Sunday, 27 November 2011

The lull before the storm

I had a very good day yesterday which culminated in winning four hundred smackers on the football, a night out in Rochester and a sleepover at my sister-in-laws at Halling. The Thai was canned in favour of a new Lebanese restaurant. Disappointing overall but we had plenty of alcohol and our wives walked home half-a-mile after midnight in stocking feet carrying their stilts.

Stunned like everyone else today at the death of Gary Speed. I tuned in to Radio 5 and it was obvious someone had died but I couldn't tell for several minutes who it was. The conversation was switching from the Welsh national side to Gary's league clubs but I couldn't imagine for a moment it was him. "Car crash" was my first reaction to his name, but suicide? There will be a story to emerge in the days to come but The Black Dog is no respecter of fame or fortune. The memory of his thumping header for Leeds from a corner, which I think won the game, will always be with me when I think of Gary Speed. I expect we will get a minute's silence tomorrow before the game to show our respect for a true professional and patriot.

Tomorrow evening's encounter with Huddersfield Town is getting far more media coverage than we are accustomed to, even if most of it features the "invincible" Huddersfield Town. We might have a long history of disappointing our fans on the big night and an horrendous live TV record, but I believe we will win tomorrow and put on a show in the process. The media hype may serve us well at Town's expense.

I have an old, retired, work mate coming up for the game tomorrow night. He's a Gooner but has struggled to get tickets in recent years. He lives in Tonbridge and I have booked him onto the Valley Express. He was unaware of this service but has shown a lot of interest - "what, it runs to every home game...for seven quid?" Hopefully he will get a clear run up, a few pre-match pints and a quick journey home. If its as good a spectacle as our last few home games, he may well be back.

Lastly, I see that the weakest of the three South London derbies was a goaless affair in SE25 yesterday. Fifteen thousand made the effort. We may be live on TV tomorrow evening and a division lower than Smallwall and Palarse, but we will still attract a bigger attendance tomorrow night with less than a thousand visiting Terriers. Number one in South London, even in League One.

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