Thursday, 25 July 2013

One Photo From Each Club: Sholing to Winchester City

Disallowed goal for Sholing.
The summer mini-series "One Photo From Each Club (in alphabetical order)" concludes with ten pics from Sholing through to Winchester City.

I chose the first picture of a controversially disallowed goal from Sholing because of the colours. The horizontal blue, orange, black and green stripes could be straight off of a rarely seen Pacific island nation's flag - perhaps the Federated States of Micronesia? If East Southampton ever declares independence from the rest of the country, the People's Republic of Sholing are welcome to use these colours on their flag.

Enemy territory for this Pompey fan...
The one ground that I would never ever have visited as a home supporter under normal circumstances is St Mary's, home of Southampton FC. I felt very uncomfortable indeed sat in with the home fans. I grinned, I bore it, and eventually it was all over and done with. It was as pleasurable as sitting a two hour maths exam for me. Inside, St Mary's is as bland as all the other modern bowls, so the best photos all came from outside the ground. I chose the one above of the badge painting from the end of the nearby railway bridge as my favourite of the Saints set. Last time I looked, this was featured quite high up in Google image search, which possibly explains why my report on Saints has had significantly more visitors than the one from Fratton Park, where none of my photos feature high up in the search results. Yes, that must be the reason...

So long as you keep away from the goalmouth...
I was chuffed when Got, Not Got's Derek Hammond contacted me and asked if he could use this photo from Stockbridge in his book. I said "yes!" and a few months later, there it was, on sale from all good bookshops! The next Got, Not Got book should be available later this year. There may or may not be any more of my photos within - I don't know yet! Looking forward to it immensely though, as the first was a cracking read!

Tadley-Calleva's Michelin Man.
Tadley-Calleva are the pedant's favourite club, what with their unusual hyphen and Roman settlement reference. They are also the favourite club of anyone who loves mysterious metal tanks that look like the Michelin Man. I'm guessing the object in the photo above is a water tank? Beyond that are the turnstiles, with a piece of gorsey heathland in the background. Next time I visit, I'll have a walk around the heath and look for some interesting wildlife pre-match - adders, stonechats, fritillaries and suchlike.

Team Solent defend a free-kick under their twinkling floodlights at Test Park.
Hampshire's newest ground is also the closest to my house. The students of Team Solent play at Test Park, from where you can see Southampton's tallest building, Millbrook Towers. The floodlights always twinkle in the gloom at Test Park. It's like playing under six super-bright Bonfire Night sparklers on very tall sticks. However, you can't wave these sparklers around trying to spell out your name in the dark. And you don't have to put them in a bucket of cold water when you've finished with them.

Proud as punch after AFC Totton's promotion three seasons ago.
My favourite AFC Totton photo was actually taken at Gosport Borough on the day that Totton won promotion from the Southern League Division One South & West. A happy day for these two fans. The whole team took off their shirts and handed them to their supporters as souvenirs. These two received the famous number 10 shirt, as worn by Pele, Cruyff, Mike Gosney, etc. As an aside, the main picture from the match report (a team group with their tops off) receives a ridiculous number of hits from people looking for "Shirts v Skins" pictures. Make of that what you will...

A nice pose by this Totton & Eling player.
The other Totton club were formerly known as BAT Sports - the football club of the Southampton tobacco factory which has recently downsized and moved its production facilities to Asia. Shirley used to smell of tobacco if the wind was blowing in the right direction. This no longer happens since Costco moved on to the site. Anyway, Totton & Eling hosted a tremendous FA Cup match against the mighty Weymouth last season - the most exciting game of 2012/13 for me as the Wessex League side came close to knocking out their esteemed opponents in a 2-2 draw. The best photo was of the home number 8 picking up the ball for a throw-in one-handed, just like Pat Jennings used to in the 1970s.

Large numbers of interesting things to look at at US Portsmouth.
For an interesting backdrop, United Services Portsmouth can't be beaten. The Spinnaker Tower and the Lipstick building are the two most impressive structures that can be seen from the ground. However, if you look hard enough, you can also see HMS Victory and Portsmouth Guildhall. They don't look quite so good in a photo though. Too far away.

FA Cup action in front of Whitchurch United's old stand.
The FA Cup match between Whitchurch United and Gloucester City was a grand occasion. The ground was packed with raucous reprobates from the West Country, trying to out-shout and out-instrument the Whitchurch Mums who were watching from outside the ground (it was Drums v Horns in the Battle of the Instruments). I've chosen this photo of the overflowing stand to represent the excitement of the day. Another ground I'd like to return to.

Winchester City's refreshment cabin.
A less exciting FA Cup match was witnessed at Winchester City in the rain last season. Keeping dry was an attractive option on the day, and the best place to do it was inside the tea hut. Not sure if there were any ice creams, but I had a nice cup of tea to warm my hands up.

Alright, that's enough looking back. It's time to look forward again. The new season starts on August 3rd and I hope to be at a match on that day. There may be a report, you never know.

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