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The Stanleys - Mr X's End of Season Awards - Part Two


The Scoreline is Faroe Islands 2 Scotland 0 Award Funniest Moment


We had a few moments of comedy, notably the sign in the clubhouse at Greenwood Meadows that invited us not to take loaded firearms into the bar area, while the kids at Bacup Borough being ejected for singing in an irritating fashion was high on the list of comical moments. The sight of a Winsford United player vomiting in his own goalmouth produced a chuckle, but the funniest moment came at Ettinghshall Holy Trinity, and the award goes to,


The Groundsman - Wolverhampton Casuals (landlords)


He was busy mowing the training pitch with his petrol mower, when he noticed some stones on the pitch, so he left his mower to remove them. Un-noticed, his mower decided to slip into gear, and off it went, at pace, towards the main playing area. With the crowd cheering he raced at Calvin Smith pace and just got to the mower before it took out the linesman! A tragedy averted, but funny all the same.



Alan Minter Award Best Scrap


Two contenders, and the runner up is the Northampton Spencer v Raunds Town bought, which saw a couple of headbutts go unpunished by the referee in the midst of an all out battle, but the winner, without question is,


Wednesfield  v  Shawbury United


With the game delicately poised in the second period, a nasty challenge by a Shawbury player resulted in 22 players, and both benches having a full on fist fight. The Wednesfield fans behind the goal decided to make their way to the dugouts to have a go, it was all quite nasty. Completely out of his depth, the referee lost control, the battle continued for nearly five minutes, only to end up with a yellow card for the chap who had been fouled!



Ordnance Survey Award Hardest Place To Find


I'm not a bad finder of places, but as can be expected some places are trickier than others. Tipton Town was a ball ache, purely cos they'd built some new roads since my A-Z had been published. Eccleshill United is a mare, and the golden rule is don't follow the signs for Eccleshill! Alsager Town is an easy ground to find, location wise, but I dare anyone to find the entrance without at least four abortive journeys down various cul de sacs. Mossley was tricky, mainly due to the roadworks, and thanks to some local kids I ended up driving along a pot holed cart track to avoid taking a detour via Droylsden! Westfields wasn't easy, but they can be excused as the ground is new and the route hasn't been officially published yet, but the undoubted winner is,


Yorkshire Amateurs


The directions seemed simple, but the left turn next to the pub isn't the obvious left turn, that takes you towards Headingley! I ended up on the phone to an old University mate of mine, who lives in Leeds, and he ended up having to direct me into the ground with the benefit of an A-Z. A disaster to find if you don't know how, and with the area being hilly, and tree lined, spotting the floodlights is a non-starter.



The Werthers Original Award Friendliest Club


Some very friendly clubs on the non-league circuit, as you can well imagine, and the clubs that impressed me included Willenhall Town who will be a welcome addition to the UniBond League next season, while at Coventry Marconi everyone seemed to want to stop and have a chat, particularly if they sensed you were a new visitor. Salford City offered some typically northern hospitality, while Coalville Town and in particular the Chairman Glynn Rennocks were very friendly indeed. Pelican came a close second, they are another club who couldn't do enough for the casual visitor, but the winner is,




They have a new ground, and as a result they are being swamped on a weekly basis by groundhoppers from around the country. However, they have excellent facilities and go out of their way to help, and in particular the Chief Executive and Secretary Andrew Morris, who despite his busy matchday schedule took time out to meet and greet almost every visitor. They are a credit to football.



The Brigg Town Award Most Miserable Club


Brigg Town were always a miserable bunch, and even when they won the Vase twice they still struggled to raise a smile, and sadly they'll be inflicting their personality on the UniBond next season, but this season two clubs spring to mind. Rolls Royce Leisure, while not especially miserable, were very impersonal, probably due to the corporate set up they have to contend with. However, and this is just a one off personal opinion, I thought the following club were the least happy last season,




'Why?' You might ask? I was near the end of the season, it was raining, and you almost sensed that they wished it was May and the season had ended. They've had a poor year on the pitch, and a bit of managerial unrest, but that doesn't mean to say you can't smile for once does it?? Cheer up, and better luck next year!



The They're worth a goal start Award Best Supporters


Halesowen Town were impressive as ever, while Mossleys bunch can be sizeable and vocal, and they will be very welcomed in the UniBond League. Hucknall Town put up a great show at Shrewsbury Town in the Trophy, while out of adversity comes hope and that was wonderfully summed up by the followers of Aylesbury United, who combined support for their team with a protest against the regime that was taking the club down. They came a close second but the winners, and I say this very grudgingly, but they were fantastic on every occasion I saw hem,


Matlock Town


I'm not going to go on about it, suffice to say they were different class, and believe me, that's praise indeed.



The Alfreton Town Award Worst Supporters


Having been won for the last ten years, with very little competition by Alfreton Town, despite the best efforts of Ilkeston Town, it has been decided that the award is leaving Derbyshire for the first time in over a decade. So which set of moronic neanderthals is deserving of such an award? Who could be the spawn of Satan himself?


Fleetwood Town


I had the misfortune to witness them in action at Woodley Sports, and their language was quite appalling, not forgetting the attempts by a bloke to attack a Woodley player with his crutches!! Ok, they make good noise, and to be fair, at home, they didn't seem quite as bad, but on the road they are not the kind of chaps you would be inviting round to meet your granny! Alfreton were second by the way, they never change, or as one fan put it to me, 'You cant polish a turd!'



The Niall Quinn's Disco Pants Award Best Chant


Shrewsbury Town made me laugh with the anti-Telford chant, 'Your sister is your mother, your father is your brother, youre all sh*****g each other, the Telford family!'. While Matlock's chant about Ernie Moss and his magic hat was commendable. The lads at Belper are always renowned for their witticisms, and of course the anti-Matlock version of 'Away in a Manger', that gets aired on Boxing Day is always worth a chuckle. However, the winner was,


Aylesbury United


And the sad thing is, I can't remember the exact lyrics, but it was something about asking the Chairman if he is a man or a mouse, and one of the supporters girlfriends being a moose! It was genius, I just can't remember the full version. It involved one fan shouting out a question, with the rest of the crowd chanting the answer. Great work lads!



The Wincey Willis Award Coldest Ground


Eee, it wer cold, but not so much up North as you might have thought! Bacup Borough was sub zero, Antarctic weather, while Coventry Marconi certainly bit at the old tootsies. Ford Sports Daventry carried a chill, but the winner, unquestionably was,


Cogenhoe United


Not only was it a freezing night, but the ground is on the edge of the windswept marina, and has very little in terms of shelter. I lost the feeling in my feet around half time, and only got it back again when I was passing Leicester about half an hour after the final whistle. It is on nights out in Cogenhoe that we begin to question our sanity! 



The Frank Worthington Award Best Goal


Frank would have been proud of a few of the efforts witnessed this season, and one of the more publicised efforts was Chris Brindley's last minute winner for Hednesford Town in the F.A. Trophy Final. So good a goal it was that it landed Brindley the Managers job within a week. Sharp shooter Vil Powell grabbed a superb solo effort amongst his hat-trick at Graham Street Prims, beating two players before drilling in a low shot with ferocious power from the edge of the box. What made it so impressive was the fact that Powell needed no backlift to get such power in his shot. The legend that is Wayne Bullimore endeared himself to the Belper faithful with a stunning 25 yard volley against Matlock Town, it was the highlight of a shit season, but the winner was,


Liam Errington - Stofold


And this is how I described it in my match report,


But then visitors Stotfold took the lead, and then just before half time the best goal I've seen all season came when young Liam Errington, as the NLP likes to call him, picked up a weak clearance 40 yards from goal and flicked the ball up before half volleying over the retreating goalkeeper. It was Beckhamesque.



The P.S. DeVilliers (Fannie) Award Best Birds


A number of pleasant sites on my travels, and usually the totty comprises of bar staff / tea bar staff / players girlfriends. Matlock United didn't let me down on the players birds front, while Blackstones had some nice tea bar staff, along with Deeping Rangers, but since they had no pies, they ain't winning anything! Newport Pagnell Town, bearing in mind it was a very warm day, presented late in the second half some tidy players girlfriends. However, the award is unanimous,


Ludlow Town


This is the place for posh, student totty! Stood on the balcony that overlooks the pitch I was surrounded by a host of Davinias, Talis and Jess's who were looking forward to gong back to college to spend Daddy's hard earned cash. It did beg the question though, were they pure as the driven snow, or did they have the same qualities as the proverbial second hand dartboard!



Special Merit Award  - In Association with Appleby Slag Reduction (Brigg)


Every club in every league has someone who has seemingly been involved since the year dot, they mow the pitch, sort out the teas, edit the programme, wipe the referees assessors arse, and are generally renowned as being Mr (insert club)

And this year, with classic phrases such as,


'I'm at the bloody football woman, and you suddenly decide you need to go shopping, it's the Senior Cup tonight, I can't just leave.' Twenty minutes before a Lancashire Senior Cup tie was due to kick off


'Back a bit, back a bit, whooah, whooah, WHOOAH I said, bloody hell!' Helping park the bus at Fleetwood Town.


'It's a bit posh this.' On finding the bar at St Helens Town


'Is it on? Are you having a laugh son, it's been pissing it down all night, not a bloody hope, but thanks for ringing.' Following an enquiry if the big game against Ramsbottom had fallen foul of the weather.


We salute you,


Frank Manning Bacup Borough Secretary


A credit to the Tooting Cows, don't let the buggers grind you down!


The Stanleys - Mr X's End of Season Awards - Part One


While sat at my PC on a fine June evening, in the midst of making my selections for the end of season awards, I was troubling over a name for them, when suddenly, something happened.


My pet cat Stanley, leapt from his snoozing position on the nearby chair, and landed smack bang on my keyboard, he proceeded to bite my arm, before being swatted onto the floor. He then proceeded to race around my lounge in a deranged manner before attempting to scale the curtains. I managed to make contact with a tremendous right armed throw of a tennis ball, which dislodged him, only for him to move into the kitchen and vomit all over the floor.


Clinical assessments of my cat suggested it was indeed nuts, and this was confirmed a couple of days later when a neighbour complained about him chewing the bumper on their brand new Mitsubishi 4x4.


So in honour of Stanley, who is indeed barking (yes, quite odd for a cat!), the inaugural Mr X Awards, are named after him, please enjoy   




The Chris Kamara Award Best Game


A number of games come into contention, notably the Brierley & Hagley v Bustleholme game that finished 5-4, while Willenhall Town provided a contender with a 4-2 win at Ludlow Town. Barwell edged a thrilling local derby with Coalville Town following a 2-1 scoreline and NEWI Cefn Druids kept us entertained when going down 3-1 a home to Aberystwyth Town, but the winner is,


Aylesbury United  3   Bedford Town  3


A New Years Day classic, with troubled Aylesbury fielding a virtual reserve team after a players walk out, yet going into a 3-1 lead, only to see local rivals Bedford score twice in the closing stages to snatch a point. It was end to end, full of commitment, and deserving of a Fantastic, Amazing, Superb! Chris Kamara type match report!



The Alan Mullery Award Worst Game


Christ! I saw some tripe, including a dreadful goalless draw between Nettleham and Greenwood Meadows, and also Im sad to say, between Eccleshill United and Sheffield Club. However, the winner was not a goalless game, but it was wind spoiled and downright awful, so much so I sat in the car and watched most of it while listening to the radio.


Whats the final score Mullers?


Stewart & Lloyds Corby  0  Bourne Town  2


And it was truly dreadful!



The Holland 74 Award Best Team


A difficult one this, with a number of candidates, and its especially difficult given the wide varieties of standard of football seen, but in terms of entertainment, the runners up are Willenhall Town, who on two occasions never failed to produce the goods, while Loughborough Dynamo on the two occasions I witnessed them, were, aesthetically pleasing. Radcliffe Olympic were a goalscoring machine, while both Hucknall Town and Aberystwyth Town were capable, well organised, and efficient footballing outfits. However, for entertainment, quality of play, and for a general all round feel good factor, the winner is,


Retford United


Who have been a joy to watch, and on three occasions, Ive seem them rattle a total of 15 goals, and only concede three. People say they are a one man team, but unsung heroes like Mark Shaw, Kevin Noteman and Simon Hennessey deserve praise.



The Leeds United Award Worst Team


Poor old Thoresby Colliery Welfare must have dreaded my arrival at a ground, as I saw them ship five goals at Matlock United, and then seven at Radcliffe Olympic, whereas Greenwood Meadows, in the two games I saw them, failed to score, and looked truly unimpressive, however, the worst team, by some margin is,


Raunds Town


Who managed to cock up a 2-0 lead at bottom of the table scratch side Long Buckby, and lose 3-2, before a couple of weeks later capitulating 5-0 at Northampton Spencer, who themselves were no great shakes. Raunds fall from grace is truly impressive, daunting Vase battlers of ten years ago, now they are no more than cannon fodder.




The Marco van Basten Award Best Player


A number of players spring to mind, Ive already mentioned Vil Powell at Retford United, while from the same league I have to mention the excellent Dinnington Town goalkeeper Phil Rhodes. Ian Clarke was an unsung hero in the Matlock Town midfield while Wayne Bullimore, in the too few games he played for Belper Town, was simply different gravy! I was impressed by striker Dave Burraway at Loughborough Dynamo, as I was by Yaxley sharpshooter Michael Frew who is being tipped to make it into the professional game. Ricky Evans in the midfield for Aberystwyth Town was very nearly my choice, but the winner is,


Stuart Rudd Skelmersdale United


I saw Rudd play on three occasions, scoring five goals, including a superb hat-trick at Abbey Hay. He finished leading scorer, once again, in the North West Counties League, and was truly different class. He really ought to test himself at a higher level, but for some reason hes stayed loyal to Skem.




The San Siro Award Best Ground


I suppose the best ground I went to was Shrewsbury Town, but rather than pick the best ground in terms of facilities, Im going to choose this category based on the level the club plays at. I thought Barton Town Old Boys was a lovely ground, while in the Midland Alliance I was impressed with both Willenhall Town, and the very urban setting that is Oldbury United. But the league whos facilities impressed me the most was the North West Counties. Mossley is a fine football ground with a great atmosphere, while St Helens Towns Knowsley Road is a great setting, for Rugby League!! I was strangely taken by the efforts Squires Gate have made to develop their School Road ground, but the winner is,


Ramsbottom United


They have a superb ground in a lovely setting, incorporating three stands, a great tea bar, but more importantly, its very tidy and impressively maintained. If you get the chance, pay them a visit, on the downside though, because of the proximity of the river, matches easily go by the wayside in wet weather



The Hartlepool United (Before they improved it) Award Worst Ground


I dont want to seem to be unfair, as all clubs within the non-league pyramid do their best, and having a pop at them isnt really my idea of fun, but some places, to be fair, are horrid! Abbey Hay is a bit on the depressing side, while Woodford United was something of a let down as readers of my column will recall. Greenwood Meadows did little to inspire, as did Radford. Coseley Town and Wednesfield in the West Midlands League both have facilities that have seen much better days, but claiming their second award this season are,


Stewarts & Lloyds Corby


Who have a soulless setting, with demolished dugouts, a poorly maintained stand, and a pitch that slopes downhill steeper than Kitzbuhel! One to avoid, and judging by their crowds, most people do!



The I think Ill bring the missus next time Award Most Picturesque Setting


If I had a missus that is! Anyway, I liked Pelsall Villa in their leafy surroundings, despite the fact that the local kids decided to launch beer cans at us from behind the ground, while Bridgnorth Town is in one of the nicer parts of the World. Tadcaster Albion has a quaint appeal, which is probably due to the fact that its located in the middle of a brewery, while Barrow Town have a country feel to their home, but its not a great place to go without your wellies! The winner though,


Barton Town Old Boys


Nestled under the gaze of the Humber Bridge, the ground has see better days, but has immense charm, and on a nice day, its worth taking a walk into the town which is rammed with character and charm. Behind the ground runs a stream, which separates it from the branch line that serves Hull. Good pubs as well, in fact one groundhopper, who is very well known amongst his peers, met his future wife in a pub in Barton!




The Ill definitely take the Mother in Law next time Award Biggest Dump


Again, if I had one! I suffered some dodgy places this season, including the locality surrounding Tipton Town, and of course the town that they had presumably decided to shut down, Cefn Mawr, with its somewhat odd locals. Fleetwood was not a place to take a honeymoon, but the winner, by a considerable distance is,


Abbey Hay


Located in Gorton, Manchester, the place is typical of a suburb that might appear on a Panorama programme, bemoaning poverty, drugs, and a youth population hat is intent on terrorising the neighbourhood. On the night I went we had joyriding, police chases, impromptu firework displays, rowing neighbours and an irate mother turn up at the ground to try to drag her eight year old son back home. Its dimly lit, a bit scary, and if you are going to go, make sure you arrive early and park in the ground!



The Pulitzer Prize Best Programme


Some quality issues by a number of clubs, and obviously Shrewsbury Town produced a fine effort, glossy, professional and befitting of a full time club. However, as they are full time, they have the resource to devote to it, unlike both Radcliffe Olympic and Matlock United who did a really good job given the level of the pyramid they play at. I have three main contenders, and the runners up are Rushall Olympic, who have a very informative edition, but very heavy on stats, and also Curzon Ashton who strike a balance between stats, club news, news in general and editorial.


However the winner is,


Willenhall Town


Who combined original articles, stats, photographs, and the usual club stuff, to great effect, and is not the sort of issue, that puts you off due to its sheer size and overwhelming amount of repetitive pre-produced information.



The News of the World Award for Literature Worst Programme


I suppose anyone who produces a programme should be commended, but as is always the case, some do have a habit of looking as though they were knocked together in someones lunch break! And in the case of my old friends from Stewarts & Lloyds Corby, that was actually the case as they confessed! Northampton Spencers pamphlet was unusual, but the worst was,


Brodsworth Welfare


Why you might ask? It was poorly copied, lifted straight from the league website in many cases, handwritten in some areas, my copy was falling apart, and the use of the English language left a lot to be desired. Following the gist of the editorial was a challenge, but having said that, they didnt win anything at home all season, so at least the programme getting an award is some consolation!



Stella Artois, Two Pound Thirty A Pint, Award Best Bar


Being an alcoholic, this award, not surprisingly, has the most contenders. In the NCE League, I liked to modern facilities at Sutton Town, and the John Smiths dominated bar at Tadcaster Albion, while Retford United have spent a lot of money on the bar at their Cannon Park ground. Ludlow Town have a modern facility, while Prescot Cables have a spacious bar, but its just a shame about its inhabitants! Mossley was superb, as were the modern facilities at Aylesbury United, Daventry Town and Norton United. But the award was down to two clubs, and the runner up was the impressive bar, with good lagers and a large TV screen at Tividale, but the winner is,


NEWI Cefn Druids  


Now its not the most spacious, nor is it the most modern, but its friendly, clean, cheap and more of a pub than a bar, capped off with Wrexham Lager, which the locals allegedly like to be fed with until they want no more! A good excuse for going to Wales, of course, if you need one!



United Counties League Award Best Food


None of the bloody United Counties League clubs, that is for sure, not a single pie in sight, but we have four contenders. Willenhall Town did the most amazing burger and chips, on a plate, it was a meal in itself, while Studley did themselves proud with the finest chip butty this side of Strensham Services. The runners up are Newport Pagnell Town with their Bar B Q, but the winner is without doubt,


Oldbury United


With a chef insitu, they do specials, and on the cold night I went, it was his home made curry soup with bread roll!! It was fantastic, and in living memory, the only place that gets near it is Halesowen Town with their balti pies! The West Midlands is without doubt the capital of good fodderage!


Part Two Coming Soon !!!

Archived Mr X 2003-2004

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