Tag: St Albans City

Match Of The Week – St Albans City 1-2 Chelmsford City

Throughout my youth, going to watch St Albans City play wasn’t something that ordinarily provoked the senses very much. The Saints were experts at finishing somewhere between sixth and seventeenth in the league never unduly troubling the top or bottom of the table. I don’t really know how I would have coped with going week in, week out over the last few years. The excitement of the last few seasons (promotion, relegation, another close shave with relegation), one suspects, has been a little too much for the locals. Their surprise promotion into the Conference in 2006 was not so much a surprise as an utter, utter shock, and they demonstrated this in the cack-handed way with which they dealt with life in a higher division, filling the team with loanees and defending like a school football team against sides that made them look more like an overgrown youth team than a side capable of competing at that level. The overwhelming feeling that I have taken from recent visits to Clarence Park has been a yearning for a return to normality, a desire to be able to turn around and spend the afternoon talking with one’s friends, without having to take too much notice of what is going on on the pitch. Chelmsford City arrive at Clarence Park in fine fettle. They won the Ryman League at a canter last...

Read More

A Few Things About Local Derbies

What constitutes a local derby seems, on the face of it, to be a question with a pretty obvious answer. However, if we take a couple of minutes to actually examine it, it becomes more nuanced that you might at first think. Derby matches are usually local, but they don’t necessarily have to be. The rivalry between Brighton and Crystal Palace is thirty-odd years old now, even though the two clubs are over forty miles part and haven’t spent that much of the last three decades in the same division. There is an historical element to it, brought about by the abrasive management styles of Malcolm Allison and Alan Mullery in the mid-1970s. The flame hasn’t been extinguished to this day, and doesn’t take much to spark back to life.The nature of the local derby – or, to be more succinct, the local rivalry – is more complex than that, but it is a critical part of the existence of the football supporter. It taps into the urge that we have within us to define ourselves against something and to measure ourselves against something. It is a barometer for how well or badly is doing. And it is a universal phenomenon within the game. Rivals are often two clubs with more in common than either of them would care to admit. Manchester United supporters, while aware of the importance...

Read More

A Stupid Song, A Tree & A Record Losing Goalscorer

When St Albans City Football Club was formed in April 1908, few could have imagined the impact that they would have upon English football – not very much at all. In fact, were human civilisation to end tomorrow, alien archaeologists from the future would almost certainly conclude that their total contribution to that strange cultural phenomenon called “football” was minimal, to say the least. Still, they have reached the grand old age of 100 more or less intact, and while the future for the club looks shaky, the truth of the matter is that this has been the state of affairs at Clarence Park for the vast majority of at least the last thirty years, and is the state of affairs at the vast majority of non-league football clubs. The club was founded after the failure of two smaller, local clubs. There was only one serious option as a site for the new club. Clarence Park was donated to the people of the city of St Albans in 1894 by the MP, Sir John Blundell Maple Bart. The cricket club had already moved in, and the new football club, run by one George Wagstaffe Simmons, became their neighbours. It is a relationship which continues to this day. After two years playing in the Herts Senior County League and the Spartan League, they went it alone in the Spartan League,...

Read More

Lewes 0-2 St Albans City

Thank you again, Southern Rail. I don’t know how important their engineering works are at the moment, but they have, for the last couple of months, made a complete hash of more or less every journey that I have made over the weekend. It’s no different today – no trains between Brighton and Lewes means that what should be a ten minute long train journey becomes forty minutes on a rail replacement bus service, meaning that I turn up at the ground with barely thirty seconds to spare before kick-off. It’s a good job that The Dripping Pan is so close to Lewes railway station. On paper, there is an element of foregone conclusion about this match. Lewes are top of the Conference South, whilst St Albans City have been in the relegation places since the opening day of the season. The truth of the matter, however, is that the picture is a little more cloudy than the league table suggests. Lewes lost 3-0 at Braintree Town in the week, and there have been rumours of unrest in the squad as altogether more tangible injury problems. St Albans, by contrast, are proof that one man can make a difference. Former Boston United goalkeeper Paul Bastock left Clarence Park at the end of last season, but now he’s back and his influence has been immediate. The Saints have won their...

Read More

Eastbourne Borough 4-0 St Albans City

It had, I have to say, been a long time. Since moving to Brighton two years ago, I had neglected St Albans City, but in the meantime they have done a pretty good job of neglecting themselves, too. Two years ago, the story couldn’t have been much more different. Under the tutelage of Colin Lippiatt, they chased full-time Weymouth all the way in the Conference South, eventually losing out after a bad tempered match in Dorset, but comfortably won their play-off final match at Stevenage against Histon to gain promotion to English football’s fifth division. To say that their brief stay there was unsuccessful would be something of an understatement. There were brief highlights – an opening day win at Kidderminster and a 4-2 win against York City, for example – but mostly it was thrashing after thrashing, and instant relegation back to the footballing hinterlands. Last summer, the wheels came spectacularly off the wagon. With Lippiatt retiring and the players (who evidently felt that the forty points that they amassed in the Conference were ample evidence if their talents) leaving in droves, the club took the breathtaking decision to appoint Ritchie Hanlon, an untried twenty-nine year old, as manager. The result was fairly predictable. The club slumped to second from bottom in the Conference South amid rumours of being close to bankruptcy and were knocked out of all...

Read More