Two Men In Search Of The Beautiful Game venture north to continue their non-league odyssey, this time to a club in need of urgent assistance from the football community. 

Words by Daniel Magner. Photographs by Tom Sparks

“You know I love the North” says Tom, surprisingly chipper, considering the early start and the fact we are only about twenty minutes into a three and a half hour drive. It might have something to do with the cup of tea I made him, I say I, my other half did, so I can’t really take the credit, or for the cheese sandwiches that are now sitting on the back seat, burning a hole in the clingfilm they’re wrapped in.

P1020310He lazily tokes on his vape, it’s “juicy peach again” he tells me, looking out of the window, again I emphasise in a exceptionally good mood. Tom is not a morning person, and although I’m not adverse to an early wake up call, much better at them then him anyway, I’m struggling not so much with the time my alarm went off, but with the fact that he’s taken his shoes off.

Not blessed with as a new a car as Tom, it means I’m not blessed with the state of the art radio like he is. He brags about being able to tune into “any channel”, where I’m reduced to endlessly cycling between, classic FM and Radio One Extra, occasionally picking up whatever areas local station we happen to be passing through.

One such station, blasting out a bit of Wet Wet Wet this fine Saturday morning, only reinforces Tom’s high spirits, when it would have the opposite effect on any normal person. I can even hear him mumbling a few of the lyrics between copious clouds of “juicy peach”, however he is not as impressed as I had hoped he would be, when I tell him my Mum’s brother is the spitting image of Marti Pellow.

Instead he continues his weather watch, his hourly reports thankfully have no mention of rain as of yet, despite the grey sky, whipped into a state by the ever present wind. The unpredictable weather, it is abnormally warm for this time of year, sparks the next topic of conversation, that remarkably has some legs to it, the pros and cons of the “gilet”.

Regular readers of our blog will know that Tom and I are fans of large municipal building projects, especially bridges, having had the pleasure of crossing some of the UK’s finest on our travels, we get all excited like a couple of mega structure hoppers, when we get to tick off the Humber Bridge. “There it is” says Tom, looming in the distance.

Due to the unforgiving wind, the speed limit has been reduced, but it allows for a languid crossing, giving us the chance to admire the size of the vast estuary below and after being told it is possible to spot todays ground off in the distance, we think we’ve found it, but in the end I think we just got all giddy about spotting a local petrol station.

The other side, venturing ever closer to our destination and Tom is not half wrong when he says it all looks and feels a bit “seasidey”. There is no pear or ice cream stalls, but our proximity to the coast which is only a few miles up the road, certainly gives North Ferriby with its white telephone boxes, a village by the sea kind of quality.

Peeking out from behind the steeple of a nearby church, the sun is almost blinding, as we weave our way through narrow streets, eventually making the final turning into the long thin hedge lined entrance to the Chadwick Stadium.

Our arrival is momentarily held up by a quick game of you go, no you go, at the entrance to the car park. As is it’s one car width wide, and being maybe one hundred metres long, neither car at either end is sure to stick or twist. We find a place to park, a stone’s throw from the emerald green turnstiles and the local children’s playground.

“Fucking windy” says Tom, battling the car door, and then his jacket, which is caught in a gust and almost ends up on the top of the climbing frame. A coat that because of the conditions, might be a bit surplus to requirements, because as he puts it, it’s “fucking boiling” too, having just about tamed his coat, and is now wondering if the battle was really worth it and if he should just leave it in the car.

IMG_20181013_143023Matthew is the first of the North Ferriby United A.F.C. (NFU) fans/volunteers, we meet, and like so many of those who help out at their local non league club on match days, he is in a near state of motion. He is not far off being followed by a slight blur, like roadrunner. “Might do well for us, be the great leveler, the boost we need” he says when we ask is it always this windy.

NFU are in a real state on the pitch, not to mention what is happening off it. In the midst of a seven game losing streak, bottom of the league, after relegation last season, things are far from ideal for The Villagers. There has been a lot of water under the bridge since that day at Wembley in 2015, when we saw them lift the FA Trophy in the most romantic of circumstances and despite all my years as a Spurs fan, they are still the only football team to have ever made me cry.

Considering all this, Matthew as his previous comment attests to, is I think an eternal optimist, always doing his best to find the good in a situation, a trait all too rare in football fans these days. When Tom has to help him attach his flag to some railings, but a moment later its gone, “think I’ve given up” he tells us, it like the sea of broken plastic tea spoons that litter the floor in front of the tea bar, another victim of the wind, he isn’t bothered one bit, when other people might be a bit annoyed, he just brushes it off.

It might have something to do with him being a multi flag man, his much smaller and much more poetic one is just about holding on. “Where sky and Lincolnshire and water meet” it reads, half blue, half green, with the white Yorkshire rose on the middle. The Philip Larkin quote Matthew tells us, links to the occasional trains that pass right behind the main stand, the very railway line Larkin traveled from Hull to London that inspired his poem The Whitsun Weddings.

It’s the screaming vocals of Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers coming from the home dressing room, that puts an end to our moment of high culture. Also Tom has noticed the “tuck shop” is opening, and by that he means the Food Bar, we have not as far as I know accidentally walked into a Boy Scouts jamboree.

Being in The North, certainly seems to widen the options as far as the food that is on offer, “I don’t know what to eat” Tom says, running his eyes over the menu, “pie chips and gravy, I love gravy” he says salivating. Tom was banging on in the car, like some artisanal food champion, that more football grounds should be showcasing local produce and delicacies, much like the faggots we had at Stourbridge, instead of just the bog standard, chips, burgers and hot dogs.

Although a chip butty is not an exclusively northern thing, the addition of lashings of gravy and mushy peas, has a whiff of past the Watford Gap about it and is too tantalising to turn down. This all bare in mind despite his concerns of not picking the burger, which we all know he, “can never say no to”, and he lets me in on why he always goes for the same thing, because he “never knows” when that particular burger might be “ the one” so struggles with the fact he might miss it.

I’m pretty sure I can see the forearms of the red haired woman in a green apron strain, when she hands over Toms order, concealed inside a yellow polystyrene container. The short windy walk to the condiments, all while the CD playing over the PA sounds like a very bad “remix” as one person puts it, because it’s stuck, and without even lifting the lid on lunch, Tom tells me it “smells good”.

If you remember the scene in the diner in Pulp Fiction, when they open the briefcase and a golden glow emits from within, the scene on the plywood shelf covered in ketchup bottles is almost identical. Tom lights up at the sight of what is a loaf sized bread roll and family portions of chips all covered in a viscous brown sauce and a generous helping of luminescent peas, “I don’t really know how to eat it”.

It’s not every day you use the roof of the away dugout as your table, but the chance of losing his lunch to Mother Nature was a lot more likely, although he still had a slight scare where we ended up, if we’d stayed where we were, so we moved. The “remix” is still playing, no one has cottoned on to the problem, and although Tom says it was “bit dribbly”, he is really enjoying it, and it’s gone in no time at all, “hungry boy”.

IMG_20181013_130540Our encounter with Darren, co founder of the excellent NFB fanzine View From The Allotment End, is a long overdue one. Hawking it from a cardboard box balanced on top of a bin. A Hull City fan for “twenty eight years” he got the non league bug, when they reached the Premier League, and it all “dried up” for him.

He’d “seen them at Wembley” a boyhood dream, but tickets just got harder and harder to “come by” and even though they had reached the holy land of Super Sundays and all that comes with it, I get the feeling that just wasn’t for him, “stuff that” he says, but he still had to get his football “fix” somehow, and in stepped NFU.

Now in shades, with a pint glass nestled in the crook of his arm, hands full of raffle and golden goal
tickets, Matthew is on to matchday duty number, 361,000. The purchase of the two strips of orange raffle tickets is clear cut enough, and they are quickly folded up and out of the wind in the breast pocket of my shirt, don’t want to lose them, they are winners of course.

The process of picking my golden goal tickets, yes I’m feeling a little flush, so I’ve gone for both, it is Non League Day after all, so why not live a little, is a bit more complicated. Is he doing a “card trick?” asks Tom as Matthew flicks through the deck, “say stop”.

I do, and he hands me one of the rough blue miniature envelopes, but his conjuring is not yet over, he then asks me to pick my second ticket from the pile in either his right or left hand.

We take a moment to peruse the portacabin club shop, Tom considers but decides against a shirt, as nice as the green and white stripes would look on him. I point out the NFU tote bag, which I can see him using on his Sunday shop around Sainsbury’s, but instead it’s just a pin for him, the choice of which is not straightforward, due to the multitude of the small metal trinkets that cover the counter.

The actual view from the allotment end, that Darrens fanzine takes its name from is not a bad one, the grey concrete wall stops the wind from whipping around the back of my neck, and the Humber Bridge is visible in the distance. Matthews long flag, which is now safely located at the back of one of the two sections of covered terracing, that flank each end of the main stand, where the clubs initials are spelt out in white seats.

With forty minutes to kick off, NFU’s opponents Stafford Rangers FC (SR) appear at the top of the steps, between the dugouts, from the World War Two prefab changing rooms for their warm up. One of their coaches “wasn’t expecting this today” as well as the referee, can’t get their heads around the good weather, “can’t believe how warm it is”.

SR are in full flow, even the referee and his assistants are doing their gentle jog around the pitch, but NFU are nowhere to be seen. Matthew tells us they “didn’t train on Thursday” and I think he is only half joking when he says they might have, “escaped out the back window”.

“Can’t believe you put me in for that” are the words that follow me breaking it to Tom that he is partaking in a half time penalty shootout, between a team of home and away fans, as part of the Non League Day festivities. The face he pulled alone worth the drive here today.

I’m happy to report NFU did finally appear for their warm up. Whoever is in change of the music has been made aware of the faulty CD and instead of just putting in a new one, has stopped it altogether. The Chadwick Stadium is relatively quiet, just the sound of the wind and the players, and very little else, except for Tom seething about his upcoming halftime activities.

Each teams players making their way back inside are greeted by a fan club, dishing out high five and sometimes a few words of encouragement to the returning players. One small NFU fan needs a few words of comfort, crying, straining, trying to break free of his mothers grasps, arms inside its oversized NFU shirt trying to keep warm, his Mum jokes that the small one has, “not even got himself lost yet”.

The presence of the very young NFU fan, and the much, much, older ones is made clear as the referee and his assistants emerge. Cascading down the stairs from oldest to youngest, each in an array of NFU shirts, hats and scarves, they are today’s mascots. One of the older ones, says to the referee that he just hopes no one is going to take him by the hand and “lead” him out.

Perhaps the youngest of the mascots is a little reluctant to be removed from his mother’s arms, so doesn’t make the trip to the centre circle to partake in the formalities, one of the oldest, a lady with white hair, confidently takes the lead, first shaking the officials hands, and then the SR players.

DSC_0105“Come on Ferriby” shouts one of those fans, swapping ends, head turned to watch the kick off, not really looking where they are going, hoping I’m sure for no sudden obstacles. The end where
Matthews flag now hangs, is quickly full. Most people, like us with a good view of the pitch, as well as the nearby church and allotments, are somewhere in the long main stand, keeping out of the wind, the neighboring trees steadily swaying.

Darren easily located because of his vivid his jacket, needs no such protection, and is standing just to the side of the away dugout opposite us.

There is an early shout from the SR players for a penalty, but you can tell by the fact that only some are committed to the appeal, but the majority are just getting on with it, that there wasn’t much in it.
The SR official next to us is doing his best to work out the wind direction, and makes a good point that for now at least, “its not holding the ball up either way”.

With less than ten minutes on the clock, SR have the ball in the back of the net, but it’s chalked off for offside. It does draw a brief song from the visiting fans behind the goal, but I can’t make out what they are saying. SR are soon on the attack again, “good move lads” says my next door neighbour, but it comes to nothing.

The chanting from the NFU fans, is just about as faint as that of the SR ones, but I think I can just about make out what they are saying, “green and white army”. Their keeper defending the allotment end, is almost caught out by a wicked ricochet, but is just able to get to the ball in time, and fumble it out for an SR corner.

A last ditch block, stops a goal bound SR shot from the edge of the box, following a sorry attempt at a clearance from an NFU defender. When NFU are able to venture forward, they are looking for the same ball, a long high one to their number 9, and are already looking a bit predictable. The attempts by the SR fans behind the goal though, to put the NFU keeper off his goal kicks, are so far not working.

My attempts though to concentrate on the on pitch action are however being thwarted by one SR club tie wearing type next to me, who is eating the strangest smelling sweets. It’s like a liquorice allsort had a liaison with the devil and has produced the evilest of spawn.

The referee is very whistle keen, therefore the game is a tad stop start, failing really to take off in the first fifteen minutes. It is perhaps the regularity of which the man in charge is using his whistle, that the SR fans are singing about, but once again I can’t make out what they are saying.

You could maybe get away with saying the game is cagey, tense perhaps, in the fact that each team is so conscious of their current record, SR’s is not much better than NFU’s, neither one wants to make a mistake. This is all changed on the twenty minutes mark when a touch of fortune for the visitors, and a heavy dose of misfortune for the home side, sees SR take the lead.

“Dodgy keeper, dodgy keeper” is now the very audible song from the SR supporters, who had a front row seat to the NFU goalkeepers mishap. “Come on Ferriby” is the ever so slightly clipped shout from the man a few seats along from me, the opposite side to the evil sweet eater.

The voice over the PA, a man standing pitch side in a blue shirt confirms the golden goal time as “twenty minutes”. His announcement prompts everyone, me included, to look for their little paper envelope, and I join the chorus of tutting, made up of those who like me also don’t have the right one.

A deafening cry of “arghhhh” from the home fans, as they watch their teams promising response to going behind, when they fire a ball right across the SR box, but no one’s there to finish the move, can’t wake the large man in a check shirt who has fallen asleep. He has the air of, and I might be wrong and might be doing him a disservice, of someone who had a big Friday night out.

He is sound asleep, there was literally a man shouting “you knobhead” at the referee, a foot away from him, when he failed to give NFU a corner, that the lung buster of a run from a defender at least deserved, but he didn’t give it and the sleeping man did not even stir. “Got that one wrong ref”, confirms an SR supporter. The response to the error seems to outweigh the actual error itself, a sense of desperation almost from the home fans, who are forced to cling to anything.

IMG_20181013_134153When NFU do get a corner it is greeted with sarcastic cheers, and is a cue for the home fans at the far end to start singing again. Despite being behind, NFU are still very much in the game. They are awarded a freekick on the edge of the SR box, which is cleared, but they regain possession, the ball is soon back into the box, its cut back to the free man, whose shot is blocked. “Come on Ferriby keep going” says the man whose tone has improved a little.

The sleeper is now drifting in and out of consciousness, maybe it was the shout from one nearby fan, offering the SR player who he calls a “big baby” his “hanky” after going down in his opinion a bit softly, that woke him. Another stop in play, this time an injury to a NFU player, and he requires the attention of the physio. Some ice in what Tom thinks is a “Tesco’s bag”, is administered to the back of
the head of the player floored after a coming together.

“Come on lads keep going” calls out one supporter, the game thanks to the referees still near constant use of his whistle, is not really giving NFU much of a chance to get a grip on it. The first train for what feels like ages, makes the metal stand rattle, as it thunders along the embankment behind us. Tom is quite a taken back by the “serious sleeve” of tattoos the NFU number 4 has and the SR official, is telling one of his players, when they are awarded a foul, to “take your time”.

“Goal scored for The Villagers” says the man in the blue shirt, pitchside once again, a lot happier than the last time he had the microphone in his hand. Their persistence in finding the number 9 finally pays off, a cross from the right and a well placed header sends the ball well out of reach of the SR keeper.

Like I said NFU were never out of it, the referee was hampering their play somewhat, but the goal has clearly given the players a much needed confidence boost. A minute after equalising they almost bag a second. The header, following another cross form the right, this time it’s the wrong side of the post, “that’s better” says a fan encouraged by his teams up in tempo.

Poor NFU defending during a succession of SR corners, almost undoes all their good work. They as Tom put it have “found a bit of pep up front”, but still “look shit at the back”. The noise I can only describe as sounding like a collective heart attack, follows the second one and the eventual bundled clearance.

It is again only thanks to the agility of the NFU keeper that prevents SR from taking the lead, when he manages to get a strong hand to a shot that traveled through a sea of legs, taking numerous deflections on the way, just getting enough on it to push it wide.

I catch a glimpse of Matthew striding about with a purposeful gait, he stops for a moment to ask a man to do the raffle draw from what I think is a Co Op bag for life, before setting off again, back the way he came past the chanting home fans, who are now the loudest they have been all day, many of whom are clapping above their heads.

NFU finish the half on top, “come on Ferriby keep going” demands one fan after a tame half volley, which is easily caught by the SR keeper. There is a collective sigh when the number 9 is found and is in on goal, but is given offside, “only a yard” says one of the SR tie wearers.

“Better, better” says one supporter, which he accompanies with hearty clapping. The game has finally settled, the home fans now their loudest, NFU have found their stride, but everyone is acutely aware that this purple period, is about to be cut short at any moment by the half time whistle.

The bang of upturning seats is soon joined by more tutting, the raffle results have just been announced, “all on the orange” says the man over the PA, I’ve got orange tickets, but it’s no great surprise I won’t be collecting any of the bountiful prizes on offer, beer, wine, chocolates, from the “bar” any time soon.

Halftime is normally a period for rest and reflection on my gambling failures and sometimes for Tom to eat if he hasn’t already, it never has before and a doubt it will ever be again, the time for Tom to take part in a penalty shoot out.

A local radio presenter has been handed the mic and will be compere. As he makes his way towards the allotment end, to wait for the “victims, no sorry contestants”, from all four corners of the pitch, the participants all with faces similar to Tom’s, make their way towards him.

IMG_20181013_150154It is soon clear the fans of SR, are maybe taking it a bit more seriously than NFU’s, “they’ve got boots” squeals Tom, claiming if I had let him know in advance, he would have at least been able to put on more appropriate footwear, his dazzling white Nike Airs are not ideal.

“Just glad I hit the target” says a relieved Tom, who he tells me was down to his “North London politeness” that he ended up taking the final and winning penalty. He is briefly serenaded by the fans on the terrace, a pennant is presented, “we don’t win every week, but we win the most important things” says one of Toms teammates, on his way to hang the pennant in the bar.

The wind out of the embrace of the big stand is brutal, we fancied a change of scenery, as well as the chance to get away from the hideous smelling sweets, so have taken up position behind the goal NFU will be attacking for the second half and brace ourselves against a big green wall.

“Please welcome out for the second half North Ferriby United” says the voice over the PA, the large green gates that form the tunnel have been swung open and the players trickle down the steps. Testament to the size of Tom’s pre match meal, it is only now, a full hour and a quarter later, a record for him, that he is considering his next morsel, “I want some sweets”.

“Come on Villagers” shouts one of the group of home fans who have also changed ends, swapping one small terraced section for another, a few new flags have made an appearance too. The smokers among the locals, are required to peek over a fence, outside the ground enough to satisfy the stewards, but still able to watch the game.

Perhaps it’s picked up a bit since kick off, but the wind is now affecting the SR goal kicks, that start to curl back on themselves. It has though not affected NFU’s fortitude, they are right back at it, one on one with the keeper, the forward decided to cross, when he should have shot, the ball eventually smothered by a heap of defenders bums.

SR win a free kick, and there are shouts of derision again from the home fans, “she fell over”. Tom with his Pep hat on, comments that SR are “playing a dangerously high line”. This has obviously not been lost on the home bench either, “do it like you mean it” shouts one coach when an attack breaks down, and a chance to get behind the SR back line goes begging.

It’s all NFU, I struggle to tear myself away from the action, nature calls, because it feels like there is a chance I’ll miss something significant. Making the slow walk to the toilet, one and a half eyes on the game, half on where I’m going NFU spurn two good chances, a header wide and a six yard box scramble that really should have resulted in a goal.

The two men in the second refreshment stand, that I drop by after Tom lumbered me with a drinks order, one of who tells me its run by the “supporters trust”, look remarkably alike. A bit like the twins who featured in a lot of mid 90’s TV and film. Remember the policeman with a coffee cup, who gets a spike through his eye in Terminator Two?

I worry that my Sprite, a drink I’ve not had since secondary school, will be blown off the top of the green wall, but take the gamble and rest it there. It’s taken SR a full twenty minutes, such was NFU’s dominance to create a chance, and it’s only thanks to another smart save that it doesn’t go in.
The clouds above the church are moving at a rate of knots, and although it’s as windy as a Twister film set, its not cold. “They’ve gone very long ball” says Tom, NFU resorting to old tactics, but its working. One attack results in an attempt at an overhead kick, but the NFU player just ends up kicking his maker and not the ball.

Tom thinks the referee is “losing the game”, he tries at one point to reassert himself “behave” he shouts, doing his best tough guy impression, but he’s not fooling anyone.“Keep your heads” he instructs the jostling players in the box at an NFU corner, and now is starting to just sound a bit silly.

“Come on son, he ain’t catching you” confirms a SR fan, to the spearhead of a rapid counter attack. The ball is flashed across the NFU box, but no one takes the incentive of getting in position to tap it in.

DSC_0258My drink is safe and sound, although I wouldn’t be totally gutted if it blew over, its tastes odd, Toms hat on the other hand is not so secure and is almost lost. The sun is getting lower and is now veiled by an almost ethereal haze, NFU with fifteen minutes left to go are getting a bit frenzied at the back, the fans cheer a goal saving tackle and will their team forward.

“Someone is going to score” says Tom, replacing his Pep hat, with his Nostradamus one. It’s all got a bit hit and hope by NFU now, they have lost much of that vigor from early in the half, and the long balls are not finding their target. There are calls of “off, off, off” after a crunching SR tackle, buts it’s only a yellow. “Come on Ferriby” shouts one of the fans on the terrace.

A well hit NFU shot looks to be the one to break the deadlock, but as they say it’s at a good height for the keeper, and he’s able to make the save. The ball is recovered but the cross back into the box is woeful. As another train rattles along, NFU are at times trying to over complicate things. “Get the ball in the box” emphasises one player, when again a player opts for a delicate scoop, when he should have just crossed it.

With less than ten minutes to go, Tom is sure we are on for “another draw”, our forth of the season. Another train, we haven’t had one for ages then two in short succession, drowns out the song from the home fans for a departing player, “na, na, na, na Jordan Harrison” and one from the away fans too “Rangers, Rangers, Rangers”.

To say the man doing the PA sounds gutted, might be an understatement. He has the horrible job of confirming that SR, I would say against the run of play, have just gone ahead. There is maybe a chink of hope for NFU, “we’ve conceded some late goals, so I won’t hold my breath” says the SR keeper to a fan behind him.

Another NFU cross into the box, another one that is not on target. The voice on the PA does his best to to “thank” the fans for “their support”, but he sounds like he wants to reach for the closest bottle.
“Two minutes and he’s adding three on” says the linesman in response to the SR bench. “Relax” says one SR coach to the players, not able to disguise his angst very well. The NFU bench on the other hand, are clearly dejected and are making no efforts to put on a brave face.

A late NFU free kick is greeted with hopeful gasps, but it’s tame, on target, but not hit with any venom, “that’ll do, that’ll do” mutters a relieved SR fan to himself.

“If I had a quid for every last minute goal we’ve conceded” says a frustrated Darren. The performance from NFU he explains is so “predictable”, they’ve pretty much got it down to a formula.
Not being able to put chances away, missing “sitters” as Daren puts it + “inviting” the opposition on = losing.

Matthews spin on it is of course positive, they had “one hundred and forty” here the previous Saturday, there were “three hundred and sixty” here today, but I’m sure he’s hurting, despite his upbeat exterior.

Before 2015 I’d never heard of NFU, after that day at Wembley for the FA Trophy final, NFU have been indelibly branded on my football physchi. I can’t tell you why, I admit to being a football romantic, and the fashion in which they won was so dramatic, their effect on me has been long lasting.

DSC_0335Sadly though, developments at NFU since our visit have taken a turn for the worst. Our oh so memorable visit, that will go down as one of the very best from our four years. The welcome, the warmth, being allowed to hold the miniature silver FA Trophy. Matthew, Darren, Mark in the club shop who made us some badges with our logo on. All the beating heart along with all the other fans and volunteers that make the club what it is

NFU are in trouble, another non league club at the mercy of an unscrupulous owner. In the week Dulwich Hamlet are allowed to go home, it doesn’t take long for another club to take up the mantle of the one being fucked over this week, and now it’s NFU’s turn. Attempts to change their name and to move them away from their home are afoot, and cannot be allowed to happen.

I could go on and on, about how nice everyone was, not one person we meet was unhelpful or unfriendly, I could write pages about why you should go to the Chadwick Stadium, but in the end that might all be totally fruitless if certain people get their way.

You can help NFU by signing this petition – – because it’s imperative that people like Darren and Matthew don’t lose their club, because of someone else’s greed, but also because NFU need to be around so they can affect other overweight middle class boys from North London, who might by chance see them play, and for whatever reason are so touched, so affected by the passion of their fans, they are moved to tears and that is a powerful thing.

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