Sunday, 30 October 2011

Totton Up the Prize Money

This is a smart new stadium with Step 2 ambitions!




Buss arrives on time

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Saturday 29 October 2011 at The Testwood Stadium
Result
AFC Totton 3 Hanworth Villa 2
Competition
FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round.  Totton are 2nd in the Southern Premier league (step 3) and Hanworth Villa are from the Combined Counties league (step 5) and this is their first season in the competition.
Hopping
Ground #433 on the lifetime list.  See below for why I am here!
This match in one sentence
Totton controlled the second half and the game was more straightforward for them than the scoreline suggests, but both clubs have set progression records for the FA Cup.
So what?
Totton reach the First Round Proper for the first time in the club’s history (it is their 125th anniversary season) and have been rewarded with a home tie against Bradford Park Avenue of the step 3 Northern Premier League.
Something random
If you follow my Twitter feed, you'll know that I am here because of a result in the Namibian Premier League last night.  If Orlando Pirates had beaten SK Windhoek I would have been at Stourbridge v Rushall Olympic, and a draw would have taken me to Witton Albion v Barrow.  As it turned out, a 52nd minute penalty by Martin Kambungu brought me here as SK Windhoek won 1-0.  It’s quasi-random.  Interestingly (and by complete coincidence of course), all three ties had five goals!
The drama unfolds
Totton had a couple of half-chances in the early minutes before the game settled into an even and largey uneventful contest.  It had kicked off five minutes early to the annoyance of those still queueing outside, but frankly they did not miss much in the first 20 minutes.  It was 25 minutes before Hanworth’s Lawrence Shennan rode two tackles and sent their first real chance narrowly wide.

With Aidan Lewis solid in midfield and Jonathan Davies threatening on the left (and occasionally the other) flank, Totton showed more confidence and patience in their build up, but the Hanworth defence and cover were good enough to deal with whatever was thrown at them.

Levi King glanced a header wide for Hanworth, their keeper Terry Buss dealt with a high speculative hooked ball dropping almost vertically into the box, and then Shaun Preddie shot wide.  The Hanworth fans’ singing and chanting, with the odd obscenity thrown in, was greeted almost with an embarrassed silence from the home fans.  However, all was fairly pedestrian until the last five mad minutes of the half.  Here are a couple of first half-clips – Hanworth are in purple and attacking towards the camera.





First, Totton took the lead after 41 minutes as Davies turned up on the right near the byline and flashed a stepover or two before shooting in from a narrow angle.  1-0

Almost immediately, there were questions asked within the home defence as Hanworth equalised within a minute.  Keeper Grant Porter got a hand to King’s shot but it crept in.  Sheehan gets the credit for the assist.  1-1

Totton hit back in turn just before the interval.  Nathan Campbell got a crucial goal from a Davies cross to give his side the lead once more.  2-1 at half-time

Totton largely controlled the second half but there were few chances in the first 20 minutes or so.  Davies continued to look the biggest threat and after 77 minutes Buss was again needed to make a good save.  The fact that the score stayed at 2-1 for so long was more to do with Totton wastefulness than Hanworth threat.  Here are a couple of second-half clips.





The third goal did not come until 81 minutes – I have caught the finish on video but too late and in the wrong position to resolve the offside question.  The visiting supporters were enraged.  The scorer is Nathaniel Sherborne.  3-1



Hanworth nearly pulled one back soon after from a freekick.  Their fans stayed till the end, and there were two wild and tired shots before Duane Antonio smacked one in to make the final few seconds a bit more interesting.  3-2

Villa acknowledge their 250 travelling fans
As Totton ran the ball into the corners to run down the clock, a wild lunge by Ricky Farnden earned him a second yellow card and the home team safely sealed their passage into the First Round Proper.  Let it be recorded that this was a very creditable performance from the step 5 visitors who can leave with heads held high.  Final Score 3-2
Man-of-the-Match
Jonathan Davies (Totton)
A snippet from the programme
I don't think the boys in blue are fully committed to their pre-match huddle
A bit of re-wording required, I think.  From the ground rules: “Anyone using racist or offensive language or behaviour will be ejected from the ground and reported to the appropriate authorities.  This may include the police.”
What I learned today
Here are the record-breaking FA Cup runs for both teams:

Extra Preliminary Round:
Hanworth Villa 4 Shrivenham 2 (Shrivenham are from the step 5 Hellenic League)


Preliminary Round:
Bedfont Sports 1 Hanworth Villa 1
Hanworth Villa 2 Bedfont Sports 0 (Bedfont Sports are in the step 6 Comb Cos Div One)

First Qualifying Round:
AFC Totton 2 Fleet Town 0  (Fleet are from step 4, Southern D1 Central)
Hanworth Villa 1 Wembley 0 (Wembley are also from the Comb Cos Premier)

Second Qualifying Round:
AFC Totton 2 Clevedon Town 1 (Clevedon from step 4, Southern D1 S&W)
Hanworth Villa 1 Aveley 0 (Aveley are from the step 3 Isthmian Premier)

Third Qualifying Round:
AFC Totton 4 Weymouth 2 (Weymouth are also from the Southern Premier)
Slough Town 2 Hanworth Villa 2
Hanworth Villa 3 Slough Town 1 (Slough are from step 4, Southern D1 Central)

Totton therefore take over the “Wembley to Wembley” trail for this season.  Their tie against Bradford PA will be their fifth home tie in a row.  All other things being deemed equal, the chances of that happening were 1 divided by (2 to the power 5), or to put it another way, half of a half of a half of a half of a half.  This is one in thirty-two.  I know how much readers love these little arithmetical interjections.  And yet I still keep interjecting them.
What Next?
Probably a Tuesday night hop – watch the @GrahamYapp Twitter feed for any announcement.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

A Four-One Conclusion in Essex





Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Tuesday 25 October 2011 at the Spicer McColl Stadium
Result
Witham Town 4 Woodbridge Town 1
Competition
FA Vase Round 1 replay.  Both teams play league football at step 5, in the Essex Senior League and the Eastern Counties Premier League respectively.  Witham had needed a very, very late leveller in extra time on Saturday to secure a replay.
Hopping
#432 on the lifetime list
This match in one sentence
The result was in doubt for an hour, but the home side imposed themselves in the second half for a clear victory.
So what?
Witham Town face Team Bury in the next round.
The drama unfolds
Witham (in the white-and-black) made a lively start to the game and this happened after 7 minutes.  John Bradley is the scorer.  1-0



The home side were neat in their buildup, playing the ball to feet with #9 Billy Hunt   prominent.  The visitors were more direct and dangerous in their own way.  Nevertheless there was an element of good fortune about the equaliser after 13 minutes.  Paul Berry’s curling freekick from the left missed everyone and ended up in the net.  The young midfielder went on to be Woodbridge’s most prominent player in the first half.  1-1

My second clip comes from around the half-hour mark, and the third captures a moment of controversy just before half-time.  Was it over the line?  Well, me and my little camera were the nearest thing to goalline technology on the day.  No goal, said the officials.  1-1 at half-time





Witham took the lead again in the 53rd minute – a delightful header by Billy Hunt just about captured on film.  2-1



This of course forced Woodbridge to commit players forward, and they conceded a third goal to a right-wing break just after the hour mark.  A curling cross was headed unselfishly by #8 John Watson into the path of #7 Sam Taylor, and he finished neatly, shooting first time into the ground and over the keeper on the bounce.  3-1

Senior Woodbridge players were already showing dissatisfaction with each other and with the performance.  Witham threw on some subs up front who were eager to get in on the action, and the fourth arrived with just over 10 minutes left.  Excuse Rob Whitnell’s language, ladies and gentlemen, if you have the sound turned up.  Final Score 4-1



The clip ends with an upward pan to look at Jupiter, clearly visible at the moment with the naked eye.  Things are looking up, as they say.

Thanks to the club websites for helping with player identification - though you don't always agree with each other!
Man-of-the-Match
Not the biggest forward that you will ever see at this level, but I enjoyed the movement and link-up play of Witham Town striker Billy Hunt.
A snippet from the programme
“During 2008, one of Town’s rising stars, top scorer Cody McDonald, moved-on to Maldon Town and then Dartford, before being bought by the then Championship side Norwich City.  This move to the Canaries makes Cody our highest profile ex-player.  (He is now with Coventry City.)  Off the field, former player Olly Murs became the TV Show X-Factor’s runner-up in December 2009.”
What I learned today
That I need to add this ground to the “trainspotter” list – it is directly adjacent to a main line (Chelmsford to Ipswich and beyond) and we had scores of diesel multiple units, inter-city expresses and freight trains to look at during the evening.
What Next?
Not sure – keeping an eye on an FA Cup weekend – but watch the @GrahamYapp Twitter feed for details.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Farsley Go Out, Curzon the Weather


The crowd could be described as "sparse".
Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Monday 24 October 2011 at the Tameside Stadium
Result
Curzon Ashton 2 Farsley 0
Competition
FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round Replay.  Both teams play league football in the Northern Premier League Division One North at step 4 and lie 1st and 7th respectively.  They drew 2-2 on Saturday.
Hopping
Stadium #431 on the lifetime list, on my way back south after the McHop.
This match in one sentence
In a game technically ruined by the strong wind, Curzon Ashton crucially took the lead with a fluke goal in the first half.
So what?
Curzon Ashton will be at home to Belper Town (also step 4 but in the Division One South) in the next round.
Something random



Here are some nice autumn colours from the Scottish borders earlier in the day.  Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, as Keats said.  Season of midweek cup replays and cheesey chips, I say.  By the evening, conditions had become decidedly more unpleasant.
The drama unfolds
The wind was blowing strongly from left to right as I was looking, favouring Curzon Ashton in the first half.  My scene-setter clip, after 10 minutes, will now have to go down as an “If only…” moment.  Farsley are in green.



There was very little of real quality to write about in these exceptionally difficult collisions.  The Farsley keeper, Tom Taylor, had regular difficulty with clearances sailing straight out of play on the near touchline.  The deadlock was broken by a fluke goal after 41 minutes.  Jordan Goodeve’s cross dropped over Taylor’s head and just under the bar.  The half-time question was whether a lead of one goal would be enough.  1-0 at half-time

Curzon Ashton’s keeper Joshua Ollerenshaw was fairly busy, with several blocks and saves to protect the lead.  It took both teams a good 15 minutes to re-adapt to their new context.  Farsley looked most dangerous from corners and freekicks such as this one from the midpoint of the half.



With ten minutes to go, an altercation in midfield led to three yellow cards, two for the visitors, as things got tense.  Ollerenshaw was again called into action as extra time began to look likely … until a decisive breakaway moment settled the tie.  Curzon Ashton forwards swarmed into the box as the ball was crossed from the right byline and Chris McDonagh had an easy tap in.  He’d been one of those involved in the fracas moments earlier and was perhaps lucky still to be there after raising his hands to an opponent.  2-0

There was still time for Farsley to hit the bar in stoppage time but this was not their night.  Final score 2-0
Man-of-the-Match
Joshua Ollerenshaw, the Curzon Ashton goalkeeper, for several saves and avoiding an evening of embarrassment.
A snippet from the programme
Padiham FC secretary Alan Smith is quoted at length in an article about match postponements, and whether groundsmen should play a larger part in the decision.  He gives an example of where, “… the game took place, no injuries occurred, and the three officials went home after the game happy with their decision.  On the face of it, you can’t argue with that … but left behind was a pitch that took three days to put back together and a badly scarred playing surface.  If we want better playing surfaces week in, week out, then I think we will all have to accept that sometimes a game that would have been played thirty years ago might have to be postponed now.”
What I learned today
It’s been a weekend of statues – see my posts from Paisley and Glasgow Celtic – and the Tameside Stadium has one of its own.  Three players with World Cup winning pedigree were born locally.  Jimmy Armfield (L) and Geoff Hurst (R) were in the England sides of 1966 and 1966/1970 respectively, with the latter of course scoring a hat-trick in the final.  Simone Perrota (centre) is English-born but represented Italy as they won the trophy in 2006.
What Next?
An FA Vase replay on Tuesday evening – Witham Town v Woodbridge Town.

Hoops? Aye, They Did It Again.





Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Sunday 23 October 2011 at Celtic Park, Glasgow
Result
Glasgow Celtic 2 Hibernian 1
Competition
Scottish Premier League
Hopping
Second half of a Scottish weekend hop
This match in one sentence
Celtic did just about enough to overcome a robust challenge from a very physical Aberdeen side.
So what?
Celtic remain third, a point behind Motherwell and ten behind Rangers, but with a game in hand over each.  Aberdeen stay seventh.
Something random




1967: Manager Jock Stein with the European Cup
 

Brother Walfrid founded the club in 1888
Evidence of the history and tradition of the club is everywhere to be seen.  To be fair, it’s a very impressive arena.
The drama unfolds
This game will have been well documented elsewhere by now for all interested parties, so a brief commentary and impression will suffice here.

Recent results, not least a Rangers win at lunchtime, made this a tense must-win occasion for Celtic.  To be fair, they worked themselves into a dominant position and had the vast majority of possession in the first quarter.

Their intricate triangles around the Aberdeen box often fell apart at the last step, but after 17 minutes one move worked and left Ki Sung Yeung with enough time and space to finish from the left-hand corner of the six-yard box into the opposite corner.  1-0

This settled the nerves, and Celtic went on to dominate the half.  Beram Kayal looked an impressive presence in midfield, and Charlie Mulgrew led by example in defence.  However, they did not have sufficient guile or composure to add a second goal before the interval.  1-0 at half-time

The atmosphere changed again when Aberdeen equalised early in the second half with a goal by Ryan Jack.  1-1

The home fans became less patient with Celtic’s probing and possession-protecting play, and the game became more fractious.  Here’s an example of the home side’s response.



Relief came when Mulgrew got on the end of a header from a set-piece to fire into the roof of the net with 20 minutes left.  2-1

Jack was sent off for a second bookable offence and the home side held on for the win.  Deserved enough for territorial domination and technical superiority, but not that convincing.  Aberdeen had received four other yellow cards besides Jack’s pair.  Final score 2-1
A snippet from the programme
A series of pieces on Bobby Murdoch are included, #7 in a series on the Celtic greats.  He was in the team that beat Inter Milan in Lisbon to become the first British side to win the European Cup.
“I joined the club in 1959 from school and signed professional in 1962.  From the start it was hard work, but we were all brought up from the same area.  We stayed with the club and grew up together.  We all came through the third team and the second team and then the first team together and more or less had played against each other at school level.  So the average age when we won the European Cup was a good average age.  That night in Lisbon was a dream come true.  I cried; I was in tears coming off the park.  I remember doing a radio interview, I think I said something like, “We came here to show you how to play attacking football against the Italian defensive-minded people.”  I think the squads were smaller in our day, but the difference really is the pace of the game.”
What I learned today
This was the most “political” football event I have attended for some time.

Outside the ground, I had already had a leaflet thrust into my hand about a “Fans Against Criminalisation” Demonstration – this was about opposition to the Offensive Behaviour at Football Bill.  The leaflet argues that football is being unfairly blamed for wider sectarian or alcohol-related crime which is already covered in law, and that Celtic fans “have even more reason to be fearful about the Bill”.

We started the formalities with the Red Cards against Racism that I had seen at St Mirren the day before, again warmly applauded by almost everyone.

During the game, most of the singing at any given moment in the ground was led by the Green Brigade.  The club was originally very much involved in the creation of the designated zone for this group of “ultras”, but a quick scan of the news websites shows that there have been some incidents that have polarised opinion and are apparently causing the club to review their position.  The Green Brigade openly supports the republican side of the political debates over Ireland and Northern Ireland, and members clearly feel that they are being unfairly targeted by authorities.
What Next?
An FA Trophy replay on the way back south tomorrow evening – Curzon Ashton v Farsley, who meet again after a 2-2 draw on Saturday.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

High Best-of-Five for Hibees



No bambooing, please ...




Hopperational details


Date & Venue: Saturday 22 October at St Mirren Park, the newest ground in the top tier in Scotland
Result: St Mirren 2 Hibernian 3
Competition: Scottish Premier League
Hopping: First part of a weekend McDouble.


This match in one sentence
St Mirren ultimately paid the price for a calamitous start in a helter-skelter game full of goalmouth incident.


So what?
St Mirren hang on to 6th place but it is a very congested lower half of the table and that is only 4pts from the bottom.  Hibernian climb to 9th.


The drama unfolds
Both teams took to the field with what looked like Pizza ad leaflets but turned out to be Red Cards for Racism.  The announcements that both clubs were against racism and sectarianism were applauded warmly by a crowd of about 4300.


Here's a scene-setter clip - St Mirren are in black-and-white.





The spirit of warmth and friendliness must have affected St Mirren keeper Craig Samson.  After 7 minutes, he dithered with the ball - Hibs had pressed the St Mirren backline high up the pitch to force a backpass - and Leigh Griffiths robbed him to score an absolute gift of a goal that will consign Samson to the Dodgy Keeper DVDs of the future.  0-1


Not this time, but Leigh Griffiths ended up with two goals
St Mirren manager Danny Lennon talked in his programme notes about a collective responsibility to play passing football in the Scottish game.  Hibs took a more pragmatic view that their opponents might not be comfortable or good enough and they kept pressing.  It was 17 minutes before St Mirren threatened with a header from a free kick, and about 25 minutes before they had their first real chance.  #9 Steven Thompson (not #8 Steven Thomson) volleyed, but straight at the keeper.  However, the home side gradually grew in confidence, with Thomson (not Thompson) finding plenty of space for right-wing crosses, and the game turned right round just after the half-hour.


Paul McGowan’s first goal after 33 minutes was a towering header.  1-1


Two minutes later he reacted first after a blocked shot.  2-1


Hibs reacted well, though, and drew level very soon, as centre-back #5 Sean O’Hanlon (not #4 Paul Hanlon) out jumped Thomson (not Thompson) to plant a header back across the goal into the corner.  2-2


The craziness continued.  Just before half-time, Hibs’ Garry O’Connor sent a high but speculative flick bouncing into the danger area.  Strike partner Griffiths reacted first and seemed to have all the time in the world to pick his spot.  The St Mirren defence had been asleep.  2-3 at half-time


It was a lively start to the second half.  The introduction of Nigel Haisselbank for Thompson (not Thomson) went down well with the crowd, and St Mirren had plenty of possession, and plenty of territory, to keep the fans supportive and positive.  They won a number of set pieces which needed some last-ditch defending.  Double-scorer Griffiths was taken off, and Hibs picked up some yellow cards.  They could no longer hold the ball up front, so it kept coming back.  Thompson (not Thomson ’cos he had gone off, remember, now pay attention) showed good strength in leading the home front line.  However, Hibs held on, defending so deep that much of their work was done in the area, and time started to run out.





With 10 minutes to go, Hibs sub Akpo Sodje could have scored a fourth on the break but it went high and wide.  Then Paul Hanlon (not O’Hanlon) made a superb block at the other end to prevent the equaliser.  Jim Goodwin’s long shot from the rebound skimmed the bar.  Junior Agogo might have got that fourth on the break for Hibs but shot straight at Sansom.  In the final frantic minutes, St Mirren had at least four more chances.  When Jeroen Teselaar’s shot hit the side netting after 94 minutes, Hibs had won it.  Immense frustration for the home faithful, but immensely entertaining for the passing neutral.  Final score 2-3


A snippet from the programme
“Following Scotland’s failure to qualify for a major tournament for the 7th time in a row, everyone associated with the beautiful game in our nation needs to examine themselves to identify exactly what they are contributing to the state of our game.  Long ball, kick and rush football over the years has dragged our game down a peg or two, where we regularly see our teams struggling to compete in Europe.  We need a revolution to take place, where we all commit to modelling the best football practices in the world in order to progress our game in the modern era.  We cannot afford to be an analogue nation in a digital world.” 
Strong words from St Mirren manager Danny Lennon. 


What I learned today
St Mirren, in the town of Paisley, takes its name from an Irish missionary who founded the community that later became an abbey.




Lots of statues in Paisley - this man is NOT a groundhopper (we don''t roll programmes like that)
What Next?
Celtic v Aberdeen on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Brighton Rocking as Tigers Come for Teatime







Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Saturday 15 October 2011 at the Amex Community Stadium
Result
Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Hull City 0
Competition
The Championship (the second tier of the English professional game)
Hopping




This match restores my current 92 (all Premier & Football league clubs in four divisions) and 116 (adding the Conference National at step 1 of the “non-league” game).  For my overseas readers: This is the newest stadium in English professional football.  It opened in August and ends a long wait for Brighton, who had several years playing at an athletics track while planning arguments were resolved.
This match in one sentence
Brighton started well and Hull finished well in a game of many missed chances in front of another near-capacity crowd.
So what?
The clubs have the same number of points, with Brighton nominally one place above Hull in 5th and 6th places respectively.
Something random
I am all in favour of clear and accurate communication
Not quite random, I suppose, but it was good to bump into a former colleague and Hull City stalwart, Richard D in front of the Beer and Pie stand.  He will appreciate my soapbox moment below, because he has also got the been-there-done-that T shirt.
The drama unfolds
The home team started brightly and looked threatening from the start, using both flanks to good effect.  Lewis Dunk had a great chance to plant a header in the 6th minute but missed narrowly.  My scene-setter clip is from the first few minutes as Brighton were pressing.  The home team is in blue.



It took Hull about a quarter of an hour to get their foothold in the contest, but gradually their fans felt confident enough to start up the first homophobic chant of the evening.

Craig Mackail-Smith forced a full-length save from Hull’s Basso just before the half-hour mark.  Hull wasted a free-kick and then had a better chance soon after.  The game was pretty even at this point.  The acoustics of this stadium are really rather good, and there were plenty of “Amex Roar” moments as Brighton tried to go forward.  However, Hull made an excellent chance as Matt Fryatt set up Corry Evans who in turn played in Robert Koren.  His shot fizzed wide, but it was a good chance.  I wrote, “this could be 0-0” in my notes.

After 40 minutes, Koren led another break from midfield which led to a shooting chance, but the interval came with the match still goalless.  0-0 at half-time

The second-half began at the same pace and with the same pattern.  Here’s a clip – I had moved higher up in the stand during the interval.



Hull’s Aaron Maclean might have put them ahead just after the hour.  The ball broke to him in plenty of space and with plenty of time.  His low powerful shot was on target but Casper Ankergren blocked it well.  Maclean also hit the bar ten minutes later and Ankergren tipped a shot from the rebound round the post.  Hull were now looking the more likely to score.

With 15 minutes to go, however, Mackail-Smith started a move in midfield by sweeping the ball out right and then getting forward into a central position for a clear headed chance.  Basso made a flying catch, but really that could and should have been a goal.  With only four minutes left, Brighton’s Craig Noone turned his marker and went on a strong direct run forward – this led to another shooting chance for Mackail-Smith, but another save.

In the final frantic minutes, Hull nearly scored twice.  A swerving shot from Koren from about 20m rattled the bar, and then a deflection was needed (I think from Maclean) to push the ball wide by the width of a bootlace.  My last clip includes the final whistle as Hull were camped in the Brighton box.



As goalless games go, this was pretty entertaining.  As new stadia go, this one is a big success in my opinion.  Well designed and with expandability built in, it must surely be a model for future developments.  Not enough to seduce me away from non-league groundhopping, mind, but a grand day out nevertheless.  Final score 0-0
Man-of-the-Match
The sponsors chose Liam Bridcutt from the Brighton midfield, who just happens to be featured in this week’s programme.  I’d have gone for Brighton keeper Casper Ankergren or his opposite number Adriano Basso, or perhaps Hull’s Aaron Maclean just on attitude and workrate.
A snippet from the programme
A very good programme, it has to be said.  I’m going for one of the more obscure excerpts and jumping on a soapbox thereafter:

“Dick Knight and Alan Sanders addressed headteachers from schools and colleges in Brighton and Hove when they met for a recent conference at the Amex.  Around 70 of the city’s education leaders took advantage of the club’s new conference facilities to discuss how to work together to improve standards and achievement for the city’s children and young people… Sanders said, “I was delighted with their enthusiastic response as it was clear that so many of them share our vision.”

To be honest, this caught my eye because of my own professional background.  There was a time around the turn of the century when collaborative arrangements that I was part of had come to national prominence, and I was invited to speak at a number of conferences about school collaboration.  I therefore smiled at the description of “enthusiastic response” because I could name three counties where I would not have been able to say that at the end of my presentation.  One day I might write a piece about the hidden impact of politicians turning schools into competing businesses and therefore subject to market forces, but I guess those who have been the “winners” since the 80s wouldn’t be interested.  It has also been my experience that governing bodies, predominantly made up of parents who have children at the school (which, let’s be clear, has many advantages) are not really that bothered about collaboration and liaison with other schools, and there can be real challenges for the moral framework of individual heads and local groups.  As local authorities' leadership capacity crumbles under budget cuts, who'll be paying attention?  We haven't even yet reached an agreement in this country about how to measure achievement fairly.  *Jumps off soapbox*
What I learned today
Plenty of West Brom connections on the Hull side today.  Former assistant manager Nigel Pearson is in charge of Hull, and Robert Koren flitted in and out of midfield prominence as is his wont.  Paul McShane was an unused Hull sub, and Kevin Kilbane and Jay Simpson are nominally at the club though both are out on loan.  Also, Tony Godden is the goalkeeping coach at Brighton.

In the meantime, fans of contrived stadium-related wordplay will be pleased that Vicente & Calderon lined up next to each other on the Brighton teamsheet.  Not as good as the Costa / Fortune back line that Charlton fielded a few years back, but quite nice nevertheless.
What Next?
Work commitments allowing, Hanworth Villa v Slough Town on Tuesday evening for an FA Cup replay.