"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

Monday 4 August 2014

From Bell End to Boredom

With the added effect of saving me from regularly checking Steve Js new website, CSG has been kind enough to send me a scanned copy of my fan profile (from the Newport County programme in November 2004).

In this post-holiday (Cyprus: lovely) pre-season limbo, I thought it might be an idea to compare my answers from back then to those I would give now. (Self-indulgent, perhaps, but so what?)

Off we go …

First Maidenhead game attended?
September 1985 at York Road. Think it was against Borehamwood

Wrong. I think it was actually against Walton & Hersham: a 3-0 FA Trophy win on 31st August 1985 (Att. 120, according to CSG’s excellent ‘One For Sorrow, Two For Joy’). If it was Boreham Wood, it mightve been the 3-3 draw on 29th September 1984 (Att. 220). Regardless, I’ve got a couple of photos somewhere … First away game is an easier answer, as I can actually remember it: a 1-0 win at Abingdon Town (great team photo here) on 6th April 1991 (Att. 456). My Dad took me; we had to stop on the way home as torrential rain made driving near impossible. I felt sure that home keeper Colin Fleet - who was also between the sticks five years later at York Road when Mickey Creighton infamously celebrated a brace in a 4-0 win by pretend sexually assaulting an inflatable sheep - finger-tipped a Benny Laryea penalty onto the post and Garry Hall tucked home the rebound, but the aforementioned tome credits the former with the goal. Despite them pipping us to the Isthmian League Division Two South title that season (1990/91) by two points, I have a soft spot for the Abbots: their colours were striking and they had memorably-named players such as Kelvin Alexis and John Harvey-Lynch. A shame, therefore, that they have struggled in recent years and now find themselves playing in the North Berks League alongside the likes of Crowmarsh Gifford and Long Wittenham Athletic. There but for the grace of Laryea ...

Favourite ground you’ve seen Maidenhead play at?
Always liked Bedford and Bognor

Hmmm ... I think the Bedford comment related to the fact that there was always a bit of tension when we went there; some grumpy old boys among the home support frequently insulted our players (with racial undertones). Two covered ends are an obvious plus, whilst I distinctly recall Steve Brown and Chuk Agudosi (apt!) scoring in a cracking 2-2 draw during our promotion season (1999/00). Not sure I’ve been back since. As for Bognor, I now associate it with Eduardo’s horrific leg break and William Gallas’ cry-baby antics - Birmingham vs Arsenal, on TV, in the clubhouse - before our 2-1 win in February 2008. Carl Wilson-Denis scored! Drax blanked us in the bar afterwards. Updated answer: Memorial Stadium, Bristol. Or, if that doesnt count, Twerton Park.

Worst ground?
Wexham Park, former home of Slough

This answer was a wind-up. Although WP was a bit of a dump, Barton Rovers was worse. Updated answer: Truro City.

Favourite all-time Magpies player?
Benny Laryea

No change. 123 goals in 232 games. Nuff said.


Best Maidenhead match you’ve seen and why?
Thame at home 2000 when already promoted. Lost 1-0!

Another piss-take answer, although memories of all those black and white balloons, pre-match, in the Cricketers - and then spending the entire game mercilessly taunting Thame keeper Ian ‘W@nker’ Moores - remain prominent. Updated answer: the midweek Play-Off Semi-Final win at Kings Lynn. The undisputed ‘I was there’ Magpies game of recent vintage. You could cut the pre-match atmosphere with a knife. It was an excellent team performance, capped by a memorable goal and wild celebrations (check out the photo in Stripes, if it’s still there). Tit-bits like a certain MUFC Director struggling to change his corduroy trousers on the terraces at half-time and Craig subsequently reporting on the BBC Radio Norfolk commentary highlights (“You’ll never beat a keeper of Ramos’ quality with a shot like that”) only add to the legend. The Play-Off Final win, 1-0 over Team Bath the following Saturday, was always likely to be a walk in the (Twerton) park after this.

Worst match?
Hampton away 1998. Lost 1-0 and cost us promotion. The ‘nearly’ season

That defeat was painful, so it was, but nothing compared to my updated answer: the 4-1 capitulation at H*rsh@m in the FA Cup 2007/08. Just seven months after perhaps the best Maidenhead performance I’ve seen (Kings Lynn), came one of the worst. And in our biggest game for donkey’s years. Check out the respective line-ups from those two games! And never forget who signed Louis Wells (true story: the culprit rang me at work to tell me all about it).

Best Maidenhead goal seen?
Brian Connor v Reading in B&B Final at Wycombe 1998

BC’s goal was an absolute cracker - end of - plus all the more memorable because it came in such a big game … and from such an unlikely source! However, an updated - or amended - answer would probably be Barry Rake’s stupendous Di Canio-esque scissor-kick volley against Enfield at Boreham Wood in September 2001.

Best all-time Maidenhead line-up?
Peter Rackley, Tyrone Houston, Brian Connor, Tim Cook, Paul Holder, Cliff Alleyne, Steve Brown, Barry Rake, Garry Attrell, Benny Laryea, Chuk Agudosi. Subs: Andy Morley, Richard Barnard, Andy Smith, Mickey Creighton, Garry Hall. 4-4-2

I’m fairly pleased with this (I’m reading ‘best’ as ‘favourite’): a balanced and relatively strong line-up, IMO. Andy Morley - decent bloke and player though he is/ was - is an ‘of the time’ pick, though, while Agudosi’s departure tarnished his legacy somewhat, and I probably should’ve found room for Trevor Roffey. Otherwise, we’re all good. The updated answer wouldn’t see many changes, then, but an alternative line-up - using none of the previously selected players and a more relevant 3-5-2 formation - would likely feature (among others): Ramos, Cooper, Sterling and Smith (Ashley), plus current Magpies Mark Nisbet, Bobby Behzadi and Reece Tison-Lascaris. (Nb. Six of the XI that started the aforementioned King’s Lynn game.)

Best thing about Maidenhead United?
Away days on the train

No change.

Worst thing?
Hangovers the day after a game!

No change. ;-)

Do you support any other team?

And Bristol Rovers. #3CW, #whosyourfavouritenonleagueteam?

What other sports and hobbies do you enjoy?
Socialising, eating out, sleeping

I probably viewed ‘socialising’ as a sport back then! Sleeping was presumably included as my student days had only recently finished. Updated answer: NFL (and other sports), holidaying, walking, weekly pub quizzing, ale drinking. #gettingold


Music: Oasis, Badly Drawn Boy, Stone Roses

I can’t remember the last time I listened to a Badly Drawn Boy song. So, the mighty Goldie Lookin Chain to replace the woolly-hat-wearing Manc in an updated answer.

TV Show: Only Fools and Horses, Phoenix Nights

Phoenix Nights is undeniably good, but severely tarnished by the fact that Peter Kay features prominently and, nowadays, he does my head in. The Mighty Boosh can can replace it. Or Cheers; I’m slowly - all too slowly - making my way through the ITV4 repeats I’ve recorded. I also love the X-Files (not just because of Gillian Anderson; see below). Only Fools is still #1 for me.

Actor: Ruud van Nistelrooy

Arf. Gotta be Danny Dyer, innit.

Actress: Shannon Tweed

Double arf. Gillian Anderson.

Drink: Kronenbourg, Guinness and Black

Kronenbourg?! Yuk. Becks Vier is now my lager of choice (although nothing can beat Keo in Cyprus or Mythos in Greece whilst on holiday). Guinness and Black, meanwhile, remains an away day staple. These days, I’m also partial to a real ale, preferably something dark like Windsor & Eton’s Conqueror or Batemans’ Black & White.

Sicilian meatballs and spaghetti

Eh? What pretentious twaddle! My Dad’s curry, my Mum’s chilli, my wife’s oven-baked risotto, my spag bol, Wetherspoons’ fish and chips (on a Friday) ...


Guess where I’d been on holiday in the summer of 2004?? TBF, I do love the Greek islands (and Cyprus): Sissi, Crete, last year, was perhaps the best yet. I also loved Boston, Seattle and Vancouver in 2012. And, of course, regular Christmas market/ football weekend visits to Germany. Glasgow is also a great city, preferable to overrated Edinburgh.

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