About Me

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Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom
I'm a director of Maidenhead United Football Club. For ten seasons one of my roles at the club was to produce the match programme. The aim of this blog was to write football related articles for publication in the match programme. In particular I like to write about the representation of football in popular culture, specifically music, film/TV and literature. I also write about matches I attend which generally feature Maidenhead United.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Off Kilter

One of the epicurean treats from BBC4 last year was a series entitled Off Kilter. This was a personal tour of Scotland written and presented by acerbic social commentator Jonathan Meades and was recently repeated on BBC 2.
The third and final episode was entitled "Football Pools Towns" focusing on those mysterious Scottish locations which have seeped into our collective football conscious following a lifetime of Saturday tea time recitations of the Scottish League results. Yet I challenge any of you to place these clubs on a map. Meades resolved to introduce us to the likes of the mythic East Fife, Albion and Queen of the South by visiting their home towns of Methil, Coatbridge and Dumfries.
Ever the sophisticate Meades bemoans the dull mediocrity of these one horse towns boasting semi professional teams weekly presenting "A contest free of gladiatorial yob gods, WAG roasting croesus kids who descend from their parnassian blingsteads to the golden arena."
Well I'm sure I'm not alone this evening in having spent many a Saturday afternoon and Tuesday night watching what can only be described as dull mediocrity although for my part this at least brings light relief from my high octane inner city working life.
I partook of my second taste of Scottish football last August when en route to stay with a friend in Perth (home of St Johnstone), I stopped off in Dumfries for the visit of Partick Thistle.
Leaving the elegant railway station I found Robert Burns' adopted home to be a pretty town on the banks of the river Nith. Naturally Palmerston Park was on the seamier side of the water, neatly obscuring the Dumfries Ice Bowl. The ground itself is something of a rarity with just the one new functional stand along one side where the away fans are housed. Thus as I am a part time Jag this is where I sat which had the benefit of giving me a great view of the action on a fine playing surface and the old stand with a paddock in front. The crowning glory is the covered home end or Portland Drive Terrace which boasts the title of the biggest standing terrace in Britain. Sadly the smaller Terregles Street open terrace at the opposite end is closed due to its poor state of repair.
Although the two teams were tipped to challenge for promotion to the Scottish Premier League (both are now marooned in midtable but the Doonhamers have a chance of the play offs should they win their games in hand), the match had the feel of an English non league game despite a crowd of almost three thousand. This ambience was confirmed when I ventured into the tiny social club for a pint before the game where home and away fans mingled freely.
An entertaining game finished 1-0 to the home team however this was something of a smash and grab raid as the Man of the Match was their goalkeeper Ludovic Roy. All in all a good day at the football and highly recommended if you facing dipping your toe in the waters of Scottish football at which I guess is the most southerly senior club north of the border alongside Annan Athletic who buck the trend which started this column by playing in the name of the town that hosts them.

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