Skip to content

It all starts here


After an absence of two years, I am morally and legally bound by the Official Guidelines of Sports Journalism, Section 2 Clause 21.9 : Cliches, Hackneyed Phraseology and Whimsical Flattery to state that the magic of the cup is well and truely upon us. And so, it came to pass that 1988 Winners 3 Didn’t reach the first round in 1988 0 was the order of the day. The romance, the drama, the excitement of the cup – have I mentioned magic yet? – was there in full effect for our big day…. Oh fuck it, I can’t keep sounding like a MOTD presenter much longer. It was a trouncing of sorts against a team that we had played a mere couple of weeks earlier. And we stuffed them then.

The game? Well, we went 1-0 up following a good cross into the box, for the much maligned Richard Butler who scored with either his head or his feet. There then followed some good impressions of Jonny Wilkinson with regards to shooting – obviously AFCW signed Sir Clive Woodward without anyone noticing. Second half, we deffo went up a gear, hitting the bar in the first 30 seconds of the restart, rounding and then missing the post before Ursell got a penalty. Serious handball, a la Terry Phelan vs Palace all them years ago (remember that?). Shame he only got a booking. Towards the end, it was Ursell again, running into the box, finding space, taking his time to place the shot, phone his mum, book his holidays to Cyprus and make a cup of tea, and made it 3-0. And our name was in the hat for the next round (ahem…)

Had enough? Me too. So…

Plus points: A win. In t’cup. Pretty one-sided. Clean sheet.

Minus points: Too much poncing about at times.

The referee’s a….: Well, didn’t make many notes on him so I suppose he was all right. Others may disagree.

Them: They must really hate us. Their goalie deserved MoM, with a couple of blinding stops at shots aimed point blank at him saves and despite JS bundling into him. Naughty boy. Bet they’re pissed off with missing out on the Eurostar derby next round.

Weather with you: Christ, was it bloody hot or what? It felt like July rather than September. Didn’t help that the hAE tea bar ran out of cold drinks midway through the second half.

Spotted: Sky Sports camera. Reported sighting of a Spurz shirt (probably explains the “We hate Tottenham” from the West Bank), two deffo sightings of QPR shirts. One Wycombe shirt with “Oxford United Are Shit” on the back. Charming. Oh, and some wayward AFC Wallingford fan turned up to see what a place that has constant electricity is like.

Point to ponder: The reaction of the crowd when the attendance was 2696 was a level of exhasperation (?) I don’t think I’ve ever seen at a game for a while. At least not since Duncan Jupp’s name was announced on the tannoy. I couldn’t go in the hAE because it was too full and claustrophobic, and it did seem a little bit on the low side. Assuming the figure is right, could it be that the ground capacity is simply overstated at 4k?

Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) Phillo returning on the PA, so at least the tannoy will sound something a little bit more contemporary than the BBC Home Service (2) The amount of people coming up to programme sellers with £2.50 despite it still being £2. It looks like people will still buy it, though I wonder if in the long term it won’t damage sales?

Franchise watch: Oh dear. Managed to draw 2-2 despite being 2-0 down. And they were away to Chesterfield. On a more pleasing note, looks like the WinkieDome is being delayed. And best of all, Asda don’t seem to want to comment much…

Anything else? Yeah. It didn’t half feel like a pre season friendly, what with the weather and all that.

So, was it worth it? What, and mess with the magic of the FA Cup? Oh, pur-lease

In a nutshell: Que sera sera, whatever will be will be, we’re going to, er, Cardiff….

And finally: Right, I’m not going to be at Croydon next week or indeed the 1988 replay. I’m heading off abroad again, Dusseldorf to be precise. Plus MSV Duisburg (local derby with Rot-Weiss Essen, natually an SW19 article will be written) and if I’ve got time a brief trip into the Netherlands as well. So, I’m looking for reports on Croydon and/or the 1988 replay game. Usual address please. Just don’t start complaining when people attack you for writing too much on the game….