Reading this prompted some thoughts:
I haven't been to a football game since the end of the 1999/2000 season. My marriage finally ended in summer 2000 and I was living in a little flat on my own. I woke up one morning meaning to go to a pre-season friendly - chance to check out new players, kit etc. - and found, for the first time, that I just couldn't be arsed. Soon after that I went on holiday: soon after that I met the woman I'm going to marry, and I haven't been back to Underhill since.
That season (2000/1) BFC were relegated. That felt bad, but not as bad as it would have felt if I'd been there, involved.
The next season I made plans to go a few times. I wasn't about to be one of those Fair-weather fans who only turn up when the going is good.
Never went. There was always too much on. I had the girls every other weekend; always seemed to coincide with home games. Sometimes I forgot to check the scores. I'd be sure to go next season.
Never went. We bought a house. When I didn't have the girls I was busy: repairs, decorating, blah blah. When I was free I had no money. There were fewer and fewer players whose names I knew. Still followed the scores, and the news on the websites. Maybe next season...
Never went. The Bees had a useful season, with a real goalscorer again. They reached the playoffs, and I was genuinely quite upset when they lost on penalties in the semi-final.
I miss the pre-match drink in the Queens Arms. I miss talking to people with whom I have only one interest in common. I miss being part of a disparate crowd of people with a common purpose. I miss having license to hurl abuse at someone for no good reason (referee, tubby midfielder, dodgy 'keeper). I miss buying a freshly-minted program. I miss the first day of the season when the grass is still intact and everything is possible. I even miss Enfield. Whatever happened to them?
Next season, back in the Queens with the Guardian and a pint of dodgy lager.
Get Nicky On!