Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The Fourth Annual Festive Parade of Rusty Rollers

Going for the sympathy vote at Christchurch FC.
It's that time again when everyone gets to tell everyone else about their favourite films, TV programmes or songs of the year, whether it be in the comments sections of national publications or on social media in general. The journalists and tastemakers have spoken - now it's our turn! Well, since you asked, my favourite song this year was...but you didn't ask, so I'm not going to bore you with my opinion.

Instead, I'm going to decide which was my favourite roller of the past half-season - this is what you're actually here for, isn't it?

Kicking off 2014/15 at Christchurch, I snapped the little chap above. A young roller who might have got my vote if he hadn't placed himself next to a sad-looking mower without any wheels! The equivalent of posing with a doe-eyed orphaned labrador puppy for a sympathy vote.

Well, my vote can't be bought like that, young man! Next...

Posing with a bin at Horsham YMCA.
Quivering behind a bashed up old bin at Horsham YMCA was the rather shy fellow above. Obviously not very confident and a little unfashionable with its old-fashioned rusty metal framework, I can't see enough of him to sway my vote his way. I need a little more swagger in my old groundsmen's equipment! I expect his mum loves him though, so that's what really counts.

Double trouble at Amesbury Town.
In my third match report of the season from Amesbury Town, I christened one end of their pitch "The Rusty Roller End", and for good reason. These two sausage-like behemoths were keeping guard behind the goal, like twin night club bouncers. To be honest, I found them a little intimidating, as I was standing behind the goal during the second half, and I'm sure I saw one of them move! I couldn't turn my back on them after that...

Covered in beautiful yellow flowers at Swanage Town & Herston FC.
No groundsmen's equipment on display at Chertsey Town, so my next sighting was on a sunny day in Dorset. The exceedingly rusty specimen at Swanage Town & Herston above had covered itself in what it must have believed to be a beautiful bouquet of flowers. A good attempt at winning my vote, but I prefer marigolds.

Just the right amount of rust at Fleetlands FC.
There were two rollers at Fleetlands. One had made no effort to impress me whatsoever, lolling nonchalantly amongst the cars in the club car park, smoking a fag and swigging a can of fizzy beer. You don't win anyone's vote like that! The one above was much more lovable, posing in front of an old exhaust pipe. Just the right amount of rust and a perfectly proportioned handle. It's in with a chance of my virtual trophy!

Mr Spiky of Daisy Hill FC.
But hang on! What's this?! A spiky roller! Always a big favourite of mine! This is from Daisy Hill FC - one of six grounds in the north-west that I visited this autumn whilst working in the area (the others being Burscough, Bacup & Rossendale Borough, Glossop North End, Accrington Stanley and Padiham). I just wish he'd picked up some of that litter behind him before posing for the camera...

Nice ground at Daisy Hill, but the only one in the area to have any groundsmen's equipment on show. I may post some more pictures from the northern grounds after Christmas.

Horndean FC. Roller number 1, hopefully recovered from the lurgy by now.
The ground with the most rollers this autumn was Five Heads Park, home of Horndean FC. Their equipment looked a little ill. There must have been something going round in Horndean in November, as rollers number 1 and 2 were both covered in spots. Get well soon, chaps!

Horndean FC. Roller number 2, feeling a bit peaky.
Horndean's third roller was extremely tricky to spot, being hidden behind the small shelter at the end not open to spectators. Any player lucky enough to take a corner nearby would have had a good view of roller number 3. From what I could see through the fog and general all-round gloom, it looked absolutely magnificent! I don't think I could, in all conscience, vote for it though, as for all I know, close up, I might have seen it was a cardboard cut-out. A vote for a cardboard roller would bring the whole process into disrepute.

Horndean FC. Number 3 - tricky to spot.
So, who to vote for? Wait, what was that you said? I'd already handed out the trophy in August to a roller at Christchurch? Why, I think you're right, I did! Do you mean I have to delete this piece and start again? I don't know, maybe I'll rewrite it tomorrow...

If you click on the tag "Rollers etc" (in the Other Labels list) on the right, you will be able to view the previous Festive Parades and End Of Season Roller Round-Ups. This was the seventh in the series!

Looking back at last year's Festive Parade, it appears that HAH had just had its 40,000th page view on Christmas Eve. It looks as though page view number 73,000 will be had later today. You can't all have been spambots, false referral sites or me checking for comments during my lunchbreak at work, so thank you to everyone who has looked in this year, and have a Very Merry Christmas and an Amazing New Year!

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