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.

Going down the Pan: not such a bad idea