Life doesn't get much better than this!!. It's November, and the sun is shining above the Bright Finance Stadium in Dronfield, ahead of the F.A. Trophy clash between Sheffield FC and Kendal Town.
I had been dreaming of rack of lamb at the Coach and Horses pub after the match but I sniffed a wiff of gravy and headed for the snack bar inside the stadium and found what I was looking for -a Pukka Steak pie with peas and gravy for only £2.00. There was a Cornish Nastie for the same price, but that didn't look too appetizing. Evidently the young serving lass couldn't spell cornish pasty until I corrected her, and she went outside to the board with a damp rag and some chalk.
Pukka Pies is a company started in 1963 in Syston, Leicestershire that only uses the best young bullock meat from the forequarters, and you can find many delicious varieties of pies and pasties-they sell 40 million of them annually-at sporting events nationwide, though Sheffield FC price is the best bargain. www.pukkapies.co.uk.
I had watched CLUB, as they are called, not The Club as I previously thought was correct, in the last round at Bradford Park Avenue where they cruised to a 2-0 victory. Kendal Town, who are one league higher, looked the business and dominated the first 20 minutes and took a deserved lead in the 7th minute. The man from Lakeland Radio phoned in his update and the dozen or so travelling fans were in good voice. Some of their lads from up Cumbria way were a bit rough. They played in the black and white stripes and white shorts favoured by Santos of Brasil, and they had a No.10 that liked to bump into opponents. He reminded me a bit of Pele, except that he was white and lacked ability!! Three days after their 150th birthday CLUB had an uphill battle on their hands so it seemed.
Asa Ingall levelled the score before a superb rocket shot from Gavin Smith took the lead, which took the sting out of the visitors, and Rob Ward scored a third. Near the end there was a melee and a couple of Kendal lads roughed up goalie Jamie Howmshaw, and a red card appeared for one of them. Town scored from a penaly but by then the cup tie was lost 2-3 and CLUB are one step nearer to Wembley.
All was forgotten as the two teams, supporters and officials mingled in the bar of the Coach and Horses afterwards, for ham and cheese sandwiches and everybody cheered as Chairman Rich Tims announced he was picking up the bar tab. They have just published a book celebrating 150 years and it was 'hot off the press' and I started reading through it at half time. Its a limited edition and you can go to the web site www.sheffieldfc.com or from David Cartwright at the club shop firstname.lastname@example.org, for this and other anniversary souvenirs.
The seeds were sewn in the greenhouse of Mr. Asline Ward when William Prest and Nathaniel Creswick met in 1857 to set about forming the club and they used it as their early headquarters. The crossbar and the corner kick had their roots in Sheffield, and did you know that in the early days their players wore white calfskin gloves and held a silver sixpence or half a crown in their palms, to discourage them from handling the ball. The early matches had two umpires and later if there was a dispute it was 'referred' to a third umpire, who later took control and became 'the referee'. Now you know!!