Sunday, 29 June 2008

Namur the night before

Remember our tour to Namur at the start of the year?
I took a memory chip out of my camera yesterday, to use it in another camera, and I forgot to put it back in. (In case you're wondering, my ancient 'digital box brownies' are different. One has a sport setting, one doesn't, so I alternate between the two)
Anyway, I found ten snaps from the bar we encamped in the night before our match with Namur, which I'd snapped without a chip. This camera allows ten photos in the memory of the thing, without a chip.
I'd forgotten all about them, and only stumbled across them yesterday, so here are-rather late than never-my last photos from our wonderful tour to Namur!

Danuta on Coca-Cola again, making sure Nicolas gets home
in one piece!

Hutty takes on the ambassadorial role again.

And Andy has no shame at all trying to chat up Danuta!

Is that really Phil taking some money out of his pocket,
or is he trying to 'pocket' some of the whip?

Mick seems to be enjoying himself, Steve doesn't look so
happy mixing with the management to be...

The smiles soon disappear as Steve goes on about the bloody
council again. Leave it! we're on holiday!

Phil get stuck into the reason for being on board. Only here
for the beer...with a bit of football thrown in!

Griff struggles with his camera...and asks a man with one
eye. Oh dear! And while Hutty's otherwise engaged Phil gets
ready to swipe his beer...

Griff works out what to do, while Phil goes into 'no publicity'

Nice shirt Phil, anyone collect badges?

Welcome guests

Our good friends Danuta & Nicolas were in London this weekend, staying with Larry. And they spent yesterday shopping & sightseeing up town, before some of us met up in the evening for a bit of grub at Pizza Express, by the River, near The Globe. and then having a few jars at the Market Porter, by Borough Market.

The inevitable 'group photo'!

'How dare you call me a tooting fan!'. They learn quickly
these tourists! ;-)

Matt tries to hide from the fact he's a drunkard....

But accepts the camera never lies!

While Larry says if two drinks are good enough for Matt...
with Chris, as ever, the lightweight!

And finally...the most innocent people can really shock
you. Danuta was after a traditional English style pint
glass or two to take home, as they don't do proper pints in
Namur. So she slipped one in her bag, then two...
And this is her, with no shame at all. on the train back to
East Dulwich!
What's French for 'crimestoppers'?

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Look over your shoulder...

A warning for current 'Rabblers' manager Mick O'Shaughnessy. There is a young pretender waiting to step into your shoes.

Step forward Chris Tabrett, who for the last season, has been doing an excellent job managing the Dulwich Hamlet Junior Football Club Under Nines.

This afternoon the Junior Club held their end of season presentation at Champion Hill Stadium, and here is Chris doing the business on the old microphone just before handing out the awards to his team. He was a lot more nervous than he looks...

Well done Chris!

Friday, 20 June 2008

And now the end is near....

the final curtain!

Our 2007/08 season draws to a close. Our games have finished, and while we've not had much actual success on the football pitch, result wise, it has still been a wonderful year.

The handing over of running the side from Larry Marsh & Andy Tucker to the older, fatter & balder duo has gone well, though if matches won were taken into account you'd have to say old heads are not neccessarily wiser!

But, to be fair, the reason for some of our defeats have been our adherance to giving everyone a run out who turns up for one. With participation being more important than 'win at all costs', which makes it much more staisfying when that rare win arrives. To our credit we have had some praiseworthy draws, notably at home to Bromley; and away to both Welling United and Worthing. On top of this we shared the spoils in a never to be forgotten weekend over in Belgium at Namur.
We've also taken part in a couple of charity games, and made great friends, albeit in sad circumstances, with AFA side Old Westminster citizens, in memory of their late member Steve Benjamin.
We were honoured in our match against them not just with the Club allowing us full use of the hallowed Champion Hill turf once again, but had First Team Manager Craig Edwards & two First Team players Daryl Plummer & Stanley Muguo in that match!
We also managed, against all expectations, to beat the Bromley Supporters', at the third attempt, in our annual 20/20 cricket match against them! We actually socred 68; and the lowest score in First Class cricket in 20/20 was Hampshire a few years ago, when those only managed a mere 67! So bring it on! Rose Bowl here we come! ;-)

For those of you who are statistically minded the 2007/08 campaign is listed below:


JK Jalgpallihaigla 10, "The Rabblers" 6. (International friendly, in Tallin, Estonia)
Dover Athletic Supporters' 6, "The Rabblers" 5. (IFA League).
"The Rabblers" 1, Kingstonian Supporters' 3. (IFA League).
Hampton & Richmond Borough Supporters' 7, "The Rabblers" 0. (IFA League).
"The Rabblers" 2, Bromley Supporters' 2. (IFA League).
Ladywell FC v. "The Rabblers"-match cancelled(Opposition failed to book pitch)
Millwall Online FC 8, "The Rabblers" 1. (Charity friendly)
UR Namur Supporters' 6, "The Rabblers" 6. (International friendly, in Namur, Belgium)
Kingstonian Supporters' 7, "The Rabblers" 1. (IFA League)
"The Rabblers" 0, Watford Supporters' 13 (IFA League AND IFA Cup)
Worthing Supporters' 5, "The Rabblers" 5 (Friendly)
Welling United Supporters' 2, "The Rabblers" 2 (IFA League)
"The Rabblers" 2, Old Westminster Citizens 8. (Steve Benjamin Memorial Benefit Match)
Ladywell FC 4, "The Rabblers" 5. (Friendly)
"The Rabblers" 3, Christ Church FC Old Boys Travel Club 3. (Friendly)

Appearances (Maximum-Fourteen):

13: Lawrence Marsh.

11: Chris Garrett; Steve Rickerby; Andy Tucker.

10: James O'Shaughnessy; Dawn Taylor.

9: Phil Baker; Ferenc Morath.

7: Shaun Dooley; Matt Hammond; Mark Hutton; Chris Tabrett.

6: Jack McInroy; Mishi Morath; Andy Murphy.

5: Ian Gannon; Mick O'Shaughnessy; Chris Wheeler; Ian Wright.

4:Phil Doyle; Paul Griffin; Danny King; John Prendergast.

3: Nicolas Lucas; Darren Nicolas; Gary Tabrett; Jon Tennison; Joel Virgo.

2: Kublai Hoare; Keri Ryan; Lee Shailer; Paul Verrico; Matthew Virgo.

1: Alex Bushell; Jason Cobb; Craig Edwards; Lucas Green; Amin Haque; Jock Henderson; Stanley Muguo; Daryl Plummer; Richard Strivens; Jon Surtees; Dave Yuill.

Goalscorers (Total 39):

Fifteen: Lawrence Marsh.
Eight: Chris Garrett.
Six: James O'Shaughnessy.
Two:Andy Murphy; Own Goals.
One: Ian Gannon; Jack McInroy; Ferenc Morath; Mishi Morath; Stanley Muguo; Gary Tabrett.

Roll on 2008/09...which starts for us on Sunday 6th July!

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Jolly good show chaps!

"The Rabblers" 3 Christ Church FC Old Boys Travel Club 3
at Coldharbour Sportsground, Chapel Farm Road, Mottingham, SE9

In the early days of the last century it wasn’t uncommon for the privileged & educated from the university towns of Oxford & Cambridge to set up missions in our inner city areas of Bermondsey, Peckham & the like to bring pleasure to the humdrum lives of the poor. And whilst times have moved on in the one hundred years or more since, albeit with a lot of their work being wasted in the east end across the water, today, in the modern twenty-first century, the vastly differing class and culture of ourselves from “The Rabblers” crossed and intertwined we played host to the academics of Christ Church College, Oxford.

Or to be exact a group of their old boys, who play football for fun, just as we do: Christ Church FC Old Boys Travel Club. Presumably so named, as like us, they like to travel across Europe to play football too. Not a bad thing either, as we will be ‘nicking’ some of their footballing contacts in Germany & Portugal for future reference!

We’ve played some ‘strange’ outfits over the years, and some ‘rough’ ones too! But I doubt if we’ve ever playing anyone as posh as this lot! You almost expected them to say ‘after you, Claude!’ as you went for the ball, such were their good manners! Maybe I exaggerate slightly, but then one of my proudest accolades,many moons ago, was to be called an ‘inverted snob’ by an Oxford chap, when I was ranting on about posh people. Once I got home & actually looked up what ‘inverted’ meant in the dictionary I was quite proud of myself! But I digress…

Officially this is our last game of the 2007/08 season, though the football never ends for us. All hope of a win evaporated as we saw the scholars warming up, they looked as though they knew what they were doing! Following on from our last win against the ‘Ladyboys’ we’d have to be on top form to get a result here.

But before the small matter of the football both teams stood around the centre circle to remember lifelong Hamlet fan 72 year old Brian Weber, whose funeral was on Friday afternoon. A fitting gesture to a great bloke & truly ‘one of our own’. A big thank you to the Christ Church chaps for agreeing to this.

So it was now time for the game to commence, but not before honourary Captain for the day Nicolas Lucas has called ‘heads’, or whatever that is in French, having made the 560 mile round journey from his home town Namur, in Belgium, to play today. They say that you don’t have to be mad to support Dulwich, but it helps. I think there is no doubt at all about the craziness of Nicolas!

And while this was a wonderful match to watch it really was a ‘game of two halves, Brian!’ With all of the first half honours going to our boys in Pink ‘n’ Blue.

We took the lead through…well as much as Ian Gannon was desperate to claim the goal, I’m afraid it can go down as nothing other than an oggie. If this was ice hockey, maybe, but it’s the middle of flaming June, and we play football I’m afraid. And deep down he knows it. In his own words: “I can’t really claim it, but at my age I don’t get to score many anymore so I will”. What actually happened was he turned one of their players, knocked the ball across the area, past the keeper, only for one of their chaps to put into his own net. But they all count, no matter who scores! Our next goal certainly had the last touch by a Hamlet man. Again Ian was in on the act, playing the ball for James O’Shaughnessy to tap in. A wonderful Fathers Day present for his dad Mick, controlling things from the touchline. So much so it was all the old man got from him for Fathers Day!

It was while the goals were flying in that you realised these weren’t the usual run of the mill opponents for us. As we extended our lead one of their cohorts tried to gee them up from the touchline with the words: “Come on lads! What would Churchill do in this situation?” To be honest I have no idea what Winnie would have done, but hazarding a guess, with a few of us being trade unionists out there, he’d probably have us shot, so just as well he wasn’t in charge for them! All these bizarre calls were rubbing off on us, because at one point our keeper Shaun Dooley exhorted: “Come on Dulwich! Keep our structure!” Eh? If we ever had structure to start out with our nickname would be 'Twin Towers' not 'The Rabblers'!

With seconds to go before the interval we added a third, thanks to an exquisite through ball from within our own half by Steve Rickerby, which pinpointed Chris Garrett perfectly, who took the ball forward & scored. There was barely time for the kick off before the referee blew for the break.

The interval seemed shorter than usual, but we were still as organised & as professional in our outlook as ever, as you can see!

We may not have all been bubbling with optimism before the start, but though three nil might seem flattering, it was deserved. How things were to change. So quickly! Perhaps our ‘biggest mistake’ is to chop and change & give everyone a run out who wants one, & several older legs were thrown on at the start of the second half. And within fifteen minutes or so of it it was even stevens! But in truth that’s not a mistake at all, but something we should be proud of, where results are secondary to enjoyment & inclusion of all Hamlet fans, regardless of age &/or ability, indeed it is the very thing that makes ‘The Rabblers’ special.

But before their comeback commenced we had a gilt edged chance to extend our lead. James O’Shaughnessy had a shot saved by the keeper, who parried it out to the feet of the usually dependable Larry Marsh. But instead of hitting anywhere into a gaping net, he politely passed it back into the keeper’s grateful hands. After the match in the bar, one person was cruelly overheard to say that ‘even Gareth would have scored that!’ Ouch!

Then came the educated fightback from the graduates. The first was delicately lobbed over the advancing keeper, & before we had a chance to regroup, about a minute later there appeared to be a mix-up in our defence, and to was 3-2! Cue a rallying cry from their touchline: “ Always believe in your goal Christ Church”. Not quite echoed by our sideline comment of “For fuck sake, sort it out Dulwich!” Well you can take the boy out of Peckham…

Well we did start to sort things out, but not before conceding the equaliser. After that we finally did start to re-group, and get back into the match. In truth we didn’t deserve to lose, so a draw was probably fair, but then they no doubt thought they should have won, having staged such a superb turnaround.
The remainder of the game was end to end stuff, with both teams having chances. Alex Bushell pushed forward a few times, in his first appearance of the season, having been away for his last year at Leeds University, & went close. Christ Church had a shot, which ricocheted off the bum of Nicolas Lucas, & we then played the ball up the other end, where a shot from James O’Shaughnessy was only agonizingly inches wide of the post. There was still time for the Oxford brigade to chance their luck with a powerful long range shot, only to be thwarted by Shaun Dooley tipping the ball over the bar; another sterling performance from him between the sticks.

And so the final whistle went, and after a heartfelt ‘three cheers’ from both camps, and the obligatory team photos it was time to retire to the bar.

All friends together...

And on our own:
Back row(left to right): Ian Gannon; James O'Shaughnessy; Andy Tucker; Phil Baker; Shaun Dooley; Nicolas Lucas; Steve Rickerby; Larry Marsh; Mick O'Shaughnessy.
Front row (l. to r.): Paul Verrico; John Prendergast; Chris Tabrett; Chris Garrett; Ferenc Morath; Alex Bushell.

The game was played in a great spirit, and they were worthy opponents for us. Hopefully this match will be the start of a long friendship between the two sides, and with a bit of luck, we will be able to go up to Oxford some time next season to play a return fixture.

To finish, hopefully the injury to Ian Gannon is not as bad as he fears. He hobbled off in the second half, having hurt his foot, in the same spot where he had previously broken it. Fingers crossed it’s not long term, & he’s fit to play in our tour games in Estonia & Finland at the end of July.

“The Rabblers”: Shaun Dooley; Alex Bushell; Steve Rickerby; Lawrence Marsh; Andy Tucker; Ferenc Morath; Chris Garrett; Chris Tabrett; Nicolas Lucas; James O’Shaughnessy; Ian Gannon. Subs: John Prendergast; Phil Baker; Paul Verrico.