Well, that went fast! The season that started out in the sunshine at the REAL St James Park ended in the sunshine on the pitch at Brunton Park. The next couple of blog posts will detail the season and plan out (roughly) where I hope to go for 09/10. Although its doubtful that my plan will stick over the course of the season and I am at the mercy of the beast known as the fixture list. I personally cannot wait to see what games are when so I can pick my fixtures but that is for another day.
Games Attended: 14
Goals: 37 (2.64 per game)
Most Goals: 8 (Lancaster C vs Salford C)
Least Goals: 0 (Southampton vs Barnsley)
New Grounds: 10 (St James Park – Exeter City, St Mary’s – Southampton, Hampden Park – Scotland, Fir Park – Motherwell, New Douglas Park – Hamilton Academicals, Giant Axe – Lancaster City, The Sports Ground – Bideford AFC, Ladysmead – Tiverton Town, City of Manchester Stadium – Manchester City, Brunton Park – Carlisle United)
Best and Worst
Best Game: Lancaster City 3-5 Salford City -- An 8 goal thriller, played on a mud pitch in the pouring rain with two teams who cannot defend so just attack and Salford’s Steve Foster scoring all 5 for Salford. Also, I only paid £5 to get in and see it.
Worst Game: Motherwell 1-0 Hearts -- Dire does not describe how bad this midweek fixture was. An early Chris Porter goal separated two awful sides on the night and then nothing for another 80 odd minutes. Some people paid £25 to watch that. Unlucky.
Best Team: A few candidates here, in relation to their level I though Chippenham Town were decent and had pace which would cause any teams problems. Exeter City will need home advantage next season to survive in League 1 and the two times I saw them here they looked decent at times (and were also very lucky)
Worst Team: Lancaster City looked laughable at times trying to defend while Barnstaple Town going forward looked dreadful. Maybe if they combined the two together…..
Best Ground: (Professional): Man City – The City of Manchester Stadium looks great, has a modern feel but still has character unlike other new build stadiums in the North, mentioning no Bolton’s, sorry teams.
Best Ground: (Non League): Tiverton Town – I love Ladysmead and hope to revisit there next season.
Worst Ground: Motherwell – A laughably bad ground with 4 stands that look nothing like each other or go together in a s**thole of a town.
Most Picturesque Setting: Tough one to answer but would probably go with Tiverton again.
Biggest Dump: Motherwell – I only drove through it to park for the match, it was dark and still looked terrible.
Best Programme: Bideford AFC – A great great effort which was full colour, good information and only £1.
Worst Programme: None – no programme was terrible this year and as a “paper chasing nerd” I only go to games that issue them anyway.
Best Food: Morecambe – the pies are class.
Funniest Moment: Salford City fans singing “can we play you every week” to Lancaster as they have previously beaten them in the FA Cup earlier in the season. (They had only won 1 league match at this point)
Best Punch Up: Tiverton vs Chippenham – for reasons beyond me, a Chippenham winger runs up to a Tiverton player after being awarded a free kick and elbows him in the face. Cheerio.
Hardest Place to Find: When driving to grounds I always seem to get lost (except going to Hamilton) so getting lost trying to find Hampden Park tops this list.
Friendliest club: Probably Tiverton again, friendly staff and fans.
Most Miserable club: Bideford AFC – quite easily the worst fans of the season. Moaning about anything and everything, despite a decent showing in the league this season. Hopefully won’t be going back to The Sports Ground in a hurry.
Best Song: “We only win away” – Salford City, “We’re from the capital! You’re from a s**tehole!” – Hearts sung at everyone bar Hibs in the SPL
Coldest Ground: Lancaster City was perishing when I went, in March.
Best Goal: Steve Foster’s 5th at Lancaster. Turned on the edge of the area and curled a great shot into the top corner.
My 07/08 season ended 80 minutes into Hearts vs Kilmarnock in the pouring rain. Killie had just gone 2-0 up at Tynecastle and I had serious concerns about relegation this season. Cue Csaba Laszlo who has been exceptional in his first season getting an average team at times into 3rd place in the SPL – the worries are out next season too however as we have already lost Robbie Neilson (to Leicester), Karipidis (to Omonia Nicosia) and Bruno Aguiar (to who knows) so hopefully replacements can be found that can propel the club to bigger and better things as currently, the top 2 in the SPL have pretty average squads at best and I would bet on Rangers exiting the Champions League bottom of whatever type of group they get. So it will be an extremely interesting summer to see who joins Ian Black in becoming a new Hearts player.
As for other clubs, this season was great for me, getting to 10 new grounds. Only 14 games due to time and money but will hopefully improve on that next year and with next year set to be my last at University, nearby clubs are top of the agenda to visit. (except Blackpool, they can get stuffed I am paying £28 to sit in a half finish stadium in Blackpool)
My next post will detail all the clubs I saw this season and how they got on in the end.