Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Rugby Town FC

Main Stand at Butlin Road, Rugby Town FC

If Highfield Road was my second home when I was growing up then Butlin Road was a close third as I would watch VS Rugby whenever the Sky Blues were away or not in action.

From the 1983 FA Vase triumph at Wembley onwards they were good times to watch the Valley as Jimmy Knox moulded a squad that rose through the Non-League ranks to within a whisker of reaching the Conference.

After a name change to Rugby United in 2000 the club became Rugby Town five years later but are still known as 'The Valley' to many and although fortunes have dipped sharply in recent years the Butlin Road ground has gradually been improved to the point where it wouldn't look out of place in the top-tier of the Non-League game.

This Saturday's United Counties League fixture against Kirby Muxloe has been announced as free admission for all.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Dronfield Town FC

Free football this coming Saturday afternoon, January 27th, although possibly not quite as warm at the HE Barnes Stadium as when I took this picture at a pre-season friendly a few seasons back, as Dronfield Town host Nostell Miners Welfare in the Northern Counties East League Division One.

Saturday, 19 January 2019

February Footy

Ricoh Arena, Coventry City FC against Accrington Stanley

Coventry City host their second Community Day for the visit of Gillingham to the Ricoh Arena on Saturday 2nd with thousands of tickets being given free to local schools and clubs and all other tickets on sale at just £5.

Last season's inaugural staging of the event saw over 28,000 in attendance for a League Two clash with Accrington Stanley.

The future remains hugely uncertain for the Sky Blues as their deal to play at the Ricoh is once again approaching its end and the ongoing legal action being pursued by the club’s owners make the prospect of any deal with Wasps over an extension unlikely at present.

Mark Robins has worked wonders on the field to drag City back from what looked to be a freefall through the divisions and engagement with supporters (such as with the Community Day event) has been much improved over the past year or so.

Here's hoping that I will be writing about a third staging of the Community Day in CV6 next season.

Similarly improving on the field against a continuing backdrop of dissatisfaction with unpopular owners are Charlton Athleti, Lee Bowyer having guided his side into the thick of the promotion chase.

The offer of Football for a Fiver is a longstanding initiative at the Valley and it is in place for the League One fixture at home to Blackpool on Saturday 16th.

I've got my tickets for the Women's Continental League Cup Final at Bramall Lane on Saturday 23rd (kick-off 12.15pm) with the participants to come from semi-finals between Arsenal and Manchester United and Chelsea and Manchester City (tickets for this game at Kingsmeadow on Wednesday 6th are available priced at just £3 Adults and £1 Concessions).

Early-bird prices for the final are £7.50 Adults (£10 afterwards) and £1 for Concessions.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

A Tweet For The Weekend

Saturday, 12 January 2019

The Road to Wembley (and Bramall Lane)

The 2018/2019 FA Women’s Cup is at the Fourth Round stage with the entrance of Super League and Championship clubs into the competition alongside those who have made their way through to the final 32.

Current league leaders Arsenal have been drawn against one of those sides in the shape of Crawley Wasps with the Sussex side very much looking forward to their big day.

The FA Cup Final will once again be held at Wembley Stadium, on Saturday 4 May, and tickets are currently on sale priced at £15 for Adults with Children going free.

The Continental Cup, the League Cup competition for WSL and Championship sides, is down to the final four with usual suspects Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City joined by a Championship club but one whose appearance at this stage is little surprise given the pedigree of the squad assembled by Manchester United for the very first season in their history.

Saturday’s semi-final draw paired Manchester United with Arsenal and perennial rivals Chelsea against Manchester City.

Bramall Lane in Sheffield, increasingly a popular venue for FA-hosted fixtures, will stage the final on Saturday 23 February at 12.15pm and tickets are now on sale at an early-bird price of £7.50 for Adults and just £1 for Concessions.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

A Tweet For The Weekend

Sunday, 6 January 2019

The National League Promotion Final

The Wembley Arch, Wembley Stadium

Also known as the Vanarama Big Day Out  and usually an exciting climax to the National League season with a second club securing promotion to the EFL alongside the league champions.

I’ve been to Wembley for this game for the past three seasons and seen what promotion has meant to those involved, certainly with Grimsby in 2016 and Tranmere in 2018 as those sides have secured a return to the Football League and, it’s not an exaggeration to say, the very future of clubs that play an integral part in their local community.

Leyton Orient will be looking to do the same (they will hope by winning the league and not having to go through the play-offs) this season but the nature of the National League means that it is not just the more traditional clubs who are vying to go up. Forest Green were the victors in 2017 and the likes of Salford City and Harrogate are well-placed to continue their impressive progress of recent seasons by earning a spot amongst The 92.

Players warming up at Wembley Stadium

This season's National League Promotion Final takes place on Saturday 11 May 2019 and early-bird tickets (for very good  in an neutral area of the stadium) are priced at £20 Adults, £10 Seniors and free for accompanied Under-16's.