All Points Covered!

28 03 2010
Bangor City 3 Carmarthen Town 2
Welsh Premier League
20/3/10

Let’s start with a question; when do you feel safe?

Is it when you’re at home? Is it when you’re in your car or in your favourite pub? Do you feel safe when you’re on a zebra crossing? Do you feel safe on a plane? The answer can be yes to all of those questions.

In a football sense when do you feel safe? Is it when you’re finally eating that exquisite pie? Is it when you’re finally sitting in your seat? Is it when you’ve finally reached the turnstyle after that chase from people wishing to ‘ave it? Is it when you’ve just bought that Cup Final Ticket? Is it when your team is 3-0 up?

Usually you’d feel safe when your team is 3-0 up. 3-0 is definitely more secure than 2-0 (the other team could score, making you worry about losing the whole lead, leading to a large amount of stress). Today we were literally strolling to victory via 3 goals of  superlative quality, and what’s more, they all happened in 30 joyful minutes. Jamie Reed’s was fantastic; a turn outside the box, a dart into space and a curler into the top corner. The fans were purring.

Then the immortal line was uttered by Livzy; “Bloody hell how many are we going to get?” To be fair to him at the time it did seem that we were going to score that elusive number of “How many”. Their keeper was gesticulating wildly FOR a start. Whatever the reason for it (an act of displacement??? a plague of midges???) it was very funny. It was a matter how many we wanted to score. Then Carmarthen scored a nice goal in the top corner.

However we’d still hammer them. The second half began and our unshakable confidence was undiminished. The crowd slipped into undulating conversations, a sure sign of an easy game;

– “….so then I told the guy behind the desk…..”

“He said that to me too”

– “So I thought it’s be better go down the road to get better odds”

“Did you get better odds?”

– “Oh yeah, I got 16:1!….. Look at this, look at this. Jesus, that was close!!…….. Anyway….. What was I saying?……Oh yeah so I thought I’ll put £20 on that, easy!!

“Yeah I got good odds down there…..Shit! That was close again! ……….so I go down there all the time now”

– “Oh yeah you won £300 on an accumulator last year, didn’t you?”

“Oh aye, Celtic was the clincher!”

“Yeah I love those Celts!!”

“Henrik Larsson, I loved him!”

– “Yeah what a player, I remember when we watch Wales v Sweden in Wrexham. He played didn’t he?”

“Oh Yeah blond dreadlocks…… We thought he was a woman!”

– “Shit that was close! Christ it’s a corner………Oh aye, ha ha ha, “Get your tits out” they shouted….. ….Fuck, they just hit the crossbar……he wore a white headband, ran around like a fly…..Was that in?…… Shit it was…… They’ve fuckin’ scored……….. Bollocks!!!”

And so there you have it, Carmarthen lulled us into a stupor with their perceived ineptitude. After this use of subterfuge they suddenly became quite potent. There was no idle chatter, just nervous shouting;

“CLEAR IT!!!!!!!!”

“GET IT AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

“FOR FUCK SAKES, BOOT IT!!!!!!!!”

“C’MONNNNNNNN BANGOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Bangor cleared the ball off the line, including Smithy’s last-ditch saves, approximately 6 times. 3-0 is definitely not as safe as it sounds. The final whistle was a relief to all and sundry.

Airbus UK 1 Bangor City 5
Welsh Premier League
24/3/10

We felt safe after Reedy had whacked in a 25 yard volley. It wasn’t just the quality of the goal that helped us feel safe it was the fact that it was the third goal in the first 12 minutes (Reedy’s second). The thought; “Would this be enough?” entered our head like a burglar with a crowbar enters a house. Thankfully Airbus weren’t showing many signs of fight so this helped us to feel a bit safer; they had made 2 substitutions by the 30 minute mark for example

In the second half our mental safety was increased by the failure of Airbus to trouble Bangor’s defence. It was increased further by what can only be described as an “bullet-like shot” from Eddie Jebb. The best part about that goal was the resounding thwack against the cross bar. I say thwack but it was more of a satisfying hollow “DINNKKK” echoing through the goal. 4-0!!! 4-0!!!!!!!!!

Carl Owen wouldn’t score said Magi, so Carl Owen scored. There’s  many a mystic down Farrar Road. Reedy made it 5-1 by deflecting a Smythe shot that was going in anyway.

The enjoyment of the result was tempered slightly by an accident that befell the Airbus keeper. The ball was there to be won and the keeper simply got in the way somehow. After contact betwixt keeper, ball and Lee Hunt the keeper’s head seemed to lie at an unatural angle. He lay motionless as the players made frantic gesture towards the bench, thankfully the quick-witted players rolled the keeper on to his side. Unfortunately you knew that something was amiss straight away. It was the same sort  as genuinely chilling moment as Gerhard Berger’s car catching fire in 1989. The situation wasn’t helped by the portly St. John’s people pratfalling over their equipment after arriving late on the scene. Thankfully, after a few minutes the keeper began to move his arms so it felt brighter.

The other “almost major” incident revolved around a group of teenagers. The first time we noticed them was when they were singing songs that sounded like out of tune Bangor songs. I looked at them as I walked past, I didn’t recognise them. Then they started chanting anti-Chester songs. So they were actually a group of Wrexham fans who had lost their way. Thankfully they were silent after roughly 15 minutes.

Unfortunately they started again in the second half. After they had stopped for the second time there was a little disagreement. We turned to see the standoff. The groups walked up to each other slowly with fists poised, in the contemporary style. Then group 1 tried to go but they stopped. Then group 2 moved toward group, glared at them and then went back, then group 1 led, then group 2. It was just like aggressive Morris Dancing.

The off failed to happen so the groups separated. As the group 1 passed we could see that they were the Wrexham fans. They sauntered past with that confident hoolie swagger looking  all of 16. These faces chose to stay in one corner whilst the other group  of teenagers stayed in the other corner. A line of stewards halfway between them kept the peace. Group 2 buggered off and were followed by the swaggering Wrexham “lads” about 10 minutes later. We blame facebook.

So 5-1 in Airbus, on to Neath!

Neath Athletic 0 Bangor City 1
Welsh Premier League
27/3/10

I noticed the presenters of Tocyn on the platform at Wrexham. Then they got onto the train, then they got into the same carriage as me, then they sat by me, then the director asked me to move, bloody luvvies. When you watch the episode in the Autumn I’ll be the one reading When Saturday Comes in the background. That’s why they call us the Jet Set!!

Cardiff is lovely in the spring sunshine. You know spring is upon us when Bananaman and Batman are campaigning for Fathers 4 Justice. The journey across south Wales usually highlights the industrial past of Wales. In this election year these sites of dereliction are also a reminder of the Tories in action (more about that later in the week).

Neath seemed livelier than on my previous visit although last time the game took place on a Sunday. We thought we knew where to go but we got lost. As I craned to look for floodlights I saw a young chap in an Ospreys shirt. I followed him and his mate. We turned around one corner to see the floodlights rising above the other buildings on the street.

It was only £5 to get in! Just before we were about got the flags out of the bag a steward walked over;

“Where do you want to put your flags?”
– “Behind the Goal?”
 “Yeah ok, you just can’t stand there!!”
– “Eh!!”
“Well, if only one person stands there we’ll have to put 3 stewards there. One at either end of the terrace and one in the middle. Oh yeah, the clubs gets charged as well if the other stands are used”

Another public right eroded by the Health and Safety PC Brigade Mafia!!!! Seriously, you have to wonder what kind of people come up with an idea such as this, who worked out that one spectator (Whether this was a home or an away spectator wasn’t specified) needs to be supervised by 3 stewards?

It’s a legal/logistical minefield. Do they make this judgement on the potential of people to cause trouble or fall over? If the person is a suspected drugs baron (or other dangerous character) will they need more than 3 people to supervise them? Where has trust gone? You begin to wonder  how long it will be before we’ll all have to undergo a CRB check before we’re allowed in. 

Anyhow we put the flags up and joined the other blues in the nicely refurbished clubhouse. Cardiff’s match was on the TV but the kick off came so we all left. Phil put his new flag on the railings, the BANGOR UNDERGROUND was born!

During the first half Bangor looked dangerous going forward, in the football sense of course, without creating many chances. We had a few but they were mainly half chances. We had a few corners but couldn’t take advantage of these opportunities.

We were urging our team on when a woman came round selling raffle tickets. Maybe it was because some of our number didn’t buy a raffle ticket that she told us we had to stop standing in front of the seats. When some of us failed to take heed she became quite irate and offered the order again. Just after this a steward came over; “Come on Lads!!!” It’s nice to feel welcome.

There appears to be something about the stewards from rugby grounds when they’re working at football matches, they seem to do their job with an unhealthy zeal. It happens in the  Millenimu Stadium, Parc-Y-Scarlets, Liberty Stadium, The Gnoll, everywhere. It’s as if they don’t trust football fans, so unlike saintly rugby fans who never get drunk. Consequently the ten of us were  herded into the stand. The first half remained incident free.

In the second half we broke all manner of the rules; we stood in hatched areas, we stood on steps, we left bags in the gangway, we went behind the goal. The last manoeuvre is easily accomplished when you’ve got flags. All you do is attach them to spikes on the top of a wall. Then you wait for a breeze to lift them onto the barbed wire at the top of the wall. Then you’re sorted, total freedom of movement without question!!! On the other hand you take your life in your hands when you’re a football fan. I risked tetanus removing the flags from the wire; one false move and my fingers would have been impaled on the rusty barbs. I was poised like Indiana Jones removing a priceless idol from it’s plinth.

The second half seemed to be in our favour; we seemed to have most of the play, most of the possession and created most of the crowd noise. Unfortunately Neath had chances so we couldn’t rest easy. It seemed just to be a matter of time before we’d score but the clear chances were saved by the keeper and the half-chances were saved too. Neath also cleared a few off the line. There were a couple of appeals for penalties but no penalty accrued from any of them.

The breakthrough finally arrived just after I’d ventured to terrace to sort out a flag. I turned to see a move enter the box, the ball went out for a corner. The ball came in and someone met the ball, it was saved, then half cleared before entering the box again. Reedy was first to the bouncing ball in the area and whacked it home. We celebrated like a win should be. After returning to our normal places we suddenly realised “Jesus we’ll be on Sgorio tonight!!” You always look different on TV. Looking idiotic on national TV again, what a prospect!

Bangor withstood the pressure from Neath, including a very balletic block from Johnno and we had won our third game in a week. The players came over to celebrate with our reduced blue army. We ate sandwiches and drank refreshments in the shadow of rugby greats, it felt good!

 

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