The Only Way Is Essex (And Showing Jeff Love)
Saturday 15th March 2014
—Billericay Town 0 Margate FC 2—
I seem to be setting a trend with these unusual blog titles – again, I can only apologise, & hope that the title makes more sense by the end of my ramblings.
After taking in a 3-2 victory for Terry’s Margate U10 side (see previous blog) the dash was on, to stow the football gear back at Terry’s, before the short walk back down to Hartsdown Park, where we arrived in good time.
Once again, MISA had worked wonders in being able to procure a minibus for the away journey – and we had the privilege of Mark Sandwell driving again, due to Rick Simmons being unavailable. In Rick’s absence, Mark once again did an excellent job.
As we boarded the minibus, being greeted by a beaming Harvey as always, along with Dave Miles, Dave Wade, Keith Lewis, Tam & various other fans (Dan Boyle & his sister Jeanette also made the journey) was a pleasure, and we left at 12:15.
As always, various sweets were passed around & shared during the journey, my own contribution being a bag of Haribo & some Fox Glacier Mints – as well as a copy of FHM which Dan promptly seized for reading material during the journey – although I think the self-styled ladies man would be the first to admit that he was mainly looking at the pictures!
With it being a sunny day, the mood on the bus was a cheerful one, until Terry felt the need to introduce Dave Wade to the Llama Song – Dave, I can only apologise on Terry’s behalf, & sincerely hope that you’ve got that tune out of your head by now!
The journey seemed to fly by, in truth – the main highlight being at Dartford Crossing, where Mark used his suave & sophisticated nature to charm the lady working at the toll booth – you silver-tongued charmer, you! Another highlight was receiving a text from Mel, who was on her way to the game with her husband Steve – and Larry the Lemur in tow – bemoaning the fact that she was hungover after a 90’s night at a new bar in Margate.
She implored me not to shout in her ear, although this was hard not to do when we arrived, and she serenaded me with the joys of ‘Ice Ice Baby’ – along with some questionable music coming out of the Billericay tannoy system, I did wonder if they were holding a cheesy songs day! Ivesy did well not to be there, as they played a rendition of ‘Blue Moon’ – one can only question what that would’ve done to his frame of mind!
I thought that Billericay’s stadium seemed like quite a decent one, and Mel remarked that it reminded her of Tonbridge Angels’ ground – Tonbridge of course, according to my geography skills, being that small town in Maidstone.
It was good to see Ryan Day & Jim at the game too – Ryan, apologies for not being able to help with the Twitter feed, but with my eyesight, it was definitely for the best!
Catching up with Jim was a pleasure as always too, and I was glad to hear that he treated himself to some fingers of his favourite Dufftown malt when he arrived home, having presumably scrubbed the stench of Essex away first.
There was a little bit of confusion in our ranks, as a mystery player – later revealed to be Omar Beckles – was starting in central defence. After research from club historian / statisician Jeff Trice, Omar was revealed to be a young central defender, who is on dual registration from Histon.
And to think I used to associate the name Omar with a certain type of movie that always seemed to end up with the lead character jumping out the window to escape an angry husband… Yep, I think I’ll leave that one there!
More surprises were in store – mainly that Terry discovered that Billericay sold kebabs, all credit to her for being brave enough to try one – and our pre-match chat with Charles Ademeno.
Without going into too much detail, he came across as a thoroughly nice guy who felt bad for not being able to make much of a mark this season – it was really nice to talk to him, and firmly dispelled my own misconception that he was a chancer with a glass ankle – his regrets seemed genuine, and I hope to see him play again this season.
Before long, the teams trotted out onto a decidedly bobbly pitch, and our hearts sunk as we realised that the game would be taken charge of by yet another short ref – always a bad omen!
The main team news was that both new players – striker Luke Medley & the aforementioned Omar Beckles were both in the starting lineup, and that captain Jamie Stuart was back – and in truly inspirational form, it must be said.
Margate looked determined from the start, and their persistence paid off with less than ten minutes gone – a venomous strike from Bods being parried by the keeper, but only into the path of Jefferson Louis, who made no mistake in heading home the rebound from close range.
All this after an interview with the Telegraph where he spoke about himself in the third person and remarked that to get the best out of him, clubs needed to ‘show Jeff love’ and ‘he’d run through brick walls’ for the club in question. The link to the interview is below
This later inspired me to perhaps put this song to the Choir for Jefferson, at our next game – as well as continually singing it to myself on the journey home.
The surly (and extremely tall) Billericay custodian, Billy Lumley – who was pretty dour throughout, and made no response to being asked if he was from the sweetcorn adverts (Jolly Green Giant) and also quizzed as to whether he was any relation to Joanna Lumley, from Absolutely Fabulous fame – made a terrific save not long after from Jefferson, as he tipped his curling shot onto the bar.
Sadly, this did nothing to lighten his mood, or indeed the mood of his manager, who devoted most of his time to yelling at the referee & linesman from the sidelines, like a rage-filled Emperor Ming.
Apparently, Edwards used to be an ex-boxer, so Craig – if you read this, I sincerely apologise & wish you all the best for the rest of the season!
Margate looked comfortable in defence, with Jamie Stuart & Omar Beckles winning their aerial battles, with Bods & Jack Sammoutis giving the Billericay defence some uncomfortable moments, along with Jefferson Louis – who held the ball up well.
Luke Medley showed a lot of pace & effort but not much else, although it is very much early days for the new signing from Crawley Down Gatwick.
Halftime came & went, with the referee proving to be very whistle happy, and happy to let some cynical challenges go. On a more positive note, it was good to read the notes of Billericay’s programme editor, who had nothing but praise for Margate and the people associated with the club.
With not long gone in the second half, Billericay were awarded a very dubious spot kick – as Terry averted her eyes, Nikki Bull got down well to save the weak penalty, and justice was served soon after, as we were awarded a penalty of our own – Jack Sammoutis being scythed down in the box – strangely though, the culprit wasn’t even booked, when a red card looked like the only option.
As an apoplectic Ming – erm, I mean Craig Edwards – ranted & raved on the touchline, Jefferson Louis calmly sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot, to notch his, and Margate’s, second of the game.
Billericay were well & truly rattled now, with much swearing & arguing amongst themselves – mainly directed at their keeper, who seemed to be content to direct his goal kicks straight into the arms of Nikki Bull – the Essex side’s Plan B seemed to involve kicking lumps out of our players, who were quite happy to mix it back – all credit to them for not allowing themselves to be bullied out of the game.
There was a small bout of handbags after yet another scything challenge from the Essex side, but much like my job at the postcard factory, it was nothing to write home about.
With long punts from Billericay being fairly comfortably dealt with by the Gate defence, not even an added four minutes from the referee could dent our clean sheet, and as the final whistle blew, the Billericay keeper proved to be a good sport, clapping our fans & accepting my handshake.
The Margate players came over & were subject to well deserved applause & songs from the Margate faithful, who had turned out in great numbers again. The squad had truly given us a performance & result to be proud of – they battled well all afternoon, with every player showing dedication & fighting spirit in abundance.
As ever, the journey home was a quiet one, but an air of satisfaction was definitely evident amongst the Margate faithful.
There was just enough time for me to confuse the film Arachnophobia with Quadrophenia, much to the chagrin & general disbelief of Terry, before we were back in beautiful Thanet – Mark kindly offered to drop Terry home, while Harvey, ever the gentleman, dropped Dan, Jeanette & myself back in Broadstairs.
All credit to MISA for organising the minibus for away trips – it really does give myself & others the privilege of enjoying Margate away games in the finest of company.
A happy Saturday all round – and here’s hoping for more of the same next weekend – with the Fans Forum & Sports Relief ‘laydees’ match coming up, as well as a home fixture against Lowestoft, it promises to be an action packed one!
Terry’s Away Day Kebab Review –
“As the burgers looked a bit flat, I decided to go for the kebab & chips – tasted OK, but never actually had crispy kebab meat before, & the chips weren’t anything special – 4 out of 10”
Terry & Mel’s Away Day Keeper Arse-O-Meter –
“Keeper’s arse was definitely a 6 – quite nice, not a lot of banter, but gracious in defeat – he gets a point added on for that – 7 out of 10“