Larkhall: One Fans View

Hereford drew 2-2 at Larkhall Athletic yesterday in the Southern League, Division One – South & West visiting the Bath club’s picturesque Plain Ham Ground. Here is one Hereford fans’ experience.

This was my first ever visit to Larkhall. After securing a parking space 200 metres short of ‘Mount Lark’ summit, I trudged up the remainder of the hill past chickens receiving their feed and allotments on a hillside, Bath’s own version of the Balinese Paddy Fields.

At the ‘ticket office’ which looked remarkably like a raffle ticket station at a garden fete, I encountered two friendly, poorly equipped staff members who delivered their service with a smile. This warming welcome was also reflected at the ‘hole in the wall’ refreshment booth, sensible prices and decent offerings.

The club house was small and cosy, fit for purpose is all that needs to be said.

This is where the pleasant experience ended for me and moved swiftly towards what is unfortunately becoming a common occurrence.

The official in the middle was simply not a suitable appointment and the occasion was too big for him. The linesman over the far side tried his best but the disgusting barrage of foul mouthed abuse he took from some Larkhall players was absolutely unacceptable. The linesman remarked that he had been looking forward to the match but was now not enjoying it.

The Larkhall number 7 (totally unfit to warrant wearing a captain’s armband), the number 9, who was simply worthy of a slap and the number 11 who was the whiniest, moaning little child I have ever come across in my football experiences, were all disgraceful examples of what is wrong with football. As for the Larkhall keeper – embarrassing!

We lost points because our tactics are to try to play football. We are now facing teams that see a point against us as a measure of their progress. The negative aspect of this achievement is that it is a point at all costs. That requires astute, effective refereeing to see what is going on. Unfortunately we are not being provided with this.

We scored a good opener, our football on a bog of a pitch, deserved a 0-3 lead. Their equaliser was justified albeit against the run of play. The penalty was a stone-waller. We continued to press but were thwarted by thuggery and inept refereeing. Larkhall equalised through a miscommunication and a well executed finish. Deserving of a draw? Never!

As I stood by the exit for ten minutes prior to the end, a foul mouthed cockney sounding clown, was bleating about how if he’d have been playing he’d have ‘snapped Joel in two’ at that sickening tackle. My response disappointed me as I advised him that his pathetic and childish attitude reflected that of the players and there was more danger in him tripping Joel up with his overactive tongue!

Possibly the first time I have lost my temper at a match for a while but there is something about the region that is seeing us dropping points to sides who are getting away with kicking us up in the air!

It may not be a ‘tinpot league’ but it’s certainly got teams with plenty of ‘tinpot players’ in them!

There – that’s more reflective of what I saw!

Andrew ‘Dodsy’ Graham

Image Courtesy of Bulls News

1 Comment

  1. Paul Lark

    As a Larks supporter (who helped in the stewarding on the day), I do not recognise your description of our club or our players. I certainly can’t think who the “foul mouthed cockney sounding clown” is but he does not sound like any Larkhall follower I know (whoever he was there is no justifying his comments). The description of some of our players as thuggish is over the top and very one-eyed. There were certainly some fouls in what was a combative match played on a difficult pitch. I would certainly ‘call out’ any bad fouls whoever commits them but do not recognise your version of events. A number of players overreacted to tackles on both sides and this, combined with the hysterical response of some Bulls supporters whenever a tussle failed to go their way, made officiating in that atmosphere difficult. Just because you were unable to beat a ‘village team’ you resort to a patronising, entitled and passive-aggresive attitude towards a fellow community club. I met many lovely Hereford people on the day who were able to accept that you can’t win every week and should not expect to do so, whatever the conditions. After all, I don’t remember too many people blaming the awful Edgar Street pitch for Newcastle’s FAC defeat in 1972 and neither should they! Good luck for the rest of the season and don’t panic – you are going to win the league!

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