“How is a man supposed to attract a blue tit to his table if he shouts?”

It’s been an odd couple of weeks in the life of SJ Voss, with some excellent high points in a brilliant stag do in Krakow and a new job soon to begin, but also accompanied by some irritating lows in a concussion, hospital appointments, and the very nasty re-emergence of my anxiety/depression gremlins. So in a bid to start the weekend on in good fashion, I elected to take a trip to go to Banbury to see the Magpies on ‘non-league day’. What could possibly go wrong? Well, a fucking lot can go wrong, that much I can tell you.

My best laid plans of meeting Goddard (Cam absent at netball, Fred living the Dorset dream) were ruined by the fact I got in from a night out at about 7am on Saturday morning from my Friday night out. Whoops. Although I have previous for being late, this was new territory even for me. After eventually getting up around midday, I them promptly threw up, before a shower and change to head to Marylebone station. I then ended up literally running to catch the train, which almost brought on the reappearance of what food I had managed to consume.

Banbury’s ground is a proper non-league ground, but it is stuck on a small industrial estate by the station. But having almost gone into both a garage and a metal workshop, I eventually found the it. I ended up getting in to Banbury FC’s clubhouse with a coffee and a hangover of epic proportions with 10 minutes to kick off to meet the rest of the away following, including the band of the 5 newly christened “Dirty Dorchies”. Their name, not mine, I think it’s shit.

Upon arrival, I was greeted with the sight of Steve Hill having a sit down meal of sausage and chips, metal cutlery and china plate included. We had no idea Steve could even use a knife and fork. The team news provided no real surprises, as we were sadly light of a few senior players. There was a worrying sense of predictability among fans about what might happened over the 90 minutes, and sadly, we were all proved right.

After an uneventful start which mainly centred round some of our number singing their new song about Will Agbo (he’s magic dontcha know?), and Evo revealing that he doesn’t shout at home as he has a bird table (he then pointed out “how is a man supposed to attract a blue tit to his table if he shouts?” Quite right too, Evo.), the deadlock was broken. Possession was carelessly given away on our right hand side, attacker runs through one on one with AWH, and the rest is all too familiar. After a couple of half chances, the killer second goal came right on half time as the Banbury striker was allowed to travel 15 or so yards without the inconvenience of anyone closing him down, before smashing one into the top corner. 2-0 down, and the body language of the players and the apathy from the fans told its own story.

Half time and the as Welchy consumed his third pie, Phil decided to announce that although he doesn’t usually swear in front of children, “that was shit”. And to be fair, the 5 year old boy sat to his right probably agreed. The second half did provide some false hope as one of Dann Cann’s long throws was glanced in by Nath Walker shortly after the restart. Could we press on and find an equaliser? Could we bollocks. Banbury’s giant centre half then proceeded to mark Nath at every set piece, and Dan Cann heading narrowly wide from a corner was the best we could muster. Full time, a 2-1 loss to a side who had lost the previous seven games, and the only highlight was Phil being threatened by Banbury’s assistant manager for calling their keeper a cunt. “I’ll smash your fucking face in, you cunt” said the assistant. And I’m not even joking.

In the second half, the team couldn’t be faulted for endeavour, but the awful first half left too much to do. The side looks too weak physically, and the younger players need to learn fast if they are to keep their places and help improve results. Banbury are not a highly talented side of footballers, but they worked hard, and wasted time like a professional outfit with their keeper probably killing nearly five minutes by himself. Hopefully the return of several senior players, who would have no doubt made a difference, and a new manager will help lift the club as a whole. The saying goes that the league table starts to take shape after 10 games. Well we are nearly at that point, and we aren’t where we want to be.

So where do we go from here? Well, Phil compared us to the England football team (both are underperforming, but I never quite understood the point) before deciding that Phil Simkin would have won this game (much like he did at Arlesey and Biggleswade, I assume?). Steve tried singing about some bloke called Walker Alan-Harris, and several suggestions were put forward as new manager. Could it be Jem? What about Kevin Hill? Would Vickers get us organised? What about Steve Claridge? Okay, I made that last one up to see what reaction I’d get from Steve Hill, but it was worth it. As we left, Steve and Phil were having a sit down meal of sausage, chips and anger, and with that, my day was done.

Whatever happens soon, Truro and Yate in the league and cup respectively over the next 7 days will have a big bearing on the mood at the club as well as the finance. Hopefully for the sake of the club and the loyal few that keep turning up, things do improve. And would someone please spare a thought for the poor blue tits that have to visit Evo’s garden if we don’t improve soon. SV