Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Woking FC

Looking through David Gilroy's eyes

Woking 2-1 Lewes (24:08:10)

Work dictates that I don't get out much during the week. I can only surface for very special occasions, like for instance, the Finnish branch of the Lewes Supporters Club travelling from Helsinki to Woking on a Tuesday night - just to see The Mighty Rooks. That is a special occasion no?

EFW stalwarts Cynical Dave and Big Deaks were keen as the proverbial mustard as well. Why wouldn't they be? This was going to be the best day of our lives - again.

Trying to find a pub that won't drain the life and soul out of you between Woking Station and the Kingfield Stadium isn't as easy as one might think. The Woking Railway Athletic Club looked to have some characters in there, but, not being life members of the Railway, we were refused entry. In hindsight, we should have taken a punt and said that Paddy, Mick, Scouse or Jock would sign us in.

What would Paul Weller do in this situation? Write 'Town Called Malice', and then head to the Snooker Club probably. So that's what we did, after we'd walked through the infamous park near to the ground. Infamous in that even the Woking FC website recommends that, for personal safety reasons, women and young children do not walk unaccompanied. It was actually rather pleasant and, as luck would have it - in bloom.

You can only look at fat blokes playing snooker surrounded by mandatory cartoon etchings of Tony Meo and Jimmy White for so long can't you?

Into the Woking Clubhouse then - where we met with the aforementioned Finnish Branch of the Lewes Supporters Club. His name is Ville Miettinen. Granted, it only consists of one member right now, but it's early days for the FLSC. Ville is a freelance football journalist, and pleasingly, a very nice chap. He even presented us with Finnish scarves for the Rook Inn. We like Ville.

Woking FC are in financial meltdown. Of course they are, virtually every club is. They were on the well worn path to administration last week until - somewhat reluctantly - former Chairman Chris Ingram dug deep to find £200,000 to plug a huge funding gap. Ouch.

The Kingfield Stadium itself is a right old mixed bag of goodies. Two marvellous old stands that - if you squint your eyes and use your imagination - could pass for the pavilion at the Sydney Cricket Ground. They're dwarfed though by an enormous new stand behind one goal. It is the size of a bus. In fact it's the size of about two hundred buses. And it's shiny.

Since you asked so nicely.

The size of a two hundred buses, and shiny - tick.

Don't panic Mr Mannering, Dave Gilory is playing.

The stadium is also in the Guinness Book of Records, or it should be, for having a record amount of signs declaring 'No standing in this area please'. I counted 416.

So to the match. Beforehand, we'd told anyone who'd listen that we feared Cards striker Dave Gilroy. He is the scourge of Lewes Football Club. He looks at the fixture list to see who we're playing, signs for them, scores against us, and then moves on. Until he signs for Lewes, which must be imminent - I hate him.

Naturally Gilroy scored twice early on as the Cards threatened to run riot. As we looked around the terrace for something to humour us we noticed a couple of faces. Talk about luck out. Patrick Marber and Drop the Dead Donkey's Neil Pearson anyone? Patrick is one of the six chaps who has stepped in to save Lewes and turn the club into a 100% community owned venture. He is, as one might expect, extremely good company. The sort of thing you need when you're two-bloody-nil down to Woking on a Tuesday night.

Please be upstanding for the Finnish Branch of the Lewes Supporters Club - Ville.

We'll see your Finnish branch and raise you a Woking German fanclub. Well played Simone.

Woking World Wide Web.

We saw through this lino straight away.

The second half was a different story. Lewes came out like caged tigers and took the game to their hosts. Lewis Ide began to pull a few midfield strings, substitutes Aaron Hopkinson and Tom Murphy added pace, guile, Coca-Cola skills and verve to the attack and youth team prodigy deservedly Jordan Lang pulled a goal back with a cushioned (cushioned!) shot with the inside of his boot.

In the end the sweaty palms of the home support dried out and Woking clung on for their second win in four days.

The EFW team headed back the station with our new Finnish friend in toe. Beers were procured for the journey home, and life was good again. Next up for The Rooks is a home game with Dover Athletic this Saturday. You'd be mad as a box of frogs to miss it. See you down the Pan.

For more photos from the day CLICK ME.

- Feel free to comment below -


Danny Last said...

This email has just flooded into EFW HQ from David Holmes at Woking FC:

Hi Danny,

Love the report. We'll link it in our next e-newsletter and I'm pointing it out on the club's unofficial forum.

All the best to Lewes, who Woking fans have become rather fond of. It's probably our favourite away trip and we were delighted they stayed up last season. Also, as last night showed, they play football the right way.


Ville The Finnish Ambassador of Lewes FC said...

Fantastic report as usual Danny. Was very nice to meet you and the other Lewes posse too.

Wfc Fan said...

Great read, good luck for the rest of the season.

Paul from Woking said...

Was I there? Was hoping the report would feature an update on whatever happened to me.

Danny Last said...

@ Ville - Great stuff my friend. See you again soon.

@ WFC - Likewise, and thanks...

@Paul from Woking - I trust this must be Billy Mays in disguise? How remiss of me not to mention Paul from Woking. During the 80's PFW would take us under his wing, and make sure we returned home from visits to Sheffield United, Blackburn, Sunderland and the like - unscathed. This was following Brighton and Hove Albion during the height of our football away days.

He doubled up as our Dad on some occasions via the - some might say illegal - usegae of a Family Rail Card.

He was one helluva chap, and one of those you just want to apportion a big bear hug to when you saw him.

'Whatever happened to Paul from Woking?' will eventually become a book, and possibly a film in years to come.

Billy Mays said...

Rumbled - it was indeed EFW's biggest North Florida fan who posted that. I'm becoming border line obsessed with finding out the answer to the whole thorny PFW question. Surely amongst EFW's legion of followers someone must be able to track him down?

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