You always think things were better in the
past, don’t you?
Like, I remember when football was good. For me, it was always
about turning up on the spur of the moment, and paying a small
amount of money, and being able to stand exactly where you
wanted to stand. You’d think your team was great - possibly
a world-beating team - but somehow just misunderstood. You’d
sing this song about your team being ‘by far the greatest
team the world has ever seen’, and, on pure form, they
would be maybe the 500th best team the world had ever seen.
My team was the Brighton and Hove Albion team of the mid-70s.
Harry Wilson was the left back, and he’d always pump
these hopeful crosses from the halfway line, and I would try
to stand exactly at the point he hit the ball. And sometimes
Peter Ward, who was later picked, once, for the England squad,
would get on the end of the crosses.
And then football changed for ever. Or did it? A couple of
years ago, I was walking on the downs, by the golf course,
and I heard a familiar sort of roar, and later somebody told
me it was the crowd from Lewes F.C. I hadn’t yet heard
the term ‘The Rooks.’ Last week, I turned up at
the Dripping Pan. I thought it would be free. Actually, it
was ten bleeding quid.
But you could stand where you wanted to stand. Lewes were
playing QPR - probably QPR reserves. But still. The crowd
was just big enough to generate a proper roar. Maybe 500.
Jamie Cade, the Lewes striker, skipped to his right around
the six-yard box and scored a beautiful angled goal.
And ten quid was, come to think of it, a small amount of money.