Ian Plenderleith look at some non-League websites
One of the most user-friendly and comprehensive football sites is Non-League Football: Conference & Pyramid Leagues Soccer, which provides an overview of all the latest news, results and tables down to the Unibond, Ryman and Dr Martens leagues, with easy intra-site links from competitions to teams to players.
If you start at the top, you will find yourself being irresistibly sucked towards the nether regions to discover rarely highlighted teams and places, and information which you may not need, but which might intrigue you nonetheless. For example, that Eddie McGoldrick is now player-manager at Corby Town and apologised to fans for getting sent off against Wisbech (“I set myself standards throughout my career,” he states ambiguously); that Barrow are planning a reserve team next season in the hope of nurturing the area’s top young talent; and that Clyst Rovers’ season in the Screwfix Direct Western League has, sadly, been terminated.
Although tables and comprehensive results are absent, leagues such as the Eagle Bitter United Counties League (Desborough Town have returned to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Bugbrooke St Michaels), the Albany Northern League (a successful Mercedes trader has just led a six-man consortium to take over Whitley Bay) and the Midland Alliance (Rushall Olympic boss John Allen declares the Cradley Town decision to reverse two home games due to the state of their pitch a little bit naughty) are also covered. Features such as player of the week and team of the month seem to have foundered upon the lapsing of early-season enthusiasm, but as a non-League reference point it more than makes up for the decline of Non-League On The Net following its transfer to the rivals.net umbrella site.
From Non-League Football you can follow links to cheap but cheerful club sites such as Paget Rangers FC, where men like stadium manager Smudger Smith carry out far too many functions to list, supported by Derek Culling, who, among his many other roles, is reportedly senior physiotherapist (how many junior physios does he have in his charge?).
The unofficial site at co-leaguers Shepshed Dynamo is distinctly unflattering about the prospects for pre-match entertainment at north Birmingham-based Paget. In its guide to grounds of the DM Western, under the heading “If you arrive early on the day”, the advice is a firm “Don’t”. Much better to leave some time before the game at Sutton Coldfield Town FC, because you can go for a gawp at the private Four Oaks Estate to the north of the town. Residents include Doug Ellis and Andy Townsend, and the gaffs are rather swanky. Other advice points fans towards the second hand china shops at Rocester, the Shakerstone Steam Railway at Atherstone United, or the Walsall Arboretum near Bilston Town (it used to have chickens as a major showpiece).
This prompted to me try football chickens on a search engine, which led to a jokes page on Matt Cook’s snazzy, unofficial Tottenham website, Spurs Update, where various Premiership managers explain why they think the chicken crossed the road (“Two months ago that chicken was saying he was happy here. Now he tells me he wants to cross the road. I feel like shooting him.” – John Gregory). Quite amusing, though you can’t help but wonder how many chickens would have bothered to cross the road to watch Tottenham recently.
From WSC 172 June 2001. What was happening this month