Tuesday, 22 July 2008

The things they say!

Couldn't resist including this 'quip' from old Wrightie!
For the lasr couple of weeks Ian has been helping make up the numbers in the Monday Sevens, currently run by Shaun Dooley; as three of the regulars have been away on holiday in Spain. All were back last night, and Shaun had a squad of ten to rotate on the night, including Ian, who played for the last ten minutes of the forty minute match; which we won 4-1, in a 'double header' for six points, because there will be no matches for the 'return', on the August Bank Holiday Monday.
It's seems that the evergreen Wrightie thought he was worth more time on the pitch, as he was overheard saying to the Gaffer after the whistle had gone:

"I'm not used to being a bit part player. I'm better than that!"

Hmm, one to be filed under the "don't call us, we'll call you!" section.

Tallinn & Helsinki here we come!

Not long now! It's our annual summer tour time again!
In fact this time tomorrow I will be in Tallinn!
Ian Gannon is leading the 'advance party', arriving today with his family; as is Paul Griffin. There's another load of us flying in tomorrow, with the rest getting there on Thursday & Friday.
It really is an exciting, if somewhat daunting trip, and everyone is looking forward to it immensely.
It's also a historic trip for us, because not only do we play two games on the one trip, but they are in different countries for the first time!
On Friday evening, at seven o'cock local time, we take on our friends from JK Jalgpallihaigla, the Estonian national team supporters' team. Last season they won 10-6, with Lawrence Marsh hitting an incredible "Rabblers" record six goals in a single game! I would expect they are red hot favourites to beat us again, but it's not the result that matters, but the welcome, and everyone is really looking forward to meeting up with them again.
Before we play them we have some local football to attend. Tomorrow night the Estonian champions Levadia take on Drogheda, from the Republic of Ireland, in a first qualifying round second leg clash in the European Champions League. Then it will be a mad dash to try and catch as much as possible of an Estonian Cup match five kilometres away, that kicks off at 8.45pm. Second Division FC Elva taking on fourth division side...JK Jalgpallihaigla! Marvellous! Hopefully we will be able to pick up a cab without too much difficulty, and not miss too much of that!

I'm crossing by boat to Helsinki to see the sights with Andy & Larry, on Saturday morning, but the majority of the squad will be staying in Tallinn, getting the 8.00am crossing on Sunday! This gets to Helsinki harbour at 10.30am, where everyone will head to meet the supporters of HJK Helsinki, who we have arranged a game against. They seem really keen, and been very helpful with emails. Thankfully thr actual match is only thirty minutes each way, but it will be a full eleven a side international friendly. In the evening we will cheer on the 'big boys' HJK as they play a Finnish League First Division match at 6.30pm, before we dash back to the harbour for the last boat back to Tallinn at 10.30pm! It's going to be a long day...

I return on Wednesday 30th, & hope to have some sort of report & photos on here soon after that.

The full tour party is as follows:

Mick O'Shaughnessy; Mark Hutton; Andy Tucker; Lawrence Marsh; Phil Baker; Mishi Morath; Dawn Taylor; Mick Spencer; David O'Shaughnessy; Darren Nicolas; Lucas Green; Paul Griffin; Matt Hammond; Shaun Dooley; Steve Rickerby &, guesting for us from UR Namur supporters' in Belgium, Stephane Tournay.
Also travelling, but sadly injured with a broken foot, and unable to play, is Ian Gannon; & with him is his sister-in-law Paula Bradshaw, and his two children James Gannon (age 13) & Lucy Gannon (age 9).
Shaun Dooley is also injured, but hopes to have a few minutes on 'foreign soil' despite this, and IF his new passport arrives, which he was expecting today, or tomorrow, by courier! Fingers crossed...

So all in all we have twenty people travelling.

Wish us luck!

Don't judge a book by it's cover!

Sunday 6th July 2008
Friendly match at Burgess Park all-weather pitch
Southwark Library Lions 6, "The Rabblers" 2.

Not quite the outcome we were hoping for in our first run-out of the 2008/09 season, away to my 'works' team, so to speak. To play to the stereotype you'd expect this to be a mild mannered game, played in a quiet manner,all nice & orderly!
If only...

There were differing views on this match. It's one we've played before, but a fixture that had dormantly lapsed. But Hutty agreed to the game as a nice summer warm-up for our tour at the end of the month.

But instead of a team of mild mannered librarians we encountered....well let's just say in all my years of being involved in the Dulwich Hamlet Supporters' Team-& I've been around since day one in May '89!- I don't think I've seen such an angry, disillusioned bunch of 'Rabblers' troop off the pitch at the final whistle. That's not to say nobody enjoyed the afternoon, but it wasn't the beautiful game as we've come to expect it.

No doubt if you're looking in and see the result then this will appear to be a classic case of 'sour grapes' after a heavy defeat. Except for two minor points. We regularly lose; & this wasn't a particularly heavy defeat for us!

Matters weren't helped with one of the worst 'anal performances' as someone decribed it, by a referee that I've seen for many a year, at any level of football!
This was partly our downfall, as although we dominated in large parts, we failed to find the back of the net, and allowed the 'bookworms' to go in three up at the break, as we got destracted by the clown with the whistle. It was an out and out dirty match, but he repeatedly allowed fouls to go unchecked; as well as missing out/choosing not to see the niggly stuff like the shoving & shirt pulling. But was happy to puul up Matt, in goal, for a few swaer words, while rarely speaking to them!

From a personal point of view I had to suffer one of the most ludicrous decisions from a 'referee' I've EVER seen in my life, & I wasn't even on the pitch. I was standing behind the goal for about ten minutes in the first half, taking photod, when he stopped the game, & told me to move away round the side, as it was 'dangerous'!
For who, and why he failed to explain. And despite throwing a few choice words in his direction, I managed to keep most of my anger in check! The biggest buffoon in black I think I've seen since, erm, another game against the Libraries at Peckham Rye, a few years ago, when 'Handkerchief Man' was in charge. This was a referee who arrived without his whistle, and proceeded to prance about waving a white handkerchief as if he was a bloody morris dancer! What a pity that today's referee never waved a white flag a buggered off home! I really did resent us having to pay a fee for this muppet!

Despite going three down at the interval we were not that far off them, which says a lot about how average they were, as we were way below par. Gaffer Mick o'Shaughnessy tried to galvanise the troops during the break, urging us to ignore the referee, and get on with the game, we could moan about him afterwards. Something did stir when the second half began & his son James O'Shaughnessy unleashed a shot to put us back in the game, with our first goal of the new campaign. But any hopes of a true fightback were dashed when they went up the other end to restore their three goal margin not long after. Our other 'consolation' goal came with the evergreen veteran Ferenc Morath hitting the back of the net at the grand old age of forty seven! And not our oldest player on the pitch by a long chalk!

Four goals was not a reflective margin of defeat, though-on the day, even with the poor 'officiating'- you couldn't take away that they took their chances better & beat us as fair & square as 'fair and square' could be in a match like this. Despite the fact we should have had not one, but two, stonewall penalties, with possibly another two more!

Towards the end the match descended into near anarchy. Firstly mutterings were raised on the touchline as two players came on who had been on the sidelines all game. nothing wrong with that you might think, but the referee had insisted that WE supply both linesmen, despite it NOT being our game. Yet the people on the line were not even libraries people, but his mates from his Sunday Youth side Southwark Carrib FC. And for such an officious pillock, supposedly concerned about all things dangerous, he ignored the fact that they were wearing fully studded boots, which was against the ground regualtions on the all-weather surface. And I also noted that one of the opposition was playing without shinpads, after his socks had fallen down. YET I COULDN'T TAKE A FEW PICTURES FROM BEHIND THE TOUCHLINE!

Thankfully there were only seconds remaining, when the Library boys refused to kick the ball back to us, after we'd knocked it out for an injury. It with some sadness, albeit with a tinge of justification, that I have to report that I have never, ever heard a 'Rabblers' player shout "Come on! this is a joke! Let's walk off!". Luckily the shambolic afternoon was brought to a close moments later when the 'referee' blew for full time, the only correct decision he came to all afternoon.

I think part of the problem was that the Libraries team, which was originally set up for a bit of fun by the staff for the staff, is lacking the 'play for fun' bit, with winning being slightly more important to enjoyment for some of them, with very of few of them actually being Library employees.

It left me wondering 'Was it just me?'; but comments received afterwards from some of you found it wasn't.

"I thought some of the football we played yesterday was wuite good. But there just wasn't enough of it. We, as a group, allowed ourselves to become distracted by outside events we had no control over. Like the standard of refereening, lack of linesmen supplied by the opposing side, them turning up late, etc. But then again the impression I got was they were only a makeshift team formed for this one off match.As was shown by them seemingly picking players for them when they had just turned up to watch. We then got a bit frustrated with ourselves after going down a couple of goals and we started to turn on ourselves, arguing and generally being really down on each other. Instead of supporting each other, & trying to get each other to play better. It's something we have to move on from and learn from. we are after all supposed to be enjoying ourselves, & we are all a decent bunch of blokes who, by and large, get on well with each other. We will have to be a bit more careful who we play in future, though."

Which is a fair summary, we did allow the situation to implode on us somewhat.

Another response was similar: "In the end I thought we let the referee get to us. It was a game of missed chances from us, and decisions not given to us throughout, which could have turned the game". The same person, who must have been looking out of only one eye, also said: "most of their players seemed ok to me, but i was surprised how few librarians there were."

But it wasn't all negative. Another one of our players stated: " I actually enjoyed the game". (Not surprising as it was his first appearance for us since Estonia, nearly a year before!) He went on to praise the one of the Libraries team organisers Rodney Bonnick: " Rodney seems like a good bloke, we were very unlucky up front and the game ran away from us.On another day with the same players we could easily have won that game. Let's just not use the same ref again. If he's being paid by us to ref the game he owes us some respect. The amount of time he took to kick off was one of the most hilarious things I have ever seen on a football pitch."

And someone else also praised Rodders, whilst having a pop at our boys! "I personally do not see what all the fuss is about. Rodney appears to be a decent bloke, who made every effort to organise the game responsibly, and we should all thank him for it. Admittedly the referee could have been better, but who wants to referee these days, when you get abused at all levels and offered no thanks (or beer) for volunteering to do it for nothing....it is almost impossible to organise football at our level, let alone discipline your players. So the Libraries did not supply a match ball, and their subs did not run the line. This was only a lack of knowledge of etiquette. I did not see one deliberate bad foul in that game (although we could have had three penalties) I have certainly played in a lot worse. Let's see the ones that are whingeing organise a game, get a referee, collect subs, wash the kit, or even fetch the ball when it goes over the fence do any better. There is a lot of 'holier than thou' crap being spouted on here. We should be looking to increase our opponents, not think up reasons why we should not play the one's we've already got."
Phew! Well I asked for some opinions, and I certainly got some there! And I'm afraid, while running the risk of boring you too much, I must personally respond to them quickly.
The match referee WAS PAID & not a volunteer, so a consistent standard, using common sense, is not unreasonable to ask. We have played many games with 'club' referees, & I have never seen one this poor.
Organising football at this level? Yes it is hard work, but certainly not 'almost impossible', though it might be for some of our previous opposition sides, I recall one last season who actually FORGOT to book the pitch! Discipline? Yes we've always had 'heated moments' in matches, it's part & parcel of the game. But if ever anyone has not fitted into our ethos of the game, where it's for fun, not win at all costs, & building bridges, then they are simply not selected again. As we have done on the past. Remember Gary Clarke anyone? (And no, I'd rather not recall him either!) Yes, there was a bit of naivity on the Libary sides part; I felt for Rodney who was a true gent, and would actually fit into our side perfectly, if ever I could pursuade him onto the Champion Hill terraces occasionally! But this was NOT an enjoyable match. Sure, everyone has played in worse, but I doubt it was for 'The Rabblers'!
as for having a pop about those 'whingeing', as you put it, well I think that's extremely unfair. Expressing serious concerns I'd say. And it's exactly because some of those who were not happy have done most or all of those jobs through service for the side over the years, that I am taking peoples' views of the match so seriously.
To finish, with regard to needing to keep opponents, well that's actually the least of our worries. We playef fourteen matches last season. Two abroad, and a dozen in England. We could quite easily double that, if we could get the players out, without even having to work hard. The fact that we have to pick & choose our games is exactly why it is so disappointing when they are not pleasurable to play in.

So were the 'moaners' in the minority? clearly not: " I thought they were actually somewhat disgraceful in their attitude towards the match. They refused to provide linesmen despite it being their match, and having subs on the sideline. They didn't even bring a matchball, and were niggly throughout. They told us to be there for 2.30pm for a prompt three o'clock start, and then turned up late themselves. The ref didn't help, but I accept that wasn't their fault unless he was a librarian! And they played a bunch of ringers as well. I think what really galled me though -tipped me over the edge, so to speak-was their refusal to accept that when we tamely kicked the ball for a throw in when their lad was down at the end it was because he was injured. I can live with losing-you have to playing for us!-but their whole approach stunk from beginning to end & it was the first time i have ever struggled to enjoy a match for the Supporters' XI."

Brief, and graciously, to the point: "I found the whole match rather distasteful. It was good of Rodney to apologise though."

And apologise he graciously did, contacting Mark Hutton the day after. He rang to say sorry for the below standard performance of the referee, & the unsporting behaviour of some of his team, which he was extrmely saddened about.
It takes a big man to pick up the phone & himbly apologise for others when he has himself behaved impeccably. When Hutty conveyed this to everyone the respect was universal, much respect to him for doing so.

It doesn't alter the fact it wasn't the most enjoyable of matches we've had over the years, & I'll leave the last word, sadly, to one of our goalscorers:
"The game I have least enjoyed this season. The ref was terrible, really picky and never had control of things. The other team were niggly too, a lot of gamesmanship which you don't expect to see in a friendly. I score rarely and I didn't even really enjoy my goal, which sums up the match perfectly."

And with that comment I will close this article, time to move on, & look forward to our next games on tour!

Our team was:

Matt Hammond; Mark Hutton; Dawn Taylor; Andy Tucker; Steve Rickerby; Andy Murphy; Chris Garrett; Lucas Green; James O'Shaughnessy; Larry Marsh; Ferenc Morath; Paul Verrico; Mick O'Shaughnessy; Ian Wright; Phil Baker; Paul Griffin.
Scorers: James O'Shaughnessy; Ferenc Morath.

And so onto the snaps (the ones that were 'safe' enough to take that is!)

The referee has his 'best moment' of the match!

Their man Rodney will catch up eventually!

A number of corners, where we kept them under pressure,
but failed to cpaitalise on.

I actually work with Rodney, I've educated him well:
"Hands up if you hate t*****g!"

See, James HAS got pace!

Where were you Murph? Looks like he's past it!

More corners!

The management try to gee everyone up at the break!

Well half of the management. the other half you can see
here, trying to 'recruit' for his chat lines!

Had to include this 'Gooner'...he's my boss! ;-)

So game over, bad day 'at the office', time for some
'comfort food' back at the 'Clock House', at the bottom of
Barry Road.

Chris Garrett holding court, like the others are interested!

While Hutty forgets the football and regales them with
another tale from the Soviet enclave of Earlsfield!

While Matt tells Ference: "Look mate, I know you
scored, but that's the third time you've described it in half an hour"


Go to Lawrence Marsh, voted as "The Rabblers" Player of the Year by eveyone for 2007/08.
thoroughly deserved, here he is after receiving the trophy in the changing rooms, after our recent match against Southwark Library Lions. He is flanked by the management team of Mark Hutton & Mick O'Shaughnessy.
Note a bitter Andy Murphy peeking over the top, in disbelief that he never picked up the award himself! ;-)

There was also a surprise gift from the current management team to the previous one of Lawrence, & Andy Tucker, from whom they took over the reigns, after our mid-season trip to Namur, in Belgium. They were each prsented with a unique, wonderful, personal characature, to mark their four years at the helm.
It was a gesture which moved them both, and was really appreciated.

Though Andy had to stop smiling after he dropped his!
Luckily the portrait wasn't damaged, and glass can be replaced!

You sexy thing!

Ferenc Morath isn't going on the tour to Estonia & Finland this weekend. He's otherwise busy, as his girlfriend Christine is flying in from Canada for a three month stay.
I know she regularly looks in on this site, so here's a picture to show her what she's been missing! ;-)

IFA Team of the Year

Each & every team who takes part in the Internet Football Association are asked to vote for their 'team of the year'.
The 2007/08 award went to Watford.
Our vote was allocated to Hampton & Richmond Borough, who not have have been very sporting when they've defeated us, but also made a donation when we played a charity match against Millwall Online; but also took part in the Old Westminster Citizens Easter benefit tournament in aid of the Stephen Benjamin family.
Unfortunately it's the bigger, high profile IFA clubs that travel up & down the country that tend to get acknowledged. That's not to say Watford don't thoroughly deserve their award, but it's a smal nice teams like the Beavers don't receive recognition too.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

He alleged that he was off to a fancy dress party....

in the evening.
But sadly nobody quite believed Phil Baker, when he turned up at a home game last season dressed like this:

Away versus Dons Trust FC XI March or April 2007

Somewhat embarrassingly I can't recall the score of this game, nor exactly when it was. But it was a friendly, & not an IFA match I believe, as the AFC Wimbledon Supporters' weren't at full strength, and this was,sort of, their second eleven, in fact.
We were struggling to field a team around this time, as you will see when you look at the team photo, with a number of 'guest players', to make up the numbers.

If anyone can recollect the score, or indeed scorers, I'll be grateful, and change this on here.
In the meantime I'll be emailing Warren, from their team, to see if he's got a note of the score!

I have no idea why this snap is so dark!

Back row(Left to right): Joseph Gilliam(guest); Ian Wright; Steve Rickerby; Andy Tucker; Larry Marsh; Relwyn Reffell (guest); Mark Hutton.
Front row (L. to R.): Joshua Gilliam (guest); Chris Garrett; Joel Virgo; James O'Shaughnessy; Keri Ryan (guest); Chris Tabrett.

Home versus Hampton & Richmond Borough Supporters'

Going back again to the 2006/07 season. This was their first season, and we were lucky as they weren't quite organised enough yet, being new to Supporters' football. Plus we were short of numbers so our 'guest players' helped!

We ran out out extremely comfortable 10-2 winners, which flattered us somewhat, but as I recall, fair play to the Beaver Boys, as they never gave up, and played in great spirit, as befitting Supporters' matches. This was played on the all-weather pitch at Dulwich College on Saturday 21st April 2007.

Here are my photos from the match:

Back row (Left to Right): Relwyn Reffell (guest); Ian Wright; Chris Wheeler; Andy Tucker; Steve Rickerby; Dawn Taylor; Larry Marsh.
Front row (L. to R.): Andy Murphy; Joseph Gilliam (guest); Joshua Gilliam (guest); Chris Tabrett; Phil Doyle; Ian Hunt.