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Saturday’s aborted trip to Sheffield due to snow made me think about the coldest I have ever been at a football match – and it wasn’t in a gritty coastal or northern town – but at Griffin Park

The game in question was an evening match against Walsall in a former incarnation of the JPT – my guess was that it was the LDV. I can’t even remember when it was – late 90s I think. But I do remember it was fricking cold

I’d been running late to get to the game so decided to drive straight to the ground rather than go via the pub. Big error. A “beer coat” might at least have afforded me some warmth.

At the time I used to watch games from the New Road in the sadly missed Hate Corner.  I’d not checked whether any of my mates were going to the game but just presumed they would be there. They weren’t. Two – to be fair – had got as far as the pub but no further. They didn’t have mobile phones. I was alone.

The first half was pretty bland. Not awful. Just bland. And cold. I went to get a nice warming burger. We’d sold out. Yes SOLD OUT despite there being about 500 people in the ground.  They must have just cooked the three.

The absence of a burger freed up a bit of time so I ambled along to the portacabin shop that used to be tucked behind the New Road stand. For some reason I bought a three pack of men’s socks. Not football socks. Just normal socks. By the end of full time I was wearing all three pairs. The score was still nil nil. Extra time was coming (yes you had extra time in those days, even in the rubbish cup). Bugger. There was an audible groan when the ref blew his whistle. Not a loud groan, but it was the best that the frozen five hundred could muster.

I have no idea why I didn’t just go home. I like to think it was loyalty. In all honesty I think it was a mixture of idleness and not wanting to move from the almost lukewarm hunched up sitting position I had forced my body into. I needed a pee too, but didn’t want to move. And was probably a bit worried about my penis snapping off like an icicle if I touched it.

Extra time seemed to last about seven weeks. It was frankly torture. At one point one of the teams almost scored. They didn’t. The keeper made a bloody save. I can’t even remember which team was attacking. I just remember being a bit disappointed anyway. I remember a pensioner sitting quite near me. He looked a bit sad too.

By the time we reached penalties I was fairly certain that my ears had frostbite. They’d always stuck out a bit anyway so I wasn’t that bothered about losing them if push came to shove. I’ve still got them if anyone is interested. And still regret not taking a hat to games more often.

We lost on penalties of course. Bloody Brentford.

So there we are. Next time a game is called off, it might be a blessing in disguise. It wasn’t on Saturday – I was dragged around Topps Tiles instead.

Condorman
@thecondorman