Week 8: w/c 21st January 2013

Leamington home / Gosport away

I really am now starting to forget what this football game is all about, this week saw the country ground to it’s annual halt with a flurry of snow that sparked health & safety fears all across the country. Hats off to the weather forecasters, they seemed to be spot on with the timings of the snowfall, with Sunday being the picture postcard day, ahead of the big freeze. Local roads remained impressively free flowing, just the side streets that did not get a visit from the gritting lorries causing a few issues, which is difficult because that is where most people start their journeys – and for me that includes a fairly steep hill with card parked either side providing minimal scope for any out of control skids.

Sure enough schools were closed. Hemel Hempstead School sent their note out saying that school will open late whilst Boxmoor Primary School decided on Sunday evening that they will not be opening the following day – One happy kid, one not so happy kid. Two unimpressed parents. It is a cliché to say what happened to the old spirit of everyone grabbing a shovel and making an effort to clear the roads, but again, the reality is our Health & Safety obsession has put paid to any such community effort. Instead we all sit at home watching the news and moaning about how the country cannot cope with the snow like other countries can. Really, what are we like?

On Monday the Chairman and I both received an email from a helpful supporter suggesting that we might just be able to get Tuesday’s match against Leamington on if we wanted, his brother has the equipment for clearing snow, and a few people with shovels to clear the terraces. It would have been a fantastic effort, even if eventually unfruitful, but the risk was just too great – Blimey, we had a woman go running off to the council when she allegedly hurt her ankle on the terraces during a sunny pre-season friendly, I for one don’t want to run the risk of being sued because in our efforts to play a game for the town to watch, we used the wrong type of rock salt or something.

The home match against Leamington was off.

The thaw when it came happened fairly quickly, the next danger to football matches being off was the rain on top of snow covered, already saturated, ground. Optimistically I got a couple of quotes from Andy Leese and wrote a pre-match piece for the website ahead of going to Gosport Borough on Saturday; by all accounts their pitch was free from snow and looking good for getting a match on…

…Unfortunately for me it clashed with my youngest’s 9thbirthday party. Quite genuinely, I’m staggered by how quick the years are passing and I know when I was Chairman days and weeks went by when my head was filled with football stuff when at times it should have been more focused on the family, that is something that I have been adamant I will avoid, hence I made the decision that football will be sacrificed to be at my son’s birthday party. Crazy to think so, but there will not be that many more birthdays’ that he will want me at!

I also had another dilemma to resolve over the weekend, one that I ultimately failed to come to a satisfactory conclusion for.

Sometimes I have a terrible habit of sitting on things that I know are going to become an issue, but I do not act early in the hope that a solution may be found without the hassle that I can foresee coming (and choose to stick my head in the sand to avoid). One example of that was the away to Gosport Borough v Ben’s Birthday Party, there was a potential contingency plan for my Mum to come and take over my duties of helping out whilst I sneaked out and headed down to Hampshire. If I were to do that, there would be some conversations to have with Ben, Mrs Calder and of course my Mum; but if the game was going to be called off, then I could save the hassle of sounding a bit of a bastard by putting football first. Yes, I was secretly hoping that the Gosport match would be called off too.

However, by Friday evening I had concluded that I would be at Quaser in Hemel Hempstead Saturday lunchtime, and not on my way to watch football for the first time in a couple of weeks. So, no need to muddy the waters with any suggestion of going to the game. However, I was still hoping to be able to attend the next Youth Section meeting on Monday evening at The Nash in Chesham, I had said I would and felt my presence would add some sincerity to the words that had been forthcoming. The problem was a double-whammy of cubs and scouts runs, all on the same night, all separated by an hour, give or take a few minutes.

After the party on Saturday I spent the rest of the day getting really annoyed with the WIFI in the house and the way it seems so sporadic in it’s working. I confess to falling behind with technology and its advancements and I am rapidly finding that I have less and less patience, becoming on of those people that “just want it to work”.

One thing that was working was my Twitter account so I could follow the football that was happening at Gosport. It was not pleasant viewing. I missed the home game v Gosport when I took my son to watch his Premiership side, WBA, play Fulham at Craven Cottage. We lost 3-0 that day, and this time the score was only marginally better as we fell to a 3-1 defeat on what was apparently a very boggy pitch. Not the best conditions for us, but then such is our away form, the excuses are wearing thin.

With the 1-3 defeat confirmed and my cunning plan of having two WIFI routers having hit the buffers, I had had enough and gave up on the day. Pizzas were ordered, a beer was cracked and the Saturday night trash came on the television.

By Sunday morning I had concluded that attending the Youth meeting on Monday was going to be impossible, so I sent a few emails out and grovelled my apologies. I felt genuinely really bad and tried to make up for it by drafting a letter that we plan to go out with the season tickets for kids from the youth section. The letter was to come jointly from both Andy Leese and Chairman Brian McCarthy, but the words came from me.

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