Diary 24th November – Goalkeeping Dynasties

What must it like to be Hemel Hempstead goalkeeper Sam Beasant.  You’re a first-team goalkeeper at a reasonably high level, you’ve played in the football league.  But every day you must be haunted by the achievements of your famous father, former England ‘keeper, and the first goalkeeper to save a penalty in an FA Cup final, Dave Beasant.

Goalkeeping dynasties seem crop up in football a lot.  The most famous father-son goalkeeping duo are probably Peter and Kasper Schmeichal, but looking around you can find former Cardiff City and Rangers stopper Andy Dibble’s son Christian between the sticks at Wrexham, while Southampton goalie Angus Gunn is the son of Norwich stalwart Bryan Gunn.  Carlo Cudiccini, Ian Walker and Pepe Reina all have celebrated goalkeeping fathers too.

Is it goalkeeping exceptionalism, I wonder?  Do goalkeepers sit their children down and tell them “no son of mine is going to be a centre-half”?  Does the goalkeepers union regard playing upfront as akin to scabbing?

Either way, despite some attempts to exploit any familial insecurities by fans behind the goal, Beasant the Younger delivered a commanding performance for Hemel and was arguably the difference between the two sides (though Hemel’s finishing was sharp as well).  The heavy defeat flattered the visitors, and leave us looking to the London Senior Cup and Alan Turvey Trophy for any hopes of cup glory this season.

On Tuesday we’ve got our first away game for two months – a short trip to Potters Bar who sit two places below us in the league.  Games between our two side have not exactly been thrillers in recent years, but there’s a first time for everything I guess.



Diary November 15th – Cabin Fever

Boro’s run of home games just got even longer.  With our first away tie since September – Hanwell in the London Senior Cup  – called off due to waterlogging, and Boro’s Trophy run seeing them handed another home game, Boro will go nearly two months without any away matches.

While this presents significant opportunity for enterprising fanzine sellers (yes, whisper it quietly, Ewe Tea Bee 3 is still available) the lack of any away football is starting to grate.  We’ve also got a home game in the Velocity Sports trophy to fit in somewhere, once we find out our opponents (it’ll be Maldon and Tiptree or Bury most likely).

With Boro back in league action tomorrow, it’s hopefully a good time to arrest the slump in league form that has seen us take only four points from the last five league games.  You might, of course, plead special circumstances; with cup distractions and a very good Horsham side, but results are what counts.

And while we could theoretically catch top-of-the-league Horsham by winning our five games in hand, many of those games are going to be extremely tricky midweek trips to Kent and Sussex; picking up maximum points in games like tomorrow’s clash with Bishops Stortford is going to be crucial to maintain a promotion challenge.

Lets hope Tom has put as much effort into preparing for this match as he has into his acting career.




Diary November 1st – Home sickness

Well, Yeovil came and went, and in the end was a little anti-climactic.  It was what I think we all wanted – another football match, rather than a football based re-enactment of the arguments that had been taking place across the internet.

Yeovil looked a class apart – far better than the team we’d faced first time around – though Borough contested the game well and could have drawn level when Froxy fluffed a one-on-one, before Yeovil pulled away in the latter stages of the game.  Both teams certainly rose above the baying of Yeovil supporters and there was very little hint of any animosity on the pitch.

We now look forward to hosting Horsham, after hosting Yeovil, after hosting Horsham, after hosting Yeovil.  In fact, we haven’t played an away game since the 28th September.  Our next away match is a London Senior Cup tie against Hanwell, but, that aside, we don’t play away from home until the 23rd November when we travel to Folkestone.

Of course, if we beat Canvey in the Trophy (far from guaranteed) and are drawn at home (basically inevitable), that tie will take precedence over Folkestone and our next away game will be on the 26th, nearly two months after our last league away day.

Still, when you look at our away form, maybe that’s no bad thing.

Diary October 27th – Before the Storm

Some Yeovil fans made their opposition to racism clear at the weekend

It’s been a very difficult week for most people associated with Haringey Borough.  With the world’s media taking time out from promoting racism to lament the existence of racism in football (j/k they manage to do both simultaneously), the strain of fielding endless, unwanted media requests was quite visible on both Aki and Tom’s faces.

Even this fanzine has had to field an interview request from David Dimbleby’s son, but apparently editing an Isthmian League fanzine “doesn’t warrant” the darkened room,  “words voiced by an actor” treatment, so it was no dice.

The Horsham game then, came as light relief to all of us.  After a touching show of solidarity from the away side, a second string Horsham side was soundly beaten without too much fuss.  They’ll be a very different prospect next weekend, I’m sure.

Meanwhile, we look to the rearranged game against Yeovil with enormous trepidation.  With Yeovil held up in the world’s media as the embodiment of all that’s wrong in football, a significant section of their online fanbase seems to have turned their frustration not on their scumbag fans who caused the abandonment, nor on the media itself, but on Boro, on Tom, on Valery and on Coby.

This is of course, inevitable and happens every time there’s an incident of racism at football – but seeing the apologism for racism in real time and, often by people otherwise supportive of left-wing politics (if their twitter feeds are anything to go by) – is still incredibly depressing.

Yeovil themselves, beyond a terse statement on the day of the abandonment, have been pathetic in their response – opting for near radio silence as their fans scream about being “slandered” and talk about boycotting the replay.  After the manager’s initial response was so good, it’s disappointing to say the least.  Any gestures towards solidarity have been left to Yeovil fans themselves – such as an anti-racist placard at Chorley.

But with the amount of bile coming from Somerset, and some of the less savoury elements of Haringey society openly talking about turning up in an unwanted show of “solidarity”, the tie has the possibility of turning into a car-crash.  I’m hoping for merely unpleasant, as I’m expecting the police to prevent any disorder, but it’s a serious concern.

At this point, I don’t care one bit about the result beyond just wanting the game to go off peacefully and we can go back to doing something, anything, other than talking about racism all day.  At any rate, the prospect of hosting Hartlepool in the First Round Proper is a pretty dubious reward for either side.


Diary 20th October – “Mindless Minorities”

Boro’s response to racist abuse yesterday afternoon has made headlines, even if it was not the headlines the club were hoping to make pre-match.

But one of the refrains that keeps coming up is that the game was called off due to the actions of a “mindless minority” of away fans.  That was the refrain from Yeovil supporters over and over again.

The existence of expensively educated racists such as the one in 10 Downing Street gives lie to the implication that racism is a product of ignorance, unless there’s a meaningful difference between spewing racial hatred at a football ground and doing so in a newspaper column?

And while it’s undoubtedly true that the people who racially abused Coby Rowe and Valery Pajatet yesterday, causing the game to be abandoned numbered in the low handful, they are only present at football grounds because of passive tolerance from their fellow fans.

Many Yeovil fans quite rightly and instantly condemned the racist abuse.  Meanwhile, others, including ones with large profiles, such as Mundial Magazine Editor Seb White, announced that they heard nothing – with the implication being that nothing took place; essentially accusing Coby and Valery of storming off the pitch for no good reason at all, and then lying about it.

Others, such as Ciderspace contributor “Old Green Eyes” put on their Sherlock Holmes pipe and deerstalker and dug out a similar incident, at Hitchin, two seasons ago, where Boro players reported that they’d received racist abuse from Hitchin fans.

Also, undoubtedly, in the “vast majority of decent Yeovil fans” is Stephen D’Albiac.  Stephen is a journalist and wrote an opinion piece for Somerset Live saying there was “no evidence” for racism – as though the experiences and testimony of Black players who experience racism counts for absolutely nothing, unless there’s white witnesses or, (given that some Yeovil fans said they did hear racism) video footage.  That’s not how the law works in this country, thankfully, but to simply ask for more evidence for racism before doing anything at all is a neat way to avoid doing anything about racism in football ever.

This, together with the fact that the FA dropped the case due to lack of evidence, was apparently evidence that Borough “have form” for making such allegations, as though two incidents of racist abuse in three years is somehow far less credible than a football team randomly deciding to accuse opposition fans of racism once every two years.

These denialists and apologists, a much larger minority than the actual racists, act as a shield for those who do behave in a racist way at football.  You could add whoever runs Yeovil’s twitter whose first instinct when Boro left the pitch was to suggest Haringey players had lost their tempers, as if this was the only penalty we’d ever conceded.

While we’re at it, lets add the FA to that list.  When Padiham players received racist abuse at Congleton, they left the pitch.  Congleton were fined £160 for the racism while Padiham received a £165 fine for taking a stand against racism.

The very same people who were on television last week condemning Bulgarian fans’ racist abuse, only two years ago were covering up the racism reported by Eni Aluko.  Gareth Southgate, lauded this week for his stance against racism, described Mark Sampson as “an excellent character” at a point where the Lionesses manager was accused of fostering a racist culture within the England setup.

Racism is perpetuated because people believe their colleagues or fellow fans over Black players telling them what they heard or experienced.  And that’s a far bigger problem than one or two drunk racists.

I’m extremely proud of the way Boro stood together as a club to oppose racism, but we should certainly not expect any favours from authorities.


Diary 17th October – Margate, Yeovil, Ciderspace

Margate were Borough’s Non-league Day opponents and the match was as bad-tempered as the weather.  The referee kicked off proceedings, then kicked Coby Rowe off the ball.  He ignored Boro fans requesting he card himself but did have the decency to look shame-faced as Rowe was forced to briefly leave the pitch to receive treatment.

Borough took a first-half lead thanks to Akinola’s deflected efforts, and, mid-way through the second half the game got a bit aggy.  Margate thought they’d scored but the ref wasn’t having it, and when Demetriou pulled back Margate’s striker to cynically break up a promising attack, the forward retaliated and was lucky not to receive a straight red.

Or as “margateman” put it…

Margate deserved at least a point. The HB No. 3 is a cheat. Should have been red-carded. Hope Yeovil thrash you 10-0 next week.

The return of Kudus was entirely unmemorable (he came off the bench for the final half hour apparently) meanwhile the delightfully named Harrison Hatfull was an unused sub.

Our attention turns to the FA Cup and the arrival of Yeovil.  Hopefully we’ve give a good account of ourselves in front of a bumper crowd.

I was impressed to see, earlier this week, an incredibly detailed opposition profile on independent Yeovil Town website Ciderspace.  The depth of research puts my half-arsed efforts firmly to shame and keeping up a website like that for twenty years requires a Herculean level of dedication to Yeovil Town FC and to football as a whole.

Later that day I was saddened to see that Martin Baker, who built and ran the site, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday.  Ciderspace was a resource much cherished by Yeovil fans and, on a wider level was a much respected exemplar of lower-league indy websites.  There’ll be a minutes’ applause to remember Martin before Saturday’s game.



Diary 12th October – Non-League Day

Pete Docherty with a large breakfast

Monday saw Boro drawn at home for an incredible eighth time in a row.  This time out of the hat were Yeovil Town.

On one hand, a home tie against a club in the Championship as recently as 2014 is a fantastic tie.  Yeovil will hopefully bring a few hundred supporters and it’s a chance for our players to show how good they really are.

On the other hand, Yeovil are flying and will be extremely tough opposition, arguably more so than Wimbledon last season.  It would require a huge upset if we’re to feature in the First Round Proper again.

Today is Non-League Day, aka Tony Incenzmas, the day where Earnest Non-League twitter gets the gift of cheap numbers.  We play The Libertines sponsored Margate FC (please note that any puns about this contravene league rules and are prohibited pitchside – thanks) and will be hoping to get our first league win in three games.

In two weeks’ time, Ewe Tea Bee will celebrating Non-Non-League-Day be going to Arsenal’s game against Crystal Palace where we will remark on everything – expensive catering; executive boxes; tourists leaving ten minutes before the final whistle – by loudly exclaiming “you wouldn’t get that at Coles Park, lol”.  Premier League clubs are the lifeblood of our communities, so lets support them!



Diary: 6th October – Up for the Cup

Since our last diary a fortnight ago, Boro have had a rollercoaster couple of weeks.

After beating Staines 5 – 0 in the Cup, a result marred by an unseemly dispute over who was going to take Boro’s second penalty, Boro followed it up with an abject performance away to Bognor Regis.

The final score was 2 – 0 but it could easily have been 10 were it not for a string of fine saves from Valery, the only player to acquit themselves well.  Boro would have been glad for the opportunity to get back to league action quickly, but the first half performance against Kingstonian was almost as dismal (albeit with the appalling conditions perhaps being a mitigating factor).

So it was with some trepidation that we approached the match against Cray.  Happily, in a tense, competitive game (albeit one devoid of much goalmouth action) Boro came through thanks to a penalty scored by Froxy.

That win means that Boro have reached the Fourth Qualifying Round for three seasons in a row, having never reached that stage before.  It was the eleventh home draw in fourteen games, and also the eleventh draw against a side at or below our level.

While it’s possible to argue Boro are on a solid run of luck when it comes to cup draws, our cup form is also ridiculous (we’ve won 11 of our last 14 cup ties outright at the first time of asking, lost two and one has gone to a replay).

Onwards to the fourth qualifying round!


Diary 20th September – Groundshare-tastic

Last weekend saw Boro, on their travels for the first time since August Bank Holiday, turn in a performance that was almost as complacent as the one that saw them defeated in Finchley.

Cray actually looked to seize the initiative and Boro creaked under the pressure.  Only some heroics from Valery rescued a point for the away side.

That draw sees us slip three points from the top-spot, or if you’re given to pessimism takes us a point closer to safety.

This weekend sees Boro take on Staines Town of the Isthmian South Central.  Staines have yet to win in the league this season but have a brace of away cup wins under their belt already so far.

In other news, we now have another Coles Park tenant.  Hackney Wick join us having been locked out of Clapton FC’s Old Spotted Dog ground by the freeholders.  They join Hashtag United, Brimsdown FC, Greenhouse Sports, Haringey and Waltham Development, Mauritius Sports and many other famous names who’ve graced the Coles Park Undercard.

We were pleased to see a new addition to the “Football Chairmen signing things” photo genre with Aki posing with Hackney Wick’s Bobby Kasanga for the “groundshare agreement signing photo”.





Diary: 13th September – Ulster Volun-tears

In December 2012 Belfast City Council moved to fly the Union Flag from City Hall on 18 days a year, in line with British Government guidelines, rather than every day as it had previously done.

As a consequence of this decision, loyalist groups orchestrated months of rioting throughout Belfast.  Councillors were sent death threats; a mob tried to storm City Hall.  Petrol bombs, bricks and stones were thrown, while police attacked rioters with rubber bullets and water cannons.  £20m in public money was spent policing the riots in under three months.

It should, then, have come as little surprise that Haringey Borough’s broadly correct stance regarding a Herne Bay supporter’s loyalist flag made front page news in the Province.  The only real surprise is Arlene Foster didn’t end up weighing in.

After all, it’s not as if there’s a constitutional crisis going on in the UK which directly affects the future of the Six Counties.  Who cares about the potential return of a hard border or the continued failure of power-sharing in the wake of the Cash for Ash scandal – the freedoms of Rangers fans from Whitstable who sing “Fuck the IRA” at England games must be defended.

But with Boro now hopefully having put the outrage to bed, we move back to the bread and butter of league football.  To further that endeavour please enjoy this picture of an Orange Boi that everyone can enjoy – Gareth, the club cat of Saturday’s opponents’ landlords, Bromley FC.