Saturday was an international break for me from West Ham, so I had a nice golf weekend lined up with some of the boys. A reasonable round (joint 1st out of our fourball), would be followed in my estimation by a few cheeky homebrews in Ian’s garden and maybe an Indian later.
So while relaxing in the kitchen you could imagine my surprise, when he said “You not getting changed ?” “Why?” says I. “We’re going to the football”. Oh.
I should say at this juncture Ian and Albie his boy are big time Aldershot Town supporters. A club that rose from the ashes of Aldershot FC who went bust in 1992. And have just rose again after similar events last year, which resulted in relegation and needed a supporter bailout. Just before the start of the season they had 6 professionals on the books, administrators everywhere and no cash. The administrators said they had 48 hours to get 50k, else that was that. The supporters dug deep and found 68k, and into the Conference they went with a -10 point start. I always wonder how much the administrators get in these situations, but no matter the Shots are back in business and start this game on -3.
In order the balance the books they now have Chelsea’s BPL U21 team playing their home games at the recreation ground, in a deal which covers all their bills in running the club. This does lead to some odd advertising hoardings for Samsung and Chelseafc.com dotted around the ground.
On getting to the Recreation Ground we negotiate the turnstile. I don’t think my quote of “for 17 quid i expect at least a squad number” went down to well with the locals, but it is steep. If the cash is there, you need to garner the support by making it more accessible to the drive by and armchair fan. £12 would add 50% on the gate and nearly fill the ground.
Anyway, that said we put ourselves into their usual place on the East Stand, and it hits me. A real ground, with real supporters. No premier league rising stands, no binoculars needed to watch the game. And standing in a terrace. STANDING. Still enjoy it, even if my legs don’t any more.
The crowd of just shy of 2000 were “entertained” to a first half of no real chances and no real pattern. The Macc lads were on top early but faded after 15 minutes. The Shots players all have tags which don’t allow them within 10 yards of the touchline. I believe this is called a compact midfield. I called it poor at best. At half time and nil nil we have cheerleaders and a raffle. Real football. Apparently the cheerleaders were Ian’s idea to the board !
The second half was more of the same, but with the Shots now attacking our goal, we saw a little more of them. And their number 9 Brett Williams. This guy made my current slated player, Maiga of West Ham, look like Alan Shearer. He was the biggest guy on the pitch, and couldn’t win anything in the air, and that was all that was supplied. Absolutely shocking.
The breakthrough came in the 65th minute when according to the BBC Molesley crashed in a shot via the crossbar. Let me tell you my view of proceedings. Molesley gets the ball, takes a touch, miss hits a shot, it spins off his foot and loops to the bar, and drops in. No crashing, no taking a chance, just pure luck after a poor shot.
For the last 20 Aldershot introduced a winger who looked useful, but no one passed to him as he was outside the zone of influence as far as they were concerned.
Macc hit the bar in the last knockings and the Shots held on to a win, with their fans singing “Zero points, we got zero points”.
With their “compact” play, and bustling style (3 yellow cards), Aldershot will stay up which is the only target this season, so fair play.
Do not mistake the Skrill league sponsor as a play on words around skill. I have to say apart from Rowlands for the Shots, none was on display. Another point of order was fair play to the 43 Macc fans who made the journey and didn’t even get a roof on their stand. Once again real football. My journeys into the non league are few and far between these days, and although the game doesn’t compare to what i usually watch, it was still good to get back to the roots of the game.
Gutted i didn’t get a “non league dog” to snap, but I did introduce the team to the full kit w**nkers twitter feed !