The biggest season ever for me – with a mental amount of sport. 43 football matches, 3 rugby league clashes and 1 Olympic Games. Travelling and entry costs aren’t really worth analysing considering the stories and events I’ve seen along the way. For the blog, I did (and technically still am) get a bit behind due to work, exams and other commitments but I am still keen to write my ramblings up for next season as I try and compete against moving house and finishing my exams. (Hopefully!!) This season saw TTF go abroad for the first time (in terms of blogging a foreign trip) and I hope for more of the same. Before I write my inane chat about 2013/14 – its time for the annual TTF stats and awards.
Goals: 147 (3.42 per game)
Most Goals: 10 (Dulwich Hamlet vs RFC Temploux-Suarlée)
Least Goals: 0 (Crystal Palace vs Stoke City, Pumpherston Juniors vs Fauldhouse United)
New Grounds: 35 (Meadow Park – Boreham Wood, Vicarage Road – Watford, City Ground – Cambridge City, Wibbandune Sports Ground – Colliers Wood United, Reynolds Field – Hanwell Town, Krooner Park – Camberley Town, Hardenhuish Park – Chippenham Town, Honeycroft – Uxbridge, Woodside Park – Bishops Stortford, The Oval – Surrey CCC, St George’s Stadium – Wealdstone, Firhill Stadium – Partick Thistle, Adams Park – Wycombe Wanderers, The Meadow – Chesham United, Griffin Park – Brentford, Central Park – Cowdenbeath, Rugby Park – Kilmarnock, Harry Abrahams Stadium – Wingate & Finchley, Selhurst Park – Crystal Palace, Kenilworth Road – Luton Town, Pride Park – Derby County, The Racecourse – Ascot United, Hertingfordbury Park – Hertford Town, Peffermill Playing Fields – Edinburgh University, Underhill – Barnet, Stark’s Park – Raith Rovers, Culverden Stadium – Tunbridge Wells, Kassam Stadium – Oxford United, St George’s Lane – Worcester City, Loftus Road – QPR, Princes Park – Dartford, Ricoh Arena – Coventry City, Bedfont Sports Club – Bedfont Sports, Recreation Park – Pumpherston Juniors, Maksimir Stadium – Dinamo Zagreb/Croatia)
Best and Worst
Best Game: Hanwell Town 3-2 Hertford Town – Sometimes you turn up for standard league games and don’t expect anything. Especially from this early season clash. However, maybe the players caught the sun as we saw a remarkable turnaround for Hanwell as Hertford lost the plot and had two sent off.
Worst Game: Crystal Palace 0-0 Stoke City – Who said nobody takes the FA Cup seriously? Not even 30 seconds worth of highlights were shown from this game in the evening. Enough said.
Best Team: Dulwich Hamlet – Relative to the level the play at, the Hamlet smashed 10 past some Belgians before going onto win their league. I wasn’t surprised.
Worst Team: RFC Temploux-Suarlée – Said Belgians. You know you are probably watching a team who aren’t that good when they cheer their first shot on target. They tried though, which is more than what some teams would have done.
Best Player: Watford’s Matěj Vydra was far better than the rest of his team, even early on when I saw him.
Best Ground (Professional): Although a revisit, going to Craven Cottage is always a delight. Especially so this time being in the stand on the river. Excellent way to spend an evening.
Best Ground (Non-League): They really don’t make them like Worcester’s St George’s Lane anymore. Such a shame this has now gone, what a brilliant place to watch and play.
Worst Ground: Not sure why but I just didn’t like Selhurst Park, maybe it was the shit view from the seat I had. Certainly not a dreadful ground, but I did see some crackers this season.
Most Picturesque Ground: Now that most of my games take place in and around London rather than Devon, this award was quite tough to give. However, Edinburgh University’s Peffermill Playing Fields contrasting the city life with the beauty of Arthur’s Seat wasn’t beaten.
Biggest Dump: Coventry. Enough said.
Best Programme: Crystal Palace’s programme was more like a book and showed that Football League clubs can occasionally produce some good quality productions.
Worst Programme: I don’t mind effort, and I’m never going to overly criticise a non league club for a ‘poor’ programme. I don’t like however some clubs taking the mick and overcharging for nothing. Step forward Partick Thistle. £2 for not a lot is disappointing.
Best Bar: Hanwell Town, purely for their kindergarten/bar combination. Why this hasn’t been explored elsewhere, I am unsure.
Best Food: Raith Rovers and their magical Macaroni Pie. Visit Scotland just for this, I urge you.
Funniest Moment: Shaun Maloney’s free kick at QPR to essentially send them and their mercenaries down was hilarious.
Best Punch Up: Cambridge City vs St Neots Town. Not strictly a dirty game, but one that has 3 red cards in it will win an award. Special mention to the 2nd half at Hanwell Town vs Hertford Town which became an Ealing version of It’s A Knockout.
Hardest Place to Find: Didn’t actually get lost this season, however I was glad I got a lift to Uxbridge FC. Wouldn’t fancy trying to do that with public transport. Or probably couldn’t be bothered.
Friendliest Club: Tunbridge Wells at the FA Vase Semi-Final dealt with the big crowd well and were always a pleasure to deal with. Kudos to them.
Most Miserable Club: Boreham Wood weren’t exactly smiles when I went to see them last July. Newport (IOW) run them close though. (Yes I’m still bitter!)
Best Supporters: Wingate & Finchley’s hardy band of fans deserve a mention for getting some good songs going when I went to see them but were just beaten by Skelmersdale United who were brilliant.
Worst Supporters: Tunbridge Wells’ daytrippers should get this, but they aren’t representative of the actual club so hats off to Oxford United. Silence.
Best Song: Morecambe’s tune for Joe Mwasile (to the Grease Lightning theme) is utterly brilliant. Hope I see him have more game time next season just to sing this.
Coldest Ground: Cowdenbeath, in the rain. Surprised my fingers didn’t fall off!
Best Goal: Zackary Kotwica brilliant run and finish into the roof of the net during Cheltenham Town’s FA Youth Cup win at AFC Wimbledon was probably the best. Didn’t have any 30+ yard screamers this season sadly.
Most Attractive Female Employee(s): Too many guys served me this season. Whatever happened to the old fashion tea helper with the low cut top wanting to give you some burger? Bring that back.
Special Merit Award: Robert Snodgrass. Just for that goal in Croatia. What a hero.
Normally I write some chat here about Hearts and how well or poorly we’ve done this season. Yet, as I write this, we are currently in administration and will be starting 2013/14 on –15 points. That with a young team will equal relegation so its hard to really look back at this season with any type of positivity at all. I saw 3 Jambo games, including an unsuccessful cup final but with the future of the club looking quite bleak (especially in the short-term) its difficult to get excited about going to watch Hearts next season.
Compare that to another one of my clubs struggling for money, but one I actually seem to care about. Morecambe. Another good season as we were never likely to be in trouble and had results gone our way a bit more during the February-April spell, a playoff push could have been achieved too. Key players have left though so it could be another team struggling on the field, but I’ll be there and looking forward to it as trips to Portsmouth, Southend and Bristol Rovers have already been pencilled in. I did a lot this season, and away from football too! 43 games is unlikely to be matched next time out, but thank you again to everyone who reads this. I look forward to writing my inane ramblings down in the future.