The View from the Bar

It’s always a pleasure to welcome Fareham Town and their loyal band of supporters to Westwood, even if the wooden supporter they used to bring with them has been absent for the last one or two visits. Not sure what’s up with him – dry rot perhaps, or woodworm maybe. Technically he never counted in the attendance figures, but has probably been to more matches than your average SWL away fan, and added more to the atmosphere than some too. And despite this, he never fashioned himself as an ‘ultra’ or played a bloomin’ drum either, so I can’t help but like him…
Of course we’ve already played twice already this season, the first occasion back in August was notable as being our first victory on the mainland in over a year, while our second visit to Cams Alders proved equally as memorable as the likes of me and Pete Jeffery were sent scampering for the record books as we racked up an incredible 9-0 victory in the Wessex League Cup (a shame we couldn’t have saved a few of those goals for subsequent games, truth be told). Something tells me we’ll be facing a much tougher task today. One thing that stood out for us after that game was the number of Fareham supporters who took to social media to congratulate us afterwards, something which absolutely didn’t go un-noticed. Loyal, passionate AND magnanimous that Fareham lot, not to mention capable of drinking the Painters dry, as legend has it happened on one occasion…
It’s a shame we haven’t got a Boxing Day fixture to look forward to this year, although I guess that’s the price we pay for being the only Island side up in the Premier Division. That said, even when they have been scheduled in recent years they’ve fallen foul of the weather more often than not. Down in Division 1, I’m surprised to see that Vics and Newport opted to play their derby on Saturday 29th rather than on Boxing Day. I’m sure they’d have had a much bigger crowd on the 26th, and I dare say a few interested Yachtsmen would have made the trip over to Whippingham too. Boxing Day fixtures definitely seem to have gone out of favour at our end of the pyramid, and more’s the pity – they’re a great chance for clubs to connect with their local community as you always get a good number of casual supporters (or indeed first-time attendees) looking for an excuse to get out the house after the excesses of the previous day. It was always good fun seeing our (ahem) usually Olympian heroes waddling about with fuzzy heads and full bellies, but no less passion than you’d expect from a normal local derby.
Merch news! There’s only one club scarf left for purchase (well, two if you count the one up behind the bar), so if you want one today you’d better get in quick. I’ve made enquiries about ordering another batch (nearly sixty now sold!), but it seems the company who did them are no longer trading, so it might be a while before we get any more, and if we’re going to a new company I might get tempted to do a new design, so keep your eyes peeled for more news on that.
Other merch news! Unless they arrive Saturday morning, it unfortunately looks as though the order of club mugs that we were getting in for Christmas won’t be available today. Maybe they’ll miraculously appear, but if not they should be available at the Baffins game on 29th December. A bargain at £4.50 each, so make sure you save a bit from your Christmas spends. I knew I shouldn’t have ticked the option for getting them shipped in via Gatwick…
Finally, thanks again for all your support through 2018. Here’s wishing everyone involved with the club – on the pitch, in the stands and behind the scene – a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year!
Enjoy the game.

Toby.

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