How I watched football: 2019-20

Welling United defend a corner against Tavistock in the FA Cup

This felt like a season of 0-0 draws. Which is hard to explain given that in reality I saw only one. But stick with me, whilst I thrash this out. I saw 31 football matches and though all of them offered me something, none really stand out. All of them – even the six-goal thriller I saw at Penrhiwceiber, even Wales qualifying for a major tournament – felt less like games I’ll one day tell people I was there for, and more like matches I will be reminded I was at.

Maybe this wistfulness is born out of the 2019-20 season’s uncompleted nature. Half the games I watched have since been declared null and void, half a dozen others I planned to see will never happen. In past seasons I’ve seen play-offs and cup finals, league titles decided, semi-finals reached, but of all the games I saw in this, only four were in competitions that will ever reach their conclusion. I’m writing this in a week when football supposedly came back, but what use is glory if you can’t be a part of it? In my 2019-20 football world, everything and everyone was mid-table and always will be.

There’s a chance this feeling of emptiness is perpetuated by the teams I watched the most. Doncaster Rovers under Darren Moore were capable of brilliance, but devoid of luck; Lewisham Borough topped the table in August, but spent the rest of the season tumbling away; and Wales somehow qualified for the European Championships despite only turning in two decent performances in two years.

But this is largely hindsight talking, that and three months spent working and sleeping and relaxing in the same room. I don’t want you thinking I didn’t enjoy the season as it happened. There was a grand night out at the seaside for Rovers’ record away win, Sunday morning beers and drum banging at Blansko; a cup upset at Sutton Town, a perfect pre-Christmas afternoon at Carshalton; laughing along with the chants of the Hornchurch hardcore and a 90 minute end-to-end six-goal slugathon at Penrhiwceiber.

And on top of all that, there was one of the best goals I’ve ever seen live; as Lewisham Borough’s number nine injected a moment of brilliance into an otherwise perpetually grey day in Dartford. Twenty yards from goal he chested up a cross and executed a perfect overhead kick into the top corner of the Kent Football United net. It was inspired, it was magical… it was disallowed for offside. How very 2019-20.

by Glen Wilson

Below is a photograph from every match I attended this season. No expensive cameras, no special lenses. Just a far from the latest iPhone and the Instagram app.

Match 1, August

Dulwich Hamlet fans celebrate their team's goal against Wealdstone in their first home game of the 2019-20 season

Dulwich Hamlet 1-0 Wealdstone
National League South at Champion Hill

 

Match 2, August

Sutton Athletic take on Deal Town in the FA Cup

Sutton Athletic 3-2 Deal Town
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round at London Hire Stadium

 

Match 3, August

Erith Town take on Lordswood at Erith Sports Stadium

Erith Town 3-3 Lordswood
Southern Counties East League Premier Division at Erith Sports Stadium

 

Match 4, August

VCD Athletic officials watch on during an FA Cup game against AFC Uckfield Town

VCD Athletic 3-3 AFC Uckfield Town
FA Cup Preliminary Round at The Oakwood

 

Match 5, August

The sun shines on celebrating Newcastle United supporters at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Newcastle United
FA Premier League at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

 

Match 6, August

Ilford take on Enfield at Cricklefields Stadium

Ilford 1-2 Enfield
FA Vase Qualifying round at Cricklefields Stadium

 

Match 7, September

A glimpse into the ground from outside during Lewisham Borough v Forest Hill Park

Lewisham Borough 4-1 Forest Hill Park
Southern Counties East League Division One’s ‘LadywEll-Clasico’ at Ladywell Arena

 

Match 8, September

A supporter photographs the Wales' team's huddle before their Euro 2020 qualifier at home to Azerbaijan

Wales 2-1 Azerbaijan
Euro 2020 Qualifier at Cardiff City Stadium

 

Match 9, September

Penrhiwceiber Rangers take on Ynyshir Albions at Glassbrook Field

Penrhiwceiber Rangers 4-2 Ynyshir Albions
Welsh League Division Two at Glassbrook Field

 

Match 10, September

A steward watches on as Portman Road fills up for Ipswich Town against Doncaster Rovers

Ipswich Town 0-0 Doncaster Rovers
EFL League One at Portman Road

 

Match 11, September

Coventry City and Doncaster Rovers players huddle up before kick-off

Coventry City 1-1 Doncaster Rovers
EFL League One at St Andrews

 

Match 12, September

West Ham United play Tottenham Hotspur in the Women's Super League at the London Olympic Stadium

West Ham United 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur
FA Women’s Super League at London Olympic Stadium

 

Match 13, October

Home fans watch on as Welling United play Tavistock in the FA Cup

Welling United 4-1 Tavistock AFC
FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round at Park View Road

 

Match 14, October

Wales fans cheer their team on in Slovakia

Slovakia 1-1 Wales
UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at Štadión Antona Malatinského

 

Match 15, October

FK Blansko take on Frydek-Mistek at Udolni

FK Blansko 1-0 MFK Frýdek-Místek
Moravskoslezská fotbalová liga at Stadion na Údolní

 

Match 16, October

Wales fans collect tickets for the home match against Croatia

Wales 1-1 Croatia
UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at Cardiff City Stadium

 

Match 17, October

The away end at Roots Hall during Southend United versus Doncaster Rovers

Southend United 1-7 Doncaster Rovers
EFL League One at Roots Hall

 

Match 18, November

Wales fans watch on during the Euro 2020 qualifier against Hungary

Wales 2-0 Hungary
UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at Cardiff City Stadium

 

Match 19, December

Doncaster Rovers fans packed in at AFC Wimbledon

AFC Wimbledon 2-1 Doncaster Rovers
EFL League One at Kingsmeadow

 

Match 20, December

The terrace at Carshalton Athletic's War Memorial Sports Ground

Carshalton Athletic 1-1 Merstham
Isthmian Premier League at War Memorial Sports Ground

 

Match 21, December

A fan in a santa hat watches the Boxing Day derby between Matlock Town and Buxton

Matlock Town 2-4 Buxton
Northern Premier League Premier Division at Causeway Lane

 

Match 22, December

Football in the shadow of the mountains at Penmaenmawr Phhoenix's Cae Sling ground

Penmaenmawr Phoenix 3-1 Barmouth & Dyffryn United
Welsh Alliance Division Two at Cae Sling

 

Match 23, January

The players enter the field at Hornchurch Stadium for AFC Hornchurch v Horsham

AFC Hornchurch 2-1 Horsham
Isthmian League Premier Division at Hornchurch Stadium

 

Match 24, January

Lewisham Borough's players return for the second half at Kent Football United

Kent Football United 0-1 Lewisham Borough
Southern Counties East League Division One at Glentworth Sports Club

 

Match 25, January

A Dulwich Hamlet fan watches their home game against Havant & Waterlooville

Dulwich Hamlet 1-3 Havant & Waterlooville
National League South at Champion Hill

 

Match 26, February

Fisher host Glebe against a back drop of the towers of London's financial district

Fisher 3-1 Glebe
Southern Counties East League Premier Division at St Paul’s Sports Ground

 

Match 27, February

A supporter watches a match from the grandstand at Maurice Rebak Stadium

Wingate & Finchley 2-1 East Thurrock United
Isthmian League Premier Division at Maurice Rebak Stadium

 

Match 28, February

A Doncaster Rovers fan enters the away end at Gillingham's Priestfield

Gillingham 2-1 Doncaster Rovers
EFL League One at Priestfield

 

Match 29, February

A view from the away end at Shrewsbury Town's New Meadow with Doncaster Rovers on the attack

Shrewsbury Town 1-0 Doncaster Rovers
EFL League One at New Meadow

 

Match 30, March

Corinthian supporters watch their team on the attack against Leighton Town in the FA Vase

Corinthian 4-3 Leighton Town
FA Vase Quarter Final at Gay Dawn

 

Match 31, March

A Croydon supporter with flag, watches his team win at Lewisham Borough

Lewisham Borough 0-3 Croydon
Southern Counties East League Division One at Ladywell Arena

 

Further photographs from each of the games featured in this blog can be found on the popular STAND fanzine, Instagram account

popular STAND fanzine on Instagram

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