I believe I left you in midweek contemplating the wonders of modern Germany as viewed on my latest trip overseas. Did I mention the beer? Think I did, I just like reminding myself. I will report on other points of interest around the continent in later editions. With any luck it will keep me going until Christmas. Anyway back to domestic concerns. All smiles here on the Ryhope meadow at present. A win in the Cup no less and a three points start in the league. Poor crowd the other night, but the atrocious weather probably accounted for a good few who might have turned out.
View from the cemetery
I said in my first View of the season that I would fill you all in on my summer travels, a miracle in itself I know, what with me being deceased, but don’t worry, I don’t intend to post pictures of interesting foreign cemeteries. No, this has a football focus. So here we go.
Should you ever find yourself in the southern German city of Regensburg there are two things I recommend you should do. First, try the local beer, from the Thurn and Taxis brewery. Absolutely top class. I am not a lager drinker as a rule, but this stuff is even better than the usual German beer, which means it is very good indeed. Cheap, hoppy, flavoursome, not too gassy, and knocks your block off; what more could you want?
Summer is officially over, and the football is back. And so am I. I will recall some of my summer wanderings in coming editions. Cricket will take a back seat now, although I am a fan; tennis, I’m not a fan, same for athletics and the like, overall let's get back to the real thing I say. It seems more than a bit ridiculous to me, but here we go with the FA Cup of all things, first Saturday in August and only thirteen games from Wembley. A cracking tie to start though, Garforth have had some great times not so long ago, so they will be keen. Best game on in the North East on the day I reckon, so maybe a few extra in. Will the pies last? And how do we look? A few new faces and not many missing from last season, so things are quite hopeful, or so the lad in charge says. We certainly have a very busy August with the Northern League not helping much with a rash of home games in the first few weeks of the season; think the fixture computer needs a reboot, or maybe just a boot.
Football in July, an interesting thought. My sporting instincts are normally focused on golf, cricket and horse racing in the height of summer, but there is no doubting that tonight’s game is enough to get your mind on the winter game straight away. A strong and young Sunderland side will be a big test for RCA. Our best performances are usually against the best sides; I notice South Shields are speaking of their comeback point against us at their place as the most important result of their league season, so pro opposition should incentivise our lads tonight.
Feels like it might be a bit of a slog from now to the end of the season, a good few still to play and most of them away, and nothing to play for except pride and league position. And what does pride come before? Correct at the back. This sounds a bit pessimistic, which is not really fair. I think our form has been reasonably decent since we slipped out of the Vase, a few good wins and some close defeats, including the obligatory couple of three two losses. Up at Morpeth the other night our old friend the shaven headed Irishman notched his usual goal against us, and the Tasmanian devil from Pennywell known as Joe Walton got another. Although he was remarkably quiet on the night was Joe, no ranting and raving at all, he must have been right off colour. Always been one of my favourites has Joseph. Him and Scotty Richards. Anyway what is it with our old boys? Rasher does it every time, and Closey usually scores his only goals of the season against us. Thankfully he has moved on from today's opponents, otherwise I would fear the worst. And Sparky was banned on Wednesday which was probably just as well. My spies though tell me it was a good game, good possession by Morpeth versus excellent attacking on the break from our bold lads. Missed a few chances I hear which could have made a difference, and suffered from the old last minute of the half problem for Morpeth’s equaliser. In this case the 49th minute of the first half, which makes it feel worse. But a good show against a top side, well done boys.
At least the Vase hangover was a bit shorter this season. A very decent win up at West Allotment means that the non-winning run only lasted for three games, unlike what felt like a lifetime last season. Still it would be nice to win a few more through to the end of the season and get up the table a bit. Looks to me like the three or four just above us are well within reach, which means a top ten finish is a possibility, which is decent. Mind, the last few weeks of every season are notorious for strange results, for a number of reasons. Fixture congestion catches up with some, some teams have their thoughts on bigger prizes, managers are trying out new players, and some are just on early holidays, or at least look like it. To be fair they don’t come much stranger than our bold lads managed in the last game of the season last year over in Cumbria against today's opponents. Twelve players could be found for the trip, not including a goalkeeper or a centre half, or for that matter a manager, but three wingers turned out, always handy. The versatile Mr Larkin was in charge and promptly picked himself in goal. He may well be a canny keeper, but there is no way of knowing, as Penrith were even more out of sorts than us. A two-nil win with barely a tremor of concern throughout the afternoon ensued. Young Callen played centre half and looked the part, and all of the wingers ran about and caused havoc. At the top of the table Morpeth had a boatload of games in hand, partly because of the their Vase run and partly their awful pitch, but it did them no good, as they succumbed to injury, fatigue and the need to rest players before the Vase final, as their challenge for the title fizzled out. And a few seasons ago Benfield crept through the pack at the end to clinch an unlikely title triumph. In less exalted circumstances I used to regularly make my annual seasonal debut for Colliery Tavern FC in the Sunderland Sunday League Third Division sometime in March or April, as to be fair did my old work mate Ralph, which was particularly impressive as he had been dead a good few years by then. Ah, the jiggery pokery of wrong 'uns in Sunday football. Happy days.