We woke up, spending time still catching up, and talking rubbish, before going to Greggs for breakfast, it was an early kick-off, which always puts your timings out, especially with it being an out of town ground that I wasn’t used to. I had been informed that there was a good chance of sneaking into hospitality after the game, but I needed to dress accordingly, a suit and tie was required, as I tried to gauge how long it would take to get ready, as I’m not used to wearing something that always feels like how I perceive wearing a straight jacket would feel, shoving footwear on that weren’t either Adidas originals or toe tectors, I wished I was either in Glasgow or Ipswich, here I was, in a totally opposite end of the country. As my Nephew was tying the knot, I had been assured by the participants of this one, that the football season would indeed, be off limits. It wasn’t. We got a taxi to the ground. At least there was real ale available.
“An impressive main stand”
“Not so impressive, but probably older”
Because it was a local derby, I was expecting a heavy police presence, however, the stewards, (Apparently, they’re called ushers) kept both teams supporters apart with a ‘No man’s land’ that was just wide enough to stop the two sets getting at each other, although the debris had to be cleared up to stop anybody tripping up. The away team, dressed in white, had followed the mascots to the centre circle, where both the home side and referee were waiting. The game started, and was end to end stuff, Mr Blue Sky filling the air at half time rubbed the salt in, they might as well have played Hector Nichols ‘Hearts song’ to finish me off. The second half was a more tepid affair, before the referee brought the proceedings to an end in a draw, oddly, there wasn’t going to be a replay, the trophy would be shared.
I didn’t get spotted, as I sneaked into hospitality, and was able to listen to the press conference, both managers giving good accounts, the home teams boss, giving an insight into to some strange pre match preparations, involving wearing an England rugby shirt and licking a Scottish armpit, not once, but twice, before the home teams star player, gave a specially prepared statement.
“A spirited performance by both teams”
I thought the prosseco ale needed tweaking a little, but I am used to something with no carbonation. The food wasn’t your usual football fare, and I’ve got to say, wasn’t only exceptional, but I could understand why the affluent, pay the money for executive hospitality, I don’t think I could ever see me dressing up every game though. I got chatting to Pete, a neutral, about all things ale, he informed me about the changes that were occurring (Well it was Wales) at the Borough Arms, and brewery in Neath. I had heard rumours that the brewery was likely to close, but thankfully, it’s been taken over, (Not by Marston’s) and will be carrying on. Entertainment had also been laid on, in the form of a band, a good band, that played a range of hits from different bands, though I would’ve loved to have heard some of their own stuff.
“Can’t believe I got away with being in this one”
With time and age knocking on, and not on our side, (Bar a couple, including the star player of the away side, in the above photo) we called it a night, and got a taxi back to the hotel.