Adventures in Football #67: Trevor Brown Memorial Ground (Boldmere St Michaels)
NOVEMBER 6, 2022
BOLDMERE ST MICHAELS WOMEN vs. AFC FLYDE WOMEN (Women’s Premier League Northern Division)
Boldmere St. Michaels is perhaps not somewhere you’re overly familiar with. Boldmere is just south of Sutton Coldfield and the men’s team play in the Northern League Premier Division One Midlands along with such luminaries of the game as Chasetown, Shepshed Dynamo, Gresley Rovers, Halesowen Town and Sporting Khalsa. However, they also have a women’s team and that’s who I’m seeing today.
The women’s team is a much newer arrival in Midlands football but has already turned a few heads. They won promotion from the Division One Midlands last year and now find themselves in the Northern Premier Division. Alongside such teams as Derby County, Huddersfield Town, Nottingham Forest, Stoke City, West Brom and Wolves. I saw West Brom, and Wolves play last season and oddly enough both times it was against AFC Fylde. I swear I’m not doing this on purpose, but the Mikes also face off against AFC Fylde! I’ve been somewhat of a good luck charm for Fylde who’ve come away from both those games with a point.
I’m on the train today as Maria is at work. I’m meeting Shaz at the Boldmere Tap (see above) and as I get to the train station, I realise today is the day I tried to get tickets to Villa vs. Man Utd and the trains are going to be packed with Villa fans. For geographical context the line out of Birmingham to Lichfield calls at Aston first and then Chester Road, where we’re getting off, a few stops later. Predictably I’m surrounded by Villa fans. I also see Jason from the Red Lion in Bromsgrove. I think he’s a Villa supporter (correct me if wrong) and is on his way into the city today.
After having a nice chat with an old Villa supporter on the train (he’s been to HMV and can’t deal with Villa live anymore, can’t blame him) I get off at Chester Road. Shaz was on the same train, so I see him down the platform. The old fella offers us a lift to the ground and I’m like ‘sorry geezer, we’re going to the boozer first’. Nice fella, appreciate the offer. Enjoyed the chat too. Anyway, Shaz and myself make the trek to the Boldmere Tap and it’s a top place. Nice range of beers including the seasonal winner “Moon Madness” from the local Joule’s Brewery. The pub is a Joule’s establishment, and I could have hung around sampling their goods for a few hours.
We meet Tom at the pub but he’s too sad today to get mentioned so that’s it for him. At the ground Fylde’s coach is sat ticking over. I hope they didn’t leave the engine on for three hours, that’s just wasteful. I appreciate the nets by the wall here, so any errant clearances are captured and don’t hit the cars. The nets aren’t that high! We walked past the St Michaels church to get to the ground, and I’m amused that the reverend is one “Simon Cocks”. Not Cox, mind you, Cocks. You see a lot of Cocks around the church. Strange that it’s not Catholic.
Welcome to Boldmere St Michaels FC, home of pride, passion and belief. It’s not busy today and we’ve got an attendance of 41 (I counted). It’s a little sad to see these numbers but with Villa at home with the same kick-off time it’s probably not a shock. The Mikes have a nice little clubhouse with plenty of seating, a dartboard and TVs showing Sky Sports. Arsenal have just won at Chelsea as we walk in. I resist the urge to have a pint until half-time and we head out into the ground. Before that I just need to get the badge in.
No non-league pile of crap here, we keep our rubbish in a skip, thanks very much.
For the first half we stand with this view. This is the goal Fylde are attacking and we see a lot of action. Somewhat against the run of play Boldmere go ahead thanks to a screamer from Katie Wilson. Hit with venom from distance it catches the keeper out and loops over her for 1-0. It’s harsh on Fylde who’d done most of the aggressive attacking play and especially on left back Laura Merrin, who I’ve seen a few times now and has a cracking left foot cross from the by-line.
Some observations on the ground. The clubhouse entrance is into a covered area, where we stood first half. Along the side is the main stand; the Harry Peakman Stand. It’s a nice little stand with three rows of seats. We’d get a close up look at that later. I like the trees in the background and there’s a little alleyway behind the stand for balls to get lost in. Just off to the right of this shot is a bunch of tables so you can bring food and drinks out and sit around a table to watch the game if you get there early enough! Unfortunately, this area is not covered so it was too wet for that today. Boldmere will ultimately lose points for having a plastic pitch and a goal on wheels but apart from this it was a tidy little ground. Boldmere should have a second goal when a frankly ridiculous effort from 40 yards hits the post and bar before being claimed on the line by the Fylde keeper.
The Coasters trail the Mikes 1-0 at half time and Tom, who is still sad, has a documentary screening to attend so he’s off to that. I sit down with Shaz in the bar and enjoy (well, as much as you can enjoy) a pint of Worthington’s while watching half-time analysis of the Southampton vs Newcastle game. Miguel Almiron is suddenly playing like prime Messi, what’s up with that? We take our time and apparently miss a goal at the start of the second half. On 48’ midfielder Evie Billingsley strikes one through the keeper’s legs for 2-0. The clubhouse TV was too loud, so we never even heard the reaction, or the players coming out. We only found out about the goal in the pub later when Tom pointed out it was 3-0 not 2-0.
I forgot to mention Boldmere is on the flight path out of Birmingham International Airport, so a low flying jet was a frequent occurrence. Boldmere got away with some frankly dangerous defending first half where players were left completely unattended at set pieces and Fylde should have punished them for it. It never happened though. We move into the Harry Peakman Stand for the second half, blissfully unaware of the 2-0 scoreline, and sit behind a girl who we chat to about the action. She endears herself to me almost immediately by referring to Bruno Fernandes as a “twat”. Villa are on their way to an eventful 3-1 win over Man Utd. Power to Emery!
Here’s our view for the second 45 minutes (well, 41 minutes). The post’s positioning is charming. I have to lean around it sometimes, but it doesn’t interfere with play. The stand has seen better days and could use a coat of paint and some TLC, but it does the job. Frustrations boil over in the second half and some Fylde players get into the aggro business. One smashing a clearance right into the dugout full pelt, which was completely unnecessary but also quite funny. Boldmere wrap it up on 62’ with a tidy finish from centre forward Lois Jefferies. Boldmere were better organised in the second half and were rewarded with a clean sheet. A frustrated Fylde caused a big ruck late in the half, eventually sorted out by the ref with a yellow card for each player in the initial scrap. A cop out.
As the sun sets over north Birmingham Boldmere run out 3-0 winners. It’s been a fierce and competitive game that’s been a fun watch. The lack of scoreboard or substitution information (no tannoy, no board) is a little irritating. Even at this level. The linesman making notes of who comes off and on in a notebook making do on the admin side but it doesn’t help us much!
This is the lino putting his notepad away after a substitution. All that’s left on this sunny Sutton Coldfield afternoon is some scores for the Adventures in Football league table. Let’s do it!
There wasn’t one. Of the 41 spectators a handful applauded the goals. We didn’t even know the second goal went in. ½*
At a fiver it was good value. I paid more to see so called bigger teams play in the same league. ****
It was a decent game. Plenty of attacking football from both teams. Arguably the best player was a central defender but there was attacking intent from both teams, and it was enjoyable. ***½
EASE OF ACCESS
Boldmere is near to both Chester Road and Wylde Green stations. Chester Road has the advantage of having the Boldmere Tap on route to the ground. There is parking at the ground if you can’t be bothered with a short walk. ***½.
The plastic pitch and goals on wheels are both a big turn off for me. I know it helps the club to make more money and play more games and play in the winter, but it just looks shit. I liked the Harry Peakman stand, the area with tables in it and the clubhouse. The beer selection was ok. They did food through a hatch at the back of the place we were standing first half. Shaz had some chips and they looked decent. ***
A very decent rating for Boldmere. It was a better footballing experience than slightly bigger grounds like Sutton or Nuneaton. It probably helped that we went into Cask & Craft in Boldmere after the game! I drank a 12% stout from Vault City and took a photo of a dog.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?