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…Upon reaching the turnstile, there was a chap with a clipboard. I smiled at him, and he smiled back. He didn’t seem to want to talk to me about whatever was on his clipboard, so I just carried on queuing. Then a dad and son lined up behind me, and he went over to them, addressed them both by name and ticked them off the list. I can only presume that instead of giving out physical season tickets that this pleasant bloke just checks people into the ground, like a footballing concierge.
I couldn’t help noticing the accents as I entered the stadium. My wife is originally from Holywell, a few miles east of Colwyn Bay. When I tell people that my wife is Welsh they’ll often put on the full Gavin and Stacey South Wales accent, but she doesn’t sound like that. Equally, she doesn’t sound like a Scouser – even if she does edge a bit closer to that when she’s had a fair few drinks. The North Wales accent is a curious one, and one that I sense I’ll never be able to do an impression of properly. And inside Llanelian Road I could hear accents like Mrs Smallman, plus some definite scouse twangs and some people with a much broader Welsh twinge.
I also heard a couple of Yorkshire accents, making me look up to see three Harrogate Town fans heading to get a burger. With Harrogate playing in yellow and black they looked like oversized Northern bumblebees. Of course, football at this level seems to have no animosity at all and they were happily chatting with Colwyn Bay fans. They would be joined by a handful more Harrogate fans, some standing on one side of the pitch and a further pocket sitting in the main stand, unsegregated.
As I walked around taking pictures before the kick-off, I noticed a dog and owner. I’m like a kid sometimes, all it takes is the sight of a dog for me to lose all concentration. This dog was leaning on the wall around the pitch with her front paws, making it look like she was studying the warm-up intently.
I said the bloke holding her lead (who was wearing an official looking Colwyn Bay manager’s jacket) “bless her, she’s got a good view”. He nodded and said – totally seriously – “yeah, she insists on coming down for every game”. I was introduced to her formally – she’s called Peggy Sue and is quite well known in the football world with her own Twitter account and everything. I stroked her, took the picture above and walked off…