As the great man's guest must produce his good stories or songs at the evening banquet, as the platform orator exhibits his telling facts at mid-day, so the journalist lies under the stern obligation of extemporizing his lucid views, leading ideas, and nutshell truths for the breakfast table.
Cardinal J. H. Newman, Preface to The Idea of a University, 1852

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Cheltenham home 25th Oct

The return of former manager Martin Allen gave us an exciting afternoon.

Won 3-1, two of our goals coming after Gueret had been sent off and we were down to 10 men.

At one point Allen was seen man-handling one of is own player back on to the pitch - clearly not accepting that the guy was injured. The ref then directed him off again.

It later transpired - so it was reported via the Moocamp - that this player had a broken wrist!

Allen contributed some things to the Dons in his season here (Winkelman says in the matchday programme that he gave us the determination to win), but I'm really glad he's gone. He was and is a bully.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Stockport home 21st Oct

An exciting evening match. Got the first goal but lost 2-1. We did all the attacking, but sometimes luck doesn't go your way. We conceded right at end, when pushing all-out for the win. It was pretty frantic, passionate stuff. I'd rather that than settling for the draw.

Crewe away, 18th Oct

A is away to uni, so it was just V & me. Travelled up on the train early and met with R, who took us to his house, then for a pub lunch. R has a wonderful house in the countryside.

Crewe struggling near the bottom of the league so we went in thinking it should be ours, and when we got an early goal it looked promising. But when theu equalised Crewe rallied and went in 2-1 up at half time. Meanwhile we hear that Liverpool are also losing 2-1 (to Wigan) at half time.

The dons equalise near the end, while Liverpool win 3-2. Crewe played better than their position in the league might suggest, though it was based very much on their tall strikers and 'the long ball'.

Carlisle home 11th Oct

A, V and I, but A brought along friends and sat apart from V and me. This was live on Sky - hence the cheap tickets for A's friends. Comfortable 3-1 win for the TV.

Bournemouth (Johnstone Paint Trophy) home 7th Oct

A,V and I loyally turned out for a somewhat miserable evening, to watch us go out 1-0 to a team near the bottom of league 2.

RdM was clearly playing some of this second-rank players which was fine, but it is a little irritating to read in the programme his claim that he takes the competition very seriously, wants to retain the cup, and that he will play his strongest team.

These players DO need to get competitative match experience, but don't claim this is the strongest team.

Millwall away 4th October

A, V and I went on the train, though some people thought we were mad, given the reputation (for violence) of the Millwall fans.

Glad we did. Winning 4-0 away to Millwall - who are above us in the league. It doesn't come much better than that! The first goal - in front of us - was nothing special, but the second was a delight. Baldock rounding the goal-keeper and calmly slotting it in from a tight angle. Our third was an embarrasing (for them) own goal, and the Millwall fans were non-too-happy by then. A small group of youngsters who'd been trying to intimidate us now took to keeping the ball when it went out (or maybe they didn't start that 'till we'd got our 4th?). Time wasting when your team is losing!

Part of the experience of going away to Millwall is the intimidation, and they didn't disappoint! There's a fenced walkway from the station to the ground, so it is pretty intimidating even when the Millwall fans are not there. On the way out, they let us know how they felt, from behind a line of police, making it clear they intended to 'get us' on the train. In the end I wasn't aware of anything actually taking place - except that one of them threw a coin at us - and I expect for most of them it is all part of the theatre.

Still, it was nothing like I've encountered anywhere else. Contrary to what might be the not-football-watching-public might expect, I've never felt seriously threatened anywhere else, and at most places felt positively welcomed ("hope you have great day but lose").

Looking in on one of the Millwall fans forums though, they did not come across at all pleasant. Stuff like the damage they'll do to our stadium on the return match, and some thinly-disguised racism. The club itself have obviously been working hard to move on, but 'unreformed' still seems a good label for at least some of their fans.

Peterborough home 27th Sept.

This feels like a local derby, somehow there's more rivalry between us and Peterborough than Northampton, so losing was a bit painful (2-1).

Again, though, I didn't feel we were out-played (as we were at Leicester, for example), we conceded through mistakes which we ought to be able to learn from.

Colchester away, 20th Sept

V & I went on the train again.

We were nearly late for kick-off, because I insisted on going into the town before the match. I've got this idea that we are not spending all this money and time only on the football, so we should at least see something of the places we visit. A steward at the station, guiding fans to the shuttle buses (no parking at their new stadium, so there's a park and ride) told me I could catch the shuttle bus anywhere in the town. That was not true! However, a really helpful bus driver took us from the town to the shuttle buses (I think he may even have diverted his route slightly) and we arrived OK.

Comfortable 3 - 0 win. Great for us, but I felt really sorry for the Colchester fans - they were so miserable on the shuttle bus to the station. One of them asked ne what I thought of their new ground. When I said how nice it was, he agreed but 'just a pity we can't play any decent football in there'.

As usual, the home fans were encountered in the bus were friendly, just one old chap, as we got in the bus at the end and he saw our shirts: "bloody stupid name for a football club".

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Oldham away, 13 Sept.

We all went up to Manchester on the train, met J and C to visit the Museum of Science and Technology, then A, V and I went on to the match.

Lost 2 - 0, but Oldham were top at the time, so it didn't feel like a disaster, except that we missed a penalty when we were 1 goal down.

A sunny afternoon, so the run-down post-industrial landscape looked, to my eyes, quite artistic as we walked from the station to the ground. Imposing brick factories (mills?) with broken windows.

Before the trip I'd joined an Oldham athletic fans forum to ask advice on the public transport. Seemed like an intelligent and friendly crowd. There were some voicing their dislike of 'franchise fc', but mostly in a polite and intelligent manner... Others showed good understanding of where we're coming from.

Yeovil home, 6th Sept.

V and me again, A still on holiday. But this time A did miss a good match. Well, we won 3-0 anyway.

Swindon town home 30th Aug

It was just me and V, A being away on holiday. A miserable, dull, 2-1 loss, as I recall - neither side doing much until Swindon scored on 52 mins. Only consolation was that we conceded due to mistakes rather than being outplayed. You can learn from your mistakes.

Huddersfield away 23 Aug

We were holidaying nearby (staying at Holmfirth) "by coincidence" and so all four of us (me, J, A and V) were able to be there. A glorious sunny day in a fine, open stadium. A 3-1 win: couldn't be better.

When we were 3 - 0 up, the Dons sing to Gueret "Willy whats the score" and he gestures 3 - 0 to us. Shame he then lost his clean sheet.

After we had conceded a goal, with less than 10 minutes to go, Gueret was clearly very agitated, so much so that one our fans shouted "DON'T WORRY WILLY!". Wonderful!

Impressed by the town of Huddersfield, with its fine stone buildings. Much better than I was expecting, for some reason (some prejudice about Yorkshire, probably!)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Northampton home 16 August

Won 1 0. We were there, but for some reason I can't recall anything about the match. Must have been memorable, then.

Leicester away 9/8/09

Went with A and V on the coaches.

Lost 2 - 0 but we didn't expect mcuh more. It was nice to see Dyer playing well for Leicester, and good that we - the Dons fans - were, reasonably, positive towards him.

I want it to go on record that I was always commenting on how good he was with us last season. A and I often pondered why Andrews was getting all the plaudits, when Dyer seemed a far better player.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pre season friendlies

We went to a few

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Keeping track of the MK Dons season

I'll be at most home matches and quite a few away this season.