"As for Maidenhead, the conga (which was amusing) aside, quite a strange bunch really – some the oddest chants I've ever heard at a football match" ~ localboy86, Amber Planet forum, 26th April 2015

Sunday 20 November 2011

Away Day Diary: Weston-super-Mare 4-2 Maidenhead United (19/11/11)

It was an early start for Macleod (M), Scouse Mick and I, but at least we would be in Weston-super-Mare in good time to watch the early games on TV (Leeds @ Burnley and Arsenal @ Norwich). Those on the 11:30 from Bristol Temple Meads to Aberdeen are probably still travelling!

The MUFC Ltd forum has been half decent, of late, if only because there has been some debate as to the future direction of the club. It's still a case, though, of 'silence speaks louder than words'. Some contributors only post to list the winning 49 Club numbers. Or to bite after tongue-in-cheek comments re their Reading FC supporting, cricket-loving cyber friends (nothing against cricket-lovers, generally, BTW):

The self-styled Spin Doctor wasn't at yesterday's game. I think he might have been working. Does everyone spot the unintentional irony? Good.

I passed some time on the train journey by responding to Stevie G (who doesn't like to mention that he's a Director of Maidenhead United, honest!). But my subsequent post (which featured nothing but an Echo & The Bunnymen lyric about 'killing time') was removed without explanation.

Censorship on the MUFC Ltd forum is alive and kicking: only the other week, a post - on a thread about celebrity fans - was removed because it contained the phrase 'ginger tosser' in the context of describing the actor Matthew Cottle, a regular (at least in the past) at York Road and most famous for playing Martin Henson (repeatedly referred to as a 'ginger tosser') in the 90s sitcom Game On.

When you bear in mind the lies that have been written about us in the past (in letters from the club signed by Mark Steward; MUSA committee meeting minutes deliberately misconstrued by Cloughie; false accusations of inappropriate chanting at Cinderford on The Educated Left Foot), it is truly pathetic that trivial comments like that get removed. Not unlike our defeat at home to Humpton last Tuesday night - and Drax's multi-year contract extensions - it is, however, entirely predictable.

^^^ Anyway, to The Tavern Inn The Town and Mick was on the shorts before midday! Sadly, those conspicuous by their absence included Jonny Wah Wah (still in Manchester, following a Motörhead gig the night before) or Seanwsm (whom Murdo wanted to buy a pint and watch the Leeds game with).

^^^ We insisted the steward check the flag bag. He was happy. However, I still expect a letter from MUFC Ltd. Jokes aside, the Weston stewards (especially the one who looked through the bag at our request) were top-notch. In stark contrast, of course, to those at Ebbsfleet United.

^^^ This blatant breach of ground regulation will surely not go unpunished. Nb. one of the many MUFC Ltd coaches, in the background, doing his thing.

Shortly after taking this photo, we went into the bar, and the Swansea City-supporting barman informed Macleod (M) that Leeds had won 2-1. They'd been one down when we had left the pub and caught a taxi to the ground (a quick pick-up and cheap ride, so use Arc Taxis when in Weston). We were joined, pre-kick-off, by Les and then Logic before heading outside to discover that the Magpies were shooting towards the decent stand in the first half. :-(

^^^ There was plenty of what the EUFC stewards would deem 'foul and abusive language' from both the home and away support. The MUSA secretary (who wasn't wearing a club tie and suit this weekendsat to the side and said nothing. Clearly, swearing is OK for the people he drives to the games. Just not for us (even, or especially, when we deny swearing in the first place). IMO, he is a weaselly, sanctimonious Yes Man.

^^^ On a previous visit to Weston, Macleod (M) and the aforementioned Seanwsm had a 'coming together'. The stewards on that occasion ordered us to "get back in your own end". As such, we assume that this half of the decent stand is the away end, so we put up the flags there at half-time even though Maidenhead were shooting the other way.

"Maidenhead, give us a song!" we chanted as the travelling Magpie hordes stood down the other end in the second half. We could barely hear their response. Les would later claim that they couldn't hear us. Drax obviously could. He waved at us when we sang "Johnson, give us a wave". I think Drax is a good manager. Honest!

^^^ Above is MUFC's legendary kit man, Jon Urry. He used to be the physio. We greeted him, as usual, with a burst of "Jon Urry! Jon Urry! Rub your hands all over my body". He couldn't doff his cap - as is the norm - as he had his hands occupied. Never mind. I like Jon Urry.

In the top left of this photo, you can (just about) see some of the track-suited Weston-super-Mare youngsters. The U12s obviously didn't have a game. So, as happened at Chertsea Town, they were nominated cheerleaders for the day. One of them had a haircut like Jimmy Saville, and - after we had pointed this out in a chant - his teammates all laughed (with him, not at him, I'm sure). We also chanted "Cloughie's gonna get ya" when they swore. Unsurprisingly, the MUSA secretary didn't say anything. As aforementioned, he's clearly only anti-swearing when it's us (allegedly) doing it.

^^^ The Magpies wore their new yellow and blue away kit. "Are we Farnborough in disguise?" and "Come on you Reds!" bellowed those in the designated away end.

The game was rubbish. I honestly don't remember Conference South football generally - and MUFC Ltd specifically - being this bad. Maybe I've just forgotten. Weston took the lead with a free header at the back post. The next minute, I was reading the team sheet - as I didn't believe that the MUFC Ltd number 8, so hopelessly off-the-pace, was Bradley Quamina - and so missed the home side doubling their lead.

I was kindly keeping those who weren't at the game - because they had better things to do (lucky them) - updated via the forum (I haven't properly worked out how to use Tw@tter yet). And when Marc McGregor came on, after SuperManny (who doesn't seem to be quite so Super these days) halved the deficit, I posted that he always scores against us (although I might have been getting him confused with Mark McKeever ... TBF, there are lots of players who make a habit of scoring against Maidenhead!). Anyway, McGregor scored with another unopposed header from a free kick within minutes of my post. The Maidenhead defence just stood and watched. 

Marcus Rose had needlessly given the free kick away, and overall, he had a shocker of a game. Countless times, he hoofed the ball aimlessly forward instead of playing a simple sideways pass to stand-in captain Bobby Behzadi at right-back. I refuse to believe Rose is better than the recently released Andrew Fagan. Alex Wall was off-the-pace like Quamina, whilst Max Worsfold's delivery from set-pieces was poor.

Indeed, IMO, the only plus points were the tireless Behzadi (who acknowledged us in the bar afterwards; he definitely is 'The Daddy') and a superb strike from substitute and debutant Paul Semakula (who hasn't been at the club long enough to realise that the KSG are personae non gratae) to bring the score back to 3-2. Unfortunately for Maidenhead, Ryan Northmore doesn't play in goal for Weston any more, so we weren't gifted a way back into the match. Indeed, Weston scored the game's best goal in injury time, making the score-line fair.

Maidenhead had looked better when ex-Seagull Ashan Holgate and the personification of a family club ("we are a family club, sponsored by lap dancers") came on - hitting the post and having a couple of goalmouth scrambles - but, despite stating in the Advertiser that he was going to play his strongest team and that all the focus was on Weston (rather than Aldershot), Drax had picked a weakened line-up. And it appeared as if the player's minds were elsewhere.

They weren't the only ones. "We're going to Hillsborough, we're going to Hillsborough. You're not, you're not!" we chanted, with our tongues firmly in cheek. At the end, the Weston PA announcer also wished us luck for Tuesday's replay at Aldershot. I don't think he was taking the piss, although he might have been. I would have put my mortgage on us losing against Humpton and Weston, but I won't be surprised if we somehow got past Aldershot. (I predict an improved performance and gallant defeat.) This ties in with another Drax comment in the Advertiser: that the players are being unprofessional in seemingly only raising their game for Woking, Aldershot and the like. And here's me, led to believe that we are more professional under Drax ...

Another prediction. After exiting the FA Cup and the Trophy in the next two games, we'll increase the budget and see an influx of new players. We will continue to struggle but finish outside of the relegation places (not that finishing in the relegation places guarantees relegation, anyway), and some will laud this as another 'great achievement' and give Drax another multi-year contract extension. 

Death, taxes and needless contract extensions.

If witnessing Maidenhead's 8th defeat in ten games (two points from a possible 30) wasn't bad enough, I was to discover in the bar after the game that the Gas had lost 2-0 at home to Barnet (with Murdo's long-lost cousin, Izale, getting the Bees' first goal). Rovers are another club with an inept and out-of-touch Board. Despite Arsenal's earlier win, it was 'drown your sorrows' time (not that we need an excuse). So, after another efficient job by Arc Taxis, we started a pub crawl at the recently refurbished (?) Old Colonial, on the seafront.

The crawl included the bars of several decent-looking seafront hotels (The York being the pick of the bunch), an empty gay(?) club called Eternity, rejection at the pier entrance (Mick wanted to go on, but they shut the gates to the public at half six), another visit to the Tavern Inn the Town (where I played air guitar like the great Nigel Tufnel) and then a mad dash - via Tescos and a hastily-purchased carry-out - for the last train home.

The train ride was entertaining: we shared our drinks with a group of buxom wives en route to Swindon for a night out and some posh lads from Wood End who had spent the day drinking in Bath for no reason. One of the lads resembled a bearded Elijah Wood. He pointed out that Macleod (M) looks like Russ Abbott. I laughed so hard I almost cried.

Laughter and tears - synonymous with the MUFC Ltd performance and the day in general. We should stay over in Weston next time. Macleod (M), Mick and I agreed that we would (but then we've said that before). Odds on us playing there midweek next season (or that we get relegated)?

The way things are going at the moment ...

Hey ho.


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