The Journey to Wembley starts at the pit face

This season the FA Cup started for many teams before a Premier League ball had been kicked.  Andy Hudson gives us his view on Jarrow Roofing’s long long road to Wembley, starting with an away trip to Glasshoughton Welfare FC.

The journey

photo (51)11am – Boldon Colliery. Huddled in a car park behind The Shack social club are a collection of players and committee members. A 33-seater bus rolls along the road. “I expected something a bit bigger than that like,” starts a voice behind me. A car roars behind and comes to a sudden stop in space. “Right, who hasn’t got their European Championships England international cap?” shouts player/assistant manager Dean Nicholson? “FINE!” Among the dissenting voices as players realise there’s no way they could have the latest item of the week, something each player must bring in order to avoid a fiver fine, is Dean brother Stuart: “That’s where it went to…that’s mine that!”

The highlight of the trip down is getting the Roofing’s Fantasy Football League sorted, players on their mobiles sorting their team before the 12.45pm deadline. “Lads, you’re all wasting your time man…I’ve got the league wrapped up already,” laughs Dean.

Although Roofing have been to the second qualifying round of the FA Cup, as well as an FA Vase semi-final, it’s the ex-Hebburn contingent of co-manager Paul Bennett and the players who crossed South Tyneside with him in June when he moved to Jarrow Roofing who have the real pedigree in this competition. Two seasons ago Benno’s team held Gateshead for an hour before losing 3-0 at the final qualifying stage – one of the best Cup runs in recent history from a Northern League team, especially considering Hebburn were a second division club at the time, as Roofing currently are.

After a stopover at Wetherby Services – “Bloody huge!” according to Steve Forster – the bus pulls up outside the ground, met by left-back Ian Davison and his dad Brian who have already made the trip down by car. Continue reading

Beef in brief

I always try to find a mildly amusing title for my blog posts that is in some way related to the place I am going. For reasons that will become apparent when you read on, I wanted to know what the advertising slogan for OXO was. So I typed it into Google and had to wipe my eyes when I saw the fourth answer (as I write this it has actually now risen to the most popular result thanks to my work):-

“Center Parcs & Anal Sex”

I assumed I had ventured down a road I should not be looking at, especially on my work laptop but it was on, a very well-known “clean” site. I have no idea how the monster of search throws up the answer (the magic of Google’s dark art) but I am assuming it wasn’t the marketing slogan Professor Liebig thought of back in 1859 when he made the extract of beef that was to make the goodness of meat affordable to the poor (his words not mine). With Center Parcs not established until 1968 in Europe I think we can deduce that there is no link between OXO or Center Parcs so we can move on and the link between the two shall forever be a mystery.

So, Worksop. Yes, indeed. When I told people I was going to Worksop, the stock (see what I did there? OXO, stock? I’ll get my coat) answer was “You’ve been to Worksop before, right? as if there was some dark secret about the town. Actually I had been to Worksop before, and I could in some ways understand the nature of the question.

Let me take you back to March 1992 when we were all a big younger, freer and singler. A few friends of mine had plan was to drive up to watch Leeds United v West Ham at Elland Road but being young and naive we thought it would be a good idea to have. House party, which soon became a street party. I can still remember dancing with some foxy blonde at 4am to Rick Astley, thinking that sleep was over rated. Of course we slept through the warm, and then woke up to carnage. This wasn’t a five-minute clean up job, and so our 9am departure turned into a 12pm. Three hours to drive 210 miles to Leeds? No problem. Continue reading