Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Diary Milk

Meir KA vs Cadbury Athletic

10 April 2007

Unbelievable, even for me.

I've just returned from a trip to the Springbank Stadium, my second time in two weeks, and indeed only my second time ever. It'd been a while since The Groundhog and I had popped out, and therefore about time our plans coincided. That's my excuse, anyway. That, and it was a particularly nice evening in north Staffordshire as the yawning floodlights oozed pale disinterest throughout tonight's big event.

While the self-regarding Man Ure kicked seven bells out of their 'other' some fifty miles north, Cadbury emerged from the dressing rooms with the purple swagger of a brummie Viola stuck indefinitely on step six. By the end of the night they'd be more a discarded pack of Silk Cut, as KA grabbed one goal for each graduation in the hallowed pyramid.

About thirty tifosi took note, including one undisputed ultra - a pleasant fellow and sometime acquaintance of TG's who really has to be a fan if he's going to do this every week (which he does).

Several miles up the food chain, the 92 clubs that traditionally define our 'national game' are asking for more and more so that they can keep reinforcing the mega-brand values of the Premiership and Champions' League, either directly or as the knock-on effect.

Fans, meanwhile, can less and less afford twenty quid plus travel to watch our fourth-tier teams flounder every week, and while I'll still travel with the mighty Quakers, that's as far as it goes; the rest is just TV.

Egan's post on the corinthian spirit of football in Finland seems to apply equally to the Meirs of this world: "it's safe to say that they will retain the personal touch that often makes smaller football clubs friendlier, more welcoming places. So what if [our] pro teams aren't the best in Europe?"

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