Sunday, October 17, 2010

In praise of lower-league football

R (who is nearly 9) and I went again to see Cambridge United yesterday.  We managed to go quite a few times last season and, a but to my surprise, R is keen to go more often.  I have to say that I'm delighted.  It's not a cheap afternoon out (tickets for the 'Family stand' are £16 for an adult and £5 for a child) and, let's be honest, you will see better football if you spend the money of a subscription to Sky sports.  But on the other hand, there is something magical about the walk to the ground as gradually people all wearing replica shirts and scarves converge from the side streets on their way to the turnstiles.  And the walk home is just as lovely, even when you have lost, particularly later in the winter when it is already dark and you leave the floodlights behind.  (And yesterday we won 3-1.  Come on the Us!)

And given that only around 3000 people are there, you somehow feel as if your presence is important.  You have made a reasonable contibution to the support and the noise.  You can sit close enough to the pitch to hear the players swearing at one another.  You get recognised after only a few visits by the programme seller.  And the hot dogs are great.  (Probably they aren't really great, of course, but they taste good when you are there in the stands.)

Anyway, this is all working up towards a plug for next Saturday's game.  It's a 3 o'clock kick-off (as it should be) and it's the FA cup.  A tie vs. Lewes FC (of the Blue Square South) and it's a 'quid a kid' so there really is no excuse for not taking your child (under 10...) along.

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