Metamorphosis Diario

Friday, July 31, 2009 - Where has the time gone ????

Posted by Desdemona

My poor old blog needs serious updating.  Just returned from our holiday on the Olympic Peninsula, of Washington State, USA.. Photos from our trip should do the trick.  Run out of steam as far as recipes and movies though .  Although I still have a few cool recipes up my sleeve which I'm sure Scottishcelts will enjoy

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Sunday 24 May 2009 - September 3rd 1996 Chesterfield away

Posted by Manc
I'm on my own tonight, the old fella isn't as committed (or delusional as I) but he lends us his car so I'm about to head out to Chesterfield around 5pm or so straight out of work. Life won't be this easy when I head back to University in a couple of weeks.

Anyhow, just before I set out my mate Matt calls and he agrees to come with because "I've got fuck all else to do" Matt has been my friend for almost as long as I can remember, Our other friend Ryan has zero interest in football, and Matt is a Manchester United fan, occasionally he comes with to watch County when there's nothing else to do or we're playing a big team which will pique his interest.

"Well one thing is for sure," he says, as we make our way to Chesterfield "Is even if the game is shite, at least the drive has been worth it" He's right of course, the drive past Disley and New Mills is a family haunt of mine as my grandparents live in Disley and my Aunt and Uncle live in Chapel en le Frith. We keep going past Castleton, Sparrowpit and onwards through the Peak District towards Chatsworth, Baslow and Chesterfield.

Lovely, it's been absolutely lovely. Lush green fields, dry stone walls and hemlocks cottages and sunsets across vista's that make the heart sing. It really does make you glad to be alive and in such a gorgeous part of the world. It's natural on nights experienced as thus to enter a football ground and scream at the top of your lungs "You can stick that fucking spire up your arse!" which is exactly what I do as Chesterfield score on the hour and we're doomed. We can't score, and going out on the away goals. Chris Beaumont laid on the goal for them too, which is typical, He played for Stockport for years.....

But of course, how can we forget he excellent Billy Mercer........ not content with letting a header squirm under him at Edgeley. Paul Ware hits a shot from distance. Ok, the balls going at a fair clip, but it's a nice height for any keeper. Any keeper that is that can move faster than a rag and bone man which is why it settles in the net and we're bouncing along at 3-2 on aggregate.

Not to be outdone, an almost carbon copy of the goal in the first leg sees Andy Mutch score another header right under the body of Mercer........... I'm glad we're playing Chesterfield 4 times this season, So long as the keeper is Mercer, it should be 4 wins. so that's 2 wins in the cup, a few draws, slowly slowly we seem to be finding our feet. Although I know that if it weren't for a crap goalkeeper at their end, we'd probably be out of the League Cup at the first hurdle.......... instead we're through and yet still blissfully unaware of the journey that competition will take us too.

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Sunday 10 May 2009 - Aug 31st 1996 Bristol Rovers away

Posted by Manc
First long journey of the season, And I'll be taking in a new stadium........ however I'll be in good company here as it's a new stadium for everyone as Bristol Rovers are making their first return to Bristol since their exile at Twerton Park in Bath.

Me and the old fella today again....... driving down to Bristol in his Land Rover Discovery, so lets face it, it's hardly a chore. The journey isn't that long really. It's just you spend 2 hours around Stafford crawling along the M6 to Walsall that just takes forever and makes it seem like an expedition over the Andes rather than a football away game, but the sun is shining and we're still in the twilight of summer which makes the football season still bearable.

What doesn't make the season bearable is that we're still winless and goalless in what will be our 4th league outing. It kind of makes the trip down the M5 a twee more anxious as it should be. On entering Bristol, we pass the old stadium, the ramshackle mess of a dogtrack that looks like it is 1 match away from going up in smoke. 75 County fans are making the trip, it seems pitiful I know, but that's how many tickets we got for the game. All becomes clear however as we get to the new ground, The Memorial stadium which is shared by Bristol RUFC...... squatters, you'll never find Stockport sharing with a chase the egg team. First of all there is only 2 stands. No wonder we only got 75 tickets.

It's obviously a big day for Rovers, but when announcing the teams, he prefaces every Bristol player as "Making his home debut......." which get tiring to be frank....... Lots of mutual backslapping by local politicians, dignitaries and Rovers upper echelons.... it's all a bit sick really. In our current form I can't see us halting the party. But we've got to sort the performances out quickly as our once motioned promotion push is quickly becoming a relegation dogfight.

It doesn't get much better either as after 10 mins or so a looping header from a Brizzul player goes over Paul Jones, hits the underside of the goal and bounces over the line. I was bang in line with it and it definately crossed the line, but such is my fair mindedness I still find an adequate response to the linesman as "You're a cheating cunt"

The game is bad, made worse by a complete dick of a referee poncing around like the fairy he is. fussy, and a primadonna he whistles for everything, both for Bristol and for us, not showing any bias, just being a complete dick to both teams and not giving the game any flow.

Half time comes and goes, and Our team emerges from the portacabins / changing rooms (I told you the stadium was shite) with a differing formation and thank the lord god almighty.......... Following a corner the ball pings around for awhile before coming out to substitute John Jeffers who bangs in a complete blob of a shot from 25 yards. The crowd goes fucking berserk! ok, it doesn't but as berserk as 75 lunatics can be. And that's it. we've doubled our points tally for the season with our second draw. 4 games and still no wins, but at least we've got our first goal of the season.

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Saturday 9 May 2009 - Aug 27th 1996 Bournemouth home

Posted by Manc
"I reckon we'll take them 4 nil"

Those are the words I remember saying to my Dad as we walk up Caroline Street in Edgeley towards the ground. I don't know why, but I have some new found optimism again. Bournemouth are supposedly shite, rated the worst team in the division by the press. I suppose winning in the week against Chesterfield at home and a point earned against Notts had me feeling good about the evening........ It was warm, I had a few pints in the Royal Oak before the game, I bought the new County home shirt from the club shop........

What could go wrong?

We never looked like scoring...... again, ever........... we could in theory be playing this game still.... 13 years or so later, and we'd still have no goals. The sad thing is, a Tuesday night away from home 200 and odd miles away, not too many Bournemouth fans got to see the cracking goal that Jason Brissett scored for them.

I don't understand why the Football League can't try to ensure the local games are midweek and the 200 mile plus away games are kept for Saturdays...... Incidentally our 4 furthest league away games that year were all in midweek, plus we also played at West Ham and Southampton in the cup away from home midweek too. So anyhow, yeah....... The goal they scored to go ahead was a peach, a lucky peach to be sure, but a great finish none the less. As it was scored after half an hour I was pretty confident at the time that we'd get back into the game and go on to win comfortably........ Especially after a bollocking at half time.

So how the fuck is it, that we come out for the second half as tepid and timid as if we've never seen each other before, let alone play football together. Bournemouth can't believe it......... this is daylight fucking robbery and they know it. They've offered nothing, scored a lucky goal and are gonna fuck off down south with all three points.

They finished 16th did Bournemouth. The three jammy bastard points they scored today kept them up...... If they'd have only met us say a month later then we'd have given them a right hammering and no mistake.

played 3, lost 2, 1 point.........enjoy the goal though..........

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Thursday 7 May 2009 - Aug 24th 1996 Notts County home

Posted by Manc

Shite game, shite shite boring 0-0. Notts County are garbage and struggle all year and in the end get relegated. Not surprised based on this performance. Then again, we've only got 1 point from 2 league games so far. So it's not looking good for us neither right now. However I'm going to talk about Notts County. I like them...... In fact if Stockport do disappear altogether, which seems more and more likely...... Then I'll have to pick a new team and as my Dad is from Nottingham, then the Magpies are up there as a top pick.

My Dad is from Carlton, He's a certified Nottingham Forest fan and was in Munich in 1979 when the Trevor Francis header made Forest European Champions 2 years after getting promoted from the old second division.

In 1999, My Dad asked me to be best man at his wedding...... Obviously I accepted, but when it came time to make a speech I stuttered and fumbled. Everyone expected me to take the piss out of him. But how do you take the piss out of someone whom has moulded you into the person you've become?

Like most kids in England, their father had a pivotal role in the football education. My Grandfather and him firstly took us all to Old Trafford. I was 4 when I first went........ Tickets were easy to come by. Ron Atkinson was the manager and well, United were dire back then. So that really didn't last long, as my grandfather couldn't really go anymore due to his age, there were no inclination for my Dad to go either. When I was 14, I passed my referees exam. I was a class 3 Cheshire referee. I started in the youth leagues, under 11's upto under 16's....... was good I enjoyed it. My Dad used to take me all over Cheshire refereeing.... I didn't ask him, he just kinda did it now I look back. He worked all week and then took me to referee football games. He must have thanked his lucky stars when I passed my driving test as it meant he could finally have a pint at the weekends.

At this time after school I started at Stockport College, which was not too far from Edgeley Park.... And as they used to play on Friday nights, I'd just hang around after college and go to a game. My Dad usually came and picked me up after wards and that was that.

Then, around 1993 sometime we were at home on a Monday night and I said to the old fella, "Want to go to Wrexham tomorrow night? to watch Stockport?" Basically I needed a lift to the game otherwise I wasn't going. He said yes and off we went....... We won 1-0, with 200 or so other Stockport fans we sang and laughed and felt part of something together, and we didn't look back from that game at the Racecourse Ground. When I go back to England, we always go and watch Stockport together, it's just what we do.

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Thursday 7 May 2009 - Aug 20th 1996 Chesterfield home

Posted by Manc

It's the first round of the Carling League Worthington Rumbelows Milk Coca Cola Cup....... And the first competitive game at home of the season. Now, before we get to the bobbins that was the game, I have to say I've seen some great goalkeepers play. Mark Schwarzer for Middlesborough, Bruce Grobbelaar when he was at Plymouth, Ludek Miklosko of West Ham....... and that's just from the season here. But with League 1 football you also see some right shite between the sticks. So step forward Billy Mercer of Chesterfield........

Thankfully, for Mercer, we've got 4 games against Chesterfield this season to witness his antics. I've come with Vicky and her brother to this game. Basically I think they came with me because they felt sorry for me. But such was this game and its absolute drabness that they never came to another game all year after this, I think they were put off for life. It was warm naturally even though an evening game and it seemed that no-one really gave a toss. Certainly there was no bugger at the game. 4,000 tops I'd say...... Mind you what else is there to do in Stockport on a Tuesday night? I mean you can't spend all week robbing cars and signing on.

Not much to report really......... Who knew it would be the start of the fantastic cup journey, not just for us, but for Chesterfield also, who went all the way themselves to the semi final of the FA Cup. (only to be knocked out by Middlesborough after a 4-4 draw at Old Trafford)

After 21 minutes our captain Mike Flynn took a free kick deep in our half. Two headers towards goal by Kieron Durkan and Alun Armstrong and the ball found its way to Andy Mutch to beat his marker and smacked the ball into the roof of the net from close range. Fairly simple really. A typical lower league goal. Hoof it up, get a knock down and smash it past the keeper.

Now the second goal was a Billy Mercer cracker......It was a floated cross by John Jeffers out on the wing and Andy Mutch once again rose and met the header from just outside the penalty area.... it wasn't a bullet header, it was just slow motion as it bounced in front of the keeper whom managed in his infinite wisdom to dive over the ball and then let it squirm over the line.

Great stuff. 2-0 and coasting....... We've dominated play and it's all good. Unill 15 minutes later and Matt Bound brings down one of their lads whom is through on goal and it's a penalty and he's off..... Tony Lormor scores for the Spitires and our 10 men are hanging on for the last 15 minutes of the game which in reality, we should have put it to bed long ago. Still, a win is a win, and after Saturdays loss to Crewe I'll take it.



* Chesterfield had a very young Kevin Davies playing for them this season

** And moving back to the present and 2009, Stockport sacked the manager today. We're screwed totally.

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Sunday 3 May 2009 - Aug 17th 1996 Crewe away

Posted by Manc

Ain't life grand? You're 20 years of age. You don't yet smoke 2 packs of fags a day, in reasonable health. Relatively attractive to the fairer sex and getting your fair share. It's summer, it's hot, it's England and this is the day you've waited for since the fixtures came out back in June. Your team, has had a good pre-season. With decent acquisitions bringing in John Jeffers from Port Vale. Paul Jones the goalie from Wolves and Kieran Durkan from Wrexham. We also picked up Luis Miguel Cavaco from a local side in Portugal that we played on tour there. He played alright too in the pre-season friendly demolition of Birmingham City. Friendly-wise we trounced championship side Tranmere Rovers 3-2 coming from 2 down in the process at Prenton Park and hammered Steve Bruce and Birmingham 4-0 at Edgeley.

So things were certainly looking up for the new season. Last season, we played at Crewe Alexandra on a cold wet February night on a Wednesday. we won 1-0 with a last minute goal from Jeff Eckhardt. This time, we went to Gresty Road on a balmy Saturday for the season opener. I drive down with Ben and Barry. Next door neighbors and because Ben is 12 and with an interest in football comes with me when he can to watch County. His old fella, Barry is a rugby man. But like a good father shows an interest in his lad's hobbies and whims, and anyway, we need Barry to drive us to Crewe.

The game was alright, nothing special really. No one team grabbing it by the scruff of the neck, no one team deserving a win or to lose......... Fans start filtering out with 10 minutes to go. It's hardly been an epic, 0-0 draws never are, but at least it is a point. A point I'd have taken against the pretty queer boys of Dario Grady and the Alex, but despite my rationalizing this in my head the Crewe number 10 breaks two tackles on the right, gets away from our centre back Matt Bound, floats in a teaser of a cross and Franny Tierney the Crewe Alex substitute is there on the fucking far post to head home in the 90th minute. "Well they say, do unto other as they would have done unto yourselves" are the wise words from the Stockport match commontator, a complete polar opposite of last years game in every sense. Just out of interest, the nancy boy from Crewe with the mop of blond hair jumping about around the 27th second of the video is none other than a young Robbie Savage.......

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Sunday 3 May 2009 - Summer 1996

Posted by Manc

It was approximately 1:04pm Eastern Time on Thursday April 30th 2009 when I first learned my club were officially going bankrupt. -10 points........all because a group of retards can't do maths properly.

I heard on the sirius show, World Soccer Daily. I was gutted naturally...... but hardly surprised. I called the show about 10 minutes from the end to let them know how I felt. But having been to Edgeley Park to watch them lose to Walsall on Easter Monday, to be one of the 5074 witnesses to a bumbled own goal in the last minute to lose in typical shite style. To go into the shed of a supporters club shop and buy a 125 year anniversary shirt, knowing it may well be your last.

It's not been easy supporting Stockport County. All your mates either support United or City, you are always the token sad bastard whom on a Saturday night always talks dumbfoundedly about spending £80 to go to Barnet, when everyone else has either seen a decent standard of football or spent £80 in the boozer and at least has something to show for it other than tales of a 3-0 defeat 200 miles away.

But lower league teams always have that fondness of remembrance, harking back to distant times when the team weren't shite. when the team didn't go out of the FA Cup to Colwyn Bay in the first round. I suspect Brighton and Hove Albion fans look back at 1983 with similar feelings. Or how Peterborough fans are feeling right now....... For Stockport County, that feeling was 1996-1997. When someone in the Cheadle Stand ever says. "Remember that season?" You instinctively know what season they're talking about. The halcyon days of not being shit. the days of not being laughed at by your mates. The days when people actually asked you for extra tickets to see your team. This is the story of my season. When Stockport played 67 games, and I went to 58 of them. Home and Away, near and far. fog and sunshine, Bournemouth and Plymouth away both in midweek.

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Friday, March 20, 2009 - The Flay Effect?

Posted by NC Penguin

This blog post will focus on one of my favorite aspects of living in North Carolina. I am referring to North Carolina barbecue. So, if you don’t like pork, don’t read any further.

 

I subscribe to the local newspaper, the News and Observer (of Raleigh)and read a story recently that Food Network’s Bobby Flay recorded an episode of his “Throwdown” challenges against a local pitmaster, Ed Mitchell of The Pit in Downtown Raleigh.

 

Here’s the N & O’s article about the competition.

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/1442290.html

 

I think now is a good time to say that I detest Bobby Flay. Maybe because he’s a ginger though I suspect my disdain for this TV cooking celebrity goes deeper than just his hair color. He’s comes across as a cocky SOB from New York. I like southwestern US food too so it’s not his style of cuisine either. It’s simply him. However, I will watch the Throwdown episode featuring Ed Mitchell.

 

Fortunately, the article did not state who won but I have made a mental note that the show will be broadcast in May. This leads me to get my proverbial skates on to make a beeline to eat at The Pit before the show airs.

 

The restaurant is relatively new. I think it’s only about two years old and the main reason I have not eaten there yet is its location. It’s in downtown Raleigh so the only possible days I can get there are realistically the weekend. At least the place is open at the weekend.

 

I’ve read the blurb on The Pit’s website and I do see that the barbecue is cooked on both charcoal and wood. This means this is not true North Carolina barbecue because true NC barbecue is cooked on wood alone. I guess the location, downtown Raleigh, excludes the establishment from cooking solely on wood because of pollution issues. There was also a picture of the Pitmaster, Ed Mitchell at the “Pit” but it was a long outdoor grill (probably on wheels) so this confirms my suspicions that this is not true NC barbecue.

 

Irregardless of the outcome of the throwdown, I’m sure The Pit will experience more business after the show has been broadcast so I urge any interested diners to eat there before May!

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009 - Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!!

Posted by NC Penguin

Fortunately, that was not a greeting addressed to me today but throughout the US, no doubt, people were greeting each other using these very words.

 

So, it’s Saint Patrick’s Day and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by me and many British expats/emigrants that Americans make a big deal of the patron saint of Ireland.

 

Even in my restaurant, we offered a Saint Patrick’s Day themed special (all day). Fish and chips. Yes, fish and chips. It’s not a dish I associate with the Republic of Ireland but my sister-in-law does say that the best fish and chips she ever had was in Ireland. So there! My part in providing the St. Paddy’s Day themed foods was I made St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes. The décor on the cupcakes was Irish themed. Pale green mint flavored chocolate “jelly beans” with dark green sugar sprinkled over the frosting. I know they sold well during the day.

 

Some of my coworkers remembered to wear green. One coworker wore a t-shirt with some slogan on it. Something about “Irish girl”. I don’t think she’s at all Irish but isn’t the case with most of the people in the US who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Another coworker made a better effort. She showed me her green socks and said she had green pants/panties on. I said I didn’t need to see those but I know someone who would! That’s a personal joke between me and her.

 

There’s music playing in the restaurant during opening hours and I suggested to a third coworker that we maybe we should have considered playing Irish music all day. I received the rolling eyes look and “I don’t think our boss would care for that…” I know what he means. Fortunately, we don’t play Christmas music in the restaurant at Christmas either.

 

Thus, another year has passed and I’ve avoided the green beer.

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The Protagonist

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