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Posts from the ‘Stockport County’ Category

Stockport slide away

Stockport slide away from promotion as Wembley beckons……..

Article courtesy of a fellow “County” Supporter,  from its impressive in-house newspaper, The Sedulo Times.

“After a heart-breaking end to the National North league season last year that saw the club miss out on the play offs by a late equaliser in the final game, expectations were high of a promotion push in the current campaign for Stockport County.

After star man Danny Lloyd earnt his big move into league football with Peterborough, early season optimisim quickly faded as the club found it difficult to replace his goal return. A poor start to the season saw the club off the play off pace, but as the clocks went back, the team only looked forward.

A run of 1 defeat in 13 in all competitions saw the club rise to the edge of the play off places, and barring a couple of late equalisers conceded over Christmas would have seen them sat in sixth. Jason Oswell is the new fans favourite with the 20 goal barrier broken before Christmas. Away form has been poor though in an increasingly tough league and back to back away defeats in January is making securing a play-off berth a tough ask, meaning a sixth season of regional football beckons – a far cry from the eighth place finish in the Championship just two decades ago. A league that has seen big spending clubs such as Harrogate and the Class of 92’s Salford go full-time suggests the Hatters must follow suit next season to boost their chances of delivering the promotion their large fan base crave. The dream of a return to Wembley – a second home in the 90’ – is still on for County, however, following a thrilling win against Conference National side Maidenhead. 

A battling draw away from home set up a replay back at Edgeley Park. And with Stockport two down with just 10 minutes left on the clock, a late comeback forced extra time with the momentum propelling County into scoring early to go 3-2 up and into the lead for the first time in the tie. A red card made for a nervous last 20 minutes, but the Hatters hung on to set up a home quarter final with fellow National North side Brackley at the end of February.”


Pub Team – not Stoke!

Shaw Lane Association gives the usual excitement, as a so called minnow enters the first round of the FA Cup proper. A former pub team, part financed by a local plumbing business, are currently third in the Evo-Stik Premier Division, and defeated Conference side Barrow in the last Round. The result, a home tie is granted, against Mansfield Town – a fixture relatively local that they will be delighted by.

Read more at:

Just caught my attention with the usual quip from our former striker, about Stoke City FC being likened to a pub team.

Only gone and won it!

After entering the raffle, a mere £100 ticket has resulted in my giant-banner being placed in the Railway End for the remainder of this Season.

Great publicity, free entry on an online directory of companies which support Stockport County and hospitality for me and Son, Kaya, versus FC United of Manchester at EP.

Great initiative County with the “Back of the Net” draw. Chuffed to have won. #priceless #ComeOnCounty




Marseille: Ultrasound #englandfans

Ultrasound: (Ed.defn. is a diagnostic imaging technique used to see internal body structures). In the same way, I provide my own insight and commentary on this Weekend’s trip to Marseille to watch and support the England National Team in the European Championship – Euro 2016.

I was inundated by goodwill messages seeking confirmation of my safety, and that of my ten-year old Son, after the final whistle of the England versus Russia fixture.  It did make me think, I wonder what the media is broadcasting back in ‘Blighty’ and to what extent was it accurate and consistent with our experiences.  I wrote for reassurance and clarity on my Facebook page:

Home safe and sound my Friends – thanks for all goodwill messages. Of course, I’d protect my Son at all costs. Not seen a single incident involving England fans myself. Sure there will have been some. But any incident we witnessed was caused by Russian supporters. Not trying to dismiss moronic behaviour of mindless few, but expect as usual it’s the World’s media that like to sensationalise and blame the English always as ‘agent provocateurs’. At least based on yesterday in Marseille the police’s official statement was more balanced IMHO.”

This statement from National Police Chiefs’ Lead for Football Policing, Assistant Chief Constable, Mark Roberts said:

“England supporters had been in Marseille yesterday without issue. At around midnight, there was a short confrontation where a group of approximately 70 local youths approached a pub where England fans had congregated. This was quickly dealt with by French police and one English supporter was arrested. We are aware of no further incidents overnight.”

The trip will be remembered as one of the most enjoyable breaks in my life.  An emotional, fun and quality time in the most part for Father and Son in their first international football adventure.  This Video highlights just a few snippets of our ‘holiday fun’.

All day long, on match day, we had ‘a ball’ (excuse the pun!).  Infact, the whole trip was in the same vein.  Fans from clubs throughout England chatted and entertained one another in a convivial fashion.  I could recall numerous, but as a minimum we spoke to fans from Burnley, Tottenham, Oldham, QPR, Leeds, WBA, Everton etc.  All fans from England played their part in creating a fantastic atmosphere and spirit.  Of course, there was booze and ‘boisterous’ behaviour (as the radio pundits call it) but remove the singing and socialising and the roots of this great Game are erased.

Such a tone was common to the inter-action also.  All day we shook the hands of Russians looking forward to the evening’s game. Plenty of smiles and banter and England’s nominated fan even beat the Russian counterpart in a game of mini ‘ping pong’ in Marseille Harbour. An early handshake with one ‘rival’, when meeting again at the gates to Stade Vélodrome, resulted in a giant, man-hug so common is that friendship and bond of football.

We attended the Fan Park which was good to pass the time and keep the Lad entertained.  All sponsors showed good preparation to creating brand exposure, whilst soliciting personal contact details to add to the CRM no doubt, and future direct marketing campaigns.  No small budgets will have been incurred for such extravagance.  Turkish Airlines, Hisense and FDJ (La Ola) hit the target, Hyundai let down by incompetence by its ‘team’ manning the stand.

In preparation for Euro2016, our Police, confiscated the passports of nearly 1,400 people as part of the ‘Passport Surrender’ operation. That is equivalent to 97 per cent of the individuals currently subject to a banning order who hold a passport in the UK. Would the presence of these ‘hardcore’ of alleged hooligans have inflamed the situation? Possibly.  Would they have shifted more ‘blame’ to the English fans. Unlikely.  Of course, there’s a minority, that will always let down the true supporters and instigate criminal actions, but make no mistake from our experience the confrontation and protagonists were clearly, the Russians and French.

French Ultras took a focus on attacking English fans.  But the Russians took hooliganism to a different level.  I suspect the latter’s antics would be the foundation of a saleable commercial computer game – and movie that would make Green Street and Football Factory look like a children’s programme.

Supposedly these fans that started disruption in the Stadium, after the release of flares and bangers, were well drilled, of ‘one vision’, combative, ‘tooled up’ and conducting activities with military precision.  They have taken football hooliganism to a level never before witnessed in my opinion.  Thank goodness rather than the traditional, scapegoating towards England supporters – enquiries after investigation appear to remove the instant reflex and blame and appreciate the biggest finger should point East.

150 Russian football hooligans were behind the violence, French prosecutors have said. Brice Robin, Chief Prosecutor in Marseille, says: “most of the 35 people injured in the four days of fighting were English, four of whom are in serious condition.” Furthermore, he commented: “These people were well prepared for ultra-rapid, ultra-violent action. These are extremely well trained people.”

On a separate note, hindsight is a wonderful thing, but the security at the Stadium was inadequate.  We could have taken terrorist materials and weapons into that Ground without difficulty as precautions and staff were found lacking.  Whilst, incredibly concerning, it gives added credence to the work that we are commencing at ACROBAT | FCSM with Safety Awareness which are gurus in sport venue security having planned and implemented successful campaigns at: Olympics, World Cups and Commonwealth Games.

Robin, continues: “Our spotters in Marseille saw them putting in gum shields and putting on martial arts gloves and bandanas before attacking England fans in the Port. We know some were carrying knives because one England fan was stabbed. They wore a kind of uniform – all in black t-shirts and clothing and most carried bum bags, possibly to conceal weapons.”

Football hooliganism is a different ‘Game’ now.  It has gone up a Level.  I wouldn’t be surprised if an English ‘Hooligan Hit Squad’ forms and seeks to climb that League table of Ultras show of strength.

But the final comment must again be taken from my social media.  I posted: “Now this is what really happened in Marseille #‎Euro2016‬ Quality Dad and Lad time #‎priceless.”

It remains and always will be in my work and play – the beautiful game.  Fan engagement will continue its momentum.  But the landscape for confrontation may have changed for good, hence my titling this post, ‘Ultrasound’.