TUESDAY JULY 31
Gresley 3 Loughborough Uni 1
UNTIL now the Joe McGorian Memorial Cup has never before crossed my radar. It is an annual competition between the winners of the Midland Alliance League and the League Cup winners. This season, Gresley are taking on Loughborough (The Brand) University. I love the Moat Ground, so I need no further inducement to tempt me into a revisit.
I am being guided into my parking spot by three grinning youths when it begins to pour with rain. The poor lads get a thorough soaking. The kind thing to do would be to share my enormous portion of chicken and chips with them but I am a Heartless Hopper.
I buy a programme and take it back to the car. When I return to pay a fiver at the turnstile, the lady asks me if I would like to buy a programme. I meet some friends in the ground and remember I have something for one of them in the car. On my exit and re-entry the lady asks me if I would like to buy a programme. You have to admire her persistence!
It was recently discovered that Gresley’s pitch was too short for the Northern Premier League, so The Moat is now a three sided ground: the groundsman has had to take the goal line right up to the boundary wall. A family is sitting on it to watch the game from their garden. The match is in aid of the air ambulance, so I think this is a bit penny-pinching of the wallflowers. Maybe a stray shot will pick off one or two of them like a coconut shy as punishment.
I am handed a teamsheet and I have already printed off a matchday poster from the club’s website, so I am fully prepared for the game.
Loughborough (The Brand) University, try to play their usual brand of slick football but Gresley prove too strong for them in the end.
Competitive football; two teams going for the win; quirky old ground; very friendly people; a hint of autumn in the air. The football season is here at last!