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The Barber finds some football action in Winchmore Hill

Monday 20 Jan 2014
Winchmore Hill v Old Actonians Association in AFA Middlesex/Essex Senior Cup

Saturday was dry and sunny. No woolly hat, no gloves, anorak unzipped. But it was still a day of mass postponements.

Winchmore Hill’s first-team match in the AFA Middlesex/Essex Senior Cup quarter-finals went ahead but the fixtures scheduled to be played by their 2nd XI, 3rd XI, 4th XI, 5th XI, 6th XI, 7th XI, 8th XI and 9th XI were all cancelled due to waterlogged pitches.

I had ‘phoned Hill’s HQ at ‘The Paulin’ with a degree of confidence at noon. They generally do play there, because the main pitch seems to be slightly elevated from the surrounding areas, which by contrast can be quite squelchy and puddled.

The Barber's stats

Games this season = 112
Games in total = 6,577
Twitter: @thebarberfan

When the lady answered with “Hello, Winchmore Hill Cricket Club”, I nearly asked if the cricket was on. But that would have been silly.

The programme – one of very few produced at this level – had 1.30pm as the start time but they kicked-off exactly on 1.45pm.

A crowd that reached 32 saw Hill beat Old Actonians Association 1-0 with a superbly created goal six minutes into the second half.

The most memorable feature of the match for me was a spectacular (and brave) save from the Acton ‘keeper after he had been lobbed from a distance.

Sunday was also dry and sunny. No woolly hat, no gloves, anorak unzipped. I turned up in Regent’s Park for the 10.30am starts but found that all the matches were off.

Were the pitches waterlogged? Not the ones I walked across. In my day we just used to say they were ‘muddy’.

Darren Bent opened the scoring against Norwich

Darren Bent scored in The Barber's 444th FA Cup game

During the week I went to my 444th FA Cup match, a Third Round replay between Fulham and Norwich City (3-0).

On my first visit to the Cottage I saw Fulham lose 2-1 to Ipswich Town in the old ‘Division One’ and Alf Ramsey’s Ipswich became unlikely Champions at the end of that season. I was Sir Alf’s assistant when I joined the FA staff in 1970, a few weeks after the Mexico World Cup.      

I won’t be going to Brazil this summer but plan to watch as many games as possible on the box.

The best book on the history of the tournament that I know about is Cris Freddi’s 'The Complete Book of the World Cup'. It could hardly be more comprehensive, with line-ups, scorers, goal times, sub times, head coaches, referees, attendances and a report of every game ever played in the Finals.

I’m told this publication is now available as an e-book on kindle.

By David Barber FA Historian