The football fixture Gods chose to sprinkle their fixture fairy dust on TLF for the opening weekend of the season. Lesta at home on the Satday followed by the Mighty Saints at home on the Monday evening meaning that loyalties were evenly distributed.
The first home game of the season always reminds me of the first day back at skool after the summer, except without the over-sized uniform that you will ‘grow into’, according to your mam, providing of course you don’t die of shame first. Excitement tinged with fear at what awaits, not quite as bad as worrying about whether you will attract the attention of the badass smokers in the toilets this term but almost. You renew old acquaintances and catch up on all the goss for the summer.
LOOK before you start I know that in this day and age any self-respecting teenager will have tweeted, face-booked and Instagrammed their every waking moment of their summer holidays but for those of us who saw The Clangers the first time around this is what it used to be like.
Anyway before I was so rudely interrupted by snorts of derision, back to my summer review. Relationship wise the focus of my footballing affections have enjoyed contrasting fortunes. Lesta experienced yet another relationship breakdown, this one coming completely out of the blue. There are those that say they were never right for each other, while some of us had been won over by renewed relationship commitment during the last 9 games of the season. If the break up divided people then the new relationship had provoked even greater reactions. The majority of us are far from sure that it will last – our Lesta is one for slightly odd, gutsy and grumpy fist pumping types not urbane Italian tinkermen. Meanwhile the Mighty Saints continue to go steady, recognising the value of a long term relationship, although that is always easier when one of the parties hasn’t tried to strangle an opponent or called anyone who dares challenge them an ostrich (and we won’t mention Thailand).
Cometh the Satday, cometh TLF. I’ll admit I did waiver before getting on the train to Lesta. Mr TLF was not all sweetness and light:
TLF: So I’ll be in Lesta on Satday and then [sotto voce] it’s St Albans on the Monday night.
Mr TLF [incredulous]: Monday as well!?!
TLF [even more incredulous]: It’s on the list I gave you of all the games I’m going to.
Mr TLF [maxed out on incredulity]: I’m meant to read the list!?!
And I wasn’t quite ready for the trauma of another relegation battle watching Relegation Fodder City as pundits seemed to have renamed my home town team. Still there were people to meet, beers to drink, Nandos to eat (not a patch on Andy the burger man’s fare let me tell you) and it’s my bloody seat. Thank goodness I went. I know I will only get to sing “We’re Lesta City, we’re top(p) of the league.” once this season so I made the most of it. I chose not to join in with the chants of “paedo” at Sunderland’s Adam Johnson, equally I also chose not to engage my fellow supporters in a debate on the rule of law and the concept of “innocent until proven guilty.” I know; where is my spirit of adventure?”
So far so good for Lesta’s new man, he was funny, animated, constructively critical and nice (now that is weird). It might not last but as with any relationship let’s take the flowers and chocolates…METAPHORICAL ones obviously, while we can.
Sadly I was upended from the crest of a winning wave 48 hours later with a strong Oxford City side overcoming the Mighty Saints. Still it was good to to catch up with the Scottish contingent and get in my first bacon COB of the season (bacon extra crispy obvs).
Back to skool. While players and managers come and go, for the rest of us, it’s like we’ve never been away.
St Albans 1 Oxford City 3
Lager consumed: 2 of the German lagers (skool night restraint)
Bacon based products: 1 cob, 1 packet fries. Neither item is responsible for the above scoreline