Say what you like, the third round of the FA Cup at least brought emotions from people.
The fans of struggling Bolton, who had travelled to Hampshire for their tie at Eastleigh, turned up early at the ground to help clearing up operations after heavy rain.
Aston Villa supporters are equally suffering but 2,500 of them trailed down to Wycombe to see their side draw 1-1 with a Division 2 side, which for Villa these days is a good result. Some of them finished up having a heart-to-heart talk with their skipper Micah Richards as he came off injured and they weren’t wishing him a happy new year.
Swansea supporters, less than impressed with a 3-2 defeat at another Division 2 outfit Oxford, were involved in a shouting match with their ‘England star’ Jonjo Shelvey. At least passion was shown even if it was a bit late for the Swans.
Credit to the likes of Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea and Man U, who picked strong sides, because the dopey fixture programme has all the Premier League sides playing in midweek.
This invited weak sides to be played in Cup ties and listening to the radio, it was interesting to hear ’10 changes from last week, nine changes’ etc.
Sunderland drew the short straw, having to go to Arsenal on Saturday. Then they were at Swansea in the League on Wednesday for a crucial game, and visit Spurs on Saturday. Manager Sam Allardyce was adding up the miles and decided either 2,000 or 1,800, depending if they turned left at Bradford Road in Batley or not.
Sunderland are lucky, they could be in local cricket’s Heavy Woollen Cup where the boundaries grow year by year. There was a time when a draw away to Ossett or Hartshead Moor had teams thinking about an overnight stay.
This summer Hanging Heaton have been drawn at that well-known Heavy Woollen spot Delph and Dobcross, while East Bierley and Scholes also go into foreign territory with trips to South Yorkshire – wherever that is - to meet Whitley Hall and Treeton respectively.
It’s even money these games start on the Sunday, play for about three hours and then it rains.
Sadly for the competition local sides, such as Thornhill, Chickenley, Staincliffe, Dewsbury, Heckmondwike and Mirfield are gone from what was the Central Yorkshire League and others aren’t strong enough to want to enter.
Much fuss about that 15-year-old Indian lad who scored 1,049 in a school match. It eventually emerged the opposition had lads as young as 11 in the under-16 fixture and some were playing their first-ever competitive game. The match was over two days. Not many schools round here give pupils two days off lessons for cricket.
Glad to have missed the American Football game between Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks, played in temperatures of minus 21c. Spectators were given free hand warmers and coffee. I wonder if they’ll need to do that at Delph and Dobcross?