It’s been, shall we say, an unusual time in Kingstonian life in recent weeks. And I mean unusual even by Kingstonian standards.
After our wonderful win over Woking in the FA Trophy, I really looked forward to the game against Corinthian-Casuals. But the weather won the day, there had been plenty of rain and then even more plenty of rain and so it was no surprise that the long suffering pitch cried no mas and so the game was called off. It gave me the chance to stay at home and not have to rush back in order to catch the start of Liverpool’s Club World Cup Final match against Flamengo.
The Club World Cup is a competition that for many years was something I desperately wanted to see Liverpool win. Many people decry it as a waste of time, but let’s face it, all competitions are like that when your team is not in it. I remember well when I woke up on my tenth birthday in 1981 to find out that Liverpool had been comprehensively stuffed by a Zico-led Flamengo team on a pitch in Tokyo that didn’t look as if it had a single blade of grass – ever since then, the desire for Liverpool to win this particular tournament has always been strong. We got robbed in 1984 against Independiente and 2005 against Sao Paulo (and I still harbour a grudge against those referees…).
Anyway, the game, like the semi-final the previous Wednesday against Monterrey, was not fantastically comfortable to watch, but by ‘eck I am still feeling ridiculously proud. To see Liverpool win the Club World Cup, definitely a life’s ambition fulfilled. I’m genuinely still teary thinking about it, I can be such a soppy twit sometimes…
I missed the Potters Bar Town game, I just felt very second hand. And no, it wasn’t a Christmas hangover, I don’t drink alcohol, but I suppose that I was living in the wrong time zone as I do insist on watching Test cricket in Australia when it’s in the middle of the night our time. Definitely self inflicted temporary bleurgh-ness!
I’m sure that when Rosey married me in 1997 that she never thought that spending New Year’s Eve in a hotel next to a motorway service station just a stone’s throw from Bishop’s Stortford would ever be a thing. Thanks to the sense of humour of the fixture computer, it became a thing.
It was a mighty fine couple of nights. The hotel, a Ramada, was fine, I even managed to sleep well on both nights, a rare achievement indeed for me. The service station had a branch of Chopstix and a branch of Subway. That sorted me out food-wise, I was a happy bunny. There used to be a branch of Chopstix in Sutton which apparently has disappeared – I checked their website to see if there was a branch in Croydon, but to no avail, and then I spotted that the Sutton branch is no longer there. If there was a branch in Croydon, I’m not convinced I’d go anywhere else for my workday lunches (apart from Subway). Hmm, I’ve digressed again.
It has been a number of years since I’ve visited Bishop’s Stortford. The Blues took part in the third-ever football match that I went to – the 1981 FA Trophy Final against Sutton United, a game won by the Blues with a last minute goal, but it must have been fifteen years since I went there. It was a dark day weather-wise, we were very close to Stansted Airport and you can see the planes taking off on a clear day – on this day you could hear the roar of the engines but the clouds covered the planes themselves which made for a slightly eerie atmosphere.
K’s were excellent in the first half, and it was a little frustrating that it took so long for us to score the opening goal, but Reece Hall’s 35th minute long range shot was sweet. Then came the strangest of second halves – two minutes into the half Sean Clohessy scored an absolutely stonking goal, a volley from a silly angle that flew into the net. K’s were zooming along. Reece missed a glorious chance to score a third goal, and then the game changed. It was almost as if we switched almost completely off, almost like we were over confident and suddenly our opponents began to dominate. The Blues managed to convert a penalty in the 90th minute and had the time to nearly equalise when we went asleep at the back and let Jamie Cureton of all people have a one-on-one with Rob Tolfrey. Thankfully Tolfs won that contest, but it wouldn’t have been undeserving had Bishop’s Stortford player-manager scored to gain a point.
So it was a win but not a very comfortable one.
The visit to Cheshunt last Saturday did not go well. Whilst it’s always nice to visit a new ground and tick it off the list, the action after 3pm thoroughly dulled the afternoon. It was quite simply a day in which we didn’t like it up us – Cheshunt hassled and harried the K’s men throughout the game, kept forcing errors, never gave the hoops a minute’s rest and they thoroughly deserved their 3-1 win in my eyes. We got thoroughly frustrated with the referee, who was one of those who wants to be the centre of attention all the time, Dan Bennett was given a straight red card for something he said, and we let every little thing get to us. It was one of those afternoons reminiscent of an awful lot of games from last season, but thankfully they have been very rare this time around. If we don’t draw on Saturday then we face Cheshunt a second time next Wednesday, this time at King George’s Field – they (whoever “they” are is not known) do say that you learn more from your defeats than from your victories, so hopefully we will have thoroughly gone to school and sorted out what to do to get a better result.
The final thing up to now is the departure from the club of Louie Theophanous – I’m not going to say too much about it, partly because I haven’t got the energy, partly because I’m genuinely copping out, partly because I just want to look forward and partly because to be honest I’d be passing comment on a situation that I know very little about apart from what I’ve been asked to put on the website. Of course it’s disappointing, disconcerting and the rest of it, and yes it’s absolutely left a sour taste, but I won’t let myself linger on it. That doesn’t mean that I don’t give a damn, because I do, but we have lots of other good players who do want to play for us and I’d prefer to concentrate on cheering them on. Bottom line generally is that if a player doesn’t want to play for a team, it’s best that the player leaves – how that is handled varies every time this happens and there are few right ways and many wrong ways to do it, I haven’t the time, energy or inclination to worry about it now.
It’s not been a great few days for the club for a variety of reasons but we will get on with it the best way we can.
Next up is the visit of Leamington – ironically another club who have just lost their top goalscorer, though this lad moved up in the world to join Forest Green Rovers – I’ve no clue what the line-up will be, obviously there is a vacancy to fill up front and another vacancy due to Dan Bennett’s suspension, but I know that the guys who will play will be fired up and give it all they’ve got. I still think we’ve got the personnel that can be competitive against the Brakes and we are not without a chance of getting a good result.
Oh well, things do insist on happening, don’t they? Bring on Saturday.