"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 11 September 2023

Away Day Diary: Bromley 4-1 Maidenhead United (09/09/23)

Birthday alert! Memories of the legendary train journey back from Halifax on this day in 2017  Frozen cake, washed down with a slurp of Smirnoff  as I woke early for my first 5K run since returning from a holiday in Crete and prepared to attend my first game since the Magpies won at Dorking in August

Refereeing duty  a potentially explosive MUFC U17 game at 9am  accounted for our later-than-usual planned departure time (11:26), one that we stuck to even after a downgrading of the threat level gave Macleod (M)'s whistle the morning off; no GWR trains in and out of Paddington (which seems to be a theme, THESE DAYS), but we were able to use the Lizzy Line, and then the Jubilee and the Victoria, to rendezvous with another birthday boy at the Victoria Taps

Our plan, I think, was to stay there until catching the latest possible train ahead of kick-off, but our pints were expensive and nothing to write home about (although I enjoyed having Tiny Rebel's Clwb Tropica on tap), so we instead decided to head to a micropub in Bromley that Jerry suggested; an eclectic mix of songs (including Rose Garden by Lynn Anderson) played – annoyingly loudly – on the phone of one of a group of teenage girls as we passed Battersea Power Station on a train bound for Margate and beyond (prompting recollections of that glorious, title-winning day back in April 2017)

Macleod (M) had predicted on the hot and sweaty walk to Maidenhead train station that the match  live on BT TNT Sports, lest we forget  would likely be decided by a mistake as we were fried alive on their crappy away terrace exposed to the elements on the hottest day of the year, and he was partially correct ... although he couldn't have foreseen that after Sam Beckwith's non-existent headed clearance had lead to Michael Cheek (who else?) opening the scoring, the Magpies XI would subsequently wilt as embarrassingly as they did  an utterly woeful team performance that, worryingly, triggered painful flashbacks to pathetic capitulations at Scunthorpe in January and Dorking in March

Little or no noise, understandably, from the travelling horde as the game wore on; make-your-own-fun-time was proposed but quickly shot down, and Macleod (M) was – unusually for him – on his way as soon as the final whistle sounded, waiting with a pint (and an open tab) when the rest of us caught up with him back at the newly-refurbished micropub

England on TV vs Ukraine (football; a good job – in hindsight, and despite "a lifeless, dreary and conservative display" from Jordan Henderson et al. – that Rainey was at the Tarczynski Arena in Wrocław and not the Reloc8 Em Community Stadium in Bromley) and then vs Argentina (egg-chasing World Cup), as I supped cold Italian lagers, Macleod (M) ordered not one but two cheese and charcuterie boards, and news filtered through that there were still no trains in or out of Paddington (perhaps a different problem than before, it wasn't easy to keep up); one suspects that the Cork 'n' Cask might be harder to get into next season (if MUFC manage to avoid relegation) as its popularity is bound to increase if the hospitality we received on Saturday is any indication – post-match in there was, by some distance, the best part of the day

Yours truly was resigned to not getting home or having to go via Reading or High Wycombe or somewhere, and so ordered another pint in the pub on the station when we arrived at Paddington, but Craig was right to point out that the 22:50 to Didcot (first stop, Maidenhead) *was* running, which was a relief; so ended another good (birth)day out tainted by 90 minutes of football

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