Monday, 14 December 2009

2009 European Football Weekends Awards

In the rare moments when we are not picking up awards here at EFW, we like to dish them out ourselves. Following the relative success of our 2008 ceremony, we had a little think tank here at EFW Towers and decided that we should end the year with a look back on 2009. Why change a winning formula!? So, without further ado, roll up and enjoy the 2009 EFW Awards:

Highlight of 2009

Take 32 lads from all around Europe, add in four games of football in two different countries in three days and enough beer to sink a small battleship and that - in a nutshell -was the inaugural EFW Oktoberfest. An event so successful that we're going to do it all again next year. Happy days and no mistake.

Most over the top pre-match

We had some silly/inspired ideas during 2009 but none more so than trying to drink in every pub in Walton-Upon-Thames before the Walton Casuals v Walton and Hersham local derby.

Best atmosphere

There's been a few goodies this year but the best atmosphere for a game I attended was for the St Etienne v Bordeaux "love in". There was a deafening noise throughout and the ultras at both ends of the stadium give it everything - how it should be. We also bonded with a group of Bordeaux fans on the trip who are still friends to this day.

Worst atmosphere

It's an unbelievable sight and a cathedral of football and all that but there is simply no atmosphere at the Camp Nou - nada. I went for the Barca v Real Mallorca match. The football is great, as it the city but the fans just simply can't be arsed.

Best ultras photo

You'd do well to top Beavis and Butt-head at St Albans wouldn't you!? If you haven't already signed up for the Merstham Ultras Appreciation Society then what are you waiting for?

Best cuddle

I don't make a habit of cuddling blokes but this one had to be done. When a chap you sponsor knocks in - what at the time I thought was - the winning goal for Lewes, then runs towards you as you're doing star jumps down the terrace, what else are you mean to do?

Best press pass blag

I don't make any money out of EFW, in fact I turn down about two offers of sponsorship every week, but I do get the odd press pass for my troubles. Blagging one for Wembley Stadium and Lords in the same day though was rather special.

Good Lord(s).

Best merchandise

The runner up in this keenly fought category are these wonderful Rot-Weiss Essen Christmas decorations, which are currently looking resplendent on the EFW Xmas Tree as I type.

The winning bit of kit though is the old Hansa Rostock bunting - which Nick Waterhouse is seen here holding aloft. Why doesn't every team sell bunting? Exactly the sort of thing we'd like to see in the newly refurbished Lewes FC clubhouse project, which we are undertaking early in the New Year. (keep your stuff coming in for that by the way - Ed).

Best celebrity with the EFW logo

Nowadays, fans and celebrities alike queue up to have their photo taken with the EFW logo. Pub landlord Al Murray looked stunned to have met us here and gets the runners up prize. The week after this was taken Al went on to host the Q awards. A coincidence? I don't think so.

The winner though is England cricketing legend and Ashes winner Jimmy Anderson. Follow Jimmy on Twitter for some good banter.

Best hat

When we pitched up at Wolfsburg earlier in the year, this bit of headgear understandably blew us away. Five FIFA stars to this German lady. I take my hat off to her.

Best pre-match pub

Lots of contenders here; Nailsworth, Essen, Southampton, Siena etc but the winner was the Llanelli FC clubhouse. 2,000 Motherwell fans in full voice for four hours and all of them wanted to buy me a beer. Thanks a million - what a day!

Best post match pub

Cynical Dave and I tried out most of the pubs in Aberdeen after the match against Celtic. This one though was something else. Look behind the hype (it was featured on Britain's Roughest Pubs) and the masking tape holding the tables together - Peep Peeps is a great boozer. We received the warmest of welcomes in there. Class in a glass.

Best video of 2009

Cynical Dave doing his Roy Hodgson impression just shades him and Stoffers swinging a fast shoe in Havant. I can't seem to post videos on this site these days so you'll just have to click on the links. 1) Roy Hodgson 2) Disco Dave and Stomping Stoffers Part 1 and if you will Part 2.

Most self indulgent photo/bigging yourself up moment

This category was suggested by Big Deaks and Cynical Dave. Plenty to choose from of course but Essen (above) and Llanelli (below) appear to be fine examples!

Worst day/game

We normally have the day of our lives on awaydays, pretty much without exception. However, at Braintree v Lewes; I broke my camera, we lost 3-0, to get there we had to do battle with London commuters on the worlds hottest train and to cap it all off - I had to go easy on the pre-match beers because I had to pen an actual report for the Lewes website and match programme.

Best ground

It doesn't have to be an 80,000 all seater to impress me. These were the three new grounds that I fell in love with this year. In third place St Albans, Clarence Park (above). Surrounded by trees, terracing and a splendid old main stand.

Bromley's Hayes Lane is the runner up. Fantastic modern facilities behind the scenes combined with an old skool ground. The perfect combination in my book.

The winner, by a nose is Princes Park, Dartford. It's easy to see why this stadium has won hatfuls of awards. It's ecologically sound, it's got a grass (grass!) roof all the way around, it's got solar panels, it's totally sustainable and it creates it's own electricity. Some argue it's the best ground in the country. I agree.

Favourite photos

Runner up is this one of the Maidenhead keeper. I love it because it was taken during the match. Cheeky as you like but a classic EFW moment. Hats at a jaunty angle to Chris Tardif - legend!

This was my favourite photo of 2009. We developed a bit of a thing for staying in clubhouses after matches this season, then having a "bit of fun" on the pitch afterwards. This photo at Bromley sums that up perfectly. Big Deaks saving a penalty with the EFW logo whilst Stuart Fuller (arms in classic ten to two pose) celebrates behind the goal. This is what EFW days out are all about.

So that's it folks. The year in which we fell in love with non-league football and moreover Lewes FC - as well as our European trips. The year in which I was offered a role at FourFourTwo magazine which didn't come to light because they wanted me to shut this site down and write for them - for nothing. The year in which after a year of joking about it, we actually won something in the form of a When Saturday Comes Bronze Award. The year in which we arranged a trip for 32 people to drink beer and watch football, which turned out to be the best three days of 2009. The year in which we set up a succesful EFW Facebook group (with over 350 members) and Twitter account. The year in which I made friends for life at Lewes, Forest Green Rovers, Rot-Weiss Essen, Royal Antwerp, Hansa Rostock, Bordeaux, Motherwell, Hampton and Richmond and many many more. The year in which I probably talked too much nonsense. The year in which our 100,000th hit is about to occur on this site. That year, was 2009 and I loved every minute of it. More of the same in 2010!? I think so - see you there X

- feel free to comment below -


Matt Le Ross said...

*cough* The LIP!? *cough cough*

Danny Last said...

Of course, how could I forget to mention The Lip!:

It is the unofficial Leatherhead FC website run by the genial Matt Le Ross.

So kind is Mr Le Ross, that he has agreed to send us a Tanners scarf for the Lewes FC clubhouse reburbishment. Cheers!

Rob said...

Just found this site weeks ago. As a Yank I'm truly jealous of the opportunity you have to travel Europe and see the cathedrals of the game but also the true sense of it with non-leaguers as well.

Being only 20 I hope to do somewhat of the same with Ice Hockey and the NHL over here, but its not the same because of the atmosphere involved with football.

Looking forward to reading about 2010.

gaz said...

great stuff

happy with 3rd place, Yep Dartford is a great ground tho the strip lighting at night was akin to 4 hours at a supermarket

as for Beavis and Butthead , that'll be Shakey (Parkinsons) and Wolfman (oirish and doesnt shut up)
both ever present tho so Uber Ultras

all great stuff
love and hugs

the G

Danny Last said...

@Rob - welcome aboard the good ship EFW my friend, I hope you enjoy the ride.

@Gaz - St Albans was one of the best days out last season and Beavis and Butt-head are legends! Hope to see you down the Pan for the rearranged match later in the season.

Si said...

Dartford? Like watching a game at a leisure centre. Great shop though.