The Mossley AFC Reality Show

Between the final whistle of last season and now, seven first team regulars of the squad that won the Unibond first division title have left the club; be it through the chance to play at a higher level, disciplinary reasons or by finding themselves surplus to requirements.

It's probably a shock for everybody to see the Championship team break up so quickly and watch popular players leave the club. It probably is unfair that some of them never got the chance to show what they could do at this level but sadly that's football. There's a place for sentimentality in the game and more often than not that place is usually around the foot of the table. Has any team has achieved anything by hanging onto the past just for the sake of it?

I doubt that there's anyone of us who said last season that the team didn't need strengthening for this campaign and in order to do that players have to go. Only time will tell if the decision to release some of these players was the correct one and if the team is stronger or weaker in their absence.

Football's a transient business but it does have one constant: us - the fans. Players come and go but we're the club. We'll still be there when they're forgotten, harsh but true. Whilst we wait and see what hindsight tells us let's just wish the recently departed all the best at wherever they end up (unless of course it's FCUB) and thank them for all their efforts in the Lilywhite shirts.

And don't forget that you'll be cursing them when they inevitably score the next time they play against us.

Lincoln United Are Coming!

In a season that's already been spent meeting old accquaintances and renewing long forgotten rivalries its nice to finally come up a against a team with whom we have no history (except for the odd friendly).

Both sides registered their first wins of the season over the Bank Holiday weekend and the defeated team in both cases were Grantham, whose fans now regretting their pre-season posturing that the Unibond League wasn't going to be much of a challenge. Lincoln are currently in 17th place with four points and have lost both of their away games this season with an aggregate score of: F 0 - A 4.

This will be the first of at least two trips to Seel Park this season for the Lincolnshire side though I doubt we'll see many travelling fans on either ocassion - United's home gate averaging around the 100 mark which is not surprising considering they're next door to a Championship League side.

Prediction: I know that some people will be looking at this fixture as the first one of the season where we should win but this one feels too close to call, especially with my correct prediction streak currently running at a lifeime best of, er... two at stake. I could hedge my bets and go for a draw but instead I'm going to predict a hard fought, ground out victory for the Lilywhites.

Mossley 3 - 2 Burscough

Or as it should be titled: The Trueman Show

Let's make no mistake, as good as the victory was we couldn't have had any complaints if we'd ended up on the losing side. As I write this there'll be a coach heading towards West Lancashire full of players and supporters feeling like they've been mugged but I have little sympathy because a) - it has happened to us so many times in the past it's nice to be dishing it out for a change and b) they only have themselves to blame.

Like Ilkeston in the first match of the season ten days earlier, the weather was atrocious and Mossley seemingly willingly allowed their opponents to control the opening stages of the game. For ten minutes the ball never appeared to leave the Lilywhite's half as Mossley voluntarily sat deeper and deeper, virtually asking Burscough to come at them. And come at them they did. Mossley's reluctance to challenge or even harry the man on the ball allowed Burscough to create numerous chances and gave keeper Danny Trueman a few stretching exercises in readiness for his acrobatics later on in the game.

The similarities to the Ilkeston game increased when the visitors took the lead immediately after Mossley's first attack. Good work by Paul Garvey on the wing allowed him to find his strike partner with an inch perfect cross that Anthony Bingham hammered against the cross bar (though it has to be said that the velocity of his header was assisted by his arm which went unnoticed by the referee. Burscough reclaimed possesion, broke upfield and an unmarked Price stroked the ball into the net from the edge of the area.

Danny Trueman produces the first of many great saves in the second half...

Mossley's response was almost immediate as things went from the sublime to the ridiculous. The sublime was Bingham's solo run into the box where he showed great control and balance to beat three lunging tackles. The ridiculous came when Burscough keeper McMillan allowed Bingham's mis-hit daisy cutter to roll slowly through his hands and legs before trickling over the line for the equaliser. A bit of free advice for McMillan: next your hands are near the ball, try gripping it. Our ancestors didn't spend millions of years evolving thumbs for nothing.

The game then took an horrific turn for the worse as Burscough left back Bowen sickeningly crashed head first through the concrete pitch surround necessitating a hold up of over twenty minutes as he received treatment and awaited the ambulance. Thnakfully early reports suggest that his injuries are nowhere near as serious as they could have been and I'm sure I speak for many others as well by saying that I hope he's back up and playing as soon as possible.

...and then another one from the resultant corner

When the game restarted it was Bursough that got back into the groove of things the quickest and they forced Trueman in to making a superb double save to keep out an overhead kick and its follow up. Any hopes he had for a quieter second period were quashed almost from the kick-off as he pulled off a string of excellent saves to keep Mossley in the game.

At this point it looked like there was only going to be one winner as Burscough created chance after chance but with 20 minutes of the game remaining Mossley took the lead. A perfectly weighted free-kick from Joe Shaw was met by an unmarked Melford Knight and the Lilywhite's captain planted a firm header past the static keeper. Burscough pressed forward looking for the equaliser and were rewarded when Price whacked an effort from 20 yards in off the underside of the crossbar for his and Burscough's second of the game.

Melford Knight puts Mossley ahead for the first time

Two minutes later the game swung back in Mossley's favour. Burscough needlessly conceded a free kick on the left and once again Joe Shaw swung in an inch perfect delivery. This time it was Danny White who rose unmarked to head past McMillan, the keeper once again looking like he was participating in a semi-professional game of musical statues.

Joe Shaw watches as Danny White steers in his free-kick for Mossley's winner

Back came Burscough again but this time their efforts came to nothing thanks to Trueman pulling off a couple more saves, Danny White heading off the line as the ball rebounded off the crossbar and Joel Pilkington making a superb last ditch tackle to deny a Burscough forward from six yards.

We can sit and think about what the score would have been if it wasn't Trueman' s saves or any of the other last ditch blocks and tackles but the fact remains that Mossley have made it a six point bank holiday weekend, something which doesn't happen very often. Of course we rode our luck at times and won with goals courtesy of our only two attacks of the second half but as long as we learn from the mistakes made in the game and start defending further up the pitch (i.e. tackling an opponent to win the ball instead of marking the space they may move into), victories will be slightly less fraught.

Burscough Are Coming!

After two games 'on the road' (as Americans are fond of referring to away fixtures) Mossley return to Seel Park for their second home fixture in what people are already saying is the new football season. And making the August Bank Holiday trip to Mossley are Burscough, winners of the 2003 FA Trophy.

It has been more than a decade since the two teams last met with Burscough with past honours running pretty evenly - we've never lost to them at home and never beaten them at their place.

Previous games between the two teams have hardly been shining examples of cordiality, a 1-0 defeat at Victoria Park in the mid-90's being marred by a ninety minute verbal battle between the home support and away bench which culminated in an object being thrown at an official and both parties blaming each other for the incident. The tension wasn't helped by the fact that the referee for that game only lived a mile or so away from the ground and if he'd bent over backwards anymore for the home team the crowd would have witnessed him disappearing up his own backside.

But that's all in the past so let's hope that the renewed rivalry is a lot friendlier and that Bob Skeldon's refereeing. :)

Predictions: I could say that it's a tough game but the fact is this season is that they're all tough. A one goal win for Mossley or, at the very worst, an unlucky draw.

Grantham Town 1 - 2 Mossley

Being unable to get the game I haven't a clue what went on apart from: the home side taking the lead after being reduced to ten men, Martin Allison drawing Mossley level and an eye-patched Andy Thackeray scoring in the closing minutes.
"Yarr! A good result it was."

To here about what happened from someone who did go, visit here.

Instead of watching Mossley garner their first points of the season I joined what seemed like only another 100 people at Hurst Cross to see Aston United take on Kendal Town. And a good game it was too. I'll spare you a match report by saying:
  • Kendal scored six times - one disallowed, two in their own net and three at the right end
  • Twelve seconds after the start Kendal fans were celebrating the first goal, Ashton fans are stunned into silence (the effects of which seem to last the entire game) and I was killing myself laughing.
  • Kendal's left winger is a fantastic player, tearing his marker to pieces and was unlucky to have a goal disallowed. This appears to upset his team mates and they never give him the ball again in the entire game.
  • Ashton's defence could be prosecuted under the trade descriptions act.
  • Kendal fans should learn the adage about people in glass houses not throwing stones the next time they want to make fun of other clubs grounds.
  • Air horns should be banned from all football grounds.
  • All efforts to remain neutral went with 70 minutes left as Kendal (one goal up) started getting cocky, time wasting at every given opportunity and falling over in a heap whenever an Ashton player got within 10 yards of them.
  • Kendal's defence appears to be just as bad as Ashton's
  • The looks on the faces of the visiting players when they went 3-1 down was priceless...
  • But nothing compared to the joy of the horn falling off the aforementioned air horn.
Overall the 3-3 scoreline the game ended up at was probably a fair one but there's nothing that either side have that should worry Mossley when we come to play them.

Chip Wrappers: 25/08/2006

The onset of a new season means that it's once again time to start buying the Non-League Paper, immerse yourself within the match reports of other teams in your league and savour detailed descriptions of every goal conceded by sides you detest. Sadly though in order to do this you have to wade through numerous articles declaring just how wonderful non-league football and copious amounts of column inches dedicated to AFC Wimbledon and FCUB XI.

Astonishingly though, for this week at least, match reports on the 'fan run/community' clubs now take up roughly the same amount of space as that given over to clubs supported by us mere mortals. No doubt the supporters of Bury's newest non-league club are already writing to the NPL's letters page demanding the reinstatement of the gushing eulogies that passed for reports last season.

Talking of the NLP's letters page there's an interesting one form a D.E. Noel of Manchester prasing Woodley Sports 'decision to give up their shirt space to Francis House (a children's hospice) is both brave and charitable.' And you have to agree with him until you read the next paragraph, 'The deal has been made possible by a supporter who has covered the cost of what a commercial sponsor might raise.'

So in effect Woodley's altruism extends accepting the going rate for shirt sponsorship deal only this time it's for a hospice rather than, for example, a local plumbing firm. That's not charity, it's common business practice. It's like praising a bus company for its charity in taking you to an appointment at the hospital when a) it's on its route and b) you've the paid the fare. And wouldn't the hospice have benefitted more from the sponsorship money being donated to them rather than Woodley?

Maybe Woodley gave the sponsorship money back and I'm doing them a disservice, and if they did it's incredibly remiss of D.E. Noel to mention the most important point.

The Advertiser's back page is devoted to Hyde United with their signing of 97 year old David Eyre after his release from Oldham Athletic, though I'm not sure if the Hyde United in question is the one that plays in Tameside. Why? Well, because of this quote: "...and the supporters get behind the team, not on the player's backs." Unless there's been a fan transplant he's not at Ewen Fields. Not only are the supporters at Hyde as quick to criticise players as the fans of any other club, they also have a dedicated army who seemingly devote their whole time to standing behind the dugouts rubbishing the manager. I first noticed it when Mossley played against Mike McKenzie's Hyde side in the Manchester Premier Cup a few seasons ago (where the supporters were loudly discussing who was going to take over when he got sacked) and on my non-Mossley visits to Hyde last year Steve Waywell was getting almost the same treatment.

The season must have started because Mossley are back in the sports section of the Advertiser! And not only that but it's got an accompanying photograph to boot! At the other end of the spectrum though...

This weeks winners of the Pee-Poor Excuse For A Sports Section however goes to the Reporter. On first look it seems like a comprehensive rundown of the weeks action. Closer inspection though reveals that for the second week running (barring one aside in an Ashton United match report regarding Jordan Goodeve) Mossley's sole mention comes in the small list of upcoming fixtures. Not only is there no match report on either of the two games played in the last week, there's no indication that we actually played at all e.g. a one line scoreline. Yet they've managed to find the time and space to report on the crowd pullers that are two Stalybridge Celtic reserve games, one Curzon Ashton reserve fixture and a Curzon Ashton Ladies match.

Does their remit now not cover Mossley? Is Seel Park at too high an altitude for it's journalists? Is the money that would normally be spent covering Mossley now used on employing somebody solely to deal with the number of letters sent every week to the paper by Cllr John Taylor and Irene Woodcock? Or is it that the whole concept of local reporting has gone out of the window and, unless you send them something, they just couldn't give a toss?

As Americans are fond of saying: Go figure.

Off to: Grantham

Two games, two defeats and to Grantham we go for our third game back in the Unibond Premier.

It's also the Lincolnshire clubs third game back in the old NPL (the 'Gingerbreads' having been shunted sideways from the Southern Premier League) and like us are finding it difficult in getting used to familiar surroundings again. It would be nice though if things picked up from where we left off over twenty years ago because, unlike matches against our previous opponents from Crosby, club though we've more often than not had the upper hand over Grantham.

Both sides enter the game looking for their first points of the season but on home soil and with a midweek home defeat to Hednesford (where the opponents grabbed a winner when reduced to nine men) still fresh in the memory, Grantham will be the team under the most pressure to break their duck. A brief look at the Grantham forum shows that there are quite a few disgruntled fans already and this is something which could prove extremely beneficial for Mossley if the home side don't get off to a good start.

Prediction: I know I have a reputation for being pessimistic but, hold on to your hats, I think this is going to be three points for us. At worst we'll share the spoils but I'm convinced that the big, fat zero under our points column will have disappeared by 5:00pm on Saturday.

And frankly a victory will in some small way go towards punishing Grantham for inflicting the country with one of the smuggest, smarmiest, most egotistical people ever to walk our green and pleasent land. Of course I'm talking about Nicholas Parsons, the man who single handedly makes Radio Four's Just A Minute live up to its title by being precisely how long it will be before you switch him off.

And of course Grantham is also the birthplace of little known politician Margaret Thatcher, the caterpillar track and part-time scientist pioneer and full-time fruit loop Isaac Newton (he stuck huge needles behind his eyes to see what was there along with many other really quite, quite mad incidents) had his schooling there. Biology obviously not being on the curriculum at King's School.

Marine 1 - 0 Mossley

With not being able to attend last night's game, Steven has kindly allowed me to fill the void that would have represented this match with the report he posted on the Independent Mossley Forum:

Probably got just what we deserved last night.

A better performance than Saturday, but like alot of people said on Saturday, we've strengthened the defence but don't look like we're going to score goals.

Last night Beckford set his stall out for a clean sheet, playing the same back 4 as Saturday, but he dropped Bracey. Trueman did well and had no chance with the goal.
He played Joe, Pilky and Melford in the middle of the park, with Bings and Evans on the wings, but trying to support Kenny up front when we had possession (which wasn't that often).

We had one chance in the first half, a through ball found Mayers but instead of showing composure in front of goal he tried to slide the ball past the keeper when it looked easier to either lift it over him or take it round him and score, as the keeper committed himself very early.

To be honest not alot happened in the game, and it never really livened up at all.

The closest we came to scoring was a cross from the left hand side and Garvey, on as a sub, put his header a whisker over the post and bar. Trouble was Marine went straight up the other end and scored a goal like Ilkeston's first on Saturday. I didn't have as good a view of it as Saturday but again it looked like their was no challenge and we just stood off him. Which we can't do in this division.

Marine were a good team, but that was all. I was expecting alot more from them and we certainly didn't disgrace ourselves. If we can perform with the same passion as most of our players showed last night we'll pick up points sooner rather than later.

Verdict - Defensively very good. Attacking very ordinary.

Trueman - 7 - Did everything that he was asked to do.
Thackeray - 6 - Again didn't really do anything wrong.
Edwards - 7 - Better performance than saturday (getting fitter.)
White - 7 - Solid performance again.
Bowker - 7 - Same as White.
Pilkington - 7 - Did all he could until subbed (wrongly again.)
Knight - 6 - Won plenty of balls, but passing let him down.
Shaw - 8 - Really good performance again.
Bingham - 6 - Didn't look comfortable playing on the right.
Evans - 5 - Well lets say his namesake DJ could have played better.
Mayers - 5 - Never good enough for this level.

Garvey - 6 - (on for Bings) Came close with his only chance.
Cooke - 6 - (on for Pilky) Didn't do alot apart from argue with ref.
Downey - 5 - (on for Evans) Can't really remember him touching the ball.

Lets hope first points are on the board on Saturday.

So, on their return to Crosby, Mossley leave with exactly the same scoreline as their last visit (a 1-0 defeat that proved to be Terry Curran's best result as the worst manager of the worst Mossley team. EVER!)

Two is the Sesame Street style number of the moment: two games, two defeats, two goals and second bottom. Let's hope we progress to 'three' come Saturday in terms of games and points achieved.

Off to: Marine

Once Mossley finally get round to deciding on a club anthem it’s quite safe to assume that ‘Oh I do like to be beside the seaside’ won’t be appearing on any potential shortlist. I’m sure the jaunty, organ based sing-a-long has its fans but as records go there’s no denying that it’s poor. A critique that can be applied equally to Mossley’s record on the coast.

Maybe it’s the sea air, a fear of seagulls or a protest at going to seaside on a coach and not being able to come back with a stick of rock and a kiss me quick hat but for some reason Mossley just can’t seem to perform when there’s a bit of extra ozone in the air.

And if there’s one place more than any other that’s been a frozen, windswept tundra for the Lilywhite’s in terms of positive results it’s Rossett Park, Crosby - home of Marine AFC. We had one good win there a while ago but it doesn’t disguise all the misery and defeats we’ve suffered; in fact they’re a sort of Asia to our US Armed Forces.

So, you may be thinking, what’s the point of turning up if history has already dictated that a negative outcome is inevitable? And if you are what kind of defeatist attitude is that? This is the season of upsets! Don’t believe me? Take last Saturday’s game; weren’t you upset at the end of match? See…

Ignore the fact that Marine is one of the favourites for promotion. Overlook the fact that they’ve got Mossley’s tormentor-in-chief Peter Comiskey upfront. Pay no heed to last Saturday’s results. Disregard practically every single result we’ve had there. Say pish and tish to the bookmakers who think all Marine have to do to win is turn up. Because we’re going to win! Or draw.

This will also be our first game against a Roly Howard-less Marine (their long standing window cleaner-cum-manager having stepped down a couple of years) for goodness knows how long but whoops of delight will be tempered by the fact that former Vauxhall GM manager Alvin McDonald has picked up the chamois leather and occupied the dugout.

Still, if the worst comes to the worst, you can always indulge in a game of spot the famous face as Crosby is something of a celebrity hangout. At one time or another people such as Beryl ‘Writer’ Bainbridge, John ‘BBC’ Birt, Lynda ‘Prime’ La ‘Suspect’ Plante, Anne ’Plastic’ Robinson, Cherie ’Coat Hanger’ Blair, George ‘Is he still alive?’ Melly and Kenny ‘Definitely dead!’ Everett.

One of its more ‘interesting’ former residents is Gerald Gardner, a legendary occultist and founder of the Wiccan religion (winner of the ‘best alternative faith’ survey in Which magazine). To be frank, if Heat ever did a spin-off magazine aimed at people who live on Werther’s Original and are regularly dusted for cobwebs, Crosby is where their paparazzi would hang out.

The town also has an association with one of the world’s most horrific disasters. Hand’s up, who said Liverpool? Sorry but you’re wrong, it’s actually the R.M.S. Titanic. The ship’s captain Edward Smith lived in Crosby as did Arthur Rostron, the captain of the R.M.S. Carpathia which was the first ship to answer the Titanic’s distress call and pick up survivors. The town was also the home of Bruce Ismay, the managing director of the White Star Line, who after the disaster lived out the rest of his days in shame. Scientists are still yet to determine whether this was because he jumped into a lifeboat whilst it was still women and children only or due to living in Crosby.

So when you go to the game keep your eye out because you’ll never know who you might see. The last time I went I managed to get a photograph of one of the worlds most prominent psychoanalysts taking Dennis the Menace’s dog for a walk. For a future update, and in case of déjà vu, I’ll try and dig out those Crosby stills of Gnasher and Jung.

Prediction: The head, optimistically, says draw. But we will win.

Bits And Pieces

First of all is there anybody reading who'll be willing to do a brief report on tomorrow's match at Marine and/or Grantham on Saturday? It doesn't have to be long, just a paragraph or so. If you'd be willing to do this then e-mail me at or leave a message in the comments section at the bottom of today's posting.

Secondly, and it's been touched on above, you can leave your thoughts and opinions on anything that's been written on this blog by clicking on the word 'comment' in the black bar below the article you wish to respond to. Feedback is always welcome.

Mossley 2 - 3 Ilkeston Town

When I decided to start the blog I fully intended to have a more optimistic outlook on things. Rather than the glass being half empty I really wanted to look at it as half full and find the silver lining in every cloud. The big stumbling block is that Mossley don't make it easy for you to do so.

I'd like to be able to sit here and write that we were desperately unfortunate to lose by the odd goal in five to Ilkeston but I can't - I'd be lying to myself and you. I can't even say that we were deserving of a point as Ilkeston effectively controlled the game from the first whistle of the match to the last, barring a five minute spell in the first half.

And it was in this spell that Mossley should have taken the lead. Terry Bowker, a centre half remember, made a fantastic run down the right wing before setting up a chance for Chris Downey. His shot was beaten out to Andy Thackeray on the edge of the six yard box but instead of taking it first time, the Mossley captain spent precious seconds trying to bring the ball under control and the chance was gone.

Joe Shaw shoots wide

Other than that Mossley were reduced to speculative efforts from distance that either flew high and wide or were comfortable for the keeper. At the other end of the pitch Ilkeston were continually looking dangerous and though the Mossley defence doing quite brilliantly in restricting their opportunities, occassionally a man would be left unmarked and a chance would open up.

It's in this manner that Ilson scored their first of the game in the 26th minute. A great move down the centre of the field ended with McSweeney launching a shot from the edge of the box that flew across Lee Bracey and into the back of the net.

By the start of the second half all the good things witnessed in the friendlies were nowhere to be seen. The quick passing and moving off the ball had been usurped by the dreaded return of the long ball from the back and instead of closing down opponents Mossley were giving Ilkeston time and space. And it was combination of this that allowed the visitors to double their lead.

A sloppy clearance allowed Ilkeston to press forward and I don't doubt that they were as surprised as the watching spectators to see the nine men Mossley had behind the ball give them all the time in the world they wanted. When the ball did break loose Lee Bracey should have claimed it but in remaining on his line he allowed Ilkeston to reclaim possession and work a square pass to where Muller applied the finish.

Knight and White set up Bingham for Mossley's first

A glimmer of hope was given to the Lilywhite's when Anthony Bingham scored with his first touch of the game after coming on as a substitue for the unfortunate Steve Burke, the former Bury man leaving the field with an injury after working tirelessly with little in the way support and balls to feed on. The corner the goal came from was courtesy of Mossley's first real attack of the half and minutes later a Mossley player had the ball in the net again from another corner.

Sadly though it was the goal at the wrong end of the pitch that Terry Bowker put his header into. The only real consolation he can have is that if he didn't do it, Kenny Mayers would probably have done so instead. Again it looked like 'game over' but from the first decent cross in open play all game Bingham once again reduced arrears, beating a couple of defenders to the ball to place a superb header into the net from 12 yards.

And that sadly, was that. With a possible, if somewhat undeserved, point in sight Mossley never threatened again. Instead they constantly gave away possession with a series of needless fouls (Rob Edwards being the worst offender) in their own half of the field allowing Ilson to run the clock down.

I'm desperately looking for something good to take out of today's performance and other than the first half defensive display and the much needed injection of pace from Bingham I'm struggling. I was under no illusions that this wasn't going to be anything other than a tough season but if we are to survive we have to get a whole lot better sooner rather than later.

Finally though, a big thank you to Nigel Jemson for the entertainment he provided for the Mossley supporters in the first half in his role as 'Manager With A Touchline Ban.' He took everything in the humorous way it was intended and proved to be up for a laugh whilst going about his job.

Now it's on to Marine which has way too many times in the past been a graveyard for Mossley teams. Let's hope we can upset the applecart, the odds, form and everything else.

Nigel Jemson's Motivational Bon Mots

The Circus Is Back In Town

Ahhh... the excitement of a new season in a new league. New places to visit, new friends to meet, new rivalries to begin and lots of other new things to precede with the word new. With all the hope and optimism this brings what could possibly go and spoil it?

Well, how about starting the campaign against a team you've never beaten in a competitive fixture?

Mossley first met Ilkeston Town in December 2004 at Seel Park when the visitors went away with a relatively comfortable 2-0 win, though it wasn't without its moments of controversy. The return fixture in April 2005 saw Ilkeston do the double over Mossley despite Jordan Goodeve giving the Lilywhites the perfect start with a third minute goal. However the Robins drew level almost immediately and eventually claimed all three points with a last minute goal.

Despite being in different leagues both sides met again last season thanks to the League Cup. Once again it was another fruitless visit to Derbyshire for the Lilywhites with the home team ambling to a 1-0 win in a game memorable only for the… no, my mistake, there was nothing memorable at all.

None of the above harbours much hope for the men in white shirts but a look at the current form guide tells a different story:


So there you go, we're going into the game pretty evenly.

Add to that the fact that recently Mossley have started the season in phenomenal goalscoring form. Over the last three years the opening day fixture has seen Mossley score eighteen goals whilst conceding five (6 - 4 vs. Warrington, 5 - 1 vs. Rocester, 7 - 0 vs. Ossett Albion). Working on averages we should be looking at a 6 - 1.6666 win and I don't know about you but I'm looking forawrd to seeing that 0.6 recurring effort.

Failing that I'd be more than happy with a draw.

Chip Wrappers: w/e 18 August 2006

On to the back page of the Advertiser, where editorial content is fighting a losing battle against the adverts, Curzon Ashton manager Gary Lowe has announced that their "target is to win the league." Quite admirable too considering the opposition they have to face; if you're going to tilt at windmills you might as well make them frickin' big ones.

Lowe goes on to say, "not getting promoted would be disappointing because we’ve got a bit more experience than last year." With the possibility of as many as six teams getting promoted from the NWCL this season, disappointing would be something of an understatement. But then he's hardly likely to say, "I'm for the chop if we don't get into the Unibond this year" is he?

Elsewhere in the paper Stalybridge's first attendance of the season (430) is described as "meagre", vaguely hinting that Celtics poor pre-season form may have been the reason for it. Maybe so but I'm sure the decision to charge £10 to gain admittance to Bower Fold this season may have been a slightly larger contributory factor.

Bizarrely there's no report or mention of Droylsden's first game of the season at Farsley yet their second game at home Redditch gets a report and a photograph. God may move in mysterious ways but he's got nothing on the Advertiser's sports department.

At this point I'd like to write about the coverage given to Mossley except I can't because there isn't any - not one solitary mention outside of the fixture list. Then again we shouldn't be surprised about that anymore, should we? After all it is only the local paper. It's not as if they don't know that the Unibond League is starting this week because there's a piece about Ashton United in a sidebar, three pages from the back which, admittedly, you could very easily miss. And if you did - don't worry! Just pick up a copy of the Reporter because the unabridged version of that very same Ashton United press release is on the back page.

The main story on the back of the Reporter is dedicated to Droylsden's capture of Steve Daley, a signing that last week Dave Pace claimed would "rock non-league football." Whilst experts look into whether it even actually moved the needle on the semi-professional Richter scale, Tameside's Mr. Modest continued in typically hyperbolic fashion this week declaring that his latest signing was "the missing piece of the jigsaw." I don't know about you but when I discover there's a missing piece when I'm doing a puzzle I normally have a look on the floor or down the back of the settee. Not Dave Pace, he goes to Southport.

I'm not sure about the jigsaw analogy though. With Daley joining Denham, Fearns, Banim and Talbot at the club, surely a better one would be Pokemon with his 'Gotta collect 'em all!' attitude towards non-league forwards.

Sadly, just like the Advertiser, Mossley's only mention comes in the list of upcoming fixtures and then they haven't even bothered publishing Tuesday's game at Marine. In all fairness to the Reporter though they did devote plenty of space to the friendly win over Stalybridge last week but surely a brief mention to say our season was starting this weekend wouldn't have gone amiss?

At the FC United of Manchester Evening News the return of the Premiership has meant that the non-league stuff has been relegated to its usual small column at the edge of the page, with a third of it made up of FCUB 'news'. Interestingly though the paper did publish a letter this week criticizing the amount of coverage given to the 'Only Alternative For People Fed-Up With Professional Football™.' Sadly though I missed it but the responses are starting to appear and when the crux of one is based around the fact they deserve it because “the fans have dropped ten levels,” you do start to wonder if it's possible to have an intelligent debate about this.

Thankfully though we've got the Oldham Chronicle to rely on for information and publicity about upcoming games and it doesn't let us down this week. In an article previewing the coming season Mossley manager Jason Beckford says, “the aim is to be competitive and consolidate,” and I don't think anybody could disagree with that. It would be nice to think that at some point during the season there'll be hopes of a play-off spot or a cup but, personally, I'd be more than happy with securing at least fifth from bottom as soon as possible.

And that's it for Mossley80's first review of the papers this season. Whether it's a regular feature or not depends on a number of things but rest assured, whatever happens Mossley80 will be reading the papers so you don't have to.

Pre-Season Sale