East of the M60’s Other Road to Wembley #1: F.A. Vase Fourth Round Draw and Third Round Results

OMG, They’re Playing Whitley [Bay].

Before I lead you towards any references to the animated series, I can reveal that Kyle, Eric Cartman nor Chef feature in the side drawn to Whitley Bay in the Fourth Round of the F.A. Vase.

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East of the M60’s Other Road to Wembley #2: F.A. Trophy Second Round Proper Draw

Groundhog Day for Stalybridge Celtic (or another new ground for County to visit)

You couldn’t make it up! One wonders if the F.A’s competitions are drawn at random at all, if recent draws are anything to go by. At the top, Manchester United are drawn to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in the F.A Cup Third Round, months after City’s 6 – 1 drubbing at Old Trafford.

Lower down the footballing pyramid, there is one inevitability along with death, taxation and The X Factor winner’s attempts to stitch up the Christmas Number One spot of the singles chart.

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East of the M60’s Other Road to Wembley #2: F.A. Trophy First Round Results

Poor attendances amid scalps by lower league opposition

The F.A. Challenge Trophy is the Football Association’s premier non-league competition featuring clubs from Steps 1 to 4 of the non-league pyramid. With the Conference National side, one would expect some fairly good attendance figures at this stage. Alas this wasn’t the case.

Perhaps some sides (particularly those demoted from the Football League in the last decade) perceive the F.A. Trophy as a ‘Mickey Mouse Competition’, even though they have more chance of getting to Wembley than the F.A. Challenge Cup. That may be true to some extent, but I think the real culprit lies with hosting the First Round ties close to Christmas, when attendances from the F.A. Premier League down to the Manchester League are depressed by Christmas shopping. For those of you stood in the aisles of TESCO Extra, you missed a few crackers. (Before you ask, they are not close to the wines and spirits aisle, going off my rudimentary knowledge of the one in Altrincham which I used to frequent)

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East of the M60 Advent Calendar: 12 December 2011

12. A Go-Ahead Group Brighton and Hove Scania N94UD OmniDekka

Scania N94UD OmniDekka, YN56 FFO Dame Anita Roddick

Brighton and Hove’s Scania OmniDekkas are a rare beast. This may look like a common and garden contemporary double decker as the devil in the detail is off camera. Most bus rear indicators only show the route number. Brighton and Hove’s vehicles have the full front indicator on the rear of the bus. This example is photographed outside the entrance of Eastbourne Pier.

Bus Route of Christmas Past: Flixton – Piccadilly. One of two 12s in central Manchester and Salford. Operated by Manchester Corporation, this service had a basic hourly frequency with extra peak hour journeys, though no Sunday morning journeys. Most of the 12 service is covered by today’s 256 route to Flixton operated by Stagecoach Manchester.

Bus Route of Christmas Present: Continuing with Stagecoach – and the seaside theme of the picture, our 12 is Stagecoach in Devon’s Newton Abbot – Torquay – Paignton – Brixham service. Popular all year round, the service boasts a 10 minute daytime frequency with an evening, Sunday and Bank Holiday service every 20 minutes. It is also the easiest way for approaching Torquay and Brixham town centres. The standard 12 route is also augmented by 12A and 12C services to Brixham and Torquay.

S.V., 12 December 2011