Woking: Generic Preview Bollocks
After a three-week hiatus "The Bollocks" is back, reflecting on people operating on the fringes of sanity, on a big step-up for Jamie O'Hara, on the Berlin Wall at Oakwood Park, on the stigma of being a middle-aged male from Kent and on the likely implications of the travel ban as we try to cross the border into Surrey for tomorrow's SIX-POINTER with Woking. Well what a week it’s been ladies and gentlemen, what a week it’s been. Much has happened since we last brought you “the bollocks”, much of it bad. Here in the ‘Stone it was revealed that cuddly buy-to-let millionaire Fergus Wilson offered a reporter £10,000 to take part in a bare-knuckle boxing match, after he objected to something said reporter had written. There’s a facile joke in there about putting up with three minutes of discomfort for ten grand, an arrangement that is, after all familiar, to many a career hooker longing for widowhood. Also operating on the very fringes of sanity, “the authorities” have built a metal fence around Oakwood Park, once used by David Sadler and Jon Harley, turning what was happily used as an open space for decades into what looks like a high-security detention facility, apparently because said "authorities” are worried about litter and dogshit. The local football scene has been similarly bedevilled by strangeness. The internet “lost its shit” on Friday, with the news that former top-flight player Jamie O’Hara (co-incidentally, a middle-aged man from Dartford) had signed for Billericay, although this at least gives us the chance to point out that as his last club was Gillingham, this does in fact represent the same kind of upwardly mobile progression Paul Konchesky enjoyed when he left 01634land for Ricay a few weeks ago. Even closer to home, our former chairman, Paul Bowden-Brown, is moving Thamesmead to Dartford, our former landlords. Our other former landlords at Ashford have officially regained ownership of the ground they were playing at anyway. Gravesend & Northfleet are going to become self-sufficient by building a hotel (meeting the huge demand for high-quality accomodation in the Northfleet area) and there was joyous news for Gillingham fans, as Paul Scally, peace and praise be upon him, revealed the masterplan for a trip to the promised land of the Premier League, which involves moving to an arena on Mill Hill. “So long as I have an ounce of energy left in my body I will give this club the best and only chance of achieving its potential in Medway and thus putting itself in a position in a new arena to chase Premier League glory for the benefit of everyone in Medway for the next 100 years and more.” It’s good of Sir Paul to give us all a laugh at times like this, because the force for eternal good that is Maidstone United can’t shield us from geo-political events all by itself. And it has to be said that after the emotional high of Tuesday night, Wednesday was something of a downer. Angry middle-aged men from Kent “took to social media” to express outrage, before realising the assassin was an angry-middle aged man from Kent. In keeping with the solemn mood, during the Germany v England testimonial dear old Clive Tyldesley proudly declared that the England fans were making all the noise, apparently oblivious to the fact that the noise in question was a chant of “ten German bombers”. Further songs in which men (always men) basked in the reflective glory of a conflict that ended 72 years ago were reported by journalists who were subsequently called “nonces” on twitter, by men (always men) whose profiles reveal they are called things like “ForestTillIDie”, that they hate Europe and that they “aren’t afraid of the PC brigade” or the “not being a pigshit-thick fascist brigade” as they could perhaps be known. The correlation between “loving” something and making the thing you claim to love an object of ridicule is as yet unproven, so let’s chuck a controversial point of view out there and suggest there are better ways to show you “love your country” than by sticking a Union Jack on your Avatar, getting arseholed on Jaegerbombs and singing about Bomber Harris in the middle of a German city centre. It might equally be said that there are better ways of showing you love your club than by walking around the Town End and (allegedly) goading Sutton fans. It seems that once again there was some isolated shitgibbonry on Tuesday night, from fans on both sides of the divide. Sutton’s fans did our shitgibbon a favour by not responding to his provocation. The Sutton shitgibbon who allegedly used the John Terry adjective-noun combination did us a favour by so riling Jamar that he raised his game to the point he threatened to tear the ringpiece out of their backline every time we went forwards. If he plays like that tomorrow we stand a decent chance of atoning for the shocker back in the autumn. The home game against Woking was one of the very worst performances of the season and possibly one of the worst we’ve seen at JWW. After an ok half an hour we capitulated, conceding two quick goals and showing hardly any fight afterwards, all to the backdrop of a completely sterile atmosphere. There’s every reason to believe this will be a completely different game, given that at least four of the starting line-up are unlikely to be playing and then there’s the Delano effect to take into consideration. One school of thought is that Woking were insane to lend us a player of this calibre, given that they were aiding a direct rival for relegation. The alternative school of thought is that we’ve played him back into form, just in time for him to send us back into the bottom four. It’s most certainly a “six-pointer” although the suggestion that it is “a must win” doesn’t stand up to mathematical scrutiny. Here’s a handy graphic to explain. ﷯ Got that? Great! Now if you’re travelling to Woking tomorrow, please remember, the UK government hasn’t yet introduced the travel ban suggested by IMNARB television pundit Sebastian Gorka, but if it does, and if the ban is taken to its logical conclusion, if you are middle-aged, male and from Kent, you do risk being stopped at Clackett Lane if you’re travelling by car, or St Mary’s Cray if you’re risking the train. If you think the heat is too great, there are a number of safer crossing points through the Ashdown Forest, but to avoid alerting the border polizei we won’t go into specifics. Good luck. We’ll see you on the other side. #COYMFS We did the Woking Celebrity XI earlier in the season, so in lieu of that here’s some generic anniversary reflection from the equivalent weekends… 25 years ago: Burnley 2 Maidstone United 1 (Newman), FL Division Four at Turf Moor. Att: 10,986. 15 years ago: VCD 0 Maidstone United 1 (Marshall), Kent League Cup Semi-Final first leg at Bayliss Avenue. Att: 209. 10 years ago: Dulwich 0 Maidstone United 0, RLS at Champion Hill. Att: 611.
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