Tuesday, 29 May 2007
We asked them what they thought of the day & here's what Steve said:
"My mum thought it was really enjoyable day. The atmosphere was friendly, so much so that she wants to be added to Andys DHSFC e-mailing grouping. So if the weather's good you might have her cheering you on from the touchline at Belair Park next season.
The National anthems were good, they struck me (whilst adding a professional touch) as being more of a humerous touch (the joke being that no-one expected such a level of professionalism) so to me it seemed immediately funny.
The programme was a great read, and the colour cover was superb!
The referee seemed to be an amicable gentleman, this undoubtedly added to the friendly atmosphere, can you imagine what it would have been like if he'd been a bit of a cretin?
The football was devoid of any bookings, or even unsavoury incidents and appeared to be played in a good spirit.
The weather held up, but only just.
A humerous point, I suppose, was the announcement that the 'tea bar' was open, but then finding it was only selling burgers & sausages and not cups of rosy! What sort of impression was that to give to our 'Johnny Foreigner' guests...not even selling our own national drink?
It was nice to see some of the older Hamlet shirts being worn. The Pink 'n' Blue quarters, which was going back to the late nineties, I think.
At last I can put a face and a name to Mr. Onionbagblogger. Presumably he left early as he was due at a facny dress party as a 1960's Tour de France cyclist?
I personally achieved a little lifetimes ambition and sat on the actual Dulwich Hamlet First Team bench & couldn't resist the opportunity to give the dugout a Martin-Eede-style SLAP!!! It actually doesn't take that much effort to get the SLAP sound so reminiscent of seasons 2001/02 to 2005/06...
It was weird to see the curious (to a non-smoker) sight of several players who were substituted..and lighting up straight away on the touchline!
We both got obvious pleasure from seeing both sets of our visiting friends having such a good time.
It's mind boggling to see something that started off as an idea grow into a real event, and featured in 'Time Out' as well. In my view this tournament has the potential to grow...LARGE!
The only slight downer was that I was suffering from a bit of a cold, so didn't stay for the boozing in the bar afterwards.
Thank you to everyone who organised the day, it really was appreciated, and thanks for being invited down, pitchside, to sit in the dugout!
Roll on the second 'Pa' Wilson Cup! "
Nice words, thanks to Steve & Claire for letting us know how the day went for them.
Sunday, 27 May 2007
International Tournament on the hallowed turf of Champion Hill. Just as 'a dog is not just for Christmas', your football is not just for 'showboating on the big pitch!'. We need players available for games such as these away to Bromley, not that far away after all; and any Hamlet fans reading this who have not played for us before please feel free to pass on your contact details to be added to our squad email list to Andrew.Tucker@justice.gsi.gov.uk
But back to Norman Park, on the borders of the English quarter of suburban London & the match that took place there. Once again we were hampered by some late drop outs, and the rushed call up of 'guests', but this did not stop the Hamlet roaring into a two goal advantage thanks to a brace from Joe Gillam, before Le Bromlei roared back to take a three two lead at the break. Early in the second half we equalised thanks to Chris Garrett, and that was how the score stayed until the last few minutes of this well fought, but friendly natured encounter. With not long left on the clock Matt Hammond in goal was elbowed, on the blind side of the referee with his guide dog being the only pooch in the entire park that failed to see it, and it was 4-3 to them. The same player who committed this 'non existant' foul had gone in on Matt with a late challenge not long before, with his goal disallowed. He proceeded to spend the remainder of the game getting niggly, moaning, and throwing his 'toys out of the pram', the only one on the pitch not really adherring to the 'IFA Spirit'. So when they did take the lead it was only 'justice' that Alex Bushell, for us, got the final touch for an own goal, which none of their lot could claim! We went straight on the attack to try to claw back the game, & the old man in black redeemed himself by over-ruling their lino who was flagging for a non existent offside. As play continued we won a corner which Bromley failed to defend properly as they were still 'discussing amongst themselves' the offside call. Whilst their 'Mothers Meeting' was continuing instead of getting back and defending properly we levelled up the match following a bit of a goalmouth scramble! Joe Gillam getting the final touch to claim his hat-trick. This was another good performance from The Rabblers, especially so when we lost our home game against the Hayes Lane Ultras 6-0 at Belair Park earlier this season. Seasoned veteran Ferenc Morath rolled back the years, all forty six of them!, to have an excellent game at centre back, possibly one of his best ever for us. Alex Bushell performed well, as did Chris 'Tubby' Tabrett when he came on at half time; though he has still to score that all illusive first goal for us he keeps on promising. And Steve 'Big Vern' Rickerby must have relishing the return of Matt Hammond in goal, so he could have what is becoming for him a rare runout on the park, having been stuck between the sticks for so long!
Despite not winning the game (& let's face it wins are a bit of a bonus for us!) we were outstanding for the first half hour of the match, passing the ball round well, a cracking all round team effort, whipping the ball in like seasoned professionals! The final whistle came with the traditional shaking of hands between two teams that may not like each other too much when the big boys play (not that that will happen too much now that they are in the Blue Square South!) but whu, underneath the surface, I think both sets of fans have a bit of begrudging admiration for each other!
Roll on the summer cricket match between us both!
Haye Lane Ultras 4 Dulwich Hamlet Supporters 4.
'The Rabblers' line-up:
Matt Hammond, Chris Garrett, Luke Gillam, Alex Bushell, Andrew Tucker, Ferenc Morath (Chris Tabrett), Jack McInroy (Ian Wright), Steve Rickerby, Joe Gillam, Josh Gillam, Relwyn Reffell.
Hamlet goalscorers: Joe Gillam (3), Chris Garrett.
Saturday, 26 May 2007
Missing from our line up will be 'Scouse' Chris Wheeler. Now he's a Tranmere fan, so he hasn't been on the rob at the European Cup Final over in Athens or anything like that. No, he's just plain old fashioned 'under the thumb' today, and his other 'arf won't let him go to the game. Usually that is totally unacceptable, but we'll make an exception today as...
he is getting married to SAM, in Ravello, on the Amalfi coast in Italy! Team manager Lawrence Marsh wasn't quite sure if this was a genuine excuse or not, so he's made sure he wangled an invite to the wedding to make sure!
Best wishes to them both, not just for the big day, but for the rest of their time spent together! Who knows...give it a few years & it could be a father & son or daughter running out playing for "The Rabblers" together. Don't knock it Chris...Mick & James O'Shaughnessy have shown it can be done, as have Phil Mitchell & his lad! So once the honeymoon's over son get those boots out and polished!
(And if anyone has any photos of Chris at his stag weekend in Nottingham last month when he wearing a fetching white dress with flowers on & donning a wig we'd be most interested to receive them...)
Thursday, 24 May 2007
The final score was Dieppe 2 Red Star 2 & if you look at this English report of the match & scroll down to the fourth photo you will see a snap of us with our Hamlet flags!
We were made really welcome, once again, by the Red Star fans, who seem to think we are rather crazy crossing over the Channel to cheer them on.
It was back in March 2005 that we actually travelled over to Paris for the first time to play Red Star supporters'. This was our fourth foreign tour, our inaugrial one to France, and our first ever full eleven a side match abroad. It was a wonderful day from start to finish, as we won the supporters' game 3-2, thanks to a superb Lawrence Marsh hat-trick. We were treated to a meal afterwards & were then guests at their First Team match later on. Without a doubt it is the most wonderful and emotional day I have ever experienced in all my years as a humble member of "The Rabblers".
Click on this link here to look at the archive photos of the day from the Red Star website.
This is the last resting place of TOMMY ROSE, a Dulwich Hamlet player who died in the First World War.
Last weekend Mishi Morath, Paul Griffin & Mark Hutton visited the spot to pay their respects. The commorative book listing the fallen simply told us:
ROSE, Bombadier, T, 6147. "B" Bty. 156th Bde.Royal Field Artillery. 2nd August 1916. Age 35. Son of Alfred and Elizabeth Jane Rose. B.29.26.
The Commonwealth War Graves visitors book was signed in our names. Where it said 'address' we merely stated: Dulwich Hamlet Supporters' Football Team.
Under comments we simply left the message: TOMMY ROSE B. 29. 26. A PLAYER FOR DULWICH HAMLET FOOTBALL CLUB. REMEMBERED AT LAST!
We each lifted up some of the soil in front of his headstone & placed, in turn, a Dulwich Hamlet enamel badge, before covering them over. Forever this piece of foreign land will be part of Champion Hill. Myself & Paul then carefully pinned a Dulwich Hamlet scarf around the stone, with the word Dulwich facing outwards below his regimental badge & above the inscription at the bottom, whilst Mark looked poignantly on. Even though there was only the three of us there it was an extremely moving moment, & we felt we were paying our respects on behalf of you all, we know that even if the rest of our team was not there in person you were all with us in spirit.
Fittingly, next to the cemetery is the local football ground, home of Rouen, who compete in the same division as our friends from Red Star. It somehow seemed like just the right spot for him with the floodlights towering over. If the fixtures fall well I plan to go back there to watch them there. If anyone would like a weekend away, & pay their own respects to Tommy Rose at the same time let me know & we can sort something out when the French CFA (fourth division) fixtures are released for next season.
Wednesday, 23 May 2007
This is a 10.45am kick off at Norman Park, Bromley. This is the big park behind their Hayes Lane stadium.
The squad who are available for the game is currently as follows:
If anyone else can make it, but have not yet informed Andy, please do so as soon as possible: Andrew.Tucker@justice.gsi.gov.uk
Unfortunately I am at work so there will no 'first hand report' from 'Rabbler', but I hope to give Andy a call for a run down on the match, & include a brief run down on the match, based on his comments, later in the weekend.
"At first I would like to thank Andrew, Lawrence, Mishi and all the other organizers who made this international tournament come true. You did a fantastic job!
When Andrew contacted me last autumn and wanted to have a small friendly in Tallinn, I agreed at once. These kind of matches are always interesting and everybody has a lot of fun. When I subsequently received an invitation to the Dulwich Hamlet Supporters' International Tournament I was really surprised-basically both teams did not even know each other. After quick consideration we decided to go for it, because it sounded like an interesting adventure.
Andrew helped me find a decent hotel; he & Mishi guided us from Gatwick airport to our hotel; & on SAturday morning Mick & Chris led us to Champion Hill stadium, which we all appreciated.
To be honest, I did not have a clue what to expect from our opponents. We arrived in London almost with the best squad we have, only a few good defenders stayed at home. We did not really think how the results would go, our main purpose was to have fun & that we definately did!
Especially memorable was our last match against PSG Belgium supporters. The first half was a bit difficult for us, but after our great comeback in the second half, I and probably everyone in our team were sure that we were going to win this game. But like many times what has happened in our League matches back home in Estonia-we know how to throw the game away. The Belgians were very good and they kept fighting to the end. That was the key to their victory. Congratulations to them!
In Estonia we play in several tournaments every year, but The 'Pa' Wilson Cup was one of the best we have participated in. Well organized, nice & hospitable people, an excellent friendly feeling and good football-what more can you desire?
Thanks & see you in July!"
I don't know about you, but reading through that was wonderful! I am really looking forward to visiting Estonia in July to renew our aquaintances with JK Jalgpallihaigla!
I know none of us speak Estonain, but click here for their report of their day at Champion Hill in their own language!
Monday, 21 May 2007
Wednesday, 16 May 2007
"I'd like to thank everyone who was running the tournament. The weather was ok, even though when we played there was a little rain. But it was nothing like the stroms we had last year at our 5-a-side tournament in Onhaye.
I think the games were very good, and especially the last game against the Estonians. What a great comeback we had. To be honest, I can't believe it yet...to think we were losing 5-2 with only eight minutes left to play, yet we won 7-5!
Now you can say that we play like a real English team, in that we never give up!! That's because we have played "The Rabblers" 2 or 3 times over the past year, so we gradually become more English and lose our technical game...
But for me, on a personal note, the most important game was the one against yourselves. Because you are good friends it is always a special occasion and if I'm right it is the first time we have beaten you in an eleven a side game.
It was a very long journey for all of us which started at 5.15 am and finished at 4.30am on the Sunday. But it was worth it. I am so happy that we won the tournament and of course I will marry Danuta next year!
A big thank you for your bottles of champagne.
Our team had a great time in Dulwich, good wins, plwnty of pints, & a few of us...they met some nice girls...
So it really was a great day for us!
Once again thank you to you all!"
A wonderful message from Nicloas there, though I can't let his comment go by on the 11-a-side games without responding.
Yes PSG Belgium did beat us for the first time, but only with some Dulwich Hamlet 'guests' in their ranks; AND-more importantly-only over 60 minutea. If this match was a full ninety minute one it is quite clear that "The Rabblers" would have come back from a mere three goal deficit in the 'final half hour'. And besides it would have been palin rude to win our own tournament, as a true English gentlemen we simply could not do that! ;-)
Thanks again, Griff!
Monday, 14 May 2007
The first one is here from Mr. Onionbagblogger,
& the second one here is from Norm.
A big thank you to both of them.
I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did.
Sunday, 13 May 2007
Thankfully, it went smoothly enough, & the inaugrial Dulwich Hamlet Supporters' FC International Football Tournament was a triumph! Even the overnight rain held off, apart from a few light showers.
I'm not going to go into detail about the matches, Paul Griffin will be offering his match reports, which I will link to here later.
The competition was great fun, with not one bad tackle, and no cards shown by the referee. In short it was the festival of fun we were hoping for.
The show opened with an introduction & welcome speech by Cllr. Columba Blango, of Southwark Council prior to the first of the trio of games, the opener being Dulwich Hamlet Supporters' versus our Estonian guests JK Jalgpallihaigla. He then went to the centre circle & set the ball rolling for the ceremonial kick off alongside our captain for the day Jack McInroy.
We lost the match 4-1, and though, in truth the Estonians were a better side than us, the score did flatter them somewhat, and we had some decent chances ourselves.
The second clash was ourselves again, against PSG Belgium. A nine goal thriller, unfortunately for us we conceded six of them! So it was ourselves who would end up with the 'wooden spoon', though we weren't too downhearted about it. For it was turning out to be a great, friendly day of football. The last game of the day thus turned out to be the 'final' as well as the last group match.
The Estonians needed to win to be declared champions, whereas a draw would secure top spot for PSG Belgium. This would be by virtue of them having equal goal difference of +3, but having scored more goals. So who was going to be declared champions? I think the busiest person was the one whose job it was to secure the 'winners ribbons' to the cup with plenty of chopping and changing! PSG were initially in the lead, but Jalgpallihaigla pulled to back to roar into a 5-2 lead, with the cup almost packed into one of their suitcases back to Tallinn! But the plucky little Belgians fought back like lions to take the tie, and thus the tournament, by the amazing scoreline of seven goals to five!
So, after the playing of our respective national anthems, and the presenting of medals to the referee, competition top score, &amp;amp;amp;amp; player of the tournament, & then third place & runners up trophies & medals to Dulwich Hamlet Supporters' & JK Jalpallihaigla it was the moment for proud PSG Belgium manager & chairman Nicolas Lucas to step up to lift the first ever Dulwich Hamlet Supporters' FC International Tournament 'PA' WILSON CUP amid cheers from his fellow team mates as 'We are the champions' by Queen was played over the tannoy!
So the football was over and it was time to socialise and relax in the bar over a few beers & lemonades.
Later in the evening a group of us, from all three teams, adjourned to 'The Gowlett' down the road. Just when you thought this day couldn't be topped there came a moment that will truly make this day one that will never be forgotten. The PSG Belgium top man Nicolas Lucas called his girlfriend Danuta over, & in front of a hushed crowd of expectant Belgians, Estonians and Englishmen & women, he went down on one knee and proposed to her...
We also owe a huge thank you to Nick Mc Cormack, managing director of Dulwich Hamlet Football Club Limited, for allowing us full use of the Club facilities for the day absolutely free of charge.
We were honoured to have Councillor Columba Blango, from Southwark Council, as our guest of honour to open the tournament & to actually kick off the first match!
Thanks to the tournament referee Freddie Collins for taking charge, without him there would have been no competition!
Thanks to go out to Liam Hickey for setting up the PA system. (I did my best to operate it, sorry I wasn't that good at it!)
Paul Griffin, for the excellent programme colour cover, & (I suppose, pat myself on the back, if that's allowed) myself for the writing and collating the contents inside.
Jack Payne, the new chairman of Dulwich Hamlet Football Club, for his attendance, & agreeing to present the trophies and medals at the close. Also to long standing Hamlet fan Brian Weber (first game in 1947!) for assisting him.
To Lindsey & Jim, for organising the music in the bar afterwards, and running a food bar.
Also to one of our squad Robbie McClintock, for acting as official photographer on the day. We hope to have his snaps on here on the not too distant future.
As well as those of Paul Griffin, who will also be doing a tournament report, watch this space, as we lift it from his Norm blog.
I hope I haven't left anyone out! If I have this is an honest oversight & not a snub!
Also thanks go to PSG Belgium & JK Jalgpallihaigla for coming over to London to take part.
And, just as important, thanks to all of "The Rabblers" squad for being here, including those who 'guested' for PSG Belgium, and who happily paid our higher tournament subs of £10 per player. We obviously do not charge our foreign friends to take part, and our overheads are high on the day, hence the raffle. The trophies & medals, engraving included, alone cost over £250! So well done everyone for paying with a smile on your face & understanding this...apart from one who it would be churlish to name, but probably resents it as he has 'played at a higher level'!
After the tournament ended we held a raffle in the bar to help cover some of the costs of staging the tournament. This was a great success, and I cannot let the raffle pass without saying a big thank you, not just to everyone who bought a few tickets, but to all those who generously donated some prizes, large or small. The raffle roll of honour is as follows: Bill Azzi; Tessa Jowell MP for Dulwich & West Norwood; Ferenc Morath; Mishi Morath; Mick O'Shaughnessy; Steve Rickerby; & the Dulwich Hamlet Supporters' Trust, who donated a selection of souvenirs from their Club Shop. And thanks to Paul Griffin & Andy Tucker for going around the bar to sell them.
It only seemed right & fair that the excellent top prize of a DVD player (most generously donated by Steve Rickerby) was wending it's way to Tallinn, as they had travelled the furthest to take part. I wonder if Currys have ever 'exported' one there before?
That's the end of my 'Oscar winning speech' here, it only leaves me to say thank you for reading it!
Except to say that the JK Jalgpallihaigla have their own website too! If you want to say thank you to them for coming over just click on our link to the right under 'foreign friends Estonians'
then click on the Union Jack at the top right, then go to guestbook on the left.
Tuesday, 8 May 2007
This is the Parc des Princes stadium, where PSG play. I took it when I got to Paris on the Friday, so I would have a nice clear snap in daylight.
Saturday...no signs of pre match nerves here.
Very few snaps from the game, I spent most of the match, until I had a late run out, filming clips of it on Larrys' camera phone. Hopefully a small DVD compilation of it will be on sale, with proceeds towards team funds, will be available in the not too distant future.
The tension on the bench...
Looking relieved that half time has arrived...
Posing with the flag after the game
And again...with yours truly in it this time! ;-)
We played on the superb ulta-modern all-weather pitch. This is the main grass pitch adjacent to it, where PSG reserves play in the CFA Division (level four, the same as our old friends from Red Star) We used the main changing rooms under the stand.
This is Danuta, partner of PSG Belgium chairman Nicolas.
After the match we partied in the car park, as there was no bar there, with copious amounts of Belgian beer-literally crates of it- magically appearing from the boots of their cars. I thank them for bringing coca cola too!
What is it with old people & weak bladders?
Down in one!
Take a lesson from one of the locals...
Well Big Nose started it...
Back to the station...well we are tourists...
Where's your Tardis gone...
And so to the big PSG game in the evening
It's that lovely Belgian lady again...
Show me the way to go home...
The chap on the right was on all the news-stands. Just before we arrived one of their true national icons was buried in what was, almost, a State Funeral.
And so to the local non league game on the Sunday afternoon...
"Should be a good game..."
"Bloody hell! It's worse than Dulwich Hamlet when Martin Eede was manager!"
The height of sophistication...wine in a plastic glass!
Are they all yours?
Late that night two rather worse for wear drunkards merrily get back to our hotel...
Well it could be worse...the other one might've been in his boxers!
A rarely seen thing: Phil Baker with a non-alcoholic drink!
And on that note...thanks for looking through.
Saturday, 5 May 2007
But please not that sometimes this site will appear dormant, but will still be added to.
I don't have the time, nor the technology, at the moment to fill it every day, or even every week.
Postings should quieten down following May 12th.
In the meantime of any of you want to write anything at all, perhaps taking inspiration from some of the questions I asked Andy in his interview below, then please feel free to email them to me at email@example.com & I will post them up on here. Don't all rush at once! ;-)
Rabbler: Coming up soon is our first ever International Football Tournament. How exactly did that come about?
Andy: We've been mulling over the idea for quite a while now, a number of different people have been suggesting it. So we sat down and considered inviting a whole bunch of teams, and we've been extremely lucky that both PSG Belgium & our new friends from Estonia have agreed to come over. Lots of people are chipping in with help here and there to make the day a success, it's been a real team effort.
Rabbler: We've been on tour abroad quite a few times ourselves now. Which ones have you enjoyed most?
Andy: I missed the first two, but I've enjoyed all the other ones I've been on for different reasons. Rimini in particular in 2004, because it meant I was no longer a 'tour virgin', plus it was on the coast,and I went there for longer than the weekend & it was a bit of a holiday for me. Also, last May in Namur for the PSG Belgium tournament was rather special. It was great to be hanging around with everyone & Nicolas, Danuta & their friends were excellent hosts. It was good to meet up with friends we'd made the previous year at the RFC Liege tournament. But it's still hard to single one or two trips out, I've loved every 'Rabblers' tour I've been on.
Rabbler: How long have you been turning out for the Supporters' Team? Do you remember anything about your first game?
Andy: I'm getting old now, I've been playing since I was fourteen, that's thirteen years ago! My debut was on the old all weather pitch at Burgess Park. It was against 'sex case' Gary Clark's team, I played right midfield, but I've no idea what the score was, whether we even won or lost, but I do seem to recall that I thought there was something a bit 'noncy' about him even then...I'm sure he was eyeing me up! ;-)
My first away game was at Bishop's Stortford in January 1995, we won comfortably, 5-0, or 5-1, something like that. I remember setting up the first goal. It was the day I became one of "The Rabble", matching Mishi drink for drink in the pub, I think he was rather impressed! For quite a while afterwards I was known as Andy 'Two Dogs' Tucker, in tribute to the vast wuantity of that alcopop I was downing. That was also the first game Roger Deason played after banging his heas, causing him minor brain damage-seriuosly!- in our record 15-2 defeat on the all weather pitch at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre a few weeks before. Which also happened to be the game where Mishi stabbed our keeper Matt Hammond in the changing room afterwards.
Rabber: Though I understand your lengthy service to the team nearly came to a premature end very early on...
Andy: Ah yes, that was in only my second season. You were with me that day. We were away to Hitchin Town Supporters' in the first leg of the Canary Cup, and the First Team match had already been called off. Surprisingly the park pitch they'd booked was playable, so they said. In fact it was like an ice rink, and only 'playable' because they hadn't actually booked the pitch, and were using it without the local councils permission. There was heavy snow on the way up the A1 Motorway, & it was freezing over on the tarmac. It was extremely dangerous, and cars were sliding into each other all over the place. I wasn't actually aware of this because I was nodding off in the back seat, as was the other passenger Jamie Wyatt, as our driver Larry Marsh, valiantly tried to battle on. Until another car clipped us. I suddenly woke to find us spinning, facing the wrong way with two bloody great lorries coming towards us. Thankfully they managed to slow down, as they were probably more accustomed to the conditions as professional drivers, and we managed to get over to the hard shoulder. We waited for the police to turn up, who did nothing and were no help at all, & we eventually got to the match at about half time. The worst thing was we didn't get any sympathy at all from the rest of the team, who couldn't care less about our tale of bravery, & brush with death. To cap an awful day we were pulled over by some really stroppy coppers driving home through London, who were moaning about our back light & bumper being smashed in the crash. I remember Larry exclaiming: " You know I think he was just trying to confuse me, and he did a really good job!"
Rabbler: You've been in charge of the team with Larry for about two and a half seasons now. How do you think this season has gone?
Andy: We seem to have hit our natural level, after over achieving somewhat last year, when we reached the quarter finals of the IFA National Cup, and went on a couple of decent unbeaten spells. Organisationally it's been more difficult this year with players dropping out very late when they'd promised to turn out, & less players being available on a regular basis, which we need to do something to rectify. Though it's not all doom and gloom. We've got some younger players coming through now, who haven't played regularly before, which bodes well for the future. I just wish more Dulwich fans would offer to play, the more the merrier.
Rabbler: We're off to Estonia in July, uncharted territory for us. Why pick there and how much more exotic can future tours get for 'The Rabblers'?
Andy: Estonia came about because I'd been there a few years ago, it's such a nice place, & I'd made some contacts there. So after chatting to Larry it was agreed to try to arrange a game there. That didn't work out with my contacts, but through the internet I found out about the Estonian National Supporters' Team and they agreed to play us. At around the same time I noticed a Worthing fan posting on the Ryman League messageboard under the name 'Esti Rebel' so I sent him an email. Initially it looked like we'd play his team as well, but he stopped replying. I don't know if he moved or what. By bizarre coincidence he also played in the only supporters' game we ever played away to Worthing supporters' when Mishi scored that own goal from a supposed defensive clearance that flew back with the ball getting wedged into one of the stanchions! That was also the game where Matt got on the wrong train at London Bridge, and ended up only going in goal for the last quarter of an hour or so. Maybe Mishi was getting his own back on him for getting the wrong train... As for future tours, well we're even looking to expand beyond Europe, and investigating Morrocco. Damon Green has some contacts at the British Embassy there. And there is even further potential with the possibility of budget flights over to America in the next few years. My dream tours would be to Australia, and also to Madagascar, where I have family roots.
Rabbler: Ah, Madagascar. I believe you have some sporting ambitions there?
Andy: Yes, I've actually, half tongue in cheek, half serious, sent a letter to the Madagascan Football Association offering my services. They are absolute rubbish, though I didn't tell them that, and they might just agree to give me a game or two. They will probably tell me to piss off for being so cheeky, but if nothing else I might just get a nice rejection letter on fancy headed notepaper.
( Rabbler notes: Madagascar are currently 151st in the FIFA world rankings, sandwiched inbetween Burundi & Luxembourg. Guyana, who Hamlet First Team player Shawn Beveney plays for, are listed at 162. Englands Euro 2008 qualifier opponents are higher at 129. And no matter how poor England are playing at the moment you can take comfort from the fact Scotland are 59th, squashed between the 'mighty' Zambia & Uzbekistan! And in case you're wonderinf, & I know some of you out there aew sad enough to be...the worst of the lot are Guam; Turks & Caico Islands; and rock bottom American Samoa.)
Rabbler: The motto of the Internet Football Association is 'building bridges', but football is no hippy lovefest in reality, so which teams would you pull up the drawbridge on?
Andy: Um...QPR without a doubt. They preach the IFA spirit, but go against it when you play them, & keep on digging out Preston on the IFA email list for not wanting to play them, which is hardly building bridges! Reading, even though we've never actually played them. We tried enough times this season, in trying to get out London Cup group game on, but they kept on pulling out of the dates, as a result we missed out on the chance of qualifying for the semi final stages, by default. Not the end of the world, playing football is the main thing, but it would have been nice to say we made the semi finals. Some might expect me to include the AFC Wimbledon supporters' team here, but actually I think they're a decent bunch.
As for building bridges, that reminds me that we hope to build one over Hadrians Wall sometime towards the end of next season & go on a weekend tour to Scotland to play one or two of their IFA teams. Watch this space as they say!
Rabbler: As a player who can perform both roles what do you actually prefer-keeping goal or being out on pitch?
Andy:Well my 'claw hand' is almost back to normal (Andy got injured, badly hurting one of his fingers, in goal away to West Ham United supporters' earlier this season) so I hope to be able to resume between the sticks next year, but for the Supporters' Team I prefer to be out on pitch. We are 'of a standard' where I can get away with it, generally speaking, so I love it when both myself & Matt are available for the same game.
Rabbler: Over the years there must have been some funny moments with the team...
Andy: I'm sure there have, but I'll have to think about this one... (We come back to this question, and then it's difficult to stop him.) Gareth Taylor announcing his retirement from the team on the terraces at a Reserve Team away game at Uxbridge, with myself & Mishi killing ourselves laughing! He has subsequently said that he never retired then, but we have continually taken the mick out of him ever since! Then there was the 'infamous' Hitchin town tournament where Mishi chased Damon across the pitch with a microphone stand at about three o'clock in the morning. The Liege tour, when Rear-Admiral Phil Baker of the Belgian Navy was badgered into admitting in a bar that he didn't think he'd had sex in James O'Shaughnessy's lifetime...James was eighteen at the time! We then said we'd call up and order him company from a local 'lady of the night', to which he had no problem, until we were actually on the phone, he realised we were serious, & his bottle went! So far as we know he STILL hasn't had sex in James' lifetime! Then there was James himself falling hook, line and sinker for the drugs test joke in Namur, at the PSG Belgium competition. It wouldn't have been possible without the collaboration of Nicolas Lucas, of PSG, who was also in on it! The funniest thing about that was we didn't tell him it was a wind up until over six months later! There's so many things now, it's hard to stop. Not long after my debut at Bishop's Stortford, which I mentioned earlier,I said that I could also play in goal. So a few weeks later I was selected as keeper at Orchard Sports for a home game with West Bromwich Albion supporters'. Amin Haque was expecting to keep goal and he already had the top on, so I went across the changing room and asked him for it. He just grinned and laughed at me, but then he realised I was serious, & he went silent. After the game he took it back, as he needed it to keep goal back at Champion Hill, as he was helping out Kevin Holland in the local primary schools penalty competition. I was watching him during this, & one little kid by me piped up: "That's not fair, that keeper's not trying!" The sad thing was he really was giving his all, but just wasn't good enough, even against nine year olds! Not sure if this one is funny or just plain weird. But Paul Griffin turning up at the tournament in Liege halfway through, and arriving a day late, having not turned up at the hotel. He said he couldn't find it & had to book another one miles away on the edge of town, yet he managed to locate this ground in the middle of nowehre in the woods...to this day we don't know where he had really been or went. There will always be a bit of a mystery about where he was & even who he may have been with,,,but we know it wasn't with a certain Belgian rear-admiral, as he hadn't had sex for twenty years...
Rabbler: By its very nature there has been a big turnover of players with the team over the years. Who have been some of the best to turn out, and dare you name the worst?
Andy: Undoubtedly the worst must be Tony 'Knuckles' Mullins, away to Chesham United supporters'. But I wasn't at that game, so that's only relying on hearsay. Then there's Gareth. Whilst he tried hard and gave 100%, he was always funny to watch. I particularly recall him throwing a massive hissy fit aimed at 'drugs test' James, hilarious! But in all seriousness, it would be unfair to pick out some of the worst players. We're not that sort of team, and play for fun, first and foremost.
The best players? Steve Child without a doubt, who went on to play for the Hamlet reserves for a while, only to hang up his boots to concentrate on the whistle, and now he can be seen in the middle of the odd First Team game! Jack McInroy in his youth was exceptional, though I say 'youth' he was in his mid thirties when he first started turning out for us. He must have been a real quality player a decade or so before that. I cannot understand how he never played proper non league football.
Rabbler: Is there anyone else you may have left out, who have clearly played at a higher level?
Andy: I can't believe he slipped my mind! How could I forget Ian Wright? But of course the reason I've done so must be that I've only seen him over the last ten years when he's lost some of his pace, ability and agility. So perhaps I just hadn't recognised how great a player he is. Obviously appeared at a much higher level than the rest of us.
Rabbler: The perceived opinion of our team is that we're quite an eclectic bunch. Or is it nearer the truth to say we're just all plain barmy?
Andy: I like eclectic, but being more realistic we are a bit bonkers. You can always tell if someone's slightly abnormal of they fit in with 'The Rabblers' without even trying. For example take Chris Garrett. He seemed a perfectly well balanced individual, but when we went to Namur last year he fitted in like a glove, so there must clearly be something wrong with him! And I won't even attempt to start on the Vern-isms! Then there's the 'three eyed monster' that is Hutty & Big Nose, as described by a Ramsgate fan, eho knows their aquaintance. My most distinct moment of madness from Hutty, and there are many, was on the Namur tour too, when I aked him, in all seriousness, sitting outside a Brussels cafe, what viewpoint his Belgian anarchist hero Ernest Mandel took on the Trotskyist split from the Maoist faction of the nine man hierarchy of the Belgian Communist Party, & his subsequent failure to realise I'd obviously made it all up and was taking the piss, as he tried to give me a serious, intellectual answer in his own unique waffling style. Also if you want to see something really funny just tickle him...
Rabbler: You're not quite normal yourself. Weirdos usually live at home alone with their parents when they're your age. You? I understand you were recently home alone in St. Mary Cray, but now your sister has moved in. What does that make you?
Andy: A landlord! It is separate rooms. Though it does seem like a dream set up for a fake Cornishman like Griff. Talking of which at least I qualify to play for Madagascar. If Cornwall had a national side he wouldn't qualify under FIFA regulations, and he can't trace anyone in his family back there going back to his grandparents.
Rabbler: As a goalkeeper/defender you don't get to score many goals. Are there any that stick in your mind that you're quite proud of?
Andy: Yes, a few. I'm not sure if it was our first or second, in that record 15-2 defeat at the Palace. We were at least 12 0r 13 down at the time. I was up front for some reason for the only time, and stuck it from at least twenty or thirty yards. This season away to Inter Gills, the Gillingham supporters' team. I picked up the ball in the gillingham half, skipped past a couple of tackles, and chipped the keeper with a sublime piece of skill, if I may say so myself, giving him no chance, delicately placed over his head into the top left corner of the net.
Rabbler: Was that, perhaps, from the fact you came from a school with a bit of footballing pedigree?
Andy: I'm proud to be associated with my fellow 'Old Sedgehill-ians' and our famous 'Pink 'n' Blue.' Gavin McGowan, and Kemal Bulent to name but two. But perhaps the most celebrated is old 'big ears' himself Veli Hakki. One of my weirdest moments was when sitting on a 176 bus on the way home to Sydenham, along with a fellow drunken Mishi, whenI realised his name fitted into the song "I'm h-a-p--p-y. I'm h-a-p-p-y, I know I am , I'm sure I am..." & we sang at the top of our voices all the way to Cobbs Corner: "He's H-A-K-K-I, He's H-A-K-K-I..." Trust me it was truly a magical moment, perhaps you had to be there.
And on that note it's time to terminate the interview, as we've got all the way from Northwood, on the Metropolitan Line, to Victoria station. He's off home to his sister at St. Mary Cray, & I'm going to my cuddly toy in my lonely bed in Sydenham!
Friday, 4 May 2007
Thursday, 3 May 2007
The only 'slight problem' with this is that I don't own a computer at home, and have no way of loading them up onto the internet. Midway through 2005 I started up a general photoblog, when ex-Hamlet fan BT Jane uploaded them for me. But she had to stop doing this after a while. Since then I've still been taking snaps, but not so many, & Andy Tucker has been saving them onto discs for me. Unfortunately he too can no longer do this for me, so I am resorting to having to take only a few and getting them transferred to a disc down the local photo shop.
Sometime in the not too distant future (hopefully before the end of the year) I hope to have a home computer & will be able to learn how to do this myself. In the meantime I'm hoping Paul Griffin can help me upload some of my football snaps of you onto this blog.
My photoblog ran for about a year, & below there are links to ones I took in the past. I putting them up here because although some of you have viewed them before, you may not have all looked at them.
Enjoy! (or not!)
It might take a while, but this gives you a taster of how I hope this site will eventually evolve.
At an even later stage I hope to learn how to scan in and show you many of the ancient team photos of the team I have, on good old fashioned photos, some of whom I have no idea where they were taken, or who all the players in the line ups are!
Comments welcomed on them all!
Tuesday, 1 May 2007
The whole idea is the brainchild of the 'Snooze' legendary 'hoss racing' tipster THE SHADOW.
Now it's not for us to 'out' him to his many fans so I won't name him here, but most of us know him as the father of two of our players, and a few of us have even had the honour of meeting the great man in the flesh! He still takes a keen interest in the Hamlet via his paper, & always gives our team 'The Rabblers' a plug when we go on tour. So it was the very least we could do but to add our name to the list of nearly a hundred who have over-subscribed on an unraced two year old, registered as 'Southwark Newsboy'. Such has been the success of the Club, made up in the main of honest working class folk dipping into the sport of kings, that a second nag will be invested in as more people sign up, with the moniker for this one 'Southwark Newsflash'.
I'm not sure which gee-gee we have a little piece of, but it's great to be involved. When one or the other does finally come under starters orders maybe we could organise a Team Day Out to see it race. What do others think?
The only slight downer was that we were included in the full list of members in the current edition of the paper, but they marked us down as 'Dulwich Supporters FC'. Incorrect, we are Dulwich HAMLET Supporters' FC. I know Andy Tucker pointed this out to the editor in a quickly fired off email, and I have also sent off a letter of complaint.
But that's only a minor gripe. Roll on the day when 'The Shadow' tips OUR horse in his column.
Maybe some of our more avid fans of racing can keep an eye on the Southwark horses for us. Over to you Matt Hammond!
It's an amazing feat to see it come to fruition and we all owe a huge debt to both Lawrence Marsh & Andrew Tucker for organising it.
Three teams are taking part:
Obviously ourselves as hosts.
PSG Belgium, which is the Belgium Branch of the Paris Saint Germain Supporters' Club, & who made us so welcome when we took two sides to play in their five-a-side tournament in May 2006.
And JK Jalgpallihaigla, who are from Estonia; & who will be our hosts when we travel to Tallinn for our summer tour this year in July.
There will be three group games in the competition, each to last one hour, thirty minutes each way.
As I understand it at the moment the first game will kick off at 11.00am; the second at 12.30pm; with the last one of the day at 2.00pm.
This will be followed by the closing ceremony, and then the party will commence in the bar with a karaoke disco for eveyone to enjoy.
As I have further details of the day I will post them on here, but spread the word to all your family and friends to come along and support us.
There's a barbeque on the go at resonable prices, the bar will be open all day, & we will be running a raffle as well.
All contributions to the raffle-the more prizes the better-spirits, wine & chocolates especially welcomed- should be passed on to Mishi Morath. Let him know in advance, or hand them to him on the day.
Keep on looking in for more news of the big day over the next couple of weeks!
A few weeks ago he took part in an individual swimathon for charity. The charidee he did it for listed all the times of the participants on their website and it turns out that of the 2560 people who took part all over the United Kingdom Andy's time put him in 2539th position. Which made him the 21st slowest person in the land to do it! Still it's the not the winning, but the taking part as it was all for charity. Of those that were slower than him: 1 was over seventy; 2 over sixty; another 2 not yet 12 years old; & 4 were under nine years of age!
The saddest thing of all is that he worked all this out himself from their website...I get the feeling he would have been proud to have come last and emulated Eric the Eel!