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, 10 October 2010

Having a ball with Cinders

The lure of the FA Cup may lend itself too readily to cliches usually invoking the "magic" of the competition but anyone looking for any evidence that it is waning would have been disappointed at Cinderford yesterday.
Maidenhead travelled with fifty supporters to the game, five times as many as made the more straightforward trip to Chelmsford the previous weekend.  With many taking the train it was clear that this was a great excuse for a day out, with the excitement fuelled by the take out on the train and with excited predictions in the The Famous Pint Pot in Gloucester.
Cinderford is perhaps the most remote ground I have been to, burrowed away in the Forest of Dean which unfortunately yesterday was shrouded in murky drizzle.  My party opted for a taxi and I'll take this opportunity to warn  off anyone from using five star cabs in Gloucester unless they like lateness and odd charges.
The town came across as a northern pit village, not surprising given the existence of an old mine in the area, the drab stone reflecting the weather.With the taxi driver unwilling to go any further than the high street a walk up the hill through a housing estate took us to the ground nestled away on the hillside.  With kick off fast approaching there was a long queue at the only turnstile.  Once inside the ground presented itself as something of a curio.  Three sides were undeveloped, although one goal offered a raised view courtesy of a grass bank, whilst the fourth side had three different structures.
Using the hill, the first was a raised terrace, in the middle was a stand and the last was a subterranean terrace resembling a dugout..  Views from all of which were blighted by posts but the cold wet weather hardly made the open air an enticing option.
Maidenhead fans of anything more than a recent vintage harbour a great dread of the FA Cup such is the manifold nature of disappointment which has come far too often, but once Alex Wall had put the Magpies into the lead they did not look back.  Wall's second was a timely goal just after half time which nipped any potential Cinderford comeback in the bud, goals from Ashley Smith and Kieron Knight in the dying minutes gave the scoreline a slightly lopsided look.
Returning to the social club afterwards we found the tiny bar closed, but as the bouncy castle had been deflated in the main function room there was plenty of space for a drink.
Once a taxi was located it was back to Gloucester and a swift pint in the Station Inn shared with a Czech gypsy wedding party before boarding a train back to the South East.

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