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.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Always different, always the same

Staines - horrible name, lovely place. Taking a leisurely evening stroll along the Thames en route to Wheatsheaf Park I contemplated the thought that I was at last going to a Maidenhead United game in positive expectation. Winning breeds confidence in everybody, whether they be players, coaching staff, directors or supporters and it was wonderful to arrive at a game where every Magpie had a smile on their face. The reward for the optimism was to be a late winner courtesy of a Ashley Smith never mind the quality check the scoreline finish two minutes from time, delivering the three points which looked certain in the first half once Alex Wall had given United the lead with a bullet header but apparently were lost when Staines took charge after the break, equalising through Warren Harris and seeming most like to score again before Maidenhead ended the game the stronger.
All in all a good day's work which began when I travelled to Ealing library on behalf of Mark Smith who is putting the finishing touches to his book which will cover 140 years of the York Road club's history. I was searching for details of Maidenhead's encounters with Hanwell in the first decade of the twentieth century. Unfortunately there was little to add to the information Mark already had. Maidenhead won all the games under review but quite the opposite was true of my afternoon assignment at Hounslow library.
Here in the Middlesex Chronicle I found news of a Hounslow team that regularly beat Maidenhead but when for example Maidenhead turned up with only eight players and missed a penalty as they did in 1905 its hardly surprising!
What's striking about the research are the parallels with today, for example comments about the spirit the in which the game was played and the quality of the play. Above all though its good to have a reminder of how little has changed as is shown by the news that a game at York Road saw the home team lose the toss to face a glaring sun and having to play up a slope. 
At Staines it depends on where you look, wandering up from the river I imagine I'm taking in a scene similar to that seen by many over the decades until I arrive at the ground and find their impressive but incongruous health club come main stand plonked next to a ground hemmed in by houses. 
Then the game itself saw the usual mixture of goals, misses, fouls and questionable refereeing decisions all producing the usual reactions from the excitable crowd. That's football always the same script, rarely the same  outcome.

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