Saturday, 1 October 2011

Staveley Miners Welfare 0 Hyde FC 3

FA Cup, second qualifying round
Attendance: 320

What’s it like to see a crowd? Well, after three rounds of decreasing sub-200 crowds, very good. I’ve reached the stage in the Cup when I select a tie based more on what sounds like a good contest rather than a grand day out. Today I watched the equal highest ranked side in the competition at this stage, Hyde (top the Conference North) hosted by newly promoted Staveley (three steps lower at the top of the Northern Counties East Premier). Both sides are unbeaten. Something had to give …

Staveley love their stripes and logo. Two helpful chaps in polo shirts bearing the logo directed me to the last space in the car park then I made my way to the turnstiles past an ostentatiously parked four-wheel drive vehicle with striking Staveley livery (like the club’s minibus at Goole two rounds ago). The full length of the clubhouse and function room on both sides is immaculately painted in blue and white stripes. Inside every table has a logo as does the extendable vinyl tunnel. Even the bins around the ground (royal blue, of course) have the logo. There are almost as many Staveley logos at Inkersall Road than there will be five rings at the Olympic stadium.

First impressions of Staveley (in north Derbyshire) is that this is a club on the up – and rather flush with it. I’ve never seen such an exceptionally smart (if otherwise unremarkable) stadium at this low level. There’s a fancy electronic scoreboard and clock and fascias on all the stands positively gleam which is more than a little to do with the fact that they – and their league, the Northern Counties East – are sponsored by Baris Fascias and Linings. Company MD and, one assumes, Staveley benefactor, Terry Damms is pictured in the clubhouse pressing the flesh with England World Cup winners, Jimmy Greaves, HRH Bobby Robson, Harry Redknapp and numerous other football royalty. This fellow is well connected.

Peculiarly, given the standard of the ground, the PA announcer-cum-cameraman has to make do with a scaffold tower away from the clubhouse (wonder if he fell out with Terry) and supplies for the barbecue are stored in a shipping container. Pity that two of the three stands are set far back from pitchside too. With temperatures up to 82F, the crowd was all baseball caps, bare chests and beer cans today. The away fans – who came in a coach rather than minibus for the first time on this season’s FA Cup trail – chanted their hatred for “Celtic”. Not the Glasgow variety but Stalybridge Celtic, their bitter Tameside rivals (as I found out in 2007).

Hyde made their superior status tell immediately. It was no surprise when they took the lead on 20 mins when a cross from the right was knocked in at the far post. Thereafter a Hyde win – their first in the competition for six years – was always on the cards. FA Cup virgins this season, Staveley didn’t have their first goal chance until 30 mins were up. Hyde extended their lead with a shot that took a wicked deflection early in the second half. Thereafter Staveley rallied well but, after the third Hyde goal, everyone was just playing for time. This contest was actually a no contest. Still I had a super afternoon in the sunshine.

Star turns: First up we have Tunji Moses, formerly of the Macclesfield Meltdown roller hockey team and FC United of Manchester and, even more notably, son of Remi Moses of Man United in the early 80s. Secondly, Matty Berkeley, the only international on the pitch having played for St Kitts & Nevis under 20s. Thirdly, Martyn Booty, an ex-Reading pro and Hyde’s assistant manager, whom I last spotted playing for Curzon Ashton.
Tunji ... Remi ... and Martin
Programme notes: “As always as a club we wish to look, listen and learn and if anybody has any suggestion as to how we may better our facilities and arrangements for you, the supporters, then please let us know. You lot are the life blood of our business here so you are very much priority as to how we look after you”. So it said in the ‘introduction’. Love it. Another indication of what sort of club this is is the fact that the chairman’s work telephone number, mobile and email are printed in the programme.

FC means sweet FA: What’s with the ‘FC’ prefix or suffix that’s in vogue at the moment? Parkgate and Hyde have both changed their names in this respect recently. The new names have all the impact of a company switching from being called Marks & Spencer to Marks & Spencer Plc. If you want to re-name then why not create an albion or wanderers? And, more meaningful than FC would be DC as in ‘da capo’, the musical notation for play again from the beginning.

TV or not TV? So Fergie thinks that telly is too influential over football. Not from where I’m standing (as opposed to sitting with a prawn sandwich). There are 82 ties in the second qualifying round and all but two kicked off at 3pm on Saturday.

Ooh-err, missus! Following news of Harrogate Town’s “new brand spanking website” (see end of previous post), I read also in the local paper that, following a victory over Scarborough Athletic in the first qualifying round, Tadcaster Albion “deserve all the plaudits not only for beating ’Boro but giving their Seadog backsides a tanning”. Is their reporter kinky, or what? Still, nothing like partisan journalism. That sort of tribal passion is what the Cup’s all about.

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