MIKE GARNETT: That Was The Week That Was...

The following article is reproduced from "The Robins' Review" of 3 October 2015.

MIKE GARNETT: That Was The Week That Was...

When I first started watching Alty the Prime Minister was a pipe-smoking Yorkshireman who once opined that 'a week is a long time in politics'. In the intervening 47 years I have learned a number of things – including the fact that watching a lot of football over a long number of years doesn’t make you an expert on the game in any way, shape or form – but it is increasingly clear to me that what Darlin’ ’Arold (as my fictional surnamesake used to refer to him) said about politics can equally well be applied to this subject.

Take, for example, the last full week of September. Sunday dawned in the wake of the ultimate ‘bad day at the office’ and the Non-League Paper’s account of the Braintree game merely added to the woe. The recovery process began on Monday evening with a trip to Moston. It wasn’t the first time I had been in the vicinity of Broadhurst Park, FC United’s new palace – if I’m using the bus to get into Manchester there’s a two in three chance that the route will go past the ground – but the FA Youth Cup 1st Qualifying Round game between FCUM and ourselves was my first venture inside.

What a pleasure to spend an evening, at moderate cost, watching 28 young men playing football, rather than hoofball, on a decent playing surface, each one giving his level best without a word of complaint to match officials and only one instance of what might be regarded as cynical foul play (aka ‘professionalism’ – a contradiction in terms if ever there was one!). The attendance would have been respectable for a Northern Premier League game and the whole experience was as positive as the previous Saturday had been negative. The fact that Alty won was almost incidental!

A dental check-up on Tuesday morning meant only one thing – they’re a bit like MOTs on an old car; the examination is free but they’re bound to find something, in this case the need for a filling – so the afternoon was spent with an aching lower jaw and a hole in my pocket where the money used to be.

Come the evening, as usual when we’re playing and I can’t get to the game, I tried to avoid radio or other contact but curiosity (or perhaps dread) led me to look up the half-time score from Lincoln and go into Victor Meldrew mode. From then on it was worry, worry, worry until the final score came through and, with it, our first away point of the season – clearly a vast improvement.

When Saturday comes, so does football – in this case a visit to my second ‘new ground’ of the week, Boreham Wood’s well-appointed Meadow Park. You’ll have to wait till next month for my thoughts on both venue and game, but the occasion did throw up a number of notable ‘firsts’ for the statistically-minded.

Our first away win of the season and, indeed, our first since the success at Dartford at the end of March; our first ‘clean sheet’ since Good Friday at home to Southport and our first on our travels since the televised win at Welling in early March; and, praise be, our first success from the penalty spot since James Walshaw netted at Workington on April 8th 2014. Incidentally, the attendance last Saturday was just nine more than at Moston the previous Monday (though the receipts will have been considerably higher!), which prompts the question as to how Boreham Wood can function as in effect a full-time club on gates of that kind – but that’s another question for another day.

I am reminded of a certain satirical Saturday night television programme from the early sixties which regularly featured Millicent Martin singing ‘That was the week that was’ – it may be over but I for one will have difficulty letting this particular week go from the memory. One minor ‘groundhog day’ gripe, though – do we have to get a real towsing at home every September to wake us up? Onwards and upwards...

Mike Garnett.