Saturday, 24 July 2010

Canvey Island v FC Twente

Twente/20 Vision

Canvey Island 0-5 FC Twente (24:07:10)

I know, brilliant isn't it? Just to recap that's Canvey Island v FC Twente. The Gulls, or if you prefer, The Islanders play in the 7th tier of English football. That's the Isthmian League Premier Division which isn't quite the same as The Tukkers (Tukkers!) who play in the Dutch Premier League aka The Eredivisie - which they won last season.

Now for the semi-downside. This wasn't the FC Twente first team and Schteve McClaren is no longer their boss. His departure caused huge controversy, incurring the wrath of environmental campaigners when he moved from his solar powered windmill in old Enschede to an enormous new abode in Wolfsburg powered by VW 6-cylinder engines.

This was my first visit to the Brockwell Stadium for 15 years. That visit - for a November FA Cup tie against Brighton - was marred by sporadic outbreaks of toe-to-toe fighting between fans. Fast forward to 2010 and the only fighters in town were Ricky Hatton and David Haye who - along with Iron Maiden and Razorlight - were there to play at charity match for the Indee Rose Trust the following day.

Before the match 'Game a Day' John, Mr Fuller and I supped a pint in the Lobster Smack. The very same pub that featured in Dickens Great Expectations. We leave no cultural stone unturned on these trips and this was, ahem, a classic start to the afternoon. Actually, the only great expectation we had was to sneak in a cheeky visit to Concord Rangers FC which is only a hop, skip and a jump from Canvey Island's ground.

Have you ever been to a stadium when there isn't a match on to try and get in and have a good root around? Chances are if you're reading this then you have. Once you've made the effort to get there, getting in is suddenly the most important thing in your life. Happily, we didn't have to face the indignity of scaling a wall to gain entry as we hit the 'magic door' jackpot early on.

Cliff Larkin is the Concord Rangers' Chairman's Brother-in-law. I know this because Mr Larkin was at the ground doing some pre-season bit and bobs and didn't mind the fact three loons had pitched up for a butchers. He showed us around and purred at the prospect of a local derby because brilliantly - for the first time in years - they're in the same division. Cavney Island v Concord Rangers (December 27) and Concord Rangers v Canvey Island (April 27) were immediately inked into our diaries.

Feeling supersonic. Cliff, Game a day John and Stuart at Concord Rangers.

Van der Twente.

Alright below sea level bloke?

What's not to like?

Craig Johnson eat your heart out. Leon Gordon models the new Predator boot.

I could have stayed for hours but there was a match to attend. Stuart and I were shown to the press entrance to collect our passes. Our names were ticked off on a sheet and then we were escorted back around to the turnstile and told to pay our £8 like everyone else. £8 to see FC Twente at the only ground in England below sea level? I'd have paid thrice that. To celebrate we shelled out another 7 notes for a CIFC scarf to take back to the Lewes FC Clubhouse - which is coming along nicely since you asked.

I'm not generally a fan of pre-season friendlies but standing on the terrace at the Brockwell Stadium in glorious sun-she-ine with perfect cloud formations (give me strength - Ed.) and the Dutch champions in town isn't the worst way to spend an afternoon. Throw in a few pints in the Corner Flag pub coupled with some total football on the pitch and Bob's yer uncle and Fanny's yer aunt.

FC Twente were brilliant. They had the locals clapping in appreciation and nodding their heads with every silky pass. Jules Reimerink gave a faultless display and at one stage, as the Dutch goals were racking up, it looked as though this would turn into a Twente20 match (brilliant - Ed.). Credit to Canvey though, they never gave up and deserved something for their efforts - he said desperately trying not to sound patronising.

Jules Reimerink still gleaming.

Floody hell. Luckily the tide was out.

Wildlife and floodlights *blows out cheeks*

Now then, normally at this juncture I'd be winding up and telling you how we went home via Teddy Sherringham and Anton Ferdinand's house. We did do that but that's another story. Canvey Island is the name of a song by indie rock outfit British Sea Power and they'd played a legendary gig there a few years ago. That song was *pushes glasses up nose* the fifth song on their third album 'Do You Like Rock Music?'. So how about getting Martin Noble from the band to come on EFW and answer a few questions? Three words spring to mind here: Award, winning and blog.

Back off NME. British Sea Power on EFW.

Hi Martin, thanks for talking to EFW. Do you have any memories of that infamous Canvey Island gig at Monico Hall? I remember that show well. That day was really busy. We were up about 5 to get there to film a piece on Canvey Island for 'CountryFile', and then another a piece for 'The Culture Show' Just prior to the gig we got to have a 5-aside match with Canvey Island at the Brockwell Stadium. It made us realise how fit and athletic teams are even in lower divisions. And made us realise how unfit people in bands are. They let us score a few goals, and we all got full Canvey Island kits. We left the ground and only had 30 minutes before stage time. We were knackered and tired and completely sober, so we had half an hour of fast drinking and then on stage - still in our Canvey Island football kits. Wilko Johnson from Dr Feelgood joined us on stage too. I remember jumping on his shoulders and thinking i'd break his back, but Wilko is still as strong as an Ox

What inspired the 'Canvey Island' song? It was inspired by a succession of bits of information reaching Yans brain. In one week he heard stories of the Canvey Island floods on Radio 4, in newspapers and just general conversation, and he wrote it all down and added it to a piece of music we'd recorded.

Are all the lads in the band football fans and who do you all support? Me and Phil are the biggest football fans. I support Bury and Man United, and Phil follows Shrewsbury. Woody and Yan were following the World Cup. Yan made a few bets on Ghana following a witch doctors advice and I made £50. We all support Canvey Island too.

You recorded a World Cup song 'Football (kick it in the goal)' come about? I'm in in a Jonathan Richman covers band with Matt Eaton, Darren Moon, Hamilton (from BSP) and sometimes Marc Beatty (Brakes). We liked having fun musically. Good wholesome vibes only. We got obsessed with Calypso and Matt found a song on Youtube which is a Calypso song about the re-naming of Grenedas airport to "Maurice Bishop International Airport". After sending round bits of music to each other we decided to cobble together a World Cup song. We wanted to poke a little bit of fun at footballers because we're jealous of how much they earn a week, so we pictured them running around the field like Dandys and having bubble baths together. The song doesn't actually mention England.

If it hadn't of been for England exiting on an oily stage against Germany then that would've been a shoe-in for a No.1 right? It should have been No.1 yeah!. We didn't give it radio sheen though, nor did we send it to Radio.

Have the band embraced Twitter or is that just a waste of electricity as John Lydon said last week? BSP have just embraced Twitter, but in a small way. It's easy to knock it. The bits that put lots of people off put me off as well, but it's essentially a way of getting bits of information to people quickly. It's a tool, You can use it in many ways. You can use Nuclear fission in many ways. We don't mention what we had for tea, or our thoughts on jeans and crisps.

And finally, any new material or forthcoming gigs you want to promote? We've just finished a new EP and an Album. The EP will be out this Autumn, and a single off the new album will be out this year too....Album due in January.

It really happened.

For loads more photos from the day CLICK ME or for a professional angle head, check these out from the always brilliant David Bauckham HERE and some equally superb shots from Simon Roe THERE.

The Ball is Round version.

- Feel free to comment below -


Ian Clark said...

Marvellous stuff as ever from EFW which personally I have to say I find to be a psp (perennial source of pleasure). Where is the Lobster Shack and why weren't we in there on that Sunday morning 15 years ago? From memory pre-match was a few tins of Stella outside a Spar just up the road from the ground? Still don't understand quite why there was such an air of menace that day and running street battles more in keeping with an Istanbul derby? Secondly hats off to EFW for informing me that Concord Rangers are Canvey's other team. Had no idea!

Danny Last said...

Thanks Mr Clark. It was certainly a lot more sedate and civilised than that game 15 years (15 years!) ago.

The Lobster Smack is about three miles from the ground which is why we probably opted to drink cans of cider on the kerb last time.

Did I mention that we watched the first half with a couple of Dutch darts players? Joey ten Berge (Ranked 7th in the BDO) and Willy van den Wiel - of course Willy van den Wiel (ranked 9th).

Yours in Sport


therealfacup said...

You missed a bit ... FC Twente warmed up for the game with a behind closed doors game against Ipswich Reserves on Friday afternoon - and lost 3-0. I only really mention this to wonder if you or any of your esteemed readers have ever watched a behind closed doors friendly?

Danny Last said...

I did miss that. I also neglected to mention that I spoke in Dutch (I'd had a couple of bevingtons) to their coach. He told me they were using Southend as a training camp for the week - hence this game taking place.

Behind closed doors friendly you say *strokes chin* the closest I came was Brighton v York City. The original game had been abandoned as Albion fans tore down the goalposts in a protest against the board. The re-match was played behind closed doors at 11am on a weekday morning, save for a few hundred York fans who'd been given free tickets and travel as sort of 'sorry' for the initial game. I sneaked in as well. It was very surreal.

Anyone else had a 'behind closed doors' experience?

Jason Fenner said...

Dan almost 100% sure the game against York City was not behind closed doors as I paid to get in. Believe it was 11:00 kick off on Thursday morning and a crowd off just under 2000 were present. York had to win or score three goals to stay up which they did both after the Albion went 1 nil up.

Danny Last said...

By jove, that's correct Fenners. So in answer to the question; No, I've never seen a game behind closed doors, and, will use any excuse to wheel out the Brighton v York City story. Least we forget, that original game was the lead story on the 9 o'clock news that night read by the delightful Moira Stewart.

Mr Brook said...

EFW and BSP in one, thought I'd only ever see those two together in my badge collection!

Danny Last said...

What a splendid badge collection you must have Mr Brook - a bit of class.

British Sea Power are now on Twitter by the way at @BSPofficial and brilliantly, this is them on Countryfile in Canvey Island:

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Great article. I sometimes miss quintessential British pubs living in the US and the Lobster Smack looks great (Not Shack as I daydreamed and told the missus who is from lobster country, Maine). Twente20 joke made me laugh and finding out BSP were on Country File (double take, really?) was a nice touch.

And there is a UK ground below sea level? Who knew!


1860er said...

A game behind closed doors? No, not for me yet. I tried very hard at Dinamo Bucharest v Panathinaikos in last season's Europa League but security was tight.

Dinamo had to play 2 of their 3 group matches behind closed doors (Galatasaray was the other match, when Sturm Graz came, fans were welcome again).