Pre-Season 2011/12: Week One

Covering last years pre-season games on the very blog you're reading now was a bit of a problem. With choosing to give the matches a very wide berth, finding something to write about them other than to just provide links to the views of those who did was a touch on the difficult side. For this reason I decided that things had to change this year and they have.

No, I haven't done the obvious thing and decided to grace any of the matches with my presence. I've found a much easier (and cheaper) way to do things. Rather than reporting on the friendlies on a game-by-game basis I've decided to do it week-by-week. The content will be the same, i.e. not worth reading, but it will hopefully take up far less of your valuable time to look at before you realise that it really wasn't worth reading.

And now that the preamble is out of the way it's on to the meat of the post or rather the tofu given that what follows is a poor substitute for the real thing you'll find on other sites.

The phoney war got under way with Blue Square North new boys FC Halifax Town making the short trip down the A672 to take on Gareth McClelland's new look Lilywhites side (or last seasons New Mills team if you take in to account the number of signings we've made from them over the course of the summer). When you factor in that the match involved what's basically still a team of strangers facing off against a relatively settled championship winning side from two divisions higher there was really only ever going to be one outcome and so it proved; the visitors making the trip back across the Pennines with a 5-1 victory to show for their afternoon's efforts. The plus for Mossley is that their solitary goal courtesy of Joe Heap was according to reports the best of the six scored during the game.

Ah yes, the reports. They're here and here for the Mossley point of view and here and here for the oppositions take on matters. The last one takes time out to impart some very kind and much appreciated words about this blog and in doing so provides me with a tag line for it when I finally get round to finishing re-jigging it. Current E.T.A. of Mossley80 v3.0? Goodness knows! It has already been 13 months in the making and still not even halfway done. But little do you care about my lethargic attempts to apply the heart paddles to this site. What you want are more links to far better reads than this and the second friendly game will provide these.

After Halifax the next club to take up a presence in the away changing rooms was Oldham Athletic who, in something of a novelty for a Football League team playing a friendly at Seel Park, sent a reasonably strong side containing a fair old smattering of first team players. The reason for them doing so was in honour of Mossley's residence at their current home reaching the 100 year mark. I was going to say playing instead of residence but there are a number of years in the mid-80's and early 90's where they didn't do much of that. Hopefully Oldham will be able to send their first team again in a few years time when we celebrate two decades of the pitch at Seel Park actually being the right size to hold a game of association football on.

Anyway, the match. Far from the being the walkover you may have expected (a professional side playing against a team of amateurs from five levels lower that have barely just met one another) the game finished with the visitors claiming a narrow 1-0 victory. The report in the Oldham Advertiser claims that it was a comfortable victory for the full-timers but that's a conclusion not borne out by the official Oldham website's match updates which suggests that Mossley could have registered a slightly more positive result in the last ten minutes. It's also a summation that's at odds with the report on Mossleyweb and the opinions of supporters who saw the game. But then the Advertiser is from the MEN stable of newspapers and one thing we've learnt in recent years about reports in the MEN involving Mossley (who can forget their hysterically bad Stalin-like airbrushing of events after our win over their then pet favourites FCUB) is that they may not bear a resemblance to what actually happened.

The third and final game of the opening week of friendly matches saw a Macclesfield Town XI make the trip to Seel Park; 'XI' as we all know being football code for a team comprising of players who should probably be revising for exams or finishing off homework instead of kicking a ball around on the edges of the Pennines. Young or experienced players though, and as much as I'd like to avoid using this particular football cliché, you can only beat what's in front of you and Mossley did so by six unanswered goals, and not without a fair old smattering of young people in their own line-up. I believe 'emphatic' is the adjective of choice for a victory like this one which you can read about on the official Mossley site.

So after a less than auspicious start against Halifax Mossley appear to be finding their feet a little which, while good, still means nought at this stage of the year. Friendlies may be necessary but they are ultimately pointless as anything other than a slightly more intensive fitness workout; they are as a guide to an upcoming season what horoscopes are to accurately predicting the future. Except with slightly fewer gullible followers.

Next up on the site: Pre-season friendlies 2011/10 - Week 2. I bet you can wait. Which sadly, going off my current blog work rate, is something you'll almost certainly have to do.