Tuesday 3rd September 2019 ko 19.45
FA CUP Preliminary Round Replay
SHERWOOD COLLIERY 0
LOUGHBOROUGH COLLIERY 1 (Robbins 29)
It’s strange how some clubs and grounds seem to pass you by. Mansfield Woodhouse-based Sherwood Colliery managed to time their rise through the ranks so as to avoid the Central Midlands League’s groundhops, and when they won promotion from that league went into the East Midlands Counties League, avoiding the Northern Counties East Hops too! I ended up driving past no end of places I’d travelled to on a hop coach to Debdale Park!
The reason for Sherwood Colliery’s rapid rise through the leagues is down in no small part to chairman Gareth Bull, a winner of over £40million in the Euromillions lottery. Now if that is giving you the vision of a Glenn Tamplin/Billericay-type ego project then think again. What Bull’s financial clout has allowed the club to do is build, both on and off the pitch.
There’s no murals to largess here, just two stands and a hand-operated scoreboard all built by Bull and of course the all-important floodlights. What has been created is a club utterly at ease with itself, and despite the far larger crowd they coped admirably. That included me asking the club to put aside a programme for me, and that they managed in marked contrast to some other clubs I’ve visited.
The reason for the bumper crowd was a mixture of an FA Cup replay, a potential giant killing and a local derby too! Dynamo play two steps higher in the Northern Premier League Division One South East, so a 2-all draw at Nanpantan was quite an achievement for the hosts.
Sadly for them, they couldn’t quite build on the heroics of the first game- Dynamo had just that little extra quality to win the tie and earn themselves a home tie against Heather St Johns.
Of course my talent for jinxing a friendly club was much in evidence, it always is but as I attacked a truly dreadful journey back to Oxford I reflected on what a satisfying evening it had been. There are no end of football clubs being supported by rich benefactors from the top to the bottom of the game. The trick is not to lose your sense of self in the process. Sherwood Colliery have managed that in spades, and I for one will watch their continued progress with interest.