Any football fan that travels to away games will have their favourite trips and those they wish they could avoid. My journey to Thurrock, a fortnight ago, was the latter. This weekend, however, was my best away game of the season – a trip to the beautiful city of St. Albans.
St. Albans play at Clarence Park – a picturesque football ground situated in the centre of the town’s park. The stadium is deep in football history, playing host to various football teams in the past, including Enfield and the Arsenal Reserves. The Arsenal Ladies team still use the ground for some of their European matches. Along with Bath City’s Twerton Park and Hayes Lane, home of Bromley FC, Clarence Park is one of the few remaining ‘traditional’ football grounds in a country of ugly, sterile, ‘flat-packed’ stadia.
Bath had experienced snow on the Friday night. Nothing as severe as the weather from earlier in the month, which saw the country ground to a halt, but enough to see any football game plunged into doubt. As the coach made the long trip along the M25 through the snow-covered countryside, there was concern amongst travelling supporters that our efforts would be pointless and the game would be postponed.
When we arrived at St. Albans, we were greeted to a winter’s scene fitting for a Christmas card. Our worries were relieved though when we entered the ground to see a January sun thawing the ice, with any snow in the stadium’s shade being cleared by some loyal club ground staff and fans. It was clear the game would be played.
Despite the sunshine and the pitch confirmed as playable, it was still a bitterly cold afternoon. Luckily, this did not affect the Bath City supporters, who were in full-voice, even before kick off. The players had obviously been drinking the same water as the fans and were clearly full of enthusiasm, threatening the St. Albans defence within seconds of the game’s start. Despite a heroic performance from the home team’s goalkeeper, the deadlock was broken within five minutes – Chris Holland, grabbing the game’s opening goal.
City continued their pressure on a poor, demoralised St. Albans side, much to the delight of the travelling fans and anguish of home supporters. Still, the early 1-0 score line was unchanged at the half time interval, installing worry in some of the pessimistic Bath City followers, who have all too often seen their team fail to win due to missed chances.
The second half performance was very similar to that of the first 45 minutes. City dominated, while St. Albans all but rolled over and had their bellies tickled. As any football supporter, especially a Bath City one, will tell you, a 1-0 lead is never enough. Therefore, when Kaid Mohammed’s cross was met by in-form Lewis Hogg, there were jubilant celebrations.
We had won 2-0. It could have been 8-0. Still, the long journey back was enjoyable due to the fantastic performance and victory. I also had more reasons to smile as Leeds beat Colchester 2-0, getting back to winning ways once more.
Nandos was good. Nothing of interest at the cinema, so it was an early trip home (via Asda to pick up ice cream)
It seems film directors are happy to let James Cameron rake in all the cash for Avatar during 2010 and not bother to make any new movies themselves.
It is always disconcerting when my precious laptop behaves strangely. Considering it is running Windows Vista, it works surprisingly well and without any real problems. However, this evening, while streaming football and surfing the internet, my electronic baby decided to throw a tantrum, display the infamous ‘Blue Screen of Death’ and start a ‘Physical memory dump’
I am not sure why the laptop decided to act in much a petulant manner. Maybe it was because the football match I was watching involved Leyton Orient winning. The fact they were playing Charlton pleased me (as a Leeds supporter), but maybe my darling computer is a fan of ‘The Addicks’ and was saddened by the game.
Whatever the reason, it seems to be behaving itself now. Memory errors can be such a frustrating problem to diagnose and fix. Sometimes it is easier just to throw your laptop at the wall, cover it in lighter fluid and light a match… That was a warning to my laptop, on which I am typing this blog.
As regular readers of my blog will know, I am a big fan of the Fifa video game series – the latest addition being Fifa 10. Until today, I have found the game very enjoyable and played 7 whole seasons with Leeds United, taking them from League One (where they reside in real life) to the top of The Premiership.
Along with picking up such honours as The Premier League, Champions League, FA and League Cup, I also turned Leeds into a ‘5 star’ team – basically, one of the strongest clubs in the virtual world of Fifa 10.
Having achieved so much, I thought it was time to move on and do what Alex Ferguson should have done years ago and ‘quit while you’re ahead’. Lots of new clubs wanted my services, all offering massive transfer kittys to which I can invest on new players. With a heavy heart, I decided to leave the European Champions, Leeds United, and take up the managerial role at Real Madrid.
Before signing on the dotted line (or rather pressing the ‘X’ button on my PS3 controller) ‘Real’ promised £200million to spend on players. Once I agreed terms and the game had loaded, I was shocked to see Real were actually £2.5 BILLION in debt and running at a weekly loss of £700k. If I wanted to manage a club with debts resembling that of a high street bank, I would have joined Manchester United.
Anyone who has played Fifa in Manager Mode will know, part of the game requires you to invest finances in different areas – whether it is on new players or staff upgrades. With not a penny to spend, I was stuck. After a poor start to the season, I gave up; simulating every game until I was eventually sacked by the financially crippled Real Madrid board, who were demanding I won La Liga, The Copa Del Rey and Champions League, with a team of donkeys.
I was furious. A quick search on Google revealed this is a known bug in a game. A KNOWN bug that the Fifa’s manufacturers, EA, have done nothing about.
I have had to quit the whole manager mode. Hours (if not days and weeks) of work had gone into my campaign, only for my efforts to be ended by a lazy programming error caused by some useless game designer.
It has been over a week since I last blogged. At the time, I was facing a long journey home after witnessing my team, Bath City, lose 3-1 at the hands of Thurrock. Despite my blogging constipation, it did not actually take me 8 days to get back home to Somerset. I have just had busy week at work and various evening distractions.
You will remember I was rather disappointed with the football from both City and Leeds last week. Since then, there have been 3 games for my teams with mixed results.
Since beating Manchester United, Leeds have not won in the league. Despite having the football God, Saint Simon Grayson, in charge, I am getting slightly nervous about Leeds’ promotion prospects.
Down to second
The start of the fall or a minor blip?
It was back to cup action on Tuesday night, with Leeds facing Carlisle United in the Johnstone Paint Trophy Northern Area Final First Leg – a fixture players worldwide dream of being involved in. Seriously, despite a trip to Wembley Stadium for the winner of the two-legged tie, I do not rank the JPT highly in the list of priorities for Leeds this season. Therefore, I did not shed any tears when they lost 2-1. I was, however, a little concerned. Winning in any tournament breeds confidence and Leeds seem to be lacking the winning part of things.
Leeds play the second leg of the tie later in February. I am tempted to wish victory upon Carlisle. I don’t think the distraction of a trip to Wembley Stadium will benefit the Leeds players. Don’t be surprised to see Saint Grayson’s men walk out on Wembley turf, though. For some strange reason, Carlisle always seem to get a result at Elland Road, while Leeds have a reliable winning habit at their place, Brunton Park.
Forget The Champions League, Premiership and FA Cup…
The JPT is the king of tournaments
It was more fun this weekend, with Leeds travelling the nation’s capital city ‘Laandun’ to face Totting-ham Hotspur in the FA Cup. After beating Manchester United in the previous round, anything short of winning the cup would not come close to the ecstasy brought from the victory. Therefore the trip to White Hart Lane was a bit of an anti-climax.
Due to my feelings of cup games being a distraction to league form, before kick off I was unsure if I wanted Leeds to win the game or bow out gracefully. However, when Leeds keeper, ‘The Great Dane’ Casper Ankergren saved Jermain Duffo’s early penalty, I was once again infected with cup fever and cheering my team on. By the time Jermaine Beckford slotted home the injury time penalty to equalise, I was joyous. I just hope this cup run does not become a disturbance to the league.
Well done, Jermaine… now do the same in the league
Leeds are back to league action on Tuesday night, taking on a team local to me – Swindon Town. Victory against The Robins is essential for Leeds’ promotion push. If Jeff Stelling was to offer me 3 points on Tuesday and a 3-0 defeat against Spurs in the replay, I would gnaw his hand off with my own teeth.
Finally, Bath City. This weekend they took on Bishop’s Stortford at Twerton Park. In the same fixture last season, City found themselves 2-0 up and crusing. After a period of football suicide, the game ended in a 3-2 defeat
This Saturday, however, when City again took a 2-0 lead, I had no worries that there would be a repeat of such a debacle and we would romp home to victory. Therefore, when Stortford came back to draw 2-2, I was less than impressed.
I guess City improved this time as the game was not totally thrown away, but to lose a 2-0 lead, especially at home, is always a disappointment.
On this website, you’ll find me blogging (almost) daily about everyday life, living in Bath, working with computers, and the occasional bit of football stuff thrown in.
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