Monday, January 10, 2022


I have seen Toots lose cup finals and get relegated and still left the ground in a better state than I did when the final whistle blew at the match at Bedfont Sports. 3-0 up and looking good and then to end up losing 5-4 with a last-minute goal left me feeling totally numb. 
 The group of Bedfont kids singing “3-0 and you fucked it up” as the cheered their players off was the icing on the very large cake. Although in fairness to them, it was funny and if you are going to lose to a last-minute goal, it helps if it’s a good one.
 Check out Bedfont’s Twitter account to see the last goal if like me you are a glutton for punishment. Anyone that lobs the goalie from the halfway line should get a bit of respect for their efforts. I'm sure they will talk about that goal for years to come, I know we will.

I was also in the crowd at the 1995 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final between Arsenal and Real Zaragoza played in Paris when Ex Tottenham player Nayim, scored a last-minute goal with a 40-yard lob over Arsenal goalkeeper, David Seaman, securing the win. Oh, how I laughed when that went in. Nayim did fuck all at Spurs but will always be classed as a legend over at WHL because of that bastard goal. Unlike Paris however I didn’t get tear gassed when leaving the stadium by heavily armed riot police. 
Every cloud..... 

My first trip to Bedfont’s ground as the last couple of times Toots have played mid-week games there and as the season seems to be getting worse and worse, we must all get used to the fact that relegation is a very real possibility, it could well be my last visit for a while. 

 Tooting and Mitcham are rightly proud of the Academy set up and the way that it is helping young people in South London. But, have those same young people battered and beaten on the pitch every week will not do their confidence any good whatsoever.
 Some very angry travelling Terrors in attendance on Saturday and my mood not helped by the TMUFC official twitter account describing the game as “Disappointing” for about the hundredth time this season. If you're 3-0 up in any game, you should at the very least leave with one point. But this is Tooting I'm talking about and things don't go to plan.

 I don’t know what the solution is, and I have no words of in-depth footballing knowledge to say where the club has gone so badly wrong this season. But it has. The last relegation was bad enough but the whole set up at TMUFC seemed to grow stronger from that and I still regard that as the start of a new beginning at Fortress Imperial. But nevertheless, things need to change and maybe there will need to be some serious discussions behind the scenes about the direction the club is taking. Relegation into the Combined Counties would be nothing less than a disaster for Tooting.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Guest Blog from Bog end Ant

Dear Reader. A bit of a change for this one. A blog written up by Bog End Ant... 

 I feel like I've needed to write this blog for a while, things are just not right at the minute both on and off the pitch. 
 First of all the news come in last week about Kingstonian ground sharing at Imperial Fields with us next season. I am happy to be helping out another local club and have nothing against Kingstonian, another club with a rich history and it is a real shame that they don't have their own home to play at. Although, I and many others have questions about what is happening to Tooting Bec FC. I understand that Bec will definitely not be playing on our main pitch next season but there is still uncertainty about what will be happening to them. Tooting Bec are a good club run by great people who I get on very well with. I do wish them well and I hope that the great relationship our club has with them is not affected by this news. 
 There are plans for a changing block and seating to be installed on the back 3G pitch which is somewhere Tooting Bec could potentially play their games and that leads me onto my next point. My only problem with this is that the stadium plans seem very long term and I can't see them being ready for next season. Tooting and Mitcham have been granted planning permission for a new block of flats to be built right by the ground and next to the site. There are also plans for a new facility to be built on the back pitch as mentioned above when talking about Tooting Bec. 
 If the plans do happen (I'll believe it when I see it), then I think they will be a brilliant thing for our football club. I believe that the idea is for the money from selling the flats will go straight back into the club for building the other new facilities. This all seems like good news and hopefully everything works out for the best. 
 On the pitch, this season has been dreadful for Tooting and Mitcham, after the London Senior Cup success last season, this season was expected to be a big one and we had high hopes of potential promotion, unfortunately this hasn't worked out at all. We have had 50 players play for us so far this season which is both very inconsistent and very concerning. 
The last 2 games away to Staines and at home to Hanwell both ended in 2-0 defeats. Staines were bottom of the league at the time and outmuscled and outplayed us all night, it was embarrassing to watch. The home game against Hanwell was a similar story with us not having a shot on target in either game. To be fair to Hanwell they are a very good team who are chasing a play-off spot, they were well up for it against us looking for revenge for last season’s Cup semi-final so I weren't expecting much going into the game. 

 There are still concerns that we could get Relegated, we are only 6 points of the drop and the teams that are in the Relegation zone at the minute are Staines who beat us the other week and Guernsey who still have many games in hand and are playing us next Saturday which is increasingly looking like a relegation 6 pointer. 
I do hope that we have enough to stay up but we can't be naive as we made the same mistakes the last time we got relegated in the Bostik Premier. 
 In my opinion it is clear to see that there is not enough experience in this current squad and we are desperately missing key players. The club prides itself on developing youth players and we have a brilliant track record with the likes of Isiah Jones, Hady Ghandour, Abraham Odoh, Sam Forlain and Saidou Khan all playing professional football. It is great to see all these players doing well especially Isiah Jones who is playing week in week out and getting Man of the match awards in the championship. He has become a fans favourite at Middlesbrough, and it won't be long until top Premier league clubs are looking out for him. However, I do wonder how this ethos benefits the first team as it is clear that things are not working at the minute.
I am very concerned that the current model and ethos of the football club is not the right way in trying to get this club promoted and to be sustainable in a higher league. There have been many successful things happening at the club lately with the youth academy, planning permission being successful and the Farm Road project, but as many others have said this success doesn't seem to translate to the first team which in the end of the day is what us supporters care about most at the club. 
 Monday's game vs Hanwell attracted a crowd of 333, our highest of the season so far. To be fair to Hanwell they brought a fair few supporters with them. There are many new faces at Tooting games but with the way we played on Monday and so far, this season it will be difficult to keep these people coming to games especially with how successful many other clubs have been nearly. Sutton United are now in the football league and chasing promotion to League One, AFC Wimbledon are back at Plough Lane, Carshalton Athletic are doing well in the Isthmian Premier and attracting very good crowds, even Walton & Hersham are getting good crowds this season with 503 watching them on Monday. With all these clubs nearby being very successful, if you are a local floating fan looking for a game to watch, then Tooting would probably be one of the last places you'd look to at the minute. 
 As many people are aware Sky sports are currently filming a documentary on young footballers in South London. They have been filming at many Tooting games this season both home and away. They've been using microphones during half time talks with managers and even asked the linesmen to move out the way at the Hanwell game. They've also been using drones at games. 
Many of us on the Bogend have made ourselves clear what we think about the cameras both vocally at games and also on social media. It's not just our supporters who don't like them, If you ask many of our players they will say that they don't like the cameras following them around and find them a distraction. Another reason why I don't like these cameras is that they give opposition teams extra motivation to beat us. They see the cameras there following Tooting and that gives them the extra will to win. An example of this Is when we lost 2-0 away to South Park on a Tuesday Night. After the game South Park's twitter tweeted how their win was caught on camera and many of their players had tweeted how good it was to win in front of them. 
 Social media wise Tooting and Mitcham have come a long way in the last few years. The people running our club’s social media have brought this club into the 21st century and I'm really happy and grateful for that. However, in my opinion, the main 2 Hashtags the club use at the minute, which are #ClubOfProgression and #TerrorsTogether couldn't be further from the truth at the minute. 
 At the moment it seems like all our local rivals including Carshalton and Corinthian Casuals are progressing very well both on and off the pitch with crowds going up and both doing well on the pitch in the Isthmian Premier. Many other clubs nearby seem to be progressing and going places, but Tooting still seem to be stuck where we are, exactly the opposite of what I'd consider a Club Of Progression. #TerrorsTogether is another hashtag the clubs uses on social media, used with the best of intentions but Tooting And Mitcham are not a together football club at the minute. 
There is a major split between the fans and the club, and it does feel like us vs them for a lot of our supporters. There also seems to be a big split in our own fan base between older and newer supporters which has turned quite sour this season especially in recent weeks with there being many arguments happening recently about the way the club is on and off the pitch. Tooting and Mitcham isn't a happy place to be at the minute and in my opinion, the opposite of a together football club. 
 This club has got so much potential with a great ground and great facilities but at the minute we are not living up to it. So after all I've said and moaned about, if you think I'm going to Bedfont Sports away on Saturday you'd be absolutely right.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

The Joy of Football - Part 38

Hope you all had a groovy Christmas and are looking forward to a fantastic 2022 both on and off the pitch…. And that Dear Reader is about as happy and cheerful as this blog gets….
 Now for the Hanwell game and where to begin is a tough one. A bad game in which we didn’t seem to trouble their goalie at all. Very sad to hear booing at the end. Many of these players are very young and looked totally crushed when they came up to the fans that stayed behind after hearing the jeers. But the fans pay good money to watch the team. Their weekends can be ruined by bad results just as much as the players and coaches. They have a right to be upset and to question what has happened this season. It upset me to hear the jeers and it upset me to see the players faces, but it also upset me to see the faces of many of our fans as they headed home or to the bar for the after-match discussion. 
 Sky TV are still filming over at Fortress Imperial. I’m sure when they first come into film the team and academy, things were buzzing after the progression of a number of players though the footballing pyramid and the London Senior Cup win. It would have been great to get more media exposure and help raise the profile of the club. At the moment, hopefully they will have lots of positive footage from behind the scenes as there has been very little to look forward to if the match day footage gets shown. It’s bad enough seeing the team lose but to know that it’s being filmed for all to see is sickening. A couple of people involved in the footballing side of things have said that having Sky walking around filming has been a distraction that the players and coaches do not need. It’s also obvious that the Bog End faithful are not happy with the cameras at games. I for one do not blame them. 
Non-League football has become more and more popular, Sky will know that. The chance to stick their nose into a number of places will be too much for them to turn away on their hunt for viewing figures and the chance to fuck up yet another sport…. Bear that in mind if in 5 years’ time our away game with Chipstead is on Pay to View on Thursday night at 9pm. 

 There are splits growing in the ranks of our supporters. The various reasons would fill a blog in on their own, one I may well do. Different groups with different views on how things could or should be done. All of their views valid and worth listening to even if they are not the views you want to hear or agree with. I like to think that I know most of the people who come to see Toots and have heard various views on how the clubs has gone wrong and what the club is doing right. Covid has caused the cancellation of a meet the people who run the club night. A new date needs to be looked into and if possible and able to be done safely as I know a lot of people are concerned about the direction the club is going. Some kind of clear the air meeting should be done to at least try and heal some of the bad feeling at Toots.

 Kingstonian will be ground sharing at Fortress Imperial next season it has been announced. Strange move for them as they were over at Corinthian Casuals and at least were playing games in the Kingston Area. An awkward journey for many of their fans and one that many seem unhappy with. This is meant to be for a couple of years / seasons until they are able to go back to the Kingston. As for Tooting Bec and the various teams they have set up, I should imagine there will be major changes for them. What this will mean for all three clubs remains to be seen but I’m fully expecting various weird and wonderful conspiracy theories.

 Let’s face some facts here. TMUFC have lost two years’ worth of income including gate money due to Covid so in all honesty extra gate money coming in will help out any short falls that have happened over the last couple of seasons. I work in the facilities industry. This involves looking after and managing budgets, invoices and bills. We need to face facts that to run Imperial Fields is very costly. The Electric, gas and water utilities have to be paid. Insurance and rates. The upkeep of the ground and pitches. Ironically the Sky sports subscription to show games in the bar, not forgetting the wages of the staff etc. Plus, the added cost of finding funds for the playing budget all needs to be found. 

I get on with both Steve and Jackie and have no axe to grind or hidden agenda against them or the way the club is run as a business etc. But I believe that supporters should be given some idea of the costs of the day to day running of TMUFC. I'm not suggesting anything untoward, but how was the money collected on the Crowd Funder page put to use at Imperial Fields. A lot of people put money into this and would like a rundown of what the money went towards I would ask for more information from the club and the Members club, who I believe own 10% of Imperial Fields on what goes on behind the scenes and what goes on in general. The social media side has much improved in the last few years, but supporters need more updates. The rumour mill often goes into overdrive when announcement are made. Two and Two becomes Five as people try and find out what is happening. For a start some of the conspiracy theories that often spring up could be put to bed early instead of growing and growing. A lot of the good work that the club does with the local community and local business either goes unnoticed or is not explained allowing Roswell/ JFK type conspiracies to spring up. Recently, the club has had to find a lot of money to upgrade the ground after recommendations and regulations that have come into force since the terrible fire at Grenfell. Plus, the work done on the pitch. Yet this is not common knowledge. If more people knew this, they may well become more understanding when it comes to the costs of running the place. Bills have to be paid and staff have to be paid. My job possibly may give me a better idea of costs and budgets. Not everyone has the same experience. We don't need to know everything and see every single invoice but an idea of what is going on behind the scenes could help people understand more. Might even help stop more of the negative stuff that goes up on various platforms. 

 At this moment in time many people do not know what the Members Club do or their role in the club and what stake they have in the set up at Imperial Fields. There is very little communication between the Directors of the Members Club and the other supporters when it comes to these matters. Directors sit in the stand and are not seen or visible before and after games. It has been good to see Chris Woolley walking around and chatting at resent home games, it would be good to see a bit more of that in future. In short and maybe unfairly, many fans do not know who the Directors of the Club are and what the Members Club do. There needs to be more open dialog between the Members Club and the supporters when it comes to their part in the running of the club and financial matters. Supporters need to be informed of what the Members Club are asked / expected to contribute to the Team / playing budget each season. What other costs the Members Club may also be responsible for during the year. Without this information people do not know where their money is going or what it is being spent on. A regular newsletter given out on match days or regular articles in the programme could go a long way to heal the "Them and Us" feeling that some supporters have in regard to the Members Club. The club over the years lost a number of supporters who were willing to help out but became disillusioned with things at TMUFC. Last of information and bad communication often playing a part in this. 
Christ, how depressing was that…. It must be bad enough having read it if you managed to get this far. Believe me it was hard enough writing the thing. I’ll be there Saturday and I’ll be cheering the team on. None of us are enjoying this. Not the players, fans, coaches, owners or staff. Try to stay positive and cut others some slack if you don’t agree with them. We are stronger together than we are when split up into various factions. 

 Up The Terrors !!!!!