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…I queued up for some food, getting a massive hot dog and some chips for all of £4.50. I was so busy chatting to the two Garys that it took me forever to finish it, although that did mean that we stayed in the warm rather than braving the biting cold outside. With no segregation we could watch the game from a different end in each half.
I didn’t realise until Gary junior told me, but the so-called “Wealdstone Raider” gained his notoriety at the Enclosed Ground, his filmed rant that went viral aimed at the Hawks. He’s now somehow a celebrity, getting 4 figure sums to make personal appearances. The world is completely insane sometimes. That said, he has used that fame to raise a lot of money for charity, so credit to him for that. Also, his face was once on a banner at a PEC Zwolle game in the Netherlands. I don’t want the money, I just want my face on a banner at a football match.
Outside of the clubhouse there is a strange patch of grass enclosed by a fence that nobody is allowed onto. Its existence is a mystery, and it makes it feel like the paddock area of a racecourse. The massive temptation to hop the fence and run over it never left me once during the course of the game. Or to pretend to be a jockey.
The bulk of the seats are at the two ends of the ground, the Sea End, which has no roof, and The Din, which nearly has a roof. We would sit in the former during the first half, and you can see the English Channel from it, just about. There are certainly worse views in football, that’s for sure.
You can also note how non-level the playing surface is. I mean, it’s all over the place. I don’t know how you’d go about levelling a playing field anyway, but you need one of those “adverse camber” signs that you see at roadworks to warn people about it. It slopes off in the corners, and apparently the entire pitch runs downhill towards the Din.
The Whitehawk fans have established their own band of Ultras who sit behind the goal that they’re attacking and make a proper racket. They’re not as high in numbers as the Clapton Ultras, but they’re enthusiastic and one in particular goes to excessive levels to ensure that the crowd are particularly wound up. Gary and Gary pointed him out to me as we sat down, although he wasn’t difficult to spot as he was carrying an air raid siren with him…