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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.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018


23 Seasons watching Maidenhead United

Part 19: 2012/13

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. Albert Einstein.
Two seasons of decline may well have been arrested in 2012/13 but the die was well and truly cast for the latter half of the Drax era. A well worn path containing at least some of the following mileposts: a promising start, an exciting cup run, a long barren league run mid season, a relegation battle at the end, a player or two signing for a higher level club.
With relegation avoided before the final day, and no cup run to speak of, the 2012/13 season was not quite as exciting as the previous two but perhaps all the better for it given what was to follow twelve months later. Instead there was a chance to mark time, and as the club slowly moved towards setting up its community arm and building a new stand, reflect on a nationwide development that was to have a significant impact on the York Road crowds.
Despite the continued poor form, particularly at home, league attendances remained stubbornly above the 300 mark as an increasing number of supporters began to appreciate an afternoon at York Road, regardless of the result. Waifs and strays disillusioned or disconnected from a lifetime going to watch the likes of Chelsea, Spurs, WIgan, Orient, Cardiff, started to make York Road their home, a symbol of the wider against modern football sentiment manifesting itself across the land. At York Road, you could turn up when you want, stand where you like, enjoy a pint whilst watching the action and after the match share a conversation with the participants. In short it was a window to a world lost in the wake of the professional game’s eager adoption of commercialism which coupled with its contemptuous or even downright aggressive treatment of supporters led many to look elsewhere for their football fix.
Naturally these newcomers tended to be men of a certain age but their numbers were more than matched by the growing number of Junior Magpies who took up the offer of free football. A membership list from this season revealed a growing number travelling east from Twyford and suburbs of Reading, sometimes with their Dad, reflecting the valuable job the Royals were doing in introducing youngsters to the game although not being an attractive enough location to sustain interest. Indeed the town centre location of York Road was another positive feature of the matchday, with its easy public transport links and access to local pubs. Its historic aspect was formally recognised with the unveiling of a blue plaque by the Mayor.
On the pitch, initially the malaise of the previous season was forgotten with only one defeat in the first seven matches. Particularly impressive was new signing, striker David Pratt, whose incredible work rate was matched with goals. He provided a fulcrum around which the youthful talent of Harry Pritchard and Reece Tison-Lascaris could develop, whilst Alex Wall blossomed.
They blended perfectly on a sunny September afternoon at York Road, to score seven second half goals against the hapless Truro, to add to one from the first half. Sure enough though as the leaves started to drop, the points dried up, and this time there was little to cheer in the Cup as a trip to Didcot ended in a humbling defeat. The Trophy at least provided a day out to Cheltenham on a Sunday to beat tenants Gloucester before defeat against Sutton in the next round.
Young central defender Devante McKain impressed enough to earn a move to Gillingham before Christmas, and this spurred Wall onto a goalscoring run which would pique the interest of visiting scouts.
This began at the end of the year with one of the six that the Magpies put past Staines at a very wet Wheatsheaf Park and was followed up a week later with a brace which beat Chelmsford 2-1 at York Road, the winner a howitzer of a last minute free kick.
Six more strikes by the end of February were enough for Luton manager John Still to sign Wall and break the Magpies transfer record.
League form remained patchy however, so Drax turned once again to Richard Pacquette, who returned to replace Wall, scoring five times, with United securing safety on the penultimate Saturday of the season with a 4-2 win over a shambolic Bromley outfit at York Road.

With thanks to Mark Smith’s book One For Sorrow Two For Joy for the statistical content of this series.
To read more about this season visit www.mufcheritage.com

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