AttacKing intent

This season it will be a headline writers dream with Steve King back in the hot seat at Lewes.  After his triumphant return to the club after a three year absence in the summer, he began to rebuild the squad.  The Lewes fans had been used to the revolving door during the ToSH era last season but this was more understandable as the Rooks became one of the favourites for promotion even before the fixtures were announced and a ball had been kicked in pre-season friendly anger.

“Welcome to the King dome”, “SpanKING”, “King Konga”..we’ve seen them all before but that doesn’t mean we wont see them again this season. Continue reading

Unsung Heroes part 7: Snappy happy

Every club has one, yet normally they just blend into the background, not noticed by the fans.  They earn their crust through concentration, anticipation and a steady hand.  Ladies and Gentlemen – I give you the club photographer.

James Boyes, as well as doubling up as Lewes FC’s website and programme editor is also the club’s official photographer.  We caught up with him mid-shot to find out what it is like to be sat on the edge of the pitch with your eye on the lens.

What are the worst conditions you have had to work in?
I think the wet and the cold are the photographer’s enemy. I managed reasonably well in my first season as there wasn’t too much rain, but the last two seasons I haven’t been so lucky. Last season I tried to brave the rainstorm when we ironically played Bath at the Dripping Pan but five minutes into the second half, the game was abandoned. I was in the back of the stand by then but I did manage to get a photo of a wet referee blowing the final whistle. I couldn’t do the puddles justice though.

THAT game!

I think the coldest conditions were when Lewes played at the Kassam Stadium against Oxford Utd in February 2009 in a freezing, biting wind. Fortunately I managed to get home just before the snow which chased me around the M25 and caused more than a few problems for everyone the next morning. Continue reading

The men Fleet Street hate to love

There is no doubt that blogging is the future of journalism. Twitter especially has revolutionised the way that stories are broken and shared within seconds around the globe. It is no wonder that 24 of the 25 biggest newspapers in the world are experiencing a significant downturn in sales. People want the news when it happens, not 24 hours later. And that is what Social Media has given us news hungry people. We no longer have to go and look for the news, the news finds us – welcome to the world of Socialnomic. Never has a truer word been spoken in terms of football journalism.

Over the past year the number of websites and blogs dedicated to the general, and even better, the very specific subjects of the beautiful game has risen dramatically. This surge in interest is simple. Content is king. Unless you are producing relevant and interesting content then you may as well give up and use your computer for something else. The A-list of football blogging are all members of something called Socrates. It is not some kind of secret society, or the equivalent of the Brat Pack, but rather a regular meeting of the bloggers to share ideas, talk about, believe it or not football, and have a few beers.

At a meeting back in the summer of 2010 we floated the idea of holding one of these sessions outside London. The room went silent, heads turned in our direction and pints of beer fell to the ground at our suggestion. But then we followed it up with an invite to hold it at The Dripping Pan. We didn’t have a clue if the club would allow it, but what the heck. Continue reading

Unsung Heroes part 5: Get with the programme!

One of the essential components of a match day when I was growing up was the programme.  Before the days of the Internet (Oi! Grandad – shut up!) it was the only way you could get information on what was going on at the club.  In the 1970’s and 80’s the typical programme was text heavy with few adverts, and those it did carry tended to be for local companies.  The concept of syndication had not reached football yet and so each club carried its own exclusive content.

Today, on the main part programmes offer little value.  Everyone knows everything about the players at the top level and Premier League match day programmes are rarely of interest or even up to date.  The content toes the club line, filling its pages with glossy adverts from premium brands, and bland interviews with players all confessing their love for the game.  This was one of the reasons why Fanzines grew in popularity during the early to mid noughties.  Today the internet, and mobile communication replaces the need for programmes.  Unfortunately, printing deadlines still mean match day programmes are often days out of date – a classic example being Blackpool’s recent edition for the game versus Liverpool where the visitors were profiled with Roy Hodgson in charge under the caption “You will never walk alone”.  Hodgson had of course departed the club some four days previously. You can read more on our thoughts of the future of the match day programme here. Continue reading

On the tenth day of Christmas….the best ground

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, brilliant grounds not one, nor two but three.

This category is for our favourites grounds in 2010 – ones we have been to a few times.  Our criteria for this was, well basically, how we felt on the day. Ease of getting there, the food, the fans, the atmosphere – in short the whole package.  Notable runners in this category are The Beveree, home of Hampton & Richmond Borough, The Swedbank stadium of Malmo FF and Carshalton’s War Memorial Ground. But there can only be three winners in our awards, and they are:-

Princes Park – Dartford FC – Many clubs will look at envy at Dartford’s “new ground”, now actually 7 years old. They could have gone down an Identikit stadium to save money (step 1 purchase from Ikea, step 2 unpack, step 3 find some nuts missing, step 4 take it back) but instead thanks to the vision of the club and the assistance of the local council they have a ground so unique that clubs from all over Europe still visit to see for themselves.

A roof covered in grass which captures the rain water for recycling, a fantastic bar, a public transport system that whisks you from main station to the stadium in minutes, literally a minute from the M25, stands that can be expanded with ease as and when necessary and a 12 foot wooden man holding up the roof. Add in 1,000 Dartford fans and you have a cracking day out.

Wembley Stadium – For all its faults it is still the greatest stadium to watch a game in at the moment.  Every seat faces the centre circle (apparently) and there isn’t a bad view in the house. Sure people may moan about the lack of atmosphere when England play there, the expensive food and the nightmare getting home, but last year we saw a game from the press area (nice biscuits but we got locked in – read about it here) and an Executive box thanks to Adam Lloyd which was luxurious to say the least. For those two reasons it is one of our top 3 grounds – sorry we freely admit we sold out to our principles on this one!

The Dripping Pan – Lewes FC – OK we admit that we are a bit biased on this one but at the end of the day, Brian, these are our awards and if we can’t give them to whole we want then what can we do? I have publically gone on record, and been quoted in at least one national publication, as saying:-

“With the South Downs as a backdrop like a white stage curtain, a pint of local Harveys Ale in my hand and the roar of the Rook Inn Terrace behind me, there is no better place to watch football.”

All true. We like to say at Lewes there are no strangers, only football fans who have not yet fallen in love with the most fashionable club in England (well, I think I said it once after a few too many Harveys). Sure the football may not be the best at times but do we have fun watching it. And so should you. Attendances are up by 70% since the club became a Community Club last Summer,a dn fan involvement can be epitomised by the work in progress Rook Inn. You’d be a fool to miss out.

Forsake all Alcohol

A couple of weeks ago Lewes played Salisbury City the FA Carlsberg Trophy at the wonderful Dripping Pan.  I am not shy to say there are few places better to watch a game of football than the Pan, with the South Downs shining brightly in the distance, like a new set of teeth just polished by a Polish dentist.

Best enjoyed with Harveys Ale

One of the joys of watching football here is to grab a pint of the local Harveys beer and stand on the terrace and watch the game unfold in front of you.  The match may sometimes not be the best in the world, but the top beer helps ease the pain as does the sparkling company.  But for the game on  Saturday this avenue of pleasure was closed.  The reason?  Well the fun police at the Football Association invoked rule xiv) in the FA Trophy Rules and Regulations 2010/11 which state:- Continue reading

Rock bottom

At 1.30pm on Saturday afternoon I was handed my “Get out of jail free” card.  This was supposed to be a treat for Lolly, but my little battle hardened football daughter finally admitted defeat on her heavy cold and declared herself unfit to go to West Ham versus Blackpool.  I had a five minute window to decide.  Go to Upton Park and undoubtably come home as depressed as Avram Grant on a good day, head down the M23 to watch Lewes amongst the Lewes Lunatic Fringe as they played St Albans City or even pop down the road to Thamesmead Town for a new adventure.

And what did I chose?  Yes you have guessed it – I simply never learn – I headed off to Upton Park.  My afternoon in the end cost me almost £200.  However, if it turns out to be the last time we have to experience the clueless management of Avram Grant it will be worth it. Continue reading