Tuesday 21st January 2014
Evo Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division
FC UNITED 1 TRAFFORD 1
Programme: £2 (From postponed game on New Years Day)
Tea Hut Stuff: Not paying Rick Stein prices at a Non League match
Weather: Awful! Absolutely poured down. Rain, rain, rain
Parking: Pants parking at Gigg Lane, 5-10 minutes walk (in the rain)
Two cars driven by two young women who were probably gaping at their trendy smart phones in the traffic light queue had run into each other. Punters pushing for a pre match parking spot were giving them the horn. It was pouring it down, the area surrounding Gigg Lane looked even more depressingly bleak than normal. The sooner FCUM get that new ground in Moston the better.
I paid my cash at the turnstile, once it was hidden away by the eager blokes facing me I got the warning that there was a big doubt whether we'd even kick off.. and if we did we probably wouldn't get to half time? The bloke doing the talking pushed me a ticket and said it was an abandoned match voucher. When I asked if I was going to be refunded later on, he gave me the stare of someone who was now in control of my cash and said no, you'll have to use your voucher for the rearranged game. So now, not only was I p*ssed through they'd also got my money and it looked odds on the game wouldn't even start! I went up the stairs to the Main Stand and looked out on a pitch that was already encountering patches of standing water, the rain was relentless.
Time to have a quick look at the programme to take my mind off Noahs Ark related biblical flooding. I'd read about tonight's issue via the club website and it provided some insight regarding what you get for your 2 quid. It seemed well worth it and flicking through the pages of well written articles and glossy colour pictures it certainly seemed impressive. What bugged me a little was the fact that this was the very same programme which was lined up for the postponed fixture from New Years Day. There was no supplement update sheet included and my frustration was that the website had not mentioned the New Years Day issue being used in their respective programme preview?
I'd had a very favourable tea before setting off for Gigg Lane, I must say some of these supermarket brand warm-up curry meals have really improved in the last 6 months or so, my Tesco variety Lamb Rogan Josh was spot on.
As it was now 7.30pm I needed to top up, I fancied a quick snack and a hot drink and went into the concourse to find the tea hut, I'd heard a rumour they'd changed those awful pies since my last visit here a couple of seasons ago. Bloody hell! I had to rub my specs, surely that price list above the counter was a p*ss-take? £2.20 for a tea bag! A pound for a bag of crisps! 3 pound-odd for a pie! They can f*ck right off! Now I have to say here and now that FCUM apparently have no control on this rogue tea hut or its ridiculous robbing prices, it appears it is a franchise related to the 'approved-supplier' dealings of Bury Football Club (or so I'm told). I must admit that FCUM are perhaps one of the leaders in cutting costs for supporters of non league football so I can firmly agree that they have nothing to do with this scandalous situation, as I said earlier, the sooner FCUM get their new ground in Moston the better.
Back in the seats, fortunately the weather had calmed down a bit and we now had a light drizzle, thank goodness there was going to be some light at the end of the tunnel. In fact the rain then stopped completely for around half an hour. FC United really needed a win in this game to keep in amongst the play-off pack but it wasn't going to be easy against their classy neighbours Trafford who always play decent football despite having slipped down the table. The pitch held up remarkably well considering the deluge and the opening quarter of the match produced some good football with chances at both ends. Callum Byrne smacked in a long range classic bang in the top corner to put FC ahead but Trafford had got back on level terms after 22 minutes with a Steve Mason header from a free kick. Perhaps it was the weather, or the combative urgency of both sides closing each other down but the rest of the half seemed to fragment into scrappy sections of play. The second half followed a similar path, a bright opening but then long periods of misplaced passes and niggling little fouls. To make things worse, the rain was back and that pitch was getting mighty slippy and very heavy. FC United had a last bash near the final whistle but it wasn't to be and both sides got what was probably deserved from the proceedings, a point each from a 1-1 draw.
This was truly an awful night for a football match and I must admit Gigg Lane is not my favourite location under any circumstances but the efforts of both sets of supporters (Trafford had 90 plus singing along there) gave the event some real atmosphere. FCUM are not everyones cup of tea (especially at £2.20, sorry) but I think they bring far more positives to the non league experience than a lot of smug, dare I say snobby non league folk give them credit for (or would have you believe). I will certainly continue to look forward to going to that new ground in Moston that I seem to keep going on about.