In August 2010 three Maidenhead United fans were banned from attending home games, by a kangaroo court, for crimes they didn't commit.
These men promptly encountered a jobsworth security blockade, and so escaped to the non-league underground.
Today, still stigmatised by the MUFC Ltd hierarchy, they survive as supporters of fancy.
If you enjoy a train away day - and if you can find them - then maybe you can share a drink with ... the K-team!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Away Day Diary: Daventry Town 0-1 Maidenhead United (30/11/13)

Daventry's High Street. Saturday afternoon. 
Makes Maidenhead's look like Oxford Street.

The FA Cup is all well and good, but I've regularly despaired at Maidenhead's ability to fuck things up. Royally. No, not those Royals ... and no one mention H**sham either. Or Bashley. Or Didcot ...

I can recall going to places like Bognor Regis (mmm, bread pudding ... ) and they'd bemoan the fact that "It's been years since we played a league club in the FA Cup. Too long". Try being one of the original 15 entrants, whose peak came in the '70s. The 18 bleedin' 70s. 

Anyway, I've been a fan of the FA Trophy for some years. Certainly since the Berks & Bucks got segregated and trips to watch us lose at teams who REALLY were park sides, disappeared quicker than you could say "bye straight to the Semi Finals". Pah.

It's safe to say that the competition has provided some of the real highlights of following Maidenhead United over the years - 

  • Colin Tate's solitary goal in a Magpies shirt, away at Fareham Town in a 4-2 win.
  • Blyth Spartans - no explanation necessary.
  • Canvey Island - invasion of the Admiral Jellicoe and an overbooked coach.
  • Halifax Town - minibus arranged at zero notice as the previous round only finished at 22.30 on the Thursday night. 

There's plenty more, but these are just a few off the top of my head. 

OK, so you need a bit of luck with the draw, otherwise it can be painful knowing you need to get through three rounds of games against sides in your own division. Yawn. 

Anyhow, a good draw can keep an otherwise drab season (as if ... ) ticking over nicely. The 'footballing gods' - or FA's Sinclair ZX Spectrum - was certainly smiling on us when we drew Daventry away.

  1. New ground? Tick.
  2. Complete ball-ache to get to by public transport? Tick.
  3. A rare chance for us to patronise a club even smaller than us? Tick.
  4. A great chance to progress to the next round? Tick.

Oh, hang on, 14 straight league and cup wins at home so far this season? Bugger. Scrub that last one then. Oh well, as Meatloaf once sang, three out of four ain't bad.

With all the timing of a Kevin Tilley tackle, here's the dirt ... 

With Lenny away on a swingers creche club weekend - complete with outside jacuzzi - it was left to Team Macleod to, first of all, work out where Daventry actually was.

Train to Banbury and an hour's bus ride. Then a taxi to Back Of Beyond Park or whatever the ground is called. Just the mere three hours to get to somewhere you could drive to in an hour. Never accuse us of doing things the easy way.

Our second trip to Reading station inside a week. The obligatory miserable minimum wage'r - who gave us evils as we lurked furtively outside her shop - was still looking glad to be working Saturdays.

Not having allocated seats soon became an issue when Virgin Trains decided to compete with Last Worst Western in a 'who can have the least available carriages' competition. Four coaches. One and a half first class, half buffet, one stowed out 'normal' carriage and - whoop-de-fucking-do - our favourite carriage. The one we always end up in, irrespective of whether we opt for it or not ...

In the words of Victor Meldrew, "I don't believe this"

Having avoided the Hooray Henry's, who were en route to Newbury Races, it was time to consider a change of formation. Three up front.

Nobody mention Peru.

By the time we'd reminisced about our previous trip to Banbury, c/o Dresslemania VII, we were off the train and into pub number 1. Or the nearest one to the station, as it's usually known. 

Ah yes, Bacon Butty. OK, Wild Lime. 
I preferred the first suggestion.

The last time I was in this place, I was dressed as Snoop Doggy Pimp. I didn't recognise it. Appearances can be deceptive. 

Just time for a quick couple of pints of cloudy foreign lager. I can't remember what it was called, but it was Radler-like. Not great. 

Although I was confident that a bus - which had the number X300 and travelled for over an hour - would DEFINITELY have a loo on board, we had a quick pre-emptive to clear the pipes.

Do you REALLY check the toilets every hour? Methinks not ... 

A quick stroll round the corner took us to the bus station and the promise of coach class luxury.

Uh oh, where's the toilet?

Back seat scallies forever. Before this, though, a quick visit to the bus station shop - 

Me: Hello.
Shopkeeper, smiling at the prospect of a sale: Hello.
Me: Where are the drinks?
Shopkeeper: In the corner. What are you looking for?
Me: What's the cheapest drink you have in a bottle?
Shopkeeper, looking a bit bemused: Water, why?
Me: Oh, nothing. How much?
Shopkeeper, crestfallen, and definitely no longer smiling: 80p.
Me, now smiling: Thanks!

Straight outside to pour the contents down the drain, watched by a couple of confused shoppers. They hadn't been on the Red Stripe and the Radler before noon, though.

I'll be needing that bottle later ... 
Today's scarf of choice, incidentally, was Inter Milan. Nice.

The bus wound through various countrified villages and was it was a rather pleasant journey across the rolling Northamptonshire countryside. Most of it, anyway.

You don't wanna know. That sign's taking the piss, though.

Upon arrival in Daventry, it was time for lunch. Cold chicken tikka pies - a new favourite - and hot cheese and ham. OK, if you like your pies incinerated well done. 

Freddie declares that the cold pies are a gastronomic delight.

Pub number 1 (in Daventry) was the Plume of Feathers. The excitement at them selling Kronenbourg at 1988 prices - £2.70 - was soon tempered by the fact that it was so watered down it tasted like Hofmeister. Time to move on.

A quick stroll down Tumbleweed Street the High Street, in search of a cab, and we struck gold. Back Of Beyond Park football ground, please, home of Daventry Town FC. Certainly, Sir. 

The obligatory cab ride conversation about how long he'd lived here was met with the affirmative "many years" and comments about how well he knew the area. Before you could say "border agencies sting, you're nicked" (more about that later), we'd arrived. 

Daventry Golf Club. That'll be five pounds, please. Do we look like golf types?!

Another five minutes and we were (finally) at Back Of Beyond Park. Quite tidy, TBF, although it looked like it belonged to a team who were used to spending their time at a much lower level. Terracing. You what? Covered standing. Eh? Nice two-storey clubhouse, though.

Match information -

So and so passed to someone; matey boy had a shot; someone else kicked another player. Who cares? You only look at this blog for the pictures, anyway.

OK, I'll at least illustrate that I paid SOME attention.

Maidenhead were the better side and should have been out of sight by half time, but Costa Pacquette had packed his slippers instead of his boots. Daventry saw plenty of the ball, but nowhere near Maidenhead's goal. Maidenhead scored one scrappy goal, Daventry scored none. The end. The players over-enthusiastically applauded all the non-support they'd received. A cynic might think that some of them read this guff, given the criticism they got from Lenny following the previous week's pathetic display at Bath City.

There were a couple of amusing interludes, though. 

In an attempt to trump the appearance of the union flag and the saltire, this suddenly appeared -

That's not a flag ...

Quite impressive, but what's this? Shebang. Who? Club sponsors. #noddy

Ken Le Pen probably liked the reference to the Purple (Headed) Army, though.

Secondly, an acute SMS (Small Man Syndrome) sufferer resided in the home dugout. Complete with a shrill irritating voice which could probably receive incoming faxes, he was apparently the Assistant Manager. He seemed ever so angry. I laughed at him. This made him even angrier. He offered me a chance to see something in the home dugout. I think. Sadly, I never got a chance to take him up on his kind offer, as he raced off as soon as the half time whistle blew.

Change ends. Time to put this lot firmly in their place, flag-wise. Maidenhead United generally can't compete in most willy-waving contests, but this is one we can excel in.

THAT'S a flag.

This week's caption competition.

Happy Bob tried to convince us that it was 'just like the good old days'. We agreed to disagree.

Devon Malcolm, who has been generally rubbish but had scored the winner, was rumoured to be the highest paid player in the club's history. We slapped thine foreheads in unison. 

Our favourite taxi driver had been booked to take us back to civilisation town and duly dropped us off at Chez 'Spoons: The Saracens Head Inn. 

Knowing his previous faux pas was inevitably going to end up on this 'shitty blog that no one reads' (copyright some Tw@tterati monkey), we posed for the obligatory photo -  

Err ... this isn't going on social media, is it?

Of course it wasn't, we told him. Fingers crossed ... and hidden behind our backs. He failed to notice this. 

Talk turned to the inevitable dull home draw in the next round. Nae bother, as neither of us would be around for it anyway ... 

Before we knew it, time to get the last chopper out of Saigon: the 18:25 train back to Banbury. Pit stop at Tesco's first, though, for a food and drink carry-out. 

Now, ask yourselves this question: what does a stereotypical shoplifter look like? TBH, I'm not sure, and have never really given it much thought. What I DO know, however, is that none of Team Macleod fit whatever the profile is supposed to be. I think. 

Clearly no one had told Brenda or Doris, though, who started with the casual 'looking round the corner, thinking they're not looking' routine. We'd been on the sauce, admittedly, but not THAT much. And we've seen more episodes of The Professionals than many people have had hot dinners, so know all about surveillance. 

This then escalated to 'pretending to tidy up the drinks around them', whilst I stood there, waiting for Callum to find the ice and tumblers. Carrying the flag bag does make me look like I'm carrying my life's possessions, so maybe that was it. 

Goods of choice located, it was time to do one. Not before I'd asked Brenda, Doris and Alan the Store Manager - by now all stood looking bored near the checkouts, having failed to catch their presumed prey - to allow us to purchase our alcohol. Of course you can see my ID to prove I'm over 18. No? Suit yourself. 

I'd expected the bus to be empty but Daventry's party animals thought otherwise, taking their own carry-outs with them before reaching the bright lights of Banbury. They had Fosters cooking lager. We had Singha and - in honour of the absent Lenny - Mythos. #verycosmopolitan

A holiday drink that tastes nice at home, too.

A pub crawl through Banbury ensued, culminating in the Banbury Cross. Banbury is a great place to drink. It's almost worth getting relegated (again) for.  

Like the Ethiopian runner, on the shoulders of the pacemaker, we timed it to perfection to get our train back. Nearly. Missed it by about a minute. 


Oh yeah, that 'inevitable dull home draw in the next round', which we couldn't go to anyway? Barrow away. 

Double knickers.

1 comment:

Lenny Baryea said...

#betterlatethannever ;-)

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