Archive for October, 2010

Shingle Street

Following some confusion over the switch from BST to GMT in the small hours, the ministering angel of domestic bliss and I ended up on the Suffolk coast at 7:15 this morning. This meant that we virtually had several miles of coastline all to ourselves, although I imagine that’s pretty much the case when ever you visit Shingle Street, a very very small village on a particular bleak but, to us anyway, alluring stretch of coastline a seventeen mile drive from Ipswich.

As the name suggests there is an awful lot of shingle around and no sand so this is not a place for a family day out by the sea with bucket and spades, only ‘hardy’ ramblers such as us. It’s not shown on our road atlas, and there are no road signs pointing you in the right direction until you are just a few miles away.

The place is steeped in mystery all of which dates from WWII (many pill boxes, tank traps from that era remain along this stretch of coast and there are four Martello Towers from the time of the Napoleonic Wars). It’s is claimed by some that a foiled invasion attempt by German forces took place off the coast here when anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand enemy troops were burnt to death. Supposedly a network of underground pipes, filled with petrol, was detonated as they attempted to come ashore. What is not in question is the fate that befell the local pub, The Lifeboat Inn, which was flattened by scientists testing out experimental weaponry!

Ipswich Town 2 Millwall 0

30-10-2010: Ipswich Town 2 Millwall 0 (NPower Championship)
Portman Road, Ipswich, Suffolk

This was quite easily the most entertaining home game that I seen in the last 12 months (having missed the Cardiff and Leeds games) which some would say doesn’t take an awful lot. Having started the Coventry game (a 2-1 defeat) with Jason Scotland as a lone striker the announcement that he would be partnered up front with Tamas Priskin (the latter yet to win the hearts of the long suffering home fans) certainly lifted the crowd. Within five minutes of the KO the two had combined to put Town one up. Good work on the left by Priskin and a low cross into the box from the Hungarian was struck home by the predatorial Trinidadian. The first time the Blues had found the back of the net in the first half of any league fixture so far this season.

Oddly from that moment on the rest of the half belonged, for the most part, to Millwall. They will wonder how they failed to convert possession into goals or indeed why referee Kevin Friend failed to award them a penalty when the ball bounced of the foot of Grant Leadbitter and hit his outstretched arm. It was with some relief that the half-time whistle blew.

A different home side emerged after the break and a penalty converted by the very same Leadbitter, after Priskin was tripped by Millwall’s Shittu, put the Blue’s two up ten minutes in, and they could have won by a much larger margin with several chances (a guilt edged one for Spurs loanee Jake Livermore) all going begging. Even at two-down Millwall were looking to get back into the game, and while the Ipswich defence was certainly under pressure, there was none of the panic last minute defending (several goaline clearances apart) that was the Blue’s downfall last campaign, and in the end it was a comfortable win.

So two victories on the bounce after three straight defeats has certainly gone some way to lift the gloom at FPR.

Allison at Palace

Malcolm Allison

(5 September 1927 – 14 October 2010)

Malcolm Allison became Crystal Palace manager on March 31st, 1973 and the club has, arguably, never been the same since. He changed their nickname, ‘The Glaziers’ where rechristened ‘The Eagles’, he changed their strip, out went White & Claret & Blue and in came Barcelona style Red & Blue stripes, and his extrovert nature ensured they were never out of the newspapers. The success he’d enjoyed at previous club Manchester City (First Division title, FA Cup, League Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup victories), however, was not transported to South London.

‘The Eagles’ lost five out of their last seven games following his arrival and where relegated from the old First Division, a feat that was repeated the following season with relegation to the Division Three. 1975-76 was his most successful campaign but despite reaching the FA Cup Semi-Finals they failed to gain promotion – despite a very healthy lead at one stage – and he resigned in the May.

Capturing all of this on film was Hy Money who became Fleet Streets first ever female sports photographer during that era. A chance trip to Selhurst Park – a birthday treat for her son – and she was hooked. A two year battle to join the NUJ (National Union of Journalists) followed after which she became a familiar face at senior football matches across the capital.

To coincide with Palace’s centenary in 2005 a book containing over a 1,000 of her pictures of CPFC entitled ‘Hy on Palace’ was published. With a keen interest in football photography, and bolstered by glowing reviews of the book in the Independent and When Saturday Comes, I splashed out on a copy and well worth it was too.

This is the dawning of a new era …

16-10-2010: Ipswich Town 1 Coventry City 2 (NPower Championship)
Portman Road, Ipswich, Suffolk

Going to the match is never going to be quite the same again now that Jnr has moved to Truro. For the past eighteen years we’ve been going to matches together, and while we have both been to the odd game or two without the other during that time, now, and for the foreseeable future I’ll been heading down to Portman Road on my own. Starting today :-(. I’ll still be sitting with the same group of friends that I’ve been sat with for the past five decades but it won’t quite be the same now that my ‘little’ boy is not sat next to me.

Our first outing to FPR together was for a 2-1 win against Blackburn in the old First Division in September 1990. I know the details because I have them written down as I have done for the all the 500 plus games that we’ve watched together since. Still remember the pride of holding my young sons hand as we walked together to the ground for the very first time. It will linger long in the memory.

We’ve had different routines over the years, driving to games at first from West Suffolk and in more recent years walking to games from the family home in the town centre. When he moved into his own place a few years back he would still walk over to ours so that we could head down to the game together. There were several routes we could take which fell in and out of favour depending on the result of the game two hours later. “We lost 2-1 last time we walked that way”, “We came back from two goals down to win 3-2 when we last walked this way”.

Anyway before I get overly melancholic, he’ll be back for a week at Christmas and we’ll take in the Boxing Day game v Watford and possibly do an away day at Doncaster Rovers two days later. By then I expect to be regaled with tales of Truro City’s latest exploits – yours truly impressed that Jnr had taken the old mans advice and watched his new ‘local’ team in action (his view of the action at Treyew Rd appears above) and plans to do so on a regular basis.

What’s in a name?

Groups of streets in one area are sometimes named using a particular theme. The ministering angel of domestic bliss and I once lived in a group of such streets in Bury St Edmunds, streets that took their names from English Abbeys. So there was Lindisfarne Road, Dorchester Road, Kirkstead Road, etc, etc. Then later, in Ipswich, our street was in a group named after Slavery abolitionists. Clarkson Street, Wilberforce Street, Benezet Street, Elliott Street, Burlington Road, Dillwyn Street, etc, etc.

There are many other such groups in the town and Miss Extremegroundhopping has just moved into one, that, at a cursory glance anyway, appears to have a football theme 🙂

There’s Chelsea Close, Everton Crescent, Chesterfield Drive, Tranmere Grove, Preston Drive and Charlton Avenue. The homes date from the Fifties but not all the teams (if indeed the streets are named after teams) competed in the same divisions in that era, and there is no other obvious connection, so why these names were chosen over others in the Football League is not immediately clear. If you know differently then get in touch!

Cornish Grounds

A fantastic week in Cornwall helped by all but two days of great weather. I’ve compiled an online album of the few grounds visited over the past seven days (Truro City, Falmouth Town, Mullion AFC, St Mawes AFC, Helston Athletic) although there are of course many more that escaped our attentions. For now at least. With Junior now living in England’s most south-westerly county there is a ready excuse to go back on a regular basis.

The album can be found here.

Stonehenge

So, with Junior installed in his new home at Truro, and our week in Cornwall at an end, it’s back to Ipswich for the ministering angel of domestic bliss and I. We plumped for a break in the eight hour trek with a stop off at Stonehenge. This is one of the first sites I took Mrs Extremegroundhopping to during her very first visit to England back in erm, well quite a long time ago. Several hundred others had the same idea so it was difficult to get off a shot without any humans in it, although I almost managed it here…