On the tenth day of TBIR Christmas – The best Non-League tales

Professional football is as dull as dishwater if you are familiar with the Non-League game. We don’t just have player injured with a calf strain, we have players missing after falling asleep in a bin on a stag do in Marbella and missing their flight home.  What about when the game has to be delayed because there are no more balls available? Alas a non-league team who are stuck in traffic due to an accident simply cannot call up the FA and expect to see a police escort to guide them through the crowds – oh no.  Those games simply appear as a P-P without any explanation at all.  I have deliberately left out stories such as the Thurrock demotion and subsequent appeals at the end of last season simply because I would never consider that to be of amusement.

3rd Place – Have Hyde won yet?
New Picture (38)Times are tough in the Non-Leagues in and around Manchester.  Stockport County have really fallen from grace going from the Football League to the Conference North in just over a year and there has been an implosion at Droylsden FC who so far this season have managed to get just two points and concede a mammoth 112 goals in the process.  But being able to laugh at your own misfortune takes some doing, so hats off to Hyde FC who are having a season from hell in the Conference Premier.  After 25 games this season, the club have picked up three points, from three draws conceding 67 goals in the process.  Current twenty points adrift from safety times look dark.  So what to do?  Well, how about setting up a Twitter account to make light of the situation?  God knows what will happen when they eventually do win a game!

2nd Place – Air Traffic Control
We all rubbed our hands with glee when Guernsey were accepted into the Ryman League family at the end of last season.  All visiting clubs get their travel paid for, as well as a badge to prove they have played in European football.  But four months into the league season and some of the trips have been a little problematic.  Take Worthing’s visit back in October for instance.  After the 4-1 defeat in the Channel Islands, the aptly named “Rebels” enjoyed, to coin a phrase, “high altitude jinks” that resulted in a £10k fine (half of which was suspended) and the sanction that if they play each other next season they will have to make alternative travel arrangements.  In mid December Sittingbourne’s game on the island was postponed after they were grounded at Gatwick due to a problem with the Air Traffic Control system in the UK.  Handy for some Christmas shopping but not for playing football.  Finally, spare a thought for Crawley Down Gatwick who faced an early morning flight on New Years Day to the island.  Unfortunately, the horrendous weather meant they endured a significant delay to their departure.  Whilst the kick off was delayed by 3 1/2 hours, they will have wished it was cancelled outright as the patched up team lost 11-0.

1st Place -Match abandoned due to lack of players
We love our visits to the Harry Abrahams Stadium when Lewes visit Wingate & Finchley.  The hospitality is top notch and whilst the crowds are on the thin side, there has rarely been a dull game played between the two sides.  But nothing could compare to the game they hosted against Thurrock back in March when the match had to be abandoned after Wingate had five players sent off in less than 30 second-half minutes.  Despite goodwill being the order of the day for Mother’s Day and Kick Racism Out of Football, Wingate became the first club in the top 10 levels of English football to have five players sent off in one game.  The game wasn’t even dirty, although there was no questions about any of the five decisions to dismiss the players by the referee.  The final player sent off, John Christian, had also been yellow carded and spectators suggested his deliberate kicking of the ball away with eight minutes to go was an attempt to get sent off and thus end the game.  Thurrock were leading 1-0 at the time and a subsequent league hearing saw them awarded all three points.  Probably not the way that Wingate & Finchley wanted to appear in the national press, but there can be few people who didn’t raise a chuckle at this one.

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