Monday, October 28, 2013

It`s the same every week.   You hear about Suarez, van Persie, Rooney, Torres and the rest of the star turns in the Premier League - the self-styled `best league in the world`
(tm).   But there`s a whole cast of football heroes out there whose accomplishments in the lower echelons of the game deserve to be acknowledged.

Now I`ve no idea why but as well as following the fortunes of Southampton for well over 60 years, I also have a penchant for following the fortunes of a number of other clubs whose status in the game is perhaps a little more restrained.   Teams like Forest Green Rovers, Truro City, East Stirling and more latterly Bristol City, for whom our street`s local hero, Scott Wagstaff, now plies his trade as a hard working pacey wideman with a good engine, an eye for a pass and a growing reputation as a goal scorer.   But more on that story later.

Just recently - and again I`ve no idea why - I have become interested in Scotland`s Highland League, with clubs such as Fort William, Brora Rangers, Inverurie Loco Works, Forres Mechanics and Wick Academy.   And it is to Wick Academy that I turn for what must surely be the most impressive goal scoring achievement of last weekend - and quite possibly any other weekend.   On Saturday, they played Fort William at home and won 8-1 with all of their eight goals being scored by Gary Weir, thus breaking the club`s scoring record in a single game, previously held by Richard Macadie who scored five in Wick`s 7-0 win away at Buckie Thistle in 2012.  So congratulations to Gary and it gives me great pleasure to acknowledge his remarkable achievement.  

Bristol City were actually a whole team of unsung heroes last weekend because, having failed to win in their last 22 league matches, they made the long journey to Carlisle and secured their first win since April with a convincing 4-2 victory.  (Incidentally, some of the journeys made by these teams and their supporters are themselves heroic - 364 Bristol City fans made the 550 mile round trip to Brunton Park and the hapless Fort William team clocked up 325 miles on their return visit to Wick - there are no records to show how many, if any, Fort William fans made the journey.)

So we in Snopper Street are over the moon as converted Bristol City fans, especially as Wagstaff scored the third goal with a sublime piece of finishing which, quite seriously and without exaggeration, would have graced any Premier League game all season.

It seems churlish to end this testament to the weekend`s football by entering a note of disappointment. It is especially churlish since three years ago, Southampton were in the third tier of English football and on Saturday found themselves third in the Premier League,   However, thanks to Sunday`s results, the Saints have now plummeted down to fifth place, which really won`t do.   Pochettino out!!

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