London again – you just can’t keep me away! The day gets off on the wrong front when the guard on the train informs me – in no uncertain terms – that my Ipod is too loud and I’m causing a public nuisance. It’s 6.45 am and there’s only three others in the carriage and they’re rabbiting. I tell him it’s good music and it’s designed to be played loudly. He’s less than impressed. Neither am I, paying the inflated prices that I do just to get a jobsworth giving me grief.
In London I check up on the Wetherspoons on the Mall, which is usually closed early doors when it should be serving breakfasts. Today it’s open, maybe something to do with the stiff e-mail I sent to the company on this very subject (admirably, they replied that they were investigating it). As I’m heading to Victoria, I decide to spend my pennies (and CAMRA vouchers) at the Willow Walk anyway, which is always reliable.
It’s a fine day so save for some unnatural disaster, the game at Carshalton should be on. I arrive early for a few beers locally before heading for the ground at 1.00 pm, hoping that the televised SKY game (Manure v Liverpoo) is on – it is. Entrance to the spacious bar is from within the ground and I buy a prog on the way in. It’s £2 and whilst not the weighty-est tome I’ve ever encountered, is nicely designed and laid out.
Into the bar and, worryingly, the single handpump has the clip turned round. The barmaid explains that they are in the process of switching suppliers, and in the meantime have bottles of Old Peculier in the fridge. That’ll do nicely. The reds thump the reds on TV and I set off in search of some snap, which I can see people munching. A complete tour of the ground fails to throw up any evidence of an eatery, and I remain bemused until I see the sign indicating that I need to go down the players tunnel. How weird is that? When I find the hatch there’s no menu or price list so I hazard a guess and plump for a chip bap.
The ground has an impressive bank of (albeit crumbling) covered terrace down one side, a small main stand opposite, and apart from a couple of lean-to’s, not much else. I must be the kiss-of-death for Carshalton because their season was going well until I turned up at Staines a couple of weeks back. They got thumped then and aren’t at the races today, form-team Tonbridge Angels looking a class apart in cruising to a 3-0 win. After the third, the Angels fans chime up with “You’re even worse than your burgers…” before then amusingly descending into disagreement about that assertion. I wouldn’t know, but if they were that bad, I’d be worried.
Floodlight pylons: Six
Parakeets: Five, plus a smaller bird with a similar sqwark. Must be a feral budgie…
Club Shop: A little shed and a car boot table just inside the turnstile in one corner
Tannoy: Not much music although the announcer does resemble Holly (the female one) from Red Dwarf
Toilets: Right behind the goal – watch out for stray balls …
Player with the quirkiest name: Tommy ‘Fogonthe’ Tyne. Incidentally the team line-ups are chalked on a board behind the goal and are a real hoot (see picture above). Included are a Crook and a Phoney, not to mention a Scooper ….