Posh but no Becks.

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Posh but no Becks. Empty Posh but no Becks.

Post  Boz1964 on Sun Sep 30, 2018 7:02 am

Posh but no Becks

Having missed the FA cup exit last week due to a family wedding, I woke up on Saturday Morning with the football shakes.

Surely, I couldn't go three successive Saturday's without my Merthyr Town 'fix'?.

Today's offering was a trip to the land of Jam and Jerusalem to visit our FA Cup conquerors from 2015 - Hartley Wintney,  in the leafy suburbs of Hampshire.

After only two hours grovelling, I finally managed to persuade Mrs Boz that Hartley Wintney REALLY was the birthplace of Estée Lauder and we were off.

With the Sat Nav set for a small village South of Biscuitopolis ( More Reading for you Ownes), we set off on our Pit Pony named Blinder, via the congested M4 towards poet William Blake's promised land and a football team that last time had more jam than a Huntley & Palmer's dodger.

Once we reached Junction 11 , the poor pit pony was confused, as there were so many lanes and so many lights on a roundabout that must have been designed by comedian Clive Anderson- as I asked myself 'who's lane is it anyway?'.

Poor old Blinder, on the last week of her above ground Summer Holidays had her nose bag in place for a feed, was devastated, as she kept getting cut up by Posh cars heading in all directions but mainly towards the Smoke.

A borrowed Bentley doing 59 mph in a 40 zone flew passed me on the curve and a familiar tattooed face glanced at me, as he went around the corner.

I convinced the wife it was the face of Estée Lauder or it could have been her brother Nikki, but I think it was David Beckham, as I could only see his Wife's pouting face in the passenger seat, when she had turned sideways.

At that speed no one can 'bend it like Beckham'.

Following him in a grey Range Rover with a Liverpool licence plate was another familiar face, as the car splashed through a puddle and a jet of water sprayed poor Blinder (named after a Southern League referee).

I was sure it was Jamie Carragher...if not it was the spit of him.

They were followed by a Police Escort.

Then a Police Range Rover and then Police Panda Car.

As their blue lights flashed and sirens sounded, as often happens my Sat Nav went haywire and poor Blinder created a green roundabout of his own.

Lost and disoriented, I stopped a local man dressed in a parka with a Hampshire Flags RAF Royal Ensign sown on the back of it.

Merthyr Town fans are always on the lookout for a target man.

I asked  the extra from Quadrophenia, and as we were both in a Jam - did he know where the Hartley Wintney football ground was?.

The Weller Fella still with his earphones on replied 'there is a Row going on down near Slough or Slaaaar as he eloquently put it.

I don't know if he recognised my Welsh accent but he added 'All that rugby puts hairs on your chest' .

As I sat on my pit pony, with my Wife like Lady Godiva, I thought  just my luck to pick the local nutter I thought.

I left him mumbling something about 'eating trifles' as I took the A33.

Like David Beckham,  I too was soon to be 'left off the Hook'.

As we exited the main road, we meandered around leafy lanes with more gated communities than Waco, Texas and houses that we would have to win the National Lottery TWICE to afford to buy.

They were so POSH they all had mirrors at the entrances to the driveways, so that a WAG could check their make-up was perfect before pulling out.

As we arrived alongside the picturesque River Hart, I suddenly realised we had arrived in Hartley Wintney because there was a Golden 'Royal Male' Post Box at the entrance.

Expecting it to bear the name of a local 2012 Olympic athlete,  I was surprised to find it bore the name of local Football Club Chairman, Luke Mullen ( sadly - no relation to our Atalanta hero - Roger) in recognition of all the money, time and effort he had put into the Club since he joined as a boy in 1897.

As we passed up a narrow track it was a pleasure to be on the only road in Great Britain positioned next to a school, that doesn't have speed bumps or tank traps outside.

With homage to it's near neighbours from Biscuitopolis, Hartley Wintney were an 'Orange Club', and once through the 18 carat gold turnstiles and the red carpet at the entrance to the club it just like any other Club in the Raj Quartet that I have been to.

I was met with a scene from the Darling Buds of May, a football ground that looked like
Taff's Well would have done if they had opened a cricket pavilion.

Once inside the immaculate clubhouse, the locals were sat watching Jose Mourinho's last game in charge as West Ham v Manchester United was projected directly onto the clubhouse wall with light fittings instead of jumpers for goalposts.

Oh how the Portugeezer would have loved to 'switch' the play from the Man United Penalty Box at the press of THAT button.

As I was riding , I was allowed only one alcoholic beverage and searched behind the bar to see if the Posh establishment had Becks in a bottle.

But sadly this was not the case.

I settled for a weak lager shandy- as I want to keep my provisional driving licence in tack.

After all Blinder was happy, tethered up in the car park eyeing up the equestrian talent close by.

Next up was a bite to eat and I was disappointed  to learn that the local Italian caterer called Porkinho didn't serve the expected Beluga caviar or Champagne Flutes - not even something as exotic as  Pomme Des Frites - just the usual burgers in buns.

I settled in the end for a Jumbo Burger, which was lovely,  even if the trunk was a little tough to chew.

I looked across at the pitch, which was carefully manicured - the local nail beautician had cut the grass that morning - but was as bumpy as a phrenology student's homework.

Even so , I was astounded at the natural beauty of the surroundings, glowing in golden Autumnal sunshine, ringed by sessile oaks and chestnut trees- it was the perfect advert for England's green and pleasant land.

Looking up at the bird life, I discovered why the Posh ground was called 'The Row' - as the telephone wires had an avian line of Pheasants and not sparrows to mention nothing of a Partridge in a pear tree.

Shame for the end game bird  that the Merthyr Noise Drum drowned out the sound of the word...'.Pull'

The pitch itself was perfect for body line bowling but not necessarily for football and I spotted the cricket paraphernalia at the rear of the Reading portakabin which the groundsman had tried to hide amongst the empty paint tins.

I had a feeling we might be on a sticky wicket today.

After using the regal toilet for the Royal Wee, I felt compelled to actually wash my hands for the first time ever-disappointingly there was no toilet valet available - the Groom of the Stool had been given the day orf.

As I made my way pitch side  the teams emerged from the dressing rooms with Hartley in Orange ( Marmalade?) and Merthyr dressed in yellow ( and 'in the Navy' for the Village People).

That was as colourful a spectacle as it got,  as the two teams played out a first half of basketball, trying to pre-guess the bounce of the ball, with the only footballing highlight for the Welsh Fans being a pinball series of deflections that resulted in the ball crossing the line .

The final basket being credited to Tom Meechan or Curly from the Harlem Globetrotters as he will be henceforth known- as the stadium announcer himself wasn't entirely sure,  as most of the spectators without sunglasses were watching the game in shadow - just like they were saluting a superior officer or on lookout duty for Stan Collimore in a lay by.

Both sides seem to have been coached in the Sam Allardyce school of football, as the ball was lumped forward as kick and rush football became the order of the day, with any daisy cutter ball played on the floor being bumped up high into the air rendering Brian Clough's saying
'If God intended us to play football in the clouds....he would have put grass up there' completely wrong.

Clearly, he never visited Hartley Wintney.

Mercifully referee Michael Chard*- he of the 'beetroot' face- blew his hooter for the interval with most of the sunbathing fans still busy hiding their pitch side beer from the establishment.

*one for you to research Ownes.

A beautiful day marred only by some awful football and an 'wing' injury to a Hartney defender- the crestfallen Liam 'Eagle' - caused by the agility of wide-man Kerry Morgan.

Whilst there were plenty of Darling Buds of May on offer,  there was no
Darling Budwieser of September either behind the bar to ease my craving for a bottle of Becks to replace the liquid I had lost in the unseasonal heat.

As the two teams emerged after their 'rich tea' at half-time, the pace of the game intensified as did the bounce of the ball.

If only Merthyr had signed Tigger on a free transfer from Disney DC United in the close season,  we would have won this game.

With the slope of the uneven pitch now in favour of Glamorgan County Cricketers, Hartley dropped deeper with defender Kpohomouh ( the ultimate commentators curse) often the last line in defence against Merthyr's pyramidal attack.

Just like in the Clubhouse, the writing ( or hieroglyphics) was on the wall, as Town tested the on loan Royals youth keeper, Adam Debois with some uncharacteristic shots on target.

Regrettably, after much up hill and down Dale- goal bound efforts from substitutes, Fell runner extraordinaire,  Corey Jenkins, and the fit again Ryan Prosser (hurrah) were lack lustre and trickled into the hands of the young goalie.

Next year, may I suggest to the Merthyr Management for preparation for Hartley Witney away, we train in the Porthcawl sand dunes and have a ride on the Big Dipper roller coaster first.

As the back pedalling intensified Hartley 5, Gary Baldi, scraped the bottom of the barrel and took the biscuit, as he berated the near side assistant referee with some colourful language that is only fit for the factory floor.

The red - haired linesman with only a flag to protect himself from the Chubby Brown tirade,  just shrugged it off instead of 'Ginger Snapping' back at the Tourette's sufferer.

With the home side tiring from having to putt uphill all the time, the volume of bookings increased.

It had become their Wintney of discontent.

The baby Royals were soon added to Referee Chard's Uncivil List.

With the defence having more cards than a Bruce Forsyth Dolly Dealer, they back-pedalled away from the ever dangerous Tom Meechan, who did a Sammy Davis Junior soft shoe shuffle passed the full back and crossed the ball for the unmarked Captain Marble, who had ghosted into the penalty area.

If only the ball had landed at opposition shin-height, our Captain would have kicked it instantly and scored.

Instead,  he had some evil looks from the crowd of fans that had traveled for two and a half hours in a cramped mini-bus - but the worst look of all was from the last remaining red squirrel in England, who's drey and Winter food had been knocked out of the towering oak tree and into the garden of Mrs Hyacinth Bucket of Acorn Row,  who he knew from experience would refuse to give it back for six months.

To the credit of the Home Side, they had the siege mentality of a Israeli Delegate at the Labour Party Convention and refused to give up.

However, just like that injured squirrel there was to be a twist in the tale.

No soon than Old Father Time had signalled five minutes left on the cricket scoreboard, than Hartley got themselves into some unfamiliar territory - the upland penalty area -for the first time in the second half.

They didn't look as lost as I did at the Reading Roundabout.

As unjust in the Nic of time, Hartley Captain Ciardini found a Merthyr leg-by and tumbled to the uneven floor.

Appeals by the Home Players of Howzat were met instantly by Chard pointing to the spot - even if the groundsman had run out of paint to mark one.

After the only Hart Attack SuperGav was having Ciardini palpitations.

The penalty was dispatched with amazing power by cool 'cookie' number 4, Tyron Smith and nearly broke the Home Net such was the force.

If I was Joe Perry faced with that blockbuster, I would have dived the wrong way too.

If Mrs Bucket wants to know who caused the hole in the high net at the Acorn Row end - I know whom my money is on- the Cookie Monster.

With the score now level at one a piece- the Merthyr players looked dispirited.

They had outplayed their opposite numbers for 90 minutes but were only going home with a point.

Football can be so cruel at times.

I was going to ask SuperGav and Clarkie for a comment but they were too busy being sick behind the portakabin into the empty paint pots..

All in all, before the game I would have gladly taken an away point but in the circumstances of the match -the draw felt like a defeat.

But overall- the good fortune of the Home Side showed why Hartley are renowned for being Jammy- but after the welcome and friendliness of the Home Fans and Club volunteers, I hope this fixture will become an ever present in the sporting calendar, as it is undoubtedly my new favourite ground to visit (with the exception of Swindon Supermarine and its cake makers that is).

In the end, plenty of Posh but no Becks - but a pleasant Dai-Gestive none the less for any travelling Welshman.

Time for a nice cuppa I think.


Last edited by Boz1964 on Sun Sep 30, 2018 7:28 am; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : Dai - abetis)

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Post  OWNES1 on Sun Sep 30, 2018 1:18 pm

Too many big words for me. You will have to explain next home game.


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Post  Boz1964 on Sun Sep 30, 2018 2:24 pm

You might have to look the odd one up but surely Ownes not phrenology?.

You would know that one off the top of your head?



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