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Welcome to The Dripping Pan for this evening’s Isthmian Premier League game against Wingate & Finchley. Here is your complimentary e-programme.

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Good evening and welcome back to the Dripping Pan for this afternoon’s game against Wingate & Finchley. I’d like to welcome to fans, players and officials from North London, especially Chairman Aron Sharpe, who I always enjoy chatting to through out the season on all matters to do with trying to run a non-league club in the current environment.

Since we last played here, back on the 14th January, we’ve two games postponed because of the freezing conditions. I don’t think there was much surprise with the Canvey Island game on Tuesday 17th January, with temperatures plummeting to minus 5 overnight, and whilst the whole pitch was covered, the day time temperatures did not provide enough heat for the surface to thaw suffiently.

On Saturday 21st when we were due to host Brightlingsea Regent it was a different story. The pitch had been covered overnight and temperatures on Saturday morning were climbing, albeit still in the single digits as the sun shone, from first thing on the morning. The pitch was uncovered at 9am there were only one or two problem areas which would be good by kick off. However, the officials, on arriving at 1.30pm felt those areas would not be safe enough by 3pm, and didn’t want to wait any longer and postponed the game. By that stage our opponents and many of their fans had arrived, making the 2 1/2 hour journey from Essex.

We felt the pitch was playable, especially as we had 90 minute more warmth from direct sunshine – in fact come 2.30pm the temperature had reached a balmy seven degrees and our first team trained on it, as you can see on the picture below. But we have to abide by the decision of the referee, and the knock-on consequences both financial and operational that brings.

Last Monday we headed to Carshalton Athletic and lost a very close game 2-1. We weren’t as sharp as we would have liked and having gone behind with twenty minutes to go, we equalised with a superb effort from Joe Taylor. But less than 30 seconds later Tom Beere hit an unstoppable effort from 25 yards. It was great to see so many of our fans make the journey, challenging enough on a freezing night, but add in major issues on the trains (so what’s new there!) and it was a fine effort.

On Saturday we went to Cray Wanderers, in what is an interesting away game for me. For some reason, we’ve always had a lot riding on the games away against Cray Wanderers, whether it was Nathan Crabb’s two late goals to help us avoid relegation, the unbelievable performance of Chris Winterton in the 2-1 win 5 years ago or the irony of the first game as managers of Tony Russell, Joe Vines, Nathan White et al last season back at their former club. For me Cray Wanderers are my local team and I have a good friendship with their chairman Gary Hillman and CEO Sam Wright.

Somehow we found ourselves 2-0 down at half-time despite having the lions share of possession. Their first goal was a superb move and a great finish, whilst the free-kick that lead to their second, scored by former Rook Dajon Golding, was questionable at the very least. Yet, from the first kick of the second half we showed our true selves, chasing, harrying and competing for every ball. Our first goal, superbly scored by Man of the Match Ryan Gondoh was a masterclass on how to play on the counter-attack, whilst the second was an example of why the high press is so important.

But its not the performance I want to highlight – it’s our fans. Around 100 Rooks made the journey and kept the noise and support up for the team for 90 minutes. After the game when I was chatting with Gary and Sam they said that’s the best away support they had seen all season at their place.

Keep up the excellent support for the boys and Come On You Rooks!


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Good evening everyone. A few people described the game at Cray Wanderers on Saturday as a game of two halves. I actually completely disagree with that – the two halves were very similar it was just in the second half we got the ball into the area more and created the threat. But in the first twenty minutes of the game we played almost exclusively in their half but we just didn’t have enough imagination or penetration to turn that possession into chances, and ultimately goals.

Going into the game we did a lot of work on manipulating their formation, we felt we could get situations where there would be four versus four and get the overload. Having watched the video back we actually set ourselves up well to exploit that but it didn’t quite happen the way we wanted it to. So what that meant was that in the first twenty minutes or so we couldn’t convert the possession. Then, out of nothing and they counter down our left-hand side, Bamba beats Mas, a good ball in but we aren’t tight enough to their forward and we are one-nil down, almost with their first real break.

We still controlled the game but their goal gave them a lift, that extra 10%. We conceded a soft free-kick and we are still not 100% ready when it is delivered. We clear the initial danger but don’t close down the guy on the edge of the box, nor Golding when he follows us on Lew’s save.

It was a weird one at half-time – our message was simple and calm. We were approaching the game right but lacked that quality in the final third. So we switched Ryan out to the left and brought Rhys on but we continued the same way. We still felt that even at 2-0 we could go on to win the game if we stuck to the plan we discussed.

First twenty minutes again we were camped in their half but we felt we carried much more of a threat in that final third. The first goal was a superb attack, Hydie playing in Ryan who has cruised past his man and slotted home. I know that Cray felt that the second goal should have seen a foul given against their full back and quite honestly I couldn’t see it – the players felt he tried to buy the foul and the referee and his linesman were having none of it and JT finished superbly.

But the longer the half went on, the more we seemed to force it too much, just like we saw in the first half, and we started turning over the ball, and that allowed Cray to come into the game again. They carried less threat in the second half but then right at the very end Harvey Walker , just on making his debut, went down the left and should have squared it to JT who would have only had the keeper to beat but tried to beat his man. Overall though, whilst we were disappointment, full credit to both sets of players as they made it a decent game for the fans.

Tonight will be an interesting game. Wingate & Finchley completely changed their approach at the weekend – they play football and have some decent players with experience at a higher level. In their game recently against Margate and they dominated the game. We know the story when we come up against footballing sides who want to be on the ball – it will be an open game, with goals but we’ve getting to a point where everyone is available so we will have a couple of selection headaches.

Finally, just a thank you once again to the fans for their support on Saturday. The noise, especially in the second half was fantastic so I hope you are all in good voice again tonight.

Come on you Rooks.


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Having recently scored his 50th goal for the Rooks in just 70 games, Joe Taylor is a fan’s favourite. You’ve seen the celebration, now own a part of it yourself with a limited edition JT T-Shirt, available in the ground today or from our online store here.

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Wingate and Finchley Football club can trace its roots back to the formation of Finchley Football Club in 1874 making it one of the oldest clubs in the country. Founded by Pa Jackson, who also was instrumental in the creation of the Corinthians, The London Football Association as well as later serving as secretary of the FA, Finchley became founder members of the Athenian League in 1912 after spells in the London League and North London League. They finished fourth in the maiden season, higher than such luminaries as Grays Athletic, Chelmsford City and Enfield.

​However their stay was cut short due to the onset of World War One and they would only return for a lone season in 1929 before returning to the London League and forging success. The club’s first piece of silverware was won during the 1934-1935 season when the League Cup was captured, with the taste of achievement forming Finchley went on to win the London League in 1936-1937 before World War Two scuppered their winning streak.

​It was immediately after the conflict that saw Major Harry Sadow, Frank Davis, George Hyams and Asher Rebak form a Jewish Football Club believing the field of play was a ground of battling the ignorance of anti-Semitism. So in 1946 Wingate Football Club began life in the Middlesex Senior League. The club was named after General Orde C. Wingate who despite not being Jewish himself oversaw the creation of the Israeli Army during the Second World War. The club enjoyed early success and by 1952 they were promoted to the London League.

​Meanwhile Finchley, back in the Athenian League, were in the middle of their glory years with the 1952-1953 season proving to be the pinnacle. That year saw their progression to the Third Round Proper of the FA Cup. Defeated along the way were Chelmsford City, Kidderminster Harriers (1-0 at Aggborough) and Crystal Palace (3-1 at Summers Lane) before the Finches were finally beaten 2-0 at Gay Meadow against Shrewsbury Town.

​Despite an Amateur Cup semi-final appearance, losing to bitter local rivals Hendon at Highbury in 1965, a sense of decline was starting to emerge. A switch to the Isthmian Premier League failed to stop the halt, and in 1980-81 Finchley were relegated to the second division.

​Wingate by now had become a senior club and were competing in the Athenian League. Many players had become members of the Middlesex FA representative side and also partook on behalf of Great Britain in the Maccabiah Games. Disaster struck though in 1972 when their Hall Lane ground in Hendon was lost to the M1 extension and despite a short ground share with Finchley FC the club reverted to junior football.

Wingate finally returned to the senior game with a brief merger with Leyton FC. This partnership proved to be unsuccessful and despite a 1984-1985 League Cup victory, ironically defeating Finchley in the final, both clubs went their separate ways.

​In 1991 with Finchley struggling in the Isthmian League Second Division and with mounting debts it was announced that a merger with Wingate would take place in the summer. After extensive refurbishment and a name change of the Summers Lane ground in honour of long time Wingate supporter Harry Abrahams, Wingate and Finchley took to the field for the start of the 1991-1992 season.

​Success was immediate and despite starting life in the South Midlands League the club were quickly competing in the Isthmian League and by season 2003-2004 were members of the newly formed Division One North.

In recent seasons the club has continued its growth. A brief flirtation with the Southern League was shortly followed by the arrivals of Manager Michael Stone and Chairman Aron Sharpe. Now back in the Isthmian League a youthful squad achieved seventh position in the First Division North in the 2008-2009.

​Stone sadly left the club in 2009 after being offered the post of Assistant Manager at Conference giants Rushden and Diamonds. The club’s first team manager in time for the start of the 2009/10 season was former Oswestry Town manager and Total Network Solutions Llansantffraid midfielder David Norman. At the end this season the Club finished in a record high position of 3rd in the Ryman Division One North, mainly thanks to a record run of 17 matches without defeat from the turn of the year, a run which included 13 wins. The Club reached the playoffs but lost out to Enfield Town in the semi-final 3-2 in an incredible match. This paved the way for what was to be a monumental and unforgettable 2010/11 season.

​The Club was quickly becoming the most progressive non-league club in the area, thanks to Sharpe’s focus on youth development. Bobby Aisien and Medi Alabimba had progressed from Hadley Wood and Wingate to earn professional contracts, and in 2011 over 20 of the U16-18 age group represented their County. Six boys at U16’s were given scholarships with pro sides and the club developed into a community club with a Mencap disability initiative, work with schools, and it entered its fourth year of the Flex educational scheme.

A consistent league season for the First Team saw the side match their previous 3rd place league finish and earn a second crack at the playoffs. In the semi-final Harlow Town were beaten 4-2 after extra time, and promotion to the Ryman premier Division was won with a 118th minute winner over Brentwood Town in extra time of the final – The Blues winning 3-2 on their home turf.

​This victory was the middle leg of a remarkable and unique Treble. Earlier that season the club had lifted the Ryman League Cup having beaten Dulwich Hamlet 2-0 at Imber Court, and London Senior Cup success was to follow shortly afterwards when Hendon were convincingly beaten 3-1 in the final.

Success flowed throughout the Club this year, with the youth teams also building on their previous season’s work as they progressed superbly. The U18’s won the Middlesex County Cup, and at U15 level the League Title and three Cup trophies followed (two County cups and the League cup). Even the Under 10’s were getting in on the action as they lifted the Spring Cup!

​The first season in the Ryman Premier Division in 2011/12 saw the side secure safety in this new level with a comfortable mid-table finish, ending up closer to the playoffs than from relegation. The final third of the season saw breakthroughs for youth players Liron Mannie and David Smouha who both played big roles in the first team squad. Meanwhile there was huge cup success at youth level yet again; The Under 18’s won the AFA Cup, beating Valley Park after extra time, as well as the London County Cup. The Under 17’s won a double as they beat Thurrock in the EJA League Cup final to add to their earlier AFA Cup success having beaten Bethwin 8-1! The Under 16’s also got in on the action securing their AFA Cup title beating Woodford FC, which they added later on securing their EJA (Herts) League title.

​Success of the youth sides prompted three players – Ross Weinreb, Nathan Sollosi and Joe Sharpe – to earn selection to the Great Britain Maccabi Team for the world games in Israel during July 2013. Meanwhile the Barnet Mencap disability sides grew in strength as they entered the fourth season with the club, with three sides now competing in the Camden Step Leagues. The year ended on a high as McDonalds joined in lucrative sponsorship deal.

​The following season, 2012-13, was a difficult one for the first team. Early season poor form led to the departure of Norman in November as ex-Northwood boss Gary Meakin came in. The Club flirted with relegation all season until a momentous 3-2 victory over Lowestoft two days before the final day secured survival. However Norman rejoined the Club in the summer as Director of Football, as veteran defender Daniel Nielsen was put in place as Head Coach. Meanwhile a new Under 21 Development squad was set up to compete in the inaugural Ryman U21 League.

​There was continual success for the youth sides. The U17’s added the London County Cup to an earlier EJA league title, the EJA cup and the AFA cup. These were also followed up with the League Regional Playoff title. The U16’s won two cups in this season, the EJA and AFA trophies.

​In 2014 the side faced another relegation fight in the league, which was lost on goal difference on the final day of the season despite a 5-0 victory over Billericay Town. However, when Worksop Town pulled out of the Southern League due to financial problems, Wingate & Finchley were the first in line to earn the reprieve back to the Ryman Premier Division.

The 2014-15 season resulted in a record finish of 12th place in the Ryman Premier League, and at the end of the season Norman departed, to be replaced by Simon Lane as Director of Football. However for the start of 2016 he was replaced by former Northern Ireland International Keith Rowland and the side finished in a stable 13th position. In August 2016 the stadium at Summers Lane was re-named after Wingate FC co-founder Maurice Rebak who had passed away in February of that year aged 95.

​The 2016-17 season saw the club set a new record, finishing in 5th place in the Ryman Premier League and qualifying for the end of season playoffs. A last-minute defeat at Bognor Regis Town in the semi-final ended the season, but this was a magnificent achievement and saw the Blues win the League’s Team Performance of the Year Award.

​A ninth-place finish followed in 2017-18 as the Blues narrowly missed out on a second successive play-off berth. There was success for the Under 23 side who won the Isthmian Development League North Division at a canter. Over the summer the Club embarked on an extensive state-of-the-art refurbishment of the stadium, for the first time since 1991’s merger, giving the clubhouse a much-welcomed overhaul and making the stadium one of the most impressive in non-league football.

​The subsequent three seasons saw a period of uncertainty both on and off the pitch, with short management stints for ex England International Nicky Shorey, ex Premier League stalwart Glen Little and ex West Ham Academy and Wingate & Finchley favourite Steve Clarke, followed by two null and void seasons under the stewardship of Spencer Knight due to the COVID pandemic. However, during this period there were still many successes, including U18s winning County Cup in consecutive seasons and the London Champion of Champions trophy, U23 Development Squad being victorious in Herts League Cup fielding a squad largely made up of Under 18s, while both U13s and U12s secured League Titles.

In the summer of 2021, Club legends Ahmet Rifat (Director of Football) and Marc Weatherstone (Manager) were appointed as a new Management Team after nearly 1000 first team appearances between them.


Harvey Steel – Right back who signed for the Blues in December 2021, previously at several Cambridgeshire sides, including Yaxley, St Neots Town, Mildenhall Town and the academy of Cambridge United.

Dylan Kearney – Irish striker who has already made a legendary goalscoring reputation at the club despite only joining on loan in late November 2021. Previously featured for Hayes and Yeading, Wealdstone, Uxbridge, Harrow Borough, Sutton United and Dulwich Hamlet, Dylan signed on loan from Beaconsfield Town on loan last season, then signed a permanent deal over the summer, and has scored some crucial goals along the way. Including last season at Wingate, he has been the top scorer of a season at four different clubs.

Tyrique Clarke – Clarke, a central midfielder known for his box to box style of play, was another signing during the 2021/22 season, joining from Welling United, and can also boast Yeovil Town, Metropolitan Police and Hendon on his CV.

Emmanuel Yeboah – A Crystal Palace academy graduate, joined Sutton United and Lewes before arriving at Summers Lane. A central midfielder who is known for getting forward and playing with both feet, and is also known to break up play and regain possession.

Loic Hernandez – A full back who is also capable down the wings spent 11 years with the academy of local rivals Barnet, including some time around their first team. Then upon his release in 2021 joined Wingate. Skilled in 1 on 1 battles and proficient at both attacking and defending. Also spent a loan with us during the 2018/19 season.

Antonis Vasiliou – Another ex Barnet player who had time in their academy and first team, Antonis is an international winger, having 4 caps for Cyprus under-19s. He has also had loan spells at Berkamsted, St Albans City, Beaconsfield Town, and Ashford Town (Middx). An exciting young technical player, he is also known for his hard work and dribbling abilities.

Jay Beckford – A quick and tricky wide player that likes to take on opposition players, utilising his dribbling and quickness. Spent time in the academy of Leyton Orient before joining Arsenal’s under-18s. Also featured for FK Gjovik Lyn in Norway and Ytterhogdal in Sweden.

Kavan Cotter – Midfielder with experience at a variety of non league sides. Starting out at Luton Town, later having loan spells at Hitchin Town and Oxford City. Later spent time at Hemel Hempstead Town and Wealdstone.

Elliot Long – Formerly of Brentford and Takeley, Elliot is known for his ability to pick up the ball and drive past defenders, being able to dribble and find pockets of space.

Joe Dearman – A left footed winger who boasts flair and being a goal threat among his skillset, Joe is another one of our players who has formerly played abroad. After some time with Tottenham Hotspur and Cambridge United’s academy, Joe played for Lewart Lubartow and Lublinianka in Poland before returning to England with St Neots Town and Biggleswade Town, before joining the Blues in August 2022.

Ambroisine Yannis – An experienced defender, Ambroisine started his career with Entente SSG and Montreuil in his homeland France, before moving to England with spells at Hayes and Yeading, Leatherhead, Whitehawk, Welling United, Dulwich Hamlet and Corinthian Casuals, before joining the Blues this summer.

Sam Cornish – Midfielder who joined us over the summer from Colchester United, having spent several years in their academy. Also spent loan spells at Maldon and Tiptree and Potters Bar Town earlier in his career.

Ben Goode – Now established at Wingate’s number 1 ‘keeper, Ben has previously turned out for the likes of Harrow Borough, Potters Bar, Chesham and AFC Hayes.

Luc Acherman-Stanfield – An intelligent player with a good understanding of the game. Luc is also technically good on the ball. Luc is one of our own, having come through the Wingate academy system, playing for us at various different youth age group levels over the past few seasons, right up to our development side in the Herts County League, winning the London FA Super Cup with our under-18s during the 2020/21 season.

Alkeo Bani – English Albanian midfielder who is a Watford academy product. Played for Lokomotiv Zagreb in Croatia before a return to England with Bowers and Pitsea and Basildon United. Later joined St Albans City, joining Wingate on loan last December. Later rejoined us on a permanent deal in July 2022.



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2nd Apr 2022Isthmian Premier LeagueLewes2Wingate & Finchley3
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9th Nov 2019Isthmian Premier LeagueLewes1Wingate & Finchley2


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A superb late strike from Tom Beere gave fellow play-off hopefuls Carshalton Athletic all three points on a chilly night in South London.

The Rooks welcomed back Johnville Renee from injury whilst on the bench Rhys Murrell-Williamson returned from his spell at Hendon and was joined by new signing Harvey Walker.

In a cagey opening quarter Lewes looked the stronger of the two sides, forcing Carshalton into some tight spaces thanks to their high press.  A dangerous in-swinging corner from Jamie Mascoll had Carshalton keeper Danny Bracken scrambling across his line whilst at the other end the visitors thought they had the lead after Akrofi tapped in but was in an offside position.

Neither side could create any further clear cut chances in a half where most of the action was in midfield.

Lewes had the sizeable away support purring in the 62nd minute when a superb move involving Ryan Gondoh and Dean Moore set up Joe Taylor but his effort was well saved by Bracken. At the other end Lewis Carey pulled off a superb save, tipping a powerful drive over the bar.

The home side took the lead in 72nd minute when Will Salmon was adjudged to have fouled Matthew Vigor in the area and  Tom Beere took the spot kick and narrowly beat Lewis Carey.

Lewes came within inches of levelling the scores in the 77nd minute when Will Salmon’s header was spectacularly cleared off the line by a Carshalton’s Tommy Bradford.

Lewes’s equaliser in the 82nd minute was a superb centre-forward’s goal when a ball was played into Joe Taylor’s feet on the edge of the box and he held off his defender, turned and hit a low shot past Bracken.

The Rooks lead lasted less than a minute as from the restart the ball fell to Tom Beere 25 yards out and his shot found the top corner despite the efforts of Lewis Carey.  It could have been worse when Salmon misjudged a ball on the half way line allowing Ekpiteta to race clear but once again Lewis Carey was the saviour with a superb save down to his left.

The Rooks had a couple of late chances, one for Joe Taylor where he couldn’t quite direct his header on target but it was a disappointed set of players and management at the final whistle as they left South East London pointless.

Carshalton Athletic: Bracken, Lema, Hamblin, Cook, Williams, Beere, Cumerbatch, Ekpiteta, Akinwande, Bradford, Akrofi (Vigor 68mins)

Subs not used: Barnett, Parker, MxKenzie-Atumuto

Booked: Akinwade, Vigor

Lewes: Carey, Renee (Olukoga 68 mins), Mascoll, Salmon, Champion, Young, Pritchard (Scott 77 mins), Hyde, Gondoh, Moore (Murrell-Williamson 78 mins), Taylor

Subs not used: Tamplin, Walker

Booked: Hyde, Gondoh, Champion

Attendance: 265 (approximately 35 travelling Rooks)

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Towards the end of January every year, the annual “league table” of the world’s richest clubs is published by Deloitte. The top ten really holds no surprises and the names will be the same each year bar one of two slight movements that are normally reflective of performance in the previous year’s European Competitions.

Whilst the top clubs keep getting wealthier, it is difficult for them to influence their position too much – their stadium capacity, are on the most part, fixed, as too are the number of league games they play. They could bring in a new sponsor or even sell naming rights to their ground, but the major contributing factors are net spend on players and prize money from the Champions League.

I still find it amazing that West Ham are in the list, but perhaps more so now Leicester City, Leeds United and Everton – all of whom have significantly smaller stadiums and bar, Leicester’s appearance in the Europa Conference League last season, have no European prize money. What makes Leicester’s appearance even more remarkable is that out of the top 20 they have the smallest stadium (32,261) by some distance from the next club on the list, who is Everton at 39,414.

The appearance of Newcastle United is no surprise, after the investment from Saudi Arabia’s Sovereign fund – expect to see them quickly rise up the list in the coming years if the current progress is maintained.

However, one of the major concerns is the ability of these clubs to maintain their ability to generate revenues to keep up with wages. A wage to revenue % in excess of 60% is seen a red flag to many, with 7 out of the 11 Premier League clubs currently operating above that level – the most concerning must be Everton, who are in a relegation dog-fight this season.

None of these numbers will be a surprise. The rich will continue to get richer – the aborted European Super League included eight of the top ten (PSG and Bayern Munich were either not invited or chose not to put their name to it) and whilst the first attempt failed, there will be other iterations of it, to increase the share of revenues they get.

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This article was due to be published in the progcast prior to our original tie, due to take place the day before the World Cup Final. Why waste a good set of trivia I say, so here goes:

The Qatar FIFA World Cup was the most controversial tournament to date for a number of reasons. But one of the most remarkable was the first ever championship, held nearly 100 years ago in 1930 in Uruguay. So here’s ten amazing facts about the tournament:

Sixteen teams said they would participate but come June only 13 teams headed for the tournament, after Japan, Siam and Egypt withdrawing and just four from Europe – back in 1930 a trip to Uruguay meant a two week journey by sea and few countries would allow their players to be away for so long. All four of the European entrants boarded the same ship, which also stopped in Rio on the way to pick up the Brazilians. Yugoslavia and France stayed on for a few weeks after the tournament to do a bit of sightseeing (seriously) and played a few more friendly internationals.

Due to back weather and even worse building methods, the main stadium in Montevideo, the 90,000 capacity Estadio Centenario wasn’t ready for the first five days of the tournament, meaning the games had to be quickly re-arranged for two other smaller stadiums in the Uruguayan capital. The Centenario, when finally complete became the biggest stadium in the world outside of the British Isles.

When it came to the officials, there was controversy in the appointment of two individuals. Gilberto de Almeida Rêgo who officiated the match between Argentina and France, in which the Brazilian referee blew for full-time six minutes early, and the Bolivian Ulises Saucedo’s in the Argentina and Mexico encounter, which Argentina won 6–3. During the game Saucedo, who was also the coach of Bolivia, awarded three penalties.

Group 4’s second match, played in windy conditions witnessed the first tournament hat-trick, scored by Bert Patenaude of the United States against Paraguay. However, until 10 November 2006, the first hat-trick that FIFA acknowledged had been scored by Guillermo Stábile of Argentina, two days after Patenaude – it took until 2006 for FIFA announced that Patenaude’s claim to being the first hat-trick scorer was valid, as a goal previously assigned to teammate Tom Florie was reattributed to Patenaude, who had died 22 years previously.

In the opening match in Group 3, the first player to be sent off in World Cup history was Plácido Galindo of Peru. The Romanians made their man advantage pay; their 3–1 win included two late goals. This match had the smallest crowd of any in World Cup history. The official attendance was 2,459, but the actual figure is generally accepted to be around 300.

Both Semi-Finals (Argentina v USA and Uruguay vs Yugoslavia) ended 6-1. In the former, US midfielder Raphael Tray broke his leg after a late challenge from an Argentinian player. With no substitutes back then, Tray played on and almost scored in the second half.

The 3rd/4th Play-off game which we will see this afternoon wasn’t introduced until 1934 but according to some FIFA sources, Yugoslavia won a game against the USA 3-1, but the Slavs deny any such game ever took place.

Ten boats earmarked to carry Argentine fans from Buenos Aires to Montevideo across the stretch of water that separates the two capital cities proved inadequate. An estimated 10–15,000 Argentinians made the trip, but the port at Montevideo was so overwhelmed that many did not even make landfall before kick-off, let alone reach the stadium.

A disagreement overshadowed the build-up to the match as the teams failed to agree on who should provide the match ball, forcing FIFA to intervene and decree that the Argentine team would provide the ball for the first half and the Uruguayans would provide their own for the second. Argentina went in at the break winning 2-1 with their ball, but “lost” the second half 3-0 using the Uruguayan ball.

Belgian referee John Langenus, only agreed to officiate the final a few hours before the game, having sought assurances for his safety. One of his requests was for a boat to be ready at the harbour within one hour of the final whistle, in case he needed to make a quick escape. The refereed the game in a shirt, tie, jacket and breaches.

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Lewes produced an impressive second-half comeback to recover from two goals down and secure a hard-fought 2-2 draw at Cray Wanderers, reports Tom Harper (pictures James Boyes).

Tony Russell made one change to the side that lost at Carshalton Athletic in their previous game, with Ayo Olukoga replacing Bradley Pritchard in the starting line-up.

Lewes saw plenty of possession early on, moving the ball quickly through the pitch without really creating a chance of note.

The hosts took the lead with their first real attack of the game on 13 minutes, as good play down the right ended with Yahaya Bamba crossing for Tom Derry to head past Lewis Carey and into the back of the net.

This understandably galvanised Cray, who seemed happy to let Lewes enjoy possession, knowing that their well-organised back four would stand firm under any pressure.

The closest the Rooks came to a response saw Shaun Rowley in the Cray goal hold onto an Alfie Young strike that took a slight deflection off Joe Taylor.

Lewis Carey was called into more meaningful action down the other end minutes later, reacting well to deny former Rook Dajon Golding after he had beaten the offside trap and run in behind.

The hosts doubled their lead on 35 minutes and it was perhaps unsurprising to the large contingent of travelling fans that Golding was the scorer, reacting quickest to fire into the top corner after Carey had only been able to parry a powerful deflected strike from Dan Bassett.

Lewes pushed for a goal back during the closing stages of the half, but the closest they came saw a Deon Moore effort deflected wide in a crowded penalty area.

The Rooks introduced Rhys Murrell-Williamson in place of Moore at half-time in a bid to turn possession into clear-cut opportunities.

They did this by halving the deficit three minutes into the second half, Carey holding onto an Anthony Cook free-kick before starting a counter-attack that ended with Ryan Gondoh getting the better of Jephte Tanga and slotting the ball past the onrushing Rowley and into the bottom corner.

Lewes equalised on 54 minutes through Taylor, who capitalised on some heistant defending by firing past Rowley from a tight angle and sending the travelling supporters into raptures.

After such a bright start to the second half, the game settled into more of a tactical battle, as both sides pushed for a goal, whilst also being mindful of the attacking qualities of their opponents.

The Rooks continued to pose a threat every time they went forward, with Tyrique Hyde drawing a smart save from Rowley after being teed up by Taylor at the end of an incisive passing move.

The best chance either side had to win the game fell to Cray in the final few minutes though, as Cook latched onto a loose pass in the Lewes defence and saw his powerful strike beaten away by Carey.

The remainder of the game passed by without any chances of note, leaving Lewes to reflect on a hard-earned point away from home that they would undoubtedly have taken at half-time.

Cray Wanderers: Rowley, Tanga, Wood, Skeffington, Weaire, Jones, Bassett, Golding, Derry, Cook, Bamba.

Unused Subs: Clunis, Christie, King-Bassett, Ijaha, Boamah.

Booked: Cook.

Lewes: Carey, Salmon, Champion, Young, Mascoll, Olukoga (Pritchard 75), Renee, Hyde, Gondoh (Walker 90), Moore (Murrell-Williamson 46), Taylor.

Unused Subs: Tamplin, Scott.

Booked: Renee, Mascoll.

Attendance: 334 (Approx. 100 travelling Rooks)

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The Ocean Stars have been playing international football since their first game back in 1958, a 5-1 defeat in Kenya. Their second international, some 5 years later was a 14-0 defeat in Indonesia against North Korea, still Somalia’s record ever defeat. They’ve won 14 games in their history – the first being in November 1972 away to Uganda, the last three years ago in Burundi.

One amazing fact about the team is that they haven’t been allowed to play a home game, due to the internal conflicts and security concerns since a 0-0 draw with Uganda in October 1986, some 36 years ago! Home games these days are played in Djibouti, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

Qualification for the current World Cup finals in Qatar ended back in 2019 after a 3-2 defeat on aggregate to Zimbabwe in the qualifying rounds, whilst a 5-1 defeat on aggregate to Eswatini saw them eliminated at the first hurdle from the 2023 African Cup of Nations.

In the current squad there are three players based in England – Anis Nuur is registered with Metropolitan Police, Sak Hassan with AFC Sudbury and Ahmed Ali with Halesowen Town. Hassan is the only member of the current squad who has scored for the side, that being in the 2-1 second leg defeat in Eswatini in March 2022. Only a few of the squad currently play in the Somalian Premier League, which is made up of 12 sides, 11 of which are based in the capital Mogadishu, the majority sharing the 10,000 capacity Banadir Stadium.

Should games be allowed again in the country then the 65,000 newly renovated national stadium in Mogadishu would host them. Not that many tourists will head out to Somalia for a game, especially as the current Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises against all travel to the country. We can but dream.

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#1. On this day in 2011, Liverpool broke their transfer record when they bought Luis Suarez for £22.8m. How long did that record last?

#2. And who was the Liverpool manager who signed Luis Suarez?

#3. On this day in 1953 which Isthmian League side gained a remarkable 1-1 draw at Old Trafford against Manchester United in the FA Cup Fourth Round?

#4. On this day in 2015, Lewes beat East Thurrock United 3-2. Who scored two goals for the Rooks on that day?

#5. There are five games tonight in the Isthmian Premier League, but which team has travelled the furthest (according to shortest route on Google Maps)?

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The intrepid Football Tourist grabs his passport and camera, and heads to Liguria for the day.

TORINO 0 SPEZIA 1 – Sunday 15th January 2023 – Serie A – Stadio Olimpico, Turin

There’s inflation and there is football inflation. The type of magical economic conditions that football clubs have used for years as justification for ticket price increases well and truly over the underlying rates of inflation. The unwritten rules on this are that “if I can sell out a game on a cold January night against Fulham” (no disrespect to Fulham fans), “then I can put the price up by 15% and still they will come”. Whilst we see initiatives such as the £30 cap on Premier League away tickets, there is no end in sight to bring the majority of ticket prices in line with economic conditions.

Football clubs are businesses too, and need to create a return for their stakeholders and investors – I get that. But there’s a socio-economic element to their existence too. They play a fundamental part, or are at the centre in some cases, of the local community and in times when the financial pressures are being felt by the majority, could more be done to make football more affordable? Based on what we see and know, I would say not in England, but elsewhere in Europe, there is certainly more than a passing nod to making tickets more affordable.

Back in November I did a four game, two day, trip to Italy, taking in three Serie A games (AC Milan, Monza and Juventus) plus a game at Brescia in Serie B. For three of those games, tickets were €25 or less, with entry at the San Siro for the Rossonero’s game with Spezia costing just €14 – cheaper than entry on the gate at the Dripping Pan. The exception was Juventus where demand far outstrips supply at the Allianz Stadium in Turin and tickets were over €130.

Whilst the North London derby was being played out in front of 61,870 fans at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, who will have paid upwards of £150 for a standard ticket, I had returned to Italy to take in another new ground in Serie A – The Stadio Olimpico in Turin, where, unlike their uptown neighbours, Juventus, a ticket in prime location ticket cost me just £22 (€25).

Being winter sport season, flights were plentiful to Turin, meaning a day return was less than £50 when originally booked. Yes, it was a 3.30am start for the 6.20am flight, and yes I had to endure a full flight back at 8.30pm with groups sharing videos of their mogul-jumping, off-piste gnarliness (I am just jealous after an ankle injury when I was 22 has precluded me wearing anything like a ski boot since), but it was worth it. Turin is a fantastic city – sitting somewhere between Milan and Florence in terms of looking down your nose at your battered, yet designer, trainers, whilst having just an underbelly of cultural highlights to keep you occupied for a morning.

And that’s what I needed. With five hours to kill before kick-off I racked up the steps, pounding the immaculate pavements and porticos (arched arcades). I headed to the Mole Antonelliana – still the world’s tallest unreinforced brick building in the world, and where the original great glass elevator rises from the floor to provide the most astonishing views of the city and the snow-covered alps in the distance. Except today it was closed, at least until 2pm, because they had a special guest. Who, I asked the guide. He said, as far as I could understand, it was American Actress Sissy Spacek. Whilst Ms Spacek’s work on screen and stage is far more impressive than my Tom Sawyer from the 1980 Woodville Primary School production of the same name, it surely didn’t warrant the closing of the whole building. I could return at 6pm should I wish to visit, the guide told me but they’d had the chance and I was moving into bigger and better things.

I took the metro to Lingotto, where the original Fiat factory had been converted into a hotel and shopping centre. A lift up to the 5th floor, a €2 entrance fee and I was on the roof. Not just any old roof, but where, in the original Italian Job, Michael Caine had led his gang on a chase around the test track. Today, the roof has been converted into an open air art museum but you can still pound the track, although the steep banking at either end are out of bounds just in case you plunge down five floors and disturb the hotel guests during their Prosecco and Pasta. Beyond the railway line to the west was the Filadelfia, where I headed next, the stadium that Torino called home until 1962, and where arguably the best ever Italian club side played their games. From 1943 until the Superga Air Disaster in 1949 which robbed Italy, and Turin, of its greatest ever football team, they had been unbeaten here for 100 games.

The stadium fell into disrepair for many years, with some of the original terracing and ticket office, still visible today, sitting juxtaposition to the new main stand, built in 2017 as part of the training centre for the club. Alas, there was to be no magic doors today and I had to make do with a peak through the fences at the relics from yestayear.

After leaving the Filadelfia, Torino moved into the Stadio Comunale, with Juventus before heading north to the white elephant of the Stadio delle Alpi, build for the 1990 World Cup. After a sixteen-year stint without Serie A football, the stadium was renovated and renamed the “Stadio Olimpico” on the back of the 2006 Winter Olympics. In a reversal of 1990, both Juventus and Torino moved back to the Olimpico during the demolition of the delle Alpi and the construction of the Allianz Arena, with Juventus using it until the end of the 2010–11 season, and Torino retaining it as their home stadium to the present day. And so here ends the lesson on football stadiums of Turin.

There wasn’t much in the way of a pre-match buzz. Whilst the visitors from the Ligurian coast didn’t have too far to come, it looked as if the home fans had better things to do with their Sunday afternoon, despite the very cheap tickets (ranging from £14) and the offer of a free Panini sticker album for everyone. It’s not as if this has been a poor season for the team. Coming into the game they sat in 9th place, relatively safe from any relegation dogfights. But if I was to sum up the mood in the ground it would be “apathy”. There was a general acceptance from the fans around me in the sparsely populated Distinti Granata that the football would be poor, the result would be a disappointment and the club would say how unlucky it was.

They were right on all three levels, although you would have never guessed it from the amazing support from the tifosi on the Curve Maratona who never missed a beat. The pre-match tunes, being pumped out took me back to school discos of the late 1980’s – Depeche Mode, Eurythmics and even some Yello before we headed into the 1990’s with a fine tribute to Faithless. During the party, the top brass wheeled out their celebrity guest onto the balcony of one of the executive boxes…Kevin Spacey. And now the penny dropped – it wasn’t Sissy Spacek at all, but the better known and not for many of the right reasons these days, Space-named actors who was apparently in town to collect an award. Obviously the internet hasn’t reached some of the households of those in charge of the club – either that or this was a ploy to try to divert attention from some of the topical news stories. Hard to top that special guest, unless someone in the PR team has a contact with a certain royal prince.

As for the game. Well, it was OK. The only goal, scored by Angolan international M’bala Nzola from the penalty spot in the 29th minute was a brief highlight in a tired performance by both sides. Naturally, your eyes are drawn to the Tifosi when games are this tepid. Having a perfect, elevated view on the half-way line, you spot the things you don’t normally see in the game, but today there was very little that put it above watching the mighty Rooks. But that is part of the beauty of the game outside of England – the 90 minutes of football are only part of the experience.

Game over, a leisurely walk back to the city centre, a swift half and it was back to Blighty thanks to British Airways.

So how did I do it? Here’s my five step plan for a day trip to Turin:

  1. Flights booked back in November with British Airways – £49.98 return – Gatwick to Turin at 6:20am, back at 8:35pm. Flight times perfect for a 12.30pm to 3pm kick off time.
  2. €14 return bus ticket (purchased just outside arrivals) from Turin Airport to Piazza Carlo Felice, opposite Porto Nuova station and metro. Buses depart every 15 minutes and take around 40 minutes. In the metro station you can buy a €4 daily transport ticket that covers all buses, trams and metro.
  3. For the Mole Antonelliana, head north from the bus stop, through the impressive piazza’s and then down Via Po. It is worth booking in advance to gain fast track entry for the lift, assuming there are no ‘celebrities’ visiting.
  4. For Lingotto, take the metro towards Bengasi, getting off at Lingotto. Cross the piazza and go into the shopping centre where there are plenty of places to eat and drink. Take the lift at either end of the shopping centre to the 5th floor for access to the roof.
  5. For tickets for the football, these tend to go on sale 2-3 weeks before most home games on VivaTickets. You need to register for the website and when you buy you need to add details of your ID which is checked when you enter. Tickets can be downloaded and printed at home. For most games, aside from the Turin derby, the visit of the Milanese teams or Napoli, tickets start from around €12. My recommendation is to buy for the Distini Granata – you are free to go wherever you please in that stand across all three tiers.
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You can sponsor the player of your choice, subject to availability, for the 2022/23 season and get your name in lights, plus a home or away shirt signed by your player and presented to you at a home game. Contact Shrey for more details at Shrey@lewesfc.com.

Lewis CareySusie ArlettRyan GondorDave Lamb
Jamie MascollMichael KennardTyrique Hyde
Archie TamplinRhys Murrell-WilliamsonTrevor Norwood
Alfie YoungRyley Scott
Tom ChampionTom, Alice & Russ MouldRazz Coleman De-GraftThe Ouse
Will SalmonMichael McDowellDeon Moore
Johnville ReneeDave LambJoe TaylorStuart Fuller
Ayo OlukogaRyan BusbyFraser Middleton-Tozer
Bradley PritchardThe English Soap CompanyFinley Jenkins
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Around 7:15pm

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“The Isthmian Football League strongly supports the FA statement that there should be a zero tolerance approach against racism and all forms of discrimination. Accordingly any form of discriminatory abuse whether it by reason of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion and belief, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, sex and sexual orientation or any other form of abuse will be reported to The Football Association for action by that Association.” (The FA 0800 085 0508 / Kick it Out 020 7253 0162).The Isthmian League and all Member Clubs in the League are committed to promoting equality by treating people fairly and with respect, by recognising that inequalities may exist, by taking steps to address them and providing access and opportunities for all members of the community.”

Lewes 2000 FC Limited. Registered in England and Wales with Company Registration Number 03790979. Lewes 2000 FC Limited is 100% owned by Lewes Community Football Club.

Honorary President Terry Parris
Chair Stuart Fuller
Directors Willa Bailey, Tim Bradshaw, Ed Briggs, Scott Currie, Stuart Fuller, Andy Gowland, Lucy Mills, John Peel, Trevor Wells
Chief Executive Officer Maggie Murphy
Club Secretary John Peel
Fan Engagement Manager Shrey Nilvarna
Youth Secretary Ryan Sullivan
Operations Manager James Barker
Communication Manager Jack Towers
Commercial Manager Steph McLaughlin

Life Members
Peter Brook, Dorothy Brook RIP, Vic Blunt, Pat Dartnell, Gary Elphick, Gordon Fowlie, Peter Hiscox RIP, Billy Nixon, Derrick Parris RIP, Terry Parris, Jimmy Quinn, P. Swaysland, Steve Ibbitson, Jason Hopkinson, Steve White, Martin Elliot, Kevin Fingerneissl, Kevin Powell, David and Barbara Arnold, Roger and Cathy Feltham, Ethel Treagus, Roy Dartnell RIP, Ron Moore, Derek Southouse, Ray Smith, Ken Carter RIP

Manager Tony Russell
Assistant manager Joe Vines
First team coach Nathan White
First team physio Toni Miller
Goalkeeping coach Grant Hall
Match logistics Clive Burgess & Vikram Dogra
First Team Performance Analyst Henderson Russell

Golden Rook Rob Read
Web Editor Stuart Fuller
Progcast Editor Stuart Fuller and Stan Lahood
Club Photographer James Boyes

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  1. The £22.8m fee Liverpool paid to Ajax for Suarez’s signature was an Anfield record that lasted for two hours until the Reds handed over £35m to Newcastle for Andy Carroll.
  2. Kenny Dalglish
  3. In front of a 34,748 Old Trafford crowd the non-leaguers held their own and came away with a 1-1 draw. The replay the following Thursday attracted a crowd of 49,119 – it was played at Highbury – but the dream ended for the non-leaguers with United winning 5-2.
  4. Sam Cole scored twice in the 3-2 win
  5. Carshalton’s 99 mile trip to Brightlingsea Regent is the longest journey of the night