A Breed of their Own
It has been a rough old season for Goalkeepers. Poor Sam Ashton needed a 10 minute standing count at Bradford in September after a collision with an opponent and spent the next few weeks
recovering from concussion.
In the previous game, Matlock Town keeper Adam Sollitt went down after conceding a goal and the game was delayed for 30 minutes with him prostrate on the ground, an ambulance eventually ferrying him to hospital.
The visit of Newcastle Town on Saturday will bring painful memories to Ashton. In our first meeting with the Staffordshire club in October 2006 at the Lyme Valley Stadium, Sam came off second best in a challenge with the inappropriately name striker Nick Wellecomme, who forced the ball into the net to put the home side 2-1 in front. Ashton hobbled off the field, and with 30 minutes remaining Rory Patterson donned the gloves, and in a happy ending, two opportunist strikes from the evergreen Simon Carden secured all three points for the Reds.
Injury to a custodian is nothing new of course. The shameful challenge by Aston Villa’s Peter McParland on Ray Wood in the 1957 FA Cup Final denied the Busby Babes the League and Cup ‘double’. In those days substitutes were still a fantasy, and with 10 men and Jackie Blanchflower
going between the posts, United’s task was a thankless one. Wood, with a broken cheekbone, returned to the pitch eventually as a passenger on the wing.
In the following seasons FA Cup Final, Harry Gregg was bundled over the line by Bolton’s Nat Lofthouse, this was an era when keepers did not enjoy the protection they have now. Gregg was also involved in a bizarre game against Tottenham Hotspur in January 1962. Spurs were on their way to a League and Cup ‘double’ of their own, and in a League fixture at Old Trafford, Gregg injured his shoulder just before the interval with United 1-0 up. Alex Dawson resumed in goal and
the tough Irishman returned to the fray up front, back-heeling a pass to Mark Pearson in the 74th minute who scored to seal a 2-0 victory.
The last ‘word’ goes to another United legend, Alex Stepney, who dislocated his jaw shouting to his team mates at Birmingham City in 1975. Don’t shout too loud Sam!
Follow, Follow, Follow……
OK, so they’re coming here, but the FA Cup draw this week has thrown up a mouth watering tie at home to Barrow of the Blue Square Premier, the Conference to you and me in the 4th Qualifying Round. Bury are at home in a league game on the Saturday so the match takes place a week on SUNDAY 24th October at Gigg Lane, kick off 3.00 pm.
Thoughts immediately spring back to the fantastic 3-3 draw in the FA Cup last season against Stalybridge Celtic in front of a tremendous Sunday afternoon crowd of 2819. With a large away support expected to travel from Barrow that figure could easily be beaten with a resultant ramp up in the noise and excitement levels also.
Barrow will be the highest ranked team FC have ever played in a competitive match and are one of Margy’s former clubs. They recently voted him into their best all time squad of players! In an FA Cup tie earlier this year Barrow took 8,000 supporters to Sunderland and they also won the FA Trophy final at Wembley in May in front of a crowd of 21,223.
So, dust off the rosettes, dig out the flags and banners and let’s make Gigg Lane a sea of colour and noise to carry the players through to the first round proper!
N.B. - Please all now touch wood and make sure you bring your lucky charms or wear your lucky clothes to the game.
Running Order – LA Boardwalk Style
For all those still going to get around to it it’s still not too late. The FC Minithon takes place this Sunday with a run, a jog or a gentle stroll through the meadows of Chorlton and along the banks of the River Mersey.
Participants will be meeting up on Chorlton Green from 11.00 am where there will be organised warm ups with the players before the run starts at 12.00. This will be followed by a couple of hours of food, drink and entertainment at Chorlton Irish Club where the MAD theatre group are once again expected to be the star turns.
Click here for registration or sponsorship details - http://www.fc-utd.co.uk/story.php?story_id=3155
Later on at around 7pm on Sunday, after the Mancunian participants have rehydrated themselves in the comfort of the Chorlton Irish Club, around a dozen hardy souls just over 5200 miles away in Los Angeles will be running their own version of the run, along the Venice Beach boardwalk. Starting and finishing at the landmark Santa Monica pier, the Los Angeles minithon is the latest iteration of what is fast becoming a global phenomenon.
The minithon is being organized by exiled Mancunian, and former regular matchgoer, Tony Tarpey, who returned to his adopted home in the summer.
‘The motivation for the LA minithon is simple – I love FC, and this is my way of staying close to the club, spreading the word, and helping to raise some money for 2 great causes, the Club and the Frost Foundation. I have run the London version of the minithon for the last 2 years, and it’s fast becoming a great tradition. This year I’ll have two other big FC fans, my brothers Rob and Ged, running it too, along with other friends and family, that appreciate the principles that FC stands for. Between us all, there should hopefully be a fair amount of cash coming to Manchester this year from the States, this time with no Glazers attached…’
To show your support for the Los Angeles minithon, visit www.justgiving.com/losangeles