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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