Day: December 8, 2010

Match Of The Midweek: FC United of Manchester 0-4 Brighton & Hove Albion

It has already been the most improbable of cup runs. Every match in FC United’s run to within grabbing distance of the Third Round of this year’s FA Cup has been enveloped in the sort of drama that would not, in a quite literal sense, have looked out of place in a children’s comic from the 1970s. The last minute winner at Rochdale in the First Round, a goal that feels like years and years ago. The trip to Brighton, the delirium of snatching the lead, the agony of having it snatched away and the tumultuous disbelief of the last minute penalty save that saw them in the Third Round draw and playing off tonight for the right to play last year’s beaten finallists, Portsmouth. All of this has been done while building bridges and making friends at every turn, and this manifests itself this evening in the ticketing arrangements. In comparison with the first match, when reason seemed to be swamped by police advice so wide of the mark as to seem absurd, it’s pay on the gate this evening, with places available for just £8. With such a policy, the idea of FC United profiteering from this year’s competition – another idea pushed by some after they agreed to play their First Round match at Rochdale on a Friday night – is also blown from the water....

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Missing Leatherhead Away: The Moral Dilemma Of Not Going To Matches

“Rites of passage” tend to involve teenagers and revolve around love and/or sex, certainly in the Hollywood films that I know about. Being a non-league football fan, I missed that particular rite of passage completely, along with pretty much every other interesting rite of passage you could think of. I mean no disrespect the former Isthmian League club, but nothing remotely life-changing was ever going to happen to me at Wokingham Town on a cold Tuesday night in November. To trainspotters, maybe, as the ground was famously bordered by two separate railway routes and tracks. By the very fact that I considered such railway geography to be “famous” meant I was never going to appear in a real-life remake of “American Graffiti.” Something changed recently, though. More and more often in recent years, the prospect of a “Wokingham-Town-on-a-cold-Tuesday-night” trip has failed to be an enticing one. But when the conversation about the logistical problems or desirability of getting to the game turns to the concept of “well, you could always not go,” we just laugh. Faced with that concept one recent morning, for the first time ever, I thought of the fixture to which I could travel and screamed out loud, as I was walking along the pavement: “sod it, I’m not going,” – which got a funny look from the postman, I can assure you. Like all too...

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