Thursday, October 09, 2014


It`s been a while since I sat down and watched a `lower league` football match on television but last night I saw the Johnstone`s Paint Trophy Southern Section encounter between Bristol City and Cheltenham Town.   There was a good reason to watch it, as our street`s local hero, Scott Wagstaff, was plying his trade as a pacy flanker in the Bristol City colours.

I wasn`t quite sure what to expect, having become accustomed to a recent diet of Premier League action following the progress of Southampton, currently doing rather well.   Now I promise that my impression of last night`s JPT game is not coloured by Scotty`s inclusion but I  genuinely enjoyed watching an excellent game between two teams who are only 40 miles apart and were clearly committed to this local derby.  

Particular features of the evening at Whaddon Road  were especially pleasing - the spirit in which the game was played by both teams, the endeavour, the not inconsiderable skill and although Bristol City ran out 3-1 winners, great credit was due to both sets of players for providing a very good and enjoyable evening`s football.

But what was such a pleasant change was the complete absence of any histrionics, diving, cheating and all the other `tactics` which are so prevalent especially in the Premier League, where I suppose we have got a bit used to such things  and almost accept them as `part of the game at the highest level.`   It was also refreshing to see the demeanour of the opposing managers and to hear their honest, considered and articulate post match interviews, again conducted in a spirit of mutual respect, all of which was again so far away from the tantrums, the feeble excuses and the stream of egotistical tosh we hear from the `best league in the world (tm)`

It made me long for the days of proper football, played by proper teams with proper managers in proper football grounds where financial and competitive ambitions may be modest but where the true spirit of the game surely resides.   And I suspect I may not be the only one with such dreams, living in hope that the game might somehow shed the lunacy of the Premier League and go back to its true origins and back to reality.  Yes, I know - they may say I`m a dreamer, but I`m not the only one?

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