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Anticipation postponed

30 June 2020

The last week in June is usually one of anticipation for Casual Diary and my two travelling companions. It's usually a Thursday - I've no idea why - when the new season's fixtures are released. They are scanned with the same questions in mind each year: who have we got on Boxing Day and during Easter; who are first and last up; and what shit Tuesday night aways have we got this year?

I just can't get excited about looking for the Scunny or (previously) Lincoln games as I don't see them as rivals. They're like the tuppenny millionaires talking loudly and saying nothing you can encounter in any of the new craft bars down Seaview Street. You just know they'll soon be back to scratching a living in a shiny suit at your local SCS.

The Boxing Day and Easter fixtures used to be the 'derby' games. However presumably Humberside's finest have closed off that particular avenue of enjoyment. Recent seasons have seen us visit Port Vale - with the exception of Yeovil the most difficult place in England to get to - and Macclesfield.

This year there are no fixtures to view. The board of the League will discuss the new season this week instead and possible new start dates. The prospect of playing behind closed doors has already been dismissed. The cost of paying and testing players when they return to training with no revenue is deemed not to be viable.

Let's hope the government and the League can come up with a plan for fans to be readmitted to games. I can't be the only one wondering why you can sit in a cinema indoors in an air conditioned auditorium but can't freeze your backside off at a windswept Blundell Park. The argument apparently is that football fans shout a lot. Well firstly that isn't always true, and secondly if the clown behind me in the Pontoon is stopped from shouting "Bloody Rubbish Town" every time the slightest thing goes wrong that can only be a bonus. While I hate the prospect of wearing a face mask I would be more than willing to wrap my scarf round the necessary area if it meant live football.

Happily, Northampton were promoted by beating 10-man Exeter 4-0 at an empty Wembley yesterday. Don't assume I dislike Exeter. Quite the opposite; I love the place. It has the most picturesque Wetherspoons in the league, it has an excellent veggie pub that does great food, and a very welcoming supporters bar at the ground. It is fan-owned and extremely easy to get to on the train.

Last season saw arguably Town's best performance and our highest league placing following an emphatic victory. It was a great trip. It was my birthday, a weekend away and Exiled Mariner managing to get us chucked out of the less picturesque city centre 'spoons for being too drunk - the fact it took us five attempts to choose the correct exit to the hotel from the underground pass on the big roundabout suggests they had a point.

I'm delighted at the prospect of another trip to Exeter, where I've only seen us lose once in six visits. Northampton on the other hand is soulless. It's miles from any decent pub but surrounded by chain eateries I avoid at all cost. Division three is welcome to them.

Talking of soulless places, the Football League is being encouraged by some to appeal the points deduction from Macclesfield, and so give Stevenage a lifeline to League survival. That one of those doing the encouraging is the chair of Carlisle means the mantle of chief wanker has been passed on by our major shareholder. I'm sure he consulted their match-going fans widely before taking his actions. I'm equally sure he was encouraged to do so by their pleas to be afforded the opportunity of the four-hour, 272 mile journey to Stevenage rather than travel half the distance to Macclesfield. Still I suppose if you aren't paying it's not your issue. Thank goodness we have people like him and JSF to run and save our clubs.

UTM. See you in Willy's 1pm Saturday.