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Not Everyone Remembers Their First Game
1 man, 2 babies, 1 point, 5th place, 6 clear, 5 to go… By: Max Bygraves 09/04/2023
Barnet
Bromley
1 1
League 07/04/2023
2022-2023 Attendance: 2258 (379)




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I will start this offering by being very clear that this was something of a different viewing experience. Less so than ever can I offer much in terms of a match report or analysis of any tactics. Being there for the duration was an achievement in itself. The context of this was as follows…

My wife is a Watford season ticket holder. Incredibly, there have only been two or three occasions this whole season where both Barnet and Watford have been at home at the same time. Annoyingly, this was one of them. Given my hiatus from Barnet for much of the last decade, one of the provisos I gave when purchasing my season ticket just under 24 hours before the first ball was kicked in August was that, should be there be games on the same day, she gets priority.

With every extended family member unavailable, in a moment of madness and with no other options if I wanted to see the game, I decided that my afternoon with the kids would be a first Barnet game for both of them. Perfectly reasonable behaviour with children of a certain age. However, my daughter is a few months short of her third birthday and my son turned fifteen months a few days ago. I did spend most of the drive across North London questioning what exactly I was doing.

Having parked in my usual spot, about a seven-minute adult walk from the turnstile, I quickly regretted sticking to my principles of not paying £8 to park at the ground. Having had to wake up the eldest, who it soon became clear needed to be carried to have any chance of making it to the ground for kick off, with the little one strapped to my front in the baby carrier, it didn’t start out feeling like a genius idea.

Arriving at the turnstile at 3:01pm, teams in view from the top of the steps, I was delighted to be asked to put my daughter down so I could take off my backpack for it to be searched. Prior to removing it from my back, I did advise they wouldn’t find any smoke bombs in there, but my word wasn’t enough. A tokenistic peer in to see nappies, baby wipes, a couple of toys and a plethora of toddler friendly snacks later and I was navigating my way into the ground. The quiet end of Block A seemed the best fit for all concerned.

I had planned to try and get down a little earlier originally given the publicised Easter Family Fun that the club had tweeted about since this time last week. It didn’t look as if anything was just being put away when we got there, though. Live music? Crossbar challenge? Did any of this happen? I didn’t see any kids with Easter eggs (I had hoped to get one to use a bit of bribery during the game). The advertised start time had moved from 12:30pm to 1:30pm without any explanation during the week. Then, according to a post on the message board, the whole thing has now since been deleted. A club official allegedly told someone there’d been a balls-up and all the while Mr Bumble was none the wiser, regarding being signed up to give our Easter eggs.

It sounded like a really good idea; I would be curious to know what stopped it coming to fruition. I’m sure I’m not the only one judging by comments from disappointed attendees online.

It does serve as a bit of a reminder that the team on the pitch and those in the dugout are still hugely papering over the cracks of this football club as an institution. If you’d turned up with your kids, promising them Easter eggs and pre match fun as an incentive to get them to come along, do you reckon they’d feel like returning?

To the game itself, and whilst not watching as intently as I might have liked from the unusual far-flung corner of the stand, what was a constant again was the importance of Laurie Walker. In both halves, he made a number of key and at times spectacular saves. How pivotal a role he plays seems to became greater by the game.

35 minutes was the kids’ first half limit. Not a bad effort. It was time for a little walk.

What is handy, on a nice day weather wise like that was, is the bank of grass behind the stand. Another friend’s little one was also there and an extended half time was spent pushing tractors and fire engines up the little hill. There’s something in sticking a kids’ play area of some description there; I’m sure that would help a few others out!

Subsequently, this extended half time meant missing both Barnet and Bromley goals. Very inconsiderate timing all round with each of the goals coming at the wrong end for what I could just about see of the pitch. With the lure of some snacks, we got back to the seats on about the hour mark. They did very well after that to be fair and I was able to watch a little more closely.

Even with only half an eye on the game yesterday, the lack of firepower without Kabamba or Smith in the team was evident. No disputing Moyo’s work rate but the output is limited. We finished the game with a few semi-promising attacks, including one we just couldn’t get it out of our feet, but on the balance of what I saw, a draw felt about right. Although if that’s wrong, please do excuse me on this occasion.

Navigating my way out at full time with my daughter on my shoulders and my son strapped to my front prompted a few wry smiles. I felt like I’d done a pretty intense 90 minutes, but was proud of my youngsters’ performances on the whole. It could have been a lot worse. They can come again, in good time.

I was disappointed not to be able to stick around for the supporters’ awards afterwards. It sounded like the event went well and got a decent turn out. Definitely a step in the right direction. If we continue on this trajectory, I look forward to the return of it being on a Saturday night after the season finishes and seeing the players fully letting their hair down like in the old days. Just a shame the Durham Suite is no longer an option for the location.

With five games to go, we’re in a position we’d have all very gladly accepted at almost any point since the season began. Monday is hugely important but given the hard work we made of the Trophy tie at Maidstone last month, it’s certainly not a given. This is where we need to step up and show the quality needed to be a play-off side. Given the two points dropped at home on Good Friday, anything less than win would be a bit of a disaster.

The way the fixtures have fallen, and thanks to that ridiculous kick off time change of the Wrexham game, I’ll only be at Solihull and Dagenham between now and the end of the normal season. So we’ll be a little quiet on here over the next week or so, but here’s hoping for lots more to talk about into May. Come on you Bees.




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All Articles By This Author:

Date 
13/05/2024 Togetherness
29/04/2024 Outfought, Outthought, Out Of Ideas
10/04/2024 Nearly There
25/03/2024 "A Game Of F*****g Demolition"
20/03/2024 Another Step Closer
09/03/2024 Tepid
06/03/2024 Bring Barnet Back
21/02/2024 Shot Down
14/02/2024 Simon Clist
04/02/2024 Unpleasant
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Date 
13/05/2024 Togetherness
29/04/2024 Outfought, Outthought, Out Of Ideas
21/04/2024 The Best Of The Rest
10/04/2024 Nearly There
25/03/2024 "A Game Of F*****g Demolition"
20/03/2024 Another Step Closer
17/03/2024 Card Bored
09/03/2024 Tepid
06/03/2024 Bring Barnet Back
21/02/2024 Shot Down
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