It had to end as it had begun. With John Jones. Back then he wasn’t a celeb. He was, my first Encounter of the St Albans kind (eat your heart out Spielberg) the bloke who regarded me slightly suspiciously last July as I stuck my head round the clubhouse door on a non-match day enquiring if I needed to buy tickets in advance for a pre-season friendly. To be fair he didn’t laugh at me…or indeed attempt a citizen’s arrest. I once asked if I could interview him for the blog and he said I couldn’t afford the fees. Lord knows what they are now, for he was this year’s winner of the Wagstaffe Simmons Award for person doing most for the club in a season – so he is A list interview material now. Anyway that first encounter meant that for the sake of neatness and sentiment it had to be John who I scrounged a lift off for the short trip to Chesham for the mighty Saints dream date with destiny (alliteration and clichés…it’s all coming out now).
And as it turned out it was the perfect D-day. Nothing eases the pain of hitting 45 like a day in the sun, with a few beers, in the company of some brilliant people and a play-off final VICTORY. There was cake, there was Stella, there were 3004 people or maybe 3005 as my friend Russell, (Brentford and Dulwich fan) who turned up on the premise of never having been to Chesham, used his powers of persuasion to gain entry having turned up after the gates had allegedly been shut – where there’s a will there’s a way. Or a at least a Russell.
And there must have been something in my eyes as well, seeing as they went a bit watery as the final whistle went. Cue pitch-invasion of the joyous kind and a ridiculous amount of hugging of people who I didn’t know 10 months ago. And how do you put the cherry on the promotion icing of the birthday cake? Well obviously it’s back to the clubhouse in St Albans for a few (more) drinks. Via John’s house….to get the keys.
More singing, more drinking and the chance to tell the players, officials and managers just what this meant to you, as they too have all come down to the clubhouse to share the celebrations. Well that was the sentiment as I mumbled at each one I saw, “‘Mazin.Fanku. Mazin.” I put this rapid onset gormlessness down to being tired and emotional rather than being star struck.
Remarkably sense prevailed and at 8pm sober inner fox had a quick word with very lost party fox. Those words were, “Work tomorrow. Alarm set for 5am, 4 mile run to complete before you go anywhere.” This had the desired effect and it was time for au revoirs definitely not goodbyes and then came the perfect end to a perfect day (well apart from the perfect bit when I got home and annoyed Mr TLF as every other sentence I uttered that evening began with “We are the yellow and blue army”).
As I prepared to take my leave of Clarence Park (Jane Austen read em and weep) I came face to face with Fenners venerable kit man and SACFC institution. We’ve not spoken before. I looked at him and smiled, “What a day.” There was a pause. Would he run screaming, “get this woman with the daft hair away from me”? Nooo for he has more class than that and it is a perfect day. He took both my hands in his, in a grandfatherly kind of away (for although I am now a year older, I am sure he would forgive me for letting you know that Fenners is quite a bit older) and he said, “It is a brilliant day. Are you the lost fox?” I confirmed that he had me banged to rights, I was indeed the aforementioned fox and because I was carried away with the moment I told him that this had been the best thing I have ever done. He nodded as though I had said the most obvious thing in the world. And the lost fox floated home. Happy, older and promoted.
Chesham Utd 1 St Albans City 3
Bacon Fries consumed 1 lucky packet from the shop on Fleet Street (planning ahead you see)
Bacon roll consumed 1 of Mr TLF’s specials
Birthday cake 1 slice (Oh. Ok. 2 but I shared the rest of the cake. Honest)
Lager consumed 5.5 pints and one of those fruit cider things that I like the idea of more than the actual taste.
Thing I Learnt The day after….
My movements are no longer safe. Our postie was at the match and the post-match celebrations…..and he had a quick word with Mr TLF on Tuesday (oops)