Tag: St Albans City

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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Match Of The Week – St Albans City 1-2 Chelmsford City

Throughout my youth, going to watch St Albans City play wasn’t something that ordinarily provoked the senses very much. The Saints were experts at finishing somewhere between sixth and seventeenth in the league never unduly troubling the top or bottom of the table. I don’t really know how I would have coped with going week in, week out over the last few years. The excitement of the last few seasons (promotion, relegation, another close shave with relegation), one suspects, has been a little too much for the locals. Their surprise promotion into the Conference in 2006 was not so much a surprise as an utter, utter shock, and they demonstrated this in the cack-handed way with which they dealt with life in a higher division, filling the team with loanees and defending like a school football team against sides that made them look more like an overgrown youth team than a side capable of competing at that level. The overwhelming feeling that I have taken from recent visits to Clarence Park has been a yearning for a return to normality, a desire to be able to turn around and spend the afternoon talking with one’s friends, without having to take too much notice of what is going on on the pitch. Chelmsford City arrive at Clarence Park in fine fettle. They won the Ryman League at a canter last...

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A Few Things About Local Derbies

What constitutes a local derby seems, on the face of it, to be a question with a pretty obvious answer. However, if we take a couple of minutes to actually examine it, it becomes more nuanced that you might at first think. Derby matches are usually local, but they don’t necessarily have to be. The rivalry between Brighton and Crystal Palace is thirty-odd years old now, even though the two clubs are over forty miles part and haven’t spent that much of the last three decades in the same division. There is an historical element to it, brought about by the abrasive management styles of Malcolm Allison and Alan Mullery in the mid-1970s. The flame hasn’t been extinguished to this day, and doesn’t take much to spark back to life.The nature of the local derby – or, to be more succinct, the local rivalry – is more complex than that, but it is a critical part of the existence of the football supporter. It taps into the urge that we have within us to define ourselves against something and to measure ourselves against something. It is a barometer for how well or badly is doing. And it is a universal phenomenon within the game. Rivals are often two clubs with more in common than either of them would care to admit. Manchester United supporters, while aware of the importance...

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