It’s been all go in the Republic this week. Big news and big moves being made all over the shop, but the biggest of all was of course the lads getting their historic first FL win on Saturday against Stevenage, which finally got that monkey off our backs after a couple of late disappointments recently. And good timing too given the now legendary and oft reported primate hating background of tonight’s visitors. Could have got very messy indeed. Still, it was nice to see the boys get the win, mainly as I’d not yet witnessed the other one earned since our ascension to football paradise due to the fact I’d swerved the Pizza Cup bullshit against Palace’s kids like Prince Andrew would a flight to the US currently. Yes, I’m sure it was a great performance and all that, but it’s fucking two-bob. Any contest against a side having to declare an age group as part of their own name is not to be taken seriously in my book. Sorry.
Saturday also of course saw the man, the myth, the legend, Craig Dundas make the FL debut we’d all hoped and prayed he’d get to make this season. Although I’m not sure we thought it would come so early in the campaign! As for the fact if he’s the oldest debutant in FL history, there’s some debate on that as apparently the League have informed the U’s Press sec that they reckon some geezer back in 1923 played for Sheffield Weds against Port Vale to make up the numbers after 2 lads missed their train. He was 46 and the club’s trainer (what we call the physio today) and lasted a grand total of 35 minutes before getting hauled off and the Owls playing out the game with 10. So it seems the best they can offer us is that Dundo is maybe, probably, the oldest post-war Football League debutant, at best. Well, you know what we say to that here in the Republic? Stick it up your bollocks. We all know full well that football was invented in 1992, so we’re going full bore Sky Sports, dildo in the ear on this one and flat out ignoring absolutely fucking everything before that date. Sorry Wednesday people of Sheffield, we don’t make the rules. Modern football eh? Tsk.
Elsewhere, there also were rumblings in the PRoWS political scene with a mild panic being caused by President Totts sticking the official residence up for sale as he prepares for a well earned retirement on the South Coast keeping a close personal eye on our national gold reserves in the not too distant future. Fear not folks as an orderly transfer of power to a suitable successor is no doubt planned, but Totts is playing it proper Pyongyang style and keeping his cards close to his chest on that front. We always assumed it would be Dukey getting the nod, as he would be the perfect
puppet replacement, but with him currently distracted by wedding plans and being up to his tits in shitty nappies, this might remove him from contention as well as alerting other interlopers lurking in the shadows to start jockeying for position. All it’ll take is some nice cigars and a big bag of Red Stripe and the top man’s head could be turned. Still, in typical fashion El Presidente quelled the rumour mill and any national nerves at his impending house sale by awarding a free can of Mackesons and a Castella Panatella to all citizens, available from Day’s Stores. Never fails that one.
See! I told you it’s been all go. And best of all, I’ve basically burned three paragraphs with a load of old shit to pad this out with. Fucking result. However, having digressed enough, I guess I should move onto matters at hand and start properly talking about tonight’s game, if I must. But what to talk about eh? Oh, I know, let’s do the tried and tested ‘Last time they met’ cobblers, that’ll do. Right, last meeting, last meeting *checks notes* Oh yes! We slapped them around like a naughty step child to claim the league title. Not a bad day’s work that and one I’ve only recently recovered from the hangover. Pools of course recovered from that beating to fly through the play offs and deny Torquay the place in the Football League they’d apparently won back in November. Fine by us, we’ve always had a good day out up there and we also understand Gary Johnson was the only NL manager not to communicate his congratulations on our title win. So fuck that guy. They’ve also had a slightly more fortunate start than ourselves this season, winning 4 of their 6 so far. So it’ll be a tough one tonight and no mistake.
Work’s a pain as per, so my plan of shutting the old laptop up at dead on 6 ends up being more like quarter past, which means dinner is late being pushed into my face, so I’m late out the door and of course get to the main road in time to see a 407 sail past. Twat. I’m not near enough the station to hit up the direct train to the Republic either so I take a stroll down the road to stretch my legs and wait for the next bus along down at the green. It’s slow going when it shows, but I do at least get to sit at the front upstairs, so my inner 8 year old is at delighted to get to pretend to drive said bus. Alighting in Sutton, I start the walk to the promised land and it’s really at this point that I feel the weather should be described as ‘uncomfortably muggy’ and that I think I’ve brought too many clothes. So naturally I’m strolling up the drive just after 7 sweating like a pig for the second time in 72hrs, gasping for a pint. Lovely. I really can’t wait for November at this point.
The bar is as per, ridiculously busy, with a long queue for drinks. I use some insider knowledge here and zip through to the players bar out back where the wait is far less. Pint in hand, I head back outside for some autumnal al fresco boozing with the other idiots. Much of the chatter is about Saturday’s impending trip to Exeter for which Steve has managed to book us on a service so cheap and round the houses that my West Midlands booking for Salford away a couple of weeks back is almost like going Concorde powered Orient Express in comparison, with most attendees being staggered when they’re finding out just how early the first train is out of their respective departure points into London. Still, in talking to the likes of Keepo, it seems the train back just after 7 is basically going to be the Pissed up Sutton United awayday big bag of cans service. So if you’re on the 7.20pm from Exeter Saturday towards London via Clapham, we’d like to apologise in advance for future us’s. Ipswich Lee’s green ‘UEFA’ jacket he’s blatantly blagged from work also draws comment, mostly stuff about ‘mafia’ and advising him not to wear it out on any stag do’s in places like Poland.
TEAM: Bouzanis, Kizzi, Milsom, John, Goodliffe, Boldewijn, Ajiboye, Smith, Eastmond, Sho-Silva, Bennett SUBS: Wilson, House, Rowe, Beautyman, Randall, Wyatt, Bugiel
The visitors start brightly, backed by a decent number behind the far goal telling us regularly how fucking shit our support is etc etc etc, but after 5-10 mins, the lads get a foot in and slowly start turning the screw. With the oppo looking a little short in stature, we’ve clearly earmarked set pieces as a decent avenue to attack and this is the route we take, getting up in our normal fashion, pressing and winning a long string of corners, that despite some really good delivery from both sides, just lacks that final decent contact needed to bring a goal. Their keeps has to scramble to tip over a deflected looping shot from Ritchie before about half an hour in, a corner from the stand side misses out everyone apart from Goodliffe back stick and he forces the ball in to give us the lead. It’s really no less than we’ve deserved to be honest at this point. With the break approaching and having dominated pretty solidly, we’re reminded the other lot are still here when a good ball in from their very first corner of the night is nodded on goal from close range but Easty is there to clear on the line. So, for the first time ever, we lead a Football League game at the break!
The second 45 is a touch more open than the 1st. We’re still largely on top, but they’ve committed a few more to attack. There’s also a big change in conditions as 10 mins into the half, spots of rain in the air turn into a torrential downpour lasting a good 15 mins, which suddenly makes my decision to carry a waterproof jacket despite the muggy evening a geniuis move. Less genius is the likes of Dukey in his t-shirt and shorts as well as Mr X, who’s left his own jacket in the club shop. “You said it wouldn’t fucking rain!” he accuses Magnum, who quickly makes his excuses about not wanting to get his new sweater wet and scurries off for cover in response. The rain finally stops and out on the park Deano has to make a very good save diving to his right to claw out a close range header at his near post after we’ve given them a little too much room wide on the Rec side. Dave tests the keeper the other end with a curler that just lacks the legs to beat him and is pushed away. But as time ticks down slowly, we again sit in a little too much for my liking giving the oppo more chance to get out and cause us issues. “Is it me or do Football League games last about 20 bloody minutes more than in Non-League?” I think aloud. “It certainly bloody feels like it!”. I know I’m not alone in this feeling, as the comment causes Mr X to once more check the seemingly stuck clock on the scoreboard and then double check that against his own watch on his wrist.
Late on, Deano has to make another decent stop, twisting to tip over an angled header from a long throw in, but despite the visitors pressing right to the end and despite the board saying there’s only 3 added minutes, our nominated Premier League ref adds “can’t tell the fucking time” to his list of annoying traits and of course drags out every last bastard minute of it. Doesn’t this twat know we love a late chuck in? Oi! Stop pissing about an blow up mate! Finally though, he decides even he’s had enough and brings yet another stressful short period of time to a close. 3 more points on the board, back to back wins and a clean sheet. Job done! Ok, we probably let them have too much of a sniff at the end there, but that’ll do pig. That’ll do.
We clap the lads off and then head round to the bar for a much needed nerve settler, passing by Ryan mugging off ‘Pools #1 celeb fan Jeff Stelling leaving in his motor along the way. Bye Jeff, thanks for coming! Fortunately the bar is dead after the game so pints are in nice and quick and we set about sitting down to dry out and get some beer down our necks. Tatey appears, asking if anyone’s got a hairdryer, but I’m more concerned by the nasty looking white sticky substance he’s got in his hair. “Someone’s jizzed on your head mate”.
The rest of the sup is taken up with more moaning about how early Saturday’s train is, a bit more moaning about how early Saturday’s train is and that a heavily ex-Sutton laden Cray have got stuffed by Casuals 4-0. Also Southend have gone full BELT for the first time in La Bastarda, with the home crowd doing all the booing and fucking off early after they’d gone 3-1 down to previously pointless Aldershot at home. Two beers down though, Steve & I bid our farewells to the remaining herberts and head for West Sutton International for the train back round the loop through the Badlands and beyond. At Carshalton, I bid him farewell and make another muggy, sweaty trudge home. Which is lovely and has Mrs Taz enquiring if I’d “run back from football” when I stumble through the front door panting and dripping wet.
Onto Saturday! And we shall have a new awayday reporter for that one, with Mr Clarke trying his hand at something other than nostalgia on these here pages. The poor sod.
Did I mention we’re on a really early train by the way?