Tuesday 13th August 2013 ko 19.45
Spartan South Midlands League Division One
FC BROXBOURNE BOROUGH 1 (Hussey 6) Bashkal sent off 90 (2nd booking)
WELWYN GARDEN CITY 0
Whilst I enjoyed my Saturday in Cumbria, I’d found it slightly bruising. I like to see all of these events go off as flawlessly as possible, so after digesting the lessons learned, it was good to get back to simple, solo groundhopping, and a nice easy one at that.
The Borough of Broxbourne is probably best known as being where Tesco’s head office is based, in Cheshunt, but there’s News International’s Park Plaza, Waltham Cross to consider also. It’s the world’s largest printing plant, printing the English editions of The Sun and The Times amongst others. It can produce 86,000 newspapers per hour on each of its twelve printing presses. It cost £350 million and replaced the News International press in Wapping, the scene of a strike and civil disobedience when it closed in 1986.
The club play on the outskirts of Cheshunt, and that’s where the fun starts. One or two hoppers found out where I was going and were surprised I haven’t been here already. The answer was simple, I’d been confusing Goffs Lane as the home of Cheshunt FC, they play at Theobalds Lane, and I’d been there many years previously.
Since my visit there, Broxbourne Borough have changed identities twice. In 2003 they were the quaintly named Broxbourne Borough V & E (Victoria & Elm). They reached the SSML Premier before in 2012, the club was liquidated. They reformed by removing the V & E from their name but it cost them a double relegation finding themselves in SSML Division 2. They clawed their way back to Division One, but in June this year with the club once more in trouble they were taken over by a new consortium led by Kem Kemal and Inanc Eltiok. That has produced yet another new name, FC Broxbourne Borough, and there’s a lot to keep an eye on.
Kemal and Eltiok, were behind a bid to take over Herford Town previously, amid plans to put in a 3G pitch and invest £300,000 in the club. That got rejected by the club, so by the looks of things, they’ve invested in a club that needs them more. They’d decided to let people in for nothing for the first two games of the season, presumably to try to build local support, but for that commendable gesture, the majority of those present seemed to following the visitors.
For all of that I recognised the name Kem Kemal. It took a little time but it finally dawned on me that Kemal was manager at Enfield-based Herts County League side Aslan. http://wp.me/p1PehW-1Bc . They won Division One at a canter with a record 25 wins from 30 games, but Aslan, Turkish for “Lion” are no more, with the team now in Broxbourne colours. Whatever the rights and wrongs of that move, it’ll be interesting to see how the players fare, in effect after a double promotion.
The evidence of the first 10 minutes was that they’d cope well, they’d won they first League game 4-0 against Crawley Green and an early goal, Sheldon Hussey firing home from a corner set them up nicely for another thumping win. Except it didn’t work out that way. Play became fractured, and I was glad of some company.
That company was in the form of Bob Powell, who is one of the more senior hoppers out there with over 4,000 ticks to his name. More relevant though is that he’s a darned nice chap, and while the shots flew over, and the passes went astray he told me a lovely tale of a Watford-based groundhopper.
You see some groundhoppers won’t attend a game unless a programme is available, so after checking that one would for sale Bob, the hopper in question and two others set off one evening from Watford to Maltby Miners’ Welfare, some 150 miles away. Upon arrival it transpired that there wasn’t a programme, and the hopper’s reaction was to sit in the car for the duration rather than watch the game. Bob told me that the cup game in truth wasn’t a good game to watch, but it did go to extra-time, prolonging the paper-enthusiast’s agony sat in the car. Extra-time did produce both excitement and goals, but that was no salve to one of the party.
Two weeks later, after copious checks on paper-based souvenir availability, he made the return journey. He presented himself at the pay-booth, and the gateman commented,
“You’re not going to believe this but some prat travelled up all the way from your part of the world and sulked all the game in his car because there wasn’t a programme!”
His reaction to this isn’t known……
The longer the game went on the more likely it seemed that Welwyn would find a way back into the tie. They found their passes, and it was only due to the excellence of Alan Buck in the home goal that Broxbourne kept up their lead. The late dismissal of Kerem Bashkal for a pointless foul and an equally pointless act of petulance, kicking the ball away, made no difference to the outcome. I’m sure Welwyn will play worse this season and win. Whether Broxbourne can keep up this little run, isn’t so certain, but to be honest I was just pleased to get back to regular hopping!