Thursday, 26 January 2006

H&'Dub Foundations: Wrist-slap/bitch-slap

The race for the Conference South title just got that little bit more interesting yesterday, as did the rivalry between H&W and Weymouth. Up to now, they've resisted any two-way rivalry as, in their words, they have the bigger fish of Dorchester and Yeovil to fry.

However our 2-1 victory over them earlier this month, which halted their headlong rush to the title and kept us in with a very decent shout, threw up several issues to raise their ire.

Firstly, we had some folks there, pretending to be our fans, trying to cause a ruck with their hefty travelling support. I hope they never come anywhere near WLP again.

Also, one of our goals came as the result of a ball-boy throwing on a new ball to be used for a throw-in. Conference South rules do not permit multi-ball apparently, only when the ball goes out of the ground should it be changed over. First I knew of it, but there we go. However the reports that were doing the rounds just after the game were suggesting the ball-boy had taken the throw. Ludicrous, of course.

The following Tuesday, Weymouth played Farnborough. A Farborough fan reported on the ConfSouth forum, "You wouldn't believe it if you had seen it with your own eyes. A pigeon took the corner that lead to Weymouth's goal." I imagine this has a similar fact-basis.

However the biggest bone of contention was that we had played their ex- Tony Taggart in the game when a gentleman's agreement was in place that we should not. This despite the fact that he was released by Weymouth after which we signed him up. So, not a case of ineligibility, but more a case of bringing the game into disrepute.

Weymouth complained to the Conference over this, and it has been decreed that the game should be replayed, under cup tie conditions so that gate money is shared. While I make no defence case for our conduct, this does seem a little harsh and several of the more level-headed Weymouth fans have said the same. However, if we appeal to the FA, they could well decide a points deduction is more appropriate, a replay would at least give us a chance of retaining those 3 points.

It'll be interesting to see how this turns out and I hope this gives our club a kick in the arse regarding it's Chelsea-esque approach to, not so much the laws of the game, but the morality of it. Although I'd rather it doesn't take a points deduction or replay defeat for that to hit home.

These he-can't-play-against-us-clauses seem a bit bizarre to me, but in fairness that is a side issue now.


Anonymous said...

You know I sometimes fondly imagine that non-league football operates in some sort of innocent Corinthian haven where unsullied sporting values prevail... but of course closer inspection reveals that the Havant/ Weymouth rivalry contains just as much history of simmering, petty resentment and unresolved rage as, say, the rivalry between Gary Neville and the Liverpool fans, or the one between Robbie Savage and everyone else in the whole wide world.

It's sad in a way to find out the unromantic truth- but I am grateful to you for reminding me how the real non-league world differs from the patronising Roy of the Rovers version bandied about by Football Focus and the like whenever the FA cup comes to outposts like Burton, Burscough and Worcester...

skif said...

Aye, I'm glad that the BBC and Sky do acknowledge the 20,000 Leagues under the Premiership sea (well, the first 6 or 7 anyway), but you are right, it's often in that 'salt of the earth' cutesy way, which suggests it doesn't really matter.

The stakes may well be lower, but for those involved with it, wrapped in it, obsessed by it, it matters very much indeed.