The Novus Stadium
I would like to start this, my 10th Blog entry, by thanking anybody and everybody who has read any Pint of Football entry, anybody who has followed my new Twitter page and of course the few who have accompanied me to games and supported the Blog so far (Will Clark, Sophie Dibbens and Partizan Bristle's Tom Meadowcroft surely must be fed up of me by now!). I am pleased with the amount of views that my entries have been receiving and hope to carry on spreading my fun-filled hours of Football up and down the country.
This evening was another mid-week solo effort which saw me jumping in to my car and heading to yet another local team, hoping to experience the thrill of yet another non-league team. Just outside of Stoke-on-Trent, I found myself in the small town of Kidsgrove ready for a resurgent Athletic taking on bottom of the League Tividale. In the 5 years I have lived in Stoke I have only had two encounters with Kidsgrove; the first was after a Stag party in Crewe where the bus, originally heading for Stoke, ended up stopping at Kidsgrove instead and leaving me stranded. The second was directly related to the football team, as me and my mate Will pushed the Kidsgrove Athletic Football Club minibus down a snowy A500 after they broke down. On this particular evening, we were stood outside my old uni accommodation waiting to see if a Chinese takeaway we had ordered would be able to make it in the heavy snow. Whilst waiting, we looked on to the dual carriageway to see a minibus skidding to a halt. The players hopped out of the bus and started to push, to which we decided to jump on to the empty road and give them a shove. Apparently they were the only non-league match in the whole country not to be postponed that day, because the opposition in the Birmingham area played on a plastic pitch. Ahh memories- anyway, that was off-topic, back to the present day.
|It's Wednesday night and I'm at the Grove, don't believe me just read|
|Blues vs Reds|
|Very posh- deck chairs and all|
At the games I attend on my own, I always do my best to listen in to the crowds' conversations and where possible, get involved. The couple who were sitting to my right-hand side were talking to another chap about one of the Tividale players, before the first man told the other that they used to play together at Redditch for a while. He then carried on to tell anybody who could hear about how he had also played for Kidderminster and Stafford in the past- impressive. After this exchange I turned my ears back to the pitch to hear a local fan shout to the linesman, "Oi! Shift up lino, you're blocking my view". If there was one thing which made being a linesman on a cold Staffordshire evening worse, it was receiving constant feedback from the home support. As the game continued, a different lad shouted "that's a disgrace, lino" about a clearly correct offside call. With over half an hour on the clock Kidsgrove started to dominate and get closer to goal. A couple of 20-30 yard strikes went close and then a third long-ranger led to the opener. A centre-mid struck a sweet hit from about 25 yards, which the keeper saved, but padded back out to an onrushing Wellecomme. Grove 1-0 Tividale. Not much else came from the first-half, apart from at least 10 people re-entering and asking around if they had missed anything. (Note to self, do not go to the toilet just before half-time, you are bound to miss a goal!) One man asked me the terribly awkward question which no ground hopper wants to hear, "Who scored, mate?". I just looked at him and said that it was a rebound- and luckily the tannoy announced the goal and saved any embarrassment of me not knowing every Kidsgrove player. That brought me to half-time following a good first-half!
|I found a blue tractor at half-time, 'Pint of Football Moment' for sure!|
|Cliff and Bry- a true comedy duo|
|The Midlands assassin- Nick Wellecomme|
|A very enjoyable match and ground, this won't be my only trip to the Novus Stadium|