Monday, September 27, 2004

August 28 (Saturday): Dance Fever. This morning I wake up feeling pissed and/or stoned, I am completely light headed. My flat is horrible and I just cannot face doing/attempting it. Today I really do not want to stay in and be on my own, for one reason or another.

Indecision Graham, it takes an eternity for me to decide whether to go see Millwall or not but after sitting in Asda’s car park for about 20 minutes I just go “fuck it� and head to the train station. I board the train just after 12.30 and sit opposite a stunning woman who gets off at Marks Tey. She gets replaced by a really scummy, booze smelly skinhead who you would target as a football hooli. As the train trolls through Chelmsford, a number of Chelsea, West Ham and Spurs mockneys board at the station. Mockneys, I hate them! (Yes I do get the irony in this statement).

Lucky days, the train stops at Stratford where I get off and hit the Jubilee and head to Canada Water. This is the best route to Millwall from Essex but it does also involve riding the train through West Ham first. Never a pleasure. By Canada Water there are a number of Millwall supporters aboard and as I wait for the train from Canada Water to Surrey Quays, it is all Millwall supporters on the platform. Getting to the New Den via Surrey Quays is usually a nerve wracking experience as it involves taking the route as in Football Factory. Since then however, and indeed last time I took this route, they have now finished building the flats along here and the harsh walls have gone in place of bright new homes, although for the first part the rough as fuck estate tower blocks remain and for the walk just before the ground, the two power stations and nasty rail tunnels, where Tommy Johnson got it in the head, are obviously still there. Once I get to the ground phones me up and keeps asking me stupid questions about the ground/game. As I’m talking the fittest female fan I have ever seen walks past with her family. Back of the net, kiss my face.

The New Den remains the same and it is still fantastic. It’s a weird ground, officially it is rarely half full but generally the place usually looks packed. And faces are very recognisable, this is thug life. Today I have lucked out, I’ve got a really good seat right towards the back of the Upper East Stand (block 17). Firstly though, I do have to bump a couple of herberts out of my seat. A few blocks over and this is where you can get closest to the away fans, so therefore you get to experience some real sorts, not quite Bushwhackers but semi firms all the same.

Today Millwall are playing Reading and it is my first visit to see them this season. In the North stand, Reading have brought a pretty good following and all the Millwall fans are singing “we’re all going on a European tour�. Today the fans are so on song, not least the “firm� for thugs to my right singing Disney songs from Dumbo and The Jungle Book. What’s that about? Refereeing today is Keith Hill who has a disability with his arm and the sensitive crew that are Millwall fans only assist him in his game by singing “watch out, Beadle’s about� and calling him “raspberry�. I wonder if this is the reason why he appears to have a particularly bad game? Even, right at the end of the game, the Reading fans sing “the referee’s a wanker� to which Millwall only reply “WE KNOW!�. Adrian Williams of Reading also gets it in the neck with the fans continually shouting “sex case� at him.

Millwall actually look pretty good for their money today. Adrian Serioux has probably the longest throw in football and when he steps up to fling one into Reading’s penalty area, the whole crowd let off with a roar. And Dennis Wise looks fantastic, as good as ever, the player the whole team is really made around. You look at Jody Morris, who physically is his double but is nowhere up to his standard/quality, why on earth did he buy him? McCammon looks shit today and Josh Simpson isn’t so great either. The superstar of the team is Graham Stack, the keeper on loan from Arsenal, who makes three amazing saves, all above/beyond the call of duty. The say the old cliché that he keeps Millwall in the game is no understatement. Late on Millwall score and I think I am the first person in the ground to see it go in. At the time I have no idea who scored/put it in and it turns out to be the winner as Millwall beat Reading 1-0, which is a really good result and Millwall’s third win and clean sheet in a row, making things look/bode well for this season. Today is a good day.

I leave the ground via Surrey Quays and text Stevo, pathetically asking who had actually scored for Millwall. It was Dichio. I get on the Northern Line and head to the centre, Oxford Street and Fopp. In Fopp I buy all those Massive Attack CDs I nearly bought last week (I need chill out) and a book on Blue Note and a book by Bukowski, neither which I really want/need. Whilst in the basement I hear the greatest music and I ask the guy behind the counter who/what it is. It turns out to be someone called Earl Zinger. We’ll see. From there I enter Sportpages and nearly buy some Millwall books and wind up lingering in London not wanting to leave, I really wish Baldwin was about.

Eventually I chip and board a train home. As I get on I bump into one of the oldsters I play football with on a Friday, the one last looks like Maradonna. He is in first class, in his Chelsea shirt stuffing his face. I contemplate riding back with him but think better of it. Instead, I ride the train solo, the Saturday early evening train because, yes, once more I am returning from London on a Saturday night without the Sunday paper.

When I get back to Colchester I consider calling up Mark to see if he wants to do something but, as usual, London and football has only given me a headache, so instead I opt for chips from the chip shop (very healthy). TV tonight features the 100 Most Scariest Moments on Channel Four which is a TV show so good that I fall asleep around scary moment number 80. Saturday night in the fast lane!

np: Roy Green – Let ‘Em Come


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