The Farrar End – 27/12/11

4 01 2012

Bangor City 5 Prestatyn Town 3
Welsh Premier League
27/12/11

With a decade to prepare for this match I took the last few weeks in my stride. I didn’t feel as emotional as I thought I would be. I remembered that I’d be working in a new, damp-free, club shop on matchdays. I’d also have a longer walk to the new ground but that didn’t really matter did it?

Last night I gave Joel two tickets (for him and Rhian) for today’s match and the situation felt so normal. I’d grown so used to hearing the words “Farrar End” (I even helped to plan the events of the last day by helping to arrange the brass band) that the final day began to feel like just another important event organised by the supporters’ association. The words “Last Ever Day” had lost their significance, there was no poignancy. When I thought of the last day at Farrar Road there was scarcely a sad thought in my head, my mind was filled by stories, memories, jokes, goals and muddy boots instead. Rhian told me that she used to go with her dad and this added to my joy. I think the medical qualities of cider also helped my joie de vivre..

As I stood on the platform this morning I cursed my bag, it was heavy enough without the two packets of scarves that I’d stuffed inside them. Today was going to be a flag day, today we were going to give the old girl the send off she deserved. Then my hangover kicked in and  I worried that the rain would ruin my flags, why was everything so complicated? Why were flag days so bad for my back? My hangover and the potential of a sore shoulder occupied my mind on the train.

The fresh air was invigorating so I walked to Farrar Road without a care in the world; I knew I was early enough to set up the shop properly, I knew that I would cope with the expected massive crowd. I got the shop ready as normal and just knew that it was going to be busy (You get to know the little signs –  like loads of people walking around the ground when there are still two and half hours before kick off.) Mark gave me one of the 20 disposable cameras that would record the day (and  hopefully lead to  a fantastic collage)

Before the crowd arrived in earnest I decided to have a walk around the ground for the last time. I already knew that the roof had been removed from the Farrar End so I was expecting a big shock but when I saw the now roofless end I didn’t feel the shock I had been expecting. I decided to stand on the shelf at the back of the Farrar End for old times’ sake.

It was only when I was on the shelf that the significance of the day finally dawned on me. Today would be the last ever day that I would be standing here to watch a football match. After today these terraces would be silenced forever, it was quite an eerie sensation. I gazed at the historic ground, I tried to drink it all in for one last time. I drifted away on reverie. Oh what tales the walls of Farrar Road could tell us!!!

Without a crowd I was able to clearly gaze at the St. Paul’s End mural for one last time, I was about to drift away again when I noticed something untoward. Caernarfon fans had decided to deface Nige P’s hard work with crude Neolithic daubings, I noticed that they had tried to do the same on the pitch. You have to laugh at their pettiness really, thinking that their primitive cave drawings would have any effect upon today’s events!!!

Thanks to the very, very brisk trade I missed most of the planned events. I only caught glimpses of Chris’ brass band, the Samba parade and the parade of ex-players. While  I managed to gain a distinct sense that the atmosphere was building I forgot to add my flags to the flag day.

I made it out of the shop for kick off., then I had to go back in for the disposable camera for the BCFCSA art project. Unexpectedly Prestatyn’s players made a guard of honour for the Bangor lads. My God, how I’d misjudged Gibson!!! What a gesture. The Prestatyn fans were in the Santa spirit too.

While Farrar Road is certainly historical it also has crap sightlines when it’s busy. I couldn’t see the pitch from my place near Joel so I decided to move around to the side to take some pictures. This turned out to be an inspired substitution of position as I was able to see Les open the scoring.

I returned to my original spot near Joel to find that I still had a crappy view. Luckily Dylan Reggae was standing near by and we both agreed that the lack of a good view didn’t matter today as today was more than about one silly match. It was about having a laugh, reminiscing and celebrating an occasion in the company of good people. As if to underline this point with a red pen I saw Harry and Darren from Llandudno. The whole world was there!! Just after I saw those two fine gentlemen Sion scored Bangor’s second.

Unfortunately Gibson managed to score a rather good goal by dribbling the ball through our defence, which unfortunately this led to a bit of silliness behind the St. Paul’s goal as the santas went a bit mad. The scoreline remained 2-1 until half time.

Thanks to the vast crowds I was busy all half-time but this wasn’t a day to worry about missing anything. Besides I didn’t miss Dave Morley’s thunderbolt of a strike. This was truly a magical way to turn things back in our favour, it was a truly apt goal for such a historic day. We scored again as I made my way around the ground to take my normal place in  the St. Paul’s end. We were playing some truly great football today. Then Prestatyn scored again.

The score was now 4-2. Would Prestatyn and Gibson succeed in spoiling the party just like their message board idiots claimed they would? Thankfully this didn’t look likely when Dave Morley scored his second goal. Then it looked more likely when Prestatyn made the score 5-3. They couldn’t actually spoil the party could they? They didn’t spoil anything in the end.

It was such a fantastic game for a last game. I was worried about the opposite happening before today as emotion can weigh heavily on occasions like this. Fortunately today was a real celebration. I made my own sedate pitch invasion to join in with the festivities.

For the rest of my time in Farrar Road I stood against the Farrar End wall thinking, silently thinking, about what I’d seen today and what it all meant. I was going to miss this place.

Here’s a bit more of a flavour of today

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One response

11 01 2012
Mark Howell (@blacon_blue)

Great article. As a Chester fan who has attended many Bangor games home and away, particularly when we never had a club, I can tell you that the sense of loss remains with you. We lost the old girl in 1990, and our ‘new’ home is 20 years old this year. We have new memories in the Deva, but they somehow dont seem to be as evocative as the Sealand Road ones. Maybe that is because I was 18 in 1990, and my formative years were spent there. Now I am just a grumpy old bugger. It may also be that the time spent at the Deva has mainly been sodding miserable. Good luck at Nantporth, we’ll be along to see you soon as we can.

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