The Football Neutral: Match Twelve – Luton Town vs Welling United

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This is now an edited version of the original blog… you can read the full one by downloading my Football Neutral 2013/14 season review on Kindle.  Well over 300 pages of daftness. Less than £2! Thanks!

…Luton Town should not, under any circumstances, be as far down the football pyramid as they currently find themselves.  It must be a good ten years or so since I last visited Kenilworth Road, and I reckon it’s one of my most visited stadiums – albeit always from the away end before.

In fact the list goes Filbert Street, The King Power Stadium (those two are quite obvious), Selhurst Park (thanks to them hosting two teams during my most keen fandom in the mid to late nineties), Hillsborough and Kenilworth Road.  It’s great having such a terrible OCD problem when it comes to counting and making lists.

Of course, the reason that I’ve visited Luton so often is thanks to a large amount of second tier games between Luton and Leicester in my teens, plus a cup game here and there.  It used to be a decent hunting ground for us, although I don’t ever recall attending a game there that wasn’t accompanied by at the very least a steady drizzle, and at the very most a torrential downpour.  There seems to be a greyness that envelopes the entire town the second that I set foot within its borders.  Bolton is exactly the same, for reasons I cannot fathom.

Making my mind up where to visit this week came quite late on, a consequence of having my original weekend of gigs cancelled due to a club closure.  My excellent agent Sally managed to find me work in Newbury on the Friday night and Harlow on the Saturday, so I reasoned that I had a choice between Watford or Luton.  I chose the latter for the following reasons:

1:  Watford were playing Bolton.  I know I can watch the same away team more than once, but in the space of a few weeks it seems a bit too much.

2:  Vicarage Road is a few quid more expensive for a ticket, and as I won’t take free tickets on principle this hobby of mine isn’t cheap.

3:  The Hornets used karma to beat my side in the playoffs last season.  I’m not blaming them for that; if you remember the second leg of the Championship playoff semi final you’ll recall Leicester’s mercurial Gallic genius Anthony Knockaert diving in the area to win an injury time penalty, which he then missed… and they went straight up the other end and scored. Cheats never prosper (if wearing our shirt, anyway) and justice was, rightly and sadly, done.

4:  I quite fancied seeing if Kenilworth Road was as run down, old and strange as it used to be.  I used to love going there, in a weird way.  I remember using the loo in the away end and being able to see straight into the back yard of a house that backed onto the stadium….

This is just a little bit of the full report, which you can download as part of an ebook for less than £2.  Includes this match and 25 others, is over 300 pages long and I promise is a decent read! Click here to get it. Ta!


The Football Neutral: Match Six – Hereford United vs Dartford

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This is now an edited version of the original blog… you can read the full one by downloading my Football Neutral 2013/14 season review on Kindle.  Well over 300 pages of daftness. Less than £2! Thanks!

…Having checked the fixtures on Friday it became clear that I had to travel a long way to watch a game on the Saturday.  With those bloody annoying women in my head as I returned to my hotel, it seemed that Hereford was the best bet for a game.  I’d been there before, watching Leicester draw 0-0 in the FA Cup 3rd Round with them years back, a game that I remember fondly for two reasons.

Firstly, upon arriving we parked in the official car park.  It was a cold and frosty day (when has 3rd round day ever been anything else?) and we spotted the one and only John Motson clambering onto a precarious TV gantry wearing his trusty sheepskin.  We shouted at him, and as he turned to wave at us he slipped and nearly fell 30 feet to the floor.  Me and two mates nearly killed one of the greatest commentators the game has ever known.

The second moment was only seen by me, and I am still protesting years on that this actually happened.  The away end was next to some traffic lights that we could see from the height of the terracing.  At some point during the first half, a cattle truck pulled up at the lights.  Whilst everyone else was distracted by the game, I found myself drawn to the truck and like magic, one sole cow pulled itself up at the head of the truck, looked at me, and then lowered itself down again.  I nudged my friends to see if they’d seen it and they haven’t believed me since.

I expected to attend Hereford vs Dartford with Nathan, but his chicken binge the previous night had left him feeling quite unwell.  As I set off – on a dreary day, missing home and my fiancee terribly – I realised that Hereford was halfway home and the temptation to skip the game and my gig that night was quite high.

I also cursed the League of Wales for not having enough teams in South Wales, although I can kind of understand it with the dominance of Cardiff, Swansea and now Newport.  I really wanted to watch Merthyr Town play, but their game was scheduled for Sunday.  So with no choice, a 120 mile round trip it was.

I parked in the same car park where I nearly killed John Motson years before, a car park that on this day was more full of shoppers than football fans.  Crucially, nobody apart from me seemed interested in paying for their parking or sticking to the assigned bays.

The matchday experience started well, as I had the best burger I’ve had in a long time at a game.  Thinking about it, this should be expected, with my pre-match treat no doubt made of a descendent of the cow that winked at me a decade ago.  It did, shut up…

If you liked this little snippet then please help me out by purchasing my full ebook review of 2013/14 for less than £2 from Amazon. Over 300 pages of me messing around watching football all over the place. Ta!

The Football Neutral: Match Four – Aldershot Town vs Wrexham

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This is now an edited version of the original blog… you can read the full one by downloading my Football Neutral 2013/14 season review on Kindle.  Well over 300 pages of daftness. Less than £2! Thanks!

…I’ve noticed when choosing games so far this season that it always just geographical proximity to my weekend’s worth of work that has me gravitate towards one team in particular.  Whilst much of this week’s choice was based around having to do a kids gig that finished at 2pm in Windsor (more on that in a bit), once I started looking at the fixtures it was easy to make a decision.

That said, picking Aldershot Town as my team of the day is fraught with issues.  Firstly, one of my best friends (and business partner) Jon is a Woking supporter.  He hates Aldershot with a burning passion, or as much of an incandescent rage that a polite man from Surrey can muster.  Secondly, they were up against Wrexham who happen to now be my geographically local club.

OK, they’re not the closest club to my house in North Wales (that would be Airbus UK Broughton FC from the League of Wales) but I drive past their ground every time I have to head south and that makes them feel closer.  Plus I’m of Welsh heritage, so living there means I should probably take at least a passing interest in my nearest club and I remember them knocking Arsenal out of the cup years ago when I had a paper round, the Sunday People on that cold January morning resplendent with a picture of Mickey Thomas’ toothy grin.

So why did I pick Aldershot Town?  First off, it’s easy to want to go and support a club for the day that has risen from the ashes after financial disaster.  Secondly, when I was 13 years old and really getting into football, my PE teacher (Mr Hayes) was a former Aldershot player and staunch supporter, and on the day they went bust he told a load of us about it and genuinely had a tear in his eye.  At that stage in my life I had decided to support Leicester City, but still wasn’t at the point where I was that emotionally attached to my own club.  I remembered that years later when I cried my eyes out as they turned off the floodlights at Filbert Street following our final game there, a friendly against Celtic.

As an aside, it is not acceptable to cry on the last day of the season when your team is relegated.  Why?  Because you’ve been awful all season, that’s why you’re in trouble. How is it a surprise?  The only time it is acceptable is if you think you’re safe and then have the rug pulled from under you like those Sheffield United fans at Stamford Bridge years back.  The rest of the time it’s just showing off for the cameras or being unnecessarily soft…

To read the full article and LOADS more please download my ebook via Amazon.  Less than £2 and keeps supporting me on my football travels next year. Well over 300 pages of silliness. Thanks!