I’ve just bought a new car. I thought it was a bit of a bargain, being just five months old, had most of the whistles and bells I was looking for, was half the price when new, one lady owner. In fact, almost perfect except for one thing… the colour – it’s white!
A very popular colour these days, the salesman assured me. Mmm. I’ve only ever had one white car before, a 1987 MG Metro, bought from new. Now that looked sporty. My new one looks … well ….. safe!
To be fair I WAS looking for a spacious, reliable, economical family car able to accommodate my getting-taller-by-the-minute teenage son. And this one ticks nearly all of the boxes. But white though….. That’s like a rag to a bull for a Forest fan like me!
Of course colour has always been important in the world of football. Look at the rumpus at Cardiff where the foreign owner has swapped the team’s prime colour from blue to red. Simple answer to that, Cardiff fans – don’t buy the replica red shirts. The chairman will soon get the message.
Midlands fans with long memories might well remember when Leicester City once spent a season in white. It was around the Jimmy Bloomfield era in the 1970s and the thinking was that it made them look like Real Madrid and Leeds United, the dominant English team of that decade. Sadly no top division titles were won by Leicester in white. Curiously, none in blue either!
I have a chance to give my new (white) car a good run out today with a couple of business trips either side of the Pennines, leaving me ideally placed at the end of the day to visit one of those grounds that would be a pain to get to via public transport. I arrive in the Lancashire town of Barnoldswick at tea time and after locating the ground, which nestles on the edge of a large public park, I dump the (white) car and head into town for some Chinese curry sauce (a personal favourite) and chips followed by a swift half at the Fountain. It’s a comfortable enough lounge bar local with a separate dining area, and although the beer range is not exactly mind-boggling, the Tetleys Cask Bitter is in good enough nick.
Back at the ground, the gateman has gone missing but I spot him walking round with a bunch of programmes, and I volunteer my entry cash. The pitch looks quite heavy, with boggy patches near the touchline, but the turnstile man confirms that the game is on, despite the previous night’s heavy rain. That’s a relief to me as the possibility of a postponement hadn’t entered my head.
The Silentnights Stadium is quite a tidy ground, and a neat sponsored wooden fence encloses the playing surface, with an elevated standing area at one end, uncovered flat standing all round except for a covered terrace down one side, and three small covered seated stands behind the same goal as the clubhouse bar, the latter sadly devoid of any interesting beers.
Both the home team, Barnoldswick Town, and the visitors, the snappily-monikered West Didsbury & Chorlton FC, are toiling away in mid-table as the season draws to a close, with nothing other than prestige to play for, but credit to the players of both sides who manage to put on a really entertaining show for the sparse crowd, particularly in a second half that produces five goals.
In a really physical and strong-running encounter blessed with quick and nimble strikers, it’s pretty even-steven at one apiece until Town score three times in a fifteen minute second half spell. Further goals for either side near the end leaves a final score line of 5-2, with the yellow and blue clad players of Barnoldswick by far the happier bunch.
Pity then the lads from WD & C, splendidly clad in… err … white. Nothing against them personally, but probably the only time I welcome the sight of the ‘white’ colour is when it’s on the players of a well-beaten football team, geographically close to me!
Programme: I got mine from a man walking around, but usually available on the gate. There appeared to be a shortage at one stage, but later in the game a lady was wandering around with a handful. A colour copier affair with statistics interspersed with advertising pages. 4/10
Floodlight pylons: 6
Birdlife: Songbirds singing at dusk but nothing out of the ordinary
Toilets: In the bar
Club shop: No
Music the players run out to: None
Kop choir: No
Away fans: Didn’t see many