I’d never been to a pre-season friendly before tonight and I doubt I’ll ever go again.
The real point of them is for new players to prove themselves on the pitch and for the manager to watch. It’s all very well playing each other in training but to get a more realistic idea of how a team works together, the pre-season friendly is ideal.
From a fan’s point of view it’s all a bit dull. Players change position, substitutions are made, players have names like ‘Trialist E‘ and the crowd seems sedated.
Actually, the crowd was very diminished to the extent that the legendary East Bank was closed and completely empty.
The Slab was also closed so we were stuck in the North Stand terrace.
The score, at the end of it all, was 3-0 to Oxford but it doesn’t matter because the manager watched and learned.
While the football was about as dull as you can get, the chance to see Nicktor and Steve from Number 11 was marvellous.
We met at our usual pub, stood at the bar for about an hour without being served then left for the ground.
Unbeknown to us, there’s a lovely new bar at the top of the ground with some equally lovely beer. We grabbed drinks and sat at the picnic tables. I was glad the pub staff ignored us because it was much nicer and, as Nicktor said, the money went to the club.
We all met at the pub because I’d been to work and was coming from Portsmouth. Steve was doing the same (though not from Portsmouth).
It was great going back to work after three weeks away. Heather had me doing something a bit different this week.
She needs to record the books that are down for disposal but hasn’t any time so she had given me the boxes to enter into a spreadsheet. Obviously not as interesting as entering into the library system but still amazing.
Some of the books I entered were quite fascinating and one, in particular, was full of navy cartoons, drawn by a Lieutenant Beuttler.
Most of his cartoons are like the one above with many hands making heavy work of most things. I think they’re great.
Anyway, that was my day. And night.
It was great returning to work and seeing Nicktor (it’s been a very long time between drinks) but I could have done without the pre-season friendly.