I’ve said before on here how tough home matches can be to cover, with the lack of general idiocy that away games entail and the lack of differing viewpoints on these pages these days, it can get all a bit samey and finding the motivation to cook up something on a weekend can be hard to find sometimes. Now add in a miserable FA Cup defeat the previous Saturday, a minging week at work alongside an annoying sniffly cold and well, you can imagine just how fired up I am to dive headlong into a post mortem of a home game against a promotion chasing former Premier League club. ‘Buzzing’, as the kids might say, I am not.
Still, it could be worse. There are after all people out there currently on their arses, worrying about bills, feeding their kids and so forth, so it’s important to keep perspective at times like this. Also when you’re confronted with a loss in the family, like we were last month, when a cousin, Paul, kicked the bucket after a lengthy illness. Sad news, but not one that hit me particularly hard I’ll admit as, well, I didn’t really know the fella hugely well. Although in my defence, I do have a rather good reason for this, that being I didn’t know the geezer fucking existed at all until a several years ago when a strange bit of ‘Who do you think you are?’ type long lost family drama descended on the Taz clan. Now, stick with me here, as it is sort of relevant to this cobblers. Honest.
My old dear has made something of a hobby of the old genealogy as she wound down her working life, spending time tracking down her family tree and all sorts of long lost relatives, distant cousins and what not. She got quite a way back too, but then started hitting walls as source material and evidence became harder to get the further back she got. So several years ago, she turned her attention to my Dad’s side of the family and got cracking. Not long after this kicked off, it came to light that the old man had a long lost sister he never knew about thanks to a wartime dalliance by my gran whilst her other half was missing in action\a PoW in North Africa. Of course, such things caused quite the tutting and curtain twitching in the 1940’s, so gran used contacts ‘dahn sahf’ to visit Wandsworth no less, have the kid and give her up for adoption. Which is quite the story where our mob are concerned as we’re a pretty run of the mill non-scandalous bunch usually.
However, skipping back to current day, the folks tipped off to Paul’s funeral on the Thursday to represent the Northern branch of the family and it was only after on my way home from work when the old dear buzzed me to give me the expected debrief I got a bit more info and it actually gets relevant for a shit blog about a League 2 football club. First of all, the wake had been held in the bar at Champion Hill, home of Dulwich Hamlet. A place we know all too well. “Fair enough” I thought “they did live in that neck of the woods after all”. Oh no, that’s not why Taz old son. Turns out this was because cousin Paul was something of a Hamlet fan. In the same way that I ‘pop down to GGL every so often’ or in the same way Totts ‘quite likes a turnstile’. Having had all this revealed, I mention in passing “If he was a big fan, he’ll definitely have known Mishi then” to my mum. “Oooh! They read a poem of his at the service!” replies Mummy Taz. Fucking hell. This is weird, too weird.
Simply put, Paul was one of the old guard down there and helped keep the club running before they picked up their current fanbase and served as groundsman, ran the bar and was also match as well as club sec for a while at Champion Hill. And it seems he really was best buds with the also now sadly no longer with us Mishi ‘Mr Dulwich Hamlet’ Morath. Funny old world eh? All those meetings with Dulwich over the years and one of their biggest old school pre-Mumford and Sons era fans, who I’ve almost certainly mixed and swapped abuse with over a pint, was a direct relative. And neither of us had a clue. And no, I’ve not the foggiest how this link was never established prior to this point before you ask. Anyway, this one’s for Paul Hobdell, a fellow football fan that loved his little club, arguably more than I love mine, RIP mate. Sorry we never got to do the dance as family. Oh and tell Mishi he’s a twat from me will you when you see him. And that I also miss his daily pin badge posts on twitter, cheers.
Right, Bradford at home is it? Fuck me, best get it over with eh? I think it’s fair to say that after recent results and last week’s in particular, our hopes a of a result here are not high. These hopes are further dampened by Matt’s Friday preview interview where he reveals that Coby Rowe is the latest player on the ‘fucked for a while’ list, which means we literally have one fit centre back at the club. Joyous news. This all combined with having spent the week fighting that annoying cold I mentioned earlier, I decided Friday evening that I’d toss this one off and drive down to the game so I can basically get in and out as quick as poss. So if nothing else, you’re spared me talking about a bus and getting a Greggs in this week. You’re welcome. So after a nice Lemsip fuelled lie in, I head out around half one to make the trip down to GGL, only to find the Tazmobile has a converted a suspected slow puncture into a definite puncture on a rear tire. Fuck. My. Life.
I can’t be arsed with the effort of changing it so I whip out a little air compressor I keep in the boot, chuck 32psi in the rubbery bastard and say ‘bollocks to it, that’ll do’ before hopping in and pointing the motor Sutton-wards. Problem solved for current me and now it becomes a possible issue for future me. With actual away support today, GGL is a little busier today as I pull off down towards the top secret VIP only Gandermonium parking space, otherwise known as right outside Mr X’s gaff. I dump the car and hop out into the pleasant autumn sunshine to stroll over the road for a pint of shandy with some less sniffly wankers. Frakey again questions my tardiness as I pass but he soon backs off when I report my man flu and that I’ll cough on him if he doesn’t pipe down. Pensioners like him can’t be too careful these days after all. The fan zone has it’s new glamping tent covering up and seems quite busy as I pass on my way to the bar. Here I find Tatey, Magnum and 4Days with Lil’ Chris enjoying refreshments and full of sympathy for my snifflyness and late arrival.
Talk is generally about how badly we’re going to get pumped today (a bit), how can we possibly change it in January when the window opens (probably can’t), that any positive result today would be a bonus and that next week’s meeting with Rochdale is much more important (agreed) and quite why I’m not coming out for pints after for Tatey’s birthday (fuck off). No doubt offended by my refusal of his invitation, he also takes time to point out an older Bradford official in smart attire that’s about who has bushy ginger hair, alluding that he reckons this is what I would look like “going for a job interview”. Yes, thank you mate. Hope your birthday’s shit you cunt. I also catch up with Kev to see how Paul’s getting on and to apologise for the fact I’ve let life get in the way of getting up to see him myself. I also say hello to Alex, an old workmate of mine, who’s brought his little lad along today as he wants to see live football. Poor kid. “I hope we don’t put him off for life!” is all I can add as they head to the bar for a quick refresher before kick off.
Rose, Boldewijn, Kizzi, John, Milsom, Eastmond, Lovatt, Neufville, Randall, Wilson, Kouassi SUBS: Ward, Gambin, Dundas, Hart, Fadahunsi, Thomas, Kendall.
After an immaculate 2 minutes of silence for Remembrance Sunday, our pre-match fears of being handed our arses fail to materialise from the start of the game as we show a bit of grit, dig in and simply set out to be solid and keep them as quiet as we can. This works a treat and with 20 gone, the noisy away end has largely piped down and we’re having the better of things out on the park. Sadly though, as per usual for us, we’re nutting set pieces over the bar (Joe Kizzi having our best two sighters) whilst shots are being blocked in the box or miscued entirely. Still, we’re well in the game and they’ve done next to nothing bar shoot well over from the edge of the box. Then with thoughts turning to the break, we get royally fucked again by the officials. A scuffy shot from the edge appears to get a nick on the way through and with Rose wrong footed, a comfortably offside Cook pokes his toe at it to help the ball on its trundle into the corner. Sadly, the linos flag stays down and the striker jogs away with a distinct air of “Fucking got away with that one!” air about his celebration.
This sucks the jam right out of our doughnut and in the remaining several minutes of the half, we really could be going in 3 down. First we piss about edge of our own box, lose the ball and a quick 1-2 sees their lad nudge the ball past Rose, but thankfully Rob Milsom gets back with a heroic last second clearance right on the line and then almost on the whistle, a blatant handball wide is ignored by the ref and they’re clear again, but the squared ball is met weakly in the middle and Rose gathers gratefully. So, once again, we’ve put in loads of effort, not played that badly but, well, you know. Here’s hoping we shake off the end of that first 45 and go again 2nd half.
Yeah, bollocks will we. Once more displaying that we simply can’t put 2 halves of football together, we barely see the ball for the first few minutes after the restart. Our one foray up their end sees Kizzi clearly pulled down going for a ball in the box, but cunto the clown in front of us running the line is again having none of it despite this taking place in full view and a couple minutes later after another spell of pressure around our box, a corner is played short, we stand off the fella and he fires what looks to me to be a cross into the top far corner of Rose’s net. Another one that will no doubt get fucking retweeted endlessly this week on the EFL account. One down we might have had a sniff, but there’s no way we’re getting two back here. The second goal properly settles the visitors and they basically run the show from then on without too much trouble from us. A free kick just over and Rose making a decent stop keeps it to just the two whilst we keep plugging away but show about as much threat as a toddler with a banana.
We throw subs on probably too late again, but despite no lack of effort, no real chances come our way and at the end most people are just glad to hear the final whistle. I bid my farewells to the mob and trudge out onto GGL with the rest of the crowd, heading back to the car. Thankfully, the previously suspected and now confirmed puncture is still of the ‘slow’ variety as my tyre remains inflated, so taking this as a win for the day, I head out onto GGL and get my arse back to HQ to rustle up some scran for myself and her ladyship. “I won’t ask!” is all she says as my proper sorry frown wanders in the front door soon after.
Yeah, the football was bad love, but I’ve just realised I’ll probably never hear the end of it from Hackbridge Harry when he finds out I had Dulwich connections in the family. Fuck me, it never rains but it pours eh?