Sunday, 19 September 2010

Hyde Tanned by Redditch United

Aristocrats get no special treatment in the Northern leagues
Hyde skipper McNiven explains the importance of discipline in the pre-match huddle
McNiven (4) winds up the referee just before his yellow cards
Redditch supporters react with growing amazement as Hyde fail to score

Hopperational details
Saturday 18 September 2010 at Ewen Fields: Hyde 1  Redditch United 4 in the Conference North (Step 2).
This match in one sentence
Hyde, controversially going down to 10 men at 0-1 down, hand Redditch their first win of the season thanks largely to a hat-trick by Matt Smith.
So what?
Hyde go bottom of the table and swap places with their visitors.
Who caught the eye on the pitch?
Hyde skipper Scott McNiven picked up two yellow cards in a minute for lunging tackles and his dismissal gave Redditch the space to extend their lead.  This was arguably the turning point of the game.  In the first half, Redditch striker Matt Smith had a looping header cleared off the line before he was given space at the far post to head the game’s first goal.  He completed his hat-trick with two calm finishes.  However, while Smith will make the headlines, I want to mention a notable captain’s performance by United’s Andy Jones.  He never stopped encouraging and organising his team, and his exhortations had a bit more variation and sense than the usual screaming that you hear from the denizens of the back four.

Andy Jones takes motivational yelling to a new level

This match had the same effect on my pulse rate as …
… that irritating time-dilated minute at the end of an hour’s tumble drying that Zanussi insist on making you wait before the door on their infernal machine will open.  Listen Zanussi, I know your machines get a bit warm.  That’s why I put damp clothes in the bloody thing to get them dry.  I have better things to do with my time than hang around for health and safety reasons, so trust me to make my own temperature-related laundry handling decisions in future like the sentient human being that I am.  So there.
A snippet from the programme
Scott McNiven is among several Hyde players still available for whole- or part-sponsorship at a total of £100 (Shirt £40, Shorts £20, Socks £20 and Boots £20).  If your sponsored player is transferred during the season, you can transfer the items to another available one of your choosing.  I have been unable to find out what it would cost to sponsor Carlos Tevez, but I bet it’s rather more.
What I learned today
Ewen Fields is also the home to Manchester City’s Elite Development Squad, who play in the Barclays Premier Reserve League.  The ground is very smart, with upgraded floodlights for live online streaming of those EDS games.  Indeed, the MCFC and Hyde logos seem to share stadium billing, and the logos of City’s sponsors are very prominent.  The attendance for today’s Saturday afternoon Conference North fixture was 340.  The attendance last week for Manchester City EDS v Arsenal on a wet midweek Tuesday-when-there-is-Champions-League-on-TV was 801.  I guess the advantages of the partnership outweigh the disadvantages for Hyde.  Their nominal sponsors are citc, or City in The Community.  The playing surface is excellent and spectator facilities very good.  However, one could not help but notice that the average age of the Hyde faithful seemed to be above 50.

Modus Hopper Random Talking Point
The president of Hyde FC is Sir Geoff Hurst, which reminds me …

In the early 90s I was deputy headteacher at Rainsford High School in Chelmsford, where Geoff had been a pupil.  By all accounts, RHS had been a bit of a tough place during his schooldays, and it took a bit of gentle persuasion on my part before he would agree to make his first visit back to the school, as guest speaker at our annual prizegiving.  Often, guest speakers at such events make worthy points about “being the best you can be” and urging youngsters to “make the most of your opportunities”.  (I might well have been guilty of that myself on several occasions!)  Sir Geoff was brilliant.  He judged the audience perfectly and explained that there was really only one thing about which people wanted to hear his views.

“Was it a goal?”

He then shared with us his memories of THAT moment in THAT match in 1966 which still has such great importance in this nation’s football history.  He was utterly convinced and convincing, especially in asserting that Roger Hunt wheeled away in celebration rather than poaching a World Cup Final goal for himself.  Parents listened intently, and pupils who were born in the 70s shared in belated celebration of an event not yet repeated despite a four-year cycle of boom and bust.  At the end of the evening he stayed awhile and chatted to awestruck parents and signed autographs.  Sir Geoff, we presented you with our grateful thanks and a decent bottle of wine at the end, and that’s all you asked for that particular personal appearance.  We appreciated it hugely, and thanks again.

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