So, that’s it for the Vase for another season. Just never quite felt that it was likely this year, we haven’t been able to settle into a run, too many injuries, too many niggling knocks and too many times the ball didn’t quite run for us. Never mind, always next year. No surprise either that the only Northern League teams left in have been drawn together. I don’t think it’s fiddled as so many think, or at least only in the sense that the regionalisation is drawn so tight and goes on through so many rounds that we are bound to be thrown together with fellow Northern League sides more times than anybody wants. Either West or Hebburn have every chance of making it to Wembley, and every good luck to them. No doubt we couldn’t have afforded the new suits anyway.
Still a lot of games to play, even if it is a short season this year. Plenty of league games and one cup competition left, against the modern might of South Shields; must feel like a long way from Peterlee. But from our point of view a County Cup and fourth in the league sounds alright to me, silverware and safely out of trouble at both ends of the table. So there you go boys, crack on.
What is happening elsewhere in the football world? Best story is undoubtedly the Leeds spying case. Could it be anybody but Leeds? Not that I would call them dirty Leeds, not in print. Spying on Lampard's Derby indeed, how desperate is that? I’ll tell you how desperate, this desperate. Back in my Sunday morning days when I must have been feeling particularly daft I sent a mate of mine to spy on Hartlepool Dog and Gun FC, what with it being so far away, and them being a top monkey hanger outfit, before a big cup tie. It was only five minutes into the cup game I realised that his detailed, if badly spelt, report was on the wrong team, a late change of kit had flummoxed him completely. He had got the teams the wrong way round. Never the sharpest tool. The quick little winger was older and fatter than me, and the top class midfield player stopped half way through the first half for a fag. And we still got beat. Canny boozer afterwards though.
Speaking of Lampard I always thought he was the third best England centre midfield player in his day, not far behind Gerrard. Trouble was Scholes was better than either of them and usually couldn’t get in the team in front of them. Back in the days when I was alive and had money I was in Portugal for the 2004 Euros, which featured Rooney bursting onto the international scene. I was at the England v France game, an epic. Top, top players on show all over the pitch. Rooney, Zidane and little Scholesy were the best of lots of very good players, Scholes fully involved despite playing wide left. He got sick after that though and rapped in England at 29, big loss. Thought Wembley was a long way from Oldham to play winger. Fair comment. London players like Lampard always manage to be overrated by England managers, it’s happening now with Dele Alli from Spurs, nowhere near as good as some seem to think. That’s my view anyway, feel free to argue if you think it will do you any good.