The magic of time travel

Integrity versus loyalty.  Always a very difficult decision.  For the TBIR team we faced a big dilemma this weekend as to where we should nail our FA Cup colours.  Our heart said Lewes v Thurrock, our head said Whitehawk v Hendon.  We are committed to bringing you the best in the Non League action across the country and the qualifying rounds of the biggest cup competition in the world allow us to rove to pastures new.  The 3rd Qualifying round was a perfect example of this, but we now have our deep affiliation to Lewes and so when the draw threw up a winnable home tie with Thurrock I felt a pang of guilt that I wouldn’t be going. Continue reading

The return of the King

There is an unwritten law in football that when you play against a former manager you are always going to lose.  Last week West Ham finally crushed their voodoo with ‘Appy ‘Arry at the 8th attempt since he was given the boot back in 2001 in the 1-0 win over Spurs.  Last season Chelsea’s dreams of a treble were ruined by none other than ex manager “The Special One” then at Inter Milan and who can ever forget the triumphant return to Melchester Rovers by Roy Race when he was at Walford Rovers in 1983.

So when Farnborough Town were promoted from the Zamaretto (Southern) League last season all Lewes fans marked the 2nd October 2010 as a certain away defeat. Farnborough manager had legendary status at Lewes after taking them to the Conference South title in 2008.  What made this all the more amazing was that on the eve of the final day of the season it was announced King’s contract, along with virtually all of the team’s contracts would not be renewed.  The result?  Lewes played their first season at the highest non league level with a novice as a manager, and a squad ill prepared for the likes of Oxford United, York City and Burton Albion.  And King? Well him and a fair number of those players from that Lewes Championship winning squad ended up in Farnborough. Continue reading

125 Not Out!

On the 18th September 1885, the union of Eastern Rumelia and Bulgaria was announced in Plovdiv to cap an amazing week in history.  First we had the ridiculous Arbroath 36 Bon Accord 0 scoreline that would have had James Alexander Gordon repeating that a few times (to this day Bon Accord fans still claim the 7th goal was miles offside) and then we had the news that Jumbo the elephant had been killed in a train crash whilst working for P T Barnum’s circus.  Sad days indeed.  But down in East Sussex a story that got no press whatsoever broke.

A normal night of karaoke at the Royal Oak pub in Lewes turned into something quite special as a group of fine Victorian gentlemen, fed up with the butchering of Wired for Sound (Cliff is that old surely?) decided to form a football club.  And so was born Lewes FC.  They agreed with the local council that they could play in a boggy area of the town known as the Dripping Pan and have called that place home since – in itself quite an impressive achievement.  That group of men who played their first ever match a few weeks later wore Green shirts to reflect the picturesque South Downs overlooking the ground. Continue reading

10 more reasons why Non League football is great

Lewes 1 Hampton & Richmond Borough 2 – The Dripping Pan – Saturday 4th September 2010 – Non League Day

Still need more convincing that Non League football is the place to be at on a Saturday afternoon?  Well here are ten more reasons based on the game today.

1. Because you can always get a parking space close to the ground irrespective of your choice of vehicle

2. Because there is always a free view somewhere

3. Because it’s never your round

4. Because you can never get enough badges

5. Because there is always room for a flag or two

6. Because you will see some quality goals

7. Because you are never too old to get a game

8. Because there are always some celeb’s there somewhere
Drop the Dead Donkey’s Neil Pearson

BBC’s MOTD commentator Jonathan Pearce

9. Because there is always time for some late drama

10. Because its where all the top bloggers hang out!
(L-R Danny Last aka European Football Weekends, Stuart Fuller aka The Ball is Round and Budget Airline Football, Big Deaksy and Cynical Dave)

Is there a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon?

There is a saying within the GTC Media offices (those fine folks who help with our little website, and Danny Last’s European Football Weekends site) that a good day out is often ruined by 90 minutes of football. To us a game is not about what goes on, on the pitch but what also goes on off it – and we are not talking about some 1970’s hooligan action. Far too many fans, brought up with the sanitised Premier League product are more interested in avoiding the queue at the station to even bother to stay to the end of a game. I never understand that. You wouldn’t ever leave the cinema, theatre or even a restaurant early, so why would you like a football match?

Football to us involves sampling a few beers with the locals, wandering around the ground chatting to the fans and more often than not having a drink after the game with the players and managers. That is what watching non league football is all about. You are more than just a number on the gate. But are all non league experiences the same? Of course not. Anyone who has sampled a game at the Gateshead International Stadium will be hard pressed to put a romantic spin on the magic of a day out there, but there are literally dozens of teams and venues that make a memorable away day. We have tried to choose five that we would recommend to anyone. Continue reading

Some unfinished business…

One year ago to the day EFW’s Danny Last rang me up.  “Stu” he said “I’ve got a plan.  Let’s sponsor a couple of players, make it into a competition and have some fun.”  Never one to turn down a challenge nor missing an opportunity to put something back into the grass roots of the game, we came up with the EFW/TBIR Challenge and picked two players at Lewes who we would both sponsor, and like a real life fantasy football, would award them points for their contributions.  You can read about the rules here.

As we know the season was a tough one for Lewes and both Sam Crabb and Ryan Storrie found themselves squeezed out of the first team and both deciding to seek their chances elsewhere.  So we put the cup back in the trophy cabinet, and the champagne on ice, trying to work out a way to award it to the winner. Continue reading