Posts

A Month of Promise, part one: Reviewing October 2020

Image
Welcome back, missed me? In my last article, I looked back at pre-season and took a little look ahead towards 2020/21. The first month of the season has gone almost as well as we could have expected; second in the league, at the time of writing, and looking mostly determined and focused on the task at hand. But for the moment let’s travel back in time to the beginning of the month, when we actually got within 14 days of being back at EP before the government ‘paused’ the return of fans to ‘elite’ stadiums. A devastating blow for football fans across the country to return to some kind of normality and the subsequent photos of socially-ish distanced theatre performances will have been sickening and frustrating for many a football fan. We must also remember there was also the possibility of the season not starting at all, as the government’s announcement literally came days before the 3rd October kick-off, but a series of meetings secured funding to replace lost gate receipts and the sea…

Looking Ahead With Both Hope and Fear...

Image
New kit purchased, season ticket renewed, fixtures released and some new faces lining up in the royal blue. Exciting, isn't it?. ..What do you mean, “it’s September, County haven’t played a competitive game since March and we don't know whether the season will start or whether there will be more than 1000 fans at Edgeley Park!?” 
Sadly, at the time of writing, we don’t know whether we’ll have a season to watch come the first weekend in October or whether we’ll be returning to EP for the first time in seven months the following Tuesday when we host FC Halifax Town. However, this is a debate for another time. We’re in a strange limbo at the moment; we can’t have fans in the ground, but we can’t start without them either (the release of the fixtures have merely added an air of surrealism to it). Whether we’re only allowed 1000 or 2700 at Edgeley Park remains to be seen and the question of just how County intend to ‘choose’ 1000 of the 2000+ season ticket holders to attend home gam…

The Beautiful Game and the Black Dog

Image
The life of a footballer, or indeed any professional athlete, is one fans envy; the glory, the money, the fact they’re being paid to do a job an ordinary fan would probably do for free. It makes them seem superhuman to us mortals. But what about the person behind the fame and Luis Vuitton washbag? What about when the dream turns into a nightmare and we see the real human behind the veneer?

As males we’re told from an early age to “man up”, we're told that “boys shouldn’t cry” and all the usual “stiff upper lip” macho nonsense. Depression is an unseen illness, there are no outward physical symptoms, and even in 2020 people who claim to be living with the symptoms of depression are sometimes thought of as weak-minded or are merely making it up. The real shame in all of this is that some young boys and adolescents actually believe this and by the time they move into adulthood they’re a lot less likely to discuss their feelings (something which is seen as a feminine trait), especially …

Light at the End of the Tunnel (for some)

Image
It's been 24 weeks and counting since County’s last league game and the drought continues. Covid-19 has devastated the game as we know it and many clubs are under increased financial pressure just to survive into next season. In terms of the game itself, we have made progress since the game collapsed in mid-March amid a wave of positive cases. The National League play offs were completed, FA Cup dates and play off dates for the upcoming season have been pencilled in and we have a proposed start date of 3rd October. Closer to home, we have had three pre-season games streamed on YouTube and the club have certainly not let something like a pandemic get in the way of progress at EP, but more of that in my season preview article next month.
No matter how you look at it though we have collectively been starved of real football for too long, the bittersweet ‘3rd October’ carrot dangled in front of us has prolonged the famine and it led to some odd outbursts of contempt directed towards th…

Stewards

Image
Working as a steward at a football ground is a thankless task. It’s true that you could be stood within sight of the pitch and be paid to watch the game but equally, you could be guarding a locked exit below the stand and have to guess what’s happening out on the pitch, not seeing a soul until the final whistle goes. Worse still, you could find yourself waddling across the pitch in the wake of a meathead full of beer and bravado who has something urgent to explain to the away team’s centre forward. Even worse, you may end up caught between sets of rival supporters and getting roughed up by both sides. No wonder then that the job attracts a mixture of people; some take it seriously, some just do their time and take the money and some see it as an opportunity to make life as awkward as possible for anyone they come across. Here’s a quick guide to some of the variations on the theme that I’ve met over the last couple of seasons.

Dover Athletic.

Things might have been simpler if we’d played…

City, City What's the Score? by @cheadle_ender

The title of this may seem a little juvenile but believe it or not, Stockport County once produced an official DVD sold in the club shop by the same name. In hindsight, it was worthy of release considering where City are now.

Between 1997 and 2002, the five seasons that County played in the second tier of English football, they played Manchester City in six league games, winning three, drawing two and losing just once. All of them played in packed grounds with electric atmospheres.

City famously have a huge fan base in Stockport and some of them, still to this day, claim they saved County from extinction in the 80s by turning up to Friday night games at Edgeley Park to help their local team. Their reaction to these six games now would be of scorn and dismissal but let me tell you, they hated it at the time. We got right under their skin whether they admit it or not.

Here are some of my memories of those pulsating encounters.



November 29th 1997

Stockport County 3 Manchester City 1



This was t…