Well goodbye to 2018 a year which in many ways was dreadful from a Terrors point of view but has ended up being pretty positive and I'm looking forward to 2019 with a fair bit of optimism after last seasons relegation. The first couple of months were pretty grim to say the least but I do feel a sense that the club is slowly and surely rebuilding. Forget the moaning and groaning that sometimes rains down from the stands and terraces. This is a good time to be a Terror... Keep the faith.
There's lots going on behind the scenes at the club. Keep your eyes peeled and ears open and if you can help in anyway on match days please do.
This Christmas period has seen us play to clubs who geographically our local rivals in the Bostik South Central. Chipstead and South Park. So two afternoons away from stuffing my face with chocolate and all the other things that hide my six pack from view when I look at myself in the mirror. I've been vegetarian for well over 20 years now and in fact my diet is mainly vegan but I still manage to be a big fat slob.
The game at Chipstead was not as one sided as our last visit when Billy Dunn destroyed them in a 7-0 victory but it was never the less a comfortable win against the May Pole dancers and Morris men of Chippy Town. A great long run from Saidou Khan who must have run almost the entire length of the pitch and then beat the Chipstead keeper with a brilliant side step was the icing on the Christmas Cake and lead to a Bog End rendition of Jingle Bells..... Oh what fun it is to see Tooting win away....
Good to see Trevor S who does a lot of the social media at Chipstead again as he has links and many friends over at TMUFC
The Chipstead Supporters Club Christmas Dinner and Dance..... Another great success
Next up South Park had been having a bad season so far and were stuck at the bottom end of the table but a change of manager with ex Tooting player Jay Lovett taking over at Whitehall Lane has lead to an improvement on the pitch. Toots started well going one nil up after 20mins but although the Stripes had plenty of the ball and second goal did not come. South Park played well and their defence worked well together. South Parks goal came from one of their few real attempts on goal but they were worth a point in the end.
Many seemed to view the game as two points dropped but although disappointed I'm still happy with the way the team is going. Play offs still a possibility but I personally will be happy with a stable mid table finish with the view of building for next season. Still could have been worse as one Dulwich fan was to find out when he turned up expecting to see their game against Slough not realising that the squatters had returned to the Sainsburys Car Park to play out the rest of their season.
Please check out yet another excellent Video Blog from Bog End Ant
He has put up loads of good stuff up during the season and is well worth subscribing to. Yes of course I'm biased but if you have any interest in the trails and tribulations of following the mighty Toots, he is well worth watching and supporting online. He lives, sleeps and breathes Tooting and Mitcham. He could have taken the easy option and followed a so called big club but he's a Terror through and through.
He recently lost his original Twitter Account so please check out and follow his new account
Don't expect to much peace and love towards the Pink and Blue side of South London even during this time of goodwill to all men. In fact don't expect any goodwill during the other 51 weeks of the year either.
The supporters club shop (Table) is going well. We will soon be getting new scarves, pens and other Terror related merchandise.
We still have copies of Jeff Brooks book "We Woz Robbed In '59" about Tooting and Mitcham United's epic 1958/59 season. We also have a few 2019 calendars left for sale.
Many people have offered to pass on their programme collections over to the supporters club so soon we hope to have an outlet to sell these at the ground.
The 2019 Calendar, just a few left....
I'd personally like to say a special thanks to everyone who have helped and backed me up over the last year. I was going to name everyone but I was honestly worried I'd miss people out but a big thanks must go the Dave Irons who has put up with me and Ant on all those away days. Also Phil Nightingale for his help and support. So many people have helped raise the profile of this great club since the start of this season.... Cheers.
Now to end with, all of us at Tooting and Mitcham were sad to hear of the death of ex Tooting player
David Gabriel. Here is Tim Megone excellent tribute to a man who is viewed with great affection by everyone at TMUFC
Tooting and Mitcham supporters will have been shocked and saddened by the recent news of David Gabriel’s death.
One of our longest serving and most popular players from the late ‘80’s and ‘90’s, he was at the club earlier in the year for a mini-players’ reunion and would often return to the club and chat to supporters in the bar.
Gabs was signed for us about half way through 1987/88 by manager Barry Neville, who had himself recently arrived at Sandy Lane. The new boss had rolled in with a mini fanfare and some ambitious noises, declaring his aim to return the club to its ‘rightful’ place in the Conference (non-league top tier), and splashing the cash to go with it, notably on striker and goal machine Dave Flint, a record signing at the time (and possibly to this day for all I know). Amid the new wave of optimism, Neville had wisely counselled that Rome wasn’t built in a day (or even 30 years, he might have added), and so it proved as the season meandered into mediocrity. This didn’t stop Gabriel making a pretty decent impression, generally in central midfield where he put himself about to good effect in the air and on the ground, great in the tackle and a handy passer who could be relied on to produce the odd goal.
A second season began with one expert, possibly under the influence of too much custard, predicting promotion that year and a place in the European super league by 2000. We quickly plummeted into the bowels of the Isthmian Premier, thrashing around desperately for survival, and as time wore on, our increasingly embittered regulars realized that Gabs was the best of all of Neville’s signings, and certainly the most committed. If others of a more treacherous nature had shown the same attitude, we would surely have survived, but it wasn’t to be, and we slithered to the first relegation in the club’s history in ’89.
Under new manager Bob Langford, the connection between the players and the fans improved and I recall Gabs being one of the first players to buy the ill-fated Tooting and Mitcham propaganda tome, The Occasional Terrorist. Said fanzine awarded Gabs its Player of the Season award for his efforts in ‘88/’89, and few could have argued with the views of the imaginary panel.
Even at the lower level, we floundered for a while but within a couple of seasons, we had rebuilt to launch a promotion assault and Gabriel was at the heart of things as our free-flowing football sent us surging skyward.
Despite the turnaround and the newfound optimism at the club, Bob Langford was harshly dismissed amid backroom shenanigans and former 70’s FA Cup hero Trevor Ford appointed, bringing new players in. Injuries and competition limited Gabriels’s contribution, but it wouldn’t simply be spouting platitudes to say I don’t recall him ever letting us down, and he continued to play a part as we challenged once again for promotion, notably ‘93/94 when we were denied a place in the sun by a host of conspiracies.
The following couple of seasons, we lost our way and fumbled around in mid table before beginning to get sucked into the relegation mire once again. Ford departed, making way for Jon Langford (Bob’s brother) to take over, and Gabriel became, once more, a pivotal figure. It was the efforts of, above all midfielders Gabs, Paul Loughlin, and Steve Fowler (all contributing vital goals) that saved us from the drop in ’96.
They say that Euro ’96 was a big thing then, with England’s glorious quest narrowly thwarted in the semi-finals, but all that bollocks was but a fart in the wind compared with the Sandy Lane drama a few weeks earlier as we took on Thame United in a game we had to win. Roared on by the Sandy Lane faithful, we dominated but it was all becoming nerve crunchingly tense with the score line still goalless and twelve minutes to go. It was then that the ball arrived, fittingly, at the feet of our long serving hero. Gabs struck the ball firmly, unerringly, into the corner, and the ground erupted.
The following season, Gabs was gone – and we were relegated. His absence wasn’t the only reason for our calamitous demise, but it certainly made a difference.
Aside from his genuine ability and commitment, Gabs always had time for the fans and is right up there amongst the pantheon of Tooting and Mitcham luminaries, in my book and – I suspect – that of most of those who were around at the time.