WHY I LOVE BASH
By Tim Allan | Friday 21st March 2014

After many years away from football while working as presenter and press officer
in the sport of speedway at Weymouth and latterly Isle of Wight finishing off last
year as PRO for Kent Speedway the newest club in the UK as well as running
my own business, I was searching one day in everyone’s favourite search engine
Google for something connected with my home town Banbury when I came
across the Banbury United website. The curious side of me kicked in so I ended
up having a good look around to see what Banbury United was all about after all
these years.

To my surprise I saw that the Puritans were due to play at our near neighbours
AFC Totton on Saturday 23rd February last year. I ventured out to watch the
game not really expecting much but after five goals and my home town club
winning I was hooked by the football bug once again after just ninety minutes!

I took the opportunity to watch the Banbury vs Chesham United match on
Saturday 6th April which the visitors won 2-1 with my eldest daughter combining
a visit to my home town with my mother. Another enjoyable day out had me
looking through the Puritans fixtures in the car park before the drive back to
Christchurch! It was pointed out to me by my mother - she lives 5 minutes away
from our ground - that Banbury were playing Bashley. “Who?” I asked. Yes you
may laugh, but after living in Christchurch since 1999 I am a mere fifteen minute
drive away! The last eight years my mother has lived five minutes away and I had
no idea that there was a football club right on her doorstep where she has
attended several events in the village hall at the entrance to the ground! It just
goes to show that grass roots sports don’t have enough publicity in the media
and it is an area that needs a great deal of time and work put into.

Roll back to Saturday 27th April last year, I arrived at Bashley on crutches, paid
my entrance money and straight away I noticed how everyone was so friendly,
chatty and helpful which ticked the right boxes in my book. I purchased a
programme and a cuppa and parked myself down in my vantage spot to watch
my first match at Bashley.

I fell in love with the place straight away, with the rustle of the trees in the light
breeze, no traffic sounds, it was very relaxing and the most pleasant place to
watch a game of football. I’ve never been a fan of huge stadiums, for me it’s the
smaller grass roots end of the scale that I prefer. I was disappointed on the day
as Bashley won 2-0 with goals from Mark Gamble three minutes into the second
half and in the sixth minute of stoppage time he also converted a penalty to send
the Puritans home pointless!

That slight disappointment that day remained for a while, in fact until the start of
this season when Truro City visited on Tuesday 20th July, my first evening game
at Bashley. After a 2-2 draw and joining the supporters club Bash47, I was well
and truly hooked and haven’t missed a game at Bashley since. My eldest
daughter has also watched a few games both home and away but my youngest
daughter attends regularly with me home or away on the weekends she stays.

Last October I was asked if I would take on the announcing as the job had
become vacant, I agreed. Wednesday 16th October should have been my
football announcing debut with Weymouth the visitors, the floodlights had
something to say about that! I had to wait until Tuesday 22nd at the Cuthbury,
Wimborne against Weymouth to make my debut as our floodlights were out of
action being repaired, although my ‘proper’ home debut didn’t come until
Saturday 7th December (our only home game in December) with Poole Town the
visitors.
There is a raw roughness at this level with the venue, no state of the art
surroundings and the hype that goes with them, just pure basics and down to
earth people devoting countless hours with no financial reward, all involved trying
to make a small club survive in this big world in which we live. It’s a thankless,
stressful task behind the scenes but when that whistle goes for the start of the
match we are all as one for ninety minutes before we all go off to continue our
tasks not forgetting a quick drink in the clubhouse!

Travelling on the coach with the team and a few supporters is good fun at this
level, I’m sure that if a few more supporters’ tried a trip for a cracking price of
£15 they too would see the other side of the players and staff and how much
playing, winning and unfortunately losing means to everyone. This is a club for
the local community and we need this community to embrace and support the
club through the gate just as much as support with sponsorship if we are to
survive.

Bashley has become my second home these days, I’ll do whatever I can to help
the club survive and with my eldest daughter due to give birth to my first
grandson in a few weeks (another Bashley supporter on the way), I just hope
and pray that there is a club here that I can bring him to and introduce him to
the game at the friendliest level. Long live Bashley FC.


PUBLISHED:
Bashley matchday programme
Bashley FC supporters club website
Football Focus magazine (Issue 46) June 2014
BASHLEY FOOTBALL CLUB
(A Members Club Founded 1947)
Bashley Road | Bashley | New Milton | Hampshire | BH25 5RY
Email: club@bashleyfc.com | Tel: 01425 620280 match days only | Clubhouse Bookings: 07899 333391
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