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Good Afternoon and welcome to Cheshunt stadium. We particularly extend a warm welcome to the players, officials and supporters of Corinthian Casuals who visit Theobalds Lane for the first time since the curtailed 2019/20 season when, on August Bank Holiday, after a first-half Tom Hitchcock penalty put the Ambers into the lead, Muhaned Maan equalised for the visitors in added time.
Before kick-off today we ask supporters to join us in a minutes applause in memory of our former Vice-Chairman, John Poole, who sadly passed away recently.
Please note Cheshunt FC operates a No Dogs policy. (except Assistance Dogs)
You are responsible for your own children on the site, unless they are participating in an organised event at the site with qualified staff.
Good afternoon everyone and welcome to Theobalds Lane.
It’s been almost a month since our last home match against Berkhamsted. We’re on an incredible run at the moment as we come into a stretch of home fixtures in December. Our attention can only be on the next game though and today will be an extremely tough match against good opposition.
Off the pitch we’re continuing to grow the club in all areas of the business. I attended the first Hertfordshire Infrastructure & Development Board (HIDB) last month, which aims to bring the public and private sector together in a collaborative spirit to consider key growth opportunities in the region. Cheshunt Sports Village is of course one such opportunity.
I have been to a number of public sector driven initiatives over the years, many of which I feel unfortunately pay lip service and achieve very little. I get a sense that the HIDB is different and I hope this is the case as we look to bring forward our Cheshunt Sports Village scheme. We’ve had initial engagement with Broxbourne Council on the scheme, and hope to maintain a positive dialogue moving forward.
On the topic of rebuilding you will have noticed that our marquee has taken a battering in the recent storms. Whilst it is not visually appealing at the moment, the structure is safe while we explore the economics of re-roofing or dismantling. Please bear with us.
One aspect of the club that I am most proud of is our people. Our people are what make us a great club, and I’m delighted that Max Forsey has joined our Kick Start Programme as Assistant Groundsman. Max is a fantastic young man who has volunteered at the cub for many years and we wish him every success. We’re supporting the Kick Start Programme to help young people develop transferable skills to increase their chances of sustained future employment. We will soon be advertising for a Digital Media Assistant on the programme too so please keep a look out if you know someone who qualifies for the programme and would be interested.
Thank you as always for your support and enjoy the match.
Cheshunt Fan Henry Patrick Irwin has been following the Chairman’s recent news on the proposed development at Theobalds Lane and took himself off to LegoLand to seek some inspiration on what the new stadium buildings should look like, We look forward to seeing his ideas !
Firstly I’d like to welcome James, his team and everyone who has travelled over from Corinthian Casuals for todays game.
I’d also like to welcome our match officials and hope they enjoy their stay.
It seems forever since my last notes with a succession of away games. Going to Leatherhead, Worthing, Wingate, Chelmsford and Margate and coming away undefeated was a great effort from the lads, with only Margate getting any points from us.
At Leatherhead we went behind early but came back strongly and although only 2-1 it was a pretty comfortable win.
We then travelled to Worthing for the ultimate test. Worthing were the best side we have met this season and you could see why they top the table. However I felt we more than deserved the win although we had to be at our very best to get it. Once again we came from a goal down but to come back to win there showed immense character and no little ability from the the boys. Two goals from new signing Rowan made it all the more enjoyable.
Next up was the always tricky game away at local rivals Wingate. There’s always a few boys that have played for both clubs which adds a bit of spice to the game. It was a case of after the Lord Mayor’s show as we were awful in the first half. We kept up the recent trend of going a goal down and were fortunate to grab a goal right on half time to undeservedly be level at the break. The 2nd half though was a different story and it was one way traffic. An unlikely hatrick from Adam saw us win well.
We the travelled to one of my old clubs Chelmsford City in the Trophy. We were cast as underdogs being from a lower division, but I didn’t see it that way at all and was very confident of winning. My biggest concern was the gale force wind but we prepared well for both, so much so that despite playing into a gale force wind George didn’t have a save to make in 45 mins. For a change we took the lead, but right on half time the ridiculous rule where our centre half gets fouled, whacked in the mouth, and because he had a trickle of blood on his mouth we get punished and he has to leave the pitch leaving us a man light at the back, lo and behold, they grabbed an undeserved equaliser right on the break. I thought this would be a real test of character for the boys being pulled back unfairly but as usual the response was strong. To be fair Chelmsford had the better of possession for the first 15 of the 2nd half but George was untroubled. We showed our intentions taking off two midfielders and bringing on two strikers on with 30 to go. It was rewarded with the winner minutes later. Some good chances were missed in the closing stages that would have given a truer reflection of the game.
Next up was the jolly boys outing to Margate. The amber army were incredible and in fine voice all day. It was nice that they were not only very appreciated by us but by Margate too who called them the best set of fans they had seen this season. As for the game we basically threw away two points with two poor backpasses. As usual we had to come from behind only this time twice. This time it took to the 89th minute and we still had time to miss a couple of chances to win it.
On to todays game. Casuals are having a fine run of form and will no doubt provide stiff opposition. We beat them over their place 1-0 in the Trophy in what politely could be called a dour game. Hopefully we can both put on a better show this time around and give you an entertaining game with a few goals with the majority going in their net.
Enjoy the Match !
New Striker Rowan Liburd has hit the ground running with 5 goals in his first four games,
Rowan spent four years at University in Georgia USA on a football scholarship, where he won several awards including the Sun Conference Player of the Year scoring 44 times in 73 appearances.
On his return to the UK he joined Billericay before being signed by Reading FC, He can list Wycombe Wanderers, Hereford, Leyton Orient, Dartford, Welling, & Stevenage as previous clubs, and has represented St Kitts & Nevis nine times scoring five times in the process. He’s rapidly becoming a favourite at Theobalds Lane too.
Our Local Non League is a You Tube channel hosted by David Square of HTFC-TV posting pre & post match interviews and match highlights from local teams including Cheshunt, Enfield Town, FC Romania, Ware & Hertford Town.
You can catch up on David’s chat last night with Craig, Ugo, & Curtis here (includes an impromptu appearance from a super model)
John Poole 1930-2021
All at Cheshunt Football Club were saddened to hear our former Vice-Chairman, John Poole, had recently passed away.
A talented player in his youth (he appeared for his local side Leyton), he moved to Waltham Cross after getting married where he relocated his packaging Company and concentrated his football efforts onto his young son, John junior.
On Tottenham’s books as a schoolboy, John junior was offered amateur forms rather than an apprenticeship when turning 16 and turned them down. Roy Bailey was quick to hear this and recommended Cheshunt Manager Les Picking quickly sign him.
Coming along to see his young son make his debut against Baldock in December 1969, John was soon brought onboard the Committee by his old friend, Vice-Chairman Albert Hemmings. Then, in the summer of 1972, long-time Chairman Frank Davis stepped down leaving Hemmings to become Chairman and John Poole to become Vice-Chairman. One of their first changes was the appointment of John Drabwell as Manager early in the 1972/73 season. The new Boss found himself faced with a first round tie in the Amateur Cup away to the then Non-league giants, Wycombe Wanderers. An early goal by John Poole junior put the Ambers into a shock lead and from then until the final whistle the Cheshunt goal was under siege but somehow the Athenian league minnows held out and gained national headlines with their stunning 1-0 win.
John loved to tell the story of the Wycombe Boardroom after the final whistle… a furious Wycombe Chairman stormed up to Poole and Hemmings shouting “do you know what you’ve done? This is the last year of the Amateur Cup and WE were supposed to win it. Your Club has ruined everything!” Faced with this appalling display of arrogance, they turned and left, telling the players to get straight onto the coach back to Cheshunt.
The 1970’s were some of the most successful seasons Cheshunt have ever enjoyed, lifting the East Anglian Cup, the London Charity Cup and winning the Athenian league and Cup double in 1976. John Poole was a key member of the Club Committee at that time and it is no coincidence that while he was Vice-Chairman, the silverware piled up!
After leaving the Committee in the 1980s, John would still attend Cheshunt games and touchingly, he was brought back to the ground only a few months ago where he reminisced about his time there.
Our thoughts are with the Poole family at this sad time.
Cheshunt, the Corinthians, the Casuals and the great split
By Jim Tuite
Whilst the history of today’s visitors, Corinthian Casuals, is well recorded and celebrated, football has almost entirely forgotten the original Cheshunt Club who existed for fifty years until their demise in 1931. Yet for a few seasons they stood shoulder to shoulder with the great Edwardian gentlemen clubs, the Corinthians and the Casuals, as they tried to make a stand against professionalism in football.
All three clubs were formed within a few years of each other – Cheshunt in 1881, Corinthian in 1882 and Casuals in 1883. Cheshunt played friendly games against local clubs and schools for most of their first twenty years before eventually entering competitive competitions and seeing success in the Herts Charity Cup at the turn of the century. At this time they also entered the FA Cup, beating Upton Park (once a mighty amateur side but much diminished by the 1900’s) in the 1904-05 season before going out to Clapton (now Leyton) Orient.They would draw Upton Park again three years later but that game would never be played, the reasons for which would also involve the Amateur giants, Corinthian and Casuals.
Corinthian Football Club defined the gentlemans Amateur sport of Association Football. Formed and played exclusively by upper-class gentlemen in their spare time, Corinthian were effectively an all-star side of England’s best amateur players, naming a large proportion of the early England side from amongst their numbers and able to beat any side in the land in the 1880’s.
The Casuals were made up from former pupils of Eton, Charterhouse and Westminster public schools and, like Corinthian, played in a series of friendlies against other gentleman amateur clubs to fill their fixture card. The Casuals never entered the FA Cup until the 1890’s as they considered playing for a trophy and medals a ‘reward’ and therefore against their amateur principles.
Yet their world was changing. The success of Blackburn Olympic and then Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup showed the tide was turning away from the southern based amateur gentleman game to that of the northern, working-class professional one.
A glance at the game of rugby union, again a sport played and organised by southern gentleman amateurs, in 1890 should have been a wake up call for their counterparts in football. The Rugby Union had zero tolerance for professionalism and so clubs in the north of England broke away to form their own organisation, the Rugby League, and for the next hundred years the amateur and professional games existed side by side in an uneasy but workable relationship.
The Football Association though had by that time already let the genie out of the bottle by allowing professionalism to exist in 1885, quickly taking shape in the formation of the football league in 1888. The displeasure of the southern Amateurs was appeased when the FA Amateur Cup was created in 1893 but that was largely in response to the by then total domination on the FA Cup by the northern professional clubs.
But within a few years, even this competition became problematic as working-class amateur sides from the north such as Middlesborough and Bishops Auckland, who’s players trained and competed just like professionals, came to dominate. This was the final straw for several of the ‘old boys’ sides and in 1903 they formed the Arthur Dunn Cup, a competition just for public school former pupils sides, and contented themselves with that.
Corinthian and the Casuals however battled on in the wider footballing world, convincing themselves that their Amateur principles would prevail over those of the professional and the ‘sham-ateur’ – a name given to the working-class amateur who might find himself unofficially compensated for time off work by his club, a practice loathed by the gentleman player.
The Casuals entered the Isthmian league as founder members in 1905/06 (finishing mid table but bottom the following season) and Corinthian continued with their challenge matches, famously beating Manchester United 11-3 in 1904 which is still their heaviest-ever defeat. But even this wasn’t as it seemed. United put out basically a reserve side that day, as many of the Corinthians professional opponents were doing by then as their league and cup fixtures were taking priority over ‘friendly’ games as they now saw them.
The situation came to a head in 1906 when the Amateurs on the FA Council tried – and failed – to block professional clubs entering the Amateur-dominated County FA’s of London, Surrey and Middlesex. A few months later, in a final stand of defiance against the professionals, the Casuals along with the Old Etonians, the Old Carthusians, the Civil Service and the Crouch End Vampires, formed a breakaway movement, the Amateur Football Defence Association (AFDA) to protect themselves from the total destruction of their world by the professionals. With the support of Corinthians, they became the Amateur Football Association and set up mirror FA’s (or AFA’s) in London, Surrey, Middlesex, Essex, Kent, Suffolk and, a year later, Hertfordshire – to which Cheshunt were their biggest member club.
The Football Association acted quickly against this rival body, banning any of its member clubs from playing against sides from the AFA and so for the next seven years, the two bodies existed alongside each other. The AFA boasted 40,000 registered players and, expanded into Cambridgeshire and Sussex and soon formed the Southern Amateur League (SAL), which Casuals and Cheshunt were both founder members, in 1907/08.
This of course meant Casuals withdrawing from the FA affiliated Isthmian league and Cheshunt dropping out of the FA Cup – hence Upton Park’s ‘walkover’ being recorded in the 1907/08 preliminary tie. To compensate, as well as the SAL, an AFA cup was created with Casuals becoming the first winners, beating Old Carthusians 3-1 in the final at the Queens Club, West Kensington (home ground of Corinthians) in front of 2,000 spectators.
The SAL was set up into two eight-team sections, Casuals in section A, Cheshunt in section B with promotion and relegation between the two. Casuals would finish mid-table in section A for virtually every one of their seven seasons whilst Cheshunt always hovered around the bottom of theirs so the two clubs never met in a league game.
However, the AFA had come twenty years too late. It very quickly became an oddity in football, with its member clubs not missed by the greater world of football. Its games became stale and unattractive. Reports of late kick-offs, missing players and miniscule attendances abounded. Working class Amateur clubs such as Leytonstone, stayed in the FA, as did the Armed forces sides. For Cheshunt, the only significant AFA club in Hertfordshire, it was little short of disastrous. Local rivals Hoddesdon and Ware stayed in the FA and so were denied these attractive fixtures, but even worse was the appearance of a new club in the area, Waltham Glendale. Based in Waltham Cross, they soon began to draw support away from Cheshunt by reaching the Herts Senior Cup final in 1909 and then winning it in 1911.
It was Corinthians who suffered the worst though. Now unable to tour the land playing their high-profile challenge matches against the professionals – and show them the superiority of the gentleman Amateur – they were reduced to playing other AFA sides in painful mis-matches. A 15-1 win over Ipswich Town in 1910 (yes, that’s right – Ipswich never turned professional until 1937!) was typical of their fixtures.
Even Corinthians much celebrated tours to South America, South Africa and the United States at this time are all just to escape the FA ban which, following joining FIFA in 1906, meant the ban applied to all FIFA members too. Applications to tour Holland and Germany were turned down so the more exotic destinations like Brazil (who did not join FIFA until 1923) were actually not so much spreading the gospel of Amateur football as the history books like to say but more out of desperation for opposition!
In 1914 the two sides reconciled. The AFA bowed to the inevitable and affiliated itself the the FA once more. As a consolation, the AFA took a seat on the FA Council (as did Oxford and Cambridge Universities and the public schools) and also got to sit on the International committee too – a situation that would go on for many years to come. Whether this was a good thing or not is open to debate as it was the AFA’s influence that would define how England saw ‘Amateurs’ and see the decline in the Great Britain Olympic side and eventually the abandonment of the Amateur Cup in 1974.
After the Great War, Corinthian began entering the FA Cup, regularly reaching the 3rd round stage and being involved in several memorable ties against professional clubs.
The Casuals would leave the SFA, rejoining the Isthmian league in 1919 and winning the Amateur cup twice before merging with Corinthian to form todays opponents in 1939.
And Cheshunt? They joined the Athenian league in 1919, finished bottom and resigned. They rejoined the SFA, winning section B in 1920 but rather than take promotion, they joined the Athenian league again where they would stay until they folded ten years later.
Corinthian-Casuals Football Club was formed in 1939 following the merger of the two great amateur sides bearing those names.
The Corinthians were founded in 1882. N.L. “Pa” Jackson, who was then Assistant Honorary Secretary of the Football Association, aimed to develop a club side capable of bolstering England’s national team and challenging Scotland at international level. A meeting was held at Jackson’s offices in London’s Paternoster Row and thus was the club born. The name ‘Corinthian’ came from a suggestion by England international, H.A. Swepstowe, which was accepted unanimously. In the recently published history of the club, “Play Up Corinth,” author Rob Cavallini explains “the most likely explanation for this choice … is the word’s long forgotten meaning – ‘man of fashion and pleasure,’ which captures the whole essence of the playing membership and their sporting ideology.”
The Casuals were formed in 1883 by a group of old boys from England’s prominent public schools and rapidly became a strong force in the amateur game. In 1905 they became founding members of the Isthmian League and won the AFA Senior Cup in 1907.
Click on the links below to read the histories of the two great amateur sides:
Club Captain, goalkeeper and Casuals legend who has passed 440 competitive appearances since joining in 2010. Now Head of Computing at Micklefield School, Danny began his career at West Ham United before joining us from Tooting and Mitcham – originally on loan, but fell in love with the club and has stayed ever since. Was named Isthmian League South keeper of the year for three consecutive seasons amongst multiple club honours. Once attracted serious interest from Hoffenheim!
Now in his fourth season with the Casuals, popular full-back Jack joined the Casuals from Eastbourne Town where he received Manger’s and Player’s player of the season plaudits before joining Corinth. Was a firm fan favourite at the Saffrons and is certainly the same here at King George’s. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more determined and hard-working player.
The 30 year old full back returns to King George’s over the summer having been at Romford last year. Beginning with Crystal Palace as a pro, Michael has played for a number of clubs, including Dulwich Hamlet, Merstham and Margate. Brings real quality and experience to the back line.
Young defender matured beyond his years, becoming one of the very best defenders in the league. Scooped all of the player awards at the end of the last completed season. Fierce in the air at both ends of the pitch. Joined from Sutton United where he captained the Youth side under James Bracken to unprecedented success. A fine cricketer to boot.
Always smiling, Ola is a wonderful addition to the squad this summer. A central defender with presence, Ola has previously played for Bromley and Tunbridge Wells. Described as ‘having nice legs’. Loves his photo being taken.
Imposing centre-back Andy returned to the Casuals last year after originally playing at King George’s under previous Manager Matt Howard back in 2015. A product of the Woking academy, Andy was named under-18 player of the season before going on to make several first team appearances for the Cards.
Whyteleafe’s Manager’s player of the season in 2019-20, Ricardo joins us over the summer as an exciting addition to the back line. Highly praised by Harry Hudson at Leafe for performances beyond his years, Thompson is touted to have great leadership qualities that’ll hold him in good stead.
In many supporter’s eyes, Warren is the most impressive right-back to play for the club in years. Lightning pace, quick feet and a calm persona makes Warren a dangerous threat going forward yet a reliable defender when needed. Ridiculously laid back when not on the pitch. Previous clubs include Sutton and Carshalton
A former Crystal Palace youngster, Hakeem is a powerhouse midfielder who signed from Horsham in 2018. Hakeem has had spells at Margate, Whitehawk, Carshalton Athletic, Lewes and Havant & Waterlooville amongst others. Once scored from the halfway line at Brightlingsea Regent. Despite his imposing size, ‘Hak’ is alarmingly quick.
‘Tolworth’s Iniesta’, Coskun (‘Josh’) began his career at Tottenham Hotspur where he had a two-year contract before moving onto Turkish side Trabzonspor. Since returning to the UK, the midfielder has played for the likes of Hayes & Yeading and more recently, Bishop Stortford. An intelligent player who knows how to use both feet, Coskun has notched up over 150 competitive appearances for Casuals.
Manny joins the Casuals in summer 2021 from Whyteleafe where he earned ‘Player’s Player of the Year’ honours in 2020. The quick-footed midfielder was a mainstay of a successful AFC Wimbledon Youth side a couple of seasons ago before signing for Hastings United and the previously mentioned ‘Leafe.
Robbie joined the Casuals midway through 2019 and has added real quality to the midfield. An Ex-Leicester City player who represented the Foxes in the Hong Kong International Soccer Sevens, Robbie is a lawyer with interests in human rights, sports and commercial law. The 24 year old Australian also counts Serie C side ACR Messina and Telford Utd as former clubs.
A mercurial talent – strong yet skilful, Kevant originally joined Corinth back in 2015 along with Manager James and immediately impressed with his combination of strength and dazzling footwork. Has notched up over 170 competitive appearances for the club. Scored a belter of a hat-trick against Redbridge in the FA Trophy. Had brief spells at Hastings United, Walton Casuals and Sutton Common Rovers.
The 19 year old centre midfielder joins us on loan from AFC Wimbledon and has impressed so far. The young Don has risen through the ranks at Plough Lane and was actually AFC Wimbledon’s mascot for their first ever league match against Chipstead in 2002. Elliott also played for Merstham last season.
‘Cheks’ is once again a fine addition to the squad. Starting life with Anderlecht and playing for several recognisable Belgium clubs, the pacey winger was with James Bracken at Sutton United before moving back to Belgium. Not only talented on the pitch but also with a mic in hand – a lyrical master.
At just 16 years old, Alfie is already highly rated by his parent club AFC Wimbledon. Previously with Brighton’s Academy and spending time with Lewes, the young midfielder has signed scholarship forms with the Dons, with boss Mark Robinson describing him as ‘a very talented young man.’
Joined Casuals back in 2020 and has made a real impact ever since. Played 21 times for Crystal Palace under Neil Warnock making his debut in 2009, scoring on his debut against Coventry City. After four seasons at Palace, he’s since starred for Aldershot, Barnet (under Edgar Davids) and Sutton United amongst others.
Now in his third season at the Casuals, ‘Bozie’ began his career at Crystal Palace where he made two senior appearances before eventually finding his feet in non-league. Wilfried Zaha once named Nat as the player he could not displace in the Palace youth set-up! Pinney has featured for several clubs, notably as player of the season at Eastbourne Borough. Certainly become a fan favourite since joining Corinth.
Popular striker Warren is back after a two year absence. First signed for the Casuals from Dartford in our inaugural Isthmian Premier season in 2018, scoring our first ever goal at Step Three. Arsenal fan Mfula has also played for Burgess Hill, Cray Valley PM and Sheppey United before re-uniting with James Bracken at Casuals. Fans sing his name to the tune of ‘Tequila’ by The Champs.
Ollie joined Casuals in 2019, impressing in Budapest at the Egri Erbstein Tournament. Another protégé of James from his time at Sutton United, the striker won multiple honours as a U’s Youth player. Most recently played for his Birmingham University side from which he has since graduated as a Master of Engineering (MEng) with honours. Has questionable haircuts on occasion.
Bobby adds real tenacity to the front line and has already impressed in pre-season since joining in the summer. Bobby was part of an exciting AFC Wimbledon youth side before joining Bromley, Hampton and Richmond and most recently, Merstham.
Promising forward who joined us last season from Westfield and has impressed once again in pre-season. Has also played for Staines Town and Bedfont Sports amongst others.
James already has a fantastic managerial record which includes steering Sutton United reserves to three consecutive Suburban League Premier title wins. Bracken picked up no less than seven trophies in 2015 with the U’s as well as picking up Ryman Youth ‘Champion-of-Champions’ in 2016. Since coming to Casuals, James has broken club records abound and steered the club to two playoff finals, a promotion and the highest level in the club’s history! Was named as one of Non-League Paper’s best young managers in the country.
Dan is very much a part of the success of recent years and integral to James’ staff. Dan started his football career at Crystal Palace, regularly turning out for their youth sides and playing in the FA Youth Cup. Still in his mid-twenties, he’s the youngest of the coaching set-up but with a serious knee injury preventing him competing, Dan has taken to a coaching role. Currently working with good friend and former Palace teammate Wilfred Zaha on a new Academy project.
Goalkeeping Coach; Alan is a long serving member of the club having had involvement managing the reserves and then progressing to the first XI. Puts our keepers through real punishment during training sessions, pushing all of Casuals’ stoppers to be the very best. Has a ridiculous tan!
Kit manager and coach. In a family of goalkeepers, Jon is the younger brother of Gareth Williams and is a fine stopper in his own right. Previously playing for Sutton United reserves, Williams is also registered as a deputy for Corinth. Proudly wore the captain’s armband for ten minutes in the Egri Erbstein Tournament over in Budapest last Summer. Also groundsman at King George’s as well as Fulham’s Craven Cottage amongst others.
Physio who works hard getting the players back to full fitness, Carly graduated in Sports Rehab at St Mary’s in 2006 and has been with the club for more than a decade. In her spare time Carly enjoys long distance running and has completed the London Marathon in under 3 hours. Travels abroad more than Judith Chalmers. Always wears odd socks.
Manager Craig Edwards
Reece Beckles Richards
Corinthian Casuals FC
Manager James Bracken
Mr Gerry Heron,
Mr Chris Stobart & Mr Edward Smith
Brian Buck Travellers Tales #29.
111th game of the season. (Match 13,492) Wednesday 17th November 2021. Stevenage 0 Sutton United 2 (FA Youth Cup 2nd Round) att 300 approx. We arrived early enough to get into spot number two on the leaving grid in the car park. These days you no longer have the opportunity to kill yourself by crossing the busy A602 from here, so we had to take the longer walk to the ground via the underpass instead. The three officials on duty tonight were some of the tallest I’ve ever seen together. I knew little about the opposition tonight, but in truth on the night there was little to choose between the sides. Stevenage had the better of the opening exchanges but this counted for nothing when Sutton took the lead on 10 minutes. The goal came from a through ball, intended or otherwise, but it looked good and found the scorer who ran on before confidently slotting the ball past the keeper. Stevenage immediately lost confidence, but slowly they regrouped without looking like scoring and the game became rather low key and lacked excitement. The second half saw Stevenage have more possession but when they did manage to have a shot, they found the man of the match Sutton keeper in outstanding form. Despite this Sutton remained the better side and after they scored again on 72 minutes, with a header from a corner, there was no way back for the Borough. Tactically Sutton got it right and their 5-3-2 formation successfully frustrated Stevenage. Afterwards we were the second car out of the car park, which was a record for us!
112. (13,493) Thursday 18th November 2021. Welwyn Garden City Junior Whites 0 Sawbridgeworth Town 1 (Southern Counties Floodlit Youth League Olympian Division) att 50 approx. From a neutral spectator point of view this was one of the poorer games I’ve seen this season. That is not to say that the players didn’t try hard. I’m sure that they did, but when you are sitting there watching and nothing much happens, it becomes rather unexciting. Fortunately, I had a couple of friends to sit with and talk to and so the evening wasn’t without it its plus side. In the first half there wasn’t much going on. Both teams struggled to get into a rhythm and there were quite a few misplaced passes. Possession was roughly even but it was Sawbo who looked most likely to score. This was a friction free match though and the sides gave the ref very little trouble. The second half was much the same. However, one oddity was that for a while we had a series of injuries in a ‘Bermuda triangle’ part of the pitch. As the game wore on, we assumed that someone would make a mistake leading to a goal, but as it neared the end this seemed unlikely to happen. But then on 87 minutes the big moment finally did arrive and after a series of mishit passes and ricochets inside the City penalty area the ball was finally forced home by Sawbo. The visitors deserved their win because they looked more likely to score throughout, but both in terms of possession and ability there was never much between the sides.
113. (13,494) (3,685th ‘new’ ground) Saturday 20th November 2021. Crick Athletic 9 Coventry Colliery Reserves 2 (Coventry Alliance Division 2) (Played at Crick Community Sports Centre, Yelvertoft Road) att 6. Although today was an enjoyable day I was worn out by the time I got home. Crick Athletic have moved here from their old Main Road ground where on 19 April 2005 I saw them beat Kislingbury 3-1 in a Travis Perkins Northants Combination Dulux Paints Premier Division match, att 10 approx. I passed their old ground today, which has the goal posts up along with their barrell roofed stand behind one goal, which also houses the dressing rooms. But by this time I was in a hurry as I hadn’t realised that the M1 northbound was closed between junctions 14 &15. Firstly, I got stuck in a queue leaving the M1 and delayed further when I re-routed through Olney and back to the M1 south of Northampton. Luckily Crick is only a mile or so to the east of Junction 18 and by the time I reached the ground I had only missed two minutes. I could soon see why Crick have moved here. Although their old ground has character, the new one has several football pitches for their youth and Sunday teams, plus a separate cricket ground. They obviously played on the main pitch today and this is partly railed off, with dugouts, on the clubhouse side and also behind one goal. The secretary here is a tremendous chap. After playing for the club in his younger days, he took over from his father in the early part of the millennium after he had given 50 years service and his mother still runs the well-stocked tea bar today. She has been doing this since 1975 and she is now 84 years old! It goes without saying that people like these, who have in effect given their whole lives to one football club, are really the people who should be admired most in football. I do hope that they have been rewarded for their dedication to the game and in particular to Crick Athletic. If not then at the very least they should be honoured by the Northants FA. The game today saw Spurs former manager Nuno in refereeing it. At least that’s what I thought until I looked at him more closely! On an almost full size pitch the first goal didn’t arrive until the 24th minute when Crick scored with a powerful shot which must have stung the keeper’s hands as he just failed to stop it beating him. Then a deep header from a corner on 38 minutes made it 2-0 at the break. Then further goals on 49 and 62 minutes seemed to sew up things for the hosts. But suddenly the Colliery scored twice in as many minutes. Game on? Not really, as further goals on 68 and 70 minutes brought the score up to 6-2 before three further goals before the end saw Crick see off a by now deflated visiting side, apart from their captain who ran his socks off. By the time I got home, 90 minutes later, an hour earlier than it took me to get here, I felt drained, as from the moment I left home to the time I got back, because I had no chance to chill out during the day, which as I grow older, I am going to have to keep an eye on!
114. (13,495) Tuesday 23rd November 2021. Biggleswade United 0 Harborough Town 5 (Uhlsport United Counties League Premier Division South) att 87. Since my last visit here, about a month earlier, there have been a few changes here. Firstly on the back wall of the old (north) stand, there have been a couple of large murals added to the back wall. Not too sure what they are about, but they were donated to the club. Furthermore, what initially looks like graffiti, has been added to the metal fencing, close to the tea bar a player’s entrance to the pitch, but closer inspection reveals that this is linked up with the clubs current ground name, namely the Keech Hospice Care Stadium. On the pitch fortunes have changed slightly for United recently as they’ve managed to win a few games. But tonight, they were up against the second placed side. Things started badly for the hosts when on 5 minutes they went a goal down from the spot, following minimal contact just inside the box. Then on 14 minutes the visitors doubled their lead. On 20 minutes following intense pressure on the ref by the Town players a United player was sent off. I wasn’t sure that it was even a foul and also the United players insisted that the wrong player was sent off. At the break those of us who didn’t go into the clubhouse had to suffer GBH of the eardrums as much too loud music blared over the tannoy. On 48 minutes Town increased their lead and then added a fourth goal ten minutes later. Then on 70 minutes the ref, now under pressure from both sets of players, gave a second yellow card to a Town player, but he was persuaded to quickly rescind it after Town claimed he had given it to the wrong player again. Finally, another Town goal two minutes later wrapped up proceedings. I do wish that an observer had been here tonight to see what was going on. I felt that the ref got so wound up by the players acting like silly school children, that it led him to either see or not see things which were either happening or not happening, that he could no longer concentrate properly, hence some of his mistakes. He tried his best, but too often he succumbed to the pressures of the players surrounding him trying to get opposing players punished. I don’t want to watch this type of football anymore and therefore I don’t want to pay big bucks to watch this kind of rubbish any longer!
From ‘Non League Notes’ at theballisround.co.uk
Economic Theories in Football from Stuart Fuller, Nearly prize winning author of The Football Tourist books, Chairman of Lewes FC and an aspiring home chef.
“I was there when we were relegated against Middlesborough at The Bridge.”
It’s amazing how many Chelsea fans I meet who, when I claim were “Johhny-cum-lately’s” wheel out the fact they were there when The Blues were relegated for the last time back in 1988. Of course, back then stadiums could hold hundreds of thousands of fans, so you would believe rather than the 40,000 that were actually there. These fans will have you believe they have been die-hard blues forever and a day. However, in truth a fair percentage all know will have simply jumped on the bandwagon about 3 minutes after Roman Abramovich arrived in SW6.
You can swap Chelsea out for Manchester City, Liverpool or even Leicester City in the last decade, with each club seeing an increase in attendances as success has arrived. In the case of the Foxes, who went from an average of 25,000 to 32,000 sell-outs in just two seasons when they won the Premier League in 2016.
There is actually an economic theory that explains these responses to success. The bandwagon effect is a phenomenon whereby the rate of uptake of beliefs, ideas, fads and trends increases the more that they have already been adopted by others. In other words, the bandwagon effect is characterized by the probability of individual adoption increasing with respect to the proportion who have already done so. As more people come to believe in something, others also “hop on the bandwagon” regardless of the underlying evidence.
The tendency to follow the actions or beliefs of others can occur because individuals directly prefer to conform, or because individuals derive information from others. Big words indeed from Mr Solomon Asch there who derived the theory from his conformity experiments back in the 1950’s. Whilst his footballing alliances are still unknown, for the sake of illustrative purposes, let’s assume he was a Portsmouth fan and was still celebrating after watching them win a second consecutive Football League Division One title in 1950.
Whilst the Pompey Chimes rang out around Fratton Park, Sol wondered where all these fans had come from. A few seasons earlier they had been giving away free tickets to the Royal Navy to fill up the ground and now that they were the best team in England again it was standing room only, quite literally. He concluded that when individuals, or fans in this case, make rational choices based on the information they receive from others, in this case fellow fans down the Dog and Duck or in the “pink ‘un”, information cascades can quickly form in which people decide to ignore their personal information signals and follow the behaviour of others – i.e whilst yesterday they were a Southampton fan, today they support Portsmouth because people like the winning feeling and they don’t want to be teased by their friends in the pub for finishing 4th in the Second Division.
In the 1947/48 season, when Pompey finished 8th, the average attendance at Fratton Park was 31,000. The following two season when they won the title, it was 37,000 but 12 months later when they finished 7th they lost 5,000 fans somewhere. Why?
Asch had the answer in his original theory. He said that the fact information “cascades” explains why their behaviour is fragile—these “fans” understand that they are swayed on very limited information. As a result, fads form easily but are also easily dislodged.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is The Brandwagon Effect in a nutshell.
MANY football supporters hope their favourite Christmas present arrives on Boxing Day – in the shape of three points.
Two Non-League sides Sheffield FC and Hallam FC – the world’s oldest and second oldest clubs – are the reason the game is played over the festive period.
Hallam hosted their neighbours in the first ever inter-club match on Boxing Day 1860, also known as St Stephen’s Day.
The Football League helped continue the tradition in their inaugural 22-game season in 1888-89 when Preston North End defeated Derby County 5-0 on December 26th.
The ceasefires during World War I, particularly on Christmas Day in 1914 when British and German troops played football together, are also said to have strengthened the game’s festive legacy.
Matches were even played on December 25th until 1965 when Blackburn beat Blackpool 1-0 in the First Division and Coventry beat Wrexham 5-3 in the Third.
In 1913, Liverpool beat Manchester City 4-2 on Christmas Day, lost the return game 1-0 on Boxing Day, before drawing 3-3 at home with Blackburn Rovers the next day!
In Europe, it is common to have a winter break over the festive period. The Premier League has recently introduced a winter break which this season takes place in January.
The top-flight has maintained its Boxing Day fixture schedule as has the Football League – but the picture is slightly different within Non-League.
The National League, North and South will play on Sunday, December 26th this year and then on Tuesday 28th before playing again on Sunday, January 2nd.
The Isthmian League, Northern Premier League and Southern League – at Steps 3 and 4 – will not play on Boxing Day, competing on Monday, December 27th instead.
They will, however, play on New Year’s Day and then on the Bank Holiday Monday, January 3rd.
With the majority of clubs at Steps 3 and 4 part-time, and given the difficulties faced over the past two seasons, having a Boxing Day off seems a sensible decision.
Clubs at these levels and below rely on volunteers with players and managers balancing their playing commitments with full-time work.
The differing schedules across the National League System will be welcome news to groundhoppers too, who will almost be able to watch a match-a-day during the winter period, while crowd sizes are likely to receive the usual boost with matches taking place on Bank Holidays.
It wouldn’t feel right if Boxing Day football was completely abandoned but it’s a good move from leagues to be looking after those who keep the game going.
The Non-League Paper will be published as usual throughout the Christmas period
Corinthian Casuals 0 Cheshunt 1. FA Trophy 3QR
King Georges Field drained well after extended periods of overnight rain, but the regular deluges continuing into the Saturday morning left the surface extremely heavy, giving the impression both teams were finding it difficult to move the ball freely, passing looked laboured and forced at times.
The first half opened with a Corinthian Casuals free kick on the edge of the box looking dangerous but a tamely struck shot was well held by Ambers keeper George Marsh for the home side’s only attempt on goal in the first forty five.
The Ambers had much more possession and should have been the more likely to open the scoring, but heavy touches, misplaced passes and some last ditch defending in the final third restricted the Ambers to longer range efforts. Joe Re making his one hundredth appearance went close with a left foot shot over the bar, Reece Beckles Richards followed suit, and with a minute of the half remaining Mo Camara blazed an angled volley just over with only the keeper to beat. 0-0 at half time with defences clearly on top, aided by the pitch and the officials slowing the pace of the game considerably.
Zack Newton had spent the first half being well marshalled by Emmanuel Mensah & Andy Mills doubling up on the Ambers danger man each time he threatened, however within two minutes of the restart a move inside from his wide right position as Cheshunt built on their left saw a series of short passes from Re, Beckles Richards, Miles & McLean open the home defence and find Newton in the penalty box, back to goal. A feint one way & a roll the other saw him clear the attentions of Mills and stroke the ball past Dan Bracken in the home goal. The Ambers now had all of the second half to pick off Corinthians as they pressed for an equaliser. A second goal for Cheshunt should have been delivered when a long throw created panic at the Corinthians near post, the ball bounced at pace off several boots, a forest of shins, and a post before dribbling out for a goal kick. Former Amber Bobby Mills was the pick of the home team efforts, often picking the ball up & running at the Cheshunt defence, but eventually reaching Taylor Mackenzie, who steered him wide of any threat. Mensah too was having a decent game in an unfamiliar position, until a needless kick at Mo Camara & a verbal spat with Beckles Richards blotted his copy.
Corinthians huffed & puffed their way to one on target attempt for the second half, a header from range, cleared easily from the line for a corner. Nordirbek Bobomuradov & Ola Williams came on for Cheshunt in the latter stages to provide fresh legs wide, and secure the back line. Both were successful in the objectives, Bobomuradov breaking a weak offside line & coming close to beating Bracken to a through ball in the latter stages. Late in the game a succession of corners & throw ins for Cheshunt in the Corinthians half ensured the tie was safe.
An ugly win, but a win all the same, and a clean sheet, the Ambers have since despatched Berkhamsted FC 1-0 at home and Chelmsford City 2-1 away in the same competition to set up a 3rd round tie with Bishop’s Stortford next Saturday at Theobalds Lane
The Eastern Junior Alliance League (or EJA as it’s abbreviated to) is one of the South East of England’s leading youth development football leagues. Established in 1987 at just Under 18 level it has now progressed to age levels U13 to U18, with 6 age levels in total now. Success has been great at each level, with some players achieving success at professional level.
Cheshunt Youth have competed at all available age groups for a number of years now, and have enjoyed a good degree of success. You can check this seasons progress from the current league tables below.
Football is the most popular sport worldwide, and there are so many children who do not have the same opportunities to safely play the game that they are so passionate about.
In the UK, children are often buying new pairs of football boots every season, as they so quickly outgrow their old pairs. This means that their used football boots are often left in near-perfect condition.
Our goal is to give these football boots a second chance and to bring joy to children who don’t have the same opportunity.
Cheshunt FC teams are collecting boots for this very worthwhile charity, please check your cupboards for any boots you may be able to bring along to the club and donate.
“The Isthmian Football League strongly supports the FA statement that there should be a zero-tolerance approach against racism and all forms of discrimination. Accordingly, any form of discriminatory abuse whether it by reason of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion and belief, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, sex and sexual orientation or any other form of abuse will be reported to The Football Association for action by that Association.” (The FA 0800 085 0508 / Kick it Out 020 7253 0162).The Isthmian League and all Member Clubs in the League are committed to promoting equality by treating people fairly and with respect, by recognising that inequalities may exist, by taking steps to address them and providing access and opportunities for all members of the community.”