2017-05-20
War On The Terraces
is a great song by the Cockney Rejects, as is Tribal Rival Rebel Revel by Crass – and are viewpoints from both ends of the spectrum of hooliganism… Not that there was much on show on this sunny summer bank holiday.
Of the 918 attendees there were probably 30 hellbent on cracking skulls (15 on each side), and (so it seemed) chanting abuse at each other from a safe distance was as far as the Fighting In The Streets was gonna go…


Bangor City verses Rhyl FC – a date on the calendar that has been sadly missing for a few seasons since the Lillywhites were shunted out of the Welsh Premier League for something silly like looking at the Welsh FA Secretary in a funny way, or not turning up for the Welsh FA Christmas Party in appropriate fancy dress. In fact the Welsh FA have a brilliant history of Fucking About with football clubs and also good at being Fucking Arseholes, if their dream had come true Cardiff City would not have beaten those Arabian Millionaires Man City this weekend, but would have probably trounced Llansantffraid 8-0 away from home in front of 27 people and Dyfrig Evans’ prized livestock…. but that’s another story, chapter, book, saga…

I was in the unusual position of split loyalties today – lived a long time in Rhyl, (although originating from Denbigh) seen more games at Belle Vue than I care to remember, and many more I’d like to forget. Not that I was a Lillywhite supporter; it’s just good to watch a game of football that’s not played by playboy millionaires.
There is also an allegiance to Bangor the city – I started playing here in 4Q from 1987, became friends with Anhrefn and Fflaps and their ilk and attended many a gig here, worked here for 10 years and moved here 2 years ago. So watching Bangor City, as I watched Rhyl has become a staple part of the football season.
If you’re an away fan in a game like this they’re gonna keep you penned in after the match in the interests of public safety, so I chose the Home end and met up with two other Rhyl exiles, Kyle Lee (in his Bangor City shirt) and Dewi Gwyn, who wisely left his Rhyl top at home in Anglesey.

BangorNantporth Stadium is just over the hill past the David Wrench residence from my house; the ground has since been renamed The Book People Stadium as sponsorship is big and much needed money in this game… The referee was a bit lenient at times and didn’t Book People enough really in this sometimes bone crunching derby.
A brisk walk from home to the ground made me trendily late (there was a queue to get in anyway), and a meek roar and hearsay got back to the queue that Bangor keeper Lee Idzi (his parents were shit at Scrabble) had taken a scythe to Rhyl’s David Forbes in the box. Forbes went down as if the Grimm Reaper himself had done the deed and Paul McManus threw his poncho to one side, sucked on his cigar, spat out a bit of chewed tobacco and as cool as you like, slotted home the resulting penalty.
‘One-nil to the Lillywhites,’ sang the travelling contingent who could’ve fitted in a Vauxhall Adam.

I paid my £8 on the gate and recalled my Taid telling me how he’d get a train in the 1930s from Denbigh to Anfield to watch Liverpool and have a bag of chips and still have change to go to the cinema later (etc etc). £2 was my change, and I gave a pound to the Macmillan Cancer Support charity on the way in, as it was the Big C that robbed me of my Taid…
By the time I had descended the steps and edged my way past The Warfare Squad, I was in pole position to see a beauty of a daisy cutter zip into the bottom corner by Bangor’s Rob Jones (no, not the Rob Jones who kept Ryan Giggs in his pocket and had a trout farm in Llanfairfechan).
Before you could say, ‘You’re not singing anymore…’ Rhyl had regained the advantage with what looked like a good goal after Bangor failed to clear their lines from a cross, and it was smashed home, again by McManus (no relation to Mick McManus the wrestler, who sadly passed away a couple of months ago, at least I don’t think he is).
Two-one to the Lillywhites, or, to be wholly correct; one-two to Rhyl FC.

It was all Bangor from then on as they needed to chase the game, but Rhyl were well drilled in defensive organisation and anything that came in above head height was cleared by that brick shithouse Artles.
Half time in these Welsh league games see crowd movement of refugee proportions as the Home and Away faithful usually swap ends so they can see ‘their’ goals going in. Only here, due to segregation they can’t do that, so the Bangor non-Warfare Squaddies, ie; Football Fans head to the far reaches of the main stand to to be seated in line with Rhyl’s penalty area and the Rhyl Massif get to the half way line of the opposite stand. The Warfare Squad, at first attempt to sit on the other side of barriers and the two sets of fans goad each other at two metres with references to their drugs of choice, giro collection days, fucking their mothers, robbing houses and girlfriends who are slags – all in the name of football of course.
The local bobby is having none of it and starts removing these angry young men before they’re Ready To Ruck. They’re repositioned back behind the goal and the second half entertainment is provided by Rhyl fans inciting Bangor fans as various ‘You fat bastard’ and ‘Get your tits out for the boys’ chants are exchanged…

rhyl_fc_Meanwhile on the pitch it’s again all Bangor, as they prod and probe with little imagination or invention to break down a stubborn Rhyl defence. Then about fifteen minutes into the half Bangor’s Johnston fucks up monumentally with a back pass, Idzi doesn’t get there in time and Rhyl’s Forbes says thank you very much and taps it into the net – 1-3 to the Lillywhites.
The Bangor Boot Boys go fucking nuts with rage, I anticipated they were going to storm the pitch, but I guess with there only being a handful of them they thought better of it and calmed down to threatening to ‘Kill the smackheads’ of Rhyl instead.

The Citizens still continued to boss the midfield and only got over the Rhyl wall with a few minutes to go when Sion Roberts pulled one back. 2-3…
Is there time to make it 3-3…? Well, of course, in these circumstances it’s obligatory for the team in front to make an important substitution… Rhyl did just that… And the ref blew for full time.

Maybe there should be a rule that no substitutions can be made after 85 minutes… That would make the game more interesting…
I didn’t stay around to watch the stone throwing, tyre slashing and fisticuffs that probably happened after between the rivals… I came to watch a game of football… and not a bad one either…