…when the website editor misses a game through injury. It’s pathetic, to be honest, sitting here in the office, move my head from reading something on paper to looking at the screen and something has gone mega ouch somewhere around the neck and shoulder region. This happened on Friday afternoon, not long before heading from Croydon to Sainsbury’s in Wallington, where Rosey and I usually rendezvous when we’re zooming off somewhere, this time was going to be a two night stay at a Travelodge reasonably close to Haringey Borough. The bus journey was really painful and it dawned on me that I wouldn’t cope with the journey oop north, what with bumpy roads and unfamiliar hotel bed. In retrospect, going home as we did was the right call, only last night did I sleep properly and the left shoulder and neck are still stiff and protest from time to time.
Yep, very pathetic. And I missed out on a new ground, and it may be a while before I get another chance to visit Haringey again as they’re certain to be in the play-offs and must be favourite to at least qualify to play another play-off winner in the following “super” play-off. Apparently the K’s did ok, we fell once again to the curse of the former Kingstonian player as Lyle Della Verde, one of the Dean Brennan hello-goodbye players, scored early in each half. We were expected to lose that one, it was never going to be on the list of we-must-win-or-we-will-explode games. Haringey impressed greatly when they let us off with four at King George’s Field shortly before Christmas at a time when we had genuine hopes of the play-offs ourselves (how far away they feel right now), so they must be confident of, to use an American sports phrase, going deep in these play-offs.
Results elsewhere mean that we’re off points above the relegation zone, nine points available for everyone to claim, and we have a vastly superior goal difference to most of those around us. It’s probably done and dusted as far as we’re concerned and we’re going to stay up, but until the mathematics can be done only using your fingers then I won’t be happy. Actually, happy is not the correct word, it’ll be one of relief crossed with deep regret at how bad the season turned out to be.
So, the weekend was spent almost totally as an armchair potato, mostly watching what was (as usual) a fabulous US Masters golf tournament and Sunday morning/lunchtime/afternoon spending just short of six hours glued to Eurosport watching the Paris-Roubaix cycle race. Cycling is another big favourite sport of mine, even though I’ve never ridden a bike in my life, and I have been known to book a day’s holiday to sit and watch when the Tour de France wobbles up l’Alpe d’Huez (mental note: must visit Alpe d’Huez one day…). I even booked a hotel in Brussels one year because it was called the Arenberg, which a few miles further south is a forest through which the Paris-Roubaix goes every year. This race is called the Hell of the North, and for good reason.
With my poor image pasting skills, you can see what the cyclists have to live with in the pictures above (I hope they’re above…) – over 50kg of cobbles during the race (pictured here are some from the Arenberg trench, which is rated as one of the very hardest sections), and the other photo is the Arenberg trench itself, competitors used to try and race on the grass because it’s easier, but the authorities stopped it and put barriers up (equally because it stopped spectators getting in the way, they have a habit of getting excited…). It’s a wonderful race and the sadist in me loves watching these elite athletes grovel. Like the Alpe d’Huez, this is an area I must visit one day, it would be the type of religious sporting experience that I’ve enjoyed when I visited the likes of Brooklands or Aintree racecourse or the old rugby league stadium in Wigan, Central Park. All places that it has been a privilege to see.
Anyway, the penultimate home game of the season arrives this Saturday, so good to know that we’re within touching distance of the season’s end. We’ve got AFC Hornchurch at King George’s Field, and it’s one that we can get something positive from if we play well. After that, it’s Merstham away for our last trip of the campaign – the Moatsiders have done a fabulous job this season and they still have a chance of getting into those play-offs, which would be a huge achievement for them. They would thoroughly deserve it if it happens. The Moatside is always a pleasant place to watch football, so it promises to be a nice Easter Monday if the weather’s good.