The View from the Bar

Well, finally, here we are again. It’s been a while – four weeks to be precise – since our last home game. So what’s been happening since then, then? For starters, five away matches. The three league outings have produced three disappointing results, all being defeats, albeit close defeats. It sounds like we could (and very probably should) have got something from all of them, especially the reverse at Lymington last week when we were 2-1 up going into the final ten minutes, but hey ho. Then there were the two cup matches. The less said about the Hampshire Senior Cup defeat to Alresford this last midweek the better, probably, although Arlebury Park is always a tough place to go and their current league position looks very misleading as I’m sure they’ll be up into the top six before too long. But with any luck not too quickly – our next home match (a fortnight today) is against Alresford, so here’s hoping for a successful revenge mission that day.
But we haven’t mentioned the Wessex League Cup visit to Fareham yet, have we? Cams Alders isn’t a ground we’ve become accustomed to winning at, so the league victory there at the start of the season was a welcome boost, but this visit was something else entirely and sent us scurrying for the record books for various reasons, not least the incredible 9-0 score-line. Not quite our largest away victory (that was 12-0 at Thornycroft in 1931), but certainly our best in the post-war years. What was confirmed though was club captain and all-round man marvel John McKie’s passing the 100-goal mark for the club, an incredible achievement I’m sure you’ll agree. He hasn’t quite made it to a hundred first team goals yet, but at 97 he’s not far off so all being well expect another celebration shortly. What’s certain is that he’s now up in the top four 1st Team scorers in the past 25 years, and has snuck into the top ten all-time 1st Team scorers too. Let’s not let him get too complacent though – he still has a fair way to go to match George Reader’s incredible all-time record of 322 1st Team goals!
Set right in the middle of our run of away games came my latest work trip to Denmark. Not much of interest (or that I’m allowed to report) from the work aspect, but it did give me the chance to attend a couple more Superliga matches. First up was a Friday night trip to see Esbjerg take on Odense Boldklub, and a comfortable 2-0 victory for the newly-promoted home side in their excellent Bluewater Arena. I’m not the biggest fan of modern stadiums as you may well know, but this place is wonderful (a bit like Q.P.R.’s Loftus Road, except really, really nice). Two days later and I was back at current champions Midtjylland for their 3-1 win over title rivals Copenhagen. The MCH Arena is lacking a bit in character compared to Esbjerg, but with a capacity 12,000 crowd in, a cracking match to enjoy and the novelty of a terrace vantage point it still made for a great evening out. I did have the chance to check out Silkeborg’s new stadium too, but thought I’d better actually squeeze some work into the trip so passed up on this one. I might try and get to their next encounter against Nordsjaelland though – both teams play on artificial pitches and the local media have dubbed their clashes ‘El Plastico’. Ho ho.
Hot news on the collection front, and the first interesting bits I’ve bought in a while. First up, I’ve recently taken delivery of my first wartime Cowes programme, for a match between Southampton and Cowes at the Dell in the Hampshire War League. A pretty basic four-pager, as you might expect, but packed with character and a very useful warning on the back regarding what to do in the case of an air raid! Different times indeed. Then this week I bought a couple of the postcards sent out in the 1950’s by club secretary Reg Reynolds, informing players of their selection for Cowes matches. These two went to H. Johnson (we haven’t found out his first name yet) for games against Newport in the 1953-54 season. Lovely bits and pieces all!
Back to the present now though, and the matter in hand. We’ve a good history of well-contested matches with Christchurch over the past 25 years or so, so let’s hope today is no different. Be loud, be proud, Up The Yachtsmen!
Enjoy the game,
Toby.

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