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.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Newport's Blight

Was sad to hear last week that Newport Chairman Chris Blight had decided to stand down after he received abusive phone calls at home.
Regardless of the issue which had evidently stirred up so much acrimony its a sad day when someone as fundamentally decent as Chris finds themselves hounded out of the game. Having visited many non league boardrooms the overriding memory is one of exchanging pleasantries with opposite numbers, with one party doing so through gritted teeth after the game. Three encounters with Chris stand out though.
I first met him in April 2005 in the final day relegation shoot out at Spytty Park between Newport and the Magpies, with the winner staying up at the expense of the loser. Newport won comfortably having raced into a 2 goal league courtesy of Jason Bowen with Maidenhead offering nothing in reply except a late consolation penalty from Craig O'Connor. At the final whistle the ground was a bleak place to be for the Magpies surrounded by celebrating Exiles but my salient post match memory was Chris individually shaking the hand of everyone in the boardroom associated with Maidenhead United, offering his sincere commiserations at our relegation when inside he must have been itching to celebrate.
Three seasons later Newport was the scene of our first away trip back in the Conference South following promotion from the Southern League. The game ended in a 1-1 draw and our first ever point at Spytty Park but was spoiled for some of the travelling Magpies by the behaviour of some of the Newport fans and the subsequent lack of a response by stewards. An email from one of those affected following the game produced a swift response from Blight, an apology being bolstered by condemnatory comments in the next match programme.
Maidenhead's final game to date against Newport was towards the end of Exiles Conference South Championship winning season. They had just secured the title when we arrived in April 2010 and celebrated with a comprehensive 4-1 win although Sam Collins' consolation was the goal of the game, a preview of his long distance strike in the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup Final a month later. Before the game Chris regaled us with an anecdote about the club's title celebrations at the famous Celtic Manor hotel the previous weekend. He revealed that as he got into a taxi in the small hours he accused the driver of fiddling the fare as the meter already read £4, only for the weary driver to respond "that is the clock sir, the time is 4 am"!
A true football man, I hope Chris feels able to continue to attend County games as they move to Rodney Parade which might just provide the boost to help them regain their Football League status.

1 comment:

Lenny Baryea said...

Mr Blight invited my parents into the NCFC Boardroom one game after getting chatting to them the previous night, I think in the local Holiday Inn were they were staying. A top bloke by all accounts and so a real shame, as you say, that he has seemingly been hounded out.