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. Continue reading “How I watched football: 2019-20”
A Friday night in May. The Valley is packed. It’s the 87th minute of the second-leg of the League One play-off semi-final and Charlton Athletic lead 3-2 on aggregate.
“Well, whatever happens it’s been a great season,” says James above the din.
“Aye,” I reply, “but it’d be nice to have half an hour more of it”.
About 90 seconds later Andy Butler got his head on a corner, the ball found the net, and the two of us, along with a thousand or so others, were lost in a wave of seat-tumbling stranger-grabbing sky-punching scarf-twirling collective bedlam. Continue reading “How I watched football: 2018-19”
‘What the hell are you doing here watching this?’
I was asked that question by an assistant referee on a freezing late February afternoon at Holmesdale. I couldn’t answer it then. I’m still not sure I can. What possesses me to get on a bus and travel for the best part of an hour to the fringes of Bromley, the outskirts of the outskirts, to watch twenty-two men really test the boundaries of what can be defined as a game of football? Continue reading “How I watched football: 2017-18”
‘As Danny said, We’re not dead, we’re still alive. But in football terms, you know, we are dead really.’
Lee Warren, April 1998
There have been many things said about Doncaster Rovers’ worst ever season. Insightful things; erudite things even, but even a thousand Shakespeare’s hammering away eternally on a thousand typewriters couldn’t have nailed better than Lee Warren. This was our captain, interviewed on the way to a must-win away game, trying so hard to say captainly things, but ultimately unable to suspend belief long enough to see out a sentence. Continue reading “Death of a club: Doncaster Rovers 1997-98”
Where do you go after football has finally given you all you’d ever dreamed of? After the joy unbounded of following Wales at Euro 2016 last summer, there was always a danger that watching football, any football, would feel decidedly anticlimactic. Continue reading “How I watched football: 2016-17”
Finally, at long last the disappointment, the frustration and the indifference felt at Doncaster Rovers’ whimpering end to the 2016-17 season has subsided enough, for us to speak of it. And so, round about two weeks later than planned, we finally bring you the much anticipated eighth episode of the fanzine podcast, podular STAND. Continue reading “podular STAND podcast: the 2016-17 season review episode”
Promotion. That seems as good a reason as any to record a podcast, that and the fact the fanzine’s three London exiles were all in the same country for once. But let’s focus on the former, and wade between the popped champagne corks and discarded sponsor-backed ‘We are going up’ banners to bring you episode seven of the premier Doncaster Rovers podcast. Continue reading “podular STAND podcast: the promotion episode”
Stuff your advent calendar, here’s something else for you to open and enjoy on an early December day – and all without your mum yelling at you about spoiling your breakfast; episode three of the podular STAND podcast is here. Continue reading “podular STAND podcast: the season so far episode”
Hundreds of miles from home, fenced in on a crumbling, open terrace. Cold. Soaked through. I’d just watched my team lose 2-0. It was the best night of my life.
In October, Wales qualified for Euro 2016. The only dream I’ve ever allowed myself to have, realised in front of my eyes. In a football sense, nothing that followed was going to come close to topping that, nor frankly, was it going to matter. Continue reading “How I watched football: 2015-16”
When you get in the habit of watching live football, any live football, to the point of consuming live football, every season runs the risk of stumbling to a conclusion. A desperate scramble to watch tenth tier league cup finals and rearranged reserve team play-offs in order to get one last hit before the reality of the football-free, barbecue-smoke backed summer months hit home. For me, and 33,279 others, there was no danger of this season petering out in such a way. That’s because, ahead of us all the way through, firmly in our calendars since last summer, our end-of-season boss level awaited; Wales versus Belgium… and it didn’t disappoint. Continue reading “How I watched football 2014-15”