TS won 6-0 on a bitterly cold morning.
By David Barber - Monday, 25 February, 2013
FA superfan David Barber shivered through three matches
It was actually quite warm at the weekend. It was only the ‘wind chill factor’ that made it feel like minus ten.
On Saturday there were snow flurries on the train journey down to Purley, a more substantial snow shower at lunchtime and then a raw north-easterly wind whistling round the stand at Croydon Sports Arena as I took a seat in the back row at 2.45.
“Good afternoon, everybody”, said the PA announcer.
I looked round and I was the only one in the ground. Two more woolly-hatted people poured in before kick-off and a few minutes into the match I counted 25 watching. Not bad in the circumstances.
One chap said to his friend: “What are we doing here? We could be at home watching the rugby”.
It was my third visit of the season to the Arena and Croydon’s opponents in Saturday’s Combined Counties League Premier Division fixture were South Park, who reached the Fourth Round Qualifying of The FA Cup in October. There were only three points between them in the table but Park won 6-0.
It was only 2-0 at half-time and the Trams still had a sniff of a chance but they rather caved in towards the end and a Park sub notched a hat-trick inside ten minutes. I speed-walked back to Norwood Junction, some feeling returning to my hands and feet, and was soon back in the warm ‘watching the rugby’.
I had five layers on again in Regent’s Park on Sunday morning, as per FIFA guidelines, and there were plenty of matches to choose from. Zoo FC’s opponents didn’t turn up, so I turned my attention to PWC City v TS London in Division Two of the London Accountants League. I was the only spectator as that freezing wind seemed to be blowing in every direction and I saw another 0-6.
After thawing out at the hotel, I left at around 2.30 for Wembley. I’d received a message on Wednesday that a small number of box tickets for the Football League Cup Final had become available, so I immediately applied for one.
When I’d heard nothing by Friday lunchtime, the bottom lip was starting to quiver – but then the all-important email came through.
Some of the ladies in the next box had silver foil over their legs to combat the cold. The constant rustling of the foil was something I hadn’t heard at a match before.
The Premier League team beat the League Two team 5-0, but it wasn’t the most one-sided Final at Wembley. That honour would go to Greenwich v Paddington in the London Civil Defence Cup Final of 1945, which Greenwich won 10-1. One of their goals came direct from a corner, as I expect you remember.
Matches this season = 119
Matches in total = 6,414
© The Football Association 2001-2013,
All Rights Reserved