|Hythe & Dibden's Ewart Recreation Ground, taken from Aurigny's G-JOEY last week.|
"DEAR JOHN, YOU LOVE FOOTBALL MORE THAN YOU LOVE ME..."
I couldn't see any more, as there was a shaky old gentleman with a walking stick trying to climb on to the train behind me. I looked away from the note and offered the old fellow my hand. A few seconds later, the aged train stretched, yawned, and slowly pulled away from the pier end terminus.
|Britain's seventh-longest pier at Hythe.|
Hythe & Dibden FC (1) 3 v 2 (1) Oldland Abbotonians FC
FA Vase First Qualifying Round
Saturday 7th September 2013
Attendance: Hard to tell, as people always coming and going at the Rec. 50-60?
Programme: £1 (enjoyed the quiz!)
Colours: Green / white / white v Blue and white stripes / blue / blue
National Grid reference: SU4208
|Waiting to announce the teams before kick-off.|
Or was the note old? Had it been there since the last Saints home match? St Mary's is only a fifteen minute walk from the ferry terminal on the Southampton side of the River Test. Was the note a hoax? Had a "mate" pinned it up as a wind-up? There were a lot of questions spinning round and around inside my addled mind.
|Watching from the warm seats.|
Sides like Sholing, Winchester City and Blackfield & Langley can realistically dream of Wembley glory in May, whereas today's opponents, Hythe & Dibden and Oldland Abbotonians, will be doing well to win a couple of matches. Still, you never know, funny old game and all that...
|Hythe & Dibden's Hakeem Osumah shoots! Oldland Abbotonians' Ryan Perry saves!|
Why would anyone want to watch a top flight match anyway? Following Premiership football, with its obsession with overseas markets, wallowing in rivers of TV gold - it's all about as exciting as cheering on ICI or BP in the international money markets. The price hikes, the primadonnas, the cutting edge tactical analysis by Alan Shearer on Match of the Day...
...Vacuous semi-humans in big clubs' marketing departments obsessed with selling shirts in Malaysia and hunting for an official candy bar partner in Bahrain, working their nuts off for a deposit on a mid-range BMW, whilst the owners skim off all the profit (and more) to buy yet another luxury yacht and the players get paid in "image rights" to avoid paying their taxes...
Thanks, but no thanks.
|Hythe & Dibden equalise with a Simon De'ath wonder strike.|
I looked at the name board pinned to the outside of the changing rooms to check for Johns - he may have been playing - but there weren't any today. He must be in the crowd of 50 or so that were gathering around the rails, chatting and laughing as the players walked out together behind the officials.
I noticed one or two small changes to the ground since last season - the quirky corner shelter had been moved to join up like a Lego piece with several other identical shelters on the playground side. All straight and neat and tidy for the new season, ready for Hythe & Dibden's assault on the Vase (although they have as much chance of winning the trophy as the Jamaican bobsled team had of winning gold in Calgary). The dugouts and railings had been painted as well - smart and shiny.
|The legendary Simon De'ath celebrates his second goal with a nonchalant trot and a cheeky smile.|
It helps having the legendary Simon De'ath in your team (legendary to Romsey Town fans at any rate, where he scored approximately 6,000,000 goals in his six seasons with the club). His curling wonder strike from 25 yards after half an hour was a worthy equaliser. He then went and scored two more barnstormers in the second half - only one of which counted, as the 40 yard lob over Oldland's keeper was mysteriously disallowed, presumably for offside.
Hakeem Osumah twinkled through the visitors' rearguard to score Hythe's third with 13 minutes remaining, before the Abbotonians pulled one back after 88 minutes. The ref's watch seemed to have stopped whilst much treading on the ball by the corner flag ensued. If Oldland had equalised, there may well have been extra time and penalties, which would have been exciting, but we'd been spoilt enough with the entertaining 90 minutes as it was.
|All straight and tidy for the first home match of the season.|
John? John?! I wonder if he was heading towards the pier?
Hythe & Dibden travel to near-neighbours Totton & Eling in a fortnight; Oldland Abbotonians head back to Bristol with memories of a pleasant day out on the Waterside.
By the by, Hythe & Dibden have featured heavily in football blogs already this season. You can read about their match at Petersfield Town on Row Z here; their trip to Andover Town here; and this match was also covered here (although I didn't see anyone else taking photos). There is also a set of pictures from their away match at Tadley-Calleva here.
Another Vase report in a fortnight.