From Diamonds to Darlo: When the Phoenix Rises Part Two

In part two of his look at footballing phoenixes, Dave Burin writes about three more clubs who have had interesting recent histories. Read the rest of this entry

From Diamonds to Darlo: When the Phoenix Rises Part One

Dave Burin, a northwest non league football fan, writes his first article for Under The League, looking at five clubs who have risen from the ashes. In this first part, Dave looks at two clubs that came about through mergers, and then had to rise from the ashes, with their new iterations coming into being in 2011. Read the rest of this entry

Wrexham Triumph at Robins’ Nest

Dave Burin returns to write for Under The League, kicking off a new series of matchday reviews. First up is Wrexham’s trip to Altrincham. Read the rest of this entry

Non League Podcast Episode 65 Now Available

Join Kristan, Rob and myself for the latest nonleague chat.

After a two week break, yours truly returns to the podcast this week, and as ever there is plenty to discuss. There’s the Kingstonian goalkeeper Rob Tolfrey who jumped into the terraces to confront Bognor Regis Town fans after their match:

On a similar front, Torquay United defender Angus Macdonald has been fined and issued an apology after he engaged in a verbal spat with supporters during their 0-3 FA Trophy semi final second leg defeat against Wrexham.

Speaking of the Trophy, we give a lot of love to North Ferriby United, and try and even it out a bit by wishing Wrexham luck as they aim to celebrate their 150th anniversary by lifting non league’s most prestigious prize.

After all that, there is still time for me to usurp Ranty Robo (although he does get in on the act), when we cover the situation at Kidderminster Harriers.

There’s also the goalkeeper who has retired at the grand old age of twenty to become a car salesman, the Northern Premier League’s club of the month awards, and hattrick watch. And there’s an exciting announcement about next week’s show.

To listen to the podcast, or download the audio, visit the show’s website. Better still, subscribe via iTunes and never miss another episode. And while you’re there, please consider leaving a rating and review, as it helps to get new listeners on board.


Is This Finally FC United’s Year?

Upwardly mobile FC United of Manchester United have never had a better opportunity to seal that much needed promotion to Step Two, a promotion which would be good for non league in general. Read the rest of this entry

United Undone by Super Seagulls

An intelligent display from Ryan Northmore’s Weston-super-Mare AFC saw the Seagulls bank another three points in the Vanarama Conference South. Read the rest of this entry

Five Billion Reasons To Watch Non League

The new television deal will hopefully lure fans to non league grounds as the top clubs further distance themselves from their fans. Read the rest of this entry

Humble Confession of an Amateur Football Writer

If there is one thing I have learned about football writing it’s that you should never be shy about highlighting just how right you are. No matter that the huge “Messi to Cowdenbeath Shockah!” article you wrote predictably came to nothing or that the team you finally decided would win the title after months of flip-flopping between six rivals (hello Robbie Savage!) actually ended up outside the top four.. what ‘s important is that one-out-of-thousands transfer rumour pulled out of your rear end that actually came true or the fact that back on October the 15th you correctly predicted who would emerge as champions before you stacked your chips firmly elsewhere. Football writing, essentially, is all about throwing as much stuff at the wall as possible and then having a self-congratulatory backpat when some finally sticks. This, here, is me doing the opposite. Read the rest of this entry

Non League Podcast Episode 62

Download the latest podcast now! Read the rest of this entry

Classic Programme – Wrose Albion F.C. vs Fairweather Gr. 21/10/90

If, at the turn of the final decade of the twentieth century, you were to find yourself in or around the Bradford area and in need of somebody to spin some tunes you could have done no better than hiring D.J. Ray Tate and his ‘Disco Sounds’. How do I know this? Because his advertisement in the programme for the match between Wrose Albion F.C. and Fairweather Gr. (whose attendances were always predictably awful due to them having.. wait for it.. fairweather fans *rimshot*) billed him as “Yorkshires Leading Mobile Discotheque” and “the Ultimate in Mobile Entertainment”. I’m not sure what the mobile discotheque turf war was like in Yorkshire back in those heady days of October 1990 but it was still a pretty ballsy move by Ray to position himself as disco king. Perhaps one of the reasons for his confidence was the “24 hour answering service” he had in operation. That’s quite the commitment to bad music! One can imagine a Batman style light in the shape of a glitter ball beaming brightly into a mournfully coloured sky above the Salts Mill at five in the morning as Ray pulls on his flares and grabs his Norma Jean twelve inches before jumping into his Funkmobile to race over and provide Ultimate Entertainment at a moments notice.

wrose1The cover of the programme for this District Cup clash features a cartoon of an unshaven, overweight hooligan looking type holding a ball and giving a thumbs up in front of an optimistically full and happy stand. Is this an honest impression of the type of player plying their trade at Wrose at the time? Beside him on the pitch sit a shield commemorating their previous season as 1st division champions and, more excitedly, the prestigious “Vera Cookson cup” (even after extensive research I am none the wiser as to who Vera Cookson was but did at least uncover this amazing photograph of former winners Grafton Garage that appears to show a young Phil Jupitus and a player who apparently preferred to sport of-it’s-time knitwear rather than the actual kit).

As is often the case with match literature this far down the football ladder (and by the time you reach clubs in the Wharfdale League Premier Division you have departed the ladder altogether and are now digging feverishly at the soil with your fingernails) the product is rather flimsy at a meagre 14 pages and eighty percent of that is taken up with advertisements. Luckily local advertising is one of our favourite things here at Classic Programmes and there are a couple of gems to satiate our appetite. wrose2Aside from Mr. Tate and his non stop disco madness there is a Fisheries that is rarely open, a print & design studio that boastfully promises to deliver “on time!” as if the minimum requirement for a business is a major selling point, and the unappealingly titled ‘Millionhairs Body Complex’ where “you don’t have to be a millionaire to come to millionhairs”. With all due respect to Shipley it’s hardly the Millionaires’ Mile so I doubt that really needed pointing out and also.. Millionhairs? Really? Is this a beauty studio designed specifically with Chewbacca in mind?

As for non commercial content we get the staple half-hearted sports and music quizes and the usual array of statistics nobody really cares about and yet with a closer inspection shows that from the first twenty seven games the ten teams in the league had managed an impressive 124 goals between them. That’s an average of about four and a half goals each match. Bizarre then to find K. Attenborough sitting atop the goal scorers table with a mere five strikes to his name. Only two other players had scored more than one goal! By my calculations it appears that one hundred and thirteen other players shared a solitary goal between them. Either that or the person tasked with recording statistics had a very tenuous grasp on the truth.

The highlight of the programme, however, is the ‘Pick of the Past’ section which features a match report from the esteemed Shipley Times & Express from 1978. The game in question is a cup tie between Wrose Albion and Junction and features a description of a 50 yard punt being headed home as “picture-book” (presumably the artist of that particular book was Sam Allardyce) and makes mention of a “cheeky ball” being chipped in for Albion’s fifth which raises the surreal philosophical question as to how a ball can possibly be cheeky?
Of more interest than all that, however, is the revelation that this game was the first match of the season for young Ray Tate. Yes, that’s right, the Tadcaster Travolta himself was involved in a game where he managed to concede a penalty and later be substituted after cutting his eye. Not the greatest of debuts then. Just as well the world of Disco awaited him.

“24 hour answering service – except for a couple of hours on Sunday when I might be being crap at football.”


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