Posted by sean on November 15, 2011 at 12:31 am in Bath City with No Comments

Bath City 1-1 Dagenham & Redbridge
FA Cup – Round 1
Saturday 12th November 2011 – 15:00 

The world’s greatest cup competition returned on Saturday. Two weeks earlier, the FA Cup draw sent The Romans on a trip to Dagenham & Redbridge – a place I had never been to before. I knew it was in Essex and Stacey Solomon came from there, so expected a cross between this and this.

As it was the FA Cup, there was huge interest. Two coaches were filled with die-hard City fans. Even more travelled independently. Away support has been poor in the league this season and less that 30 fans have booked to go to the less-glamorous Southport in the league next week. Don’t get me started on those fans who only show up on the big occasion, or I’ll swear.

The coach made the trip along the M4. A familiar route during Bath City’s days in the Conference South and one we’ll probably be making about 20 times next season (see the league table). The coach was ‘buzzing’. You could feel the anticipation in the air. Even the surrounding wildlife was unable to contain its excitement, with a bird flying head first into the coach, smearing brain down the side of the window. I guess that’s what they call ‘The magic of the FA Cup’

On route we stopped at Clacket Lane services. I like this service station. It sounds like if should be a name of a character in the TV sitcom Father Ted. “Now Dougal, make sure you don’t act like an egit when Father Paddy Clacket comes round for tea”.

I bought a baguette in the service station. £4.10. I’m sure there are places in Mayfair and Park Lane where I can get a 3-course meal for that price. According to the label, the baguette was freshly made by Nicole. Pity Nicole had used a week-old loaf and processed cheese. I ate it anyway. You don’t know what food these football grounds serve up, so have to make do with overpriced service station rubbish.

We got to the game after the traditional tour of the town (basically, the coach driver got lost again). There was then mass confusion on arrival, when fans who ordered tickets in advance found themselves in the same queue as supporters buying tickets on the day. Mayhem. Somehow everything got sorted out and we made our way into the bar. It was one of these clubhouses where you had to pay to get in. 50 pence. This naturally caused various grumbles amongst the travelling supporters “If we get a replay, we should charge them £500 to get into our bar” I seem to recall one fan muttering.

I was disappointed but not surprised at the lack of ciders on offer. Strongbow or Bulmers. So basically, no ciders on offer. I decided to avoid both and go with Doom Bar – a lovely Cornish real ale and a more than an adequate substitute for an alcopop which brands itself as a cider. I enjoyed my drink, alongside my fellow City supporters and fans of Dagenham & Redbridge, who I found to be very pleasant and nothing like the cartoon characters in the above link I posted. They were a credit to their club. The Newport County FA Cup game against Shrewsbury was on the big screen. Since our visit to Newport in January, The Exiles have erected a new away stand, which we were able to witness in all its glory on the TV. I must admit, it looks good. I just hope it doesn’t rain as its uncovered. It probably will rain and I’ll get a cold.

After the drinks had been consumed, we made our way into the ground. Dagenham somewhat underestimated our away support for cup matches, so did not allocate us the normal large stand behind the goal. Instead, we were crammed into the 200-seater family enclosure. To be honest, that was good. We had a far better view of the game and were able to generate a fantastic atmosphere. At one point, every single fan joined in with the singing – although I think a couple wearing Bath Rugby tops refrained from participating with the “We hate rugby” song.

Photo from our stand

The match was preceded with a wonderful ceremony and moments silence to remember those soldiers who had lost their lives fighting for their country. It was perfectly observed by both sets of supporters.

When things did kick off, it wasn’t long until Bath City took the lead. Sean Canham taking advantage of a defensive mistake and following Marley Watkins’ pass, before cooly slotting the ball past the keeper…

Look at me, I’m almost writing a match report! I don’t think ‘cooly’ is a word though, or at least Bill Gates doesn’t as Microsoft Word is underlining it in red. I’m waiting for that annoying paper clip to appear asking “It looks like you are illiterate. Would you like me to help you with your spelling?”

I digress.

The match carried on. Dagenham equalised. They could have scored again. Then it was half time. (See, back to my normal standard of match reporting)

There was controversy in the second half, when Marley Watkins was hauled to the ground by Dagenham’s goalkeeper. I naturally assumed it was a red card, but the referee only produced a yellow. Like 199 other Bath City fans, I was truly amazed. I hadn’t seen a decision that poor since Howard Webb last officiated a Manchester United game. By the end of the match, I had ran out of expletives to use at the referee. Shameful. Don’t worry, I washed by mouth out with Carex hand soap afterwards.


The result? Bath City drew. What does this mean? All back to Twerton Park a week today for the replay, although it is now not a week today as ESPN have decided to televise the match. Therefore it will be shown a week Wednesday. The money from the televised game will come in very handy, no doubt paying for many new goldfish in the boardroom. Oh joy.

One final word on the so-called ‘Channel of the Year’ – ITV. If you want to show highlights of the greatest cup competition in the world, please show them during the traditional Saturday night slot. Do not show a total lack of respect to the competition, the fans and clubs involved by confiding it to Sunday morning. As the Leeds fans once said, ITV is fucking shit.

Posted by sean on November 6, 2011 at 10:14 pm in Bath City, Life In Bath, Movies with No Comments

Friday evening was the Bath City Quiz Night and Twerton Park. I begrudgingly decided that I sacrifice watching Autumnwatch and go along. Rather noble of me as Autumnwatch is such an interesting show – watching foxes and a badger rummaging through people’s bins live on TV really is fascinating.

The Bath City quizzes are a laugh, although this one was really hard. The first round was political history. They may as well have asked me to translate Shakespeare into Cantonese as I had absolutely no idea. We did educational quizzes like that on Friday afternoon in school, with Mars bars as prizes. However those questions were generally much easier, such as “what colour is a fire engine?” I did get one question right and was apparently the only contestant to do so – “What country does Robbie Fowler currently play in?” The answer being Thailand. If I ever go on Mastermind, my specialist subject will be scouse footballers.

‘A bogey side’ is a term given to a football club which another club finds impossible to beat. I’ve always found this term confusing and don’t know why it is named after a bogey. To me, a bogey is something that lives up your nose and can normally be released by blowing, or if in your own company, picking it out before enjoying it as a snack (optional). Why is it given to a football club who generally causes annoyance and discomfort? Surely it should be ‘Itchy-scab-on-your-back-which-you-can’t-reach-side’.

Anyway, as a Bath City fan I cant really say we’re anyone’s bogey (or scab-on-your-back) side. Until yesterday. I think we can now safely say that we’re the team that Grimsby Town will never, ever beat. We’re having a rubbish season, were trailing 2-0 to ‘The Mariners’, yet somehow managed to salvage a 2-2 draw.

When I was a kid I could never roller-skate. It was impossible. However hard I tried, I couldn’t get to grips with it. Having wheels on your feet isn’t natural. It shouldn’t happen. I think my failure to roller-skate is very much like Grimsby’s inability to beat Bath City. It’ll never ever happen… ever.

Getting home from football yesterday was an adventure. Every single house in Bath seemed to be letting off fireworks. There was so much smoke, flashes, bangs and explosions. I felt like Ross Kemp in Afghanistan, although feeling a lot colder and with more hair. I have no problem with Bonfire Night. I accept people want to celebrate the death of a man who tried to kill the Prime Minister, or whatever Guy Fawkes did. My issue is why do people keep letting fireworks off for weeks afterwards? Yesterday was November 5th. Today is November 6th. No more fireworks please. You don’t see people giving out Easter eggs in June.

I didn’t go to any firework displays last night. I went to The Rec in town and saw a display a few years ago. Quite frankly, once you have seen one set of fireworks, you’ve seen them all. Instead I spent the night in. With little to watch on TV, I was left with two choices. Autumnwatch on the iPlayer or Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World on Blu-Ray. I went for the latter. The film was shit on VHS in 1997 and is equally as pooh in 2011 in high definition. Mr. Spielberg, hang your head in shame.

Posted by sean on October 31, 2011 at 4:15 pm in Fun At Home, Life In Bath with No Comments

Unless you’re that Manchester City player, Mario Balotelli, who lets fireworks off in his bathroom for a laugh, it should be illegal to light fireworks prior to November 5th. For the past two weeks there have been explosions outside my flat all evening. It sounds like I’m living in Kabul.

I don’t really get fireworks anyway. They cost too much. Do those people who light them actually realise they’re basically burning their own money? They’ll argue it’s tradition, celebration or something rubbish like that. My argument is half the neighbourhood is letting them off. You can have your own free firework display just by looking into the sky at someone else’s.

Then you get all the fuss about safety. When I was a kid, there was an advert warning against the perils of picking up old sparklers because they might still be hot. While you’re at it, be careful not to touch the oven, coffee can give you third degree burns and the hot tap in the bath gets a bit warm too. If you’re that scared about your child’s safety, don’t let them hold a thin stick of metal, spitting out flames inches away from their face in the first place!

We were also told never return to a firework once it’s been lit, even if it doesn’t go off. The fireworks we bought were rubbish and most of them didn’t work. Had we followed that rule, there would still be hundreds of old fireworks sitting in the back garden of a house in Bristol somewhere.

Finally, bonfires. If ever you had a bonfire, you had to check to make sure a hedgehog, cat or missing child wasn’t hibernating in the leaves. I grew up in the 1990s. My understanding of hedgehogs was that they were blue, collected rings and were very fast, so would probably be able to escape fire. I kicked a pile of leaves over in a park once looking for animals. An old man, who presumably had spent all afternoon raking them into a neat pile, went ballistic. I tried to explain I was trying to save Sonic, but he was having none if it.

The country went absolutely crazy in August during the London riots with many people declaring that any 12-year old found guilty of looting a bag of rice should be hung, before being gutted with their entrails fed to the Queen’s corgis. Those rioters were basically chavs who had drank a bit too much Mountain Dew and went hyper. People hate chavs too – and rightly so.

Why is it then, that on the final day of October every single year, people welcome children behaving like chavs to their front doors, with the promise of sweets and chocolate? Many claim they may look cute dressed up like little vampires, zombies or Pete Burns, but those children who are given handfuls of Skittles will be back years later with a baseball bat demanding your pension book.

Everyone who has been to the seaside has seen the signs asking that visitors refrain from feeding the seagulls. This is because it encourages them to come back for more and become aggressive. The same with trick or treat. Bah humbug!

Posted by sean on October 30, 2011 at 11:19 pm in Bath City, Geek Stuff, Movies with No Comments

I know last week I said I would be boycotting the Jurassic Park Blu-ray boxset until a single disc with just the first movie was released. However, following an online Tesco shop, I was outraged to find the delivery driver had slipped the boxset into my shopping, alongside my Monster Munch and Uncle Ben’s Microwave Rice. I was going to call up and complain. However, while reaching for the telephone, I tripped, accidentally opened the boxset packaging, only for the disc to fall into my PlayStation 3 and start playing. Don’t think I can return it now. Damn you, Tesco!

My laptop is crap. It is old. Far too old. If it was a human it would have died of natural causes a long time ago, been burnt and be sitting in an urn next to my telly and Freeview box. Instead it is still going. Being kept alive by an AC power supply. I installed the latest version of AVG antivirus on it yesterday. The software basically put the laptop into a coma. It wouldn’t do anything. I’ve taken AVG off now and am running it without any protection, which is a bit scary. Anything could happen. The laptop could become pregnant or catch crabs. I think it’s time to get a new laptop and make the one I am blogging on now go the way of Sir Jimmy Savile… too soon?

I’m seriously considering not going to watch Bath City away any more. Not because they’re having a crap season, but because I am a jinx. I have been to loads of away games this season and haven’t seen one win. I felt ill on Saturday, so missed the FA Cup game away to Dover. In my absence, Bath City won. I suspect my intimidating presence on the terraces must put the players off their game and cause them to lose. Either that or I could be inadvertently cursing them like a gypsy. I don’t think I’m a gypsy. Saying that, I do like the smell of heather and have always held a secret desire to own a caravan. I could be a gypsy and not even know it. Who else have I cursed? The next away game is also in the FA Cup – Dagenham & Redbridge. The only thing I know about Dagenham is that Stacey Solomon comes from there, so suspect all the fans to be very bubbly, sing a lot and eat jungle insets.

Posted by sean on October 24, 2011 at 10:29 pm in Shopping, Trains, Ventures Outside Of Bath with No Comments

I had a 3 day weekend. Saturday was a break from football. Instead I went up to Walsall to see Claire.

I experienced the joys of train journeys. It wasn’t too bad to be honest. During the trip up to the Midlands, I was sat on a carriage full of Bristol Rovers fans. While the Gas Heads drank Natch cider and raved about their chances of promotion, some child played a game on his dad’s iPad. I have no idea what the game was, although it was very loud and very annoying. I was tempted to pick it up and throw it out of the train window (the iPad, not the child). A scary looking notice on the train wall, warning of a £500 fixed penalty fare for anyone throwing anything out of the window was enough to put me off. That notice may have frightened me, but not as much as the one on the escalators – “You will be fined £200 if you stop the escalators for a non-emergency”. The big red button looked so tempting to press!

The trip back was surprisingly easier, despite being warned of the perils of Sunday travel by Simon. There was free WiFi on the train, so I just sat back and streamed the Man United/Man City game on my iPhone. The free internet was the only thing that was free. Even the toilets at Birmingham New Street cost money to get into. 30p! That’s right, thirty pence to have a piss – whatever happened to the phrase “spend a penny”. I would sooner wet myself. Judging by the state of the platform, it looked like a few people already had. Apparently there’s no fine for that.

Today was my day off work. After getting up late, I went into town. Big mistake. It was the half time holiday and every single child from Bath was there with their mothers. My God, they were annoying. They either seemed to be extremely posh and arrogant, or the other extreme and more chavvy than a scouse druggie with 20 kids on The Jeremy Kyle Show.

I was also annoyed during my visit to HMV. I really wanted to buy Jurassic Park on Blu Ray although was unable to find it for sale without the two sequels. Like the follow-ups to Jaws, I like to pretend The Lost World and Jurassic Park 3 don’t exist. If anyone knows where I can buy a copy of the original Jurassic Park movie on Blu Ray, without forking out for the shit spin-offs, please let me know.

After being terrorised by of minors, their parents and HMV sales assistants trying (and failing) to sell my crap dinosaur movies, I treated myself by visiting Krispy Kreme. Those who have visited the place will know how amazing it is. Those who have not haven’t lived. Krispy Kreme sell doughnuts. Not just ordinary doughnuts, the best doughnuts in the entire world. They make all other doughnuts taste like dog poo – they’re THAT good. I enjoyed a ‘Chocolate Sprinkles’ doughnut and a coffee (the hot drinks are also excellent). Another also found its way into my bag, which I ate when I got home.

It’s back to work tomorrow, so I suppose I had better get myself to bed. Hopefully I’ll dream about watching Jurassic Park in high definition while eating at Krispy Kreme; although I‘ll probably have a nightmare about watching The Lost World in a station toilet with football fans and being charged 30p for the privilege.

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