Southam United FC
Ground Number: 429
Saturday 1st November 2014
Southam United 1-5 Cleethorpes Town
FA Vase 1st Round
Originally on this day, the plan was to do a double of Hythe Town v Guernsey, another game at 3PM. Guernsey's games are very often kicked off at 12.45PM due to them showing it live on TV on the island. It would also give me a chance to meet my mate Louis who supports Hythe. But then the FA Trophy intervened and prevented the game going ahead, with it being scheduled for another day. In any case, I had spotted another potential meet. Southam United were playing Cleethorpes Town in the FA Vase, and the visitors were offering a free coach. As most of my Grimsby supporting pals lived up that way, they said they would all come down for the game, and so it would represent a good opportunity to catch up. The draw for the FA Trophy was supposed to be regionalised as far as I know, but this draw represented a long 240-mile round journey for the men from North Lincolnshire, whilst I would only be having to do half of that mileage.
Southam United were formed in 1905. They played in local leagues around Coventry and Warwickshire for the first 75 years of their history, joining the Midland League in 1980. The first few years of this brought mixed success with them moving around the divisions, but since 1995 they have been a permanent fixture in the Premier Division, finishing as runners-up twice. In 2008/09. they got to the FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round, beating Boldmere St Michaels, Lye Town and Gornal Athletic, before losing to Atherstone Town. On every other occasion, they have exited at the first hurdle. In the FA Vase they reached the 2nd Round in 2012/13, so today would give them a chance to at least match that, should they win. Before the game they were mid-table in the Midland Football League, having finished 10th in the Midland Football Combination last season.
Cleethorpes Town are a relatively young club, having only come into existence in 1998. They only changed their name to Cleethorpes Town in 2010, having previously known as Lincolnshire Soccer School, and merging with LCC Lucarlys. They joined the Lincolnshire League in that year, finishing in 3rd place and being Champions the following season. That allowed them to be promoted to the NCEL Division 1. After finishing 4th in their first season, they were champions last season and take their place in the NCEL Premier, with serious ambitions to make it further up the football pyramid. This season saw them debut in the FA Cup and they made the very best of it, beating higher league opponents Gresley and Carlton Town, the former in a 5-4 thriller at their home ground. Sadly, North Ferriby United of the Conference North defeated them 2-1 but they gave a seriously good account of themselves. In the FA Vase, they have only had 2 seasons in the competition, last season they reached the 2nd Round before losing 6-1 to Morpeth Town. At present, they are 7th in the NCEL Premier, but have a few games in had to push them right up amongst the frontrunners should they win them. I previously saw them defeat Grimsby Borough last year in the Lincolnshire Trophy and had a great night with good mates.
I'd been to a game on the Friday night before the game at Barton Rovers in the FA Youth Cup as they lost 2-0 to AFC Sudbury. It was only a revisit, but at least I picked up a teamsheet this time, which was my main objective, having not got a programme from my last visit. I stayed up quite late watching TV and looking on the net, so I only got 4 hours sleep, getting up at 8am. After a shower and breakfast, I started researching for this blog and saw that Southam United were getting a new ground within a few years, so I was glad to get this one in while I can. I had to take my 'old' phone in to be fixed down in Wycombe, so I left around 11.45am.
I took it in, and after briefly talking to the guy in there, I dropped it off and he said to come back in 90 minutes. I told him I would be back next week as I had to get off. I went to Poundworld to get a few bits for the game, before walking back to my car. It was 11.50 by the time I left, good progress was made up the M40 and I was at the ground just after 2.
I paid my fiver to get in, and also got a well-presented programme for £1. First port of call was the bar, where I got a pint of Magners for £2.80. I stuck to the one as I was driving, and certainly did not get as drunk as Mark who I met for the first time. He was bladdered last night, and was sick over a lad called Lewis, who I met the last time I saw Cleethorpes play last year. I had a go on the half time football card draw, picking Wycombe and chatted further to the travelling Clee Army. For the game we took our place in the back row of the big stand and had a bit of a sing-song. I stood next to my good mate Kieran for the game, and we had a good old chat about football. It was a happy day for us both, because as well as Clee winning, both Wycombe and Grimsby were
AFTER THE GAME
I said my goodbyes to all my mates. It was sad to leave them and I wish we lived nearer, especially Kieran who also likes groundhopping as much as me. But it was good to catch up with him and William, and also meet Robert, Mark, Sam, Bam and Chris for the first time. The journey home was just as good as the journey there, and I was back home by 6.10. I had dinner, then spent the rest of the night relaxing before the weekly ritual of Match Of The Day.
Happily, Wycombe came from behind to win the M40 derby at Oxford 2-1, in turn ending their mini run of 2 poor results. Grimsby also beat Dartford 3-0 so it was a happy crowd at the game. Elsewhere in the Vase Atherton Colleries had an 8-0 win at Daisy Hill in a local derby that attracted over 600 fans in a recent Friday night game over at Atherton.
Entry: £5, Programme: £1, Magners: £2.80, Fuel Costs: £15.
BANBURY ROAD is a decent ground, especially for step 6. Pride of place goes to a large stand, holding over 200 and which goes pretty high and offers good views. Opposite, and the side you go in offers covered standing for around 350 whilst the rest of the ground is open.
The bar is your standard clubhouse fare, and with lots of club related stuff on display. The food is not that great, offering just rolls, although the town is a 10-minute walk away if you have time. They were a nice club, and as they are moving ground in the not so distant future, they are well worth a visit