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.