Monthly Archives: August 2009

The Athertyville Horror

Short report, simply because FA Cup exits tend to be rather abrupt and final.Father Ted Crilley Park the home of Atherton Laburnum Rovers is the venue for Cables first and last FA Cup game of the season. It’s wet, it’s blustery, it’s cold ,Cables never really get it together despite having numerous chances to score.Atherton have a single chance from a 17th minute penalty, the effort is saved by the Cables Keeper but the rebound is stabbed home. From that moment it’s fairly constant pressure on the Atherton goal but as the game wears on it becomes obvious Cables are on their way out.There’s just something terminally frustrating about the whole thing. Cables get most joy when they stretch the play out wide but it’s a ploy that is rarely used. Cables go out, a few duelling banjo types down by the far corner flag celebrate.Err that’s pretty much it.Good luck Atherton in the next round.

Footnote: A crowd of 63 apparently with at least  40 being from Cables *cough*

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Hovis Town- A Lesson To Be Learned.

Hovis Town– A Lesson To Be Learned For All.

Being born in Whiston with a Scouse Dad and a St Helens born Mum gives you a unique perspective on the culture clash between two of Merseyside’s largest town’s. Liverpool is a football city, St Helens Rugby League. My dad followed footy, my Mum followed The Saints. St Helens rejects any notion of being part of Merseyside, as do plenty of Prescotians come to that. When football is seen as a ‘scouse sport’ as it is by many in St Helens, you can imagine the local non league football club isn’t drawing on a massive natural well of support. Life is a struggle to get press coverage in the midst of an avalanche of  press coverage for St Helens Rugby League Club. Sharing a ground with the rugby league club seemed an ideal situation, but it seems to have had an adverse effect on the football club.Gates fell and there was a very public falling out with their Rugby League hosts. In St Helens if you try and take on St Helens RLFC you’d better have a very thick skin, whatever the rights of your case. Town soldiered on ,paying a kings ransom in stewarding costs to host games, changing managers almost as often as Newcastle United and not having the money to pay their players.

I now live in St Helens and watch town fairly regularly. I’ve seen them get slaughtered and I’ve seen them achieve some unlikely wins. I’ve never been able to see them as real rivals because I can’t help having a bit of a soft spot for them. Twice in the past two pre seasons they have come to Hope Street and given Cables something of a football lesson. After this year’s result they carried on and kept winning and winning. So much so they have actually had short spells at the top of the league. Crowds have picked up and they recently walloped Colwyn Bay at Colwyn 4-2 in the FA Cup, days after the Welsh side turned over Cables. Not bad for a club who seemed on the brink of a life or death crisis a couple of years back. With St Helens RLFC having an indifferent season the resurgence of St Helens Town couldn’t have come at a better time for the club. Personally speaking I’d love to see Town in the Unibond with Cables, assuming the dunces at League HQ don’t place them in the South as they did with the luckless Cammell Lairds. It may not happen, it probably won’t but it would be nice to see a small football club give a two fingered gesture to its many local detractors. Success achieved without money in the face of adversity is the sweetest success of all. In an era when sports seems to be in the hands of billionaires a team playing for nothing but the shirt should be celebrated by all of us. I’ll have a slice of that.

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Lost in Wales

P8240005In the classic 1970s BBC drama “Our day out” a group of Merseyside youngsters go to Wales and never want to leave.On Tuesday night another group of Merseysiders couldn’t get out of Wales fast enough ,and mercifully there were no TV cameras around this time.

Expectations at Colwyn Bay FC are high after a heavy player recruitment programme that appears to have transferred in Cammell Laird FC’s 2008/09 playing staff en masse .The Welsh side have been throwing money around like a character from Shameless following a huge lottery win,so much so I half expect to see their team entering the pitch wearing all the essential bling accessories.

After last season simply not being hammered every game is the limit of most Cables’ fans ambitions, although four league points from three games have allowed a warm glow of optimism to sneak in unchecked. For the trip to Colwyn the mantra “I’d be happy with a point” gets several airings on the coach and club forums.

For a full 40 minutes a point is relegated down the list of Prescot ambitions as Cables set about their Welsh hosts with some aplomb. An Aaron Rey goal, efforts by Sayer and Wright, another effort scrambled off the Colwyn line and a point blank save by the Colwyn keeper have Cables fans salivating at the prospect of a second consecutive league win.Cables haven’t won back to back league games since you could safely play a Gary Glitter record at a kids’ disco. To add to the promise the Colwyn fans are groaning at their sides’ inability to string more than a couple of passes together- lovely jubbily.

“I think I’ve died and gone to heaven” mused one gob-smacked Cables fan. Obviously the Big Man upstairs has a sense of humour as seconds later the Cables Keeper and a defender both attempt to intercept a cross and only succeed in clattering into each other.This leaves a Colwyn player with a free header into an empty net.

Worse follows shortly after as ballet school defending by Cables hands Colwyn the lead seconds before the break.It’s pretty devastating stuff for the fans as the players trudge off at the break contemplating a disastrous last four minutes.

For most of the second half Cables perform like a side wearing roller boots without the benefit of wheels.It’s an astonishing turn around. Colwyn, sensing Cables inertia, use the second half as something of a practice match as they ping the ball around unhindered.To add to our considerable woes it’s absolutely freezing, so much for a nice day out by the seaside.

As luck would have it the home side only manage to convert one of their several second half chances. Cables have a single attempt at a consolation as the Colwyn Keeper saves at the feet of Aaron Rey. The sense of disappointment at the final whistle is palpable. A 3-1 defeat at Colwyn isn’t a big deal in the grand scale of things but the first half display promised a great deal more.  Or, as James sang in their classic 90s song, “If I hadn’t seen such riches I could live with being poor”.

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Cables 2 Ossett Albion 1

ossetta 011Ossett , not to be confused with Oslot- a small Leopard like creature, or Joleon Lescott, Everton’s over-paid, back stabbing ,want-a-way defender- is a small Yorkshire market town with a population of 20’000. Quite how it manages to sustain two semi professional football clubs is anyone’s guess -the town’s other team being Unibond Premier outfit Ossett Town.

An unusual name is Ossett, but not as unusual as it’s original moniker of “Ossett-Cum-Gawthorpe”……..try putting that in a football chant and see where it gets you – a night in the cells probably.

I’ve only been to Ossett once and by God was it cold.I’m not talking ready brek and an extra pair of socks cold, I’m talking being dumped on the dark side of the moon wearing nowt but a pair of speedo trunks cold.In the gloom of winter on a foggy day Ossett looked like hell on earth.

But that was last year.Most Cables games were a dark, gloomy place last season despite the weather. Ossett arrive at Cables having lost their first two games by an odd goal, Cables are on a mini- bounce following a spirited draw against fancied Trafford. Hope springs eternal , or it did until the twentieth minute when a poorly taken  Cables corner allows Ossett to break .A lofted through ball, a poor defensive header and a slick finish by a visiting forward plunges Cables watchers into that familiar territory of pre-defeat anxiety.

Cables hold it together for the rest of the first half.They have a couple of pots at goal from distance and just as importantly manage to shut up shop at the back.

John Riley’s precise finish from a knock down levels up matters for Cables.Shades of Tuesday and another battling point? Aaron Rey has other ideas as he meets Mike Withers’ cross and crashes a towering header off the underside of the Ossett crossbar. The ball bounces down over the line and out.To be fair there’s not much complaint from Ossett, the ref gives the goal straight away, as does the linesman. Cables leading at home- it feels a bit like walking on a tightrope as several dozen hoodies throw bricks at you from below.Excitement mixed with trepidation.

ossetta 015Phil Green has a great chance to seal it for Cables when put clean through but his effort is more back pass than goal threat. Sadly this ensures a nerve wracking last 15 minutes as Ossett pepper the Cables area with free kicks. Unlike Tuesday there’s no cheer for the four minutes of added time but Cables hold on with a little luck and lots of grit.

At full time Cables fans are walking around not knowing quite what to do with themselves- so this is what it feels like to win? I could get used to it….

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Cables 1 Trafford 1

This is the crises I knew had to come
Destroying the balance
I’d kept
Doubting and settling and turning around
Wondering what will come next

Joy Division

Saturday 15th August I’m half way up a Welsh mountain after two hours of mind numbing slog through streams, woods, mud and more cow crap than you could possibly imagine.My legs are shredded, it’s misty, it’s raining and I have my mobile phone switched on to keep me informed of any developments at Lancaster City where Cables start their season. As cruel fate would have it the second half at Lancaster starts just as the final gruelling, mountainous three miles of the race creep up on me. After an hour of no news (no news being good news) the texts start coming thick and fast.

“1 down,2 down,3 down,4 down.5 down”

Each score flash has the same effect as someone sticking a ten pound barbell in an imaginary backpack slung over my shoulders. On the surface it’s typical Cables circa 2007/2009- hold out for 45 minutes then crumble like a digestive dunked in too many steaming cups of tea.I’m not really sure if I can take another season like the last one and I’m half considering starting the world’s first refuge for psychologically abused football fans in Prescot. On balance I think I prefer the cow crap and aching legs to watching another spectacular Cables implosion.

Cables v Trafford

I was assured by several Cables fans that the drubbing at Lancaster wasn’t quite as bad as some of the hammerings last season.Which is something of a relief although I don’t think the league table takes into account these trivial matters. Tonight’s opponents Trafford got their season underway with a 5-1 spanking of Salford City-that’s all we need.Cables are unveiling their new kit, a timely event as last season’s shirts were worn at Lancaster and the shirts seemed to come with last year’s lumpen mojo.

15 minutes into an edgy affair Trafford’s Metcalf all but bursts the Cables’ net with a howitzer from out on the left wing.The normal procedure at this point is for Cables to concede several other goals in fairly quick succession but Cables show an encouraging amount of resilience.Big Josh Mitten sets up Ray and Riley to test the Trafford keeper and the Cables defence keep the Trafford forwards at bay.

Trafford, it must be said, seem to have broken into the local pharmacy before the game and taken the whole year’s supply of ‘Nark pills’ .Some tasty tackles and even tastier comments are flying around the pitch with John Riley being a favourite target of the visitor’s.

It’s in the second half when the Cables side at last manage to convince the fans that better times may lay ahead.Sayer and Fleury link up several times down the right to slice through the retreating Trafford defence.And Ray, who had looked a bit of a luxury in the first half, is finding a promising amount of space on the left.

With Josh Mitten limping off injured Cables go for broke by bringing on forwards Phil Green and Darren Connell. Green instantly gets involved with a Trafford player and the ref has to try and sort out who it was who verbally threatened to break whos’ jaw. Green, angry and motivated, is tripped in the area to hand Cables a lifeline from the spot.Darren Connells’ penalty lacks direction and pace allowing the Trafford keeper to palm the ball away.

A minute later it seems Cables fate is confirmed as Dale Wright slams an effort against the inside of a Trafford post and the ball bounces inside the six yard box and is cleared.Rob McIntosh and Ray also go close before Craig Fleury curls a left foot effort just wide.

With time running out Ray is set free inside the Trafford area with time and space to draw the Keeper before firing an angled drive high into the Trafford goal for the equaliser.It’s stirring stuff. Cables watchers are more used to seeing Cables hanging on for a point not taking the game to the opposition.Such is the enthusiasm the five added minutes are greeted by cheers from the home fans.Eventually time ebbs away leaving Cables with a precious point and the sort of performance we haven’t seen for a long time at Hope Street..


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Slacky Browers Announce Sponsorship Deal

The Sons Of Slacky Brow have unveiled details of their sponsorship package for the 2009/10 season.The multi pound deal will see the Slacky Browers plough massive investment in terms of vocal support and ironed kit into Cables vastly experienced forward Josh Mitten.

A Slacky Brow Spokesperson commented ” We have been looking at an investment opportunity for a while and Josh Mitten fits in with our brand.As part of the deal Josh will head the ball, score a few goals, bring in other players by holding the ball up and translate for the non scouse speaking members of the team”

Our investigation has uncovered four of the current backers in the Mitten deal. One is a Prescot- based Whisky magnet called Marg, another is a St Helens based pie and cake wholesaler called Brian ,the third is based in Widnes which in itself ensures he wants to remain anonymous (Graeme Ward) and the final is Roll your own Nick- a tobacco plantation manager from Whiston..

At the time of publication Josh was unavailable for comment due to the fact no one knows where he lives.

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The End of the Beginning

“It’s not the end, nor the end of the beginning, maybe not even the beginning of the end, or for that matter it’s not even the end of the end’s beginning, but maybe the middle of the beginning’s end…oh sod it . Never quote a politician when it comes to matters of sport, it always ends badly, so I’ll just say this “New Cables,New Season” . Cables’ pre season was rounded off by three games in almost as many days, so here’s a short round up.

Cables 0 Marine 1

To be fair, and no one at Prescot likes being fair to Marine, the Crosby side gave us something of a football lesson at times.Cables were left chasing shadows as Marine zipped the ball around nicely for much of the first half. Only a Josh Mitten free-kick troubled the visiting keeper. Cables were better in the second half but just as it seemed the game would peter out to a goal-less stalemate former Cables player Jamie Rainford popped up in a suspiciously offside position to snatch a last minute winner.It’s the second time Rainford has done us since he left Cables for Marine last October.We should sign him again just to ensure he does Cables no further damage.

Cables 3 Hollyoaks 2

First off I need to explain my utter ignorance of all soap operas, don’t watch them and never will.For me ‘Dirty Den’ was the hide out we built out of old beer crates when we were kids. People were already hanging around outside Hope Street two hours before the game starts looking for autographs. A couple of youngsters even asked me if I played for Prescot- an easy mistake to make given my obvious athleticism.Far from being a gentle kick in for the amusement of the assembled mass of screaming teenage girls the game turns out to be a bit of a shin -raker. Hollyoaks players are lying scattered all over the pitch like slaughtered mice after a thorough going over by a particularly malevolent cat. One Hollyoaks player performs a spectacular cartwheel after one challenge and lands with a bump on his behind, dazed and bewildered.The linesmn turns to me and asks “this is a charity game isn’t it?” .Surprisingly the soap stars turn out to be a pretty decent footballing side and Cables reserves are pushed all the way. At the end it’s all smiles and autographs and the Hollyoaks players are trundled to their transport in a convoy of waiting wheelchairs.

Cables 2 Prescot 2

This was a game arranged with the intention of whittling Cables’ squad down and informing some players their services would not be required.The Amber Cables took a two goal lead before the blue Cables levelled late in the second half.Personally I was just glad to be watching a game at Hope Street when the ball is not competing for air space with an orbiting satellite..

Saturday is the start of the beginning proper.

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