Where to watch the Euros in West Hampstead

Whether you are a die hard, St George’s flag wielding, vuvuzela-blowing, Barmy Army wannabe, a student of the international game or an occasional watcher with a passing interest in major tournament football, West Hampstead has a good seat and a cold drink for you for the next month (yes it really does last until mid-July!). All the matches are on terrestrial TV, so you could just stay at home, but where the fun in that? Here’s a brief guide of where to watch all the games in the hood.

Czechoslovak Restaurant & Bar: Showing a few games during opening hours (after 5pm in the week, 12pm weekends), with sound, but particularly worth a visit for the Czech Republic and Slovakia games. Bound to be noisy for those.

The Railway: All games live on two big screens and multiple big TVs. Also possibility of parallel viewing of final group games. Flags and bunting – tick!

Seems The Railway's big screen TV is straight out of the Flintstones

Seems The Railway’s big screen TV is straight out of the Flintstones

The Gallery: All games shown on two big screens, one upstairs, one downstairs. Sound will be on downstairs for all games and upstairs for England games only.

The Gallery keeps things simple

The Gallery keeps things simple

La Brocca: Sadly not yet (sob sob) but work appears to be underway. Check back here in the run up to World Cup 2018!

One Sixty: Multiple TV screens, showing all games during opening hours with table bookings available and strongly recommended (some home nations games are already booked out!). NB One Sixty opens 5pm Monday-Friday, 10am Sat & Sun.

The Black Lion: Every game shown live with several big TVs and a big screen. Sound for all England games otherwise confined to the near corner when you walk in. They did say though that demand will drive sound for other games – watch out for that Iceland v Hungary match…. They are taking bookings for areas and have red, white and blue bunting up!

Prize for "good effort" blackboard goes to The Black Lion (though it does have bunting)

Prize for “good effort” blackboard goes to The Black Lion (though it does have bunting)

The Alliance: Several big TVs and we’re reliably informed that every game will be shown live with sound.

Prize for classiest blackboard goes to The Alliance

Prize for classiest blackboard goes to The Alliance

There may be a few other places showing the odd game or with a TV in the corner, so keep an eye out an let us know if we’ve missed anywhere.

Games tend to kick off at 2pm, 5pm and 8pm. Happy watching…

West Hampstead’s astonishing football pedigree

West Hampstead FC 1903

As the World Cup kicks off a continent away, we cast our eyes back to Victorian times – and the little-known fact that West Hampstead and Kilburn played an important role in the Football Association and early football.

There are three parts to this story: Arthur Pember, was the FA’s very first Chairman back in 1863. He lived in Carlton Road, later called Carlton Vale, and he established a team called No Names Kilburn.
Cuthbert Ottaway was the first captain of the England football team and is buried in Paddington Cemetery, off Willesden Lane. And finally, West Hampstead Football Club, which was banned from joining the FA and once had a Scottish “ringers” on its books.

Arthur Pember was born into a wealthy family in 1835 at 4 New Park Road off Brixton Hill. In 1848 the family moved to Clapham Park where Arthur was educated by a governess with his four sisters and his brother George. Arthur became a stock broker and joined his father at Jones Loyd and Co. Arthur was very energetic and as a keen mountaineer, he climbed Mont Blanc and later wrote and lectured about the ascent.

Arthur Pember and His Incredible Moustache

Arthur Pember and His Incredible Moustache

On 13 March 1860, at St Mark’s Church on Hamilton Terrace in St John’s Wood, he married Elizabeth Hoghton, the daughter of a fellow stockbroker who lived at 7 Abbey Road. After their marriage they moved to 26 Carlton Road, Kilburn (later renamed Carlton Vale), close to Elizabeth’s parents. Sadly, following a miscarriage, Elizabeth died in December 1860. Arthur was devastated and moved to 30 Carlton Road where he lived alone apart from three servants. He married his second wife in 1862. Seventeen-year-old Alice Mary Grieve was the daughter of William Royal Grieve, a wealthy wine merchant who lived at 3 Waterloo Cottages on the Kilburn High Road. They had four sons.

About 1863, Arthur formed the No Names Club of Kilburn. The unusual moniker may have been a play on words based on Arthur’s stockbroking background where investors were typically known as “Names”. The team played on fields opposite his home in Carlton Road. These fields later became Paddington Recreation Ground. NN (Kilburn) appears to have continued until 1870. Apart from Pember, the only other NN players we know are CM Tebbut, Lawson and A. Baker.

Football, in various forms, had been played for many years, but there was no agreed version of the rules. In October 1863, a letter in The Times sparked a debate about establishing a universal code. Further letters followed from several public schools, such Eton, Harrow and Rugby, but with no enthusiasm for a single version of the rules.

The first meeting of the Football Association was held at the Freemason’s Tavern, Great Queen’s Street, on the 26 October. Arthur Pember, from No Names Kilburn, was the chairman, and the secretary was Ebenezer Morley from the Barnes club. A series of further meetings were held in November and December 1863. Although the public schools were invited, they didn’t attend. There was considerable debate, with the main point of discussion focussing on whether the ball could be carried or not. Pember and Morley pushed ahead despite opposition from Rugby and other public schools, to say that under the FA rules players could not carry the ball and that hacking and tripping was not allowed. This effectively distinguished football from rugby.

In September 1864, there were 18 teams in the FA, including No Names Kilburn. Very few sides outside London used the FA rules for several years. In 1866 NN Kilburn complained that there were so few clubs adhering to the new code that they were able to play matches only against Crystal Palace and Barnes that year. Arthur Pember was the FA chairman until 1867 when Morley took over.

In 1868 Pember decided to take his family to New York where he worked as a journalist. To obtain material he worked in disguise in the poorer parts of the city. He looked at prostitution and gambling and in 1874 wrote a book about his ‘undercover sleuthing’ adventures. He died in 1886 in North Dakota.

Cuthbert Ottaway was born in Dover in July 1850, the only child of James Ottaway, a surgeon and former mayor of the town. Cuthbert had a privileged upbringing and was educated at Eton and Brasenose College Oxford. He was a very talented all-round sportsman who represented Eton in racquets and in their annual cricket match against Harrow. At Oxford he became the only student who was awarded Blues for football, cricket, racquets, athletics, and real tennis. After Oxford he practiced as a barrister. He played cricket for the Gentleman against the Players and opened the batting with W.G. Grace on many occasions.

Cuthbert Ottaway, England's first football captain

Cuthbert Ottaway, England’s first football captain

Although playing several sports at a very high level, Ottaway gained most fame as a footballer. He led the England team against Scotland in what is now recognised as the first international football match on 30 November 1872. He was again captain in the England vs. Scotland match in 1874. Like many others in the early days of amateur sport, he played for several teams, and took part in three successive FA Cup finals between 1873 and 1875. He was a centre forward and particularly noted for his speed and skill at dribbling.

In 1872 during an England cricket tour of Canada he met and fell in love with 13-year-old Marion Stinson. She was sent to England to finish her education and when she was 17 they were married in Ottawa. They returned to London and lived at 34 Westbourne Place, Eaton Square. But less than a year later, in April 1878, Cuthbert died aged only 27 while Marion was pregnant. The cause of his death is not clear. It was said that he caught a chill after a night’s dancing and died from complications. But diabetes ran in his family and this may have contributed to his susceptibility to respiratory diseases. It is also possible that he had earlier contracted TB. When he died his personal estate was less than £800, worth about £64,000 today.

A memorial for him was erected at Paddington Cemetery in August 2013. The grave is in Section 1F, grave number 5628. There is a website for more information at

Ottaway memorial celebration at Paddington Cemetery (Simon Inglis, August 2013)

Ottaway memorial celebration at Paddington Cemetery (Simon Inglis, August 2013)

The first record of West Hampstead Football Club is an 1895 newspaper report when the team was due to play Wood Green. In 1897, West Hampstead FC joined the Second Division of the London League alongside Fulham and Orient and that season they finished fifth out of ten clubs. The following year, after promotion to the First London Division, they finished eighth of the nine clubs. In 1900/01 they won the Middlesex Cup beating London Caledonians.

The following season – 1901/02 – the team joined the superior Southern League Division Two, and finished fifth out of nine teams. The division included Fulham (the current club), Shepherds Bush, Brighton and Hove Albion, and Wycombe Wanderers.

Problems arose during the 1902 season when Shepherds Bush FC complained about West Hampstead FC. This was a time when there was considerable disagreement betweem those ‘gentlemen’ with sufficient income to play as amateurs and working class players who wanted to be paid.

The FA held a commission of inquiry in January 1903 which concluded that Mr J.C. Christie, Sec. and Treasurer of West Hampstead FC, did not provide the commission with evidence or hand over the books relating to the management of the club, although repeatedly being asked to do so. Because of this he violated the rules of the FA and would not not admitted to membership of the FA, nor to take part in their football or football management until further order.

Five members of the club’s committee were suspended until the end of the 1903/4 season. One of these men, Joseph Comodonico, was a blacksmith who lived in Agamemnon Road and who later worked for the Hampstead Council. The club captain, a W. Denham, was declared a professional and was suspended for one month

Perhaps most bizarrely, the FA said, “The fact of bringing in players under the names of Gray, Craig, Barber, and Reid (whose proper names are believed to be respectively: Graham, Adams, McDonald, and Nesbitt), from Scotland, will be reported to the Scottish FA.” In other words, the club had brought in four ‘ringers’ from Scotland who they paid to play for West Hampstead.

Even though the FA had legalised professionalism as far back as 1885, the London FA was one of the last county associations to deny membership to professional clubs. In 1907 this issue caused a split when they broke away from the FA to form the Amateur Football Association. The AFA continued until 1914 when it rejoined the FA.

West Hampstead FC in 1903

West Hampstead FC in 1903

The photograph shows the team as the winners of the Middlesex Cup and the Hospital Charity Shield, 1902-3. We know that some of team members were the four Westley brothers, who are probably some of the men with moustaches in the photo. These were, Harold Charles Percy Westerly, outside left, Arthur John West Westley, fullback, Francis Joseph Westley, goalkeeper, and Herbert Oscar Westley, no position given. They were the sons of John Westley, of Lee in Kent. He was a cashier to a foreign banker. None of the brothers seem to have lived in West Hampstead. There were six Westley brothers in all, who signed up together for the Boer War. One brother, Gerald was killed.

The man holding the ball is the captain Herbert Kingaby, who was born in August 1880 in London. Kingaby initially worked for a woollen manufacturer. After he played part-time for Clapton Orient he was sold to Aston Villa for £300 in March 1906. Here he was paid the football maximum wage of £4 per week but after two months, Villa were not impressed with his ability. They were unwilling to lose their £300 with a free transfer, so offered to sell him back at half price but there were no takers. His wages were stopped and he was placed on Villa’s retained list which effectively stopped him earning a living in the English League, so he joined Fulham in the Southern League. At the start of the 1910/11 season he re-joined Clapton Orient. That year the FA and the Southern League agreed to mutual recognition of each other’s retain and transfer systems. Villa now disclosed that Kingaby was still on their retained list and demanded £350. This prevented a move to Croydon Common but he eventually joined Peterborough City in 1910 for one season.

In March 1912 Kingaby brought legal proceedings against Villa for preventing him from playing. The Player’s Union funded his legal costs, but his counsel concentrated on Villa’s use of the transfer scheme and made no use of the law on restrictive practices. The suit was dismissed and the Union were almost financially ruined. Kingaby played with Croydon Common from 1913 to 1916, when he seems to have ended his career. He died in 1957 in London.

Wondering where the football ground was? We’re not sure exactly. In October 1896, Hampstead Council agreed to write a letter to the secretary of West Hampstead FC complaining about the excessive noise from supporters at their matches on land near Hampstead Cemetery. This interfered with services taking place at the Cemetery on Saturday afternoons. So at this time they clearly played close to the Cemetery. The Victoria County History says that West Hampstead Football Club had a new ground at Willesden Green in 1898. We haven’t been able to find where this was. A football ground is shown off Cricklewood Lane on the 1912 Ordinance Survey map.

We would like to thank Dil Porter, De Montfort University Leicester, and West Hampstead resident Simon Inglis, the editor of the Played in Britain series, for their help with this story.

Soldiers of Fortune (Green) vs. Athletic – the West Hampstead 5-a-side derby

After a decidedly unsuccessful first season, finishing dead last in the Fortune Green 5-a-side league, West Hampstead Wanderers FC disbanded, splitting into two separate teams for the start of the new season. Dan reports on their first encounter.
Despite the new teams – West Hampstead Athletic and Soldiers of Fortune (Green) – maintaining a core of the old Wanderers players, both sides recorded victories in their respective opening games. But this positive start was bound to end for one of the teams as match day 2 saw the former team-mates go head-to-head for the first time in what must now be the ultimate North London derby. 
This rivalry brought out the best in both teams, and what resulted was an incredibly tight, hard-fought match. The energy levels were high, the quality of the football higher.
The Soldiers opened the scoring, but Athletic soon drew level. Goals were harder to come by than in previous matches, thanks mainly to sterling displays in goal by the two keepers, and some brilliant defending. 
With about a minute left to play, and the scores level at 4 goals apiece, everyone on the pitch turned their dials up to 11. In the end, a late goal from Thom Hoffman handed the win to the Soldiers of Fortune (Green). But never have cliches such as “it could have gone either way” and “both teams deserved to get something out of the match” been more applicable.
It was a fantastic game to be involved in, and I can’t wait for the return fixture.
Final Score: Soldiers of Fortune (Green) 5 – 4 West Hampstead Athletic.

Positive end to the season for Wanderers

The team was already consigned to the bottom of the table, but was able to salvage some pride in a 5-a-side match that suggests next season’s league (revised to 5-a-side from 6 this season) could be much more competitive. Tim reports:

Matchday 12. Monday April 4. KO 7.20
West Hampstead Wanderers 11 – 9 The Gym Utd.

Gym Utd arrived at Fortune Green fresh from their title decider the previous week. Maybe it was the taste of defeat in that match, or having one eye already on next season; but either way, a match between the league runners up and the dead last team coudl have been expected to be a walkover to an outsider.

The Wanderers struggled to field a full line-up for the final match, so it seemed the writing was on the wall. However, The Gym Utd kindly agreed to field a 5-a-side team, which allowed more space in the previously cramped court. Some of the early football played by the Wanderers was reminiscent of the tiki-taka approach taken by some larger, foreign teams.

Wanderers were very quickly two goals to the good, following some simple pass and move with calm finishing from @timcheese and @matthewmargot. The gents from the Gym fought back, and the game was close as half-time approached. In the blur of competition, the writer considers that the scores were around 4 a-piece. Most surprising at the interval was that @timcheese already had a hat-trick under his belt, as he hadn’t scored all season whilst playing in defence. With 10 players on the court, far greater space was afforded with counterattacking suiting the bolder, quicker team.

Following the changeover, Utd looked shell-shocked early into the second half as the plucky Wanderers continued as they had started, with a couple of quick goals from a rejuvenated @samwong1. There was real belief that an upset beckoned. @MartinTse was kept busy in goal, with some quite optimistic defending, and tired legs betraying Wanderers’ ambitions. During the mid-point of the second half, Wanderers started to slow and dictate play, with @thomhoffman picking up two of his three goal tally; one of which involved a sublimely understated use of his eyes to direct the keeper away from his exquisitely placed shot. With that, The Gym Utd were almost broken, and after the addition of a fourth by @timcheese following a dubious handball claim denied, all that was left was to see out the final onslaught. Utd’s goliath effort was finished, David like, by @matthewmargot with the simplest of tap-ins before the final whistle blew.

The match had no effect on the standings, but dead rubber or not, the boys from West Hampstead showed their neighbouring cousins with their 11-9 victory that the battle for next season is just beginning.

League standings:

Kilburn Wizards          P12 W8 D2 L2 GD +27
The Gym Utd.             P12 W6 D2 L4 GD +17
Abacus Athletic          P12 W4 D2 L6 GD -4
West Hampstead Wanderers P12 W2 D2 L8 GD -40

Last minute goal thriller consigns Wanderers to last place

With three weeks left until the end of the season, the Wanderers needed a win and other results to go their way if they were not to be destined to finish bottom of the league. Thom reports

Match day 10. Monday 21st March. KO 6.30
West Hampstead Wanderers 9 – 10 Abacus Athletic

A solid start saw the Wanderers take the lead after pressure high up the pitch led to a penalty, which was  stuck away by Thom. Abacus scored two in return before another penalty made it 2-2. The hard work at the start of the half  began to take its toll and some clinical finishing by the opposition meant that the Wanderers went into the break 5-2 down.

Heads didn’t drop though and the pressure was ramped right back up in the second half.

Some slick finishing and another penalty brought the score to 5-4 but the Wanderers’ carefree attacking play led to them being caught on the break and although they scored several, they were conceding as well. With a minute to go before the final whistle, Abacus was leading 9-8 when they gave away yet another penalty. Thom stepped up to stick it away and the Wanderers were on the verge of drawing the match. Amazingly, all the hard work was undone with seconds to go as Abacus’s Yemi released a belter from the halfway line, that even the lovechild of Jesus and Peter Schmeichel wouldn’t have been able to stop. Final score 10-9 to Abacus.

It was a good fun game with some great performances, and with no subs to bring on the shape and movement of the team was a lot more controlled, which bodes well for next season.

Goals: @ThomHoffman x6, @SamWong1 x1, @MatthewMargot x1, @Talalb01 x1

League standings:

Kilburn Wizards          P10 W7 D1 L2 GD +25
The Gym Utd.             P10 W5 D2 L3 GD +17
Abacus Athletic          P10 W4 D2 L4 GD 0
West Hampstead Wanderers P10 W1 D1 L8 GD -42

At the end of this season, the league becomes 5-a-side and the Wanderers will split into two separate teams so more people get a chance to play.

Wanderers get caught on the break

The season is starting to draw to a close and, as in the Premiership as in the Hampstead 6-a-side league, teams beginning with W are struggling. Tal reports on the Wanderers’ latest outing:

Match day 9. Monday 14th March. KO 7.20
West Hampstead Wanderers 3 – 10 The Gym Utd.

After a few disappointing defeats the Wanderers were looking for a win against a side they have had close and well fought battles with in the past. Unfortunately, we were missing our goalkeeper, but @Martin_Tse stepped up to the plate and took the gloves after others shied away from the responsibility. Martin put in an excellent performance early in the game and was helped massively by the energy and desire shown by the outfield players. The team seems to have addressed its problems of closing down early and the team defended as a single unit.

The Wanderers peppered the opposition’s goal with shots throughout the first half and had the best chances throughout. The team did a great job of regaining lost posession and shooting when the opportunity arose. Lady Luck, however, wasn’t on the Wanderers’ side and many of the shots were very close or were saved – on another day they’d have been in the back of the net.

The Gym Utd. got stronger as the game wore on and stole a few goals on the break giving them a healthy lead, The Wanderers pushed further upfield in search of goals, @ThomHoffman nabbed a brace through hard work and continual pressure, and @MatthewMargot used his strength and power on the ball to score another long range shot.

Of course, as the Wanderers pressed forward, The Gym Utd attacked on the break and pulled further ahead leaving the final score 10-3 to The Gym. This score doesn’t tell the tale of the game though. There were some positive signs from the Wanderers: a good defensive attitude, a willingness to shoot and slowly developing a knowledge of each other’s movement. This can only lead to good results in a  league which has proven to be very competitive in the Wanderers’ debut season. As always, the next game will be a win!

Team: @nickhudgell, @NWSixDan, @ThomHoffman (x2) @Talalb01, @Martin_Tse, @SamWong1, @MatthewMargot (x1), @TimCheese

League standings:

Kilburn Wizards          P9 W7 D0 L2 GD +25
The Gym Utd.             P9 W5 D1 L3 GD +17
Abacus Athletic          P9 W3 D2 L4 GD -1
West Hampstead Wanderers P9 W1 D1 L7 GD -41

Wanderers fall under Wizards’ spell once more

The third outing of the NW6 derby game saw league leaders Kilburn Wizards notch up another win although as in the previous encounters, the Wanderers weren’t so far off the pace despite being without player/manager Nick. Matt reports:

Match day 8. Monday 7th March. KO 7.20
West Hampstead Wanderers 4 – 8 Kilburn Wizards

The Wanderers got off to a cracking start applying pressure all over the field. The Wizards struggled to keep the ball and gave away an early penalty which @thomhoffman casually put away, giving the Wanderers an early lead.

The Wanderers were missing some regular defenders and the Wizards were able to carve out a couple of chances against the patched up defence. Had it not been for the exploits of @domchristie in goal we would have gone in to half time with a larger deficit than 2-1.

The second half saw three amazing Wanderers goals. The first was the culmination of an excellent passage of play and a superb finish from @thomhoffman after a wonderpass for his second of the night. The second was a long hit into the bottom corner from @MatthewMargot as was the third by @Talalb01.

Unfortunately in the second half the Wizards scored 5. Very disappointing for the Wanderers, and due to a few lapses in concentration, superior opposition fitness and some dodgy refereeing decisions (including a disallowed Wanderers goal).

Team @DJVectra, @DomChristie, @NWSixDan, @SamWong1, @ThomHoffman (x2), @MatthewMargot (x1), @Talalb01 (x1)

Thom tops the Wanderers’ goal scoring so far this season with 12 goals, followed by Matt on 10

League standings:

Kilburn Wizards          P8 W6 D0 L2 GD +19
The Gym Utd.             P8 W4 D1 L3 GD +10
Abacus Athletic          P8 W3 D2 L3 GD +5
West Hampstead Wanderers P8 W1 D1 L6 GD -34

Wanderers continue to prop up the table

Another week, another match. The Wanderers were facing Abacus Athletic once again in the league. Would the team be able to restore some pride after last week’s drubbing. Dan reports.

Match day 7. Monday 28th February. KO 6.30
West Hampstead Wanderers 5 – 11 Abacus Athletic

After last week’s resounding defeat at the hands – and feet – of Gym United, the Wanderers were determined to get a positive result against Abacus Athletic. A positive opening period saw the Wanderers take the lead, with an early goal from @MatthewMargot.

For 10 whole minutes, the West Hampstead side looked genuinely good. The passing was slick, despite a wet and skiddy surface, the defense was strong and physical, and @Martin_Tse pulled off some spectacular diving saves in goal.

But then it all went down hill. Abacus scored an equaliser, and then took the lead. The Wanderers players’ heads went down, and three more Abacus goals followed. At half time, the Wanderers were 5-1 behind.

At this stage a comeback was still on the cards. The Wanderers were playing some good attacking football, and working hard off the ball. But for large periods, Abacus simply outplayed them.

Second half goals came from @ThomHoffman and @NWSixDan, and @MatthewMargot deservedly completed a hat trick, but it wasn’t enough to close the gap. Final score: West Hampstead 5, Abacus 11.

It was a fair result on the night – Abacus were definitely the better side – but there were plenty of positives to draw from the Wanderers’ performance. Next week, West Hampstead take on the table-topping Kilburn Wizards in what will be another tough game. But in this crazy old league, anything can happen.

League standings:

Kilburn Wizards          P7 W5 D0 L2 GD +15
The Gym Utd.             P7 W4 D0 L3 GD +10
Abacus Athletic          P7 W3 D1 L3 GD +5
West Hampstead Wanderers P7 W1 D1 L5 GD -30

Dan also interviewed Wanderers’ player/manager @NickHudgell who dissects the team’s performance and prospects for the rest of the season.

Video streaming by Ustream

Black Monday for Wanderers

It was another outing against The Gym Utd for West Hampstead Wanderers last night. A couple of tweets after the match suggested things hadn’t gone the Wanderers’ way. Nick reports:

Match day 6. Monday 21st February. KO 7.20
West Hampstead Wanderers 2 – 17 The Gym Utd

With previous outings against the Gym Utd being close battles that had gone both ways, the expectation for last night’s game was high.

As the saying goes, “great expectation can bring great failure”* and it did. For whatever reason the Wanderers failed to string anything together that would even resemble football – in attack, midfield and defense, the football was lacking.

Despite goals either side of half time by @MatthewMargot and @NWSixDan, which spared some blushes, the Wanderers could not stop the goals from leaking in, and failed to get anything back for themselves.

As a result, and to sum up: last night we got beat. Bad.

We’re half way through the league, and there is time to pick up more points. So we’ll scratch last night as a bad night at the office – and move onwards (and upwards?).

* quite possibly not a ‘saying’.

 [Ed: notable that the table-topping Kilburn Wizards also lost yesterday, so was clearly a strange night]

League standings:

Kilburn Wizards          P6 W5 D0 L1 GD +18
The Gym Utd.             P6 W3 D0 L3 GD +7
Abacus Athletic          P6 W2 D1 L3 GD -1
West Hampstead Wanderers P6 W1 D1 L4 GD -24

V for Valentine’s not Victory in the NW6 derby

Derby day again in the 6-a-side league as the Wanderers took on top of the table Kilburn Wizards on a cold February 14th evening. David reports:

Match day 5. Monday 14th February. KO 7.20
West Hampstead Wanderers 3 – 8 Kilburn Wizards

This didn’t turn out to be the Valentine’s Day massacre that many feared – just a solid, if unspectacular defeat. It featured a brave performance from a Wanderers’ team shorn of a few key players by the commercial nonsense lovely occasion that is Feb 14th. @Martin_Tse made a welcome return to the backline to marshal the defence, but the Wizards were on good form, moving the ball quickly and effectively and lived up to their billing as league leaders. @NickHudgell ’s energy was rewarded with a cheeky goal in the first half and @Talalb01 used his cannon of a right foot to score a couple of nicely taken goals. The Wizards were only 5-2 up at half time but, by scoring first in the second half, they took control of the game and never let the Wanderers have a sniff of victory.

The post-game debate centred on appropriate fines for @NW6Dan and @ThomHoffman for being “missing in love”… all suggestions welcome. Fines will also be introduced for every time @TimCheese incorrectly rolls the ball back into play – it is becoming a weekly ritual, as predictable as a Paul Scholes booking. Man of the match for the Wanderers was once again @DJVectra, who finds new parts of his body to make flying saves with every week, and continues to showcase his wide range of replica shirts.

The Wanderers are a much better team than when we first played together – more cohesive, skilful and committed – and continue to enjoy the Monday night local league.

Team: @NickHudgell (1 x goal), @Talalb01 (2 x goals), @TimCheese, @DomChristie, @SamWong1, @DJVectra, @Martin_Tse, @oneDavidLewy

League standings:

Kilburn Wizards          P5 W5 D0 L0 GD +19
The Gym Utd.             P5 W2 D0 L3 GD -8
Abacus Athletic          P5 W1 D1 L3 GD -2
West Hampstead Wanderers P5 W1 D1 L3 GD -9

Wanderers rack up a point against Abacus

Monday night is football night here in NW6, and this week’s clash saw the West Hampstead Wanderers take on Abacus Athletic in a rematch of the first game of the season, which the Wanderers lost 7-11. But in a rich vein of form, could they steal the points in the reverse fixture. Dan reports:

Match day 4. Monday 7th February. KO 6.30
West Hampstead Wanderers 9 – 9 Abacus Athletic

When Newcastle United came back against Arsenal from 4-0 down at half-time last weekend to eek out a 4-4 draw, many pundits thought that a more impressive comeback, and a more emphatic capitulation, could not be repeated. Not in our lifetimes, at any rate.

But last night, in a thrilling goal-fest at the Home of Football – Fortune Green play centre – the West Hampstead Wanderers faced an Abacus Athletic side with all the spirit, grit and determination to rewrite the history blogs.

The Wanderers took an early lead after @Talalb01 surprised the Abacus keeper with a long-range effort. The “Mathematicians” equalised, but the Wanderers, brimming with confidence and playing the kind of tiki-taka football that would have Lionel Messi salivating, kept their heads and kept scoring. This reporter’s memory isn’t what it used to be, but the score was somewhere in the region of 5-3 as half-time approached.

Abacus did brilliantly to close the gap, and if not for some outstanding keeping by @DJVectra in the West Hampstead goal, may well have taken the lead. Thankfully, superb goals from @ThomHoffman, @DomChristie and @Talalb01 meant that the Wanderers always had their noses in front.

A close-fought and well-deserved 9-8 victory looked to be a certainty but, with what would turn out to be the very last kick of the game, one of the Abacus players completed a great solo run and shot into the bottom corner of @DJVectra’s goal.

Final score: 9-9. Another strong performance from West Hampstead Wanderers, who really do seem to be going from strength to strength. It’s a long season – and a game of two halves, etc – and there’s still all to play for.

Goal Scorers:
@ThomHoffman x2, @Talalb01 x2, @DomChristie x2, @MatthewMargot, @NickHudgell, @NWSixDan

League standings:

Kilburn Wizards          P4 W4 D0 L0 GD +14
Abacus Athletic          P4 W1 D1 L2 GD -1
West Hampstead Wanderers P4 W1 D1 L2 GD -4
The Gym Utd.             P4 W1 D0 L3 GD -9

Wanderers win as Hoffman bags five

Before the season re-started, The West Hampstead Wanderers had played The Gym United. It was the team’s first competitive match and they lost. Quite badly. Now, with the league properly underway and the Wanderers’ form improving with every game, it was time for a rematch. Thom Hoffman reports.

Matchday 3. Monday 31st January. KO 6.30
West Hampstead Wanderers 5 – 2 The Gym Utd.

A solid start to the match saw a series of tight exchanges between the two teams. Hard running from the Wanderers made it very tough for the Gym Utd, who were restricted to a few long-range chances. Eventually the ball broke for @nickhudgell who played a great pass to @thomhoffman who slotted home the first goal of the match. The Gym Utd chased back and made it 1-1 after good work from their big striker who had been the thorn in the Wanderers’ side in the previous encounter. The Wanderers’ defence had learned from that however, and changed tactics – not committing too close and making it hard for TGU to play where they wanted. The Wanderers were playing some superb passing football, with the rock solid @timcheese breaking from the back and providing options on the wing. A sneaky one-two with a TGU defender allowed @thomhoffman to make it 2-1, and solid defence kept the scores that way until half time.

The second half started with TGU on the up and only some unbelievable goalkeeping by @DJVectra kept them out. Eventually though, they found some space and the game was level once again. @thomhoffman slipped back on the pitch and managed to nick a goal after a good pass from the throw in. Back in the lead again, the Wanderers began to ‘pass and move super smooth’ like an Anfield Rap instructed behemoth. Great performances all around the pitch and a 100% work rate made it impossible for TGU to get back in the game. @thomhoffman nicked a couple more to end up with five goals. The United keeper worked hard all night, and kept out many shots from almost all the Wanderers – the final score could have been a lot more.

Team: @NickHudgell, @nwsixDan, @ThomHoffman, @MatthewMargot, @DomChristie, @Talalb01, @TimCheese, @DJVectra

Goal scorers: @thomhoffman x 5

League standings:

Kilburn Wizards          P3 W3 D0 L0 GD +8
Abacus Athletic          P3 W1 D0 L2 GD -1
The Gym Utd              P3 W1 D0 L2 GD -3
West Hampstead Wanderers P3 W1 D0 L2 GD -4

Wizards cast a spell on Wanderers

Matchday 2 of the 6-a-side season was a close-fought NW6 derby game as the West Hampstead Wanderers took on the Kilburn Wizards. Sadly the Wanderers couldn’t find enough tricks to unlock the Wizards’ defence. Dom Christie reports:

Match day 2. Monday 24th January. KO 6.30
West Hampstead Wanderers 3 – 6 Kilburn Wizards

West Hampstead Wanderers had a near-full squad available ahead of the game against the unbeaten Kilburn Wizards. @timcheese was forced to pull out thanks to “British Rail” while @martin_tse replaced the injured @djvectra between the posts. @thomhoffman and @nwsixdan were back from trials at (or “trips to”)  Barcelona, and went straight into the starting lineup.

The Wanderers kept it tight from the start, and eventually took a well-deserved lead mid-way through the first half thanks to @thomhoffman. This good form continued with some superb saves from @martin_tse, but the Wanderers couldn’t quite hold out and, on the stroke of half-time, the Wizards levelled.
It was the first time the Wanderers hadn’t headed off for half-time oranges trailing their opponents, so optimism was high. The second half was feisty, and the Wizards were getting away with some pretty aggressive slide tackles. The quick tempo saw them slot home three quick goals and suddenly the Wanderers found themselves 4-1 down.

The referee sin-binned Wanderers’ @onedavidlewy midway through the second half, and appeared to do the same to a Wizards’ player a few minutes later; but the Wizard – clearly deploying some cunning mind spell – played on regardless. Despite being a man down, the Wanderers plugged away with @MatthewMargot scoring a second and @thomhoffman getting his second and the Wanderers third. Unfortunately the Wizards had two more tricks up their collective sleeve and also scored twice. Final score: 6-3 to the Wizards.

The Wizards are top of the league, but once again the Wanderers’ improved on their previous week’s performance. There’s a long way to go in this campaign, and you can be sure that next time the two teams meet the Wanderers will be highly motivated to pull the rabbit out of the proverbial and turn the tables on their tricky opponents.

@NickHudgell, @Martin_Tse, @nwsixDan, @ThomHoffman, @SamWong1, @oneDavidLewy, @MatthewMargot, @DomChristie, @Talalb01

Goal scorers:
@thomhoffman x 2

League standings:

Kilburn Wizards          P2 W2 D0 L0 GD +6
Abacus Athletic          P2 W1 D0 L1 GD +1
The Gym Utd              P2 W1 D0 L1 GD 0
West Hampstead Wanderers P2 W0 D0 L2 GD -7

Wanderers start the season (again)

Another Monday, another first match of the season. As the league began again, the Wanderers were able to wipe the memories of last week’s defeat and start afresh with a match against Abacus Athletic. Matthew Margot reports

Match day 1. Monday 17th January. KO 6.30
West Hampstead Wanderers 7 – 11 Abacus Athletic
West Hampstead Wanderers second first game of the season was against Abacus Athletic. The league format had undergone a slight reshuffle with a team dropping out and the games changing to six-a-side.
The Wanderers started slowly conceding an early penalty. Abacus were moving the ball quickly and their superior fitness was on display in the early stages of the game. A couple more goals from Abacus saw the Wanderers trailing 3-0.
The Wanderers had the advantage of three subs and brought on some fresh legs. @Talalb01 scored a tidy goal and the comeback was on. @MatthewMargot also added a goal with a mishit left foot volley but with halftime approaching Abacus added a few more goals and the score going into halftime was either 5-2, 6-2 or 7-2. Without @DJVectra’s excellent goalkeeping it could have been much worse.
Following an encouraging team talk from the captain/manager/player @NickHudgell with instructions to press further up the pitch, pass the ball quickly and shoot on sight the Wanderers returned to the pitch.
The second half started well with the Wanderers dictating the play. @TimCheese and @Martin_Tse were strong at the back and @SamWong1 and @DomChristie were pulling the strings in midfield. The instruction to shoot on sight meant shots were flying in from all over the place and it wasn’t long until @Martin_Tse had a long ranger fly in courtesy of a massive deflection. @Talalb01 added his second of the night with a good shot from range and then @MatthewMargot scored from the edge of the box. The deficit had been reduced and the score was 7-5.
The Wanderers were pushing for more goals but unfortunately got caught on the break a couple of times by Abacus. @oneDavidLewy added one for the Wanderers from long range and with the clock running down @MatthewMargot completed his hat trick following in on a rebound but it was not enough to complete the comeback. Final score 11-7.
In summary it was a very good second half performance. The Wanderers grew as the match went on adapted to the conditions and style of play required, with more time the game could have been levelled. The extra three subs probably helped a little.
Goal Scorers:

Tough first outing for West Hampstead Wanderers

Yesterday, the newly formed West Hampstead Wanderers kicked off their season in the Hampstead 7evens League with a game against The Gym United. Player/manager Nick Hudgell reports:

Match day 1. Monday 10th January. KO 7.15.
The Gym United 10-4 West Hampstead Wanderers
The first game of a new season, let alone for a new team is always hard. The Wanderers took to a cold and dark Fortune Green Playcentre for their first ever 7-a-side game against the ominously named ‘The Gym United’. Despite a slight delay while the floodlights went off and the Wanderers practiced some 1-touch in the dark to hone their skills, the game started fairly promptly at 7.15pm, a light drizzle making the ball move quickly across the surface.
The Wanderers, used to playing on the more spacious Fortune Green park, started slow but, despite some early pressure from TGU, they opened the score sheet. The goal will undoubtedly go before the dubious goals committee, but was claimed at the time by @nwsixdan. The lead was short-lived as the red-clad Wanderers conceded a penalty that was swiftly converted to bring TGU level. 
The Wanderers regrouped and quickly got back into their stride with a goal from @Talalb01 to go 2-1 up, but under sustained pressure from TGU the Wanderers lead couldn’t last for long. TGU’s main player (and league organiser) showed some impressive striking ability and a flurry of goals put them quickly into the lead despite some superb efforts from @DJVectra in the Wanderers’ goal. Thankfully, before the half was up, a sloppy pass across the goal from TGU’s defence allowed @nickhudgell to steal in and grab a goal – a lifeline on the stroke of half time.
A second half “impact substitution” brought on a flu-riddled @thomhoffman, but even operating on just one lung, he gave the Wanderers a bit of pace, some more movement, and put TGU on the back foot. However with only one more Wanderers goal from @nickhudgell, and a couple more from TGU – the final whistle blew with the score 10–4 to The Gym United.
If the game had gone on longer, the Wanderers could have come back into it. They learned and adapted as the game went on. The team certainly learned a few lessons, but also took away a lot of positives, with some fantastic individual performances from @samwong1 and in goal from @DJVectra and @Martin_Tse.
Thanks to Chris from @TheRailwayNW6 for a meal-deal offer that was taken up by four of the team – a good way to end the day.

The next match date will be announced very soon.

WANTED: Eager football players

Yesterday I tweeted about Hampstead 7evens, a local seven-a-side football organisation based in Fortune Green. West Hampstead local Thom Hoffman was trying to get a team together and then faster than a Gareth Bale strike into the bottom right corner/Theo Walcott run down the line* people were replying left right and centre expressing an interest.

Then, Thom had an idea and asked if I’d post it, so I am:

“Hi, as there is a lot of football interest I propose an official kickabout. I think it would be a good idea to have a big footy match on Fortune Green next Saturday 13th November K/O 12 noon. Loads of people seem interested, and I’d love to play a bit more locally. There could be enough for a few 7-aside teams in the future; or just enough people interested that we can have kickabout tweetups once in a while. I realise Saturday mornings aren’t great for everyone but it has to be sometime…”

Where: Fortune Green Park
When: Saturday 13th November, midday
Bring: Trainers and shinpads!
Email: thom.hoffman (at) if interested or tweet @thomhoffman

*delete according to your north London football predilections