Posted by sean on November 26, 2011 at 12:28 am in Bath City, Television with 1 Comment

Bath City 1-3 Dagenham & Redbridge (AET)
FA Cup – Round 1 Replay
Wednesday 24th November 2011 – 19:15

Last Monday, while shopping in town, I received a text message from Simon “great news about City!” As I was not near a computer and my iPhone had decided to lose its internet connection, I was unaware of any good fortune coming the way of the mighty Romans.

Thoughts started rushing through my head about what could have happened. Perhaps Scrooge McDuck (of Duck Tales fame) had decided invest his swimming pool of golden coins in Bath City.

Sadly, Scrooge McDuck is a twat and would sooner bankroll Duckburg United than us.

Despite the disappointing news that an animated duck would not be buying Bath City, I was lightened to hear that the club’s replay against Dagenham and Redbridge would be televised on ESPN, with over £33k going to the club.

Following the announcement, Bath City was thrown into mass hysteria. The club’s official Facebook and Twitter pages exploded with photos of ugly, sweaty, middle-aged men putting up scaffolding which would later be used by the camera crew. It was the biggest news to hit the club since they started selling doughnuts in the tea bar.

So there it was, my chance to be shown on TV watching football. The first opportunity since… well, April, when Leeds played Reading. This was different though. This was at Twerton Park – Fortress Twerton, where unfortunately the drawbridge has been left down for most of the season. Plus it was The Magic of the FA Cup – sponsored by Budd Wise Urrrggghhh…

Match day arrived. I arrived at the Twerton Park earlier than normal. Due to TV scheduling, ESPN had moved the kick off time to from 7.45pm to 7.15pm. Typical television companies – they never think about the true fans who attend the games. If we’re on telly again, I wouldn’t be surprised to have kick off moved to 2am, just to satisfy the Australian TV market.

Where the magic happens

Twerton Park had certainly been transformed by the camera crew. There was more electrical equipment in the car park than a Dixons megastore. ESPN were very brave or stupid – apparently a lot of expensive gadgets were left inside the ground the day before. This was no doubt all stolen overnight by the chavs and sold in the local pub.

Recovered earlier that day from a council estate front garden

The Bath City club shop. Sell scarves, shirts and dog biscuits

After staring in awe at the cameras and a man smoking outside a broadcasting van, I went into the clubhouse for a pre-match pint of Thatchers Gold. ESPN was being piped out onto the screens on the wall. Then the picture went fuzzy and cut out. How stupid was that? Feet away from where the channel was being broadcast and you can’t get it on the Sky box.

All ESPN employees pride themselves in their health and fitness

Panic sets in. How are we going to watch the Bath City game now?

The first half was a very scrappy affair, involving two poor sides. Despite the rather negative display, Bath City supporters created an excellent atmosphere within the stadium, no doubt entertaining all the ESPN viewers with world-renowned and much loved football chants including “Hello! Hello! We are the City boys”, “Drink up thy zyder” and everyone’s favourite, “We hate Dagenham”. Seriously, the fans, especially ‘The Legion’ were superb. More about them later.

Next season's FA Cup will be sponsored by Sheppy's Farmhouse Cider

Terraces not Armchairs... unless you're going to pay us £33k

Unfortunately, Brian Woodall of Dagenham and Redbridge did not read the metaphorical script which would see Bath City win the tie and eventually end up playing Manchester United at Old Trafford in the FA Cup Third Round. He scored. Tosser. Despite the goal, which I saw little of thanks to scaffolding obstructing my view, the fans kept up their support.

Match shot avec camera and scaffolding

Half time was spent eating a doughnut from the tea bar (I love those doughnuts so much), while calling ex-England international, Chris Waddle, a wanker. Waddle was commentating for ESPN and according to a fellow fan, had been slagging City off throughout the game. Shut up, Waddle and look at this.

We tried to work out if this was Chris Waddle

The second half was a lot better and saw City take control of the match. The noise levels increased from the singers, making Twerton Park feel electric (metaphor fans must surely be loving this blog tonight). I was stood next to a very loud and vocal Simon, who was asked to quieten down by a steward. Unbelievable. Simon politely pointed out that we were watching a football match. The steward was about five foot tall and looked about 12. Had things kicked off, he would have been about as much use as sea anemone in a fight with a great white shark. Simon continued his support of his local side, while the steward stood, dreaming of a transfer to Stamford Bridge where he could watch a football match in a nice, tranquil surrounding.

Then Bath City scored – Adam Connolly with an excellent strike from just outside the box. It was amazing. The crowd went crazy. One fan got a little too carried away – when Connolly’s strike hit the net, a young supporter in front of us shat himself – or at least that’s what it smelt like. This was no fart, it was a case of “Mummy, I’ve made chocolate pudding in my Huggies Pull-ups”. If you saw me on ESPN and I looked tearful, it wasn’t due to the emotion of the match, but the stench of fresh faeces in the air, making my eyes water. The shit had gone down and this time, it wasn’t a metaphor.

Daggers Fans - literally shittin' it

The game went to extra time with the score at 1-1. The excitement had died down a bit at this point. Spirits were lifted however, when a morbidly obese Dagenham fan exited the ground past the vocal home supporters. Chants of “You fat bastard” and “Get your tits out” rang throughout across Twerton Park. The rotund fan tried to act like he didn’t care, by offering to fight every single Bath City supporter, but I bet he went to bed crying… with a Mars bar.

With the first half of extra time drawing to a close and the thought of penalties entering the minds of fans and players alike, the referee suddenly contracted brain damage, or “shit referee syndrome”. Dagenham forward, Jon Nurse, a country mile offside (so much so he was in France) found the ball at his feet and scored. 2-1 to The Daggers. 2-1 soon became 3-1 as City threw men forward. Game over. Cup over. Season over.

At fulltime, the singers stayed behind supporting their team for 20 minutes until they were eventually kicked out by the stewards. The chairman asked the fans to leave too – we had just lost £18,000 of FA Cup prize money, no way did she want to pay the stewards overtime to supervise The Legion Carol Service – although it would have been worth every penny.

I felt so proud I could have cried. The player’s performance in the second half was one of the best efforts I have seen all season. The supporters did themselves and the club proud. Bath City are in a shit position in the league and probably will be relegated. I know the league table doesn’t lie and we are bottom because we have lost the most amount of games, but I can’t help but feel, we are not the crappiest side in the league.

I left the ground, still emotional. Went to bed. Didn’t sleep. Went to work on Thursday tired.

For those of you who read my blog and actually care about football, highlights of the match can be found here. Warning: contains footage of a referee being a twat.

One Response to Smiling For The Cameras

  1. Goatman

    November 26, 2011 - 2:38 am

    ‘Manda’ can still hear the legion sing in her sleep. In her dreams she’s getting out of her car to shepherd the fans off the London Road…

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