“Name a player beginning with P”……. “Simon Radcliffe?”

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We’re midway through the season, at which point, anything is still possible in this eventful campaign. “Look at our run in!” these final games had the potential to be part of a great escape. Whitehawk away on Easter weekend certainly had ‘Brighton Weekender’ written all over it. Hotel booked and arrangements sorted months in advance for this ‘six pointer’. The time is nearing and, oh, we’re already relegated. 

But, OH! Four-day weekend. Weekend in Brighton it still is.

So whilst a bumper away day(s) that almost had nothing to do with football was on the cards, we certainly made the most of it. With Vossy back home with mumps, a 10am train from Victoria meant that TSOF, consisted of Cameron, Goddard and myself, who made it in good time to meet the trio from Durnovaria, consisting of Steve, Fuge and Phil. Whilst we waited for the dorch lot, we had our first pint of the day (11am) at literally the first pub we saw opposite the station, where we were greeted by a very talkative Irish barman who greeted us with a lame comparison to Goddard’s resemblance to the Proclaimers. We then headed to Wetherspoons (I know, right?) for a spot of brunch and then wandered up to the hotel. En route to our accommodation, we spotted a yard sale being held by a woman named Wendy, that included a cuddly toy that Cam picked up, (who we chose to name after its abandoned owner) and would, unbeknownst to us, become the official mascot of the entire weekend and would embark on a journey most toy birds could only dream of.

We dropped our shit off and headed for a couple of pints at the nearby Audio bar.  A few more followed in town, before popping in a cab to the delightful Whitehawk estate. Arriving was like entering into another world from the city of Brighton, with picture-esque views and a football ground that resembled a shed with fencing surrounded by countryside that is not too dissimilar to our very own Dorset. We picked a spot in one of Whitehawk fake stands, climbed the scaffolding to hang the flag and sung our teams praises and exchanged some actually-quite-decent banter with the Whitehawk “ultras” behind their goal.

As for the game… well, it was shite. We were… well, shite and not even an AWH penalty save could put any gloss on a 3-0 defeat to another… well, shite Skrill South side. Our new mascot, Wendy, had its own little tour of the place, even making it onto the pitch at the end and posed with the players post-match. More pints in the club bar consumed, where we laughed at Steve King’s horrendous choice of footwear, before we headed back into town to do the traditional tourist thing of walking along the pier, flying the flag off it and having tinnies on the beach.

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We headed back to the pad to change before entering town for the evening session, accompanied by Wendy of course. 

The night consisted of a couple of standard busy pubs to begin with before heading to the aptly titled, and one of my favourite bars in Brighton, The Dorset. A few pints and top rockabilly vibes were consumed in there, whilst Wendy was thrown around the pub for various photos (the theme of most of the night) before heading to a couple more pubs whose names escape me, until we landed at The Blue Man bar, where we enjoyed the night until 3am.

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I say, enjoyed…. Fugey found the nearest couch and fell asleep, whilst we took great pleasure in finding as much shit lying around the bar as we could and stacking it up on the big man. Meanwhile, we cracked on with dancing, drinking, taking turns to chat up a quite hot girl who turned out to be only just 18, gate crashing the Arabian themed party downstairs, jumping on the sofas playing the bongos [really quite badly] and swinging off the hunting horns trying to pull them off the ceiling in a drunken re-attempt at ‘doing a Lewes.’

Fortunately, being the charming bastards we are, the barman had no problem with us and in fact poured us complimentary shots that had Cameron literally running straight out the door thinking he was going to hurl, and inviting us round the bar to pose for photos with Wendy. Time was called on the friendliness and free shots when he promptly found one of our stickers slapped up on the mirror behind the spirits. What was he expecting?!

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Upon leaving, we headed for some food in Burger King, which involved a very heated yet hilarious debate/argument between our Stevie and Phil over the court case of AFC Bournemouth and former Brighton and Hove Albion star Steve Cook. “NOT GUILTY!”

So after a brief and uncomfortable sleep, coinciding with a cold shower as there was no hot water, we headed back into a very wet Brighton for some breakfast. In fact, the very same Spoons we costumed 24 hours earlier. [Ed – not the “cultured” greasy spoons that Brighton has to offer, much to Fred’s disgust in the cab]

Following that, we developed our Sunday session at the nearby Molly Malone Irish pub, to catch the Liverpool game… followed, by the Arsenal game… followed by the United-Everton match; meaning we’d in a sense become the Premier League loving, armchair fans we’ve always detested! Those of us who had any money remaining in our bank accounts bought the rounds in, whilst discussions hungeroverly flicked between mixing up Poole Town’s Sam Clarke with Osama Bin Laden, classifying being a BNP sympathizer and a Tory as the hallmarks of a “cunt” and Tom making the point that “It’s about time we starting playing local youngsters more, because there’s so much quality since the Station pub has closed down.”

Phil, bizarrely, parted ways an hour before the other Dorch lads, which for a five hour journey back to Dorchester seemed a little brave – but he probably had the right idea, and Steve and Fuge later missed their intended train after Steve went running in the other direction to have a photo with Barry Ferguson.

A superb weekend (despite the result, obviously) which remarkably we all (including our mascot!!) made home in one piece. Just one more fixture to go now, away at Ebbsfleet, before we embark on pastures new. The likes of thriving towns such as Biggleswade, Arlesey, Redditch, St Neots and Poole to visit next season brings us nothing but excitement. And hangovers. FR.

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“Well, that was worse than Mean Machine”

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Hayes and Yeading v Dorchester is hardly a game to ignite much interest in many people. Even people in Hayes, Yeading, or Dorchester don’t really care about it. Combine that with the fact Tuesday’s defeat to Maidenhead has made relegation all but certain, what could have been the proverbial ‘six pointer’ was now largely meaningless. But despite the dead rubber nature of the game, it wasn’t going to stop us making the short trip to their temporary Woking home for an afternoon of non-league. And drinking. It’s what we do.

A sociable midday meet in the Wellington saw a few new faces turn up for the occasion. Kate, JP, Halls and Bending had all been conned into thinking it would be a good day out, and the later than usual meet time had given Cam vital time to recover from his hangover. Having naively got the first round in for eight others, he felt obligated to stay out to get his money’s worth, and duly looked like he had been excavated when we met at the pub.

For a change, the days chat didn’t centre around football, and to be truthfully honest, the whole footballing side of the day was met with utter apathy by both fans and players alike. Conversation lurched between some very obscure points including the eating of chicken hearts at a Brazilian buffet (Brazilian buffet is not an innuendo), the virtues of a student card and it’s free McDonalds cheeseburgers, and Halls’ new baby blue suit he has on order. Halls is not an avid football fan, but added a touch of class to the occasion with his talk of suits, his taste in M&S lentil crisps, and his attire being like a man who was part Libertines tribute band, part clay pigeon shooter.

The short train journey there was largely uneventful, except for Fred realising his group saver ticket wasn’t valid as he had one ticket too many from his group save 4. Thankfully for Fred, the train guard “luckily wasn’t a cunt”. Another small revelation was that a friend of JP’s had got some national notoriety for not only being on the show ‘First Dates’, but also looking like Alan Carr. A fact he duly got rinsed for on national television. Well he did try to steal JP’s then girlfriend when drunk on new year’s eve, so you reap what you sow.

A couple of pints were consumed in the pleasant surrounds of The Sovereign pub as well as meeting with Welchy, Cal (who just popped down from Inverness for the game, as you do) and Steve who had also made the trip, and then it was off the Woking for kick off. H&Y are managed by Phil Babb, a man who had a very good career in the professional game including a World Cup with ROI in 1994, and a League Cup winners medal. Sadly he is remembered more for when he slid bollocks first into the goal post when playing for Liverpool many years ago. Don’t remember? Refresh your memory here;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dONtFBuCztM

Upon arrival at the ground, we thought we might have arrived an hour or so early due to the lack of fans, but no, we were on time, there was just pretty much no others there. Hayes and Yeading are an amalgamation of two teams that no-one really liked or supported, and have now formed one club that no-one really likes or supports. The match attendance of 107 seemed generous considering we were strewn around a 6,000 capacity stadium like alleged sightings of a Malaysian airliner, and that total may well have included all players and staff. But not to be put off, we assumed position behind one goal, and put our newly washed flag right over the H&Y flag, as we’re mature like that. We also spied a Sutton sticker, obviously put up before the stern sticker based warning they received at the avenue recently.

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The game itself followed an all too familiar pattern, in that we looked ok for 45 minutes, before conceding one and then another soon after to condemn us to an all too predictable defeat. We did hit the post early on, but besides that the main highlight was Wozza’s audible shout of cunt each time he was beaten to the ball, Smeets mistiming a header and then spending the next five minutes making sure his nose wasn’t bleeding, and the very astute instructions of the H&Y number 3 to the rest of his defence, telling them that; “fuck me, it’s not difficult, don’t give it to the fucking striped shirts”. That boy will go far. Not only did we reportedly have to purchase white socks to avoid a kit clash, we also had a player on the bench by the name of Sam Smith. We were quickly informed that it’s not the singer who brought us ‘Money On My Mind’, which is probably for the best, that song is fucking terrible.

After the game, my chat about important issues including goalkeeping gloves and Wrestlemania with AWH was cut short by Phil Simkin wanting to talk to Al about next season. Pick a better moment next time Phil, we were mid discussion about the Undertaker v Brock Lesnar.

AWH, Phil and Jem also provided very honest opinions on this season but the prospect of trips to such footballing hotbeds as Biggleswade, St Neots, and Hungerford (as well as games v Weymouth and Poole) next season will provide us with different places to drink in, if nothing more. Cam also managed to interrupt a post-match interview with H&Y ‘keeper, Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz, and excelled himself by saying he couldn’t understand a word of what he was saying both now and during the game. That would be as he is Venezuelan. So after basically being called a racist, Cam continued his stroll to the station.

After 90 minutes of what was very sober football by this seasons standards, we then looked to salvage something from the day by getting very, very drunk in Camden culminating in Cam getting the barmaids’ number and then arguing that it probably wasn’t her real number as the writing was too neat, Cal leaving half way through the night to catch his 8 hour coach ride back to Inverness (as you do) and a couple of the lads taking some quite fine Irish girls to another pub only to be told they were too drunk to enter. 

Given the low aim, the rest of the evening was a success as we duly got totally smashed and had more shots than we saw during the course of the 90 minutes. Overall, an entertaining day, but if the football told us one thing, it’s that the season’s end doesn’t come quick enough as far as the club is concerned. It was the most apathetic of footballing outings I’ve ever known, and next season both direction and clarity are needed as well as some new faces. But until then, the prospect of Banbury away on a Tuesday night will spur us on. SV. 

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