Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Noose Lane

A few weeks back, Groundhog and I ventured west to Oswestry, where TNS were sadly defeated by Fram Reykjavik. It was entertaining but felt a little artificial, with its sunshine and its Europa League flags, its regulation all-seatedness, and its Hugh Dallas.

So this evening we began our season proper with a jaunt down the M6 to Willenhall, which is anything but artificial. Somehow I knew we weren't quite pioneers, but this was to be our first away game with Leek Town, this season's adopted team, who had rebounded from 3-1 down to draw with Loughborough Dynamo at the weekend.

The match was played out beneath darkening skies thick like monochrome toothpaste. Thumping studs roused swirling dust storms like stetsons in the Nevada Desert. The smell of Deep Heat emanated spontaneously from the thighs of plucky midfielders. In the bar behind the Willenhall goal a fruit machine shuffled out a stream of cash-prize consciousness to distant spectators. Every now and again, a foghorn would sound across the Black Country night: "ANOTHER DISGRACE, REF!" Plus ├ža change.

2-1. Glorious. Life begins at (seven) forty-five. And thanks to work stuff, I won't even be at Vale Park this Saturday.