Archive for March, 2010

Pies in his eyes

March 31, 2010

Working Class Boy From The North

I’m plugging another blogger here on The Hovian, Reds Bricks and Coal (Working Class Boy From The North), is quite similar to this site, in that the author (my good mate “GrimUpNorth”, or “Grimothy” to his mates and possibly his mam) is football daft and likes his casual clobber.

Young Grim is an avid Pie-head, in that he supports Wigan Athletic FC (no-ones perfect!), and writes some great stuff – on his team, general casuality, movies, and especially about the latest new music he likes. So, drop by for a read and bookmark his blog, he’s writing good stuff over there.

Not unlike Grim in real life

A casual buy no. 12

March 29, 2010

Before washing your EDWIN Jeans for the first time you should try and wear them for as long as possible. We recommend 6 months at least. You don’t need to try any tricks, just wear them as much as possible! It is an unique partnership between you and your jeans, the characteristics of wear depend upon your particular regime and lifestyle. If you keep to this your jeans will be unique to you alone.

So goes the care guide with a new pair of unwashed Edwin selvage jeans. They come  like a blank canvas, stiff and full of unwashed indigo dye, and you have to wear the fuckers for at least six months before you wash them. That’s six months of smelly trains, pubs, and sweaty bollocks, of filthy football ground toilets and splashed urine (not always your own!), ok enough!

They have stained my legs, trainers, shirts and cushions blue. Edwins aren’t cheap – they’re Japanese, which reads “expensive” for some unfathomable reason – and the wearing of them in is ritualised in a way only the Japanese could think up. I’ve already had them in the freezer twice to get rid of slighty iffy smells. So why bother with this nonsense?

I’ve had my pair for three months now, and they are funky gunky, but already they are taking shape, fading in the creases my body naturally makes. When I wash them for the first time they will look fantastic, and more importantly, unique – no other pair of jeans, Edwin or otherwise, will look like mine. That’s reason enough why the discerning dresser should seek out a pair for himself.

Go west

March 24, 2010

We’re off to Devon for the weekend, Exeter in fact, to spend time with in-laws. So, I get to miss the visit to Withdean of the mighty Tranmere Rovers FC and yet another relegation six-pointer. A few weeks ago the idea of a few days wurzel-baiting and a spot of surfing would have been a far better prospect than watching the Albion losing at home again, but now that the team has hit a rich vein of form I’d rather be in the South Stand on Saturday. Ah well, see you all next week. Cheers.

Book review: Rolling With The 6.57 Crew

March 22, 2010

Pompey Playing Up

Rolling With The 6.57 Crew – By Cass Pennant & Rob Silvester

First Published : 2004

ISBN 1 84454 072 3

Score out of 5 :

I’ve decided to start reviewing footy related books on the blog, just to add something different to the general themes of following the Albion and casual clothing. The reviews won’t necessarily be about the latest books, just ones I have read recently and that are loosely related to all things football.

I also have a guilty pleasure to admit to – hooligan memoirs. I’ve never been in trouble at a game in my life, or so much as growled at opposing fans, but while I don’t condone or glorify hooliganism, it is something inextricably linked to the very fabric of the game, like it or not. I’m also fascinated with the motives, the people involved, and the actual events from these often vicious times. But not all the football related books I read are about young men kicking the shit out each other, biogs and polemics about the state of the modern game float my boat too. Just don’t expect to see Nick Hornby being lionized on this site.

First up is a book co-written by the Tom Clancy of “Hoolie Lit” – Mr Cass Pennant. Cass was a famous member of the infamous ICF of West Ham, and he loves to tell a tale does Cass. The book, though full of spelling and grammatical errors, is a rollicking ride in the wake of the nutty skates of Portsmouth FC from the early skinhead days of 68-69, through the casual heyday of the early eighties, and the slow decline of large-scale bedlam at football in the nineties and noughties. I always read these kinds of books with a large handful of salt, and this one especially, as the skates run everyone all over the place it seems. Co-author Rob Silvester was a hardcore member of the “6.57”, a crew named after the time of the early Saturday morning train leaving Portsmouth for London, where these boys usually launched themselves on each naughty awayday up and down the country.

It’s a good read nonetheless, and describes well some of the undoubtedly tough characters produced by the very insular and school-of-hard-knocks city that is Portsmouth, very entertaining.

Oldham 0 – 2 Albion

March 21, 2010

There's no-one there, there's no-one there

I was feeling as rough as old badgers yesterday morning, I had been out Friday night and a long trip to Oldham didn’t feel like so great an idea with a thick head. Things were no better after catching the 1100 out of Euston and a cold, wet London, bound for an even colder and wetter Manchester Piccadilly. There were quite a few Tottenham fans on the train headed for Stoke, but no Albion at all.

Getting to Oldham by public transport nowadays is a bit of a mission. I was running about central Manchester looking for a bus when I bumped into two other Seagulls, we pooled our collective tactical awareness and eventually got the 83 to Oldham, then a taxi to Boundary Park.

I sat through the match itself with the Manchester-based half of the TSLR editorial team. S is an intelligent and very personable bloke, and good matchday company – he’s also blue and white to the core. We chatted about the position of fanzines in today’s digital age. Maybe the traditional paper mag for the fans by the fans has had its day, that would be a great loss in my opinion. There should always be a place for a cheap but informative read that can be taken home and re-read. The advent of blogging and internet chat-rooms like NSC have their place too, but you can’t take your laptop into the bath, unless you’re a mentallist of course. The TSLR chaps are passionate about our club and their fanzine, which they produce for very little if no financial return, so again if ever you see them stood out in the wet and cold, buy a bloody mag off them will you? It’s only a pound a copy.

So, the game. Boundary Park, although being the most lop-sided ground in the league with that old empty terrace on the far side, is nonetheless great for atmosphere. That’s because the Oldham fans are quite close behind the goal and the away fans. The banter was good-natured and entertaining between both sets of fans, and the Latics youngsters have a good sense of humour – piss-taking their own team with ironic chants and keeping the old “North-South” divide alive and well. Their football team are dire, so fair play to them for keeping smiling and making us smile.

Once again Albion played attractive and effective football. El-Abd and Elphick are looking the real deal, and I’m happy for Bomber for earning this run in the starting line-up. Seb Carole gets a lot of stick from our fans, but yesterday he played a blinder, he also got lumps kicked out of him. On the other wing Bennett struck another trademark goal of the week, and gets better and better. Our second was a rather fortunate OG, but we were pressing well and deserved doubling our lead.

My man of the match is Peter Brezovan. The big feller didn’t have much to do until saving twice at point-blank range to keep us at 1-0 for half-time. Then Oldham won a very dubious penalty after the ref adjudged Elphick to have handled the ball. Again, the big man saved a stinging shot and was straight up for the follow up which hit the underside of the bar and was cleared. He was sensational yesterday.

We picked up some extremely drunk Spurs supporters on the way back through Stoke, no doubt celebrating their 2-1 win. That kept me entertained back to London anyway. My hangover had disappeared long before in the murk of the North, two more wins from our last nine games and we’ve reached the magic 50 point zone. I think we’re safe this year, and next season looks very promising with Gus Poyet at the helm of Brighton and Hove Albion.

The Hovian’s Albion Team Performance : 9 out of 10

The Hovian’s Albion Man of the Match : Peter Brezovan

Albion Team (goalscorers in bold)

(4-5-1) Brezovan; Calderon, El-Abd, Elphick, Painter; Bennett, Crofts, Navarro (Virgo 87), Dicker, Carole (Hart 88); Murray.

Subs: Walker (GK), McNulty, Cox, Forster, Hoyte, Virgo, Hart

Attendance: 4,059 (459 Albion)

Passing the latest symbol of the rotting heart of corporate football

League One table

Sunday, 21 March 2010 00:00 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full League One table
1 Norwich 37 39 79
2 Leeds United 36 32 71
3 Charlton 37 19 67
4 Swindon 37 12 67
5 Millwall 36 21 65
6 Colchester 36 15 63
7 Huddersfield 37 18 61
8 MK Dons 37 -1 56
9 Bristol Rovers 37 -1 55
10 Southampton 36 28 50
11 Carlisle 38 -3 48
12 Walsall 36 -3 47
13 Yeovil 38 -6 44
14 Brighton 37 -7 44
15 Brentford 34 -2 43
16 Leyton Orient 37 -9 41
17 Oldham 36 -13 40
18 Hartlepool 36 -11 39
19 Gillingham 37 -11 39
20 Tranmere 36 -25 38
21 Exeter 37 -14 37
22 Southend 36 -16 34
23 Wycombe 37 -25 31
24 Stockport 37 -37 24

Latest Fanzine Fartery

March 19, 2010

As I mentioned before (and you probably missed or ignored) I draw a small comic strip for The Seagull Love Review, BHAFC’s only current unofficial fanzine. It (the fanzine, not the cartoon) is one of the finest works of contemporary English Literature to be found anywhere today. Ok it’s not, it’s a collection of juvenile lunacy produced by blokes who are old enough to know better, but that’s what fanzines are all about – piss-taking fun in support of their chosen team.

Of course TSLR have an abundance of comedic raw material to choose from – anything related to Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club is always game for a laugh (you’d cry otherwise, wouldn’t you?). So, if you see it at the match being held aloft by some timid young fellow – whether he’s barring your way to the turnstile or interfering with your half-time burger queueing – to get rid of him just dig into the old sky rocket and one golden nugget will see him off until the next month. Then viola! you have something to read on the khazi Sunday morning after you evacuate the remains of ten pints of piss weak lager, a hotdog, two bags of cheese and onion, and a mouldy three cheese sandwich bought from the M&S food hall at Victoria at 11pm.

These are the latest two strips from TSLR 17 & 18, I’m working on some new stuff now, well not right now as I’m off out to get shitfaced in a minute, then tomorrow I’ll be away at Oldham all day………fuck me I do go on sometimes.

Albion 3 – 0 Brentford

March 17, 2010

A man with impeccable bellend credentials - Brentford celebrity fan Dean Gaffney

The winds of change are blowing around BN1, the eggy whiff of relegation has been replaced with the fresh mountain breeze of hope. It didn’t start like that yesterday though. As I headed into town at 5pm a strange eery fog was drifting off the Channel and up the streets of Hove. I made my way along Kings Road fully expecting to be set upon by ghoulish seafarers straight out of John Carpenter’s 1980 classic “The Fog”. Instead I had a couple of shants in The Smugglers, and an Albion Kebab before heading to Withers as the mist lifted.

But, enough of that shite, what about the game then? A scoreline like this has been coming for some time. Coming as it did against Brentford made it even better. I sat in Block E with my two season ticket holding chums, forsaking the barmies in H just for one game. It worked, Albion were awesome last night.

Apart from a 15 minute spell straight after half-time, the visitors were awful. They were as awful as we were good. We started slowly, but rather ironically, as soon as our best player went off injured, we fired up and demolished the Bees. Kazenga LuaLua is without doubt our most gifted player, but Chris Holroyd did a fine job replacing him until he too went off injured, and it rubbed off on Murray, who looked very happy to have another forward to play off.

Once more we looked solid at the back, battled and created in midfield, and gave them major headaches up front – as it should be. It was good to see Murray break his home duck, Virgo back on the park and scoring (although it looked more like an OG by their hapless keeper), and that man Nicky Forster getting on and netting a lastminute.com penalty for his 16th goal of the season. It’s all good.

Andrew Crofts was fired up and played a screamer in midfield, he’s probably our fittest player, “The Machine”. But, one player more than everyone else last night epitomised the new spirit and flair of this Gus Poyet team – Inigo Calderon. What a find this guy is, it will be criminal if he’s not offered a juicy new contract in the summer, man of the match again.

The Hovian’s Albion Team Performance : 9 out of 10

The Hovian’s Albion Man of the Match : Inigo Calderon

Albion Team (goalscorers in bold):

(4-5-1) Brezovan; Calderon, Elphick, El-Abd, Painter; Bennett, Dicker, Crofts, Navarro (Virgo 89), LuaLua (Holroyd 20 (Forster 83)); Murray

(Subs) Walker, Forster, McNulty, Carole, Hoyte, Hart, Holroyd

Attendance: 5579 (371 Brentford)

League One table

Wednesday, 17 March 2010 00:00 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full League One table
1 Norwich 36 39 78
2 Leeds United 36 32 71
3 Charlton 36 19 66
4 Swindon 36 12 66
5 Millwall 36 21 65
6 Colchester 35 16 63
7 Huddersfield 36 16 58
8 MK Dons 36 2 56
9 Bristol Rovers 35 -3 52
10 Southampton 35 25 47
11 Carlisle 37 -3 47
12 Yeovil 37 -3 44
13 Walsall 35 -4 44
14 Leyton Orient 36 -7 41
15 Brighton 36 -9 41
16 Brentford 33 -3 40
17 Oldham 35 -11 40
18 Hartlepool 35 -11 38
19 Gillingham 36 -11 38
20 Tranmere 35 -25 37
21 Exeter 35 -15 33
22 Southend 35 -16 33
23 Wycombe 36 -25 30
24 Stockport 36 -36 24

Albion 0 – 1 Swindon

March 13, 2010

How much fun do you want on a Saturday afternoon?

We had to lose sometime, four games without a defeat and people get silly ideas about us being the finished article, we’re far from it. What is needed is the killer touch, the fancy football is fine until you cease rattling the other lot’s onion bag.

Swindon came to Withdean with a game plan, they’d lost their last two games and showed us a lot of respect by being defensive and waiting for a lucky break – it worked perfectly. The Albion started well and took it to them. But I had a niggling doubt all game “We’re not going to score”. Even when we came close, it just didn’t feel like we were going to do it. Swindon had more of the play second half and when their chance came, they took it, clinically. That was the difference.

It was a disappointing day for Adam El-Abd, Elliott Bennett and Alan Navarro. These three especially were off colour. The rest were so-so, and Kazenga LuaLua was the one bright light – man of the match for me. Gus Poyet needs to tinker with it all again. The 4-5-1 is good when it works, but it didn’t today and Glenn Murray was left stranded far too many times on his own. Chris Holroyd is always brought on before Nicky Forster – why? Give Fozzy a chance to redeem himself, I’m sure he will.

It wasn’t a bad match, but it wasn’t as entertaining as the crowd today. Withers has found its voice again (warmer weather = more bums on seats/singers?), and the inflatable football and balloons were good fun, although the rest of the South Stand need to roll their sleeves up and get into it.

We left for home not over-gloomy, but a bit nervous again about the future and keen to know how the other League One strugglers got on. We slipped a place to 18th, but, and this is more worrying, we have the worst home record in the division – 11 defeats now – that is fucking shite, to put it bluntly. The 2009/10 season will (hopefully) be remembered as the season that our away form kept us in the third tier of English football, “It’s a funny old game Saint”

The Hovian’s Albion Team Performance : 5 out of 10

The Hovian’s Albion Man of the Match : Kazenga LuaLua

Albion Team (goalscorers in bold):

(4-5-1) Brezovan; Calderon, Elphick, El-Abd, Painter (Forster 75); Bennett, Dicker, Crofts, Navarro (Holroyd 71), LuaLua; Murray

(Subs) , Forster, McNulty, Carole, Hoyte, Hart, Holroyd

Attendance: 6946 (434 Swindon)

Too late Gus

League One table

Saturday, 13 March 2010 17:22 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full League One table
1 Norwich 36 39 78
2 Leeds United 36 32 71
3 Charlton 36 19 66
4 Millwall 36 21 65
5 Colchester 35 16 63
6 Swindon 35 11 63
7 Huddersfield 36 16 58
8 MK Dons 36 2 56
9 Bristol Rovers 35 -3 52
10 Southampton 34 26 47
11 Yeovil 36 -2 44
12 Carlisle 36 -4 44
13 Walsall 35 -4 44
14 Leyton Orient 36 -7 41
15 Brentford 32 0 40
16 Hartlepool 35 -11 38
17 Gillingham 36 -11 38
18 Brighton 35 -12 38
19 Oldham 34 -12 37
20 Tranmere 35 -25 37
21 Exeter 35 -15 33
22 Southend 35 -16 33
23 Wycombe 36 -25 30
24 Stockport 35 -35 24

Colchester 0 – 0 Albion

March 9, 2010
"HOOF!"

"HOOF!"

Colchester. Grim garrison town stuck on the arsehole end of Essex, which itself is at the grim arsehole end of London. The army even send their prisoners there for fuck’s sake. Never a place that would exite most footballing minds, and last night was no different.

When the train pulled in (over more like) I was off for a swift couple of shants before having to catch the shuttle bus (sexy stuff) to the excruciatingly badly named Weston Homes Community Stadium. I spread four pints over the Norfolk, the nearest pub to the station, where the 20 stone off duty barmaid was complaining about “Fucking Irish pikeys” to a couple of old soaks. Then I headed to the next roundabout and the inevitable Beefeater which was called the Albert, or Dilbert or something, and was empty.

At 6:30pm I joined all the Colchester shirters on a shuttle bus, they looked like they were off to work on a particularly wet Monday morning, the miserable bastards. When I eventually got into the Brighton end for a rubber burger I was seriously contemplating ending it all, such was the loss of the will to live shuffling about a breeze block maze under the equally bland stand in sub zero temperatures. Shurely the football match would lift my spirits and stop me thinking about the train journey home that night?

Yes, and no. It’s obvious that Gus Poyet is building a footballing team – i.e. his team try to play it on the deck from the back to the front – and if it doesn’t always come off it still makes for a better spectacle. He’s got our midfield playing their socks off and people like Alan Navarro coming out of their shell and looking like the skillful, thoughtful players they always were. Colchester United by contrast  haven’t got a midfield, apart from a spoiling and fouling one that is. Their game plan is to hoof the ball from the two giant knuckle-draggers at the back to the two identical big beasts up front. Their short-arses in the middle of the park are there to pick the scraps up and kick people. It was like watching Wimbledon’s Crazy Gang without the undoubted skill and accompanying humour. It was also fucking tedious.

If that’s how the “U’s” (translate as “Hoofs”) are headed for the play-offs or better, then League One football is in a worse way than I expected. Our players tried their best, we were far better, but we couldn’t get around the kicking, the interplanetary clearances and the mortar fire into our box (no doubt they are influenced by the army garrison being there, but when our keeper is 6’4″ with sticky fingers it’s a waste of energy). Our small accompanyment of travelling Albion barmies were good value (in a stadium with only 3,900 souls in it – it was on Sky after all). The Muppets’ “manah manah” song, substituted with “LuaLua” kept us all amused and Colchester’s stewards bemused. But soon all you could hear from our end was “HOOF!”, as each Colchester player in turn did just that. Even renditions of “Good Old Sussex By The Sea” and “We Are Brighton” just ended up as “HOOOOOOOOOOOF!”. The one guy screaming “Fucking MULLET!” every time Colchester’s sub (who sported a fine example of the haircut of the gods) hoofed the ball had me laughing out loud. Good effort all round from the barmies.

Our best players? Murray for being a pest, winning good free kicks against their back four gorillas (stop diving though Glenn, looks shite and you’ll get red carded soon). Midfield as a unit ran them ragged when the odd mortar dropped short around the centre circle. Tommy Elphick was magnificent in defence, and nearly won my Man of the Match. But, and he’s been threatening to win it for the last few games, last night our brightest player was – Inigo Calderon, and he wins the dubious honour from this blog.

I got the bus back to town just before 10pm, and there was a bit of argy bargy with a couple of Colchester scarfers who would have been better off throwing themselves under the bus than picking on a little old Albion fan boozed up and trying to banter with them. They didn’t offer him out until he was halfway down the now parked bus, but they have something to tell the rest of the girls at school today. Bless.

The choo-choo didn’t get into Brighton until 1:30am, and some drunken Japanese nutter was singing opera behind me the whole way from East Croydon. I was too tired to contemplate the weird day I’d just experienced, and was fast asleep by 2am. Don’t make me go back there next season, hoof your way out of this league please Colchester, you’re crap.

The Hovian’s Albion Team Performance : 7 out of 10

The Hovian’s Albion Man of the Match : Inigo Calderon

Albion Team (goalscorers in bold):

(4-5-1) Brezovan; Calderon, Elphick, El-Abd, Painter; Bennett, Dicker, Crofts, Navarro, LuaLua (Holroyd); Murray

(Subs) , Forster, McNulty, Carole, Hoyte, Hart, Holroyd

Attendance: 3914

League One table

Tuesday, 9 March 2010 00:00 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full League One table
1 Norwich 35 37 75
2 Leeds United 34 30 68
3 Charlton 35 23 66
4 Colchester 34 17 63
5 Swindon 33 11 60
6 Millwall 34 15 59
7 Huddersfield 35 18 58
8 MK Dons 34 1 52
9 Bristol Rovers 34 -3 51
10 Southampton 33 25 44
11 Walsall 34 -2 44
12 Carlisle 34 -3 41
13 Yeovil 35 -6 41
14 Brentford 31 0 39
15 Hartlepool 34 -7 38
16 Leyton Orient 34 -7 38
17 Brighton 34 -11 38
18 Gillingham 35 -11 37
19 Tranmere 33 -22 36
20 Oldham 32 -14 33
21 Exeter 34 -15 32
22 Southend 34 -16 32
23 Wycombe 35 -25 29
24 Stockport 34 -35 23

Pier Sunday

March 7, 2010

‘Twas a bright, cold, early Spring morn, so we headed down the Pier for a go on the penny falls and to eat fish ‘n’ chips washed down with a swift pint. It’s nice to promenade in a smart outfit – Fjallraven jacket & shirt, Edwin selvage jeans, and a new pair of dark brown suede Clarks Dessie Treks.

Soon (I hope) it will be the right weather to crack out the Lacoste polos and maybe even shorts and trainers. It’s been a long winter folks, and even though the long, sultry summer can leave you feeling a bit lost with no footy to enjoy (is that the right word?), you just can’t beat Brighton & Hove in summertime.