|Andover New Street FC. The Swifts.|
I picked it up by the tip of its wing, not thinking about any potential diseases or fleases I might catch from it. After all, they spend their entire lives in the air, only landing to lay eggs and keep their wee swiflets cosy in their soffit nests. What kind of lurgy can you catch if you spend all your waking (and sleeping) hours a hundred feet above the ground?
I took it home to show my cat. I thought he'd be interested. Have a sniff and a lick before replacing it in the gutter. I mean, if a cat can't be interested in a dead bird, what's the world coming to?
Of course, he couldn't care less. I waved it around in front of him, pulled its wings out wide to make it look as though it was flying. I even whistled between my teeth for some realistic swift-like sounds to accompany the show of acrobatics. Kitty just yawned and settled back down for a long sleep.
|Andover New Street's stand is built on top of an old lorry trailer.|
Andover New Street FC (0) 2 v 1 (0) Fleet Spurs FC
Sydenhams Wessex League First Division
Saturday 2nd November 2013
Colours: Green / black / black v Dark blue / red / dark blue
National Grid reference: SU3448 / SU3548
|Andover RFC's similar stand.|
Andover New Street play in the Wessex League First Division, nine levels below Saints, six below Pompey, three below Bashley and AFC Totton. This is proper non-league, where the players are truly amateur and very few people pay to watch. On Saturday, even with only one substitute, there were more people playing for New Street than there were paying customers. I have no doubt that there were more citizens of Andover at Craven Cottage or Upton Park than there were at Foxcotte Park. It's a crying shame.
|Inside the homemade stand.|
The stand was built in 2009, to bring the ground up to Wessex League standards (each ground needs a certain amount of seats, amongst many other requirements). They pinched the idea from the rugby club next door, who have their own container/stand for spectators' comfort. They were both cheap to build and interesting to look at. More clubs should do this, in my humble opinion (is that what IMHO stands for in textspeak? I have no idea).
You enter New Street's stand by opening a garden gate and climbing up the wooden stairs, gripping a banister as you go. Inside, it's chipboard and benches. All perfectly acceptable for me and the club match reporter - the only two people using the facilities during this match.
|All ready for an impressive bonfire. Remember to check for hedgehogs.|
At least they could burn the leaves, as there was a bonfire event due that evening. Close to one corner flag, there was a huge pile of broken wood with an old kitchen chair perched precariously on top, ready for a Guy to sit upon. But who would be the Guy?
We have a bonfire every year, and the children can choose who they want to burn. For example, JLS were the chosen victims a couple of years back. Last year, their choice was between Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, whose finger would have been hovering over America's nuclear button had he won the election; Jimmy Savile, for obvious reasons; and Tory education secretary Michael Gove.
Gove won, taking every single vote from the under-18s - something I suspect he'll never do in a general election when they reach 18-plus. Probably best not to constantly tell every single person in their generation that they're thick, Michael. They're not, and they won't forget.
Bonfire for Mr Gove last year. No idea who New Street had on theirs...
|Andover New Street's Prince Xhamela does a "Klinsmann".|
As it happens, a handsome prince saved this match from fizzing out like a damp firework. The splendidly named Prince Xhamela scored twice within ten minutes near the end to win the game for New Street. Great name - pity it's not spelt Zhamela, as I'd only been talking about my old Subbuteo team the previous week with a work colleague who was dealing with a Mrs Zammit - the Subbuteo team made up entirely of players whose names began with Z...Zammit, Zorab, Zebedee, Zeal...Zhamela - so very nearly! (Another Subbuteo team - Austria Vienna, I think they were - consisted of players whose names sounded a bit rude - Fuchs, Kuntz, etc. You did the same, admit it).
It got worse for Spurs, as they had left the key inside the away changing room at half-time and were locked out. They may still be waiting for a shower even now, so far as I know.
|The end of another grand day out in the Sydenhams Wessex League. Now to find the changing room keys...|
Oh, and did I get lost trying to find my way out of Andover's impossibly difficult roundabout system again? Of course!
Some more photos from the game can be seen here. And here is another match report.
Next time out, I shall be at an FA Vase tie. Odd Down v Moneyfields is my most likely destination.