"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 26 March 2023

Away Day Diary: Dorking Wanderers 3-1 Maidenhead United (25/03/23)

Demands (including delaying the start of the game owing to their tardy arrival and for GoPro cameras in the goals), plus an ultimately undeserved draw for the away side, meant that Marc White's Wanderers didn't leave a particularly favourable impression in the reverse fixture last December (Nb. that's third-hand information: I was in London for the Crèche Club's annual pre-Christmas booze-up), so the feeling was that we owed them one; a repeat score of the defunct Dorking FC's final visit to York Road, a 6-1 win for the Magpies in March 1995 (I *was* among the 129-stong crowd; our scorers that day were Araquez, Blake, Norman, Pratt, Pedley, and Ribeiro), was perhaps too much to hope for, despite Milwall Tone et al. being on pace to concede more than 100 goals this season (which, remarkably, isn't as nearly bad as their predecessors from the mid-90s!)

Our train from Maidenhead didn't depart until 10:29, so time for a lie-in (of sorts) and a visit to the gym before I met Macleod (M) for the walk to the station; topics of conversation on the journey via Reading included that 'never-ending property' video, a fable attributed to Aesop (I was actually thinking of, but couldn't quite remember, the cobra effect), Brookside (specifically, what happened to the houses – sets – after production finished), #FDXXI, and the longest-tenured National League clubs

Recommended pubs, per the Good Beer Guide 2023, are the Cricketers, Cobbett's and the Old House, and we went in all three, the first two before the game; decent pints of Fuller's Wild River for me in the Cricketers, as Craig regaled us with the legendary  oft overused, but appropriate here  story of a post-game birthday party at Barton Rovers in the late 90s, and then Pulp's Rhubarb & Strawberry cider in the small but mighty Cobbett's (conversation topics included favourite Fast Show characters and our belatedly-announced new signing; I particularly liked the bottle tops on the wall in the outside toilet, although my wife has swiftly vetoed doing something similar in our kitchen)

Kind-hearted person that I am, I shall refrain from commenting too much on the ground in general, the fact that we had to queue at one away turnstile only to be turned loose into a mixed bar area, the food, the Portaloos, the pitch, or, most notably, a Maidenhead United performance that prompted (1) many of the 200+ (?) travelling horde to leave early, (2) Alan Devonshire to come over and apologise at the final whistle, and (3) a couple of Magpies supporters to argue loudly amongst themselves (someone erroneously accused a member of our party of criticising Emile Acquah); instead, scant highlights for me were a pre-match photo with @MeadowAFCW and a quick half-time catch-up with John G

Into the Old House after the game, where Craig, Macleod (M), Stuart and I made ourselves at home in one of the 'beach huts' out the back; several rounds, two wood-fired pizzas, and conversation with a couple that started when the fella (originally from Pontypridd) overheard us talking about Welcome to Wrexham (Nb. it transpired that his Australian-born girlfriend designed the badge for AFC Whyteleafe!)

New songs for the likes of Charlee Adams and Kane Ferdinand were practised by TWS and co. on the train from Deepdene as the KSG sat and chatted with some Bracknell Town fans who'd been at the game; the evening was still relatively young, but we quickly eschewed the idea of more pints in either Reading or Maidenhead

Goodness me – some of the comments on the MUFC Supporters page on Facebook are depressing and bewildering to read after a defeat! Saturday's performance *was* terrible, but the way some people moan and groan, you might think they're in the process of watching Dorking FC gain 12 points while conceding 163 goals in the Isthmian League Division One! (The #DevOut brigade should #PissOff and do something else with their time, IMHO, if our style of play – not great, but I think/ hope the end will once again justify the means – bothers them that much.)

W.A.N.D.E.R.E.R.S. – I did intend to include those letters, B.T.W., but T.B.H., C.B.A.