Hastings United 2016/2017

Here’s a short review of the season just gone as I saw it. I can’t believe that Other Leagues are still playing: what’s the matter with them? I’ve lost interest.

I say “as I saw it” because I’m just this guy, watching my 3rd full season at Hastings United, who hardly ever gets to away games (just the one this season at the Dripping Pan). To give some context, I was only just aware of the club when the game at Middlesbrough happened, but by the time relegation came along at the end of the same season I was mourning on Twitter, knowing that my big move to Hastings was ON. (In a bloody-awful alternative world I might have moved to Bognor or even East*****e. Imagine the horror).

We had some great days didn’t we? 4-1 v South Park. 6-1 v Guernsey, followed by 7-1 v Herne Bay, then 4-0  v Aylesbury, all in the space of a few weeks.

I took my mum (who is as old the Main Stand, but much less decrepit) to see us blatter Lewes 3-0 on Boxing Day. Harry scored his Goal of the Season that day. She called it “proper football”.

Then there were those stupid games where we’d score 3 but the opposition would march down the field and equalise every facking time and then win. (Corinthian Casuals)  Or when we contrived to let in 4 at home to bloody Three Bridges.

Top scorers in this or many other leagues. That’s worth an asterisk in a yearbook.

We got into the playoffs by the skin of the teeth then lost on penalties against a team that had acquired more than 20 points more than than us, and that in any fair world would have gone up anyway: good luck to Dorking Wanderers next year.

Have a great summer, all the people I’ve chatted with this season. There are some lovely people around the the ground who I’d like to get to know better. I’m sorry that Steve Thorpe didn’t get on the County Council. I know that 3 votes came from my household but it obviously wasn’t good enough.

I can give a couple of Saturdays for work at the ground, if needed. A DM to @colin_davey will galvanise me! (note: DM received! Bluff called!)


I am sure it can be arranged

You’re bored with voting all the time are you?

So sorry you have to spend half an hour every couple of years deciding our future. It’s not as if there was ever a great movement to give us all a vote or anything. The people in power never wanted you to have a vote: they were quite happy with the way it was. If the people who campaigned for us all to have this right, because they thought it was important – yeah they were mostly middle-class and educated, but that doesn’t make them always bad people – had realised what a great bloody burden it would be to you, maybe they wouldn’t have fucking bothered and gone and written more poncey poems instead.

They are “all the same” are they? Well, they’re not, but let’s say they are. Whose fucking fault is that? You have some power in the world if you only choose to use it. But you can’t be arsed can you? So the people who smell the chance to get on and get a bit of influence, and who know all the best people in all the best circles join the party and get elected. They think you’re all plebs, and you are, because you let a lot of chancers do what they like, and because you’re so bored with politics and have so many better things to do, they get away with it.

There are people who get involved in politics because they give a toss about how society could be a bit better. The papers call them do-gooders: the new American term is Social Justice Warriors. They tend to be concerned about boring bloody wishy-washy shit like how people in power should pay their taxes, how the world gets dirtier and shittier and how nobody cares so long as they’re making the dosh. But fuck that.

You’ll vote (if you can be bothered) for a STRONG LEADER. That’s what we need!

We’vc had STRONG LEADERS before. We had Henry the Fifth. He was good. He attacked Rouen. He won the BATTLE OF AGINCOURT. He was nearly King OF FRANCE, which would have been great, obviously. Go, Henry the Fifth!

It’s a shame that Henry the Fifth and the other STRONG LEADERS we’ve had didn’t give a flying one about you and me (well, your and my great great etc. grandparents), about whether they had enough to eat or jobs to do. Not one iota of a flying one. They played power games, they attacked France and each other and at no time did they think of us poor sods except when they wanted tax or soldiers.

SO much has changed. Well we’ve stopped invading France anyway.

Here is when we need a STRONG LEADER: when we are likely to be INVADED. When the country’s up against it. That’s when we need Winston. The rest of the time he’s a liability: we need a thinking, visionary government instead.

Why not do away with all the boring all-the-same politicians and get ourselves a king and just let him rule us strongly? Admit it, that’s what we really want. Arise Henry the Ninth (or whichever wins the drowning-your-brother competition) and lead us strongly! Then we can sayBugger voting, let’s go to Wetherspoons”, and we won’t have to be bored with voting any more.

Letter to The Editor

… of “When Saturday Comes”

Will Hughes will be waved off at the quayside will he? (WSC May 2017 “Continuity Clause”).

Even here at Hastings United we spare players the need to leave in a boat. It’s half a mile or so to the beach and we find cars or buses more the thing. For all its undoubted merits, Pride Park would seem to be even less well-fitted for the maritime “shipping-out” of players.

That said, if Will wants to come and help us get out of Isthmian League South we will provide whatever transport he likes. Maybe Lenny Pidgley would lend him his Beamer.

Inside North Korea

The Accusation: Forbidden Stories from Inside North KoreaThe Accusation: Forbidden Stories from Inside North Korea by Bandi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Important book. Stories from inside North Korea that ring frighteningly true. Kafka and Orwell would have nodded and said “yup”.

The story of how they travelled from NK to the west is also detailed here. Terrifyingly, we don’t know if the author is alive or dead.

I first learned of this book through The History of Literature podcast episode #76 , which is worth a listen.

View all my reviews

Private Eye: an apology

We may have given the mistaken impression over several years that the Private Eye was a scurrilous muck-raking rag fit only to line the parakeet’s cage. (Dave: put a link in to ‘record circulation’ story before this goes out). We are happy to advise our readers that it is, on the contrary, a beacon of truth-finding in an age of fake facts. Long may the ‘Eye’ prosper in this era of falsity and her editor at last receive his richly-deserved gong. 

That said, we still intend to cancel our subscription forthwith. Cheers!

Letter to the editor

jtp0jana89xb8fmuf5vgI wrote a letter to When Saturday Comes (@WSC_magazine) in response to a reader who spoke of the toxic history between Watford FC fans and those of Luton Town. It’s unlikely that they’ll print it as it’s far too specifically partisan, so here it is instead. (Note added 19/1/16: Wrong! It appears in WSC’s letters page in issue 360, Feb 2017)

Dear WSC

Tim Turner in WSC 359 tells us that Watford‘s relationship with Luton Town was always toxic. He is so right. I was a solid Luton supporter until & after I actually moved to Watford of all places in the 80s. My divorce from Luton came during the time of fences and plastic pitches and I became that creature, “the man who always looks out for their results”, while getting my football fix at various non-league grounds around NW London.

My visits to Vicarage Road had been as an away supporter, and I was always dismayed at the supine, suburban atmosphere. Kenilworth Road always buzzed and jumped, and that was my template for what football supporting should be. We found “Elton John’s Taylor-Made Army” cringeworthy and, to be fair, we hated their success.

Living in Watford, I tried to get to like the team, but it was a dead loss. My last attempt was a game against Port Vale, and as Vale’s Martin Foyle powered a shot into the Watford net my half-standing, smothered “yes!” told me that I would never ever make the transfer – either that or I had been harbouring a secret Port Vale passion all this time.

But here’s the thing: years later, Luton have been through the wringer and I’ve only been distantly interested, but I’ve still never stopped hating Watford. There’s no logic to it and I’m sorry for it: these days I live on the South Coast and am a later-life scarf-carrying Hastings United ultra, unthreatened by Watford, yet here I am, a vaguely intelligent man, “well stricken in years”, still getting that little buzz when they lose. I may never grow up.

What I didn’t add as another reason for my dislike is the shafting Wealdstone FC got from Watford when they entered into an ill-advised groundshare at Vicarage Road. A good club with top-class supporters nearly went to the wall, and Watford got a new stand out of it.