Whilst we have racked up over 50 Non League games this year, we had the opportunity to “de-flower” a virgin in terms of grass roots football. Christa Norman lives up north, speaks like a northerner yet struggles with knowing her Chorley Bun from her Eccles Cake. As she is part of the GTC Media empire she was charged with arranging our Christmas party. And she chose an afternoon out at FC United of Manchester.
My first non-league game ever was to be FC United vs. FC Halifax Town on a very chilly December weekend. It was cold enough to freeze my nuts off – if I had any. I was a complete non-league virgin in a foursome, both excited and apprehensive about the game ahead, even more so than the fact that one of the owners of GTC Media had turned up in Manchester having come straight from a Christmas party in Denmark still wearing make up (No comment – ED)
I asked about female referees and whether they were in existence. Apparently so, referees such as Wendy Toms and Amy Fearn were two such examples. I was even more astonished to learn that a Premier League referee can be paid as much as £60k per annum. I’d consider the career change myself but I don’t think I could handle the abuse for unpopular decisions or a sweaty irate latino shouting at me inches away from my face. I get that free at work anyway.
At half time we got up and went down into the bar. Of course the bar. After all it had only been 45 minutes since the fans had had a drink. We were in the moustached bar. Or that seemed to be the theme, with every picture on the wall featuring a man with facial hair. They boys looked aghast when I questioned who Derek Mountfield was so I shut up when I got to Micky Walsh.
“Park! Park! Wherever you may be,
You eat dogs in your home country!
It could be worse, you could be Scouse,
Eating rats in your council house!”
I felt I could laugh at this chant as I have a South Korean sister in law in the family. I don’t think she has actually eaten dog but I’ve heard of other delicacies such as live octopus and silkworm gracing an authentic Korean menu. My laughter was soon cut short by a goal by Simon Garner of FC Halifax followed by the hushed crowd around me and occasional swearing. With nails filed, my attention turned to buffing to occupy my thoughts for the remaining minutes and to sooth away the tension.
Christa is available to escort you to any football matches and look glamorous yet disinterested on request.