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Frickley AFC
Frickley AFC

There’s only one F in Frickley

By: Chris Smith
Date: 30/07/2009

OR so says the last T-shirt in the club shop which didn't come in extra-muscular size (or XXL to the rest of you slobs). I therefore had to pass on the chance to add something to my collection of football memorabilia.

I'd like to thank everyone who read my article about Goole last week, and the police, the returning officer and everyone who voted for me. Sorry, I was just daydreaming about a quick get rich scheme...Anyway, I like to think it provided a positive view of non-league football, something Town fans have feared for a number of seasons. After Goole, Frickley is the ground I most like visiting for a wind-down from the trials and tribulations of being a Mariner.

I therefore had a look at the pre-season fixtures, and hot on the heels of watching Goole play Ossett Town on Tuesday, I saw Frickley were at home to a Sheffield Wednesday X1 on the Wednesday. Knowing Ponte Mariner only lives up the road, indeed Frickley falls within Pontefract’s boundaries, I thought he might be interested. He was, and we arranged to meet up at the ground.

I thought Eddie would probably get there before me so made him programme monitor, although an early arrival at work in Leeds that day meant I was finished early and heading up to the ground from South Elmsall station just after 6pm for a 7pm kick-off. I struck a deal with Eddie that I would take on the onerous task of getting the progs and settling up for the Grimsby issues Big Jim has been getting us if he got the pies and peas at the ground. It also meant I could sit down and not get soaked queuing up for them when the imminent rainstorm came.

It’s a ten minute walk up Westfield Lane from the station to the ground but I wonder how much money the club has lost over the years because the Non-League Yearbook stated that the stadium was two miles from the station rather than the ½ it actually is. I didn't go for years because I didn't think I'd make the last train to Donny. I was glad I did arrive early because a few minutes after getting in, the promised thunderstorm arrived and I was grateful for the cover of the large seated stand to the right of the entrance. It was £5 tonight, a bargain and a decent programme for a quid. There were plenty of adverts in it, which testified again to the efforts that have to be made for commercial sponsorship in what is an economically depressed area, more of which later. They did have a write-up of the Barnsley game the previous week, which attracted a gate of 1,008 (or more than I heard we got against Scunny in the Lincs Cup).

I had a chinwag with the bloke who was selling the progs and nipped in to the club shop where the usual friendly woman was there helping out along with her kids whilst her husband (a Luton fan!) was busy on ground duties. I know I've got my own issues in the past with Luton fans, but to be fair, I have met the odd decent one and there are probably plenty of them. I went to Frickley quite a bit last year and we always had a yarn. He understandably felt, that whilst Luton had been caught "at it" so to speak, they were paying for the sins of other clubs as well. Shenanigans at Darlo and Bournemouth and Rotherham’s sudden wealth this summer would bear that out. I've always thought administration = relegation, end of.

The article continues in Part Two

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