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Field (Mill) of Dreams

12 Aug

I decided to renew my solitary quest to ‘do things’ at the weekend and this time I went to the first football match of the season.  Naturally as any football fan will tell you, it’s a time of hope, new players in, youngsters brought through to the squad and all is good.  It’s a time of confidence where a positive spin can be put on most things and thoughts of a good season seem realistic, in short it’s a window in which to hope before the inevitable disappointments.

The Saturday weather was glorious helping make it the perfect way to kick off he season and coupled with the sexy new passing style that we have adopted gave the day an added anticipation, I savoured that group feeling like the smell of freshly cut grass or the scent of the first barbecue of the summer.  I started making copious notes on my phone as I have forgotten my notebook and I sadly found that I had lost everything between the stadium and home, another reason why books are better, strangely all my poor attempts at photography came back home unscathed.

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Thumb bombing on the festivities as fans slowly start to arrive in replica shirts that mirror the Summer’s day.

Topically for this post, it was announced last week that Field Mill (to give the stadium its proper name not the name of a sponsor One Call we now have) is the oldest professional football ground in the world, being used since 1861 and is second only to Sandy Gate Road (in Sheffield) as the oldest football ground on the planet by a year.  With such heritage coupled with the traditional feeling of hope, it would have been rude not to come and experience the atmosphere again, something I haven’t done for a few years.

Arriving at the compact stadium and purchasing my ticket, there was an air of expectation and excitement, a party atmosphere – with plenty of families in attendance – which is refreshing after last year’s torrid campaign.  It was nice to see the programme (of which I used to hoard as many as I could get my hands on) feeling more professional, almost like a taller Reader’s Digest but with more colour and adverts for local businesses and a Medium.  I quickly headed inside the ground, which is in fact outside and took my seat to see everybody arriving and to feel myself raised on a tide of expectation tinged with trepidation.

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A brief handshake before the campaign starts and my mind starts to wander to whether to get a pie at half time or not…

As the fans slowly dribbled in, everything was relatively sedate, lots of chatter, groups of people having a laugh or like me reading the programme. The 722 Carlisle finally  fans announced themselves with plenty of chanting but with a 340 mile round trip on the first day of the season, they probably need anything to keep the spirits up.  In fact we are the fifth closest teams to Carlisle.  The home reaction came back at them as the teams came out and being situated close to the pitch, I felt the chants cascading down from the tier above and swirling around the ground.

There is something wonderful about the whole experience, the heart in mouth moments as their number 14 Jabo Ibehre came at us (a good solid player with technique and strength and one to watch this season) and the equally tense attacks our lads had.  It says something that when we scored, it was perhaps inevitable that we let one in, that was when the usual attack of pessimism kicked in and some of that excitement was replaced by the feeling that perhaps this season may be one of a more rollercoaster style.  Still its a satisfactory result with plenty of positives to take away from it, I did come away with a few more grey hairs though.

With both teams having established that the referee doesn’t know what he doing, the realisation that there are only 45 league matches left and hopefully a good cup run as well (or not as we were hammered 4-1 by Sheffield Wednesday the day after I drafted this) will keep that honeymoon period going for a while.

Highlighting the need for small clubs to make money and stave off the ever-present threat of bankruptcy I was amused to note that even the stoppage time is now announced with a local sponsor attached, it’s this mercenary innovation that keeps a great entertainment going for the town and .  As afternoons out go, it was well worth it and I hope to go to a few more matches this  season, if you have a few spare minutes, I hope you’ll look up our league position and perhaps share in the highs and lows (we excel in the latter usually) of the unfolding madness and obsession that is the world’s most popular sport.

(my normal blog visiting routine will shortly be resuming, I know I have missed out on lots of cracking posts but I will be around soon, thanks for sticking with me)

Forget the famous Wembley Way, I term this one the One Call Walk

Forget the famous Wembley Way, I term this one the One Call Walk.

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46 Comments

Posted by on 12/08/2015 in Sport, Travel

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

46 responses to “Field (Mill) of Dreams

  1. Lucy

    12/08/2015 at 22:55

    Hello Mansfield, long time no see! I used to pick up shifts at Kings Mill now and again. I do hope your staff and patient parking has improved since then.

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    • Ste J

      13/08/2015 at 16:39

      It’s expensive parking these days and there never seems enough spaces either. Mansfield never really changes, I was going to do a post about the place but having half written it I wonder if there may be some complaints from fellow locals over my words.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Lucy

        13/08/2015 at 19:01

        I would love that! I’d be sentimental about it, even the crap bits, now I am so far away. Distance makes everything rosy. even Saturday morning in the Four Seasons.

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        • Ste J

          13/08/2015 at 20:23

          The bus station has moved now so the Four Seasons always seems that little bit emptier but it still rammed at the weekends, there are many crap bits, I do have the post still so I shall take some photos of the breathtaking scenery and tidy it up a bit, perhaps approach it from a neutral perspective if that is possible.

          Liked by 1 person

           
  2. gargoylebruce

    12/08/2015 at 23:00

    Speaking of stupid stadium names, one of our rugby league stadiums up north recently got changed to the “1300Smiles” stadium. The commentators had no end of trouble with that one.

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    • Ste J

      13/08/2015 at 16:43

      What a strange name but I like that people are finally giving the commentators something to do other than sit down and read out stats and describing what we can see ourselves, it’s probably karma or something.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  3. Jill Weatherholt

    12/08/2015 at 23:54

    It looks like it was a beautiful day to be outdoors at the stadium, Ste J. I love watching sports live, at the field.

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    • Ste J

      13/08/2015 at 16:47

      I need to head out and do this more often, it’s been a while…what game are you going to take me to see then? Hehe.

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  4. Letizia

    13/08/2015 at 16:51

    What fun! I’ve only been to one match (Milan-Manchester) and it was quite exciting, not so much the match but the energy in the stands. Did you get the pie at halftime?

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    • Ste J

      13/08/2015 at 20:27

      I do love the noise and the way it all builds up when there is an attack on, it’s so energising! what were you doing watching a Milan match, I thought you were a Roma fan…we should go to a match there one day! I didn’t get a traditional pie as there was a queue, next time I will take the risk and sample it with a huge bite, it could go either way lol.

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  5. Sherri

    13/08/2015 at 17:59

    ‘Unfolding madness and obsession’ Well, I know what my boys will be doing every Saturday for a while now. Great to see you out and about enjoying a good bit of sport.

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    • Ste J

      13/08/2015 at 20:29

      The rollercoaster has begun, I’ll be spending at least an hour on the results pages checking the matches from all over Europe as well as the Americas. I feel the need to go do things sometimes, it gets a bit lonely otherwise.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  6. Sheila

    13/08/2015 at 19:57

    I like how you describe the excitement in the air and that feeling of hope where anything is possible at the beginning of the season. It’s funny how that kind of thing can be felt by all at large gatherings like this. I’m glad you were able to get out there. I’ve mostly just been hiding from the tourists around here.

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    • Ste J

      13/08/2015 at 20:34

      There are around about 7000 football teams in our small nation and everybody has that hope, the whole country feels different on that first weekend, it doesn’t take long for a large proportion of the population to get a wake up call and stoically carry on in the face of adversity. Tourists really are the worst people, that’s why I try and retreat off the beaten track, it’s a lot more fun for random adventures.

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  7. clarepooley33

    13/08/2015 at 23:32

    No sooner does one season end but the next one starts! Here we go, here we go, here we go again. I love that last photo!

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    • Ste J

      15/08/2015 at 07:38

      That was my favourite photo as well, it captures a traditional walk and the solitary fan (the everyfan if you will) heading there with thoughts turned inwards to the journey about to be started. I’m always happier with the football on, I must say.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • clarepooley33

        16/08/2015 at 01:14

        My husband is a Man City supporter though he hasn’t been able to get to a match in years. A virtual supporter I suppose he must be. The beginning of the season is, as you say, such a time of hope. We are staying not too far away from you at the moment – near Leek. We had a fabulous walk in the Manifold Valley today.

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        • Ste J

          16/08/2015 at 19:49

          I’m familiar with that area, I do love walking there. As for being a Man City supporter, your hubby has more reason than most to be hopeful this season lol.

          Liked by 1 person

           
  8. Andrea Stephenson

    14/08/2015 at 20:31

    I’ve been to two matches in my life – Newcastle – Man City and one of the women’s football games during the Olympics which was held at St James Park – not really a fan, but you’ve sold why you are a fan very well 🙂

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    • Ste J

      15/08/2015 at 07:43

      I know some people just ‘live the game’ as it were but there is so much to it, the traditions, the mass feelings of the crowd at different times of the season and the statistics, oh the statistics and analysis, it’s so much more than just the 90 minutes. I think the going to a match or indeed anything can be built up to be an experience and that makes it more special, complacency annoys me it means I am missing out when I take things for granted.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  9. macjam47

    15/08/2015 at 03:23

    Enjoyed reading and looking at your photos. Yes, there is always a lot of excitement and hope for a winning season that surrounds the first game no matter what the sport.

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    • Ste J

      15/08/2015 at 07:52

      The excitement continues here with a 2-0 win over our local rivals Notts County much to my satisfaction, dare I hope that this season could be a good one…ask me after ten games and then we will see.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • macjam47

        15/08/2015 at 12:12

        I know what you mean. Good luck to your team.

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  10. Sarah

    15/08/2015 at 11:59

    What a great post! The start of the new season beats New Year hands down – hell, I’d even swap it for Christmas! It is all about hope, and a fresh start, you can’t help feeling excited about new players, managers even. After West Ham’s first match against Arsenal, I’m feeling particularly ebullient! I loved reading your match experience, nothing beats live football, does it? I rarely get to see the hammers play as it’s a bit of a trek from West Wales but I go to watch Swansea whenever I can. In some ways that’s more enjoyable, as I get to watch great football, without the vomit-inducing anxiety!

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    • Ste J

      15/08/2015 at 20:08

      Things are looking up now that you will be playing something other than long ball, although losing to that Romanian team was a bit of a shock. still less games means a fitter squad one would hope. A 2-1 win over Notts County did us good the other day, apparently there was some two bit Premier league match on but who pays attention to that? Ha!

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  11. Seyi sandra

    15/08/2015 at 16:23

    Reading between the lines on your post, and glaringly for that matter, I think you had a fabulous time. Regretfully, I haven’t been to a live match in my life. There’s something about huge crowds that gets to me, I’ll rather watch a match in the comfort of my home than go to a live one. I might change that soon, hubby is planning to buy me a ticket to see my team Chelsea soon. Maybe, I’ll have a change of my mind then.

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    • Ste J

      15/08/2015 at 19:57

      I think as long as you are sufficiently distracted and caught up in the action and atmosphere you will be okay in the crowds. I don’t blame you for watching on in TV though, no queue for the half time pies or the toilets and more importantly warmth on those cold, windy days that always seem to occur when a match is on for most of the year. At least with Chelsea you have a good chance of a favourable result!

      Liked by 1 person

       
  12. Resa

    16/08/2015 at 00:13

    Your Mill Field of Dreams sounds wonderful! I hope they don’t replace it with a slick update dream of fields. For me it’s the Toronto Blue Jays ( yes I know the Jays are baseball & you’re talking football). Yet alas, I’m not a fan of the Rogers Center, which is our updated dream of fields!

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    • Ste J

      16/08/2015 at 19:54

      I doubt we would get a new stadium anytime soon, there isn’t much room locally even if the the money was there. I have noticed your American sports tend to be franchises and move cities and such, that’s unheard of over here, all 7000 odd teams that we have are deeply rooted in there local areas. It does seem sad when a new stadium is built or moved into, it’s the end of an era and makes me sad.

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      • Resa

        16/08/2015 at 23:40

        I know what you mean about ends of eras…. sigh! It’s true, sports is big biz!

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        • Ste J

          17/08/2015 at 09:08

          Somehow the game seems to get lost in all the money sloshing around. I tend to find our Premier league is a lot less interesting than the lower leagues which are a lot more unpredictable and competitive.

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  13. Jeff

    17/08/2015 at 13:32

    Can’t understand why anyone gives time and money to ‘professionals’ who, as your comment shows, don’t even take responsibility for their mistakes in the way that the rest of us are expected to:

    > With both teams having established that the referee doesn’t know what he doing

    That, along with the money, is the problem with football right there. You can probably invest into your city in better ways. A walk, a visit to a bookshop, a pub lunch: all of your usual days out add a lot more to your local have-nots than to a bunch of haves who live in tax havens.
    Nice post and photos, but I have to be honest and say that the football industry has pulled off a PR trick that bankers could learn from.

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    • Ste J

      17/08/2015 at 21:06

      In all fairness our lads are mostly part-time and the money is pretty tight down in league two, I look at it as supporting a team that haver contributed to the town’s history since 1897. I agree with your views in the Premier league and to a certain extent The Championship but lower down whilst still mercenary holds a vestige of something more traditional. I went less for the game though, more to soak up the atmosphere of hope and the sun, although I missed out on the pie sadly.

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      • Jeff

        17/08/2015 at 21:46

        Pies are arguably more important than any formal methods for burning them off such as sports. They contain the daily labours of love that pie-ologists devote when they experiment with different flours, fillings, and baking times.
        So in all fairness it seems to me that what this country needs is a pie league. This would allow teams to travel from all over the country to play a barely recorded football match as an excuse to retire to a nearby watering hole and judge a pie contest. It would transform a league based in expectation and disappointment into one of majesty and raised endorphin levels.
        The real beauty of our country is hidden behind aberrations.

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        • Ste J

          18/08/2015 at 20:46

          Perhaps we could dispense with the football and just go for a pure pie league, why devote the energy to the match when it can be spent in the glory of pies and the consuming there of. I suppose some darts could be involved as a half time distraction as well just to keep energy levels up.

          Liked by 1 person

           
          • Jeff

            18/08/2015 at 20:54

            There’s a lot of artisanal pie-makers who need our support. And how games of arrows have fallen out of fashion. The only reason I can think of that popular support has waned for a pastime that results in a strain on the obverse of an elbow is a rise in w***ing. Bring back darts now! I notice that even many Wetherspoons pubs have got their pub simulation down to the unused dartboard. I’ve often wondered what the response would be if you asked to use it? Would they say that it can’t be currently used because of the health and safety danger from darts hitting the wire and harming defenceless babies? One to test. The response, that is.

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            • Ste J

              18/08/2015 at 21:06

              Ha! The books they have are just for show, although why a Japanese maths book is considered decoration is debatable. since they got rid of all the quiz machines they have probably and belatedly decided to add some faux character to their pubs. The last time I actually played darts in a pub was in Amsterdam and beer combined with lack of skill helped add to the traditional pock marked walls that surround such boards. It’s a good question about health and safety, perhaps there is a scam to had from this…

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  14. Cody McCullough

    17/08/2015 at 18:52

    Sounds like a good day. I hope The Stags have a great season. Over here the season is winding down. Hopefully my team, the Timbers, will finish strong.

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    • Ste J

      17/08/2015 at 20:30

      I regret not catching a match over your way, it seems to be the place to be for the MLS for passion and attendance. A 2-0 win against local rivals Notts County has really buoyed us up. It’s looking close in your division.

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  15. Aquileana

    19/08/2015 at 23:16

    Hi there dear Ste!🚗⚠️…. I love your retelling here… You know that we are passionate about football over here… My teams: Firstly Boca Juniors and secondly: Tigre, which stadium is very close to my place… I could even feel the excitement as you entered the Stadium!…
    All my best wishes, and if you allow me, virtual hugs (loading!)… Aquileana ✨

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    • Ste J

      21/08/2015 at 16:50

      I do love the passion that you guys have for your football, I would love to experience a match over your way one day. Our attendances usually average around 3000 mark which is nowhere approaching your numbers of course but as long as the game is good I am happy. I shall accept your virtual hug and return it because I am nice like that!

      Liked by 1 person

       
  16. RoSy

    29/08/2015 at 02:14

    LOL on the thumb bombing! 😆
    I have yet to go to a pro football (American or soccer) game.
    Maybe one day.
    I bet watching a game live is exciting – a whole new experience is always a good one – well mostly.

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    • Ste J

      05/09/2015 at 16:36

      The crowd makes it, the chants and songs, the ripple of excitement when there is a chance of a shot, the match day programme, the half time pie (which is traditional over here at any rate) and of course the win, which seems to be happening more often than not this season as we are up to eighth now out of twenty four teams, we are so high I’m in danger of getting a nose bleed lol.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • RoSy

        07/09/2015 at 21:00

        Top 8 is great!
        Hey – that rhymed too.
        Yes – definitely sounds exciting.
        Carful there – I prefer a non-bloody SteJ. LOL

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        • Ste J

          07/09/2015 at 21:27

          I’ll do my best, I predict our usual rest of season ‘dip’ coming soon will save me from extra laundry.

          Liked by 1 person

           

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