Brushing off any signs of a hangover, Abi Davies headed north east to the bustling metropolis of Birmingham to see if her beloved Swans could get that all important first win away. She wasn’t disappointed.
Swansea City headed into their first game of 2012 as the only Premier League side still awaiting their first away victory of the season. Having acquired two points from their previous two games, Swansea went into Monday’s fixture hoping to record their first victory in five. They faced an Alex McLeish side full of confidence and looking to build on their 3-1 victory over Chelsea on Saturday.
The Swans, who had failed to score in their previous two away fixtures, got off to a sumptuous start, taking the lead within the opening 5 minutes of the game when Nathan Dyer pounced on a defensive error from Warner, using his pace to serge into the box and drill home his second goal of the campaign. Continue reading
Abi Davies brings us some of the reaction from the highly emotional game yesterday at The Liberty Stadium.
The Swans recorded a 6th clean sheet of the season on Sunday in a game where the result became somewhat insignificant following the tragic sudden passing of Welsh manager Gary Speed. My overwhelming feeling prior to kick off and throughout the fixture was one of distance from the game. The tragic circumstances put into perspective how much more there is to life, as the football World began to mourn the death of one of the most respected and well loved gentlemen to grace the game.
Four members of the Welsh national squad were involved in Sunday’s fixture as Ashley Williams, Joe Allen, Neil Taylor and James Collins all started for their respective clubs, whilst close friend of Speed, Shay Given also played at The Liberty despite understandably being unable to disguise his grief.
The only change to the Swansea side condemned to defeat against Manchester United last weekend came in midfield, as Joe Allen returned to the starting XI in place of Wayne Routledge who had to settle for a place amongst the substitutes.
Jamie Cutteridge takes up the baton and talks us through the highlights of his non league season.
It’s a certain knowing, yet deadening feeling when you become the kind of person that you have always mocked and yet that defined a season in which I developed one of those ground-hopping habits that I had previously stigmatised as being dominated by men in anoraks. Whilst anoraks persist, the grounds are frequented by annoyingly socially-adjusted individuals, and so I was lured in, becoming a season ticket holder at Kingstonian, touring grounds of the country watching clubs unheard of in my cosy Holte End perch just 12 or so months ago.
For Kingstonian, it was ultimately a disappointing season. Whilst the early months saw more last minute winners than Ryan Giggs has seen, erm, last minute winners the highlights came with two memorable Monday night wins over (local rivals and eventual Ryman league winners) Sutton, and, after a penalty shooutout, Margate in the 2nd qualifying round in the FA Cup. They cup then punctuated the winter months of my year-long cherry pop by providing trips to (deep breath) Margate, Kingston (twice), St Albans, Carshalton, Harrow, Woking and Wycombe as I allowed myself into the world of ‘The Real FA Cup.’ Continue reading
Liverpool 2 v 1 Aston Villa
League Division One
1 September 1990 3:00pm
As a youth I was thoroughly indoctrinated in the ways of football at an early age. From Subbuteo (age four) to my first appearance for Linthurst First School (age seven and a debut brace) it was always there. However until the the age of seven my Saturdays were spent shopping in numerous horrible provincial towns with my Mum (I remember Manchester being particularly grim) whilst my Dad swanned off to watch a game of his choosing.
On this momentous day I remember the conversation in our Nissan as my parents discussed if I was ready to attend my first game. In these pre-Premiership days the main focus seemed to centre on whether I was likely to get maimed by Scousers and/or Brummies but eventually my Dad won out I was off to my first game. I think part of this was down to football’s increasing mainstream appeal after Italia 90 where it became socially acceptable for middle class people to watch football instead of whatever they had done before on a Saturday afternoon (no me neither).
The game itself I remember very little about. Beardsley scored early on before David Platt equalised for Villa with a semi bicycle kick. The game was decided by a late John Barnes top corner effort which sadly I have been unable to find on Youtube.
So for the next month and a half I have to admit to being a Liverpool fan. This would all change at Meadow Lane when a certain Steve Bull struck to equalise for Wolves and not for the first time in this First Game feature secure a young man’s loyalty to the Gold and Black. Mr Bull you have a lot to answer for.
It is every boy’s dream to live in a world of football. To be asked to watch football is probably only second in my book to being asked to play it AND get paid for the pleasure. 99.999% of us fail in our ability to make the grade as a professional footballer at an early stage, but how many of us would want to write about it for a living? Dream job eh? Well not quite.
Believe it or not newspapers and magazines do not just give jobs out because “you really love football” and “passed my O-level in English”. Virtually every national media journalist had to start at the lowest rung on the ladder. And in football, that means being the junior for a local newspaper, working you way up, travelling up and down the country watching the game in cramped, cold press boxes before rushing off to file a 1,000 words on Billingham Synthonia or Pilkington XXX. Some then get given more regional teams, becoming a bigger fish but to make the jump from the local lake into the big national sea is an honour only given to a few.
We’ve been lucky through the route we have chosen to rub shoulders with some of these individuals (although not at any Premier League/Football League games – that is a story for another day), seeing the pressure they have to work under. During the Rugby World Cup Final in 2007 at the Stade de France in Paris we spent the whole of the second half relating what was actually going on on the pitch to the surrounding press as they desperately tried to make their print deadlines. Hardly the glamorous world that many expect (although the pre-match steak and frites was top notch).
One such journalist who has “earnt his spurs” the hard way is Villa-Supporting, Daily Express football writer Matt Law. We caught up with Matt over Christmas to discover what life is really like in the modern world of football journalism. Continue reading