This was my 60th game of the season, and my last. I would’ve taken in more, had it not been for. . . . . . . you can guess the rest, before I bore you anymore than I already have done. This might have been my 60th, but it was the first women’s game of the season, I’d been able to attend. Getting over to Solihull Moors for a Sunday kick off, just hadn’t appealed to me. The last game of the season was to be played at St Andrews, and was to be free for the men’s season ticket holders. If they were to play at St Andrews more, I’d definitely make more effort because it’s a good standard of football for a start, and just easier to get to. I hadn’t watched the Moors this season, specifically because getting to and from the Damson Lane ground, is just not easy enough. The bus service to the ground itself, is just not regular enough. I met Jinksy in The Wellington and we just chewed over football in general. J.K. came in but wasn’t joining us for the game. Sectarianism in football and just in life cropped up. J.k. went to a staunchly Catholic school. He remembered one teacher who had had a traditional Protestant surname. He had joined the school mid school year, and was teaching religious studies. Needless to say, there were more than a few raised eyebrows. This was at the height of “The Troubles”. Turns out, that he had had a change of faith. Once he had admitted the change of religion, he’d had to leave Ireland extremely sharpish. We got on to football “Banter” between fans. Jokes played by friends who support different clubs. After the second game in the Premier league era against Villa, and Blues had won, to complete the “Double”, I got all the cuttings from the Birmingham Mail, stuck them in an envelope, with “For The Attention Of” plus the blokes name on, and placed it on his computer, so it looked official. Me and Jinksy walked up to The Spotted Dog for a quick half. Jinksy had been winding Ian Allen up about the Royal Wedding. Saying how much it would cost the Tax payer. Ian being against the wedding and how it was being paid for.
Something for the nostalgics to wax lyrical about.
Only the Kop stand was open. The ground had been full for the men. Mind you, this was just mid table stuff.
Always strange to see where I usually sit.
Are those blokes, girls?
The above is the only sexist thing I’m going to put. There’s all the usual cliches and sexism, but there’s no place for it now. How many times can you say about breaking a nail, when there’s plenty of so called stronger sex, being in touch with their feminine side. This wasn’t about gender or sexuality. This was about football. You don’t have to be a bachelor of science to see that there’s physical differences. Both men and women, because of better diet and training are more advanced than that of their counterparts from decades, centuries gone by. Let alone in advancements in equipment. It’s not a case of men are from Mars and women are from Venus. It’s that men are generally bigger and stronger than women. When I was starting out watching football, there was at least half a dozen goalkeepers, who were around the 5’9″ mark, up and down the leagues. Forty years on, and 6’2″ is regarded as a fairly small keeper. In every other respect, the women’s game is closer to the men’s game, as it ever was. The only difference, is the challenging for crosses. At the moment, there’s no crossing, and no challenging for crosses. That will change. The women’s game will evolve. Everything else has. Less money in the women’s game, like non league in the men’s, keeps the game honest. The commitment cannot be faulted. Compared to the Premier league, it’s a breath of fresh air. Reading went 1:0 up. With it being a game that nothing hinged on, the conversation started to drift. We swapped memories of running on the pitch and corporate stories. I’ve only been in the corporate seats once and that was at Swindon. Other than the free food and booze, I didn’t fully enjoy myself. Although very well done, it didn’t feel right. Felt rebellious but not comfortable. Regardless of whether I would be lucky enough to ever come into enough money to afford that way of watching football, I’d still watch football in the way I do now. As for running on the pitch, I’m too old for those type of shenanigans. I’m that detached from the players these days, that I don’t even connect with the after match celebrating. Ellen White equalised with a good goal. Skillfully took it round the keeper before finishing. Her international class showed throughout the game. A good leader. Half time came and Jinksy went off in search of a pint. A sneaky pint of Carling? Not for me to divulge. Alex was surprised to see me. I brushed it off as having nothing else to do, but it was a chance to watch the women play, like it had been to watch the under 18s. Second half and Jinksy rejoined me. The game fizzled out. An end of season dead rubber. It still wasn’t as bad as watching Rowett football though. Jinksy has started to ground hop a little. I’ve very few league grounds left to do and now looking at doing non league and Scottish (No, they’re not the same level of football) with ground hopping, everyone has their own particular criteria. Some will include “Friendlies”, especially if they only watch their own club, some will be happy to have done only the old ground and not bother with the new ground of a particular club. If that was the case with me, then I’ve only got Stevenage to do, as I’ve done Highbury, Upton Park and Layer Road. Much as I didn’t get to do grounds like Roker Park, The County Ground and Peel Park, I can still take in Arsenal, West Ham and Colchester’s new grounds. So I will. Technically, I won’t need to take in the new Spurs ground because it’s being built on part of the old grounds foot print, but after being sad enough to watch the updated time lapse videos every week, I will probably do it. We talked about what we were going to do with no football. I’m always quite relieved when the season finishes, but after relaxing for a month, I’m pacing the room. The fixtures come out and I’m planning again. There will be cricket, there is the World cup, I’ve taken an interest in rugby league again, and I live close enough to the speedway, to be able to hear the bikes themselves. Something that Jinksy is up for. Not riding them obviously, but a few beers before watching them. Thing is, it’s not the same.
We went back to the Dog and parked ourselves outside in the garden. Where we usually sit, is a bookcase. It was the first time I’d actually been bothered to scan what books were on there. I picked a Manchester United one off and started to flick through the photos. It got us talking about how great players tend to make awful managers. How their personalities show in the way their teams play. We got on to how taste in humour changes as your intellect develops. Chubby Brown, I don’t find funny at all now, yet can’t get enough of dark humour. J.k. turned up, but my money had ran out, and so I left them to it.