The Compromise At Havelock Square 

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Saturday 26th March 2011 ko 20.00

UEFA European Championship Qualifying Group B

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND 2 (McGeady 2 Keane 21)

FYR MACEDONIA 1 (Tričkovski 45)

Att 30,000 at Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin

Entry €45

Programme €5

Parking €5

It had been a highly convivial afternoon in Newry but as I thrashed the tiny hire car on the motorway back to Dublin the tension was building. On one hand any trip to any capital is going to involve traffic, and we’d made the decision already to use both of Dublin’s toll roads (costing a total of €4.70) just to get there on time. Another problem was the fact that even though we’d been in Ireland since Friday morning, we still didn’t have tickets.

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Border Hopping

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Saturday March 2011 ko 15.00

IFA Premiership

NEWRY CITY 1 (McCann 73)

BALLYMENA UNITED 1 (Boyd 90)

Att 198

Entry £9

Programme £2

For a border that has been subject of so much upheaval the act of crossing from the Irish Republic to the United Kingdom on the A1/N1 is something of an anticlimax. The first thing you notice is that the yellow dashed line on the left hand edge of the road suddenly becomes solid and white, then there’s a sign informing you that from now on all distances and speeds will use miles, not kilometres as their basis. Other than that the only other clue is adverts for business who’ve set up to take advantage of whatever tax differentials exist between the two countries. You can see an example in the one of the photos.

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Perfect

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Friday 25th March 2011 ko 19.45

League of Ireland Premier Division

BOHEMIAN 0

GALWAY UNITED 1 (Yoffe 60)

Att c1,000

Entry €15 

Programme €4

It’s long been my conviction that the British and the Irish have far more in common than what divides us. We drive on the same side of the road, speak (predominantly) the same language and occupy the same set of islands. For the record Dublin is still the only airport I’ve ever landed in and not felt abroad. Most of the time its the extremists and politicians that seek to accentuate the differences while everyone else is happy to enjoy each other’s company; this trip rather proved the point. Continue reading

That Mad May

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Monday 7th May 2007 ko 11.30

Combined Counties League Division One

CB HOUNSLOW UNITED 0

WORCESTER PARK 3 (Kennedy 7p 88p Farley 45)

Att c40

Entry FREE

Programme £1

If “Silly Season” in 2007 was about anything, it was about the lower division of the Combined Counties. If you didn’t know the term is used to describe that time at the end of the season when unlit evening games are possible, usually with a 18.30 kick off time. Back then the majority of the Combined Counties Division One clubs had no floodlights, and after multiple postponements during a wet winter the league extended their season, and scheduled a series of evening, and early kick-offs.

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Love Story

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Saturday 11th March 2006 ko 15.00

Scottish League Division One 

ST MIRREN 1 (Adam 90) 

QUEEN OF THE SOUTH 0

Att 3,436 at St Mirren Park, Love Street, Paisley

Entry £15 

Programme £2

Saturday 31st January 2009 ko 12.30

Scottish Premier League

ST MIRREN 1 (Wyness 83)

KILMARNOCK 1 (Kyle 29)

Att 7,542 at New St Mirren Park, Greenhill Road, Paisley

Entry £18 Programme £4

I have a feeling I didn’t approach Paisley as some others do. I remembering seeing the place as the place where the slightly psychedelic “Paisley Pattern” comes from, and holiday visits to the likes of the “Sma’ Shot Cottages” and the Coats Observatory were greatly enjoyed. But the second Iain my regular companion to all things Scottish and I went to watch Queen of the South away at Love Street in 2006, I soon spotted a change in that viewpoint.

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Back in the NHS

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Monday 8th January 2007 ko 19.45

League 2

MILTON KEYNES DONS 2 (McLeod 6 Edds 90)

McLeod missed penalty 35

Wilbraham missed 90

LINCOLN CITY 2 (Forrester 51p Weir-Daley 84)

Morgan sent off 90 (DOGSO)

Att 7,140

Entry – Complimentary (Face value £20)- Main Stand

Programme £2

For the avoidance of any doubt this is not a piece on the rights and wrongs of the former Wimbledon FC’s move to Milton Keynes in 2003. You’d have a hard task to find any football person that agreed with the move, but once that move had been made it did mean that Wimbledon, then rebadged (and the club history surrendered) as MK Dons ended up at a temporary ground- the NHS!

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The Reliable

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Friday 24th August 2007 ko 18.45

South Wales Amateur League Division One

AFC PORTH 3 (Evans 45 72 Snooks 64)

CAERAU 0 

Att 266

Entry £2

Programme £1

On any organised groundhop you want reliability. You want the weather to be fine, the clubs to make the best of their opportunity and at the most basic level you want the teams to turn up at the right place at the right time. But once you’ve got the basics down, you look for cooperation. In the widest sense you look that hoppers, clubs and league understand each others’ compromises but you learn to accept that almost never completely happens. So you look to those hoppers, and clubs who “Get” what you trying to achieve, and unquestionably one club that did in spades was AFC Porth.

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Roofer Madness

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Saturday 19th January 2008 ko 15.00

Northern League Division One

JARROW ROOFING BOLDON COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION 4 (J Gibson 3 Tate 43 Hutchinson 70 Logan 74)

TOW LAW TOWN 0

Att 67

Entry £4

Programme £1

So if I were to tell you I watched Jarrow Roofing FC back in the day presumably you’d assume that  I was visiting Jarrow? And let’s face it, 99 times out of a 100 that logic would be correct, but Jarrow Roofing never did quite fit in.  The fact of the matter is that 13 years ago I was heading to Boldon Colliery near Sunderland, and yes and it may be only 3-and-a-half miles between the two places but the distance between the two wasn’t a matter of semantics.

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Brecknock

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Sunday 18th February 2007 ko 14.00

Welsh League Division 3

YSTRADGYNLAIS 3 (Hopkins 37p Maggs 82 86)

CWMBRAN CELTIC (Williamson 9 32 Cheedy 16)

Att 47

Entry & Programme £2

When I put together these articles, I tend to ask myself the same question and that’s “Why would someone visit here?” but in this case I think there are two more pressing things to answer! The first and please forgive the mauling of the Welsh language is “Ustra-Gun-Lice” the name means ‘Vale of the river Cynlais’ these days the River Tawe, which gives Abertawe, or Swansea its name. That tells you a little of your second question, the town is roughly 16 miles north west of Swansea.

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The Late Hamlet

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Friday 2nd February 2007 ko 19.45

Eastern Counties League Division One

HAVERHILL ROVERS 2 (Heller 51 Abbott 88)

ELY CITY 2 (Johnston 41 Warren 90)

Att c200

Entry £3.50

Programme £1

I must admit I hadn’t realised this was one of the Eastern Counties League’s regular Friday night fixtures until I started to put this together! Its odd how a game 14 years ago was a portent of things to come! But here the reason for being at Hamlet Croft was straightforward, the ground was due for demolition, so that probably had something to do with why there was a bumper crowd. Continue reading