The Barber takes us through his festive football ventures

Monday 06 Jan 2014
The Barber attended Tonbridge Angels v Eastbourne Borough on 28 December

Saturday lunchtime, with the rain coming down, I made a list of 15 games that I could feasibly go to.

Some research and a few phone calls later I had crossed out 14 of them, all postponed due to waterlogged pitches. What is going on? That would never have happened a few years ago.

So my 106th game of the season and 6,571th altogether turned out to be Barnet v Alfreton Town in the Conference Premier.

I got to The Hive around 2pm. It was dull, wet and miserable and I was the fourth person in the ground. I paid £17 to stand behind the goal and I have to say the pitch looked perfect.

It wasn’t a classic, Barnet going up to sixth with a 1-0 win, but I was just glad to see something.

I was back in time to watch the second half of Arsenal v Tottenham, followed by "Splash!", on the box.

FA Cup Third Round weekend is one of the season’s special ones and I had pencilled in Charlton’s tie with Oxford just to be part of it. But it was called off on Friday morning.

I think I was lucky to see five games over the Xmas/New Year period with the weather so dismal. I was in Sevenoaks in Kent for five nights and we were battered by gales and driving rain.

I saw Leyton Orient 2-3 Crawley Town (23 December), Bromley 0-0 Ebbsfleet United (26 December), Tonbridge Angels 2-1 Eastbourne Borough (28 December), Brentford 3-1 MK Dons (29 December) and QPR 2-1 Doncaster Rovers (1 January).

I watched the Bromley game on Boxing Day with my sister Kathy, my brother-in-law Martin kindly taking us there and back in the car. The crowd was an impressive 1,344 and again the pitch was perfect despite some evident local flooding.

My companion for another Conference South fixture at Tonbridge on the Saturday was my niece's husband, a Geordie lad who supports Newcastle.

I had a shoe malfunction, a hole in the left one letting in water, and Jonathan lent me his hiking boots before we set off in his car for Longmead Stadium. We were there in 18 minutes and stood behind the goal for the first half, Eastbourne missing several chances in front of us in the first few minutes. Angels won with a late penalty and are now out of the relegation positions.

All eight of Saturday’s AFA Senior Cup Fourth Round ties were cancelled and that wasn’t really a surprise. I hope to see one this coming weekend.

There are FA Trophy games too, weather permitting.


By David Barber FA Historian