After reading Zoe’s excellent article on women’s football it was clear to me she was very passionate about it. While I can’t say I have ever really took an interest in the women’s game, what has certainly managed to enthrall me is non-league football and more specifically Gateshead FC…but more on them later.
As a young child I remember for some reason taking just as much interest in lower league teams as I did with the Premier League. Whenever I turned on my Playstation or Computer for a game of Fifa/Championship Manager I would make sure I started with the worst team in the game, in the lowest league possible and try and turn them into Champions League winners. After I had finished watching Match of The Day I sat through another hour of The Football League Show, and I’m pretty certain that if there was a Conference round up then I would have watched that too.
But as a I grew older I rarely gave any of these teams a second thought any more due to the fact that my family were Newcastle daft (thank the lord) and I was quickly brainwashed to the point where I was obsessed with Newcastle, which is probably why I write on this very site. Anyway, that’s enough of me rambling on about my football orientated childhood.
After the final game of last season against West Brom I found myself feeling rather under-whelmed and disappointed by the way the season ended, so I decided to go and watch Gateshead and see if they could cheer me up. As it happened they were thrashed 7-1 by Newport County and I don’t suppose anyone could blame me if I never set foot in the International Stadium again for as long as I lived.
As the new season approached Gateshead weren’t expected to make any real impact in the Blue Square Prem, with the bookies having them down as finishing mid-table at best. Although admittedly they have played just shy of ten games, if they carry on like they are then anyone that bet on the Heed going up could find themselves with a small fortune.
The first game of the season for the Tynesiders was a tough match away to Kidderminster Harriers, and despite Gateshead taking an early two goal lead the Harriers were back on level terms before the half hour mark. Desperate to register a win in the opening game of the season, Gateshead piled on the pressure and were finally rewarded in the 80th minute with Kris Gate killing off the game to to send the Heed home with all three points.
Next up was a home fixture against former Football League club Mansfield which on paper looked like a tricky tie but in reality they never got out of second gear. Gateshead cruised to a 3-0 win with goals from Jon Shaw, Jamie Curtis and a spectacular solo effort from Yemi Odubade, a player that could be compared to our very own Ben Arfa in terms of playing style (from the few games we saw him in before his injury).
A decent draw against a strong Kettering side (1-1) was followed by a 3-1 win away at Southport courtesy of Moore, Turnbull and Blue Square Premier Player of the Month……….Jon Shaw!
The unbeaten run continued for the next three games against Barrow, Grimsby and Alfreton Town with the Heed taking maximum points from the three fixtures. However all good things must eventually come to an end, although there was no shame in losing at Fleetwood considering their great financial backing.
On Saturday Gateshead drew 1-1 with Cambridge United to go top of the league, and just like Newcastle they came back from a goal down, this was thanks to a 25 yard striker from Gillies.
So after nine games Gateshead find themselves top of the Blue Square Premier on 19 points after winning 6, drawing 2 and losing 1.
On Tuesday 27th of September Gateshead will be playing York at home in hope that they can stay at the peak of the table. With Newcastle not playing at home again, Blackburn game aside of course, until October 16th I recommend you go along and take it in, you’d be surprised how good the football on offer is.
I have no doubt that some of you will be questioning my sanity and wondering why on earth I would want to go and see a team in the fifth division play. But in truth it’s of a good standard and sometimes it’s nice to get away from the over hyped entity that is the Premier League.
I can’t guarantee you a great performance if you do choose to go, but I can promise you that you will find two teams giving their all for 90 minutes, no cheating or rolling around on the floor playing dead and a good atmosphere amongst what are effectively our little brothers in terms of football.