Friday, 12 October 2012


Once again apologies for lateness, I'm just not very punctual these days really am I? There was a very valid reason for this weeks delay but I'll be covering that in more detail later on. The first and great thing to bring to your attention is our glorious derby victory against arch-rivals Brooklands. Ok ok, maybe arch-rivals is too strong, after all we played their 4th team and their 1st team are a national league outfit (albeit one that takes a regular beating). Maybe in the 1970s it was the case but it was a different time back then; goalkeepers played in cricket pads, all the sticks were whittled down from railway sleepers, the balls hewn from granite, the pitches churned into mud and.... you get the idea. Never the less, we'll take the points and the victory, our first points in Division 3 for many years and also our first victory actually IN Sale for maybe even longer.

I can't say it was comfortable. We're still feeling our way in a little bit, like the new kid in school. We're not back to our best standard and we're not dominating teams the way we know we can. I think that there are signs there that we can get back but as always with Sale the biggest battle is in the head. We need to believe in it first to make it happen. We need to be less the nerdy kid wanting to make new friends and be a bit more like Ray Winstone in the classic film SCUM. This is the time of the season where your reputation is going to be gained. Last year we trounced the first few teams and we ended up with teams turning up to play us fearing the worst. Time to step on a few more throats I hope!

So back to the #FORTRESSSALE this weekend it is to take on a team we played last year. Well, what I mean is that we'll be playing the team above the team we played last year from the same club. In case anyone doubted our 'plucky minnows' status that team will be said clubs 3rd team. I don't think we care about that nonsense though, all games are still 11 vs 11 on the pitch, a goal is a goal and 3 points is three points. Speaking of goals I'll be hoping to contribute myself to the tally tomorrow after coming close last week with some efforts that never quite came off right.

As a matter of fact my overall play and lack of finishing has led me into the unenviable position of being dropped earlier in the week. Now despite the respect I have for all the lads down on the 2nd team I cannot honestly say I was pleased with this state of affairs. I should say that I'm not for one second trying to sound like I've a chip on my shoulder I simply believe that being unhappy or angry at being dropped shows the passion and desire needed to turn it around again, and that a far more worrying reaction would be nonchalance or dismissive arrogance at the 'powers that be'. Now this week I've had an 11th hour reprieve from execution and so like a man returned from the gallows I've been given a new lease of life. My own performances haven't been up to the standard that I'd want them to be, for a whole host of reasons that I'll not cover here for the sake of brevity, but if that is to continue beyond tomorrow it'll only be because I've run myself into utter physical and mental submission.

The only thing I'd like to add to the issue of dropping is that it is, and has to be, seen as a challenge of character as much as of ability. There is not a single player within the 1st squad that can't compete and win in Div 3, but can every player stay focused for the whole game? Make that crucial decision when the pressure is on? Make that full-pitch sprint that stops the counter attack in the last minute? Thinking and saying you can isn't good enough anymore, we're in the world of actions now and by actions will squad places live and die.

Anyway, that explains my delay this week, I was mustering myself to deliver a blog on my dropping and have instead had to 'drop' (groan) all that and re-think. I have to admit doing this on the eve of battle is quite a refreshing change so maybe I'll wait this long next week too. Or maybe I won't, that's the kind of wild unpredictability you'll have to get used to on this blog!

Song of the week

Not easy this week. It's been a bit of a turbulent ride for me personally but the team have won some points and want to be lively. This rules out Radiohead (apologies Radiohead's #1 fan Harrison Daly). Instead I've gone for a poignant classic banger from the most famous Scousers in music. I hope we can all forget the Charles Manson links and enjoy this weeks song of the week: The Beatles- Helter Skelter

Belting track! Now after all the commotion going on this week you could be for given for thinking I'd forgotten all about this weeks new feature. BUT NO! Allow me to introduce the inaugural bi-weekly feature that is.....

The Teas League

Ok. So in Hockey (and other sports) it is traditional for visiting teams to have food (Teas) laid on by the home team after the match. It's a lovely tradition and yet another reason I love dedicating all of my Saturdays to this sport. It has long been a subject of intense debate amongst the lads as to which club offers the very best and the very worst teas after the match. So with that in mind, I thought I'd introduce the Teas league where we rate and review the Teas of our opposing teams throughout the season and rank them in a league table.

Disclaimer: This is only a bit of fun. I am an appalling cook myself and in no way a food expert. All criticism will be tongue-in-cheek and if any people/clubs choose to take offence please know that all reviews are intended to make no negative reflection on the friendly welcome and hospitality that all teams always provide us, for which we are very grateful and thankful for.

After a bit of debate we drew up three categories for reviewing the teas these are:

1) Substance- what the teas are, and their various health benefits/ drawbacks.

2) Taste- Simple enough to grasp this concept I think.

3) Presentation- How the teas are served and packaged.

All marks in each category will be out of 10, making a total score out of 30 for each team.

.... still with me? Ok. let's get started:

6/10/12 Brooklands away:

3-2 derby win and in the bar afterwards we were treated to our own officially 'reserved' tables where the following teas were served:

Aaah the classic Sandwiches and Chips combo. Let's see how we do:

Substance: Sandwiches have long been considered to be the typical minimum standard for teas. Easy to make, cheap to buy, boring and always met with a dispassionate reception. However, with the addition of hot chips on the side the case has been aided. Further marks are gained for (as Nick pointed out) the two forms of Carbohydrate available, aiding athlete recovery. Mark here 5/10.

Taste: Always going to be held back by substance but the sandwiches were fresh and came in several varieties (egg mayo very decent). The chips were hot and ketchup was available too. A solid 6/10.

Presentation: The above picture is of my own arrangement so no marks can be awarded for that. All food came foil fresh (fresh to death) and real crockery was provided. Nothing to complain about here and as it's the first week and I have nothing to judge it against I'm going to go all generous and give an 8/10.

So, our first entry straight in a #1 in the Teas leagues is Brooklands- Sandwiches & Chips with 19/30.

League table

1.Brooklands (Sandwiches & Chips)- S:5 T:6 P:8 Tot: 19/30

Wow. Gone on quite a while this week. Hope you've enjoyed it guys and thanks for reading if you've made it this far down. See you next week.... at some point.

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