For the first time since writing this blog I head into a season with (hopefully!) no real major changes coming my way in life so have decided to base this season partly on a theme. I’m going back to places that I’ve lived to see some quality football action and reminisce about all the “good” times I had. As I already got to Aldershot last season (yes, I lived there) here is the roll call of all the fabulous places that I will be gracing this season:
I lived in the Royal town in Berkshire around the mid-90s and even started school in the town so a trip to the Combined Counties League side of Windsor FC is coming. I used to live near their Stag Meadow ground so this visit will roll back the years. I could also cross the Windsor Bridge and go visit Eton Wick FC in the Middlesex County League. Or maybe not.
Ah Chippenham. Spent my college days there and still remember the road sign that welcomed you into the Wiltshire town had been graffitied with “turn around, it’s shit!” Still kicking myself for not seeing a game at Chippenham Town’s Hardenhuish Park when I lived here so this needs to be rectified this season.
Just up the road from Chippers is Europe’s self-proclaimed teenage pregnancy capital (even beating Glasgow?!). I attended college in the town and despite it being it little bit rough round the edges, I always felt there was an unfair image of the place. If you were mugged, you would be mugged with a smile. I’ve already been to the County Ground, so I’ll be saying hello to Swindon’s 2nd team (Supermarine) this time out.
Yes, I know, picking out a whole county is unfair, but I’ve been to Lancaster City (it’s a smashing ground!) during my time at uni here and a few others so I have to go back and mooch around the 2nd best county in the UK. As I write this I have no idea what Lancs ground I will end up at, but you can be damn sure it will be obscure.
It wouldn’t be a proper season without going back to the place where it all began. My self-imposed exile from Tynecastle means it won’t be a Hearts game, but there are still a few East of Scotland clubs in the capital that I would like to get to.
It’s not just visits based on some lame “theme” to make the blog more “interesting!”. Here’s the best of the rest for The Travelling Fan 2012/13:
As I live in London and during the game will be in a role that is extremely Olympic focused, it’s needless to say that I’m full of Olympic fever. I was also extremely lucky to blag some tickets for both the Olympics and Paralympics and so will be looking forward to posting some very different sports on here. I’ll also be right behind Team GB except in one sport, football. Stuart Pearce’s team selection has once again shown what a tool he is added to his woeful management skills. I’m still quite surprised he has this job after his talented England U21s managed to crash out of the group stages at last year’s Euro Championships. And don’t even get me started on Craig Bellamy. Never mind.
28th July – Beach Volleyball @ Horse Guards Parade (Draw TBC)
29th July – Water Polo @ Water Polo Arena (Romania vs Great Britain & United States vs Montenegro)
4th August – Football @ Wembley (Group B Winners vs Group A Runners Up)
4th September – Paralympic Athletics @ Olympic Stadium (Inc, Men’s Long Jump Final, Men’s 100m Final, Woman’s 400m Final)
9th September – Paralympic Football 7 a-side @ Riverbank Arena (Bronze Medal Match)
2) GROUNDS FOR CONCERN
Every season some teams say goodbye to their home of X years in the attempt to move with the times to a brand new place. Other times they may just not be able to keep up with the rent and find themselves turfed out. Whatever the occasion it is annoying to miss these ‘classic’ venues, so a good effort is being made to catch some action at these before they go.
Worcester City (St George’s Lane)
“Hang on? Didn’t you put this ground on last seas…” Yes. Lightning doesn’t strike twice.
Cambridge City (Milton Road)
Thought I’d actually missed this one due to me not pulling my finger out and an earlier leave date, but Milton Road is still hanging on. Probably not for much longer though so this is the season to do it. I also used to live in Cambridge, maybe I should do a theme about going back to places?
Cheddar AFC (Bowdens Park)
The small Somerset side actually won promotion to the Western League 1st Division for this season and look set to only have one or two seasons left at Bowdens Park before it becomes a Tesco. As you can see from the comments, the locals are delighted by the news.
Cowdenbeath (Central Park)
The threat of “the Blue Brazil” leaving Central Park has been hanging over them for some time now with a formal application being handed in for the redevelopment of the site as housing and retail. I’ve been reliably informed that the ground is a must see so I’m keen to go this season before I turn up there in a couple of years to find some semi-detached housing and a Subway.
3) ROAD TO WEMBLEY
I really enjoyed my FA Vase run last season as I took in some glorious places such as Croydon, Church Gresley and Gateshead. Therefore its back on the road with the FA Vase as I’ll be starting 2012/13 with Colliers Wood United vs Badshot Lea in the 1st Qualifying Round. After that, who knows what weird and whacky places I’ll end up in chasing the FA Vase. I can’t wait.
4) TRAVELLING FAN ON TOUR
I’ve finally this summer also pulled my finger out and got my passport renewed so I am determined to get an abroad game this season. I also joined the Scotland Supporters Club with the hope of getting a ticket to Belgium away (in October) and/or Croatia away (in June) so expect some hot Euro action soon.
And that’s it! Thanks again for reading, the opening game of 2012/13 is nearly here, an interesting friendly between Boreham Wood and Stevenage. I leave you with a picture of a bear falling out of a tree.