September 12 2017: without a city wall

Willington’s probably a couple of miles nearer Durham than is Consett, last season’s ground share, but poor old City must still feel a long way from home.

Club chairman Olivier Bernard insists in the programme for tonight’s match with Bedlington Terriers that “despite all the rumours” they’re still actively exploring new ground options.

Olivier’s also described as the “owner”. I often wonder what it is that these guys own.

As well as new tenants, Hall Lane has also gained a very handsome new terrace, built in memory of Jackie Foster – a tremendous tribute to a tremendous guy.

Storm Aileen’s on its way, they reckon, the wind still calm but the first half rain torrential. In the circumstances, a paying crowd of 65 doesn’t seem bad. The crack beneath the cover behind the goal is diverting, the match in the circumstances excellent.

City, who’ve drawn their last five, go 4-0 down before two cracking goals of their own in the last 15 minutes.  If  only we could sort out kick-off times – the programme and the paper say 7 30, the website and the ref say 7 45 – all would be right with the world.

*Bedlington have had a good run in the blog of late. Former Terriers vice-chairman John Garbutt writes with memories of Bob Rich’s well-remembered involvement, and of the American cookie king’s decision to send ideas man Eric Edelstein over here – a sort of larn yersel’ marketing.

Some of Eric’s wheezes were (shall we say) perhaps better than others. Particularly John remembers the attempt to introduce “twosome blankets” – “a couple of blokes would sit in the stand, snuggled up on cold nights.”

Then there was the notion of a spot prize – pie sausage roll, whatever – every time the ball went out of play and the American practice of playing organ music to ramp up excitement at corner kicks.

“I can just imagine the reaction at Tow Law on a cold December evening,” says John.

Eric has since advised Durham County Cricket Club and launched Reno 1868, a soccer team in the US.  John and he remain friends, together in the North-East only last month.

“It’s just,” says John, “that he took a bit of telling.”

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