"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 10 November 2014

Away Day Diary: Wealdstone 1-1 Maidenhead United (01/11/14)

^^^ Opponent-specific match tickets. And they didn't write 'Maidstone'. Massive respect.

^^^ I would also post the above message on Facebook. A couple of friends - both armchair fans of Premier League teams (nothing wrong with that, per se, BTW) - mentioned, in reply, the infamous Wealdstone Raider. I liked Will H's response that the Raider is 'almost as embarrassing as the MMS'. ;-)

09:30 meet in the Greyhound for breakfast. Macleods (M) and (P), Craig (who was missing Chelsea vs QPR for this) and Brian McK would join me (Nb. I was the only one on the beers). Incidentally, my parents were also there, although they had better things to do than catch the 10:42 to Ealing Broadway. After a couple of changes - as aforementioned, in at least one of the blog posts linked above, it takes almost as long to get from Ealing Broadway to Ruislip Manor as it does from Maidenhead to Ealing Broadway! - we were, - as planned, supping pints in J.J. Moon's shortly after midday (Moorhouse Brewery's Black Cat, BTW, was excellent). Here we would soon be joined by Les, Stef and friend(s), plus others. Also, Whitley Bay fan Northwood Mark South Ruislip Mark; Macleod (M) has bumped into Mark at some recent Snuff gigs. But I'd not seen him since, I think, the Battle of the Bays at Herne Bay in January 2011. All this made for a buzzing pre-match atmosphere. Indeed, as Educated Left Foot mentions on his blog, 'it made a change to enter a pub on a match day containing a dozen or more Maidenhead United fans'.

^^^ There was time for a quick pint in Ruislip Manor's Wealdstone's excellent clubhouse before, shortly after kick-off, we entered the ground.

^^^ Spot the ball (CLUE: NOT on the deck!)

^^^ First-half match action. Most of it took place down this end, as Maidenhead dominated (albeit with only a series of corners, the odd goalmouth scramble, and a goal-line clearance to show). It wasn't a great spectacle, indeed much of the first period was spent basking in the November sunshine, chatting to a couple of friendly stewards about what they think might happen to the vast playing fields behind the goal - and Grosvenor Vale itself, when the lease runs out (CLUE: Michael Shanly) - and admiring the impressive improvements to the ground (both covered ends extended) since the KSG's last visit. The half ended with a painful-looking injury to Danny Green. Thankfully, he was OK.

^^^ Why not? And who decides what is and isn't 'offensive'?

^^^ I love a good pin badge. Who doesn't? I own a few, although wouldn't class myself as a collector ... at least not yet! I was rocking the classic, IMO, Maidenhead United 1950s club emblem (with an incorrect formation date of 1869) at Wealdstone. As I'd noticed on previous visits, they have a guy who sells an impressive range of enamel badges. Nothing took my fancy on this occasion, although I did buy Macleod (P) an Atlético Madrid one; massive fan, as she is, of Los Colchoneros (The Mattress Makers).

^^^ Decent turnout from Maidenhead incl. Stuart with son and father-in-law; Will H, Dave M, and Sanjay from the LCG; John G and Diamond Lights; plus plenty of youngsters. A new flag as well; as small as its owners were youthful, but still fair play. And as you can hopefully tell from this photo, the latest part of this stand makes an almighty din when bashed!

^^^ Second-half match action. The Stones were more of an attacking force and took the lead around 70 mins. I didn't witness it live, as I had my back to the play trying to kick-start a 'Jonathan/ Johnson Hippolyte' chant à la 'Yaya/ Kolo Toure' (hands up for Jonathan/ Yaya, hands down for Johnson/ Kolo). The match highlights show it to be a decent strike, with Shaun Lucien (the scorer) increasingly problematic to Bobby 'The Daddy' Behzadi as the match continued (and before Behzadi was substituted). That said, the highlights package would also indicate that the game was a real good'un; end-to-end stuff. However, it certainly didn't seem as action-packed in the flesh, so it was 'make your own fun' time for much of the second half. And we made some NOISE. Dereck 'Grandad' Brown and Jon Urry were loudly serenaded, as usual, whilst I hope that Northwood Mark South Ruislip Mark enjoyed the 'We're the famous Maidenhead and we went to Whitley Bay'/ 'Oh Logic pulled, in Whitley Bay' medley. The Magpies' new physio, incidentally, is about as physically different to Jon Urry as you can get! 'Give Steve his hat back!' :-)

Maidenhead more than deserved their equaliser (Dave Tarpey tap-in, '86). It had been coming for a while. So much so that I'd instinctively made my way down the terrace; I was at the very front when the ball hit the net. I turned to jump on/ hug the person next to me, just about managing to hold back after realising that it was Ryan D - a recent recoveree from a broken knee! Wealdstone had one or two decent shouts for penalties in a frantic finish, but the Magpies looked the more likely winners as 'Johnson/ Jonathan Hippolyte's Black & Army' was belted out. The final whistle prompted a blast of 'We love you Maidenhead'. Meanwhile, the earlier attendance announcement as 722 met with disbelieving guffaws and 'You're only here cos it's Maidenhead'.  

'Nothing better than a point on the road' ~ Dennis Greene

^^^ Daniel Brown seemingly signed for Wealdstone, at the end of September, shortly after his release by Maidenhead. I've been a 'Brownman' fan since he caught the eye in a pre-season friendly at Holyport in July 2009. I was his kit sponsor for several seasons, and - whilst not the most technically gifted of footballers - I appreciated his physical presence and 100% commitment in the middle of the park for the Magpies. He came on as a second-half substitute for his new team at Grosvenor Vale and made an outstanding block to save a near-certain goal. He then applauded the travelling fans at the final whistle. We responded in kind: 'Brownman is a Magpie'. I would then chat with him, albeit briefly, in the clubhouse. Top lad. I wish him all the best. (P.S. You ain't gonna win any arm wrestling contests with Brownman!)

^^^ Ale o'clock. Arsenal and Bristol Rovers had both won. So yours truly was in an excitable mood as I supped on the first of many Piledrivers (which, I would later learn, have much to do with Status Quo and - sadly, but unsurprisingly - nothing to do with Brian Connor). Hillsy wasn't present (however, he WAS apparently at the match), but Sudhir and - as per the above photos - Megaphone Mick, Dave P, and Grim most certainly were. Heart of Midlothian came up in conversation - Dave P is a fan - and, lead by Brian, we would serenade the bar with a (near full-length) version of the truly excellent Hearts Song. I was reminded ('I remember the time') of Stones Aid II when we got our guests' anti- Harrow Borough juices flowing with a lusty rendition of 'A group of blokes from Marlow went to Rome to see the Pope' (which also had an airing, earlier this afternoon, during the second half). 'You lot are exactly as I expected,' said Grim, 'loud and boozy'. Compliment accepted!

^^^ As we prepared to head back into town - and after I had purchased a 'Magpies on Tour' t-shirt from Mr Logic (late as usual, BTW) - Les and I indulged in a game of 'headers and volleys' with some Stones Youth. Les went 'between the sticks' - as is his want - and, after one of the youngsters had nailed an absolute peach of a volley, took the ball full in the face as it rebounded off the fence-cum-goal. His glasses were smashed to smithereens, and his face cut (perilously close to his left eye). The youngsters were very apologetic but, in any case, it was a complete accident. The cut - as helpfully pointed out by me, above, back in J.J. Moon's - looked nasty but not too painful. That, though, probably had much to do with our not-insignificant alcohol intake (e.g. I would somehow lose the aforementioned t-shirt en route to the pub from the ground). Regardless, I am happy to report that Les subsequently found a replacement pair of glasses, and no long-term physical damage was done. A hard lesson, though, for all of us: never - EVER - voluntarily go in goal.

^^^ Further pints of Black Cat before the relatively tortuous journey home. A case, for me, of 'memory kinda hazy'. 'How was your head the next day?' several people would later ask. Well, nowhere near bad enough to prevent me from attending the second half of HAYU vs Sutton United at York Road, then accompanying the Gandermonium boys for a few post-match drinkies in the Greyhound. Dr Taz would diagnose 'stand-banging thumb', as I struggled to clasp pints of Devil's Backbone and Bingham's Space Hoppy, whilst Dukey would subsequently - and perhaps accurately - describe the general conversation as a 'dick comparing argument'. The Stones deserve the same treatment when they visit York Road in springtime (for their away fixture with us; they've already played 'at' HAYU). That will be the Saturday before Fancy Dresslemania XV; back at Sutton, where it all began. Without wanting to wish my life away, I cannot wait for April!


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