New season! New start! New hope! To halftime at least.

Albion started their 2017/18 league campaign with a thumping from SWAG, with it all being documented on film by Albion’s own Nick Broomfield, Chaz Baxendale.

The best “Twigg”? You decide.

The Albion started brightly with some slick passing from the midfield and forwards, in particular from Will in centre midfield. It was one of the wee man’s through balls which allowed Chaz to break clear, round the goalie and slot in, to put the Albion 1 nil up on the half hour mark. Drought, what drought!

The first half finished with SWAG getting a foothold in the game and eventually equalising with a fantastic scissor kick.

SWAG started the second half as they finished the first, with the Albion being under constant pressure from the whistle. Following a foul nearly 30 yards from goal, the SWAG left back stepped up to fire a freekick at the Albion goal. Whilst the shot at first appeared tame, it bounced around the 6 yard box and sprung up and over the diving Luke in the Albion goal.

Later investigations revealed that the ball bounced perfectly on a twig, causing the ball to fly up and leave the Albion 2-1 down.

Shortly after the restart, Albion right back and debutant Borja challenged for a high ball and fell awkwardly onto the deck. Borja needed to leave the field for immediate treatment, which was provided by Stew in the form of a sling and safety pin. Whilst Albion first aider, Bill filmed the whole proceedings before eventually helping secure the sling.

I’m not sure what happened after this as I walked Borja to get an Uber to St. George’s, I just know when I returned the score was 5-1 to SWAG.

At least I got to see the last goal, which made it 6-1 to SWAG.

Despite a dispiriting result and in Albion tradition, we still voted for MOM and HL.

Borja and Luke tied third with a vote a piece, whilst Will and Chaz tied second with 3 votes each. However, starting up from where he left off last season, Woody won the season’s first MOM with 4 votes.

Henri Leconte was split three ways, firstly with the SWAG #14 picking up a vote for “looking like the kid from Deliverance”.

In second place came the “twig”, for providing a great assist for SWAG’s second goal.

Tied in first with 4 votes each, were Albion first aider Bill and Chazza “Ford Coppola”, both for offenses involving a camera. Firstly, Bill for filming Borja as he left the field in agony and then for Chaz “M Knight” Baxendale documenting the collapse of the Albion and filming the warm-up from behind a lamppost.

The video documentary is soon to be released in the club shop, along such classics as “5 Yards : The Complete Collection of passes by Neil Joliffe”, “High and Wide : The Complete Collection of free kicks by Jindy Mann” and “The Only Way is Nick Evans : Ibiza Pre-Season Tour 2016/17 (UNCUT)”.

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Parklife Striker : Not too happy

Albion could have been forgiven for approaching their penultimate game of the season against Parklife with a sense of complacency.  The annual task of simply having more players than one other team (also known as ‘staying up’) was complete and their final game against Hammersmith Town scheduled in alongside the completion of Crossrail sometime in 2026.

Instead, riding the wave of a recent upturn in form, Albion looked to make amends for the away performance against Parklife and starting brightly, snapping into challenges and looking to exact revenge for that awful Christmas parody single.  After the opening exchanges Albion looked to assert their dominance and Woody – no doubt angry that he didn’t get MoM last week despite being away – seized on a second ball in the Parklife box only to be hauled down.  Joliffe stepped up and put the ball to the keeper’s right.
Moments later, Woody – likely still angry – seized on another ball and was hauled down again.  Joliffe stepped up and put the ball to the keeper’s right.  The referee blew for encroachment and the penalty had to be retaken.  Joliffe stepped up and put the ball to the keeper’s right. 2-0.
Albion kept up the pressure and Chaz was unlucky not to usurp Alex Wichelo in the goalscoring charts when the Parklife keeper tipped over from point blank range.  No further scores before half time.
Albion fought throughout the second period, missing a handful of a good chances but crucially remaining sturdy at the back.  This, much to the frustration of the Parklife striker who, after rounding on his own team, decided to leave the field in a strop on the final whistle.  Presumably it’s a long drive back up to Stoke.
MOM was closely contested by the Albion midfield.  Will Carlisle picked up a couple of votes, one for ‘nerves of steel Neil’ and one, somewhat socialistically, for the ‘whole team’.  Josh takes it this week for a top performance and having curly hair.
Henri Leconte saw a number of nominations for the oppo’s grumpy striker questioning whether he actually ‘wanted to play for Parklife’ and one to Neil for reckless spitting on a football pitch.  However the absolute runaway winner this week was Sean for ‘being at a yoga retreat/being at a meditation retreat/ being a wet lettuce and going to the meditation retreat/being at a meditation retreat to re-align his body’.  Well played.

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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Alex Wichelo!

Sunday saw an Albion first with Alex coming out of goal and scoring twice, to move up to 2 in the goal scoring charts alongside current striker Chaz!

The “Calcium Kid” : “It’s me groin, it’s buggered!”

The tactical change came after Sean “The Calcium Kid”, “Wheatabix Man”, “I can’t believe he’s not butter” Holden hobbled into goal just 5 minutes, following a “groin strain”.

Before Al was to get on the score sheet, the Albion conceded 4 to go in 4 nil down at half-time.

The second half saw the Albion claw 2 back after both teams went down to 10 men, following a double sending off. FC Morden also scored 2 second half goals, meaning the game ended 6-2 to FC Morden.

Such a performance inevitably meant Al picked up “MOM” with 6 votes.

The only other 3 votes went to Stew, for what can only be described as the “ironic/joke vote” for being given his marching orders during the second half.

“Henri Leconte” was a certainty to feature all of the aforementioned and it did.

Chaz picked up a vote for providing the 2 assists to bring Al level with himself in the scoring charts and hating himself whilst doing so!

Stew picked up a vote for his second half misdemeanour.

Sean picked up 3 votes for “being made of play dough” and “outrageously bad in goal” (at least he stayed on).

However, taking the double and winning was Al Wichelo for celebrating like he’d won the World Cup, putting his finger to his lips in a mock gesture to the FC Morden left back – despite the score being 6-1 at the time.

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The Albion faced Battersea Park Rangers in the semi-final of the Frank Blunstone Cup, played over at Wimbledon Extension Pitches.

The absent Will Carlile : Trialling his new birthday bike

Despite a spirited start, the Albion went 1 down around the 30th minute. This was quickly followed by a thunderbolt strike going in off the bar and a badly deflected shot spinning in off the post; meaning the Albion went in 3 down at half-time.

The second half produced few chances of note and in the end BPR added a fourth to comprehensively seal the tie.

Despite the heavy loss, “Man of the Match” was divided between 3 defensive players – which perhaps indicates the way the game went.

Playing at right back, Marcus picked up a couple of votes for third and Jindy came in second with one extra.

Out on his own on 5 was Matt, who takes his second MOM of the season. (Yes Woody did play this week but alas his run stopped).

In the “Henri Leconte” award there were a couple of solitary votes to Tom for arriving late and for BPR’s “screaming midfielder”.

Chaz popped up with a couple of votes, for recreating Jade’s sensual massage on Woody (insert your own innuendo here).

The winner was Sean with 6 votes, who turned up with a jam jar filled with Lucozade and then tried to leave the ground without taking the kit, as he’d “forgot”.

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The Albion continued their New Year’s form, with a 1-1 draw with long-term league rivals Westminster Wanderers.

The pitch was passed playable at 9am, following a sterling effort from the league in getting around all grounds for early morning pitch inspections.

Napolina : The middle class’s running companion.

Whilst the pitch was difficult to play on and despite a bright start from Westminster, the Albion dominated the first half with an assured and confident display.

Midway through the half, Jim P scored a perfectly fine goal with a back post slot. However the referee failed to see it cross the line and ordered the game to continue.

Towards the end of the first half, the irrepressible Woody finally put the Albion ahead with a “slide in” finish – taking his total to 12 for the season.

Unfortunately, Westminster were to later score towards the death of the game with one of their few chances and earned themselves a hard fought draw.

In the “Man of the Match” award, Tim and Neil picked up a vote apiece to tie third. Stew came in second place with 3 votes.

However, with 4 out of 4 in the New Year, Woody wins this week’s “MOM” with 5 votes.

Despite scoring the only goal, Woody picked up 1 vote in the “Henri Leconte”, for his lunging/sliding finish/shot.

Also, picking up solitary votes we’re “Marcus for running 20 miles on Saturday, 3 miles to the game and home again”; “The jogger for running around the pitch with a can of Napolina chopped tomatoes in each hand”; “Jim and Will for setting up a 2 man wall, 20 metres from where the free-kick was taken”; “Poor man’s Akinfenwa coming on to the pitch wearing tights” and “Albion’s four yellow cards”.

However, with 2 votes and in second place, was Nick Evans for losing his boots in the changing room, only to later find them at his seat.

This week’s winner was Stew with 3 votes, for a phase of play which had the purists drawling. Bringing down a looping/spinning ball with his instep, to then spread the ball over 50 yards out to the opposite wing and into the path of onrushing Jim P. With a passing spectator shouting “Zidane” shortly afterwards. (This bit never happened).

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Firstly, sincere apologies to Neil for the delay in getting this up.

Albion followed up their 6-2 win over Huracan in the Frank Blunstone Cup with a 4-3 win in the league.

The loss leaves Huracan rooted to the bottom of the table with zero points with 3 games to play. But it didn’t all go easy for the Albion.

Alex Anselmo : In another one of his hats, thankfully one he left at home.

Alex Anselmo : In another one of his hats, thankfully one he left at home.

In treacherous conditions similar to the previous game, the Albion found themselves 2 down in the first 15 minutes following some sloppy defending and miscommunication at the back.

Steve snatched one back, literally snatching Tom’s shot/goal off him as it went over the line. Huracan responded quickly with another to go 3-1 ahead.

However, following a foul on Nick Milne, Neil stroked a penalty home to make it 3-2 at half time.

Straight from the kick-off the Albion attacked down the right, there was a scramble in the box with Woody stabbing home from inside the box to bring it equal at 3-3.

With just a couple of minutes left on the clock, the Albion mounted their final attack which ended with the ball falling to Woody, who made sure of the 3 points with a composed finish into the corner of the net.

“Man of Match” was split between 3 players, with Nick Milne picking up a vote for third and Neil with 2 votes for second.

However, with a hat trick of “MOM”s this year was Woody with 5 votes.

“Take a boo son!”

“Henri Leconte” was similarly split 3 ways. Albion skipper Aleks picked up a vote for sending a weird Wattsapp video of himself dressed in a pink “Morph” costume, smashing up his flat using a giant pink dildo attached to his midriff. Intended as a motivational video, it instead caused confusion amongst the group and coupled with his ladybird pattern scooter, only raised further question marks over his sexuality.

Second place with 3 votes was Will Carlile, for a truly unforgettable shot from the edge of the box. With the ball bouncing down for him perfectly centre, Will managed to find the corner flag with a sliced shot. Unfortunately, it was the opposite corner to that which the corner was taken from.

This week’s winner was debutant Alex Anselmo. Having been picked up by our Portuguese scout, Alex made his debut by coming on during the second half – wearing a beanie. For this misdemeanour Alex picked up 6 votes and was asked to remove said hat.

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The Albion got their first win of the New Year, with a 6-2 victory in the quarter-final of the Frank Blunstone Cup over league rivals Huracan.

Conditions ripe for a good "reducer".

Conditions ripe for a good “reducer”.

Weather conditions were atrocious, with the game just passing an earlier pitch inspection. However, the Albion contrived to play some quality football and made countless first half chances.

A tireless display from the Albion front two of Woody and Steve saw the Albion dominate from the first whistle. With Woody picking up his first Albion hattrick, Nick Milne with a brace and finally an own goal to complete the scorers.

Due to a solid team performance, the “Man of the Match” award was spread over several players but top heavy with attacking players and Stew.

Neil, Stew and Marcus all picked up a vote. Steve and Nick Milne were tied second with 2 votes but the winner and for the second consecutive weekend was Woody, with 4 votes.

This week’s “Henri Leconte” could be renamed “Alex Whichelo”! Al picked up a vote for having to wash the kit, 2 votes for knocking himself out with the ball and another 2 votes for getting pushed over by the poshest guy on the pitch. The Huracan #5  himself and “poshest guy on the pitch” picked up a couple of votes for his petulant push and handbags.

Elsewhere Tim picked up a vote for shitting in the woods. Obviously not versed in the Albion tradition of destroying the Nero toilets.

Winner was Stew with 4 votes for a “never-ending tackle”. Which saw him slide on his fat arse from the edge of the box, passed 2 players before eventually bringing down the Huracan winger inside the 6 yard box and giving away a penalty.

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Albion kicked off the New Year with a 5-3 loss to Parklife. Despite pulling it back to 1-1 and being in the ascendancy, some slack play during a 15 minute period resulted in the Albion going in 4-1 down at halftime.

Another Will scooter picture.

Another Will scooter picture.

A spirited and much improved performance wasn’t enough to overturn the first half deficit.

MOM saw Aleks pick up a solitary vote for third. Tim, who had a stint at LB and then CM, doing excellently in both positions to come in second with 3 votes.

However, it was Woody with a battling forward display who took the award with 5 votes (and now goes clear with a season total of 3).

Parklife received a vote in “Henri Leconte” for spending their money on a Christmas single, rather than enough shirts to actually play in.

The Parklife left-back, wearing gloves with a short sleeved shirt, picked up a vote for a bizarre rant involving “boat races” and “accounts departments”. No me neither.

Stand-out winner was Tim, with 6 votes for producing a sublime bit of skill in scissor kicking the ball in the corner from the edge of the box to make it 5-3.

However, the votes were for the fact he immediately got double cramp and instead of celebrating, was on his back with his feet in the air.

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The proverbial “game of two halves”, saw the game tied 1-1 at half-time only for the Albion to eventually lose 3-1.

The first half saw a fine finish from Tom, lobbing the keeper with a shinned finish that the watching Jade would have been proud of. In recognition of this, Tom won his second “MOM” in as many weeks with 5 votes, only Matt coming close with 3. The returning Dunc and Woody picking up 1 vote each, to tie third.

Bike Loving Will Carlile : Ran out of bike pictures. Moved onto scooters.

Bike Loving Will Carlile : Ran out of bike pictures. Moved onto scooters.

During the pre-match warm-up, Westminster were animatedly discussing the ability of stand in keeper Luke. The standard comments of “he’s not their usual keeper” and “get shots off and test him”, were heard. That is before I reminded them that we had in fact signed Luke from them and that he was playing in goal at the time. For this “Westminster” picked up a couple of votes in “Henri Leconte”.

The ref also picked up a couple of votes for giving a first half penalty against bike-loving Will Carlie, despite it being a good bikes length outside the box. This was followed by awarding a corner which was in fact a throw in, from which Westminster subsequently scored.

Limping across the finish line in the “winning” position was “Calcium Kid”, Sean Holden. Picking up his first “Henri Leconte” for going off with a muscle strain, 2 minutes after I’d made both of our substitutions and leaving us with 10 men for the last half an hour.

Sean admitted, “Needing deep tissue massage” for the ailment. If only he’d given us a heads up, as watching General Manager Jade Barker has a history of performing sensual massage at Sunday league games and could have prevented the injury.

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After an hour long journey out to the provinces and despite leading 3-2 at half time, the Albion were knocked out of the Surrey FA Junior Cup. Losing 6-4, after a dismal second half which saw a couple of soft goals being conceded.

A picture of Will with a bike - the last one got 700+ views, so fingers crossed!

A picture of Will with a bike – the last one got 700+ views, so fingers crossed!

“Man of the Match” was won by Tom with 5 votes. Joint second were Josh and Will with 2 votes a piece. Will going some way in making it up to the Albion fans after being involved in some sensationalism involving his new bike and a Facebook story “going viral”. “Viral” in that the story received 700+ views, considerably more than the usual 14 views a football piece would receive.

Woody picked up a solitary vote for third.

“Henri Leconte” was similarly a walkover. Despite Bill picking up a vote for his “Top of the Box” directions, Steve smashed it with 9 votes.

Whilst running the line during the first half, Steve showed the crowd (5 beer drinking herberts) what they were missing with a sublime touch and take down from a lofted ball. Unfortunately, the ball hadn’t left the field of play and instead Steve laid the ball on for the Folyhill winger to run onto.

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