It finished all square at the Scrubs.
By David Barber - Wednesday, 06 June, 2012
The superfan’s season ended at Wembley.
The portly chanteuse has sung her last note and the domestic 2011-12 season has come to an end. There was a film in the late ‘60s about Anne Boleyn called something like ‘Anne of a Thousand Days’ – Richard Burton was in it – and I can now claim to be ‘Fan of a Thousand Goals’ after seeing 1,012 in my 244 games.
I went to 13 games in my first-ever season, most of them at Crystal Palace, and in my first two as an FA employee I saw 156 and 153 respectively. I didn’t reach the magic 200 until the last weekend of 2003-04, attending a testimonial game at Ruislip Manor for a youth player who had suffered a career-ending injury at 18.
I’ve beaten my record number of games by four. During a season of relatively mild weather I also saw 14 in one week and 40 in one month. I saw a team score four in six minutes, a 10-2 and a 9-0 on the same evening, a player injured two seconds after the kick-off who took no further part in the game, and a player come on as a substitute at Wembley two seconds before the ref blew for time.
My best game was Redbridge v Ebbsfleet United in The FA Cup Fourth Round Qualifying in October. The Motormen rode their luck against a team three divisions higher and it was still goalless going into the last ten minutes. Then the home side scored twice for a classic Cup ‘giant-killing’.
I don’t know if excessive football-watching will ever be a crime but on Saturday morning I went to Wormwood Scrubs, the site of the famous prison. There was a ten o’clock kick-off between Absolute Bankers and Athletico Brent Cross on one of the pitches behind the Linford Christie Stadium. It was a new ground for the superfan and was reached via a Central line tube to East Acton and a short walk.
Absolute Bankers, known as ‘AB’, took the lead after just three minutes of this London Football League fixture. I’m not going to say the crowd went mad, because I was the only spectator and arguably I was mad to start with. In the second half a lady asked me if I’d seen a little black dog. I’d been sniffed at by at least 20 dogs that morning but not by one fitting that description.
Athletico equalised and then had a ‘winner’ ruled out for offside near the end. My afternoon game had 85,090 more spectators but one fewer goal.
I should end by correcting an error in my comments on the AFA Senior Cup Final in April. The only goal of the contest didn’t come from a corner but from a free-kick taken near the corner flag. That’s what happens when you’re chatting to people behind the goal and not paying attention
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