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Thorpe Groyney

Open your mind
Joined
Nov 20, 2008
Messages
2,389
Location
Surely it's plain to see?
Today was a rare opportunity for me. With local non-league football and my lad's training wiped out by waterlogged conditions, resulting in the radio show I would have been doing to cover it all also biting the dust, popping along to the Hall became an unexpectedly pleasant compensation.

Instead, though, of spending all my time in a couple of boozers and the ground, I thought I'd do things a little differently today. It's always good to get a different perspective on things and so today proved.

Before, having spent many years in Basildon, it was always a case of checking for trains or buses, or down the A127 and ferret around for a parking space within 2 miles of the ground. Today, though, being in the quaintly named Southchurch Village, I could stroll to the game instead.

It was lovely to see the kids with their scarves on running excitedly towards Roots Hall as North Avenue and Sutton Road were left behind and Prittlewell Church came into view. None of that staring at train indicators or the traffic queue on the Rayleigh Weir.

After seeing a couple of old buddies in the Spreadeagle I done the old dodderers' thing and sat in a corner, quietly reading the programme, whilst watching the world of pub life go by for a few minutes. It was the same mix of anticipation and resignation except that there were a few more grey hairs and middle-aged spreads on the patrons now - myself included.

On into the Hall and the South Upper. On my meandering to the seat I thought about a few of the old buddies, including one who, a year or two ago, had found the attractions of his girlfriend stronger than his ties to an average League One side and therefore I'd not seen for a while. Inevitably, within seconds of taking my seat, there he was. It was one of those days.

After bearing the mediocre pre-match music and announcements it was time for the match. Whilst I was, of course, committed to the cause, I was also aware of the crowd, of the stadium, and how much I'd miss it when it was gone. There's a homeliness to it all, the feel of a genuine football club, surrounded by shops and houses, not retail parks and industrial units.

The crowd, by and large, took the on-pitch proceedings with something very familiar and comforting to me, weary resignation. There were one or two outraged voices - why is it that the unhappiest people at the match also tend to be the loudest - but the majority seemed to be accepting of the fact that the team were poor but were at least trying.

Some of the errors were comical. Mildenhall's punch away that went all of about 2 feet in front of him was matched by Wycombe's finishing, the trusty figure of Matt Harrold ensuring that even with 50 chances they were unlikely to get more than one goal. Steve, of course, made up for it with a string of excellent saves and, it has to be said after his error against Col Ewe, a superbly marshalled wall when faced with a dangerous free kick (Edit - as has been pointed out, I realise it was Ian Joyce who made that error on Boxing Day - hopefully he was watching and listening how Steve done it).

I've also never seen a shot from inside the six yard box that cleared the South Stand roof. Pity it came from us. My fault for already beginning to celebrate when their keeper parried out. It's just as well a couple of minutes later Macca headed home superbly to spare our blushes. Paterson also missed a sitter although that could be put down to being too anxious.

I kept taking it all in - the poor fayre on the pitch, the crowd reaction, with one sage screaming "Look interested, Spencer" a full two minutes after coming on, the sight and sound of a Saturday afternoon at Roots Hall - and it felt comforting, like I'd put on an old favourite coat of mine I'd stuck in the back of the wardrobe long ago. The match was bad but it did my soul the world of good to see it.

Then the walk home. The silence from the kids and parents, but still with plenty of running down the pavements. The almost smug satisfaction that I was almost home already. The pancake roll and chips I bought for my tea. You know, even on seemingly dismal days like today, it ain't a bad old life following Southend United, really.
 
Last edited:

Ron Manager

formerly Libertine
Joined
Jan 21, 2007
Messages
5,637
Location
Brisbane, Australia
Almost brought a tear to my homesick eye - summed it up beautifully.

I too used to walk to the Spread Eagle (from the opposite direction though) and sit in the South Upper and this brought back some wonderful memories.
 

TBV_Dan

Supporting The Blue Voice
Joined
Jan 18, 2008
Messages
2,218
Location
Southend
Some of the errors were comical. Mildenhall's punch away that went all of about 2 feet in front of him was matched by Wycombe's finishing, the trusty figure of Matt Harrold ensuring that even with 50 chances they were unlikely to get more than one goal. Steve, of course, made up for it with a string of excellent saves and, it has to be said after his error against Col Ewe, a superbly marshalled wall when faced with a dangerous free kick.
Brilliant article, great read!

Only thing is, Joyce was in goal against Col Ewe, Mildy was out with a back injury remember!

Despite this, great read!
 
Last edited:

Tommy2holes

Life President⭐
Joined
Jan 21, 2007
Messages
9,246
Today was a rare opportunity for me. With local non-league football and my lad's training wiped out by waterlogged conditions, resulting in the radio show I would have been doing to cover it all also biting the dust, popping along to the Hall became an unexpectedly pleasant compensation.

Instead, though, of spending all my time in a couple of boozers and the ground, I thought I'd do things a little differently today. It's always good to get a different perspective on things and so today proved.

Before, having spent many years in Basildon, it was always a case of checking for trains or buses, or down the A127 and ferret around for a parking space within 2 miles of the ground. Today, though, being in the quaintly named Southchurch Village, I could stroll to the game instead.

It was lovely to see the kids with their scarves on running excitedly towards Roots Hall as North Avenue and Sutton Road were left behind and Prittlewell Church came into view. None of that staring at train indicators or the traffic queue on the Rayleigh Weir.

After seeing a couple of old buddies in the Spreadeagle I done the old dodderers' thing and sat in a corner, quietly reading the programme, whilst watching the world of pub life go by for a few minutes. It was the same mix of anticipation and resignation except that there were a few more grey hairs and middle-aged spreads on the patrons now - myself included.

On into the Hall and the South Upper. On my meandering to the seat I thought about a few of the old buddies, including one who, a year or two ago, had found the attractions of his girlfriend stronger than his ties to an average League One side and therefore I'd not seen for a while. Inevitably, within seconds of taking my seat, there he was. It was one of those days.

After bearing the mediocre pre-match music and announcements it was time for the match. Whilst I was, of course, committed to the cause, I was also aware of the crowd, of the stadium, and how much I'd miss it when it was gone. There's a homeliness to it all, the feel of a genuine football club, surrounded by shops and houses, not retail parks and industrial units.

The crowd, by and large, took the on-pitch proceedings with something very familiar and comforting to me, weary resignation. There were one or two outraged voices - why is it that the unhappiest people at the match also tend to be the loudest - but the majority seemed to be accepting of the fact that the team were poor but were at least trying.

Some of the errors were comical. Mildenhall's punch away that went all of about 2 feet in front of him was matched by Wycombe's finishing, the trusty figure of Matt Harrold ensuring that even with 50 chances they were unlikely to get more than one goal. Steve, of course, made up for it with a string of excellent saves and, it has to be said after his error against Col Ewe, a superbly marshalled wall when faced with a dangerous free kick.

I've also never seen a shot from inside the six yard box that cleared the South Stand roof. Pity it came from us. My fault for already beginning to celebrate when their keeper parried out. It's just as well a couple of minutes later Macca headed home superbly to spare our blushes. Paterson also missed a sitter although that could be put down to being too anxious.

I kept taking it all in - the poor fayre on the pitch, the crowd reaction, with one sage screaming "Look interested, Spencer" a full two minutes after coming on, the sight and sound of a Saturday afternoon at Roots Hall - and it felt comforting, like I'd put on an old favourite coat of mine I'd stuck in the back of the wardrobe long ago. The match was bad but it did my soul the world of good to see it.

Then the walk home. The silence from the kids and parents, but still with plenty of running down the pavements. The also smug satisfaction that I was almost home already. The pancake roll and chips I bought for my tea. You know, even on seemingly dismal days like today, it ain't a bad old life following Southend United, really.

__________________



Top post. Try not to leave it as long until your next visit. We will need all the fans we can get.
 
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