Monday, May 28, 2018

The view of a newcomer - Adam Best

The first of what I hope will be many other writers on this Blog.
A big thanks to Adam for taking the time to write this up... Cheers.

The view of a newcomer.
 I started coming to TMUFC towards the end of the glorious 16/17 campaign. Just the odd home match. I’m not sure what it was that particularly spurred me onto the 280 bus from Amen Corner that particular day. Maybe it was nothing more than a rare free Saturday afternoon. But I got on the bus and I went. It wouldn’t be the last time.
 I’ve lived in and around Tooting for fourteen years. I arrived a slip of a man at 21 years old after three years at university in Cardiff and eighteen years in my native County Down, Northern Ireland. I lived with three mates in the centre of Tooting. Like most of my peers at that time, we moved to Tooting because it was one of the most affordable places to live in London. Zone 3, the Deep South. Beyond the estate agent belt of Clapham and a hair’s breadth beyond the upwardly mobile bollocks of Balham. Wandsworth council tax. Just over £100 a week in rent. It was a different place in 2004. Several boozers felt like “no-go” zones. A couple were “let’s go anyway” zones. I remember convincing my girlfriend’s parents (now my in-laws) that Tooting was *nothing like* the reputation it had, as we came up the escalators at Tooting Broadway for their first visit. On exiting the station, I subtly (but firmly) grasped the hand of a young woman being accosted by a drunk lad and walked her down the pavement without my in-laws realising. As we turned into my street yards later, I created a loud diversion to distract them from another lad pissing in a bin. Tooting was lively.
 But I loved it. Love it. I have lived within a mile of my first London address for the 14 years I’ve been here. Have strayed into Colliers Wood and the tip of Mitcham, but stayed in the orbit of Tooting. Watched it change. It has changed a great deal. In the last decade I have seen some of the no-go boozers become a different kind of no-go boozer, because of the £6 pints and £15 cheeseburgers. Seen them change for the better too, in fairness. I’ve seen shop fronts and kiosks pop up where I can buy craft beer, organic food and fair trade textiles. This is all completely brilliant. I like these things. The downside of all this, of course, is that as a place becomes more “desirable”, it becomes more expensive. Foxtons begin to circle the wagons, whipping up frenzied news articles in the Evening bastard Standard, yelling about how Tooting is now home to the best teapot cocktails in London and therefore stick another £3k on the price of a maisonette. The chains move in. The conglomerate service providers. People picket for a Waitrose. It’s happening.
 And, you know, this is what it is. I can’t very well enjoy the opportunity to have Lebanese food delivered to my door in 20 minutes and not expect changes to the place that I live in. “Gentrification” is a real thing, and it isn’t confined to SW17. This is an issue in every city in the country, even though no-one seems to have any more money 20 years ago. And this is football too, a bit, innit? We can’t reasonably enjoy the elite standard we have at the top of the professional game without paying £1000 for a season ticket and £5 for a pie and £90 a month for a Sky Sports subscription, plus another £20 for BT Sport, plus £100 for a return trip to the aways etc. etc. etc. Watching the football is an expensive hobby. Or so I’m told.
 I grew up a Liverpool fan in Northern Ireland, and I remain a distantly passionate Red. A season ticket has never been an option. Games that I’ve seen at Anfield have been expensive excursions. I have nothing but respect for people who commit to season tickets, especially those who do it from a distance. Every other weekend, a stack of money and a stack of time. It’s a hell of a thing to dedicate oneself to, particularly if money is an issue and there’s family to be considered.
 Football is expensive. Where I live is expensive.
 I am at the bus stop at Amen Corner. I’ve had a pint at the Ramble Inn. I am going to Tooting and Mitcham United.
 I arrive at a ground that exceeds my expectations of a ground at this level. I have a pint that exceeds my expectations for a pint at this level. I pay £3 for it. It came from a brewery 2 miles away. I pay £10 for entry. I pay £1.50 for a jerk lamb pattie which exceeds my expectations for a jerk lamb pattie at this level. I watch the football. And guess what? It exceeds.....
 Admittedly, this first game is the Stripes on the crest of a wave in 100+ points season. Billy Dunn, who will become my first ever Terror idol, is imperious. But the whole experience is excellent. It’s 20 minutes from my flat and for £15 I’ve watched the game, had a pie and a pint and, crucially, enjoyed a very decent 2 hours at the ground.
 I feel like I shouldn’t be the only one. I feel like in the last number of years many hundreds of people like me have become denizens of Tooting and Mitcham. People who’ve moved to the area and want to experience something of our community beyond the avocados and coffees. Be part of a thing that existed long before we got here and which will exist after we inevitably are forced to move beyond the M25. Perhaps this is a rallying cry for the recent arrivals to the area. If you’d like to be watching your elite side, but you aren’t going and they aren’t on telly, come to the KNK and watch your local side the odd time. Put a few quid into an historical part of the place where we live. You’ll notice at the ground that the sponsors are all local, independent businesses, the sort of business we pride ourselves on wanting to support in our day to day lives as we shop and eat and drink in our town. Come and be part of that. Bring some pals. Introduce yourself to some of the people in the ground and I guarantee they’ll be pleased to see you.
 My aforementioned girlfriend is now my wife and she, brilliantly, bought me a season ticket for 18/19 as my Christmas present. See you on the Bog End.

Again, thanks to Adam for writing this up...
Give him a follow on twitter.... @MesserBest
#SouthLondonIsBlackAndWhite  #Terrors

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Why Tooting and Mitcham.

Why Tooting and Mitcham - From the Clock End to the Bog End

That's a question I often ask myself when listening to Joy Division in a darkened room thinking up angry poetry after yet another Saturday afternoon of shattered hopes and dreams. I started going over to TMUFC around 13 years ago when I moved to the swinging suburbs of Hackbridge with Mrs H and the soon to arrive Bogend Ant. To start with it was just a couple of games a year but I enjoyed the honesty about the football and kept coming back for more "Black and White Joy" and now, just like my £58.23 a day Viagra habit it's a very hard thing to stop. But why did I choose The Terrors. Living in Hackbridge I was also close to both Sutton and Carshalton. I'd only ever met one Robins fan and he was a knob, so they were out of the question. In fairness I know quiet a few and they seem reasonably normal, but you know... first impressions etc. When out shopping with Mrs H in Sutton one Saturday, I happened to see two people walking down the main high road wearing yellow and brown quartered shirts which frankly looked fucking hideous. Even though they had the FA Cup history behind them I knew that I could never watch a team playing in yellow and brown quartered shirts without the risk of acid flash backs or migraines. I have meet a few of the Gander Green Groovy Gang over the years and I've totally stolen the idea for this Blog from those Gandermonium guys and of course the "Musical Shoe Box Sex God" Bornatotter.... But, you know... first impressions etc. Which reminds me. Many years ago if you wanted to see a ugly tattooed bearded woman you would have to queue up outside a tent when the carnival came to town. Now all you have to do is go to shopping in the Asda in Sutton. There's fucking loads of them. It's the one place were me and Mrs H feel like Posh and Becks when we are out and about.
I'd worked on the Northern Line for many years as a driver based at Morden depot. Many of the people there came from the local areas and when the subject of Football would crop up a lot would mention going to see TMUFC at some point in their lives. A few said that I should go over to see the Toots and that they had one or two "characters" follow the club. This actually  turned out to be a bit of an underestimate.... So Tooting and Mitcham it was.
I've loved football all my life, The first team that took any interest in were West Ham. I was five when England won the World Cup and Moore, Hurst and Peters were the glamour boys of London. The whole of the country was buzzing from England's one and only real success and as a very young child I was caught up in it all at school. As we all know England have done very little since and the fact that I have enough Irish, Scots and Welsh blood in me not to care to much about the three lions has turned out to be a godsend. Luckily I have enough English blood in me not to care about the Irish, Scots and Welsh when it comes to international football either. I nearly went to the 1982 World Cup in Spain but chose Magaluf instead for two weeks of sobriety and culture.
My first ever game was a trip to White Hart Lane to watch Spurs reserves play Fulham reserves around 1968  so with all this in mind obviously I ended up following the family tradition of supporting The Arsenal, my dad taking me to Highbury for the first time again in 1968 to see the reserves again play Fulham and was a regular both home and away from 1974 onwards. Making the transition from Boot Boy to Punk Rocker then on to Casual on my days on standing on the Clock End.

I'd been an Arsenal season ticket holder for many years and been lucky enough to be at many fantastic matches. But the game was changing rapidly and the whole Sky premiership circus was ruining football for me and trying to find the money to get to games was a huge struggle. I did make the occasional trip to Underhill to watch Barnet play years ago when living "Up Norf" but Arsenal were my true love and nothing and I mean nothing would ever tear us apart from the loving loyal bond we had together. My loyalty to the club would never change I would be Arsenal to the day I died. Well up until the time they turned Highbury into fucking flats and Arsenal Fan TV managed to turn 90% of the clubs fan base into raving lunatics. Not to mention Hornby and that bastard book. Various other things were going on at Arsenal and I found myself falling out of love with what the club had become. I have many great memories and had loads of great times but a number of things were beginning to wear me down. The ticket allocation for the Champions League Final really helped make my mind up as mates who had followed the club for years and years were denied tickets while the corporate leeches ended up with loads. The move away from Highbury plus increased ticket prices help start the long and messy divorce proceedings.
Sky TV and the rest of the sports media have kicked all the fun out of the professional game turning it into a money obsessed freak show. I miss my mates over at Arsenal and go up there occasionally but in general the whole Premiership footballing leaves me feeling very disinterested. The vast majority of my old mates gave up going into games and watch from the pubs on Holloway Road or up and around Finsbury Park. A number of whom now, like me now follow Non League teams. On the Bogend you will find standing alongside the long term Terrors, people who follow Chelsea, Palace, Man City, QPR, Liverpool, Hartlepool, Wigan, Tottenham, Fulham, Wimbledon, Man United, Everton and Arsenal. I have spoken to so many people who have tales similar to mine from loads of other so called big clubs. Loads now heading to the dark world of Non League football to get their Footy Fix.
When Anthony arrived both myself and Mrs H were trying to influence his choice of team he had Liverpool pyjamas and replica Arsenal shirts but when I first took him to see the "Mighty Terrors" his mind was made up. Bogend Ant is Tooting through and Though... There's a little bit of Gooner buried deep inside and a hint of scouse but TMUFC is his team. Most people end up supporting the clubs their Father supported. I ended up supporting the club my son supports.

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Bostik League South Central.

So after our resent relegation and the subsequent league restructure, we now find ourselves in the Bostik League South Central league for the 2018-19 season.
There have been some big changes for all the clubs in the league set up and  If (The Big If) we had stayed up we could have possibly been heading to darkest Wales and other places west of Slough.
No fixtures really  jump out as glamour games now that we've  parted company with all of our close local rivals who have all decided to have successful seasons and leave us in the lurch which is a shame but there again I'm personally quite happy to give some of the trips to darkest Kent as miss and to visit some new grounds. I've checked and double checked just to make sure Staines aren't in our division either and I think we've got away with it.... I'll be quite happy if I never see that lot again.

However after reading posts on the Bog End Forum, I do worry that expectations some Terrors may yet again back fire on us. Last seasons "Only one club goes down, we'll be fine" mantra will haunt me for years to come. Already read a couple of things saying how poor this league is and how we should do well. We are where we are for a reason. Whoever gets the managers job has to stable things first. There will be enough pressure on the team as it is without demanding instant promotion. We came very close to getting relegated two years on the trot after the last drop. I know I'm very glass half empty at the moment but last season will take a while to get out of my system.
There's also been a bit of moaning about no away trips to any coastal towns in this division , but seeing as most of the travelling Bogend arrive at the nearest station, head to the nearest pub and then get shit faced, I've never really understood why you would need the sea to enhance the trip. We may well have played a good number of coastal clubs over the years but has anyone ever dripped their toe in the English Channel or North sea ? Thought not.
Bogend Ant rates his away trips up but checking how good the chips are sold in the ground or the local fish and chip shops. This has become very important to the young man as we can then discuss the state of the chips and swerve talking about the game.
A few of the places in the Bostik League South Central sound like typical Daily Mail catchment areas. I'm sure the new Tooting Chant of "We're Sniffin' glue in the South Central" will win the residents over and have then all voting Labour in future elections. The rest sound like the normal rustic country places where the locals chase big bits of cheese down hills, drink cider and cover pigs in lard and wrestle them in the town square when the carnival comes to town.
On the plus side we do get a chance to meet up again with our mates from Chipstead and our friend Trevor from the infamous "Trev's Tours". I'm pretty sure Chipstead are geographically  our nearest local club and now therefore become  those horrible Chippy bastards are now our new most hated fucking rivals. So plenty of time to work out new songs about May poles and Morris Dancing. Toots now also get the chance to revisit South Park FC who I noticed from their official Twitter feed recently had a "Gentleman's Night" in their club house involving two strippers and a "Cheeky" comedian. I'm not sure if this is the type of out dated sexist rubbish should be allowed happen in this day and age until it was pointed out that it might help stop the locals from having sex with farm animals.

Monday, May 7, 2018

The Pit of Misery (Dilly Dilly)

The plan was to try and keep this blog a light hearted look at the joys of following Tooting and Mitcham but as anyone who saw us during the 2017-18 season will tell you, there weren't too many chuckles and smiles as we staggered from fuck up to fuck up like a drunken kamikaze pilot heading  towards a slow fiery death in the vast "Pit of Misery" (Dilly Dilly).
Well what can anyone say about the 2017 -18 season that makes it sound anything other than a complete and utter car crash. The last game at Met Police summed up the season almost perfectly, a match we had to win to stand any chance of staying up was done and dusted after only 43 seconds when we went 1-0 down. The travelling Bog End could only laugh and shrug their shoulders. Any hope of survival gone in less than a minute (Dilly Dilly).

We deserved to go down. Burgess Hill the team we were in the relegation battle with beat us both home and away. The writing was on the wall almost from the start of the season as points were dropped left right and centre despite some good performances the points just never came. Staines put 13 goals past us, 7 at home and 6 away and other notable fuck ups were to Enfield at home and Hendon away. All along the fact that only one club would go down seemed to lull many into a false sense of security that we were to good to go down. Several games were lost or possible points dropped in the last few minutes or in injury time. A season that should have been the start of a new successful period of our clubs history has ended in ruins.
As for our noisy neighbours and local squatters, well they've all had pretty good seasons all in all compared with TMUFC. Sutton United had another really good season in the top half of the Conference Premier and making the play offs. Their fan base getting larger and larger as they grow.
Dulwich have had a fantastic season even with the huge off field problems which have nearly destroyed them as a club. 3321 packed into Imperial Fields to not only create a record attendance in our ground but to also watch them beat Hendon in the play off final to go up to the Conference South.
Carshalton Athletic gained promotion as champions. This is a club that a few years ago lost most of its support through the actions of it's owners. A club who now get far bigger crowds than us.
Corinthian Casuals lost out in the play offs but got promoted due to the league restructuring. Another club who's fan base has grown and grown over the last few years.
Looking over our shoulders at the emerging Tooting Bec, Sutton Common Rovers and the success Worcester Park had should start alarm bells ringing.
Well what ever league we are in after the restructure, we better be ready for it, both on the pitch and off it. We can't afford another disaster like this. We have no local rivals to play next season. No games to look forward to for bragging rights.  Dilly Dilly..........

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Bloody Squatters

Tooting and Mitcham ground share article

An article taken from the written by Will Magee.

Bloody Squatters.....

The First One.

Hello There,

Just a quick note about what I'm hoping this Blog will turn out to be.

Aiming to use this to put down in words all the joy and pain of following Tooting and Mitcham in whatever league / division / pit of misery they play in.

Also aiming to have guest writers and different views on the mighty Toots.

Come On You Terrors