I will admit to being a bit of a sucker for the old Christmas traditions – advent calendars (NOT the chocolate ones, I’m a bit old skool, just a picture in a window is fine), proper christmas trees that start dropping their needles a millisecond after they are in the house, a bit of Bing crooning away, several hours in front of some spectacularly dodgy telly and the bottle of port polished off before the Christmas Day Dr Who special. (OH. That’s a new tradition is it? Good to know I invented something).
This year I am embracing an extra tradition as I ape the fourth estate’s penchant for a bit of a look back at the year that has been. I won’t be bothering with an in depth analysis of the political climate, analysing whether the Tories made the right response to UKIP’s success in the polls, debating whether we really are in an economic up turn or assessing what positives twerking brings to the feminist agenda…although a quick guess on that latter point would be; Not A Right Lot. The fox’s focus will, albeit briefly, as I have a mountain of Mr TLF’s presents to wrap (with that Boxing Day match ticket obviously being the piece de resistance) be on matters of a sporting nature. And also a selfish nature as really I think its time I took a look at how the fox has fared since flinging aside forty four years of following the Foxes (that’s enough Fs for one blogpost).
The minute I abandoned them, there was an inevitability that the 2013/14 season would be a good un for TATTPIB. And to date, so my friends gleefully tell me…and the occasional match report assures me, they have. Well good. I can’t pretend I am not pleased. The reality is I can’t just turn my feelings off. Leaving a football club isn’t like leaving a bloke or having a varicose vein removed and under local anaesthetic. And that was weird let me tell you….the vein removal, not the leaving a bloke. Uhoh I digress. To get back on track….not being part of TATTPIB’s season is surprisingly ok. Not because I know that the inevitable post Xmas implosion is lurking around the corner, but for ten very simple Saintly reasons:
St Albans City FC are having a pretty decent season. A good run in the FA Cup and FA Trophy and the best away record since 1921. Great team, great management and owners working together – a far cry from what we sometimes see in the ‘bigger leagues’ and fantastic that I am getting to witness it
The People. Who introduce themselves before they buy you a drink, or introduce themselves after they pass round the hip flask, or know to start pouring half a Stella when you approach the bar, or just start talking to you because if you’re turning up week after week at Clarence Park you must be vaguely ok
Non-league referees. Reminding you that at every level of football they will make really PANTS decisions
The volunteers. Who have been dead kind and welcoming to this idiot woman from Lesta and who as the Chairman rightly alluded to in his Xmas message make a vital contribution to the club
The journey. Hang your head in shame 2 hour, £55 day return to Lesta and step forward 30 minute walk to Clarence Park
Raffles and golden goals. Nevermind the excitement on the pitch, weekly gambling of a small albeit unsuccessful nature is my cup of tea
Andy’s snack van. Yes of course there is no shortage of purveyors of fried comestibles at Filbert Way (oh ok. The King Power Stadium) but will they fry your bacon to your particular requirements, discuss football, life, the universe and everything or call most customers “Geez”? I don’t think so.
The chants. Occasionally dubious, often witty. Hemel at home being a footballing gold moment
The Programme. Great quality, produced not by a department, but by a one man programme creating machine; Lee. Obviously an editing, writing and printing genius…and not just cos sometimes he puts my blog in it.
This bloody blog. A labour of love but every idea that pings randomly into my head (and they are, I know VERY random) or nice comment received is like hitting a 90th minute winner into the top corner.
It has been a funny old 6 months but let me assure you, TATTPIB-deprivation is definitely not life-threatening.
Season’s Saintly Greetings
The Festive Fox