Friday, 29 August 2008

It's the Wigan WN5 Show this weekend

According to some internet site “Eccleshall lies in the gentle unfolding Sow Valley, in one of the most picturesque parts of Staffordshire.” Bloody hell – they’ll be in for a shock when they get lost in Worsley Hall and ask for directions in The Monty.

Then again it’s the Eccleshall Show this Saturday so I’m not sure how many of Eccleshall’s spectators will make it to th’athletics Stadium for the Vodkat League game against the Robins. I mean you can see the Wall of Death at the show – then again you could see this if you walk past the Marsh Green Bottom Shops. Not sure if there is an equestrian show in “the Bonk” this weekend. There will however undoubtedly be a dog show in a field somewhere!

Marsh Green's Top Dog

And as for horticultural matters I’d suggest Wigan WN5 is a hotbed of plants – of a certain kind!

As it is Eccleshall FC lie 13th in the league after a win and two defeats . After beating Rochdale Town 3-2 on the opening day of the season they have suffered narrow defeats against Leek CSOB and Daisy Hill; going down by the odd goal on each occasion. Early season form suggests the game will be tight and there’s no reason to doubt this.

The unfortunately named Reverend K Hunt - an early stalwart for Eccleshall FC. According to Eccleshall's site: "Kenneth Hunt was a magnificent defensive wing-half with muscle, skill and speed who performed without any sort of fear whatsoever."

The Robins will still be kicking themselves after failing to pick up all three points in a game they dominated at – the team that plays down the road from Eccleshall – Stone Dominoes and will be hoping that they can convert the possession into goals this week.

I’m predicting the first Robins clean sheet of the season and a decent 2-0 victory.

With a good number of the Robins fans taking in Latics' game at Hull – what with it being a new ground and all that – it might be a quieter ground than last week. But rest assured that “the noise” will be back next Tuesday when the Ashton Bads roll into town…

Meanwhile get that Robin’s Nest open and let’s get stuck into those bacon barms

“Zigger Zagger, Zigger Zagger Robin Park”

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Wigan get a draw while their fans get a pint (or two!)

Click on relevant image to enlarge (oooh er missus)

"Zigger Zagger, Zigger Zagger Robin Park"

Oatcakes with cheese and bacon

In a game that had everything including strange-looking food known as oatcakes, a lobby-gobbler as a linesman and the first time that "You've got AIDS off BIll Kenyon" has been heard on the terracing in years; Wigan Robin Park came away with a 2-2 draw.

The Robins had to come from behind twice but were by far the better team throughout the ninety minutes. Stone's first came from the defence losing their shape for the only time in the game and allowing Dan "De Vinci Code" Brown to get his first on 25-minutes. It took just ten minutes for Ryan "He gets the ball and plays football" Small to glide in and put a cracking header into the net. 1-1 at half-time. Second half and they get a penalty completely against the run of play - and it looked a penalty from 60-yards away so we can't really complain giving the De Vinci boy his second. Then all the pressure. Their keeper Dick Stone - they had a pair of Stones on their books - pulled off a series of cracking saves before a good move was converting by Andy Neafcy from the edge of the box. The final six minutes was all Wigan but the third didn't come.

Well that's just about what happened on the pitche and as the saying goes:

"Anyone who knows anything about football knows that football is not about football. Anyone who does not know that knows nothing about football."

So here's a few highlights of what was a cracking day out:

Minibus on time, Tony L not - so nothing new there. Horrendous traffic on the motorway due to Creamfields or something. And down to a pub called Labour in Vain and another minibus parked outside. Here we go who the bloody hell is this? Villa, Stoke, a hen party? Sadly none of 'em as we settled down to Guinness Red, Black Sheep and Bombardier. The walk to the ground was literally down a country lane and then into the Stone Dominoes complex. And what a great set-up. Another two games going on, A nice smattering of WAGS, a very fine clubhouse that resembled a cricket pavilion. The Dominoes and the incredible playing surface. The sun shone as the Robin bastards gathered along the terraced side. Noisy as ever. daft as ever. Golly baiting the Lobby-Gobbling linesman. Giving Olde Bastard some good-natured stick whilst quietly admitting he had a bloody good game. Wrights meat and potato pies as peppery as owt. The ref was decent - their keeper was a good old get and took the stick well.

And then oatcakes with cheese and bacon and more pie. And cans of beer and smoking on the terracing. "Feed the bear and he will score", "Zigger Zagger, Zigger Zagger Robin Park" and Pilps giving us a solo version of Red, Red Robin goes bob, bob bobbin' along".

So close to a winner and then back into the club for some more beers, more jackbit, craic with the team and officials and back home up the motorway stopping for a piss-stop in the pissing rain and then charging into The Anvil back in Wigan singing to the bemusement of the punters.

A great trip for the Wigan Robin Bastards first away and special thanks to all onboard this groovy train. Finally thanks to the players of both teams and the match officials. A real tough, whole-hearted game that saw some full-bloodied tackles yet no dissent (apart from their keeper obv) and no yellow or red cards. Oh and thanks to the Stone lot for their hospitality...

The Robins players all performed superbly but Dean Callaway just about shaded the man of the match award. He ran the channels superbly, gave the team great width and stretched the Dominoes defence all over the place.

Great stuff - next two home games against Eccleshall and (the derby against) Ashton Bads and then AFC Liverpool away. Can't wait

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Stone the crows it's darts and doms neet

Well this is going to be odd. Darts and Doms - in the afternoon!

And in Staffordshire as well. Let's hope they bring the pies out early and it doesn't kick off between players on the same side as somebody has "knocked" rather than "laid". I've never got doms to be honest. Just seems a load of old men banging the table, arguing and falling out. Then again when I played cricket in London for STC - a mainly West Indian side - I've seen some spectacular doms games when the rain's been falling. Fuelled by Dragon Stout and the players harbouring long-held grudges that went back to Bridgetown in Barbados (where dominoes in the Caribbean is as much a part of the culture as cricket) I've seen tables fly over, doms chucked across the room and punches thrown.

It made the backroom arguments in the Brick seem tame in comparison.

As for darts - I just don't get it and I was never any good at maths!

Anyhow on Saturday we are actually on our way to Stone Domninoes. The next opponents for Wigan Robin Park FC. The team play in a village that appears to be in the middle of nowhere and the strange name actually comes from the fact that the club was founded in 1987 at St Dominics Catholic Church Scout, Cub, Beaver Group in Stone with a team of 8 year olds. Dominics becoming Dominoes.

Since 1987 the club has come on great strides and in 1995 moved to their Springbank Park ground. A complex of three pitches and - according to reports - a brilliant playing surface on the main field.

This season Stone started with a fantastic 5-2 win at Chadderton before losing 2-0 at home to Cheadle Town in front of a good crowd of 87. Last Saturday they beat Walsall Wood - of the Midland Combination - 3-2 in the FA Cup.

This will be a historic occasion for the Robins with it being the first away game in the Vodkat League. With the Doms playing in red it will be interesting to see what colour we turn up in though we have heard a whisper that Oranges are not the only fruit or summat like that. In fact I've always wanted to sing: "Come on you oranges", if only it would scan properly. But then again that's never stopped us in the past.

Well the bus is booked, the bastards are on the way, the beers will hopefully be ready - when we converge on some unsuspecting country pub - and we can only wish John Neafcy and the lads all the best and assure them we'll be behind them all the way. Now who's holding that triple five?

Proper Darts & Doms Food:

Pasties, black peas and boiled ham butties and definitely NOT Domino's Pizza

Onboard playlist:
Domino Dancing - Pet Shop Boys
Layla - Derek & the Dominoes
Big Six - Judge Dread
Blueberry Hill - Fats Domino
Stoned Soul Picnic - Laura Nyro
Street Fightin Man - Rolling Stones
Like a Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan
Dance to the Music - Sly & the Family Stone
This is the One - the Stone Roses
Domino - Van Morrison
Cinderella Ballin' - Angie Stone

And Miss Robin Park 23 August is Joss Stone (right) - hopefully she'll bring her mate along

For a good look at and report on Stone Dominoes' ground check out this excellent blog

Monday, 18 August 2008

New Wigan club shop open for business

The first product in a series of merchandise for Wigan's newest football club:

Top quality enamel badge £2.50 now available from the Robin Park Arena on matchdays

And coming very soon for the supporters:

The infamous Wigan Robin Bastards small enamel badge

Keep your eye on the blog for more updates

Wigan are up and running in a red and white-hooped stylee

The rain stayed away, the wind roared, the kick off was delayed for the Sky cameras - well maybe not - and Wigan Robin Park picked up their first three points of the season.

Sixty Six minutes - it took to equalise against a dogged Irlam side but from then on the result was never in doubt as the Robins produced some neat football playing into the Asda Twister.

In truth WRP were the best team throughout the game as they sought to get the ball on the deck and wide at every opportunity. It was out wide that Dean Calloway caused major problems and it was his cross that was converted by Adam Whittle. A fine finish with the right foot from close range. (nb that last bit was copied and pasted from the official site as I was in the bog at the time and just heard the roar from the Robin Bastards and Taffy "Mr Showbiz" Roberts announcement of the goal scorer - eventually!)

The big lad came on and just as Ned Sharples said to me: "They'll never handle this lad" he rounded off a great move to put us ahead. It was Ryan Edwards again that made the game safe with a great header on 81 minutes.

By now the Irlam Golly (sat in the stands) - and he was Golly to a tee - was ranting and raving at nobody in particular. The game was over for them as Wigan saw the remaining ten minutes out

A fine win and it's good to see the Robins on the march.

In fact what more can you want: Great football, Robin's Nest tea bar open, nice little programme, a linesman with specs on, the new kit not running and looking very, very good and a few beers in the Red Robin afterwards.

Yes, the Red Robin. How deceptive can a pub be? Outside it's all families welcome and wacky warehouses whilst inside the whole clientele is mad. I'd been in the previous night and it was crazy. There was a gang of mixed race girls in - half Norley Hall, half Marsh Green - and they were gloriously drunk and gloriously good-looking. Unfortunately at tea time on Saturday there were a gang of fat girls discussing their sexual preferences, three Robin Bastards and the Wigan Robin Park players and management.

The Bastards made their excuses and left as the heavens opened.

Next week sees the inaugural away trip for the Wigan Robin Bastards- it should be fun!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Irlam risk the rain and pain of the Stadio de Robin Park

Irlam - Is it Manchester or Warrington? Nobody seems to know

Irlam Football Club was formed as Mitchell Shackleton Football Club in October 1969 when Phil Mitchell met Ernest Shackleton in a boozer halfway up Rivington Pike. Okay so it was really the employees of Mitchell, Shackleton and Company Limited, an engineering company based in Patricroft, Eccles that started having a kickabout that got out of hand.

However come Margaret Thatcher come the recession and the end of funding. The company that was formed in 1887 was to continue trading in Eccles until 2003 when the last machine was lifted onto transport in October that year bringing an end to the long association of engineering in the Green Lane area of Eccles

The club was initially headquartered at the Oddfellows Arms, Patricroft, before moving to St Michaels Community Centre, Peel Green, The club changed its name at the start of 2001-02 season to Irlam Mitchell Shackleton in anticipation of its move to Irlam. In 2006 the team dropped the Mitchell Shackleton suffix to become Irlam Football Club playing its home games at Silver Street in Irlam.
It sounds a nice place but a check on multimap indocates it lies between the M62 and Ship Canal and just off Liverpool Road. Should be a nice little away trip through Salford anyway!!

Last season WRP played them in the Manchester League drawing 1-1 at their gaff (in the Robins traditional bad start to the season) and then beating them 3-1 at th’athletics stadium. This season Irlam are in the North West Counties Division 1 along with the Robins and they started their campaign with a 1-0 victory over AFC Blackpool at home. However this intial euphoria was doused out as they got tonked six bowt by Norton United down in the shadowlands of Burslem.
The Robins will be looking to bounce back from Saturday’s defeat in what promises to be an interesting game.

Maybe more updates during the week but for now:

Altogether now “I O Robins, Robins I O”

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Wigan Robin Park Bootle it

Four Boys That Shook WRP

By Mudhuts correspondent Terry Thomas - as I was busy window shopping in Amsterdam at the time.

Robins 0 Bootle 3

The first game of the season proved to be a painful one for the Robins as they ended up well-beaten by an impressive Bootle side. The next few months will give us a better guide to what kind of season we can expect from the Wigan team and maybe they ran into one of the better sides in this league yesterday.

The day started off badly when I discovered that all the programmes had been sold despite me getting there 25 minutes before kick off. Apparently 100 were printed yet there were only about 30 people on the ground this early so some ground hopping geeky bastard must have grabbed more than a few copies. Not that I’m bitter, though I did get told off by a fellow mudhutter for chunnering on about it a little too much. Then the coffee machine decided to go on strike and bang went my half time cuppa. Call me old fashioned but smaller clubs should always have a catering staff consisting of a mother & daughter. The mother should be chubby but cheeky and the daughter slim and attractive. Both tea and coffee should come out of the same huge urn with neither tasting remotely like they should and a bowl of sugar with a sticky spoon should be on the counter. The red hot tea/coffee hybrid should be poured in to the thinnest plastic cup imaginable, one that starts to lose its shape with the heat. Refreshments should consist of pies, wagon wheels and crisps.

Anyway up we trudged back to our seats and watched the second half unfold. It went much the same way as the first with Bootle in control. Disappointingly the Bootles didn’t have any players call George, Paul or Ringo though there were a couple of John’s. The Robins looked understandably nervous and the free flowing football we saw in the friendlies seldom made an appearance. Our attention wandered to the lineswoman on our near side and a thought provoking discussion on the merits or otherwise of woman officials ensued.

Our reverie was abruptly shattered by the stadium announcer bellowing out to the Bootle bench to use the supplied boards when making a substitution. This request was somewhat ignored and a more threatening “WILL YOU PLEASE USE THE SUPPLIED BOARDS WHEN MAKING A CHANGE!” resounded round Wigan & District. Reports of a woman having a heart attack in Aspull are as yet unconfirmed.

The game petered out and hopefully now that the first day nerves are out the way the Robins can move on.It was nice to see a decent crowd on too. Next up is Irlam at home ko 3pm.

I sent a text to the rest of the Robin Bastards mob informing them of the score. They are over in Holland on some Bensonlike scouting mission which will no doubt involve beer, drugs and ladies of ill repute. As for me I finished up in a tent nursing a warm bottle of lager at a mates 50th birthday barbecue, and yes it was still pissing down.

Thursday, 7 August 2008


As the Stadio de Robin Park (or more commonly known as th'athletics stadium) prepares for the first Vodkat North West Counties game the good folk at Bobbin' Along will take you on a virtual tour of the stadium. Buckle your seat belts and enjoy...

The stadium is the only all-seater stadium in the NWCL - apart from those people that are stood around the ground fagging the ball. It is also the only stadium in the world that is located in between two rivers. To the east runs the world famous River Douglas (or Duggy to the locals). The next bit is from Nickapedia - I'll credit it unlike some Wigan authors that seem to rely on it for research. Mr Maconie? Not saying a word.

Anyroad here's what Nick says: The River Douglas, also known as the River Asland, is a river that flows through Lancashire and Greater Manchester in the north-west of England. It is a tributary of the River Ribble and has itself two tributaries, the River Tawd and the River Yarrow.

At Tarleton, the Douglas is joined by the Rufford Branch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. In 1714 an act of Parliament was passed allowing Robert Holt of Crooke Hall to make the Douglas navigable to small ships. The river rises on Winter Hill on the West Pennine Moors, and flows for 35 miles through the town centre of Wigan and onto the Ribble estuary past Tarleton, the last 10 miles or so being tidal. In 1892 the Douglas was diverted in Wigan to the site of Wigan Central railway station.

In real terms it's a dirty old stream where you occasionally spot fish amongst the dead prams and Asda trolleys!

On the western side of the ground runs the Loire river. Well that's not stictly true. It's more a road called Loire Drive that I assume the council named Loire as Wigan's twin town Angers is in the Loire Valley. There is also an Anjou Boulevard - how can you have a boulevard in Wigan WN5? While Soho Street and Frith Street are around the Asda area. I can only assume the council named these due to the world famous Wigan Jazz festival and that as the Soho area is long associated with jazz and Ronnie Scott's jazz club is in, Frith Street, Soho W1. Either that or the sleazy bars and brothels in the area. I'm not entirely sure why Montrose Avenue is named Montrose though!

The stand on the west side is where you'll find the Wigan Robin Bastards and is affectionally known as Robin's Nest after the tea bar below and the 70s sitcom featuring Richard O'Sullivan as Robin Tripp. This is the rowdy section and you may here these old men belt out "Red, Red Robin" (to the tune of Al Jolson's classic) or "We're Wigan Robin Bastards" (to the tune of You Dirty Northern Bastards).

Another classic song (ok I made it up earlier and to the tune of Robin Hood) is:

"Robin Park, Robin Park
Charging through the glen
Robin Park, Robin Park
And their drunken men
Football that is rich
Prices for the poor
Robin Park, Robin Park, Robin Park"

There will be loads more songs as the season progresses. They'll come to fruition on the trains and in clubhouses such as Holker Old Boys and I guess drink will be involved.

Opposite this is the Riverside Stand. Name after the old Kentucky Fried Chicken Box stand at Central Park.

The end at the north of the ground could be called the JJB Stand or we could even copy those imaginitive people at Whelan Towers and call it the North Stand. But no - we believe in tradition and it shall be known as the Shevvy End after the grass knoll at Springfield Park.

The opposite end is Th'Asda End.

An athletics track surrounds the pitch. Here you will see all sights and sizes trying to get fit for the Olympics. That's the Olympic Kebab House, Beech Hill. It also gives the assistant referees and referess some space between themselves and Golly when he is in full-baiting mode.

And that concludes the virtual tour.

We'll see you in the bar after the game - mine's a Kronenberg!

All the very best to the players, management and everybody involved at Wigan Robin Park FC for the 2008/9 season

Monday, 4 August 2008

A season ticket for the price of ONE Premiership game

Premier League ticket

It couldn't have escaped anybody's notice that the price of Wigan Robin Park's season tickets for their first season in the Vodkat North West Counties League cost the same or less than ONE premiership match! As fans of Wigan Athletic - that watch their football in the shadow of the Stadio de Robin Park prepare to pay £35 to watch their team at West Ham United - Robin Park are offering season tickets for the same price. That's £35 for 17 games. Two pound and a bit per game.

OAP's and under 18's get their's for £17: and you don't need Carol Vorderman to tell you that's a quid a game!

Cup games are extra but who can grumble about that.

Oh and the money goes directly to the club rather than some player that has spent all summer looking for a move/more money before slotting a penalty in a friendly and before kissing the badge on his shirt

Unlikely to be seen at Robin Park this season - Thank God