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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, 14 August 2017

Magpies prepare for their English journey

This article was written in July 2017 for the Maidenhead Voice, a free magazine distributed to 12,000 households in the Maidenhead area.

"Nearly everything possible has been done to spoil this game: the heavy financial interests;... the absurd publicity given to every feature of it by the Press; ... but the fact remains that it is not yet spoilt, and it has gone out and conquered the world."

Writing about football in his 1934 book an English Journey, JB Priestley's words hold as true as ever today, with the tumultuous anticipation felt by all at Maidenhead United at the publication of their 2017/18 fixture list, testament to the innate joy that game provides despite its many ills.
Like Priestley all those years ago, the Magpies will be setting out on their own English journey this season, a first ever nationwide tour following promotion to the National League after winning the Southern division. This will start at Maidstone on August 5th and end at Dagenham in April. In between there will be stops to visit the English Riviera in Torquay, northern industrial heartlands such as Gateshead and Barrow, the nouveau riche of Eastleigh and Fylde, clubs familiar from many a screwed up football pools coupon in the form of Tranmere, Leyton Orient and Hartlepool, the Silkmen of Macclesfield and the Bankers of Halifax, as well as the more familiar home counties suburbs of Woking, Boreham Wood, Sutton and Bromley. There's even a trip over the Welsh border to Wrexham via Chester.
Of course United will be reciprocating the hospitality that awaits them across the land, by welcoming these clubs to York Road, many of them coming to the world's oldest continuously used football ground by the same club, for the first time. This starts with Wrexham, Hartlepool and Orient in August, the latter being the first former top flight club to visit Maidenhead for a league match, whilst the BT Sport cameras will be back to broadcast the Hartlepool game live.
Season tickets to watch all twenty three league matches at York Road are available at bargain prices, £150 for adults, £110 for Senior Citizens, £80 for Under 20s whilst Under 16s can still go free by becoming a Junior Magpie. The ground itself is being improved ready for the bigger crowds which the more august opposition will attract, with the installation of more facilities for hospitality, catering and toilets.
Naturally Alan Devonshire is keen to give his title winning heroes a chance to prove themselves in the higher division but made some judicious moves in the transfer market to augment his squad for the big challenge ahead. Free scoring forward Chinedu McKenzie has arrived from lowly Romford, and midfielder Harold Odametey has been signed from last season’s promotion rivals Hampton, whilst Football League experience has been acquired in the form of central defender Jake Goodman, and striker Jake Hyde.

Silverware is on offer at the start of the season with the 2017 Berks and Bucks Cup Final against Hungerford finally scheduled for July 25th at Slough Town before the historic first National League campaign starts on August 5th at Maidstone.

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