24
Jan 05

Resolved: Visit one new (to me) football ground a month

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Resolved: Visit one new (to me) football ground a month

January:
Teams: Leyton FC vs Wealdstone
League: Ryman Premier
Entry Price: ‘8
Programme: ‘1.50
Stadium Architecture: Won’t trouble the Stirling Judges

Leyton FC claims to be the oldest professional football club in London. I claim it to be the nearest ground to my flat. I left at ten to three and still had time to purchase a cup of tea before kick-off. I dropped it on the way to my seat.

I missed the first goal as I was trying to count the crowd (about 150). The second one I could see coming a mile off. Leyton’s nippy centre forward nipped in nippily and nabbed it. It should have been three. Leyton’s left back advanced down the wing like a well-fed Roberto Carlos. Defenders fell away and glory beckoned. He hoofed it out of the ground. Like Roberto Carlos. I was the only one who found this hilarious. Perhaps I should go to non-league more often.

It was really cold on Saturday. The wind found its way up my trouser legs and swirled around my forbidden zone. At half-time I completed two circuits of the pitch, stamping my feet as I went along. The Wealdstone Ultras had that two-nil down look about them. A door leads from the corner of the stadium out into a wasteland area. The Dagenham Brook, a tributary of the River Lea flows behind one goal. It was filthy; full of trash and the left back’s shot.

Second half was more of the same. Two further goals. The floodlights looked as if Malaysian betting syndicates had tampered with them. Pockets of the pitch lay in shadow. After the fourth went in, the PA announcer burst into life. “IS THIS THING ON?” she yelled across East London.

Four-nil to Leyton. I was back indoors by 5pm.

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