Greetings, Hawkfrenz!

Greetings Hawkfrenz, indeed. Many years ago, a very good friend of mine went to see the 70’s space rockers Hawkwind at The St Albans Arena. Afterwards (and quite possibly under the influence of some industrial strength psychedelic drugs), he signed up for their newsletter and, this being a more innocent age (when newsletters did such things in a far more literal way), it plopped through his letterbox a couple of weeks later with the cheery message “GREETINGS, HAWKFRENZ!” printed across the top of it. So now you know. If you think I’m veering a little off-topic, there is a reason for it – I found out yesterday that Whitehawk, a tiny team from the outskirts of Brighton, are in the quarter-finals of the FA Vase, no less. The FA Vase is the annual knock-out competition for teams playing in the regional leagues at the very foot of England’s national pyramid. It’s for the teams that play, in a very literal sense, in front of three men and a dog. As I may have mentioned on here before, until 1974, the FA drew a distinction between “professsional” and “amateur” players, but when they removed this distinction and ended the FA Amateur Cup, they needed a competition for the smaller clubs – the majority of whom would continue not to pay their players. With the bigger amateur clubs joining the semi-professional...

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