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Season In Review 2011/12

8 May

So this is my season in review 2011/12.

I sat here writing this still supporting a Conference North side, although it was a little nail-biting towards the end. It was a position that Colwyn Bay shouldn’t have been in after being on 42 points at the end of January. Nevertheless, a late season wobble, coupled with an incredible set of results saw us dragged into a relegation battle. After a late season rally, we survived on merit. It was a victory made all the sweeter as the team was largely the team that achieved promotion to the Conference North, with a couple of additions. Any spare budget was spent getting the ground upgraded to Conference North standards. By jove we did that too!

So we go into season 2012/13 with confidence. On paper it appears to be a tougher league with a lot of tough teams (Halifax I believe will be the team to beat. Chester, Guiseley & the losing playoff finalist will challenge as well), but hopefully we can put together a decent, mid table Conference North side. For that I will be happy!

And now, onto my end of season awards!

Best Away Day for 2011/12 - Bishop's Stortford

Favourite Away Day

Three days out stuck for me. The first was Gloucester City. A huge ground (they play at Cheltenham), in a nice part of the world and with a great set of fans that I follow on Twitter was great. Altrincham was fun as well as it was a non-league powerhouse, in the easiest ground for me to get to in the league, and meeting some great Altrincham fans (including Jack, who we took under our wings for the game).

However, in terms of the day, my favourite trip was Bishop’s Stortford. Mainly for the pre/post game. Having to get a train at 9am was completely alien to a fan who’d consider Clitheroe a huge away day previously was a novelty. Also spending the day with a good friend of mine was fun. The newness of the Conference North, and ending up drinking in Leicester Square, going to a Casino, and failing miserably to chat up a Polish girl with fantastic breasts. It felt remarkably big time. We are Colwyn Bay, and we are Conference North.

Favourite Match - Altrincham

Favourite Away Match

Seeing Witton Albion produce an amazing display to beat Spennymoor United in the FA Cup was definitely a highlight. They have a fantastic setup, and should be well set for Evostik Premier League. The game away at Stalybridge Celtic was a great performance, though helped with an early sending off, though the Nuneaton Town performance was a crucial point as well. Although it was a losing effort, the 3-2 defeat to Hyde was a cracking match.

In terms of performance and entertainment though, the match against Altrincham was my match of the season. A match that saw us stop a slump, Frank Sinclair’s last minute winner, and 7 fricking goals. Not a day for defences, but a great win against a non-league big boy.

Most Emotional Away Day

A special award, but the trip to Bramall Lane was an emotional day. The first home game for Sheffield United since the death of their former player & manager Gary Speed. Just wished I visit in happier times.

Worst Away Day

Boston United. Though probably wasn’t as bad as what I originally wrote, Boston United was not exactly the most friendliest away day I’d been on. Should’ve got 3 points there, beyond a fantastic goal.

Worst Away Match

A couple of games you’d notice I’ve been on but not talked about. Nuneaton was a nice day and a great performance (I just got a wee bit drunk and forgot to take any photos. Whoops!), but another game was Workington. Nearly in tears on the way home after a wet, dismal day and a drab performance. Plus Adele was on the radio as well.

What Of This Blog?

And yes, what of this blog!

Well towards the end of the season I did struggle keeping it updated. As such I am looking for a few people to help with the load and guest post (click here if you want to guest post). There are a few new grounds for me to visit. As things stand, next season I am due to visit:-

  • Chester (though I have been to The Deva Stadium before, when they were Chester City)
  • Corby Town
  • Hinckley/Darlington (I think Hinckley will probably be repreived)
  • Brackley
  • Droylsden
  • Kettering Town

There will possibly be one more as well, depending on the playoffs. Coupled that with FA Cup & FA Trophy and possible away days, then we could have around 8/9 posts on this here blog.

Over a season, that’s not many!

So – assuming I don’t get any more guest bloggers, this blog will be quieter next season than last. Also I will also be going away less next year (it became very expensive towards the end!) – but should be going to the majority of away games for Colwyn Bay, as well as a few other grounds if I’m bored.

There’s one game that is definite, the Olympic Football that I will be covering. I’ve an idea on how to keep the blog ticking over in the summer. I need to write it though (I’m locking myself in a pub to write it!). Thanks to all the wonderful fans and people I have met in the last 9 months. It’s been a journey.

In Newbs We Trust.

Come on the Bay!

Rhys Wynne

The Trafford Centre, Manchester

1 Apr

Cash Spent – £160.23

Items Bought – 3

31st March 2012

One thing you will notice about me on twitter is that I have a bot. Don’t complain, but every so often it digs up an old post from the archives, and posts it to the twitter feed. It works quite well and gives me a little more traffic. Anyway, I tried version two of the plugin, which allowed me to tweet about a football match (in my case, Gainsborough Trinity vs Colwyn Bay) effectively without actually being there. You see, one of my friends (April) asked me if I’d accompany her to the Trafford Centre, Manchester’s premier shopping outlet. Walking around a shopping centre with my fashion concious bretheren, how could I possibly refuse?

I woke up at 6am, excitingly waiting for the 2:10pm tram from Old Trafford to Stretford, I was so looking forward to my visit to the Trafford Centre with April. The 8 hours before setting off dragged, as watching Saturday Kitchen and then Football Focus just seemed to slow down the march of time. Eventually, after a light lunch of Ryvita & Cream Cheese, we headed off to the Trafford Centre.

The centre kindly puts on a bus between Stretford Metrolink & The Trafford Centre, so we hopped on the bus and entred the centre through Selfridges. What a heavenly place, with everybody looking around for clothes and shoes to purchase. Apologies to the Llanelian Road main stand on a Satruday afternoon in May, but I’ve found my new heaven.

We browsed around the shops mutliple times and didn’t get bored, it was fantastic! We headed around Hollister, which despite reports to the contrary, was not full of bellends, Topshop (Twice), Burtons (Three Times), All Saints (Five times) and H&M – before spending a good hour looking around the Lacoste Shop, which is easily my favourite. The walk was aided by ample cash machines from where I could draw out my money, and plenty of places to get light refreshments.

I needed something more substansial, so headed to the Great Hall for some food. After picking up my favourite food (who could turn down a McDonalds?), we sat down to discuss the day over a gorgeous burger and chips. What made it better was that with a promotion I also won a free apple pie! What are the chances?

With a celebration in the air we decided to not go home just yet, so we headed to the amusement arcade for a game of Dancing Stage Euromix. With classic tracks such as Mambo No 5 and Boyzone’s “So Good”, it ate a fair few of our collective pound coins. We had just enough left to go to the Odeon Cinema, buy some popcorn, and enjoy a romantic comedy – my favourite type of film! It was laugh out loud funny yet so sad, and in the end I wasn’t sure my tears were of joy or laughter. Fantastic!

Tired, we left the Trafford Centre, and I was left to reflect on the day. I am so glad I didn’t go to Gainsborough Trinity vs Colwyn Bay, as non- league football has nothing on the Trafford Centre. Those who say it’s a soulless attempt at rampant commercialism are sadly mistaken. Go as soon as you can!

Non League Day 2011 – 3rd September 2011

1 Sep

Wanted to break from the regular scheduled programme to tell you about Non League Day. The second annual Non League Day takes place tomorrow, with games all over the country. For those of you who are familiar with Non League Day, it’s an event where you go and watch a game – any game, from the Football Conference down. The reason being that this weekend there is no football taking place in the top two flights in English football. As such, Non League Day is encouraging people to go and watch non league football in their community.

Okay the football quality isn’t the best, but the game isn’t about that, it’s about watching football up close, meeting friends and supporting the community. A lot of clubs at non league level support the local community, so if you can help them, that is fantastic. It’s hard to put into words why I love non-league football, but you get a level of football with passion not seen higher up the leagues.

Unfortunately, I can’t be there on Saturday at my chosen game (Droylesden vs Colwyn Bay), but you can be. There are games all over the country (see the map), and if you go, I’d love for you to tell us about it & write about the game for us.

The MCG – Hawthorn Hawks

2 Aug

Hawthorn Hawks – 99

St Kilda Saints – 69

Australian Football League – 15th May 2011

Rhys’ Note: This entry will be a little different as I must admit – I know very little about Aussie Rules Football. As such, I don’t really know what’s going on, so my usual witty captions will be missing. “Hurrah!”, I hear you shout. Anyway – this blog is by John Wilson of You read about their experience at Thai Football, this is their experience at Australian Rules Football, in one of the most famous stadiums in the world, the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne, Australia.

Want to guest post on this blog? Click here to find out how you can write for us.

After a quick introduction into the rules of AFL, or Aussie Rules as I’ve always known it, when we first arrived in Perth, we both quickly got hooked on the sport and had to wait a further 6 weeks before we’d get to see a game in person.

The rules are pretty easy to understand while the concept is as simple as you’d expect from any competitive sport; out score your opponents. Either by scoring 6 points for a goal (kicking the ball between the centre posts) or a single point for a behind (the ball between the outer goals).

A scoring structure like this often leads to big swings in the game and plenty of high scoring and our first (and unfortunately only) game was no exception.  Watching the action from close to the pitch side at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), we saw one team straight from the off go on to take the first quarter with a 30 point advantage.

Unfortunately, it was St. Kilda that took the lead. Some sloppy ball handling and very few attacks on goal saw our adopted team for the day, the Hawthorne Hawks, fall far behind. If things weren’t to improve in the second quarter then it would have been very embarrassing for a team who on paper, should win this game every time and we’d probably not get invited back by our Hawthorne supporting friends in case we brought bad luck with us.

However, with the start of the second quarter and probably some monumental hair dryer treatment for the Hawks players by the coaching staff, we saw a very quick resurgence with the Hawks scoring some very quick goals to bring them back into the game and better still, taking the lead from St. Kilda.

This new found dominance continued into the remaining 2 quarters with the Hawks running away with the game, finishing up on 99 compared to St. Kilda’s 69.

More like Gaelic football than proper football, and not so much like rugby as we first expected, AFL has a very quick tempo to it and some incredibly athletic players. The speed at which they play and some of the crunching blocks they put in, it’s clear to see why it’s such a popular sport. Each quarter should last 20 minutes but because of the clock stopping on TV between goals & other dead ball situations but not in the ground, each quarter lasted a good half hour.

Entry was pretty reasonable, AUS $30 (roughly £20) gets you a ticket and you can choose your own seat. The first quarter we watched from the gods to get a grasp of the size of the place & the size of the playing surface. The remaining quarters we chose seats half a dozen rows back from the pitch, just off half way.

For cricket fans, the MCG probably won’t need much of an introduction. As a cricket ground, this is one of the places where the Ashes are played. An extremely modern ground with around 95,000 capacity, great facilities and plenty of history. And that’s about as much as I know.

As with everything Australian, it’s very relaxed, family oriented & alcohol is very much permitted (not that we could afford it mind, over £6 a pint???). At half time, there’s some kind of mini-AFL competition played by kids, which is quite funny to watch while munching on a real Australian Angus beef pie. Mmmmm, this northern boy loves a half time pie.

All in all, a very enjoyable game & a very watchable sport. The only negative compared to watching football was the lack of atmosphere. Perhaps it was this game, which was far from a sell out with only forty thousand people or so, but there didn’t seem much banter or rivalry from the fans which you expect from a football match.

It’s a hard one to decide who had the loudest fans as, much like rugby, both sets of fans are intermingled with a small cheer squad behind each goal for one of the teams. These cheer squads only really becoming vocal when their team scores. It was humorous though to hear the odd proper Aussie shout random abuse at his own team, never the opponents and his equally deep Aussie sounding child copying a few minutes later.

After watching the game, I think I decided quite quickly that this would be my new second sport (behind proper football) and if it’s on Sky when we get home, then I’ll watch it for sure, although my team would have to be Freemantle Dockers from Perth rather than Hawthorne, sorry guys.

You’re Supposed To Be At Home American Adventure – Preview!

18 Jun

As I write this, I’m on a bus bound for Pearson Airport in Toronto, in what has been an amazing two weeks of sport and adventure in the United States of America and Toronto, Canada.

In that time, I’ve traveled over 10,000 miles (and set to do another 6000 before getting home), and have seen 4 sporting fixtures, and a couple more unofficial sporting fixtures, including baseball in Central Park between CBS News & The New York Times in the journalism league, and Tennis in Times Square, put on to promote the US Open.

Tennis in Times Square - The closest Tennis will ever get to cool.

Over the next two weeks, I’ll be regailing you with stories from my traveling and the sports I’ve seen and quirky stories. Including (but not limited to):-

  • The greatest salesman in baseball today.
  • Teaching native Chicago residents Welsh.
  • Ending up in the middle of nowhere (commonly called Richmond, Virginia)……
  • …..and drinking in a Liverpool pub with an FC United of Manchester owner.
  • Appearing on TV infront of a worldwide audience.
  • Having 6 seconds of fame on one of the world’s most popular youtube channels.
  • Drinking with family members of a Shrewsbury Town legend.
  • Seeing Davor Suker.
  • Discussing fantasy football tactics at Ground Zero.
  • And sharing my hatred in my least favourite sporting arena in the world.
  • And so much more!

Sounds exciting? You bet it is! Which is why I’m still writing the bits and bobs to finish. How do you keep in touch with all this? Well you can either like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, subscribe to my RSS feed or subscribe to my newsletter! I’ve started a free email newsletter so you can get all the posts direct to your inbox when they go live. It’ll start by the next post. If you’re interested in subscribing, please do! To subscribe, fill in the details in the “Keep Upto Date” box on the sidebar.

In the meantime, enjoy the weekend, and I’ll speak to you early next week!