Billy Turley's Nightmare

[With its 16th anniversary being celebrated recently by Poolies - yes it really is that long ago - we thought we'd remind readers of what appeared in 4 different parts of MB no.70 about that day]

BILL THE BIRO had a brilliant outing to Northamptonshire

Rushden and Diamonds 0 Pools 2 (Division Two)
Saturday 24 April 2004
Nene Park

While Poolpower was at the Riverside being hospitalitized (as opposed to being in South Bank being hospitalized) and claiming it was all part of his journalistic duties, some of us were actually elsewhere supporting our team. No doubt his report will appear elsewhere in this mag*, in a vain hope to defend such treachery.

I refer of course to our return to Rushden, twelve months on from THAT match - when we cruelly lost the Third Division Championship to a village team with ideas above its station.

With Pools having pulled a late good run out of the hat, they were occupying the final playoff spot, five points and nine goal-difference goals clear of the next team, with only three games left. The initial slow ticket sales had a late increase as a warm weekend got nearer and excitement mounted.

Now this was a match I’d had pencilled-in for a long time, for various reasons. The first was that it's the nearest away match for me. The second was that I'd also been invited to enjoy a corporate hospitality bash, but had loyally turned it down in order to sit with the Poolies. It had come from the owner of a transport company which does work for my employers, and who knows of my allegiance. He had sponsored the match ball for our game. He is also the father-in-law of Billy Turley, the infamous Rushden goalie who conned the ref into disallowing the perfectly good Graeme Lee goal which would have won us that championship. When I informed Tony that his son-in-law was not popular in Hartlepool, he seemed surprised, despite having been there last year. Anyway, I got my ticket (via a season ticket holder who wasn't going) and one for my mate (by phone on the day they went on general sale.)

This young lady shows us
exactly how big a pr*ck
Billy Turley made of himself.
As my mate's mother-in-law lives only 10 miles from R & D, he dropped off his wife and daughter for the afternoon before heading us to Nene Park (local knowledge allows me to pass on the correct pronunciation, which is Nen, not Neen) in the village of Irthlingborough (where the sign is longer than the village). This being my third visit to Nene Park, I am no longer impressed by it like I was at first, but it's still a pretty good stadium. It was obvious 90 minutes before the match that there would be a huge Poolie presence. A good indicator is the number of ancient home shirts you see, and there were a few with Camerons on the front, and even one with Heritage Homes.

Surprisingly there was a turnstile open for buying tickets on the day, after Pools had advised fans not to travel without a ticket. Subsequently there were complaints from people who had heeded the advice, which is understandable. However, if Pools had not done that, Northamptonshire Police would have had to cope with hundreds of disgruntled Poolies (for all I know they may have done anyway, because there were very few empty seats inside).

Inside the ground it didn’t quite match the carnival atmosphere of last year, but nevertheless it was still pretty good in the bar area.

Pools started reasonably brightly by attacking from the off, but the scoreless first half seemed about right, even if Rodney Jack's disallowed goal for R & D seemed ok to me.
"he was given an affectionate chorus of welcome: “Cheat! Cheat! Cheat!“, which was repeated at appropriate moments (i.e. every time he touched the ball)"

The 1100 Poolies were in fine form again, and sang all through the match. I cannot understand why we can go there, and QPR, Barnsley, Sunderland and Hillsborough, and raise the roof, yet the Vic is like a morgue. And while the away crowds get bigger and noisier each season, the home ones get bigger yet quieter. My mate, an Arsenal fan who does go there occasionally, so he knows a bit about large crowds and following successful clubs, found it deafening behind the goal.

For the second half, Billy Turley had to come down to the Poolies‘ end, and he was given an affectionate chorus of welcome: “Cheat! Cheat! Cheat!“, which was repeated at appropriate moments (i.e. every time he touched the ball) for the rest of the match. At one point, when the crowd were asked to “Stand up if you hate Turley“, Billy sat down in the penalty area, which did get some applause from the Poolies.

In the second half Pools took over, scored two goals and won the match. Yet it wasn’t quite that simple, as Rushden had a penalty appeal turned down, and they hit the woodwork. Eifion’s goal, ironically after he’d been moved out to the wing to make way for Joel, reflected Pools’ second-half superiority, but it was Boydy's goal that meant so much to Poolies.

Billy Turley decided to deal with a back pass by kicking it over to the edge of the penalty area so he could then pretend he was a midfield player, rather than just grab it and make it safe.

Boydy spotted this and did what Gordon Watson would have done, and chased over to him. Now for a goalkeeper to take on a striker in a tackle is a bit risky, but when he's one of the most skilful ball players in the division is asking for trouble, and so it proved. Boydy came away with the ball. Billy was left stranded as Boydy walked it into the net. This was revenge being as sweet as it gets. The cheat getting his just desserts, and humiliated into the bargain.

A big difference between the Boydy of old and the new one is his commitment and preparedness to chase lost causes, which can cause defensive errors, and who better to be there to pick them up. Super Gord's apprentice has learned from the Master.

Afterwards, I was able to reflect that I had made the right decision to turn down that invitation. Can you imagine spending the afternoon with Billy TurIey’s wife, parents and inlaws, and having to be polite at all that went on? I think any Poolie would have been ejected.

This was a superb day out.

[* It did then, but not now! Ed]


Mystified Millhouser reports from Northamptonshire (or somewhere like that)

Dateline 25 April 2004.

Newly appointed Rushden manager Ernie “I was a coach at Wimbledon - honest” Tippett has decided to stop playing with an actor-goalkeeper following Billy Turley’s nightmare against Hartlepool United on Saturday. This follows close on the heels of the club's decision to dispense with the services of Barry Hunter as player manager. Turley, formerly understudy to Den Watts in Eastenders and Leonardo Di Caprio in Titanic has previously had some success in the unusual dual role, notably with his impression of a dying Luftwaffe pilot when caught a glancing blow by a plastic Lucozade bottle at Victoria Park in September 2002, and of a major road accident victim when coming into contact with Kevin Henderson’s little finger nail at Nene Park in April 2003.

The final straw for Tippett was Bungling Billy's failed Ken Dodd impression when losing out to Adam Boyd on Saturday. Not content with gifting Pools a second goal, which will hopefully see the Airwair Kings back in Division 3, the hapless custodian went on to give a poor impression of a footballer with a severe groin strain.

Fortunately the new gaffer saw through this ruse and told Turley he would have to stay on the pitch to the end and have the p*ss ripped out of him by the gleeful Poolies behind his goal.

After the match little silly Billy said he was taking his thespian skills elsewhere next season, probably to Kettering Town or Oakham United. He also announced that he would be sending his Alice band back to Ronnie O’Sullivan immediately.

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