Danny Dyer & The No Score Draw
Tuesday 4th March 2014
—Harrow Borough 0 Margate FC 0—
Once again, I can only apologise for the unusual heading – but I promise it’s relevant & not a strange take on a Harry Potter title!
With the squad returning to Suffolk last Tuesday to play Leiston – all credit to the hardy souls that travelled – a 1-0 defeat wasn’t the best way to prepare for the visit of title challenging Wealdstone.
Sadly, that fixture fell victim to the elements, despite Graham Ives & the volunteers best efforts – A 9:30am pitch inspection was arranged (and unfortunately failed) – perhaps to save a repeat of last season’s fixture with Wealdstone, where the match referee controversially called off a perfectly playable pitch a mere hour before kick-off, to the general ire of the Wealdstone fans.
All credit to Ivesy & the volunteers for giving up their morning to try their best to get the game on – and credit also to Sarah Egan & her sterling efforts in keeping the bar open from 12 till 2, for supporters that fancied meeting up for a drink and a chat. With this said, it was disappointing to read Wealdstone’s Twitter page, which was extremely criticial of Margate.
I found this very insulting to both the efforts of Ivesy & our club – but I guess there’s no pleasing some people! In a twist of irony, a brief check of Wealdstone’s forum revealed that if the game was due to have been played at their ground, it wouldn’t have passed a pitch inspection either.
It must be said that the Wealdstone fans also vented their frustrations when their match with East Thurrock United was called off last night. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as I read their wild accusations of it being a conspiracy, of clubs calling games off because ‘they didn’t fancy playing Wealdstone’ and perhaps the most surreal yet – the genius of the fan who made this suggestion to the Ryman League Twitter page.
Leaving that negativity behind, we were due to play Harrow Borough away, with MISA once again generously organising a minibus for this trip. Not knowing this was the case at the time, I was kindly pointed in the right direction by various supporters of the club – Steve Furlong, Frankie Empson, Mark Sandwell, Kate & Dave Miles in particular were very helpful, not to mention the always charming Wendy Fletcher, who sorted things in no time at all.
Meeting up with Dan before the journey is always a pleasure, and arranging to sit next to each other while comparing sweet stashes made it very much like a school trip! As we waited, various characters came & went, most notably a smiling & dapper Peter Cove, Ivesy & Sarah, followed by a cheerful Keith Piper, who enlightened us about his new BMW – it definitely looked the business!
Before long, the other die-hard fans gathered – still trying to remember names, but a chap called Barry The Barber, Steve Furlong, Mark Sandwell (who generously drove us there & back) were among them, along with Dave Miles & Harvey. There was much theatrical tapping of watches as Tam showed up slightly late – but all this was swiftly stopped when he cheerily announced that the price of our foray into Middlesex would be a mere £10 per person – a bargain!
As we set off on our way, the sweets came out in time honoured fashion, and Mark took us on a scenic tour of Birchington, owing to some roadworks that he had to navigate. As the journey progressed, score predictions were made, and taste in females compared.
Steve & myself contented ourselves with talking about Louisa Lytton – who just so happened to be making an appearance in Margate-based series Edge Of Heaven – while Dan regaled us with various celebs that he’d took a shine to, as well as other teams physios.
Steve then took this opportunity to show me the various stunning ladies that Dan had managed to be photographed with – I must say, he’s an inspiration to us all!
Halfway to Harrow, and talk turned to more serious matters – mainly trying to act as Cupid for a sceptical Dan – and Steve eschewing his vow not to drink by indulging in a mug of wine or two, that somehow managed to find its way onto my bag – at time of writing, said bag is still recovering from a hangover, & I’ve been expecting it to start talking in order to tell me that it could do with a bacon sandwich.
While stuck in traffic, I wondered aloud if Harrow would have a female physio, and Dan’s eyes lit up – although he did rebuke me for trying to get his hopes up! This also provided me with the opportunity to ask him if – in the absence of Terry & Mel – he would mind rating the keeper’s backside out of 10.
He assured me that he was entirely fine with that, but looked slightly disconcerted for the rest of the journey, which was mainly spent by the other passengers waving & gesturing for a woman in a neighbouring car to get off her phone – not that we were bored, or anything!
On arrival at the ground – we near enough parked behind one of the goals – Dan’s worried expression lifted upon spotting that Harrow did indeed have a female physio, so I decided to relent and ask the Margate Casanova if he’d prefer to rate her out of 10 instead (to save Dan & myself from angry slaps at the next home game, I promise that this wasn’t in a misogynistic or sleazy way)
Dan kindly agreed, and after a brief tour of the stadium, the teams trotted out to the sound of ‘London Calling’ by The Clash – Terry Beales remarking that he’d been to a very eventful Clash gig up in London in his youth!
The travelling supporters (I’d estimate 30-40 myself – a great turnout) gathered behind the goal, in hope of witnessing an improved performance from our new group of players – it was reassuring to see Bods back in the starting line-up, after injury – with him & Jack Sammoutis being the shining lights in this game.
It must be said that nothing much happened in the first half – we got some shots on target which were saved comfortably by the Harrow custodian – who is possibly the friendliest keeper I’ve ever met – producing a wry smile whenever Ivesy reminded him to watch out for divots & pot-holes, and even producing the same reaction to me screaming “No!” or “Not that way!” as he was just about to take a goal-kick.
I believe it was a fair reflection on the first half when Sarah beckoned me over, to where the rest of the crowd were huddled around Steve Furlong’s phone – a new signing perhaps, or a latest bit of football gossip?
No, the game had plumbed to such diabolical lengths that everyone was admiring Steve’s Star Gazer app on his phone – Steve enjoyed pointing out the various stars & planets, & it has to be said – that was probably the highlight of the half. That, and finding out that Harrow’s right back was called Danny Dyer. Nice one bruvva!
Halftime came and went – with a look at the current scores in our League, I was surprised to see that Dulwich were two down at home to Met Police, and that Maidstone were losing 1-0 at Lewes.Yet again, this League really is an unpredictable one!
As the second half started, Harrow were looking more & more threatening, earning a succession of corners & the slightly American football sounding chant of ‘Here we go Borough, Here we go!’ from their fans – thankfully the corners came to nothing, although Nikki Bull had another inspired game in goal, responding well when he was called upon.
The game meandered on, with both Ademeno & Artemi being introduced for Bods & Tom Phipp – sadly this had no effect, although we did have a few chances to win the game – shooting straight at the keeper seemed to be the aim of the game, with Jefferson Louis being guilty of a couple of misses – I’m sure he’ll come good soon.
The late introduction of Wayne Wilson pacified some of the older crowd, who were insisting on bringing him on a lot earlier – and in the few minutes he had left to make an impact, he was unlucky to see one of his trademark curling free kicks saved by the keeper.
It must be said that the referee wasn’t the best – pulling play back to give us a free kick when Jefferson was clean through on goal, and booking Jack Sammoutis after a perfectly good tackle were his low points – that, & the fact that he looked very much like a schoolboy.
This didn’t stop Dan from passing judgement on his abilities – needless to say, it wasn’t a positive review, and needless to say, I agreed with him. As the final whistle blew, the slightly disgruntled fans applauded the players off the pitch – and expressed their disappointment with the draw, and standard of play. In all honesty, I was just glad we didn’t lose, and a point away from home is better than a kick in the teeth.
I felt a bit more urgency needed to be shown from some of the players, and watching Terry Brown’s post match interview on Gate Player – he didn’t seem particularly impressed himself.
I feel it’ll take a while for things to gel into place, and I hope him & the players get all the patience they deserve – I’m sure our more knowledgeable & shrewd fans will recognise that this is very much a work in progress, and continue supporting the team through thick & thin, as they always have done.
The journey home was fairly quiet, with my attempts at singing a classic Lionel Richie song being firmly rebuked – “No, it bloody isn’t!” came the answer to my warbling “Hello? Is it me you’re looking for?” A conversation about Heartbeat then followed, and as I type, I still have the song stuck in my head!
Eventually, a tired set of supporters made it into Hartsdown Park, after being ably driven back by Mark, whose company was a pleasure as always – everyone was truly grateful for his efforts. Indeed, Mark & Dave Miles even took the time to see that me and Dan were dropped off home – true gentlemen, the pair of them.
Although the result wasn’t the best, the company was – and I feel honoured to know so many great people since I began going to Margate games – it really does make it all the more enjoyable to be a MFC fan.
Our next game is against playoff chasing Kingstonian and their Geordie manager Alan Dowson – whilst undoubtedly talented as a manager, if you can make out any of what he says, you’ve got better hearing then I have.
Included below is an interview of his views on our FA Cup game with the K’s earlier this season. Subtitles available on request!
Also included are Dan’s reviews of both physio & burger – much appreciated mate!
Dan’s Away Day Physio Looks-O-Meter – “I’d say she’s more ‘cute’ than attractive” – 7 out of 10“
Dan’s Away Day Burger Review – “Burger was really nice, so were the onions – bun really nice as well. 8 out of 10“