A Fitbawbags 2019/20 End of Season Review

With the recent conclusions of the Highland League, Lowland League and East and West Region Juniors I suppose I will terminate my first non Dons season at this point also. I did hold out hope of the leagues recommencing but unfortunately I can’t see this coming to fruition. Yes the SPFL hasn’t been shut down yet as they are making an embarrassment out of Scottish fitba but this as I have stated numerous times isn’t my forte anymore. Hence the Non Dons season. The same non Dons season that I have been instructed to make a sequel of . This clear instruction sent down from on high. From the boss that is Wee Man. When asked if he wanted to go back to Pittodrie next season I was met with “no, just little games”. So this will continue…….

With the lower leagues shutting down , real football will elude me until the likes of Pollok and Cumnock kick a ball in the newly formed West of Scotland League or Formartine blow wads of cash to crap out the Highland League title race for the twelfth year on the bounce. Whenever that will be I don’t know, nobody does unfortuantley, but what I do know is, when we are back up and running I will be at the likes of Volunteer Park in Armadale, Netherdale in Galashiels, Ferguson Park in Rosewell and such like getting my fix. What I can also guarantee is. Ill be as happy as the proverbial pig in shit and Wee Man will be a little piglet when he makes it along.

When I decided to chuck my Pittodrie season ticket in the summer I immediately set the challenge of visiting fifty new grounds. Unfortunately the Wuhan pestilence eradicated any hopes of reaching my target. I was eighteen short in the end and had seventeen unfirstfooted grounds kyboshed that were pencilled in by the end of the season. With April usually being a ground botherers gold mine due to midweekers (I got fifteen games in twenty eight days last year) I would have easily got another ground ticked off. Even though I did not make the target, I with top sidekick Wee Man (twenty eight times) had a ball for the seven months we were on the trail. Well it was really around four months due to the fact I work a 28/28 day rota in Africa. I averaged ten and a bit games a trip home over seven countries. With popping my French, Welsh, Irish and Northern Irish leagues virginity added into the mix. Another cherry popped was South of Scotland League as we got to St Cuthberts v Heston Rovers (cracking game for the record).Also despite the enforced end of season I have some excellent highlights. Firstly there were all the points of interest visited pre match wherever we were. A day at the fitba is not just about the ninety minutes nowadays. Fitba wise there was the banter with the Cliftonville and Barry Town fans at Solitude. Two great sets of fans and a cracking night. Again in Northern Ireland during our summer holiday the treatment from Dungannon Swifts was excellent. Invite to the boardroom at half time and even met the President of the NIFL and had a blether. Brora R*****s v Inverness Caley in the North of Scotland Cup final was a highlight as it was the best game of the season. 3-2 to the HFL side and deservedly so. The footballers beat the thugs that day, that’s for sure. Peter O’Donnels goal for Lanark United against Auchinleck Talbot in the Sectional League Cup Final was one of the best goals I have ever seen in the flesh. Its on YouTube. What a hit. The old cliché of “if that was in the English Premiership……..” springs to mind. Truly stunning. In a sadistic kind of way the late late call off of the match at Amiens due to fog is a story that will go to the grave with me but I call it a highlight, It was a first and probable last for me. Rubbish at the time but I can laugh about it now. Cumnock showed they are the friendliest club in Ayrshire by treating Wee Man, a pal and myself exceptionally when down for the derby v Glenafton Athletic. We both get funny looks for wearing our Nock touries in Aberdeenshire .A great club that, this was quickly followed by similar treatment by East of Scotland League side Sauchie who even treated Wee Man to a scarf to commemorate his fiftieth ground. The scarf hangs proudly on his bedroom wall. A top club are the Clackmannanshire outfit. Another first I achieved this season was watching a fitba match at a rugby club when I found myself at a tempestuous Highland Rugby Club in Inverness. The reason being Clachnacuddin were using it as a temporary home due to their Grant St Park pavilion being fire damaged on Christmas eve. Fellow Highland League originals Forres Mechanics were the visitors and victors that night. Then my season was rounded off on a Dutch tour where I took in De Graafschap where a steward took me in De Vijverberg pre game before the gates were open for a first hand look. A great gesture from a lovely lady. Also visited on the tour were fifth tier DHSC (in Utrecht), Fortuna Sittard and the last game of the season came at the special Gerledome in Arnhem, home of Vitesse. What a game to go out on too. 4-2 the hosts defeated visiting Heerenveen. Theres more highlights but theres a full blog to read to find out more. There have been some great people along the road, Sauchie, Dungannon and Cumnock as already stated. But there are the bar staff in various towns and cities, the old men who have kick abouts with Wee Man when he has his yellow ball with him and all the random who have the decency for a yap. Then there are the grounds. The reason for all this travelling. Top of the pops being Gerledome, but there was also the Stade Oceane in Le Harve and it superb UFO extetior. The Stadium of Light in Sunderland, also dare I say it ,Tynecastle. It was my first trip since the new Main Stand has been erected. Easily the best ground in Scotland now. It will be wasted in the Championship. Non league wise Bellsdale Park in Beith and Barrfields in Largs floated my boat. The quirks at both are what I love seeing on my jollies. (Obviously the famous slope at Beith is one). I’m positive the Stade de la Licornes in Amiens was really cool and incredibly unique with the greenhouse architecture,but I didn’t really get to see it. Lastly, grounds aren’t grounds without fans. Football is nothing without fans a great Scotsman once said and I came across some great examples . The Orange army at Rothes are fantastic. I was a big fan of those guys but not as big an admirer as Wee Man. He was in awe and still talks about them now. Polloks travelling band of fans is quite the sight. We saw them twice on the road and for sure they take more away than many SPFL teams do. Hats off to the Le Mans fans in Le Harve. Relegation fodder 10pm KO on a Monday night before Christmas and around fifteen hardy souls made the trip north to Normandy. The Besiktas fans at Wolves were shouty and loud and in good numbers despite being rock bottom of their Europa League group.Best thing of all though and the ultimate highlight,Wee Man bloody loves it. Which is essential as its partly his fault the season happened. One thing ill never forget from the season though, there was a turd in the urinal at Falkirk

Here is the a brief look back at the season. Mostly in numbers.

Games – 42

Goals – 142 

Teams Viewed – 80

With Wee Man (28) – Not Enough

Tournaments (28)-Friendly(3), Europa League (2), Scottish Cup, Highland League, Highland League Cup, North of Scotland Cup, Lowland League (2), East of Scotland Premier Division, South of Scotland League, South and East Winners Shield, Scottish Junior Cup (2), North Region Super League, North Region Second Division (2), West Region Super League (3), West Regional Sectional Cup (2), East Region, East of Scotland Cup, East Region Premiership North, EFL League One, League of Ireland Premier League, Irish Premiership, Welsh Cup, French Ligue 1, French Ligue 2, Eredivisie (2), Eerste Divisie, Hoofdeklasse, U21 European Championship Qualifiers

Red Cards (14) –  Finn Harps, The Spartans (v Kelty Hearts), Bathgate Thistle(2), Huntly, Formartine United, Lanark United, Heston Rovers, Largs Thistle (v Kilwinning R******s), Dundee Violet (2), Clachnacuddin, Keith, Fortuna Sittard

Penalties (13) – Dungannon Swifts, Kelty Hearts, Glentanar, Auchinleck Talbot, Heston Rovers, Pollok, East End (Missed), Lochee United, Musselburgh Athletic, Clachnacuddin, Rothes, Ringvogels, Vitesse

Home Wins (20) – Blyth Spartans, Cliftonville, Beith, Dundalk, Dungannon Swifts, Islavale, Kelty Hearts, Newmachar United, Hurlford United, Sunderland, Le Havre, Colwyn Bay, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Arbroath Victoria, Banks o’ Dee, Falkirk, Rothes, Sauchie, De Graafschaap, Vitesse

Away Wins – (12) Edinburgh United, Aberdeen, Armadale Thistle, East Stirlingshire, Pollok, Kilwinning R*****s, Glenafton Athletic, Lochee United, Forres Mechanics, Spartans (v  Cumbernauld Colts), Hibernian, Ringvogels

Draws (5) –  Deveronside 0 v 0 Benburb, Huntly 0 v 0 Formartine United, Scotland U21s 0 v 0 Lithuania U21s, St Cuthbert Wanderers 3 -3 Heston Rovers, Fortuna Sittard 0 v 0 Emmen

Best Game – Brora R*****s 3 v 2 Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Highest Scoring (8) – Bathgate Thistle 1 v 7 Armadale Thistle

Goalless (4) – Deveronside v Benburb, Huntly v Formartine United, Scotland U21s v Lithuania U21s, Fortuna Sittard v Emmen

Cup Finals (3) – West Regional Sectional League Cup – Lanark United 1 v 6 Auchinleck Talbot, North of Scotland – Brora Rangers 3 v 2 Inverness Caledonian Thistle, South and East Shield- Mid Annandale 0 v 7 Musselburgh Athletic

Abandoned (1) – Hill of Beath Hawthorn 1 v 0 Tranent (Surf was up at Keirs Park)

Fogged off at kick off (1) –Amiens v Stade de Reims (Pea Soup)

Countries (7) – Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Wales, France, The Netherlands

Team Seen the Most (3) –The Spartans (v Kelty Hearts, East Stirling and Cumbernauld Colts)

Invited into Hospitality (3) –Dungannon Swifts, Hill of Beath, Cumnock

First visit grounds – (32) Dunipace – Westfield Park*, Blyth Spartans -Croft Park*, Cliftonville – Solitude, Beith – Bellsdale Park*, Dundalk – Oriel Park*, Dungannon Swifts – Stangmore Park*, Islavale – Simpson Park*, Kelty Hearts – New Central Park*, Bathgate Thistle – Creamery Park*, Deveronside – Macduff Sports Centre*, Newmachar United – Charles Gordon Park, Hurlford United – Blair Park*, Sunderland – The Stadium of Light*, St Cuthbert Wanderers – St Marys Park *, The Spartans – Ainslie Park*, Largs Thistle – Barrfields*, Le Havre – Stade Oceane, Amiens – Stade de Licorns, Colwyn Bay – Llanelian Road, Hill of Beath Hawthorn – Kiers Park, Wolverhampton Wanderers – Mollineux, Arbroath Victoria – Ogilvy Park*, Cumnock – Townhead Park* Kirrie Thistle – Westview Park*, Blackburn United – New Murrayfield*. Falkirk – Falkirk Stadium*, Clachnacuddin – Canal Park, Sauchie-Beechwood Park*, De Grafschaap – De Vijverberg, DHSC – Sportpark Wesley Sneijder, Fortuna Sittard – Fortuna Sittard Stadion, Vitesse – Gelredome

Revisited Grounds (10) –  Peterhead – Balmoor*, Forres Mechanics – Mosset Park*, Huntly – Christie Park*, Hearts – Tynecastle Park, Auchinleck Talbot – Beechwood Park, Linlithgow Rose – Prestonfield*, Banks o’ Dee – Spain Park*, Rothes -MacKessack Park*,Cumbernauld Colts – Broadwood*, Alloa – Recreation Park*

Wee Man New Grounds (28) – Nae bad for a five-year-old

Indoor Games (1) – Vitesse v Heerenveen

Games at Rugby Grounds (1) – Clachnacuddin v Forres Mechanics

Turds in Urinals (1) – Falkirk Stadium

Most Friendly and Hospitable Clubs – Cannot separate Dungannon Swifts, Cumnock and Sauchie. All great clubs

Best Social Club/Fan Bar – De Graafschap

Favourite Ground – Vitesse ,Gelredome

Best Fans – Rothes

Games Weathered Off (4)– New Elgin v Newmachar United(5/10), Arthurlie v Renfrew (30/11), Bonnyrigg Rose v Bo’ness United (10/12), Renfrew v Petershill (12/2)

Games Missed Due to Returning Late Home From Work (2)- Arbroath Victoria v Forfar Albion (10/8),Arbroath Victoria v Brechin Victoria (5/10)

Games Missed Due To Strike Action (2) – Lyon v Dijon (19/10), Servette v St Gallen (20/10)

Games Missed Due To Heating Packing In (1) – Kilwinning R*****s v Troon (12/10)

Ground Visits Cancelled Due To Bat Flu (19 so far)– Broxburn Athletic, Stoneywood-Parkvale, Easthouses Lily, Gala Fairydean Rovers, Dalkeith Thistle, Juventus, Sampdoria, Kinoull, Jeanfield Swifts, Accrington Stanley, Glenafton Athletic, Hartlepool United, Rutherglen Glencairn, Grasshoppers, Neuchatel Xamax,Kilsyth R*****s, Dalry Thistle, Girvan, Aberdeen Ladies, (Possibly Brann and Shamrock Rovers too)

Total Miles (14050)-Could have been so much more with Turin/Genoa and Lyon/Geneva both cancelled

Favourite Photos – Dundalk, Dungannon Swifts, Amiens, Sauchie

Dundalks newest fan
Wee Man watching the action Stangmore Park, Dungannon
Stade de la Licornes, Amiens at KO
Wee Man outside Beechwood Park, Sauchie

Published by pacman1903

Once a football fan. Now a football nerd

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