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Maybe. Once or twice a year there's a spark of an idea and maybe.

Then the loudest voice in your head has its say and life backs it up with its own particular way of making sure any light in a tunnel is an oncoming train. All before it turns out the wish for quiet was done, unbeknownst, within the vicinity of a monkey's paw.

But still, maybe.

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Pitch black.

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Still dark.

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It's always darkest when there are no dawns.

That Time Again

Maybe next year.

Or maybe not. No point in planning ahead when what's ahead is a constant reminder that planning is an exercise in futility.

But maybe.

The Mossley80 State Of The Union

Last night whilst on of my umpteenth re-watching of The West Wing I reached the 11th episode of the 3rd season, '100,000 Airplanes'.

The main focus of the episode is the The State of the Union address - a speech by the U.S. President on the nation's condition, the people who run it and what the future may or may not hold - and this gave me an idea for what is now becoming the annual New Years Eve posting on this here site. 

So without further ado, I bring you this blog's inaugural state of the union address:

"Readers, Mossley80 is in quite the state.  

Thank you."

Now on with the silence and whatever worsening horrors 2015 decides to bestow.

One Year On

"Hi! I'm not Troy McLure - I'm SJNR. You won't remember me from such films as The President's Neck is Missing and episodes of The Simpsons from back when the show wasn't a joke free shell, but from 12 month old blog postings where I state I'll be putting up new content very soon and on regular-ish basis after that."

I know, I know. As opening paragraphs to blog postings go, even on a site like this where the quality threshold is already staggeringly low, it's far from brilliant; if it had the use of a telescope mediocre would still be a dot on a distant horizon in front of it.  The fact it's there instead of something else though (and trust me, there was an awful lot of awful something elses there before it) may give you an idea of how difficult this thing has been to write.

You probably won't believe me but when I wrote the statement at the end of last year saying new stuff was on its way to the blog my intentions were utterly sincere.

2013 is/was the 10th anniversary of Mossley80 existing in one form or another on the internet and while I normally hate the marking of the passing of time (birthdays, New Year, etc.) I wanted to do something for the website.  Why?  Even though I'm not much of a sentimentalist I do like the site and hate that circumstances have left it to wither and die in the way it has over the past couple of years or so.

My aim was to try and correct that neglect.  Pieces were started and some came close to almost being finished. The groundwork was done for other bits and bobs that would have led to a steady stream of content over a series of weeks and months. The site was redesigned and a plan for going forward with a relatively football-free (for the foreseeable future anyway) Mossley80 was in place.  So, what happened you may ask? The answer is, life did.

Twelve months ago I wrote that 2013 was shaping up to be a bad year and while that was written partly in jest a bad year did come to pass. No, scratch that, it was much, much worse.  No details will be expounded on here but with everything that has happened the blog, football and other things too numerous to mention have been the furthest things from my mind.

There's an argument to be had that throwing myself back into the things I did for fun (Mossley80, football, etc.) could have helped alleviate some of the overwhelming gloom a little.  However, being the type of person who is not very good at compartmentalising their life it's highly likely that all I'd be successful in doing would be allowing that darkness to seep into things that should be light.

So what of the site now? Well, being someone who doesn't believe that things can suddenly change for the better because a large number on the calendar increases by a single digit I'm not going to make any promises for 2014.  There may or may not be some content on here over the course of the next 365 days that doesn't consist me explaining why the site has been so quiet. I just don't know.

What I can say with some degree of certainty though is that I'm determined to try and shake the metaphorical pitch black cloud that's been hovering overhead for a good length of time now. It's not going to be easy and to be honest I don't rate my chances of success that much but it's the first step - even if it is a shaky one - in something approaching the right direction I've attempted for a while.  That may bring about the catalyst needed to spring this site into life once more. It's just a question of wait and see.

If things don't get better then in all likelihood it will just fade away.  Some may take pleasure in its passing.  The majority though will remain as indifferent to it as they were while it was in its perceived heyday; barely giving it a second thought as it vanishes quietly into nothingness.*

Not for the first time on Mossley80 a short message seems to have gone on a lot longer than I'd originally intended.  If for some inexplicable reason you're still reading at this point after all the doom and gloom above, I'd like to thank you for doing so and wish you a Happy New Year.  The law of averages say someone has got to have one so why not you? :)

* This paragraph is available free of charge to be cut and pasted into any articles about Droylsden FC in the upcoming months.**

** See! I can still do football!

Breaking The Silence

You don't have to possess the observational skills of a native American tracker to have noticed that some time has passed between this sentence and the one previous to it was posted on the blog you're reading now.  Quite a considerable bit of time in fact.  471 days to be especially precise.

Why has it been so long? Well, that's a question which doesn't really have a short answer but I'm going to keep it as brief as possible by listing the two main reasons why it has been so quiet around these parts.

First of all I haven't seen Mossley play since their win over Osset Albion back in September of 2011, the topic of my last posting one year, three months and two weeks ago. Actually that's not strictly true. I did see a small number of games around the turn of the year but a mixture of both apathy and the fact that most of them weren't worth putting finger to keyboard for (a goalless draw with Clitheroe being a particularly low, low point) meant you didn't read about them on here.  That of course leads to the question as to why I haven't seen the club I've supported for over three decades play for almost twelve months, to which the answer is: circumstance.

On a personal level last year was bad.  This year was worse and the way things are going at the moment it's highly likely that I'll have to resort to looking in a thesaurus to come up with a suitable adjective to describe 2013.  One of the consequences of this current predicament is the 'financial pinch' and something had to give.  The something in my case was football.  I'd like to say it was a tough decision to make but the truth is it wasn't. When it comes down to priorities in life, unless you make your livelihood from the sport, football is much closer to the bottom than the top of the list.

And that's why this blog has been in hibernation for the time it has.  When you run a website about watching football it's hard to produce content when you don't see any at all.  There are a few other things, mainly to do with the game itself, which had an effect on my decision to move the importance of attending football matches down a few levels in my life but as I'm going to stick to my intention for once to keep a posting brief, they can wait for another day to be explained.  Besides, compared to the reasons outlined in the previous two paragraphs they're tiny almost to the point of microscopic.

Anyway Mossley seem to be doing rather well in my absence and in case there's a correlation between my non-attendance and the club sitting four points clear at the top of the Evo-Stik NPL First Division North table, as they are at the time of writing, I'm probably doing more good staying away than turning up and possibly jinxing their season.

So until there's a change for the better in my circumstances my appearances at Seel Park are going to be hovering between none and irregular (most likely the former of the two) for the foreseeable future.  This does mean that new match reports aren't going to be showing up on Mossley80 for a good while longer yet.

However, as I hate the fact that I've neglected this little part of my life for so long I will at some point in the new year be updating it on a regular-ish basis again.  In lieu of my ramblings about the Lilywhites ongoing trials and triumphs on home soil though other subjects will be covered.  It might be football, it might be something else.  It might even be football and something else; the decision on what form the content will take changes regularly but the options are slowly being narrowed down.  All I know is that whatever appears here is likely to be as long-winded and as objectionable to some as my take on matches were but I also hope it's a readable and half-decent diversion at the same time.

Until we meet again then on here in the not-quite-so-far yet not-quite-so-immediate future, I'll end by wishing you all a Happy New Year as we pass inexorably into 2013.

Mossley 6 - 2 Ossett Albion

Your eyes do not deceive you. The scoreline that makes up the heading to this post is correct. It may have taken a month but Mossley have finally registered their first win of the season and did so in (what the unwritten law of UK football match reporting compels me to label as) emphatic fashion.

Just as one bad result isn't a portent for months of doom, gloom and despair, one good result isn't a sign of a renaissance. I've no doubt whatsoever that this is probably going to sound like I'm being picky or purposefully negative but all the good things about Mossley's performance in this game are balanced out by the poor quality of their opponents. And I'm being generous in labelling them poor.

In Ossett's defence (and the only defence that can be associated with Ossett in regards to this game) they are in the midst of an injury crisis which has left them without the services of nine regular starters. However, as the cliché goes you can only beat what's in front of you and the Lilywhites beat what was in front of them well, one or two scares aside.

I do have more thoughts about this game jotted down on a piece of paper but as the week has gone on the will to arrange them into a cohesive structure has been slowly sapped by other events. So instead of presenting you with some musings about formations, tactics and an elephant that has appeared in the room, I'm just going to finish with some video footage of all six of Mossley's goals; a change of plan which some of you will no doubt believe to be a bit of a blessing:

Runcorn Linnets 4 - 0 Mossley

To put it simply:
If there's a Mossley fan around who was surprised about this result then good luck in finding them. The 4-0 score line might have taken a few people aback but the defeat to a mid table NWCFL side was expected; it was as non-shocking as cup shocks are ever likely to get. There's a report on the Runcorn site here if you want the details on Mossley's capitulation to a side from a lower division but as you can imagine it doesn't make for anything other than grim reading.

Bottom of the league, out of the FA Cup, an increasing number regulars missing from the terraces and we're barely into the second week of September: can the season get any worse than this?

That was a rhetorical question by the way.

Mossley 0 - 0 Runcorn Linnets

If I was to write the report this match deserved you'd have finished reading it by now. In fact there'd have been nothing to read apart from the heading - just six or seven inches of white space. It started, it stopped and in the ninety minutes in between little of any consequence happened. The supposed magic of the FA Cup was certainly not with this game.

Runcorn had the better of the opening 22 and a half minutes, which included a couple of vociferous appeals for a penalty, while Mossley were on top for the remainder of the first period but only had a Cavell Coo shot directly at Linnet's keeper Richie Mottram to show for efforts. The teams then left the field for the break, came back on again and proceeded to cancel one another out for three quarters of an hour.

Oops! Sorry, there were a couple of moments worth mentioning. Kayde Coppin hit the post when one of his free-kicks took a huge deflection of a Runcorn defender and Martin Pearson produced a fantastic save that the referee did the huge disservice by failing to recognise it and awarding a goal kick instead. The less said about one incident in the second half though when a series of increasingly ridiculous passes across the Lilywhites back line allowed a Runcorn player clean through on goal, the better. Thankfully for Mossley the Linnets player who was the beneficiary of this generosity skewed his shot so far wide of the target that the goalkeeper didn't even have to attempt a save. And therein lies the reason why this game has gone to a replay: neither sides possession of an attack worthy of the noun.

In Mossley's case this didn't come as much of a surprise once the team line-ups were announced and it was revealed that we'd be starting the match with a centre half playing as a centre forward. The first week of September and we're already struggling to find round pegs to fit into round holes. Happily the visitors to Seel Park were just as woeful in front of goal and that's why there is at least some good news: we didn't lose! If that doesn't sate your appetite for reasons to be cheerful about, how about the fact we weren't overwhelmed and looked more than a match for an eighth placed team in the North West Counties League, which does bode well for next season.

Things You Thought You'd Never See Again

#1: Mossley topping a table

Okay, it's not the club and rather the town itself but in these thin times we can but dream. In case you're wondering the image is from the BBC quiz Pointless and yes, I'm well aware of the humour that can be had in the marrying of Mossley and the show's title.

Mossley 0 - 4 Curzon Ashton

I don't know about you but even though August isn't yet a footnote in the annals of history, I think it may already be time to write off Mossley's title chances for this season. And possibly our play-off hopes too.

I'm not going to go into any great detail about the mechanics of the match, primarily because I wasn't there. I had the option of attending the game or an early evening out with friends; it had to be one or the other. In times gone past I almost certainly would have opted for the football but in these days of financial austerity I don't want to use what painfully little disposable income I have on paying to watch something akin to a slow motion car crash, which is what Mossley's last home match was and what their latest one threatened to be. As the evening with friends had the promise of some enjoyment it was that I opted for as the 'e' word is something that hasn't been synonymous with the Lilywhites for a while now. Unless of course you're a supporter of the opposition. And lo and behold if it wasn't the visiting Curzon fans who got the most bang for their buck in the latest instalment of the Lilywhites 2011/12 relegation push. (Before anyone gets on their high horse, of course I'm being facetious when I say relegation push. For the time being at least anyway)

Curzon's 16 man squad contained 11 players who have worn the Lilywhites shirt, many of whom as recently as last season. The departure of these players to our near neighbours in the summer brought numerous jilted lover-esque cries from some supporters of "they weren't very good anyway" and that their replacements were so much better. It wasn't for as simple a reason as that they wanted to play for a manager who they'd enjoyed playing under before or that they wanted a change of scenery. Oh no, they were "mercenaries." Which begs the question as to whether the supporters who believe this think their replacements didn't have to leave a club to join us; that we're the only club who source our players from a pool of Corinthian spirited idealists. Anyhoo, the fixture meant it was an early chance to put those claims to the test: were the ex-Lilywhites rubbish and the new Lilywhites a lot better? A glimpse at the score line answers that question.

While I didn't watch the game in the flesh I did manage to watch it via Twitter for an hour via the various tweetings from the neutrals and not-so-neutrals in attendance and none of it made for happy reading. In the hour before kick-off I began to get this weird feeling that Mossley would upset the apple cart but when @aaronflan posted the team line-ups prior to the start of the match it disappeared. A whippet-like centre forward in the shape of Kristian Dennis up against the far from whippet-like central defensive pairing Mossley were starting with was only going to lead to one thing if the former was up for the match and sure enough, at four minutes past three the first of a succession of tweets popped up on my time line to say that Dennis had put Curzon a goal ahead having beaten his marker for speed. Eight minutes later news of his second strike of the afternoon came through along with some far from glowing appraisals of Mossley's performance.

Eventually it came time to head off to my preferred destination of the day and while stood at the bus stop I heard a cheer roll down from the hill which Seel Park sits atop of. In a rare outbreak of optimism I headed to Twitter on my phone to see if Mossley had embarked on a comeback. Nope. The noise I'd heard had been to greet Kristian Dennis's hat-trick. Seven minutes (and still no bus) later there was another eruption. That late on in the game it's unlikely a Mossley goal would have elicited such a reaction and sure enough it had heralded Curzon's fourth, scored by another ex-Lilywhite Michael Fish.

The 4-0 result (a second successive defeat at home by the same scoreline) meant that Curzon moved to the top of the table on goal difference and Mossley slipped, or rather fell with a bump, to the bottom of the Evo-Stik First Division North by virtue of having fewer points than everybody else. And so after six games of the new campaign the Lilywhites sit 21 places and 16 points below their Bank Holiday opponents who, lest we forget, comprise of players who aren't good enough for us according to some. Maybe it's just me but at the moment I'm not getting any sense of progress being made, especially as we look like heading into a risky FA Cup fixture against an unbeaten side from a lower division with only one centre forward at the club. Lengthy paragraphs about these issues though are for another, rainy day.

As for me I did have an enjoyable evening, not that any of you are asking. I ended up seeing the new Conan the Barbarian film and while it's not the greatest film ever made there are far worse ways of spending 90 minutes, naming no examples. There was plenty of killing in it too so I did eventually end up seeing one massacre on the day and paid less than £8 for the privilege too.

Skelmersdale United 3 - 1 Mossley

There's not really much to say about this game other than that we've managed to get our annual defeat at Skelmersdale out of the way much earlier in the season than we usually do. It's normally a cold night in March or April when we turn up at Stormy Corner and get a pasting but this year we got the opportunity to help Skem's goal difference while enjoying a bit of sun too.

Or at least I'm going to assume it was sunny. It could well have been bucketing it down and blowing a force ten gale for all I know. What I do know for a fact though is that for the first time since the home side moved to their new ground, Mossley managed to get through ninety minutes there without conceding four or more goals which makes it the first genuine positive of the season! Huzzah!

It's surprising just how much joy there is to be had in these infinitesimally small moments in football when your hopes for a season are virtually non-existent. All we have to do now is beat Curzon at home for once and the 2011/12 season, whether we're relegated or not, can be claimed a success on some level.

Back to this game though and for a short period of time the unlikely looked achievable: a win at Skelmersdale. A goal from Tom Ingham on the cusp of the break gave the Lilywhites the lead at the half way point but the hopes of gaining three points at one of our bogey grounds started to slip away early in the second period. Rob McIntosh and Paul Woolcott put the home side ahead within five minutes of the restart and Shaun Tuck administered the match winning blow 13 minutes from time. From the few accounts of the supporters who went to Skelmersdale, Mossley didn't play that badly but as crumbs of comfort go (even taking into account our opponents and that it's still August) it's still the tiniest of tiny morsels.

Speaking of Curzon, as I was some paragraphs ago, they're up next for Mossley. We're only two weeks into a new season and they're already 13 points ahead of us. Not bad for a team consisting in the main of last seasons Lilywhites squad; players whom some of our supporters said weren't any good when they left the club in the summer. Unfortunately I'm not going to be at Seel Park to see if the players we have now are (as claimed by some) better than those they replaced so I'm afraid there's going to be an in-depth review of our Bank Holiday game on here. I'm sure there will however be something to write about it, even if it's only "Yay!" or "Oh no!" Not sure what to do if it ends up a draw though.