Veni, Vidi…

Conference Premier – Woking FC v Newport County AFC
Tuesday, 22nd January 2013, 7.45pm
Kingfield Stadium
Distance 16 miles, Attendance 2 (photographers), 12 (stewards) and a load of people heading home
“ I’ve done the shopping dear” I beamed (sarcastically) holding out a bulging Sainsbury’s carrier bag. Once a week my wife does palates, I on the other hand do football. Theoretically this works well but, in that one act – signalling the end of my weekly entertainment – defeat was acknowledged.
In the early evening darkness, I’d gingerly crawled out of our icy road and headed towards Surrey. The car – wisely packed with everything the nice man at the AA (and the average groundhopper) deems practical for such journeys – made light work of the adverse conditions. Soon I was flying down the A3. Actually I was driving rather moderately behind rather panicky drivers; flying in the other direction gentle white flakes were beginning to fall again.
Like everything it started gently but, within minutes a full on blizzard was swirling round both my senses and the windscreen. Did I reconsider? Did I turn back before I went too far? Did I heck. I was confident, I was in good time, and I’d shrewdly phoned the club before leaving. Cheerfully they’d assured me, “The players are all here. The game is on.”
As live football offerings go tonight’s was a weather-battered sparse one. There was the odd league game and Bradford (tragically only available to sky subscribers) were within spitting distance of Wembley but, in live AND local terms Woking was the Obi-Wan Kenobi of Non League; Woking was my only hope. Arriving at the ground the snow showed no sign of abating but, fans – like any other match – eagerly scurried to and fro.
130121 CP Woking v Newport County (10)bStaring excitedly to the heavens as flakes landed in my eyes, all I could think of was the lesser spotted orange ball. Like a magical winter’s display, the blizzard was in full swing and inviting floodlights highlighted the flakes dancing about them. “Game’s off mate!” came a solemn voice from the valleys passing by me, as I stared heavenwards. All about the to and fro fans were actually rushing hurriedly for cars and coaches; others trudged towards the main entrance in search of a comforting word or two from club officials.
Granted I didn’t have a four hour trek back to South Wales in such conditions but the disappointment was still strong. Forget the time spent pawing over Non League Paper fixtures or car packing, what about the anecdotes and stories I planned to write of? There were exciting tales of Cardinals from Wochinges to be recounted, and William the 1th, cremations, a phoenix, Albion, Edinburgh, Europe, Rodney and Gavin (owner of The Chilterns first Amber & Black scarf maybe). Even as I slid to a halt in the club car park I’d mourned the lost opportunity to get “Isn’t it!” into a passage…

130121 CP Woking v Newport County (1)

“Game’s off…” announced the lad from the land of his fathers (and my brother) through gallows humour “…It’s snowing!”. “Isn’t it” I retorted childishly before wishing him a safe journey home and wandering off to the turnstiles.
At the open gate – in our world of over-zealous health and safety – it was good to find stewards encouraging alcohol consumption in the bar, whilst others allowed me in to survey the scene up close, “You can do what you like…” sighed one “…except play football”.
130121 CP Woking v Newport County (7)   130121 CP Woking v Newport County (6)
Driving home as the snow slowed, I listen as up north Bradford bulldozed the Villa whilst closer to home Aldershot were playing with an orange ball… had I made the right choice?
Like others I may not be back for the rearranged fixture but at least; I came, I saw…
130121 CP Woking v Newport County (13)b
I got a free programme.
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