Tonight is the beginning of the new season. No football to watch in person, but travelling in order to watch football tomorrow. And it’s a mixture of excitement and nerves, coupled with an almost constant cursing that my right foot has decided to hurt itself.
Feet take time to heal – yesterday I thought we were well on the way to doing just that, being able to put my shoe on with the laces done up and being able to have decent night’s kip. It didn’t happen. I have this annoying habit of twitching quite a lot before finally drifting off into deep sleep, usually it’s one humungous TWITCH and that does it for the night. Last night, several large twitches, and every single one zooming down my right leg and blasting into my duff foot. Bloody hell, that hurt. In the end, it was back to the armchair for a couple of hours before getting up slightly late for work. The move to the armchair has been a common theme, either because of the heat or the foot or both. I’m beginning to hate my armchair, it feels sometimes that I spend my entire life in it.
Tonight, Rosey and I will be travelling to Poole in order to spend two nights in a hotel so that it’s easier tomorrow to get to Weymouth for Kingstonian’s first pre-season friendly of the new campaign. I’m not completely looking forward to trying to sleep in a strange bed with a foot that doesn’t want to get comfortable, there’s a fine chance that I will be extraordinarily bleary eyed come kick-off time, my best chance of getting some half decent sleep will probably be in the car.
I have to say that following a football team home and away is a really strange thing to do for someone who really doesn’t like travelling. A lot of the time the thought of the trip overtakes the nerves for the game, and when that happens, then that’s when there’s the sudden desire to hide at home. Fear, no anxiety is probably a better word, of travelling is the number one reason for why I miss certain games. I’d make a terrible London commuter (Wallington to Croydon is bad enough on some days), and don’t get me going on how lovely the M25 (and the M6 and the M42 and…and…) is.
But with any luck, pootling down to Poole will produce little in the way of drama. Going down there tonight just makes it easier tomorrow, having a deadline (ie: kick-off) is a stressful way to travel, so taking our time to reach Poole tonight will make it so much easier to move on to Weymouth tomorrow lunchtime. And it’s a game that I have been waiting for with great relish (tomato flavoured, probably) – even by Kingstonian’s standard this has been a whirlwind summer. Player announcement after player announcement, and all of them in theory are really good signings. And, to use one of my favourite phrases when I was programme editor, we really have to hit the ground running as we’re facing a team that came perilously close to promotion to the National League South last season. As far as pre-season friendly matches go, this could well be a good one, and it’s a game against a new opposition and a new ground for me, so I’m looking forward to it.
I am delighted, though, that most of our friendlies are away from home. Our club’s treasurer will give me a dagger-like look for saying that, but pre-season is not a nice time for matchday announcers. Substitute lists as long as your arm (and sometimes someone else’s as well), quite often players that play are not even on the list (one time a K’s player scored who was not on the list and I don’t remember if I ever found out who it was), I had one team who deliberately gave me an inaccurate line-up so every player I announced was either not in the shirt I was told or even playing – thanks club that I won’t name (but will reveal if someone asks me…!). Those of us trying to maintain as professional and smooth an appearance (ha!) during the game are often reduced to “who the heck is he?” or some other less watershed type comment, something made even worse when substitutes boards rarely get used, actually that happens way too much during league games as well (and I can’t read the numbers very well…). But anyway, one friendly at home this season pleases this moany old git.
And so it begins. A season that brings an unusual amount of excitement to K’s fans, one in which the extremely biased amongst us (myself included) think that we have a chance of challenging for promotion. If the squad clicks, if it gels, then we could be in for some fun. But there are twenty-two problems with that, one is that I won’t have seen any of our new players in a Kingstonian shirt until tomorrow, and the other twenty-one issues are our rivals in the Premier Division – all to be concerned about, none to be taken lightly even for a second – I’ve said it before, no League smashing predictions here, twenty-one difficult league opponents, twenty-one clubs to be highly respected. I guarantee just one thing – we will do our best, nothing less.
Bring it on.