We Are The Champions
In front of Dolly the Sheep and the Sheepside Stand earlier in the season
Leamington are champions of the Polymac Services Midland Alliance and will be playing football at Step 4 of the non-league pyramid next season. They clinched the title 3-0 win over rivals Racing Club Warwick at the New Windmill Ground this afternoon.
When I arrived at the New Windmill Ground one hour and twenty minutes before kick off to make sure of a parking space (the chicken farm overspill is still closed because of bird 'flu fears), I was immediately alerted to the importance of the match by the presence of five of Warwickshire's finest (one was actually a community support officer). Their main task appeared to be to saunter round the ground sipping coffee to shouts of 'Drinking on duty?' and 'Show your authority.' However at the end of the game they managed to stand facing the crowd, a thin blue line determined to resist a pitch invasion that never happened.
Perhaps excited by the size of the 1,151 crowd the officials went in for an elaborate warm up before the game, soaking up the attention until an ironic cheer from the Sheepisde, accompanied by a shout of 'It's five minutes to kick off, ref' brought the performance to an end.
The Gee Gees defended in number for the first half hour and were only really troubled by a fierce shot from Jamie Towers which the keeper managed to save. Then on 29 minutes former Coventry City player Ben Mackey put in a fierce shot from distance which left the keeper with no chance.
On 35 minutes it was the turn of Jon Adams to shoot from distance with the ball going just inside the post and perhaps deflecting off it. On 41 minutes he made it 3-0 with a close range header.
Just as they had in the 3-0 win over Racing Club at Hampton Road on Boxing Day, Brakes then took their foot off the gas a little, although they forced corner after corner with some good saves being made by the Gee Gees keeper, although former Brake David Care was the most impressive player for the opposition.
The North Bank taunted the Gee Gees with a chant of 'What's it like to play on grass?', followed by 'We've got a labrador', although there was no sign of his effigy that I could see from the Sheepside.
The message 'Stewards, assume your posts' signalled that the end of the game was near, but the referee seemed determined to add on as much time as possible. But former Warwick University striker Ubong Umotong was unable to secure a consolation for the Gee Gees.
At the end of the game the team did a lap of honour and manager Cadzy, not without a few critics, was chaired from the pitch by two of the stewards. Morton Titterton, who is ending a long career at a number of non-league clubs with a championship medal at Leamington looked transformed with delight: his experience has been a great asset this season.
There is still some uncertainty about whether Brakes will go to the Midland Division of the Southern League (which I hope will be the case) or the newly formed Midland Division of the Unibond, which would be an odd competition for a mid-Warwickshire side to play in.
Paul May is already on his way from Erith to The Valley and will be reporting in full later. Meanwhile, I have had to put my UN hat on and a difficult phone call has informed me that a Latin American quarrel I am supposed to help resolve is 'a matter of honour'. This will keep me tied up for the rest of this week, but at some point I hope to make an announcement about the future of this blog.