This is now an edited version of the original blog… you can read the full one by downloading my Football Neutral 2013/14 season review on Kindle. Well over 300 pages of daftness. Less than £2! Thanks!
I eventually arrived in Guiseley 10 minutes after kickoff. Parking was easy, all of twenty meters from the stadium. I casually wandered up to the turnstile.
It was closed.
I panicked. The feeling of embarrassment of getting to a game and then somehow missing it was replaced by genuine anger at the turnstiles being closed so bloody early. I knocked. Nobody answered. I presumed that was that, so went for a walk. As luck would have it I passed another turnstile (marked “away turnstile for segregated fixtures”) that was still open. I walked in and disturbed the nice chap who was watching the door. He was engrossed in the game. He let me in, took my money and gave me some sweets.
He noticed my accent, and we got chatting. Initially he thought I was a Histon fan (seriously, without looking on a map or Wikipedia, YOU have a go at a Histon accent. No clue) but I told him about my project and he was an utter joy to chat to for a few minutes. He explained to me that I’d visited at a tough time for the club, only one win all season and six defeats in a row. As he said that, Guiseley nearly scored with a cheeky long range effort that bounced in front of the Histon keeper and nearly foxed him. As we chatted, Guiseley certainly didn’t seem like the sort of club that were struggling – no long ball, lots of decent passing and attacking intention.
My new mate told me of the best player he’d ever seen play for the club: Frank Worthington. I explained that I’m a Leicester supporter and he’s also the best player my Dad ever saw play for us (beating Muzzy Izzett into close second place). Apparently Wortho was well into his forties when he rocked up at Guiseley and was still an inspiration. Would have loved to have seen him play at that level, socks rolled down and a rakish mustache accompanying his mullet….
If you enjoyed this tiny extract then please feel free to pick up my Kindle ebook for less than £2. This match in full plus loads more, over 300 pages of me travelling around the country being daft. Ta!
5 thoughts on “The Football Neutral: Match Seven – Guiseley vs Histon”
What a good read and thank you for the kind comments about Guiseley. My name is Susan and I have been involved with Guiseley for over 45 years. I am not sure whether I passed you near the turnstile thro’ which you came thro’ when I was selling raffle tickets. The gentleman on the turnstile is called Peter and along with his wife Diane cover the turnstiles on a voluntary basis and have done so for a couple of years. They are lovely people. The vicar you bumped into is my ‘Uncle Ralph’ who I have known since being a little girl. He and his wife used to babysit my brother and I and they have been family friends eversince. It is his first visit this season due to having had a hip operation. He comes as often as his work allows. Glad you had good banter with our supporters. Hopefully we have turned the corner and we are on the up. You will be made very welcome if you choose to visit our club again. We have a nice clubhouse which serves real ales.
Once again thank you for positive summary of you visit to the game. All the best Susan
Brilliant review brilliant to hear positive news of Nethermoor and Guiseley AFC. Glad to hear you had such a brilliant day out!
Glad you enjoyed conference north football ! I like to think its got it’s own charm anyway. As a Histon fan I thought just out of interest if you didn’t know already that our conference premier days lasted from the 07/08 season to the 10/11 season and in 08 we knocked out leeds in the second round of the fa cup !
Our success however was funded with money we didn’t really have and only now have we started to get back on track financially, although we’re still not quite out of the woods just yet!
Having also spent my formative school years in Hinckley (Redmoor then JCC) and having also been hit by a ball at Guiseley (chips and brown sauce everywhere, a good tie ruined and work colleagues amused for weeks afterwards) I thought I would drop you a few thoughts.
I’m glad that fate took your footballing journey to Guiseley; until 18 months ago I lived 600 yards from their ground (Nethermoor – but I never found anyone else to make an Arabel’s Raven connection); I didn’t get to many games, perhaps eight a season, due to other commitments but always enjoyed going. You have nailed it in what you have written, it is a friendly set up and they have tried to play good football for a number of years now. I recognise the vicar to whom you refer; he always had a kindly word for our son (first game at Guiseley aged 13 days old).
As for HInckley and towns of that size, they should be able to sustain a team as long as they don’t overreach themselves, which I think is what has happened there, and judging from some things I have seen written about their demise I think they were saddled with that problem at the start of the merger of the town’s two teams. I think every club has its natural level plus or minus one division when looked at on a long time frame and most clubs find ways of sustaining this allied to some beneficial philanthropy along the way.
I don’t think that Hinckley could sustain two teams once Town overtook Atho in the emerging pyramid structure, but am always surprised at how some modest towns do sustain two teams of a reasonable standard (Billingham/Horsham/Eastbourne/Ossett for a kick off – there are a few when you start looking). Talking of which…
Well done again on landing in Guiseley, but (and maybe I don’t know the terms of reference for your trips) if you are in the same circumstance again have a look at Harrogate Railway Athletic in the NPL 1(N). I have always enjoyed a trip to Station View, partly to marvel at the fact that a club founded by railmen, next to the rail depot where they worked and Starbeck Station, funded by a loan from the rail company and referred to by all as The Rail has a beaver on its club badge. It is indeed one of my favourite badges in my collection and not just as it was sold to me by an old boy who was knee deep in sweaty reserve team kit at the time which he was attempting to sort for the laundry.
Anyway best wishes for the season and do drop into Leatherhead FC if you are passing!
Hi Jim, really enjoyed this blog. Guiseley have not lost a game since your visit, we now have a real chance of the playoffs. Hope you come visit again 🙂