a lovely building - oh so 1930s - before back to football. The second half saw a double substitution, with Joe Shaw and new boy Fraser (Bruce ? he’s an Aussie) Robinson coming on for Eyres and Turley. This led to some re-organisation up front and in midfield, but within minutes Shaw went off injured after a couple of hefty challenges, which brought on Orr – and more re-“orr”ganisation – ha ha. All this kerfuffle was hiding the fact that Cammell Laird were getting more and more into the game. They’ve only lost one league game all season, and their quick neat passing movements – and use of the full width of the pitch was starting to put a bit of pressure on the Mossley defence. 12 minutes into the second half a swift movement down the Lairds’ right (yes the Mossley left – how many bloody times this season !) led to a close-range tap-in for McGuire to make it 1-1.

Chris Ward's shot fizzes over the top

Credit Mossley at this point – they didn’t buckle – but they didn’t do much up front either – although Chris Ward might have done better in one situation – see pic. New boy Fraser Robinson was getting involved – and wasn’t shirking the challenges either. With 5 minutes to go, despite the Cammell Laird pressure, I was seriously looking forward to the replay. Then the “kick in the teeth” moment arrived. Peter Wright got the ball, surrounded by three defenders and he was bundled to the floor – on top of the ball – no foul given. Still surrounded, he had nowhere to go – so the ref blows up for obstruction. The resulting free kick gets moved out to the Lairds’ right (the Mossley left – you know where this is going don’t you …) – and from the resulting cross, Morgan made it 2-1 – teeth suitably kicked – and that’s how it finished.
Trophy run over then (and £2,000 missed out on as well). Last week at Ossett, Mossley gave the home team 45 minutes start – and they took advantage. This week Cammell Laird gave us 45 minutes start – and Mossley failed to make good use of it. I thought they’d had probably done just enough to earn the replay, but it was not to be

Today we are tidying up the house (Mrs Smiffy ran off to Belper with the new tyre, and the rest of the car !) and making the tea (I love slo-cookers - honey-glazed lamb folks !). But first we have a party to go to. It's happy 2nd birthday to Callum Broadbent, son of Mossley stalwart (and general rabble-rouser !) Colin "The Butcher" Broadbent and Lindsey. So it's off to Ashton now (on the bus !) to buy him a pressie. With no replay this week (ouch), it could well be Stalybridge Celtic v Witton Albion in the Cheshire Senior Cup on Tuesday night

A Rant - "Grumpy Old Man" kicking in one month early ..

I reckon my day today just about sums up “England today” – naturally some beer has been drunk today, but there’s one for starters – “heavy drinkers = d*ckheads” – I beg to differ from the start. It’s now 2337 – and I’m writing this “as it comes” – today I have had one pint at Stalybridge (Phoenix “Bantam Bitter”) @ 1145, one pint of Grolsch at Manchester Piccadilly @ 1315, one pint of Guinness at Cammel Laird Social Club at half-time, another at full-time, two pints of Hart “Ice Maiden” at Stalybridge on the way home (@ 2025-ish), finishing with two pints of Jennings “CragRat” at the Britannia in Mossley. Now in front of pc with a can of Morrisons “finest” (!) – what have I seen today to make me so depressed ? Remember I’m not including the football in here – that’s another story to come tomorrow.

You have to start with the state of the railways don’t you – no trains to Manchester today from Mossley due to “engineering works” – these “works” have been going on for several weeks – and it’s always the weekends when people suffer. In days gone by, the work they’re actually doing at Stalybrige (replacing a junction of track – on the freight line no less) would have been carried out overnight with the minimum of aggro to the punters – and would have been done and dusted in a tenth of the time. Not anymore. The replacement buses – I was aiming for the 1215 to Piccadilly – it turned up at 1239 (“sorry folks it’s the traffic”) – who worked out the timetable ?? When it didn’t turn up at 1215 the two “co-ordinaters” at Stalybridge just disappeared from the station forecourt – when it did arrive it was 99% full and the poor driver was on his moby saying “there’s no-one here !” – pure bloody laziness, hiding in their little warm office while the punters are left to rot/get cold outside.

And yes the traffic was bad between Stalybridge and Manchester – because the public transport system is so p*ss poor – and everyone seems to have an urgent need for one motor car per person (a 4x4 is a bonus of course – urgently needed on the long flat run into Manchester). There were various gridlock points as well – based around the ridiculous “out of town” shopping areas (the Snipe if you know it) – where no thought has gone into traffic management – just throw up a few warehouse buildings for MFI, Comet, Argos, B&Q et al – no worries – people will happily queue up to get there (or get pushy by lane-hopping and hoping there’s some softy who will let them in – I hate that).

We got to Piccadilly at 1308 – therefore missing the 1249 connection to Liverpool.- we’ll try a drink whilst waiting for the next train to Liverpool. Try the “Balcony Bar” – good food – good ales – good fun. Oh really ? Overpriced beer (nothing real of course) – so went for the £2-80 Grolsch – it arrived in a plastic glass. The place does not allow any glass or bottles anywhere – must be due to the fact that all alcohol drinkers are evil b*stards who will throw stuff and break stuff.

Yeah I had a great time !

At least the train to Liverpool turned up on time (thank you Central Trains) and connections to Rock Ferry worked well. I had to ask directions when I got to Rock Ferry and it was suggested “Why not get a taxi ?” Answer was “Why ?” – it turned out to be less than a 15 minute walk – has everybody lost the use of their legs these days ?? One man in a taxi is not very eco-friendly – 8 in a mini-bus not so bad (although that’s usually because the other 7 are too bloody idle !!)

After the game – a walk back to Rock Ferry and back to Lime Street. The train to Manchester was packed – hey it’s the weekend – Liverpool at home – Reading fans need to get back to Manc for connections - ever though of extra carriages ? The train was awash with what can only be described as tw*ts – gobby (why do people find the need to shout to their friend 24 inches away ?) , rude, unhelpful, smoking on the train even ! Now I’m a smoker who will stick up for smoker’s rights (God help next year !) but – you just don’t do it on trains anymore – less than an hour to Manchester – I can live with it – so why couldn’t the ignorant b*stards do the same ? Don’t think I’m just tarnishing people from Liverpool (or Reading) – try catching the 2300 from Manchester Victoria to Mossley on a Friday or Saturday night – not much different.

Back in Manchester it was a 50 minute wait for a bus – dare I try the Balcony Bar again – no, I had a look – too full, not enough staff (saves money I guess - people are happy to queue up – or get pushy – see earlier) – I just had a wander around – no doubt looking very suspicious on the CCTV - spotted a couple of signs which made me laugh though. No rubbish bins always makes me laugh – “security and safety” – sorry no “paranoia and paranoia” – plus the actual mess that is made does actually create more work There are waste paper bins in Dublin stations and in Dublin Airport – and I think they’ve coped with the “safety and security” problem for a lot longer than us over here – amazing what a 9/11 or 7/7 incident can do – think backlash. Not unlike the “oh some chap smashed a glass – therefore you’re all drinking out of plastic”. The cookie advert made me laugh too – golly 41p for one biscuit – it must be a bargain, because it’s on a big poster – and people fall for it – the “rip off” side of England is all too plain on a railway station – when just a couple of minutes away on the approach you can save large amounts of money buying anything from fags to coffee.

Blimey - give me 16 !!!

Never mind (now there’s a truly “British” attitude – sadly an outdated one it seems), we got to Stalybridge, we drank beer, we got another bus, we got back to Mossley, we drank more beer, we went home.

Can we apportion blame – no point really, the “blame and claim culture” is alive and well in England – it’s always someone else’s fault – some folks seem to live off it without thinking of actually changing some aspects of THEIR lives.

God knows what brought this on – football later today ….

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Midweek Football - after a fashion !

It’s been a funny week for football. No home games for any of the “Six Tame Sides” at all this mid-week. The “ju-jitsu taxi service” which runs every Monday and Wednesday does allow me a short time in the “Railway” at Greenfield, so I caught a bit of the Man City v Middlesbrough game (including the goal) and also some of the Kobenhavn v Man United games (excluding the goal !)

I thought about Wakefield v Ashton United on Tuesday – but since the Mossley trains now terminate at Huddersfield rather than going straight through to Wakefield, the connections were a bit of a bugger. Going outside the “Six Tame Sides” zone, there was the offer of Woodley Sports (aka Mossley reserves !) v Stocksbridge Park Steels – but again transport from Mossley equates to train and bus – and can be a bit of a pain (as you may have gathered – no car was available as Mrs Smiffy was running a training course until 2100 that day). Plus of course, the weather had turned cold and my finger was giving me gyp !! So excuses aplenty there …

So Tuesday turned into a “virtual football” night – with the Barcelona v Chelsea game on in the other room. I’ve done this sort of thing before and it can be fun ! That night I “watched” the Wakefield v Ashton United game via a cute “live” website - where someone from Wakefield texts in the odd one-liner which then appears on the screen – I believe Kendal do a similar thing – must check that one out. Also being updated on the web (via the club message boards) were the Leek Town v AFC Telford United game – my first ever penalty shoot-out on the web, and the Goole v Belper Town game – which had a “local slant” in that Andy Parton (on loan from Stalybridge Celtic) managed to score a hat-trick for Goole against my good friends from Derbyshire. I popped in and out of the other room to see bits of the Chelsea game – even took some photos (now isn’t that SAD !) – when Mrs Smiffy returned the Chelsea game went off (just before their late late equaliser !) – so I stuck with the Telford penalty shoot-out – I think the message board thread for that game went to nearly 250 messages !!

Look - a picture off the telly of some Chelsea bloke ...

Normality returns tomorrow with a trip to Birkenhead to see if Mossley can progress any further in the FA Trophy against Cammel Laird. This will be a tricky one I feel in more ways than one. Cammel Laird appear to be “rather good” – and also there are no trains from Mossley or Stalybridge into Manchester tomorrow because of the ubiquitous “engineering works” – obviously no-one travels at the weekend in the eyes of Network Rail – so it’s either a bus to Manchester, or a bus to Guide Bridge for a train to Manchester. – that’s my next jobbie tonight – check out the route etc. Mrs Smiffy is off to Belper tomorrow (they’re at home to Bamber Bridge – am I tempted - a little – but only a little at this moment in time..) Hey ho – off to – the course of anti-biotics is now over – so the “alcohol in moderation” rule can be relaxed somewhat this weekend !!