Mum’s The Word
Saturday 5th April 2014
—Margate FC 1 Bognor Regis Town 1—
After a goalless draw away at Wingate & Finchley, in which I was lucky enough to be driven by Dave & Chris – their banter causing an agonized looking Wendy to roll her eyes skywards & remark to me “You see what I have to put up with?” after a chat that compared the playoff records of Gillingham & Preston North End.
All this before Chris informed me about the Sahara dust settling on his windscreen & Finney’s unfortunate accident after the Canvey Island game, in what could well be the most precise summary of the referee’s performance I’d ever heard (or in Chris, Dave and Wendy’s case, smelt)
But I digress.
In truth, it wasn’t a bad performance from a tired looking Gate side, but we looked a bit toothless up front, with Jefferson Louis providing an irritating mixture of shooting wide, not passing to team-mates in better positions, and generally looking disinterested.
As fellow fan Dan Boyle astutely pointed out, too many wrong choices were made in the final third, although there was a lot to be said for our brand of passing football that Terry Brown has bought in – sadly, there was no end product, despite us peppering the Wingate goal, & my vain attempts to bribe their keeper Bobby Smith with a Double Decker bar that Wendy had kindly given me earlier in the evening.
Unfortunately, the always cheerful & smiling custodian declined my match-fixing attempts, while jokingly informing me that he could be swayed if the chocolate bar on offer was a Mars bar. It must be said that Wingate & Finchley are one of the friendliest clubs I’ve visited, and talking to fellow blogger ‘Sharky Doon’ of http://itstartedwithamiss.wordpress.com/ fame was a pleasure.
Wendy graciously took up Arse-O-Meter duties yet again, with Dan doing the burger judging – the results are below.
Wendy’s Keeper Arse-O-Meter
“7 out of 10, because he did some stretches that enhanced his Arse-O-Meter level”
Dan’s Away Day Burger Review
“Burger was OK, not the best – chips were nice, but a small portion. 5 out of 10”
And so the next game saw us face playoff contenders Bognor Regis Town – having fond memories of our weekender there (although losing 5-3 wasn’t the best) this was a game I was looking forward to – if only to see if Bognor had chosen Margate for their weekender again this season.
Walking up to the ground beforehand, I’d made the plunge & bought my mum to the game, who was duly introduced to everyone – who in truth, couldn’t have been more friendlier & welcoming – and she was known as ‘Martin’s Mum’ for the duration of her enjoyable stay at Hartsdown Park.
Sitting in the bar, her gambling streak came out as she & I partook in the Grand National sweepstake, held by Ivesy, and the SuperDraw, held as ever by Cliff Egan. I also indulged in the World Cup sweepstake held by Mark Sandwell, and am dreading who I get stuck with!
Before long, the usual suspects turned up, & I gave Mel an early birthday present in the form of a Barcelona teddy bear, which I believe she has already named Xavi. Steve, I can only apologise mate!
Seeing the Bognor fans, I wasn’t sure if they were on another weekender, but they bought a fair number of fans down with them – including some familiar faces and their good-natured banter – not to mention a giant green plush football, was a welcome sight on a sunny day.
As the game kicked off, my mum went to sit in the stands (she’s not as young as she was, bless her) while myself, the Choir & the Mini Shark Lads contented ourselves with a mad dash to the Coffin End, along with a few songs as Gate started brightly.
Unfortunately, this proved to be a false dawn, as Bognor broke away and scored with their first attack of the game. Oddly, or perhaps down to tiredness after their last game on Thursday, they seemed to take their foot off the gas somewhat, and Margate attacked with renewed vigour, Bods hitting the bar with a long range strike in an attempt to win goal of the season.
Before long, Gate equalised as a slide rule pass from Charlie Wassmer set Charlie Allen through. As he rounded the keeper, I feared he’d see his effort cleared off the line by the covering Bognor defender – this didn’t happen however, as Charlie kept his head to slot home calmly, putting us on level terms.
Chances came & went, in a pulsating first half that also saw the late, breathless arrival of George, and some superb banter from the youthful looking Bognor number 4 – who answered my question about how his GCSE’s were going by responding that he’d taken them two years ago, and asking if I had any. Have to take my hat off at the quickness of his reply! As the half-time whistle went, my own feeling was that this could be anyone’s game.
After a brief sojourn to the bar, where people were feverishly watching the Grand National, I stepped outside as the second half was about to kick off – and an enthralling game continued. Again, chances came & went for both sides, before a roar of anguish from the bar was shortly followed by the appearance of Stu & George, who informed us that their horses had both fell.
I had brief hope that the horse I’d ended up with – the aristocratic sounding Tricolo D’Alene, would earn me a tidy sum, but sadly the Mini Shark Lads dashed my hopes of riches beyond my wildest dreams (well, £50) by informing me that my horse had pulled up. My suggestion that it was maybe feeling its calf was met with predictable groans! In the event, Mel won the sweepstake – deservedly so, and a great early birthday present for her!
As the football went on, some light-hearted banter was exchanged with some Bognor fans as to what was better out of Butlins & Dreamland (with Dreamland still being closed, I think Bognor might have the edge on us there!) – following that, the lads put in a superb effort to spur Margate onto victory, in which all manner of Margate-related songs were sung, including a superb rendition of the Larry Lemur song.
This however, was not the icing on the cake – that was promptly provided by Ivesy’s work of art, which he had come up with only that morning. It would be doing his sheer genius & creativity a deep disservice if I didn’t include his lyrics that we belted out with gusto (in the tune of Mambo Number 5) so here they are, for your delectation –
‘A little bit of Margate in our lives
A little bit of astro round the fives
A little bit of Bob with all his cash
A little bit of Ivesy on the lash
A little bit of Browny in control
A little bit of Cashy in his role
A little bit of singing from the fans
A little bit of Boyley you’re the man!!!’
In honour of this lyrical gem from Ivesy, we then serenaded him with ‘He’ll trim your bush’ which he accepted graciously, with a regal wave. Fully deserved!
As the game petered out, both sides seemed content to settle for a draw – and as the final whistle blew, I must confess to being happy with a point against a good Bognor side – who are definitely a much improved outfit from last season, & worthy playoff contenders.
In other news regarding our League, Carshalton & Cray were relegated yesterday, with Thamesmead surely being the next to follow.
The fourth relegation spot is occupied by our opponents on Tuesday night, East Thurrock United – and while I have nothing against the Essex side, I hope we can do both Enfield Town and Wingate & Finchley a favour by winning at Rookery Hill – by no means an easy task against a side that beat Maidstone United 3-1.
We also found out one of the new sides we’ll be playing next season as well – Sussex side Peacehaven & Telscombe being crowned champions of the Ryman South.
With six games to go, here’s hoping we can finish the season as we mean to start it next year – and whilst on the subject of next season, the Early Bird season ticket prices were posted on Friday – all credit to the official Margate website – and with a decrease of £10 for an adult ticket, it really is well worth getting.
As ever, the only fitting way to end this article is with Terry & Mel’s Away Keeper Arse-O-Meter, and a new feature, in which a new Margate fan chose her Man Of The Match. I also mustn’t forget Dan’s obligatory picture with the away team’s physio – I genuinely think they make a great couple!
Terry & Mel’s Away Keeper Arse-O-Meter
“Didn’t have anything about him, to be honest – 2 out of 10”
Martin’s Mum’s Man Of The Match
“Who was the number 11? He looked a great little player” (Matt Bodkin)