This XKCD cartoon strangely captures essence of most of my complaints with the way ICT and technical subjects are taught in schools.
For me, it was a extensive number of weekends trying to make various different project work and multiple evenings getting to know the right people in the tech industry – thanks to the vibrant north west technical communities.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that school/college/university is completely useless if you want to go into tech – being able to articulate oneself in writing is a particularly crucial skill which is a lot tougher learning elsewhere but as far as I’m concerned any technical skills taught are unlikely to ultimately be be as useful as that one bit of hacking you did when you were bored a few years previously.
People who know me well will know I’m not a big football fan, I don’t have a team whom I follow and I don’t really take sides when people talk about football. Just because I don’t follow the premiership or really care who wins it I do take the occasional interest.
So when England play in some big competition I’ll go down to the pub with my brother and watch them play, when Manchester United got to the final of the Champions League, I went to watch them play on the grounds that they were a (fairly) local team and had done pretty well for united to get to that point.
So when I heard that Glossop’s very own Glossop North End was at the top of it’s league, playing at Wembley Stadium in the FA Vase Final having made it through all the knock out rounds, I wondered about going to see them play. Finding out I was already in the area for a family celebration finalised it and so today, my brother and I made our way through London to Wembley Stadium to watch Glossop North End play Whitley Bay.
The Build Up
For a fairly small town, the people of Glossop had embraced the fact their team was in the final stages of their league in a multitude of ways; pubs with banners outside; cars with flags on them and souvenir shops springing up in the market.
I was completely unprepared, however, for the sheer numbers of supporters when I reached Wembley; it felt like every organisation, business and club in Glossop had made their way to Wembley to see their local team play. It was amazing I had never ever seen so many people (and people I know!) from my town in one place at once…not even in Glossop. The turnout was tremendous!
Much to their credit, all these football minded people hand turned up on the day of the local derby – the two local premiership sides Manchester United and Manchester City were playing each other with the end of the derby overlapping the first half of the final.
Before the match, at the Green Man Inn, not far from Wembley Stadium, I was witness to an amazing sight. Supporters of both teams, wearing commemorative Glossop North End shirts, singing abusive songs at each other, from time to time breaking into “Wembley, Wembley, Wembley” and “Come on Glossop” and other chants recognising the common ground that had brought them together, a hundred and eighty miles away from their homes…
This is the first time I’ve ever seen Glossop North End play, as well as being the first time I’ve ever been to Wembley.
For those who have never been there, it’s an impressive place. Though the current stadium is not the one etched in peoples minds, history oozes from the place… perhaps history waiting to happen.
When I walked down the steps to our seat, in the massive bowl, the hairs on my arms pricked up. As the match started we could see it was going to be a close thing. The 17 year old Glossop Goalie seemed in good form, the strikers on both sides making use of frequent opportunities at shooting but failing to convert them into goals.
Eventually, about two thirds of the way through the first half, due to a defending blunder, the Whitley Bay right forward managed to slip one into the Glossop net.
As Glossop battled forward towards the end of the first half, they made a great pass at the Whitley Bay end, which they failed to convert into a goal. As it was brought back out, it became clear Whitley Bay had a chance….one that was converted into their second goal. Shortly afterwards, the whistle was blown for half time.
In the second half, Glossop battled again and again to try and put one home, with whole heated support from the supporters and despite several good shots, sadly, these didn’t convert into goals and the final score was Glossop nil, Whitley Bay two.
The Glossop supporters cheered their team on and on until the end, clapping both teams and staying long after the final whistle to sing to Glossop North End “we love love you” and to clap the Whitley Bay team.
How the match will be remembered in Glossop remains to be seen.
Will it be completely ignored with people taking less notice of Glossop North End?
Will the achievement be remembered for it’s amazing effect of brining people together?
Only time will tell but I for one hope it is remembered as “the year before we won the vase”.
© 2009 Tim Dobson
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Sadly, I didn’t have my point and click camera with me.
However, here are some links to some photos of the match:
If you know the location of other photos please leave a comment with a link or if you have taken some photos yourself, why not upload them to Flickr?