Tamworth in Staffordshire have played at The Lamb Ground since 1934.
The Lamb Ground takes it name from a pub, the Lamb Inn, which formerly stood nearby. The ground has a capacity of approximately 4,000, and a directors box, which seems to be different coloured seating in the Main Stand. All seating is in the Main Stand, which was constructed in 1997. The Main Stand occupies one side of the pitch, with a covered terrace known as the Shed on the opposite side. The whole ground gives a rather ramshackle appearance, the Director’s suite being a portacabin. The visiting fans were told there was no supporters bar at the ground and pushed them off towards a pub, and en route to a grotty working men’s club that looked shut. The landlord looked less than pleased to be disturbed. Nice hospitality. You can see from the map that there isn’t much close to the ground. The SnowDome leisure centre apparently bars football supporters on match days.
The worst complaint from the Dartford fans was about the exhorbitant price of £1.50 for a cup of tea at the ground!
There were some 832 supporters at the game, about 140 of them from Dartford. The game was segregated, which was probably a wise decision. However, given the fracas at the end, one wonders about the sense of then letting both sides out of the stadium at the same time!
The match began in eyewateringly bright sunlight, with the very low sun streaming in from one end of the pitch. Dartford must have won the toss, because they elected to play with their backs to the sun, which I imagine is what Tamworth prefer to do. After 90 minutes of pitched battle, 3 yellow cards on each side, one sending off for Dartford for handball in the box, and a last minute winning goal from Tamworth, the match ended 3:2 for Tamworth.
After the final whistle, there was a bit of a rumpus. Lee Hendrie was allegedly involved presumably to have the last word about the tackle on Marcus Kelly which appeared to be outside the box but resulted in a penalty kick, although how anyone other than the players can attest to this is a mystery. A charming personality – not. Hendrie only came on as a substitute in the 75th minute, and 10 minutes later was getting a yellow card for unsporting behaviour. That speaks volumes.
Lee Hendrie, I discovered from an article in the Guardian, has a very checkered history. He is now 35. In his youth he played for Premier side Aston Villa, even played for England in 1998 against the Czech Republic. Back then he earned £35,000-£40,000 a WEEK, flashed his cash on a £160,000 Ferrari 360 Spider and also on a Porche. In addition, Hendrie also picked up a reputation for being hard to handle as a player after crashing his Porches on the M6 while racing to catch a plane on the way to a European cup tie. Read more. The Daily Mail reported:
He was banned from driving for 12-months in 2003 after overtaking police on the M40 in Warwickshire. He was one-and-half times over the drink-drive limit.
He split from his childhood sweetheart Becky soon after just ONE DAY after their £60,000 wedding, cancelling a £12,000 honeymoon in Mauritius – losing the money.
Hendrie allegedly had an affair with Emma Cheal, 19, and his furious wife – who has two children with him – carved swear words into the paintwork of his £60,000 Jeep-style Porsche Cayenne.
He had a £1.6m mansion and bought his mother a home. He had a property portfolio of £10,000,000. Then, in 2010, it all went ‘pear-shaped’ and he was declared bankrupt in January 2012 with £1 million in debts, losing his mansion and his mother’s home.
He got so low he tried suicide twice but failed. Sounds to me like a typical immature spoiled boy. Not a nice character. To quote from the Guardian article in October 2012:
He feels a little frustrated that he is still thought of as a “bad boy” by some people and believes his reputation was blown out of proportion.
According to an article in the Mirror
“I am judged as an arrogant footballer and a womaniser but I am not a bad person,” he says.
Er, based on what allegedly occurred at Tamworth, I think he ought to take a good, long, hard look in the mirror. Actions speak louder than words, as the saying goes. The Tamworth supporters in the Shed behaved disgracefully, most of them quite young. Has it never occurred to Hendrie that he ought to be providing a good role model to the fans? Obviously that is something else he should give some serious consideration to. Leopard, Spots, Change comes to mind.
Although football has been a struggle for the last five years, Hendrie pointed out in a Guardian article in 2012, with some justification, that people often forget he was with Aston Villa until he was 30. He won an England cap in 1998, at the age of 21, when he was picked ahead of Frank Lampard. Glenn Hoddle, England’s manager at the time, described Hendrie’s debut as “absolutely magnificent” and Robbie Fowler scribbled “the first of many” across the shirt he wore against the Czech Republic. You are only as good as your last game. People have very short memories. If you are not made of the right stuff, it shows eventually.
In a candid interview with the Birmingham Mail, he reportedly admitted he would do a “hell of a lot of things completely differently” if he could have his career again. Hindsight is 20:20 vision, eh?
My experiences of away games this far has been remarkably favourable, but this episode reminds me that there is still a darker side to this game and that players at all levels ought to be mindful of how they present themselves to their supporters. Tamworth FC headline the match report with “Hendrie the hero after Barrow comeback brace” – zero not hero, perhaps? Interesting that, unusually for a modern day footballer he has never once commanded a transfer fee, despite playing for nine clubs.
Looking back at the first encounter with Tamworth at Princes Park on 11 August 2012, unsurprisingly there was a handbag match there too.
The Ref presented a yellow card to each team. And in the closing stages of the match, the ref gave Tamworth’s goalie a yellow card for wasting time mucking about changing his boots! So no history there, then? If that’s how professional football goes, give me the part-time army any time.