Day: September 1, 2010

Non-League Week: Eastleigh & Havant Renew Hostilities

As part of our series on Non-League football ahead of this weekend’s Non-League Day, Southampton supporter Neil Cotton travelled the short distance to Havant, on the outskirts of Portsmouth, to see Havant & Waterlooville take on Eatsleigh in an early season local derby in the Blue Square South. The sunny August bank holiday is almost deceptive with the lazy calmness as it spreads over the compact but well appointed ground. Westleigh Park will shortly be witness to the latest edition of a rapidly heating rivalry as home side Havant and Waterlooville take on Eastleigh. It is a young rivalry. Havant and Waterlooville being been formed as the result of a merger between Havant Town and Waterlooville FC relatively recently as 1998. The success it brought loosely coincided with Eastleigh’s awakening from their long time slumber in the Wessex League., and both clubs found their way to the Conference South. They played their maiden competitive fixture against each other in 2005 with Havant claiming a 2-1 victory. An outside observer could be forgiven for thinking that the rivalry between theses two teams rides on the coat-tails of that most infamous south-coast rivalry; Eastleigh is a shor hop over the greenbelt from Southampton and Havant and Waterlooville a stones-throw from Portsmouth who use Westleigh for their reserve games. This, though, is no case of little brothers squabbling in the shadows of their...

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Croydon Athletic’s Fifteen Minutes Of (Unwanted) Fame – When A Cricket Scandal Arrived In The Ryman League

The walk to Isthmian (Ryman) League Croydon Athletic’s ground from the nearest road is a dangerous one. And in that, it mirrors the club’s recent relationship with money and those that, allegedly, do illegal things with it and to get it. As fellow Kingstonian fans gathered for their Bank Holiday fixture in Horsham, the talk was of little else but the Rams’ supporting role in the latest match-fixing allegations attached to Pakistan’s cricket team.  The alleged cricket agent allegedly filmed by the News of the World allegedly predicting the precise time of no-balls bowled by Pakistan during their test match at Lord’s last week was also alleged to have said he was laundering his alleged ill-gotten gains through his very real local football club (“the only reason I bought a football club is to do that”). And, as a result, Croydon FC got some unhelpful attention from the lazier newspapers, and the phrase “all publicity is good publicity” lost its credibility in Thornton Heath in the London Borough of Croydon, as said cricket agent was one Mazhar Majeed, co-owner of the Rams since 2008. Back in Horsham, there was a none-too-brief conversation about German football teams with railway links. But once we’d got that sadly regular lunacy out of the way, the inevitable questions began to be asked: “Does anyone know how Croydon Athletic got on next Saturday?”, “With...

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