When I was a kid one of the highlights of Christmas was watching the BBC stars visit young people unlucky enough to be in hospital over the holiday season. The bigwigs of the Beeb with their usual impeccable judgement always picked celebrities who were noted for their rapport with the young. As well as the sainted Roy Castle, these kind hearted notables included the likes of Rolf Harris, Jimmy Saville and Stuart Hall, along with the Salvation Army band and God knows who, I shudder to think, dressed up as Santa Claus. By the way, did anybody else’s dad routinely refer to Santa Claus as “Old Raggy Tash”? I always wondered. Anyway, not knowing then what we all know now, I used to think these kids were dead lucky, and wished I was one of them, though only with something enough to keep me in hospital for a few days, tonsillitis or some such, nothing too serious or painful, just enough to ensure I got a present off Rolf or Jimmy, even if it did mean listening to the Sally Bash band or heaven forbid, Helen Shapiro, who I seem to remember was often up for this gig. I was a lovely child. Where are they now?
View from the Cemetery
The Durham County Challenge Cup. It has a bit of a ring to it, doesn’t it? And a long and notable history, going back to 1884, when Sunderland were the first winners. Sunderland, or Sunderland A, the reserves I guess back in the day, dominated from the start through to the end of the twenties, with nineteen victories before they must have decided it was a bit beneath them, and didn’t win it again until, the now simply Reserves, triumphed in 1966. Bishops won it for the first time in 1892, Stockton in 1895, Tow Law in 1896, Shildon in 1908, and plenty of other names that are still around up to Consett last year. But in the context of today the name that stands out locally is of course our neighbours Ryhope CW, winners in 1978. Must be plenty of those old boys still knocking about, any at the match today I wonder? Maybe nor given we beat the CW on Saturday, but you never know. Anyway a damn fine competition to win, and the two teams turning out at Meadow Park tonight must have a decent chance of lifting the Cup this season, but only one can go through tonight of course. Best of luck to both teams, may the best win and all that.
Sounds like the SoL faithful had a fun day out at Accrington Stanley last week. Sloppy pitch, pouring rain, mistakes and howlers, and a wide open end to enjoy it in. At least in the Northern League you can usually retreat to the bar if it gets too bad. Maybe we should start to sell Meadow Park on its comfort factor, not something you would have thought likely. Accrington are an interesting club, who have certainly had their ups and downs over the years. The first Accrington FC were one of the original founder members of the Football League but soon folded. The current club are the third Accrington and the second Accrington Stanley and have progressed from the Lancashire Combination since 1968 to League One nowadays, so a resilient bunch you have to say. Makes you wonder where RCA will be in fifty years time. It’s the closeness of this here cemetery that always bothers me.
Been a funny old run of games lately. A great win down at Shildon which keeps the Vase run going, which we all enjoy of course, and other good cup results as well against Garstang, Crook and Sunderland Under 23s, but frankly ropey results in the league. Draws in home games we would have expected to win, and defeats at North Shields and Stockton add up to a worrying trend. I think we are still better than that and will prove it as the season goes on, but for now there is no doubt we have yet to consistently perform as we did at the end of last season. There are a number of reasons why, injuries to key players among them, and it is clearly frustrating for everyone but as Sean Dyche says, the only answer is to keep working hard, and Sean would know, wouldn’t he? I remain confident that this will end up being a good season, but I’m not sure how, or in which competitions.