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Fixtures on Ice

By: Chris Smith
Date: 03/02/2010

I THOUGHT I’d be writing about a trip to see my second team at Boundary Park last Saturday having given Aldershot a miss. I’d enjoyed the game last year where we were on a high after winning our first home game against Shrewsbury.

Good acoustics in the away section but not the most prepossessing ground I’ve visited. My first trip there in 1990 resulted in a warning about my language and last season’s pogo goal celebrations induced a hypo. Served me right but the town isn’t blessed with eateries and my days of living on burgers and KFC at games are long over.

I was looking forward to meeting up with some of the Brentford lads and Simmo in particular, a legend at Griffin Park. Manchester is only a short run on the train from Doncaster so I was anticipating a good day out and leisurely journey there and back. The only concern was a return of the frosty weather. A look at the OAFC website on Friday night indicated the club would be putting frost covers on overnight but that they didn’t have concerns but would look at the pitch on Saturday morning. I felt the tone might be a little over optimistic.

Saturday dawned nice and sunny and a colleague who supports Oldham said the official site reported ground staff had noted some hard patches in the goalmouth but with the temperature above freezing and blah blah blah. I let Simmo on the Bees supporters’ coach know the development and he let me know that BFC had contacted the Latics who said they were hopeful the game would go ahead. That rang warning bells about what OAFC wanted to happen and what actually might not.

Having stopped off in Donny, I took the plunge and a minute after buying a day return to Manchester with a PlusBus add-on, I was told by my work colleague that there was a second pitch inspection at 1230. I’d actually been looking to travel to Sheffield and waiting for a yes or no, but my options were being eroded by delays to the trains caused by someone hitting a rail bridge at Scunthorpe/Habrough/Grimsby/whatever town the announcer decided to pick at random for each update. It doesn’t sound too much of a problem, but I was also trying to factor in a decent meal at lunchtime.

This is one of the main reasons I’ve been missing our most far flung away games. I travel a lot with work in the week and don’t need the aggro when it goes wrong at the weekend when recourse to the nearest bar isn’t a viable option. The really unnecessary aggro though is that onset of vile temper when my plans to have a healthy plan of eating fly out of the window.

Still, I thought I’d make the most of the delay at Donny and have a pop at the Times’ killer sudoku in the waiting room. This was the cue for someone to plonk their fat arse next to me and noisily start on a jumbo bag of crisps, the ****. F****** winds me up almost as much as chav mobiles. Just to make matters worse, I peered up from the puzzle to see a few pram wheels halt in front of me. As if the brat wasn’t enough, mum then proceeded to jabber in the mobile. I think it was a sign to pack up and go home, but exhibiting the stubbornness of the long time football devotee, I ignored the signs that this wasn’t going to be my day.

Thank f*** for that as the train arrived. The stress stay of execution was temporary as the tinny sound of some talentless tat exuded from several personal stereos or whatever it is they listen to nowadays. Then, to add insult to fatal injuries, you get the cretin who has the loud and f****** annoying ring tone that they take their time to answer. They slowly pick the phone out of their pocket and inspect it as though it is the first time they’ve ever seen it. Similar to the way a young child will look at their fingers after a particularly vivid and abundant nasal harvest.

Never mind, I’ll be off the train soon, I thought. Then my phone went with Simmo calling to say the game at Oldham was off, just as I’d arrived in Manchester, as had the Brentford coaches. Well that’s just dandy. If the pitch was in a poor state at gone midday, what had it been like three or four hours earlier? Interestingly, the referee subsequently said the main concern was at the side of the pitch where the pitch was “like concrete”.

The article continues in Part Two

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