Ahead of the Chelsea Bradford game, a heartwarming preview with a Huddersfield Town and Lincoln City link stirring memories of the oft forgotton 56 who perished in the Bradford fire. May the Bantams win it for them and the great British sense of fair play.
No one is giving Bradford City a prayer against Chelsea FC. However 6000 and the souls of the forgotten 56 will be there hoping for the win our national psyche and ‘sport’ needs. This in the romantic FA Cup, one that allegedy allows underdogs to go from jumpers for goal posts to the glitter of Wembley. That is why every neutral and everyone sick of the rising inequality in modern Britain should be on Bradford City’s side.
The attitude from those awash with Russian cash in SW6 is that one of Yorkshire’s most inspiring clubs should be grateful for the cash bonanza as brave Bradford gallantly get hit for five or six. But, the Bantam’s have been forged by one of the toughest journeys in football. With the Hillsborough disaster getting the column inches to earn the justice it deserves, the Bradford fire and its 25th anniversary was ignored outside Yorkshire. Even the Premier and Football League have conveniently moved the dates for the tributes around the grounds to the 24/25th April. This May the Eleventh will be the the 30th anniversary of an oft forgotten tragedy with Huddersfield’s North Stand Loyal kicking off a terrific Terrier fundraising initiative – HERE .
A brief bit of history is both respectful and due. Having won the Third Division Championship prior to the game a young Peter Jackson (one I count as a friend) was presented with City’s first trophy for 56 years. That same number would die on a day set up for celebration – some families lost 3 generations – with 256 injured as the burns unit learned the hard way to become the best in the world at what it does. The opponents that day, Lincoln. who lost two fans and named their former home end after the two victims, went to Valley Parade again 7 years ago with Stuart McCall and laying wreathes prior to the game.
There is one other massive reason people should want Bradford to win today. Where Chelsea were saved by Ken Bates, then Matthew Harding and then Roman Abramovich who has spent 100s of millions to get them success . Bradford fell from the Premiership and almost died falling into the bottom rung of the Football league. There they struggled under debt repayment plans backed by 11,000 diehards who they rewarded with the cheapest season tickets in the country – costing around a game and a half compared to those Made In Chelsea.
From a purest football perspective Chelsea undeniably deserve to win. But if passion is the fashion Hanson will give the two Blues centre-backs a game they will learn from today. The Bantam’s have an attacking trio that can do damage in any division and they will be really up for it today (fired up just did not seem the right thing to put). London may have all the money and the 12:1 job ratio thanks to the banks etc, but Yorkshire is God’s county.
Come on City! Do it for financial fair play, do it for the fans and do it for the 56.
Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire!
Sheffield Wednesday have sent former Huddersfield Town and Lincoln City idol Gary Taylor-Fletcher back to Leicester City after an unsuccessful loan spell.
The 33 year-old played his final game for the Owls against Huddersfield, of all clubs, although he was substituted in favour of Atdhe Nuhiu during the second half. GT-F started two of his four games but failed to galvanise a Wednesday side that is having no luck in front of goal. A particularly poor (stonewall penalty) decision and the crossbar denied them in a 0-0 draw that is becoming symptomatic of a side that has the potential to be there or thereabouts despite the financial inequalities in ‘the Premier two’ in all but name.
GT-F would be just the job for Lincoln City during the autumn of a career that has seen him score in the top five divisions of English football. GT-F bagged 30 goals in 93 appearances in all competitions for Big Keith’s Imps and is another of ex-manager Simmo’s finds that have gone on to play in the top flight. With 19 goals in all competitions he finished his first season as the 2003/4 player of the year. Gary then broke a 106 year record scoring in our opening 6 games of the 04/05 season before Peter Jackson, lured him to Huddersfield Town, playing him largely as a winger (Abbot and Booth both took some dislodging in their prime) in a first season that yielded 15 goals and then 11 the season after.
Blackpool signed the mercurial front-man in their first Championship season with his début coming in a 1-0 win over his current club Leicester City. He capped his rise from non-league to the Premier League with a 30 million 39th minute strike in the 09/10 play-off final at Wembley to wipe out those sad memories for the Imps against Southend. Blackpool released him in the summer of 2013 with Leicester offering him a one year deal. Promotion as Champions saw GT-F get a years extention, although he failed to get a look in and then failed to shine at Sheffield Wednesday on loan.
He will be a free agent in the summer (34 in June) and would be a talismanic addition to any ambitious lower Football League or Conference side. Gary averages a goal every four games (101 in 398 League games plus 16 in 51 Cup appearances) not bad for someone who has spent most of his time cutting in. He would put 500-1000 on the gate at Lincoln – good business surely?
|Full name||Gary Taylor-Fletcher|
|Date of birth||4 June 1981|
|Place of birth||Widnes, England|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Club gig in the game|
|2001||Hull City (loan)||5||(0)|
|2001–2002||Grays Athletic (loan)||4||(3)|
|2002||Dagenham & Redbridge (loan)||3||(1)|
|2002–2003||Dagenham & Redbridge (loan)||5||(0)|
|2014||Sheffield Wednesday (loan)||4||(0)|
Former Leicester City, Burton Albion and Lincoln City striker Adi Yussuf is in the top 10 Conference North strikers as he continues to fight through the pain barrier. The talented lad, 21 last week, has been plagued by injury costing him a career at Leicester as well as Burton and Lincoln City. Adi (Oxford City) is just three off Omar Bogle (Solihull Moors) on 8 with Andy Cook (Barrow FC) and Richie Allen (AFC Fylde) in joint second with seven.
Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
Having impressed at the Leicester City Youth Academy under the Direction of John Rudkin and ex-Imp Trevor Peake. As an aside Nicky Eaden now at today’s opponents Nuneaton was also at Leicester during Adi’s time as a coach, which may explain young Fox Adam Dawson’s arrival on loan. Adi was another for the future given a 3 year youth deal at just 16 by Leicester. He was a regular in the U18’s and reserves, going on loan to Tamworth at just 17 before Sven-Göran Eriksson wielded the axe.
His trademarks, explosive acceleration and power, see him get behind defences to lethal effect. Alas that has been his downfall as he has one leg slightly longer than the other leading to pain and regular strains, such as hamstring pulls which clearly hamper a large part of his natural game. At Lincoln it had been hoped that injections and a modification to his boots might help, but alas it did not. It was a shame as he looked brilliant in pre-season may well have to give up the game for good.
Conference North Goal Machines
Omar Bogle (Solihull Moors) 8
Richie Allen (AFC Fylde) 7
Andy Cook (Barrow) 7
Obi Anorou (Colwyn Bay) 6
Dayle Southwell (Boston United) 6
James Dean (Chorley) 6
Kristian Dennis (Stockport County) 6
Charlie Griffin (Gloucester) 6
Stefan Moore (Leamington) 6
Adam Boyes (Guiseley) 5
Adi Yussuf (Oxford City) 5
STMI have compiled the Vanarama Conference Premier clubs main fans forums for 2014/15 for AFC Telford, Aldershot Town, Alfreton, Altrincham, Barnet FC, Braintree Town, Bristol Rovers, Chester, Dartford, Dover Athletic, Eastleigh, Forest Freen Rovers, Gateshead FC, FC Halifax, Grimsby Town, Kidderminster Harriers, Lincoln City, Macclesfield Town, Southport FC, Torquay United, Welling, Woking and Wrexham . As ever if we have missed any or you want to be added just leave a link in the comment box at the bottom of the article. For those wanting to check out those who have left the fold last years list is below that of this season. It is well worth stopping by the Hereford and Salisbury sites.
Thanks for reading STMI
So what are we all talking about? Do our beloved teams give us nice dreams, fill us with screams or are we gossiping about those behind the scenes? Here are the forums the chat rooms warts and all……………..
For those wanting to check out those who have left the fold here is last years list. It is well worth stopping by the Hereford and Salisbury sites.
The Vanarama Premier strikers of Barnet FC, Altrincham FC, Woking FC, Wrexham FC, Braintree Town, Lincoln City, Grimsby Town and Aldershot Town FC are fighting it, out week in week, out against the great central defensive oaks of the Conference. Outnumbered, false teeth back in the changing rooms, with goals the lifeblood of our national sport the game, scoring is all they live for (we can hear you chuckling behind your web cams you know! On a serious note a quick word to the contenders with their brains hopefully in their boots – Lads its doesn’t have to be Cash Converters or a Pawn Brokers, sometimes you can even get a good price at the bookies so I hear.
Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
So moving swiftly on lets take a look at the thoroughbred runners and riders shall we?
Lee Cook of Barnet is still showing his QPR pedigree to top the Vanarama Conference goal scoring pile from the left wing. He has failed to score in the last three although an assist at the weekend, suggests we can excuse him for that. Unplayable and a key component to a Hive dripping goals he must be sweating with Reeves and Rendell kneck and kneck with him on seven.
Damian Reeves has been scoring for fun for years, opting to stay part time for business reasons despite countless offers from League teams. He got 16 for Altrincham in 2010/11, 42 in 2011/12, 36 in 2012/13, 21 last season and seven so far this. Murdered 4-0 by the Harriers last night he got a brace in a 3-3 thriller against Eastleigh on Saturday and two against Dartford the week before. Clearly midweek games are not his cup of tea so Barnet and Mad Dog best watch out this Saturday.
Scott Rendell’ s time looks to have finally come. Seen as the nearly man at Wycombe, Oxford and Luton this has to be his season you have to feel. On seven in his first 6 games including the awesome foursome against Dover, he has failed to find the net in four. Will he click back or hibernate through the winter like previous seasons?
Jordan Burrow has been called up for the England C games against Estonia and Turkey off the back of his five so far this season. He is joined by Davis of Braintree, MacDonald (injured), the mercurial Moult of Wrexham, King Cod Scott Neilson, Giuseppe Sole and Brett Williams the Aldershot assassin. Albatross might be more as the keystone cops defence meet him on Saturday. With Brown out the shots could be deadly then?
The People’s Premiership Golden Boot contenders.
|2||Jordan Burrow||Lincoln City||5|
|2||Kenny Davis||Braintree Town||5|
|2||Scott Neilson||Grimsby Town||5|
|2||Brett Williams||Aldershot Town||5|
|3||Harry Beautyman||Welling United||4|
|3||Hamza Bencherif||Lincoln City||4|
|3||Scott Boden||FC Halifax Town||4|
|3||Tony Gray||AFC Telford United||4|
|3||Joe Ironside||Alfreton Town||4|
|3||Jon Parkin||Forest Green Rovers||4|
|3||Michael Phenix||AFC Telford United||4|
|3||Jon-Paul Pittman||Grimsby Town||4|
|3||Luke Young||Torquay United||4|
Go on – Boost your Teams budget – & get your fans forum or supporters Trust involved
Rob Duffy scored goals aplenty at Oxford United and Mansfield Town, as well as pitching in with 9 at Grimsby Town. An injury at the start of the 2011/12 season for The Imps, saw him him needing an operation for Rob to have any chance of continuing to earn a living from the game. When he left City the pay-off was understood to see the caring Imps foot the bill for the operation. STMI takes a look at the career of another quality player that saw the fates deny him a chance to prove his undeniable ability…. or have they?.
No they haven’t it seems for Rob Duffy has overcome that career threatening injury and rewarded Ilkeston manager Kevin Wilson’s faith on two counts so far this season. Not only has he rammed home eight goals in eight games, but, he has also rejected an offer to join Goole AFC. Lincoln City were good enough to stretch to an operation on an ankle injury, allowing the 31-year-old to make a slow but sure comeback at Kings Lynn last season before Wilson signed him for NPL rivals Ilkeston at the start of the season.
In two seasons he cracked 25 goals in 60 appearances for Oxford despite two months out with a broken arm. The Stags almost missed him, trialling him before The Exiles stepped in. However in the January of that season they came to their senses and brother Dean Holdsworth allowed David to take him on an eighteen month deal. David gave him a two year deal where he bagged 28 League goals in 81 BSP appearances, that effectively saved the Stags who were hanging on by their antlers that year. Grimsby, awash with money as ever, came in with an undisclosed fee in the winter window and offered terms that the Stags were unable to match at the time. The deal was completed three days before the January window closed.
Rob – a hero at Oxford United and Mansfield has had some tough knocks in the last couple of years. Mariners’ chairman John Fenty even tagged him as a ‘mistake’ – the Mariners are looking for a striker too after all up front have reported to sick bay. But David Holdsworth always rated him as a lad with ability, who had the track record and hunger to prove the doubters wrong. His strike rate – 9 goals in all competitions or 1 every 140 mins – as a bit part-player a The Mariners, suggested Rob was indeed the landmark signing in 2011/12 for Lincoln along with miss-firing mercurial Adam Smith.
Under Holdsworth at Mansfield Town, the striker had duly helped to steer them away from relegation at a time when the club had no cash. Rob certainly looked to have the pedigree and the prowess we needed at 6′ 2″ and 13 stone 10lb. The former Wales U21 may have a laid back style but he is still the composed and quiet battler. He failed to dislodge hit-man-Hearn and Elding at Grimsby, despite 9 goals from his 19 starts and 20 substitute appearances. Alas just 3 games in after a decent start next to Taylor, he was forced off with an ankle injury just 44 minutes into an away game at Newport. Rob, one of the highest earners at the club, was destined to become a financial albatross during a frustrating season as that early doors ankle injury in the 2011/12 season appeared to end his career.
|Full name||Robert Duffy|
|Date of birth||2 December 1982|
|Place of birth||Swansea, Wales|
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|2001–2005||Rushden & Diamonds||30||(1)|
|2005||→ Stamford (loan)||2||(2)|
|2008||→ Wrexham (loan)||6||(0)|
|2013-2014||King’s Lynn Town||7||(6)|
FC Halifax returned to the top thanks to a draw at Macclesfield Town, although Barnet play tonight in the live one on BT Sport. Lincoln City pipped Bristol Rovers to the highest crowd of the night, as well as neighbours Grimsby Town in a five goal thriller. Rovers go to Sincil Bank on Saturday after a Monkhouse strike settled the Conference giants nerves. Woking FC and Torquay United are starting to look very strong indeed.
Thanks for reading STMI
Halifax took the lead at Macc when Boden silenced the critics at his old club pouncing on a spill following a powerful Jackson effort. Five minutes later, Gnahoua, turned on a sixpence to fire into the far corner. Aldershot and Woking was watched by another terrific Tuesday night crowd in the Conference – 3567. Life and Sole, Giuseppe, got a thirty-five yard screamer of a set-piece on seventy minutes to bring the house down and settle a tight derby. The Woking wild Cards have won four on the bounce now, sitting third and unbeaten, after inflicting the first home defeat of the season on their new local rivals.
Gateshead came from a goal down to bag four in reply thanks to an Akrigg own goal on 10 before Turnbull 13′ Wright 35′ and Guy 52′ rounded off the rout. Torquay, seven unbeaten now, are certainly looking menacing with another comfortable win at Chester. The refereeing at this level came under scrutiny again when Evans sent off Kay only to retract it when he realised it was in fact his first yellow. Downes headed home a Young corner before Bowman unleashed one of his trademark drives to win it.
Connor got the only goal for Souphport midway through the first half. Despite Brodie seeing red the previously unbeaten Harriers failed to get off the ground in this one. Eastleigh drew at Dartford suggesting the early season gloss may start to tarnish.
|Att||Fixture||Home scorers||Away scorers|
|3567||Aldershot 0-1 Woking||Sole 70′|
|562||Alfreton 1-1 Altrincham||Ironside 42′||Perry 89|
|5082||Bristol R 1-0 Wrexham||Monkhouse 34′|
|1954||Chester 0-2 Torquay||Downes 61′, Bowman 78|
|806||Dartford 2-2 Eastleigh||Bradbrook 55′, Crawford 90′||Collins 13′ (pen), Constable 22′|
|1093||Gateshead 4-1 Telford||Akrigg 10′ (og) Turnbull 13′Wright 35′ Guy 52′||Clancy 2′|
|5209||Lincoln 3-2 Grimsby||Burrow 8′ Newton 57′(pen) Bencherif 88′||Disley 43′ Pittman 59′|
|1509||Macc 1-1 Halifax||Gnahoua 56′||Boden 51′|
|789||Nuneaton 1-0 FGR||John 75||Report|
|769||Southport 1-0 Harriers||Connor 26′||Report|
|506||Welling 2-1 Braintree||Bush 48′ Beautyman 79′||Cox 15′|
|1||FC Halifax Town||8||6||1||1||16||6||+10||19|
|13||Forest Green Rovers||8||3||3||2||8||6||+2||12|
|23||AFC Telford United||8||0||2||6||9||20||-11||2|
With Lee Gregory of Halifax Town and Andre Gray of Luton Town well clear of Brett Williams of Aldershot Town and fellow Hatter Paul Benson in the goal charts; Ben Tomlinson of Lincoln City still has a rather elusive milestones to reach. STMI also wish Luton congratulations – we said Still was the man to take you back to the promised land – the Conference will be much the poorer without you and your hordes at the turnstiles.
Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
Hopefully the fitness doubts that robbed the Hatters of Gray’s prowess against Braintree will enable him to make up the one goal deficit to crown a superb season for the goal machine and the Hatters. Gregory got back to scoring ways, after two without a goal, to edge ahead with a goal in the 4-0 romp at Barnet.
No one should bet against either to break thirty goals to take the honours, but Gregory has to be the favourite. Prior to the short barren spell he had plundered seven in four games, including a brace against Alfreton and a treble at the well tanned Hyde. Gray has just one in his last six games, although he bagged 5 in 3 including a treble at the Bulls in a seven nil rampage. Williams of Aldershot (21) and fellow Hatter Benson(17) look too off the pace to trouble the top two crackshots.
Tomlinson, in 5th meanwhile, has just three games to bag the two goals he needs to break the twenty goal barrier and emulate Simon Yeo (21 almost a decade ago). Currently on 18 goals in all competitions STMIs tip for 20 this season has been sidelined by a three match suspension thanks to 15 yellow cards, but who would bet against a passionate talismanic figure hitting an elusive target during another frustrating season for a club of the Mighty Imps stature? Imps can click here for the hoped-for goal machines of 2013/14.
Top 20 Skrill Premier Goal Machines
|2||Andre Gray||Luton Town||27|
|3||Brett Williams||Aldershot Town||21|
|4||Paul Benson||Luton Town||17|
|5||Ben Tomlinson||Lincoln City||16|
|Scott Boden||Macclesfield Town||16|
|James Norwood||Forest Green Rovers||16|
|John Akinde||Alfreton Town||16|
|Connor Jennings||Grimsby Town||15|
|11||Louis Moult||Nuneaton Town||14|
|12||Luke Guttridge||Luton Town||13|
|Dan Fitchett||Salisbury City||13|
|Dan Holman||Braintree Town||13|
|16||Yan Klukowski||Forest Green Rovers||12|
|Luke Berry||Cambridge United||12|
|19||Michael Gash||Kidderminster Harriers||11|
A massive thanks to our Lincoln City and Skrill Premier readers, but I have decided to throw in the towel. The fact is football writing is just too much hassle and I have an eye and foot injury to contend with. Wordpress will continue to host us and our archives, but after this post like the bubbles and dreams, STMI will fade and die.
Thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
A lot of Lincoln and Conference fans will probably miss us for a while but an independent writer or blog has no chance of protecting itself legally even if you are in the right and can back up your facts. I cannot watch Lincoln games due to a ban that the nameless hecklers find humerus and several copyright infringements from other sites have not helped matters. There are other issues but I do not want to labour what is a courtesy post to our readers. It has to be about the football for that is what makes the turnstiles and my keyboard click.
Thanks, health wealth and good luck to the thousands that travel home and away every week. Oh and apologises for using ‘I’ so much, its bad form and football clubs, managers and players can ill afford that.
Good luck to the Imps against Plymouth on Saturday – remember who dares wins.
Former Lincoln City and Mansfield Town manager David Holdsworth may want to give his brother Dean (who got Aldershot Town relegated) and his nephew a helping hand after both left Chelmsford City today. That is of course if he has time as he has been a very busy lad in the transfer market…….
Vic Erzantarz gets the abacus out
The Clarets lost 6-0 to Boreham Wood in the Conference South on Saturday and have now lost 8 of their last 11 games. City sit 17th in the table after just four wins from thirteen this term. Dean, with a massively redused budget it must be said, agreed to stand down after just five months in charge – this off the back of almost getting Aldershot relegated although Andy Scott got the honour – with assistant Kenny Brown put in caretaker charge of the side. Holdsworth’s son Jordan, a striker, has also left the club.
David meanwhile is getting busy at his Goole gig, with three new faces on Friday alone. Midfielder Anton Fosterjoins from Matlock, striker Ryan Williams joins from Guiseley AFC on dual registration and defender Jack Freeman from AFC Darwen in the North West Counties League. Goole beat Chasetown 3-1 on Saturday to move to 14th as Holdsworth and Chairman Baron’s brave new dawn continues.
The previous week was even busier with 6 out and 4 in as David Holdsworth looked to ring the changes. The released half dozen were George Wysocki, Brice Tiani, Regis Kimba-Mavambu, Chris Ovington, Matt Semley and Nick Guest. The arrivals were former Scunthorpe United, forward Reece Richiardi, former Crystal Palace forward William Johnson-Cole, former Sheffield Wednesday midfielder James Cottingham from Worksop Town (waiting on the registration) and former Notts County and Mansfield Town winger Danny Bisungu who is awaiting international clearance.