Tuesday, 23 November 2010

The centre of English Football is Burton-on-Trent

I grew up in Burton-on-Trent. Twenty years. What a football education I had.

So it's no surprise to me that the future of English football will be based and run from this Brewery Town.

We played on the street, the neighbours knifed the ball if it ran onto his garden. Bastard!

I trained in the back garden 10m x 5m - me against my brothers. I learned to shield that tennis ball - you can't coach that stuff Mr Berger I'm afraid. Hours of it, millions of hours.

My first game of football when I was ten, I entered a league when I was eleven. Before then there were none.

And in the Senior Men's league we played in the mud, often with ice on the pitch, more brown than green at seasons end, but we always played. From August to May - that was a season.

In the local leagues Ref's ended in the river if the local club didn't get the right result; we drove in for away games against local village teams, changed in the car, stole the three points and ran quick as back to our cars and away.

We never shook hands, nor looked the mad buggers in the eye.

No river for us!

I scored the only goal once, after 80 minutes. A cup game. Important right? And as I turned to celebrate my team-mates were back in their own half. Not a well done or a thank you. Our life in our hands - local English football!

Often threatened, usually punched, black-eyed or grabbed around the throat, if you won it was worthwhile, sort of. But what if you didn't?

It was a mining area and the teams were tough - the other teams!

So you can understand why the English FA chose Burton for their HQ.

It all makes sense to me.


Anonymous said...

I can think of a lot tougher places in England than Burton on trent !!

Anonymous said...

Yeah I agree but I was soft and they seemed me.

Had to come to Canberra where is was much gentler on the field!