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, 16 January 2011

Jimmy Jimmy

Yet another blank Saturday for the Magpies so I opted to join a friend with a Reading season ticket on the road to Doncaster to take up the offer of a bargain £15 entry price at Rovers.  Travelling up the M1 it felt like legions of football fans were on the march as we passed coaches and cars bearing the favours of Oxford United, Leeds United, Stevenage, Hull City and Newport County.
Doncaster's  Keepmoat Stadium like most out of town grounds is handily placed for the motorway with plenty of parking in the adjacent industrial area.  The ground is next to a shopping outlet centre which was cunningly situated to draw us towards the ground only to find there was no way to access it.  One detour later, we arrived at the stadium.  Set in the midst of manmade grassy knolls and lakes, its a one tier version of the identikit all seater all covered wraparound stadia which are now common in the UK.  Its stand out feature is the floodlights, which unlike most other new grounds which simply bolt the lights onto the roof, are mounted on mini pylons in the European style familiar to anyone who used to play Subbuteo.
The away end is entered through the usual breeze block cavern containing food, drink and gambling outlets.  With a strong wind blowing we opted for shelter before taking our seats just before kick off.  This gave us the opportunity to discover that the "club that plays the best football in the division" as boasted about in the programme, is based on a philosophy that permeates the club even down to the humble drinks kiosk operative.
Having worked out that alcohol was cheaper than the pastry wrapped offerings, I asked for two half litre bottles of lager and was amazed at the teamwork on display.  Two staff remained still as they were in charge of pouring beer, one took the bottles out of the fridge, handed them to the supervisor (as designated by his suit and tie) who removed the caps before handing them to the cashier for exchanging with me for £6.
This tea bar teamwork foreshadowed the game's opening stages which was dominated by the home team, a three man central defence allowing the full backs to lap the midfield and support the lone striker.  The intricate interplay couldn't quite fashion a decent chance though and once Reading found their rhythm and tempo, they took charge. Hitherto having settled for hopeful punts up the right wing to the Royal playmaker Jimmy Kebie, Reading took the lead with a quick move via the same route which instead took the terrestrial option.
A sharp interception by Jobi McAnuff was followed by a sharp pass to Kebie who played a perfectly timed through ball for Shane Long to run onto, collect and score.  A very strong wind threatened to spoil the game but apart from making Neil Sullivan look a bit foolish when his kick outs blew into touch, it mattered little.
Reading dominated the second half, Kebie doubling the lead with a similar move to the one that broke the deadlock, only this time the Mali international scored himself with an exquisite lob as Sullivan found himself struck in no man's land.  Doncaster seemed to abandon hope at this point, throwing on all their subs, reverting to a more conventional 4-4-2 set up and their day was summed up when a Matt Kilgallon clearance was deflected into the net by McAnuff.  This prompted a mass walk out by the Rovers fans, whilst the travelling Royals hailed their leader Brian McDermott who "used to manage Slough but he's a Royal now".

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