I should be overjoyed. Hooray, hoorah and huzzah, Kingstonian won a game. I’m not overjoyed, more about that a wee bit later.
Let’s get down to my particular bottom line – I am finding the move into King George’s Field to be more difficult than I anticipated. I’m not talking about the quality of football, although thinking about it, it has to be a factor. I’m talking about where I sit inside the ground where I do my microphone work.
Day one I put down to opening night unfamiliarity, plus the fact that Crystal Palace turned up with several shirts with no numbers on them, leading me to guess who a particular player was, and as I’d never even heard of most of them before let alone seen them play, that led me to give up announcing their substitutions.
League day one against Brightlingsea Regent I put down to again opening day unfamiliarity – I was having tremendous difficulty working out if I could be heard on the microphone and I couldn’t work out whether the music could be heard, whether it was too loud, too soft, though I was certain it wasn’t going to be just right. The press box is not the easiest place to watch a game from, there are plenty of barriers in the way, and if you sit in the wrong seat, you cannot see the goal to your right as there’s a floodlight in the way. You can’t do an awful lot except lean over at an awkward angle. And of course on that day, most of the attacking was down that end…
So, after the Bracknell Town game, (which actually hurt quite a lot – it might “only” have been a League Cup tie, but we haven’t won a tie since we won the whole shabang in 2016, and I really like the idea of winning it again) I was already despondent before the Dorking Wanderers game. I arrived at the ground pretty certain that I didn’t want to be there, that I was sure we wouldn’t win, confidence in not only the team but myself was pretty low. Confidence in myself got lower when I smashed my head on the door frame of the press box – something that is designed for people at least six inches to a foot shorter than myself. I’d been wary of doing this headbanging all season and now I’d done it, my already low mood became even lower.
The game itself against Dorking Wanderers wasn’t that bad. We’ve got a very makeshift defence at the moment with injuries to Andrew Musungu and Leo Chambers, but the re-shuffle seemed to work very well against a top class attacking line. At the other end, plenty of running about but there is still this disconnect between midfield and front two, though we did manage to force Slavomir Huk, the Dorking goalkeeper and one of the very best in the division, to make some saves. The Dorking goal in the 61st minute was excellent, a quick, slicing move that left us standing and that finished with a fine shot from Matthew Briggs. Sometimes you have to swear softly under your breath whilst admitting that the opposition had scored a fine goal.
We went very flat for most of the rest of the game, and only picked up in the last five or so minutes. I was pleased that the match had ended, I was worrying far more about my eyesight than I was the game – it seemed that every time Dorking attacked, I lost sight of the numbers on their shirts. I don’t know if it’s a stress thing or not, but I had a double anxiety when our goal was threatened, the generic oh-no-they’re-about-to-score worry added to the I-have-no-idea-who-is-who-in-the-box. I hate getting things wrong on the microphone, this loathing of this idea has worsened over the years – sometimes teams don’t help with their choice of kits (why oh why oh why does our away kit consist of next-to-invisible white numbers on yellow shirts, whoever thought of that bright idea?), on this night it shouldn’t have been a problem. This kind of thing may well concern me too much as time goes on.
I had a very unhappy weekend – sleeping has been something other people do, or at least sleeping for longer than half an hour or so, so I still feel way more tired than I should. Watching Liverpool defeat Brighton and Hove Albion didn’t particularly improve the mood, though earlier on the Rugby League final was as thrilling a game as I’ve seen in a while (felicitations Catalans Dragons!), on Sunday I managed to sleep although it was during the Belgian Grand Prix which isn’t good (and the MotoGP at Silverstone was rained off), but mostly I was dreading the game yesterday against Corinthian-Casuals. I tried moving stuff around in the press box area, there’s so many wires all over the place (most of them provided by me so I can use certain bits of equipment), I tried sitting in a different seat, I tried one or two other small things with other things planned for experimentations in the near future.
As for the game itself, well, we won. But the game was dreadful, one in which a goalless draw probably would have been a fair result. But life, sport, politics, tiddlywinks, whatever, things are not fair, as Elliott Buchanan capitalised on what was described as a failed Cruyff turn by the Cor-Cas goalkeeper to finish quite brilliantly from a very acute angle. I was waiting for the referee to give Corinthian-Casuals a free kick, but when a goalkeeper goes outside his area and tries stuff like that then I suppose he gets what he deserves. A piece of craziness followed by a piece of magic decided this game between two teams that are obviously struggling. Corinthian-Casuals have the excuses of being newly promoted at short notice and completely amateur, at the moment we are proving the theory that big budget does not necessarily automatically mean big results. Because of the quality of the game and because of my current discomfort about where I’m positioned at home games, I was pleased that the game ended. I couldn’t celebrate a win, I had no energy and I didn’t enjoy the afternoon one bit. But I suppose, yay we won…
I will continue to try and make this work for myself, there has to be a way of organising myself so I can get as comfortable in my surroundings as I can, thankfully I have good people around me who are willing to help. By just being willing to help, they help an awful lot, believe me. I said to people before the season started, there will be varying bits of pain in this move to King George’s Field (I meant off the field, I didn’t foresee anywhere near this amount of angst on the field), withstand that pain and things will become normal. I’ve only done the microphone thing four times this season, it’s not normal yet but it will be.
Two more things to come this week. Around 1pm today the FA Cup draw is announced, and I give myself an 80% chance of shouting “Oh ****!” at the top of my voice when we get given a perfectly crap draw. On Saturday we’re off to Bognor Regis to visit Nyewood Lane, one of those grounds high on my list of favourites. I’ve been wrong several times about exclaiming that maybe we’ve turned a corner after a good result; this time I don’t feel that a corner has been turned (maybe more like a different type of corner might be about to hit the first defender again), but I would love to be wrong again.