Tag: St Albans City

Match Of The Week – AFC Wimbledon 3-0 St Albans City

In the morning came the doubts and the what ifs. What if half-time comes and Hampton are five up at Maidenhead? However unlikely it seemed, there was no mathematical certainty to Wimbledon’s promotion into the BSP until five o’clock but, back in the real world, everyone knows that the game is already up. On a bright, sunny spring afternoon, they come to see the coronation, and they come – not for the first time this season – in extraordinary numbers. The crowd is an all-ticket 4,722 and tickets had sold out several days ago. Take a moment to consider that. The regional sixth division of English football, almost 5,000 people (had Kingsmeadow been able to hold more people, it would have been higher) have turned out. Extraordinary, by any standards, and a testament to the pulling power of this remarkable football club and the strength in depth of English football. St Albans City are the foils for this, and they play the part to perfection. Although the championship is not mathematically certain, they still form a guard of honour for Wimbledon as the team takes to the pitch and then, after showing some resistance in the first half, eventually roll over and allowed their bellies to be tickled. The exception to this rule is the Saints’ goalkeeper Paul Bastock. The best goalkeeper that I have seen at Clarence Park...

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Match Of The Midweek: St Albans City 0-0 AFC Wimbledon

The stutter, then, is becoming a full-blown wobble. A couple of weeks ago, it looked as if the championship race in the Blue Square South was all but over, but AFC Wimbledon have now drawn their last three matches, scoring just one goal in that time, and have away matches against second placed Hampton & Richmond and fourth placed Eastleigh yet to look forward to. They are still six points clear at the top of the table but their closest rivals have a game in hand. This year’s Blue Square South seems likely, therefore, to go to the wire. More concerning still for Wimbledon supporters was the nature of their performance last night. Frequently outplayed in midfield, they created practically nothing in front of goal and were often outplayed by a home team whose form this season has been patchy to say the least. Clarence Park is a notoriously difficult ground to create anything like an atmosphere in at the best of times. With the terracing behind both goals open to the elements and slightly removed from the pitch, there is a tendency for any noise from the terraces to catch the wind and drift harmlessly away. Last night, the silence was occasionally deafening. With a crowd of just over 1,100 present, the large travelling support seemed tense, and they weren’t helped by the early exchanges between the two...

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In Praise Of… “The Beautiful Game? Searching For The Soul Of Football”, by David Conn

In November 2001, I (as was my wont at the time) made the short journey from my flat in the centre of St Albans to Clarence Park to watch The Saints play Basingstoke Town in the Ryman League Premier Division. It was an uninspiring match – a flattering 3-1 win – but more concerning was that, rather than being able to settle down to watch the results come on Sky TV afterwards, we were stuck with the BBC’s coverage. The club hadn’t been paying its bills, and the satellite TV had been cut off. Two months later, the sky fell in. The club failed a CVA that it had entered into and the chairman put it up for sale for £1. The Ryman League suspended the club until it secured new ownership and got its house in order. For five long weeks, with no match day revenue to sustain it, St Albans City slid towards what seemed like an inevitable winding up order. On the clubs message board, tentative discussions were held over what we would do when the inevitable came, but none us really understood very much about what we could do as supporters to save the club. At the last minute, a new owner was found and the club was rescued, but St Albans City sailed very, very close to the wind during those five, dark weeks...

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Living Vicariously Through The FA Cup

As I hurtle unstoppably towards my late thirties, I tend to find that there is less and less to look forward to. Birthdays long ago became a cause for reflection and with an ever increasing desire to be able to say, “Whoaah! No more of these! Can’t we just stop right where we are?”. Without children of my own, Christmas Day usually finds me slightly hungover and grumpy, wanting a little nap on the sofa rather than any presents. I have been largely stripped of my child-like wonder. I’m becoming as much of a grumpy old man as the anti-hero of the song “Gertcha”, by Chas & Dave, to whom every single thing that seems to happen seems to be an affront. But. If there is one weekend of the year that brings out the gurgling eight year old in me, it’s this weekend. The weekend of the First Round Proper of the FA Cup. Better still, I have a ticket for the match of the round, as AFC Wimbledon take on Wycombe Wanderers on Monday night, before the ruthless gaze of Setanta Sports’ live cameras. I haven’t looked forward to a match this much in I don’t know how long. I’ve even booked a day and a half of work to buffer it properly. There is an element of living vicariously about this. St Albans City have made...

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In Praise Of… The St Albans City Club Video (1991/92)

It seems almost difficult to believe now, but there was a time when, if you saw the football on the television, that was it. You’d see the goals once, maybe twice, and then they’d disappear into the vaults of the BBC and ITV, only to resurface once or twice at random intervals on the likes of “On The Ball” and “Football Focus”. In the 1980s, video recorders started appearing in people’s homes and, in some very small way, the face of football was changed forever. By the late 1980s, boxes started appearing in club shops the length and breadth of the country, selling videos of just about every match that your team played. Camera technology had become cheap enough for clubs to record their own matches and sell them back to their supporters. At many clubs, every single match – every dreary 0-0 draw against Scunthorpe United in the Football League Trophy – was put on sale and, presumably, people bought them. There must be people with vast, vast libraries of the most mundane seasons imaginable, the vast majority of which have never been watched. When it comes to videos and obsessiveness, the average football supporter could even teach that most famous of film obsessives Kim Jong Il a thing or two. Grainy footage, usually from one camera, was the order of the day. If you were lucky, you’d...

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