Covid pandemic, yadda yddda, weird couple of years, not been to a game in ages, watched all of Netflix etc etc so an and so forth. Got it? Good. Ok, let’s try this again shall we?
And hello to you, dear reader. Remember us? We’re that blog thing you used to read & find vaguely amusing in the old days (you know, 2019). Or just looked at for the pictures. You know the one, that non-league mob who just got pissed and told jokes about dogging, rambled on about the 70’s and went on about people booking train tickets for the wrong dates. No? Oh. Well that’s not remotely hurt our feelings in any way whatsoever, you thoughtless bastards.
After what seems like the 20th false start with trying to return life to normal so we can get back watching football in person, the government has finally declared all restrictions put in place for the Covid pandemic are now lifted from this Monday. Not because it’s over, oh no, because that shit is still properly hanging around like Dirty Barry in an A road layby, but mainly because they’re apparently bored of it and well, fuck it. You know. We all gotta die sometime right? Which ordinarily is not an viewpoint we’d entirely argue with as it’s normally the sort of thing you’d expect from the old soak down the local after a few too many, you’re probably a bit pissed too and well, he’s just got a round in so we don’t wanna come across as a bit rude and ungrateful. We’re not sure it’s quite so acceptable as actual government policy however. But what do we know eh? We’re just non-league idiots. Oh wait, we’re not anymore. Fucking Ada this decade gets more confusing by the day.
So yes dear people, in case you missed it, we did a silly and er, sort of got promoted to the Football League. And not scraped in via the Play offs upsetting the apple cart Harrogate style like the plucky small town non-league underdogs we are, oh no. We do things differently here in the Republic. No, we took the league by the scruff of the neck, toyed with it for a while, letting it think it might survive the encounter before grinding it into submission, tearing it’s still beating heart from its chest and crushing it before its very eyes. What we’re trying to say here is we won the fucker. Came first. Numero Uno. Top of the Pops. Summited our 5th tier Everest.
La Bastarda, she has been conquered.
And no dear reader, we’re still not entirely sure how it happened either. We might have a read of the season review (once we finally get the fucker online that is!) and try to work it out over a cuppa or two. Maybe even something a little stronger, purely for medicinal reasons you understand.
So, because of this, it’s been an odd summer. GGL is a now a hard hat and hi-viz only zone, we’ve already said goodbye to old friends in both Fred Gee AND the Shoebox as well as lived through the scary helter skelter couple of days that were the great club shop coup. It’s in the car park now for fucks sake! THE CAR PARK!! Still, if nothing else, the live camera at GGL showing the pitch works has at least filled the gap left by having watched everything the well known online streaming services had to offer (no, not PornHub). It’s amazing how soothing watching a bulldozer trundle back & forth is. I also understand that viewership in the Occupied Territories was through the roof! Can’t think why. One issue we had though was that the sequence of the Shoebox meeting its demise should definitely have carried one of those movie warning voiceovers they do nowadays beforehand. And we’re not talking about the “Contains mild peril” one either. Ugly stuff. Right, where were we? Oh yes, new season. That.
The U’s got their pre-season stuff underway last week with a trudge up to Chesham, which had replaced a previously arranged game with a Brentford XI at Farnborough, which is where we’re squatting for ‘home’ friendlies whilst GGL gets the Football League once over. However, the Bees got the ping of doom, so it was off to deepest Bucks instead. Fuck that! Thankfully Andrew did us a solid and covered the bloggage with a short but sweet effort that whilst light on boozing, was also delightfully light on football as well. Just how you lot like it. Then we got lurgy ourselves and our planned trip to Maidstone Saturday was sacked off. It seems a couple of the lads are currently isolating, including Louis John who’s been on the socials declaring he’s not a fan of the troublesome little virus thing.
He’s not the only one either, with Steve down with the ‘Wembley Variant’ and both Mr X and Greek having had the dreaded ping of doom in the last few days. This put more emphasis on the following Tuesday’s visit back to Haringey, where we of course last emerged blinking into the sunlight for some live football 10 months ago. Thankfully though, it seems we’re all good and the game goes ahead, which is handy as I’ve booked a day in the office for it simply as it means I’m already halfway there.
A drawback of this plan is that I have to haul my sweaty carcass out of my pit at the disgusting hour of 7am as opposed to the 8.30 I’ve been doing since working from Chez Taz the last god knows how long. In fact, I don’t need God to know, I do. It’s been pretty much exactly a year. Blimey. Still, at least it’s fairly fresh out this morning as I start the trudge to Wallington station, so I’m at least not sweating my cods of by the time the train arrives. A quick stroll over London Bridge at the other end and a visit to my favourite little cafe for a bacon roll (amazed to see they were still open to be fair!) and it’s off to a day of honest toil in the shadow of the Bank of England. It’s a quiet day generally and barring some Americans talking for longer than was absolutely necessary on my last call of the day, I’m still out the door at bang on half 5 as planned and heading for the Astronomer by Liverpool Street station to meet 4Days for pints.
Although there is a nagging doubt about the weather at the back of my mind having seen there’s a decent chance of rain tonight and I’ve deliberately removed a brolly from my bag this morning as I couldn’t be arsed to carry it, however I put these thoughts to the back of my mind and concentrate on the walk and a pint. On arrival, I find the Welshman has bagged us a table outside and I’m soon connecting my face to a pint of Pride. We look up trains and decide that the 7pm out to White Hart Lane is best bet as 4Days has spotted that there’s a bus that runs right past the ground and it arrives at the stop by the station about 3 mins after we pull in. Perfect! It also means we can get a couple more in here more importantly.
My weather concerns are soon brought back to the fore when light rain starts. It sends others scattering indoors, but we’re made of sterner stuff and stay put right to the point the big drops arrive and then we too decamp to drier and more airconditioned confines. Pints done, we make the 7pm trundler with no issues and we begin the chug out into the suburbs of North London. 4Days here takes the opportunity to de-mask and devour his Corned beef slice that he’s had squirreled away in his bag and I quietly hope to myself he’s not had that in there since his Euros trip! At least the smell doesn’t seem to indicate that this is the case. Train lands on time and we head out for the bus, soundtracked by a bloke openly taking a piss in the street whilst shouting loudly at people to mind their own business. Subtle mate. That some sort of local tradition? Noted if so, we wouldn’t wanna look like proper fucking tourists now.
Our bus arrives just as more rain starts and we pass the couple of minutes to Coles Park by trying to spot the myriad of stickers that got plastered on the walk to\from here 10 months back. Pleasingly, we note quite a lot have survived! The ground heaves into view and having de-bussed and had a quick chat with another of 4Days Welshist mates, we take a piss whilst loudly shouting at people to mind their own business and then head for the bar. Here we find that it’s a minimum of 10 quid spend on a card, but they’re doing a deal of 3 pints on a ticketing system to make up for it where basically you pay up front for booze and then claim your remaining pints as and when you require. Don’t mind if we do! Beers secured, we head for the terraces with the U’s already on the field and the hosts themselves emerging from the tunnel.
First 60: House, Barden, Boldewijn, Bugiel, Eastmond, Goodliffe, Korboa, Rowe, Smith, Wilson, Kypriounu.
There’s obviously no Louis tonight and no sign of Kizzi or Bouzanis either. So we’re hoping that’s just knocks and not lurgy for the latter. On the pitch, Haringey start bright and Brad House has to beat away an early shot that draws an ‘oooh’ from the locals in the stand as we say hello to Skywalker and Paul from the COCs. The latter it seems has somehow managed to purchase a Haringey Season Ticket online rather than simply a brief just for tonight as intended. And people say we’re idiots! Still, he’s a massive groundhopper and as it’s a free ticket, he’s not too disappointed as it’s bound to get some use this season. Shortly after we’ve reached the far goa, taken up our spots and said hello to KBB, Frakey and EDM Eddie, the U’s are already on top and soon in front.
Play gets dragged over to our right side in front of the stand, a quick switch and Kypriounu is in acres of space just outside the box and his quickly stuck skidder is into the bottom corner. A couple of other chances come soon after, Enzio latches onto a lovely angled ball in behind, takes a touch and is wiped out from behind as he’s about to shoot, but the ref, worryingly wearing a FL top, waves away our appeals. Twat. A good run from Korboa on the left then ends with a low cross that Omar can’t reach far post. The second goal does come eventually though, with Enzio sweeping it home from 18 after a corner isn’t dealt with. It’s not all one way traffic though as the hosts have a couple of moments at the other end. The best being a corner cleared back to it’s taker and he whips in a great ball that the man at the far post can only divert onto Brad’s crossbar with his head.
Half time and we’re off for another shouty piss, to cash in the last of our 3 pint ticket and to try & obtain some food. Sadly for me, the tea bar is resolutely Non-League and cash only. Man this Covid shite has really changed me into a card only ponce. I scrounge a fiver off 4Days at agreeable rates and get myself a dog burger that on arrival at the far end and finally being devoured several minutes later is still piping hot and remarkably decent. Clearly they use only pedigree mutts up here in their catering, didn’t realise it was that posh up here! For the second 45, the lads remain comfortably on top whilst a game Haringey give as good as they get but there’s no change to the score line. Then on the hour, we make our changes. All of them. There’s so many in fact that their PA man doesn’t even bother trying to name them all, instead electing with a subtle “And a substitution for Sutton United. Their whole team!”.
Last 30: Chalupniczac, Ajiboye, Beautyman, Bennett, Davis, Dundas, Kouassi, Randall, Wyatt, Taylor-Sinclair, Hobbs.
The changes breathe new life into the game and new man Bennett impresses with his Northern vocals\chatter as well as his play, nutting a Ben Wyatt cross invitingly back across goal for Kouassi to slot in from close range for his first senior goal. Bennett then flashes a volley just over, Dave has a couple of runs but snatches at the shot both times. Then, just as we’re discussing how many minutes Will Randall might get this season with the increased competition in wide areas, he picks up the ball on halfway, does 2, cuts in, does a third and whips a shot into the corner from just inside the box. 4-0 and thanks for making us look like tits there Will. Appreciate it mate. Sadly for him though, the PA credits it to Kouassi (oops!), however the gaffer has seen it and his “Well done Will!” from the bench is clearly heard by all present. That wraps up the football nicely and we settle in to finish our pints, admire the nicely coloured sky above and the fact that the weather forecast was a load of bollocks as not a drop of rain has fallen during the match.
After the final whistle, we head for our last shouty Tottenham piss, say farewell to 4Days Welsh mate and then head for the bus. This time, we’re going down to Wood Green as it’ll be faster to hook up with the Tube back to Victoria that way rather than slog back through town via Liverpool Street. It’s not long before we’re sweating like an England footballer about to take a penalty. Still we pass the time by discussing if Cockfosters actually exists, as none of us has ever been there. We conclude it’s simply a made up place name from the 80’s Fosters lager ads featuring Paul Hogan that no one on the Underground ever removed from the map. This helps and soon we’re emerging drenched in our own juices in Victoria. A quick stop for a burger to help further soak up some ale and we jump onto a wonderfully air conditioned train back to civilisation. Here we discover that 4Days phone still appears to think it’s in Azerbijian as he’s got Google.az asking him about rating disabled access at Forest Green Rovers!
Nope, fucked if I know. Sometimes, I find it best not to ask questions really.
I alight at the Badlands and leave the Welsh one to head on to Sutton and after a brief bit of E&E to avoid the forces of darkness hiding in the shadows looking to snatch a PROWS celebrity like myself to be praraded on telly for propaganda purposes, I stumble through the front door at HQ sweating more than Jeff Bezos getting a visit from the tax man. “Did you win?” enquires Mrs Taz, before swiftly adding “Actually you stink, get in the shower”. Clearly she’s still besotted with me after all these years.
Can’t say I blame her.