Thursday, 25 September 2008

Barrow, Barrow... the Robins are going to Barrow

Forget David Beckham and his preening, poncing shot from his own half against Wimbledon, forget Pele's effort in the 1970 World Cup that just went wide and doff your Tam O'Shanter to Graham Capstick of Holker Old Boys.

Back in April 2007 Capstick headed a goal — from 57 YARDS!!!

A crowd of 37 saw the goal that could be a world record in a 2-2 draw at home to Chadderton. Speaking at the time Capstick said: “I hit it perfectly. It just flew over all the other players and then bounced about 16 yards out from the goal-line as their keeper came out.
"Then it just bounced over his head. I don’t think he could believe it — and neither could anyone else.
“Even I was shocked. I certainly wasn’t aiming for goal — I hadn’t scored all season.”

I'm not even sure if he's scored since. He definitely played last season but information on Holker Old Boys is scant as the world wide web doesn't appear to have got as wide as Barrow yet. Lets hope he's not in their team this weekend else Jay Foulds had better watch it. Sounds a great if freakish goal and you can guess that the wind coming off the Irish Sea had a hand in it.

This weekend the skies are meant to be blue, the ground is at the top of the hill, the clubhouse looks like a clubhouse should look like, there are rolling hills in the background and there is a rumour that the club serves Warsteiner on draft and the Wigan Robin Bastards are on their way - if they can get up the hill!!!

photo taken from the absolutely excellent Cheadle Town website and blog

All reports suggest that Holker old Boys are one of the most welcoming football clubs in the non-league world so it all adds up to being a good day out.

As far as Holker's form it's hard to judge as due to a couple of postponements they have only played three games in the league winning two and losing one. This week they crashed out of the FA Vase 5-0 at Colne in a second qualifying round replay but as we have found form and results appear to be all over the place in this division - unless it's the aforementioned Cheadle Town...

The Robins will not only be looking to build on last week's win but also improve their game as last week was a little scrappy. However with the sloping pitch and the fact that Holker OB tend to play fairly directly they may have to battle. Not that playing that way bothers them.

Oh... Daft prediction time 2-0 Robins (The Bear 2 - that's if he's finished feeding the slot machine in Las Vegas or somewhere)

Is that a rugby match being played on Rakesmoor Lane?

Oh no...

Monday, 22 September 2008

Two teams in Wigan, Tottenham Hotspur and Rochdale Town

This weekend I doubled up on the football; watching games at different ends of the football pyramid. One game had everything the modern game should have. Skill, endeavour, quality football, bad refereeing and the other was Wigan Athletic versus Tottenham Hotspur!

In fact despite the scoreline of the Robin Park game it wasn't the best they've played this season. What with Rochdale Town taking the lead with their first and only shot of the game on 24 minutes and then shutting up shop. The Robins huffed and Maurice Lindsayed but seem to be cluttered up front as they got more and more desperate as the game slipped away from them.

The players became frustrated and Mark Evans was sent off. When one of the Robin Bastards shouted "What the fucking hell is that for?" a Rochdale fan shouted: "For saying exactly what you've just said." So fair enough. So it's one nil down, down to ten men and just five minutes to go. No problem and cue Andy "Windy" Miller to get his first goal for the club. It was no more than he deserved as he had already hit the post and had an excellent game. Thinking we've got a deserved draw I muttered to nobody in particular: "Right keep it tight and no daft mistakes" just as the Robins got the ball back from the restart, went charging down the right wing as a perfect cross was met by Ben Kay to make it 2-1. Shows what I know about football.

All that was left was for the "best midfielder in Wigan" Ryan Small... that's "best midfielder in Wigan when Ben Kay is in defence"... to go on a wonderful run and finish superbly to seal the game at 3-1. Typical Ryan Small.

"When he gets the ball he plays football"

Another 3 points that make up for the 3 taken away for the admin blunder but in adversity and all that bollocks. First Euro away next week at Holker Old Boys - should be a good 'un. Oh and there was a great big H on the centre spot as somebody had been landing helicopters on the pitch. Helicopters in Wigan WN5 - whatever next?

While one of the Robin Bastards got out the talc and amphetamines (alright more like cod liver oil tablets) for the soul do at the Casino the rest made their way home as a few were going to Spurs next day. Three of us went via the train, tube and bus via half way around England. And amazingly it all worked out fine. Well apart from a fairly awful match. Nothing happened in the first half bar a Paul Scharner shot while eveybody pottered about the pitch enjoying the sunshine. The second half was slightly better and Spurs had a good ten minutes when John Lennon (or somebody) came on and we could have snatched it with a Kapo header - does Kapo mean head in some language? Cos if it did that would have been a head header or even a Kapo Kapor. Nothing else much happened apart from:

Chatting to the Wigan-based Everton fans on the train to Manchester and watching them run to (just) catch their connection to Hull. Not easy as two of their number were wearing flip-flops!
Chatting to some old soul boys that had been where our own Terry Thomas had been
Chatting to Essex Boy (via Leigh, Bolton, England, Talksport and Lancashire) Ronnie Irani. Top fella - and told us some good tales
Buses replace tubes from Manor House and talking to the poshest black lad ever on the bus. It was like talking to a young Don Warrington. Oh and him and his mate knew more about Latics than we did.
Getting off on the High Road and trying to find a pub that would a) let us in and b) wasn't dodgy. We ended up getting some food instead. Given that the world is your plate down there and we could have cuisine from anywhere in the world we went into Greggs!

Tottenham High Road

Into the ground and into the disabled section! Don't ask but I had to put a limp on and pretend to be Ned Sharples dad! I just about got away with it. One steward even asked if I needed help. The things we'll do for a free ticket...
White Hart Lane is a great ground and really loud. Not sure what the Egyptian lads in our end waving their national flag thought of 30,000 singing "Yid Army" though.
The match was dross as earlier mentioned, we had two keepers on the bench, our wide men were dreadful while the much-maligned Titus was excellent and we got a point. Would have settled for it beforehand but on reflection in sort of felt like two points dropped as Spurs were truly awful.
Back on a bus that went past a load of my old haunts and back to Euston, quick beer in the old Jolly Gardeners where the entertainment was provided by some pitbull/staff type dog shagging a Jack Russell. Fuck knows what those puppies will be like!! A visit to the samosa shop for some jackbit and offy for some beers.
And plonk ourselves down on the train to find the most gorgeous oriental girl in the lowest cut top ever, with the most perfect breasts ever, with her long dark hair nestled on her heaving bosom sat opposite us. Sadly she seemed more interested in her ipod than us drunken oafs talking football and bollocks. Anyroad she brightened our day. Bloody beautiful. Which is more than can be said about the afternoon's match...

Think ten times nicer than this...

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Lisa Stansfield, Brookside kisses and Wigan Robin Park v Rochdale Town

A fine figure of a Rochdale man

Rochdale is famous for loads of things and all of it's good. It's a proper place. It's got a great town hall that was built in the 1870s, they had the fattest MP ever - and he's still outlived most of his contemporaries. He did however live with his mum. A bit like Jimmy Saville... Well maybe not but the town has had its share of scandalous figures. Gracie Fields was rumoured to have been a bit of a go-er in her day while Lisa Stansfield enjoyed the dubious pleasure of Ice Docking (google it!!)

Another Rochdale resident Anna Friel shocked half the nation and turned on the other half by enjoying a lesbian kiss with Nicola Stephenson - who came from just up the road in Oldham. They must put something in the pies around that way as they have both matured into gorgeous women.

Anyhow I digress - Rochdale has also given us Don Estelle, the prostitute Monica Coghlan that was involved in some scandal with Jeffrey Archer, Bill Oddie and Colin "Dr Who" Baker. So I think they've done us on the Sir Ian McKellen stakes!

On the sporting front, though, I think we can say we've done a bit better than Rochdale AFC and Rochdale Hornets - the two clubs that share Spotland. That is not to diss them as they both have long and illustrious histories and both have been in existence for over 100 years.

There is however another two teams that share a ground and one of those teams will be at the Stadio de Robin Park this Saturday. Rochdale Town (nee Castleton Gabriels aka Cassy Gabs) currently share the grandly named Castleton Sports Centre with Rochdale Mayfield ARLFC and they arrive in WN5 next to the bottom of the league with just one draw and four defeats.

They shouldn't be understimated but the Robins will be looking to bounce back after their defeat at Leek CSOB. With
forecast and no Latics fixture it will be an ideal time for any Robin Park virgins to get down to th'athletics stadium. In this time of £160,000 a week wage packets, dodgy foreign owners and players that think they have been "treated as a slave" it is refreshing to note that players are still giving their all just for the pleasure of playing football. Admission is just £3, programmes £1.50 amd you never know Anna Friel might turn up.

"Zigger Zagger Zigger Zagger Robin Park"

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Billionaires, bling and bad times - fear not there's a non-league team that needs your support!

Geordies demonstrating - this time against Jerry Springer the Opera

What a few weeks it has been in the soap opera that is the premiership. We've seen the barcodes having their annual balling their eyes out moment as they realise that King Kev is not the Messiah but more a naughty boy. Whilst in the City of Manchester's council house the "long-suffering City fans" - what as long-suffering as Accrington fans? - are putting tea towels on their heads and genuflecting at the feet of royalty from a regime that doesn't give two hoots about human rights. But hey their previous saviour Frank Sinatra was deemed "good and proper" so who cares.

In fact who does care. It appears that cash counts and today's football fans are only bothered about who's got the biggest wad. Over on Merseyside Liverpool fans under the banner of Spirit of Shankly are marching because their rich owners are not rich enough.

Bill Shankly must be spinning in his grave.

Other Liverpool fans have formed AFC Liverpool

Disgruntled, disenchanted and disfranchised Manchester United fans walked away from their club when the Gimp Brothers Glazer indebted their club to catastrophic amounts. Some walked away from football forever - others formed FC United of Manchester. They are loving it. As are the AFC Liverpool fans. And the AFC Wimbledon fans.

However you don't have to form a football team just to get your kicks on a Saturday afternoon. Check the papers, open your eyes there is already one on your doorstep. Ask yourself why you fell in love with football in the first place. And whatever that reason was you can bet you'll get your fix at your local non-league team. For here are teams that are run on a shoestring that would actually welcome your support rather than treat you like a number/animal. There will be a clubhouse where you can have a beer. A terrace where you can have a fag. No stewards and police to shove you around. You'll speak to the players and you might even get the bus to the game with one of them. You might even work with the players and you'll know that they are not being paid 60k and wondering what bling to buy this week.

The referee will hear your abuse and you can banter with home fans and have a beer with them afterwards. This isn't the world of "Sit down shut up". More "Stand up and shout your head off".

Your £2 for a programme will help the club - as will the couple of quid you pay for your pint. And the quid for your pie will go in the club's coffers rather than the £4.20 that goes to some franchised plastic bollocks you get at premier league grounds. The raffle ticket will help the club buy a new match ball and the only agent hovering about in the background will be a travel agent on his or her day off watching the game.

And out on the pitch you'll see players that stay on their feet, that rip into a tackle and don't complain when they take a slight knock. You will of course see goals and incidents. Bad refereeing and missed chances. Everything you see at the top level. Including great skills. It won't cost £48 - more like £4.80 - to get in and you know that money will be helping to keep the club alive and not lining some rich chairman/agent/director/shareholder/player's pocket.

For as football at the top level descnds into madness the time is absolutely ripe for the normal fans to reclaim the game and what better place to do it than down at your local non-league side.

Friday, 12 September 2008

The Leeky road to the top of the league: Leek CSOB v Wigan Robin Park preview

Right I'll fess up - as Tony Soprano might say to Dr Jennifer Melfi - I know absolutely nothing about Leek CSOB so if in doubt consult good old Wiganpedia

Tony Soprano is Ryan Edwards!!

So here we go

Leek County School Old Boys Football Club (usually shortened to Leek CSOB) is an English football club based in Leek, Staffordshire

The club was formed in 1945 and has been in continuous existence since then. They were Leek Minor League champions and Leek & Moorland League champions in 1962, and also won a number of local cups.

In 1984 CSOB were among the founder members of the Staffordshire Senior League. They won the championship of the league (which by this time had changed its name to the Midland League) in 1996, which gained them promotion to the North West Counties Football League Division Two. Two years later they were promoted to Division One, but lasted only three seasons at this level before being relegated back to Division Two, where they remain to this day (although it is now called Division One).

What I also know is that they play in red and white - so it's Orange & Navy for the Robins, they play at Leek Town's Harrison Park - where I spent a boisterous night watching Wigan Athletic many years PW (Pre-Whelan) and they currently lie ninth in the league with five points from five games. They did however lose just 1-0 away at unbeaten Cheadle Town in the week and by all accounts played well.

Harrison Park

The Robins will look to build on their fine victory at AFC Liverpool and should welcome back Ryan Small - if he hasn't run off with one of his mum's bridesmaids and Adam Whittle and Dean Callaway from injury. Meanwhile Darren Mullen should be well at home in Leek as it is well-known for it's antiques!!

It'll be a quieter away terrace than of late as the Wigan Robin Bastards will mainly be found in the stadium next door to th'athletics stadium watching Latics but rest assured they will be back for the long (and drunken) trip to Holker Old Boys

Oh and can anybody give me a lift as it looks like a 'mare to get to!!

Monday, 8 September 2008

Wigan ensure AFC Liverpool walk alone with no points

It was almost summer, walking through town on Saturday morning. Well it wasn't raining anyhow and a series of checks on the AFC Liverpool website (and numerous text messages) informed us that the game was on. Great stuff. Down to the station and jump on the 12.29 to Prescot.

Now we're from Wigan and are in no position to comment on other towns but the initial thought when alighting at Prescot and seeing the closed-down Doghouse pub was: "Who'd live in a town like this?"

It all looked a bit desolate to tell the truth! But armed with the information that The Fusilier was a good and cheap pub we headed in the only direction possible and wonder upon wonder ended up at the said pub. Well our information was half right - it was cheap. Not that it bothers our lot. Nobody bothered us, racing was on the telly and the beer was drinkable.

With ten to three upon us we left for the ground - and good to see people walking to the place, going in through the turnstiles, buying the programme - incredible value 64 pages for £1.50 - and heading straight to the clubhouse bar for a swifty.

Needless to say it was raining by now and there was only one place to head for and that was the AFC Kop where we quickly made ourselves heard. And good on the scousers as they kept the singing going despite the scoreline remaining at 0-0 by half time.

Spot the ball

They had a good little atmosphere going whilst out on the pitch the two teams looked evenly matched. At this point - knowing we had five players out for various reasons (including our star player being at his mum's wedding!) - I'd feared the worst but the Robins lads battled for everything, kept their shape superbly and will well worth the nil-nil scoreline at the break.

We managed another swifty before having the joy of cahnging ends at half time. Bloody hell, changing ends. It takes me back to Northern Premier days watching Latics.

The game had now opened up a bit and we were beginning to edge on top and it was one of our new players, Andy Greaves, that took on the AFC defence before being brought down for a nailed-on pen; with which Ben Kay sent the keeper the wrong way!

We were still celebrating when a well-worked move resulted in an equaliser for AFC. But fear not these Robins lads are of stern stuff and on 70 minutes more good work from Alan Greaves led to an own goal from six yards out sending the Wigan Robin Bastards into raptures.

After that it was a bit backs-to-the-wall but the defence marshalled superbly by Dougy Pitts held out resulting with all three points going to the Robins.

We naturally went into the bar to celebrate the victory.

A great day out. Good to have some banter with the home fans, visit a good old ground, Prescot Cables were great hosts and the AFC fans were a credit to their new club. However plaudits must go to the players of both teams who put on a good display in difficult conditions. And of course to the WRP players that were magnificent. It's beginning to shape up as a good season and you get the feeling that the Robins and AFC Liverpool will be in with a shout come April.

We grabbed the train back to Wigan in time to ignore the England game on the telly in Berkeley Square and the Pear Tree

Forza Robin Park

The Wigan Robins Bastards are well chuffed with the result

Many thanks to cablestiger for the excellent photos; you can find more at

click on images to enlarge

Thursday, 4 September 2008

"Well sometimes I go out, by myself, and I look across the water": Wigan Robin Park v AFC Liverpool

“While for some people, sick and tired of being fleeced ruthlessly by the multinational conglomerates that many 'big' and even medium-sized clubs have become, following AFC will be an alternative to 'big-time' football, there is absolutely no reason why it cannot also be there as a complement for those unable to wean themselves off the grease paint and adrenaline of the all-singing, all-dancing Premier League.

It may well be that this kind of football experience may not be everybody's cup of tea, particularly those who happen to enjoy waving to the camera when it's on them at the match, music being played over the tannoy after goals and shiny stadiums with plastic seats and loads of leg-room.

However if you like having a pint and a delicious 50p hot-dog while you're watching the game along with a laugh and a sing-song while cheering on normal fellas (who aren't enslaved by big, evil clubs who pay them lots of horrible money) who'll be trying to win without trying to cheat or maim each other, then you might just find it's right up your street.”

Dan Kay Liverpool Echo 17 July 2008

Although the writer is talking about AFC Liverpool the above is pretty much spot-on when describing our thoughts about Wigan Robin Park FC. We can echo that word for word and it is pretty much the ethos of the Wigan Robin Bastards.

Amongst our ranks we have always said is both an alternative and a complement. It will therefore almost be as interesting to see in the flesh what is happening at AFC Liverpool, as it will be watching the actual football match.

The lads involved in Wigan Athletic’s fanzine Mudhutter Football Express have – over the years – forged a bond with the lads and lasses over at FC United of Manchester Football Club so it will be interesting to see the differences and similarities from afar and of course from a neutral basis. Whereas FCUM was formed out of a protest movement the formation of AFC Liverpool has the backing of Liverpool FC. As I say it will be interesting and as is the case of the two cities there will inevitably be many differences and – as the residents of both hate to admit – even more similarities.

The magnificent Philharmonic Pub where the idea of AFC Liverpool was first formulated

That however is all for discussion at a later date and the reason we will be at “Oh why don’t you come on over” Valerie Park on Saturday is to watch the Robins attempt to end AFC’s 100% record of played four won four.

Indications are that it should be a decent game with both teams capable of scoring goals. It will be interesting to see how the Robins cope with the notoriously bumpy VP pitch after games on the Stadio de Robin Park’s excellent surface and Stone’s even better one!

However Ryan Edwards will be well up for it - following on from his hat trick on Tuesday along with the fact that he spent his formative years at Liverpool. It will also be a chance for the players to enjoy themselves and show off their talents to a wider audience. With really skilful players like Ben Kay coming to the fore, the organisational skills of Dougy Pitts and the tactical nous of John Neafcy and the backroom staff we should be in with a shout.

As normal it will be a case of may the best team win - as long as it’s us!

Of course we’ll be maintaining our own philosophy of:

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

So we’ll be having a pint (or six), chatting about the events that have taken place this week in the soap opera that is the Premiership and singing some daft songs. Oh and eating some pies – they better be decent!

AFC Liverpool play their home games at Valerie Park, Eaton Street, Prescot, Merseyside, L34 6ND.

You can get a flavour of the ground by looking at the following excellent blog - it’s definitely an old school ground!!

Directions by Car: From North: M6 to Junction 26, onto M58 to Junction 3. Follow A570 to junction with A580 (East Lancs Road). (Approach junction in right hand lane of the two lanes going straight on). Cross A580 and take first road on right (Bleak Hill Road). Follow this road through to Prescot (2 miles). At traffic lights turn right, straight on at large roundabout (do not follow route onto Prescot by-pass) and right at next lights. 100 yards turn right at Hope and Anchor pub into Hope Street. Club will be in sight at bottom of road. From South: M6 to Junction 21a (M62 junction 10). Follow M62 towards Liverpool, to junction 7. Follow A57 to Rainhill and Prescot. Through traffic lights at Fusilier pub, 100 yards turn right at Hope and Anchor pub (as above). From East: Follow M62 as described in "From South" or A580East Lancs Road to Junction with A570 (Rainford by-pass), turn left and take first right. Follow route as "From North".
Directions by Train: Walk up Station Road (turns into Aspinall Street) and when you get to Warrington Road look to your left and you should see the ground – if in doubt just have a pint and ask behind the bar!

Meanwhile you can check out all the news on AFC Liverpool and find their forums @

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Wigan calm Hurricane Maurice and hit the bads for six

Ashton's firm arrive at the th'athletics stadium

It started off as Hurricane Maurice – all puff and blow - and ended up as Hurricane Father Jack Whelan – overpowering, wet and nasty. Somewhere amongst this a game of football was played and Wigan Robin Park fair battered the Bads from Ashton Town.

The final score was 6-1 with a hat trick from Ryan Edwards, two from Ryan Small and one from Adam Whittle. It could have been a hat trick for Small but as the song doesn’t go – “he got the ball and played (the) football” - wide of the post from the penalty spot!

Although the scoreline doesn’t suggest it, Ashton Town weren’t too bad and took the game to the Robins with the 2-0 half time score slightly flattering the home side. However after the break as the monsoon turned into a hurricane WRP took total control and were soon 4-0 up. It would have been five but for Small’s penalty miss as Ashton went straight to the other end to make it 4-1. This was a mere blip as Ryan Edwards got two more finishing neatly – one from the rebound from another missed penalty- and there can be no gripes. It was an excellent performance from the lads in the most appalling September conditions imaginable. The superb pitch held up – if the game had been played at Vizwear Towers fifty yards away it would undoubtedly be called off – and the decent crowd were treated to some good football. Credit must go to both sets of players as to produce anything resembling football on a night like this takes no little skill nor courage – as the ripping tackles confirmed.

As is the norm down at the Stadio de Robin Park kick offs were delayed and the match actually finished halfway through News at Ten. Our Lobby Gobbling mate was the linesman again and he didn’t do too badly. That’s not too badly compared to the other mon who got almost everything wrong. But hey… he probably couldn’t see the other side of the pitch – we couldn’t.

Robin’s Nest refreshed us; plans were made for the ordinary to Prescot on Saturday. We didn’t spot Kevin Keegan although we swore we saw somebody with a tea cloth on his or her head. In fact that could have been somebody with a tea cloth over his or her bowl of chips as it was raining that hard who knows. Oh and the Robins now have eight points from five games and a healthy goal difference as they go into the next two away games.

It’s shaping up not too badly

Monday, 1 September 2008

Wigan blow it in a Paula Yates stylee

They used to say that Paula Yates gave the best blow job in the rock business. Well on Saturday Wigan Robin Park FC gave the best blow job in the Vodkat NWCFL as they surrendered a two goal lead in a game they dominated from start to finish.

Two goals ahead after 36 minutes this is a game they should have won and all the players, management and supporters will be kicking themselves.

On 28 minutes Adam Whittle latched onto a well delivered through-ball/hopeful punt (delete as applicable) from Jason Foulds to finish well as a confused Eccleshall defence looked on.

Eight minutes later it was 2-0 as Dougy Pitts supplied the cross, and Ryan Small found the net from just inside the box with a tremendous headed goal.

After that it was the Robins game to lose and unfortunately they conceded just before half time. After early second half pressure from the visitors the Robins again began to boss the game and looked in control. It was however another mistake in midfield that led to the equaliser.

Undaunted WRP regained their shape and with the penultimate kick of the game Ryan Edwards found himself with just the keeper to beat but hit his shot tamely at him. The shotstopper gathered his thoughts, booted the ball down the pitch as the referee blew the final whistle as Eddy hit the deck distraught knowing he could have won the game.

It would be wrong to put any blame there as yet again Robin Park failed to turn possession into goals. As one of teh officials said at the end of the game it was 12-2 on chances to the Robins. On the plus side it was another game undefeated and for the spectators there was some good football to watch and a nice appetiser for the derby tomorrow

It would be amiss to mention that the game finished at something like 6 o'clock! Mainly due to an injury to the Eccleshall keeper and the fact the game kicked off at 3.09pm - due to everybody waiting for the female referee's assistant getting ready!!
Many thanks to Migs for the excellent photos