The Even Later December Message

And that's it in terms of Mossley and football and everything else for 2010; a year that has been slightly more eventful than most at Seel Park: no floodlights for half of it, home games played in a neighbouring town, some great football interspersed with some truly woeful stuff, the return of the managerial merry go round... there was never a dull moment. Oh! Wait, there was.

So what does the New Year hold besides 29 games crammed into its opening 16 weeks? Well, probably more of the same really; the odd great game here and there, a fair amount of moaning and as we haven't had one for nine or so months, a situation occurring where the club stands teetering on the edge of a financial precipice.

Actually that list could equally apply to almost every club plying their trade on this green and pleasant land, especially the last bit about money worries. A number of clubs have ceased to be this year and with no sign of this new age of austerity ending for the foreseeable future, it's almost a certainty that they'll be joined by more over the coming months and years. To those people supporting and running clubs who'll be facing such a situation in the coming weeks and months ahead: good luck.

As for things closer to home, that is to say this very blog you're reading now, there will be changes over the next calendar year. Not just design-wise but content-wise too. It won't have failed to escape your notice that this site is starting to contain fewer actual reports on Mossley's games and I don't think that's going to change any time soon. Why? Well that's a question that deserves a more detailed answer than I have time for now.

What I can say though is that the blog's scope may expand a little. To include just what though is something I'm keeping close to my chest for the time being in case it doesn't happen. After all there's no point setting yourself up for fall. Or fail to use modern internet parlance.

I'd like to take this opportunity however to thank those of you who still make the time and effort to visit this little corner of the internet and read whatever ramblings I've chosen to share with the world. It's appreciated - a lot! - so thank you and for the kind words that have been imparted too. :-)

Like I did at this time last year though I shall leave you with TVGolo's look back at 12 months of blunders, ridiculous misses, angry ball boys, one man pitch invasions and the never gets tiring at all sight of officials being knocked over:

Happy New Year and on to 2011 and whatever it may hold.

Mossley 1 - 1 Curzon Ashton

In what can be described as a bit of a turn-up for the books, Mossley's annual home league defeat to Curzon Ashton ended in something other than a loss for the Lilywhites.

It might not have been a win but a draw is an improvement on the multi-goal hammerings we've received off our near neighbours at Seel Park in recent seasons. It's a result too that stretches our unbeaten run to over 5 weeks. Okay, it may be 5 weeks that only encompasses a grand total of 3 games due to the weather but good news is good news no matter how slightly less impressive it sounds when you look at it in finer detail.

From the things I've been told about the game it should have been a victory for the Lilywhites. However our inability to put the ball in the net when we were on top reared its head once more and the one goal we did score (another impressive edge of the box effort from Kristian Dennis apparently) was cancelled out later on when the visitors decided turn up in spirit as well as just body.

The first nine words of the previous paragraph should be a clue that you're not going to find an eyewitness account of this post-Christmas derby on here. If you want some internet musings from those of a Mossley persuasion who attended then you should visit here and here.

If you require a neutral eye's view on proceedings then you could do a lot worse than heading to Beat The First Man where NikNoCee has documented the game in one of his increasingly more frequent trips over the Pennines in search of football. While you're there you should take a bit of time to read the rest of the site because there's a reason why it has been chosen by The Guardian as one of the 100 general football blogs to follow in 2011.

Next up for the Lilywhites is a New Years Day trip to Woodley. Is there any better way to celebrate a new calendar year than spend it in a dank corner of Stockport in dank weather? At it happens the answer is yes which is I won't be there but I'm sure there'll be a proper Mossley report on here soon.


The Late December Message

Christmas Filler: Part Two

In retrospect it was probably a mistake to suffix yesterday but yesterday but one's blog entry with 'part one' as doing so has meant having to come up with a 'part two' so I don't look silly. Okay, sillier than usual.

In keeping with the minimum effort theme of the previous post I'm going to once again release into the wider public arena another video which has only ever had the eyes of a few people clapped on it. And once you watch it I've no doubt you'll be wishing that it had remained under lock and key in a dark, distant corner of the internet because - and I'm going to be brutally honest here - it's not really very good. Actually 'not really very good' is far too higher praise for it.

I'll readily admit that it's not the best one I've ever done, even by my shockingly low standards, but in my defence it captures the match perfectly. And the match in question is another fixture from the 2008/09 season but this time it's not league but cup football, or to be more precise the height of excitement that is the President's Cup, the Northern Premier Leagues answer to the question: can you come up a meaningless and universally unloved competition that blights the footballing landscape like a... sorry, I was getting away there.

Anyhoo the 'action' (purely for want of a better term) is from Mossley's 3rd round tie at Chorley (more here) and it starts with the home side already one-up.

Alright, don't say I didn't warn you:

If there's to be a 'part three' (I've now learnt not to promise such things) I'll endeavour to come up with something that's a bit more interesting.

Not much more but a bit.

Christmas Filler: Part One

The lack of games to report on because of the weather’s current match postponing, Arctic like qualities has thrown up an interesting puzzle: How do you update a blog with something that may prove vaguely interesting to someone, somewhere whilst exerting the minimum amount of effort in its production?

After pondering this conundrum for the better part of one blink of an eye I hit upon a solution: post something I did ages ago that not very many people have seen. And that is why the next-but-one paragraph is followed by the video of a random league game (this one in fact) from two seasons ago which had previously been hidden to all but a few people… until now!

So if you're sitting there with nothing better to do for the next four or five minutes - and the fact you're reading this blog kind of suggests you haven't - then why not spend them watching Mossley pick up what was a well deserved win at the Irongate back in 2008?

Go on, you know you want to.

Cammell Laird 1 - 2 Mossley

I almost forgot that last week, amidst the glut of postponements there has been recently due to the chilly and white flakey weather, Mossley actually managed to play a competitive game football.

As you might expect by now when it comes to away matches: I wasn’t there, so if you want to know more about the Lilywhites first ever win in Rock Ferry then click on this link.

Instead of enjoying the veritable charms of Birkenhead by night I was 41 miles away on the terraces at Seel Park, bumping the crowd watching Mossley reserves take on their equivalents from Bamber Bridge into the high single figures.

Of course I could furnish you with a report on this game but given that the only player I recognised was Lee Blackshaw it’s likely that you’d get mildly irritated by a string of sentences describing ‘thingy’ passing to ‘what’s he called’ before ‘you know, him up front, no, not the tall one’ sends a shot bobbling wide of its target.

I shall therefore just say that while it can be argued that Brig’s 5-1 victory was a little flattering, there’s another argument to be had that the margin of defeat could have been a whole lot worse had it not been for a missed penalty and other miscues from the visitors.

It would be errant of me though not to point out that the Lilywhites second string did play some very, very nice football at times - the passing, movement and awareness at times was exemplary. The problem was, much as it has been for the first team as well for a significant part of this season, all of these well-constructed moves fizzling out into nothing. There were shots at goal but all were straight at the keeper; even Blackshaw’s goal, as well taken as it was, made its way into the net under the body of the Bridge goalie.

The positive though - if there is such a thing to be taken from a hammering at home - is that it was such a young side Mossley had out that the game will probably be a valuable addition to their learning curve. Then again, how many times have we seen such things as supporters yet we still keep coming back for more?

With the weather having taken another turn for the worse and the forecast for the coming week looking decidedly frosty, the chances of seeing another game of football involving Mossley being played in 2010 is closer to zero than the temperature.

So as well as starting to save my pennies in readiness for attending the four game a week marathon we’re almost certainly going to be having in April in order to complete all our fixtures before the end of the season, I'd better come up with something to put on the blog in lieu of the trickle of match reports.

Well I have to give the two people who visit here every week something new to read, don't I?

30 Years Ago: Part Seven

As briefly mentioned at the end of the sixth part of this blog's reminiscences about Mossley's 'golden age', the Lilywhites reward for their one goal victory over Crewe Alexandra in the 1980/81 FA Cup was...

The following articles are taken from the edition of the Mossley & Saddleworth Reporter published in the week leading up to the game. Along with previewing the game and detailing the story that Mike Summerbee would not be replicating his cameo in a white shirt from the previous round, there's also news of Mossley's hi-tech approaching to securing their property; one which judging by trips to numerous grounds in the 21st Century has yet to be surpassed by advancements in technology:

After all the build-up the game unfortunately turned out to be something of a damp squib. At least it was if you were a Mossley supporter because I'm sure the travelling fans from Mansfield were reasonably happy with what transpired. The Lilywhites, while not disgracing themselves, didn't put in the kind of disciplined performance they were noted for until it was too late. Not for the first, or indeed the last, time at Seel Park there were a lot of people left to ponder on the thought: "if only..."

Below are four reports on the game taken from the Sunday and Monday editions of the tabloid newspapers:

The cup exit, as bitterly disappointing as it was, did at least mean that Mossley could concentrate on trying to secure a third successive Northern Premier League title and reaching Wembley again in the FA Trophy.

It wasn't to be though. The 13 point lead Runcorn had built up in the league while Mossley were on their FA Cup run proved to be insurmountable (it was a time when it was still only 2 points for a win) and the Lilywhites finished runners-up; a position they would end up in at the close of the following two seasons as well. In the FA Trophy Mossley made it as far as the quarter finals before they came unstuck in North Wales, losing 5-3 to Bangor City.

And with that comes the end of this look back at what happened three decades ago when Mossley, a team from a small Northern mill town, were arguably one of the top sides plying their trade outside of the professional leagues. There are a few scrapbook cuttings left but they're from a time that no-one particularly wants to relive: our mid-eighties slide to ignominy and the first of a long series of brushes with oblivion.

I hope that this and the preceding six parts brought back some happy memories for those of you who were around to experience this incredible period of the club's history first hand. If you're too young to remember or weren't following Mossley at the time then I hope they proved to be of some interest.

Most of all though I hope they brought some enjoyment. Even if it was only a little bit.