Friday, 5 December 2008

It's A Wrap

It's been a very busy few days, what with my birthday (hurtling towards 30) and preparations for Christmas. I have always had the feeling that being born in early December has been an inconvenience, not least to my wife who is the first to admit that until my birthday is "out of the way" can she then, and only then, concentrate on festive readiness.

She does have a point. For the last few days I have been smothered by a deluge of wrapping paper and gift tags, either opening presents or wrapping them. In a blur of paper, ribbon and sticky tape I am sure that I have, at least once, wrapped one of my newly opened birthday offerings in Lego Star Wars Christmas Paper by mistake; heaven only knows what my son's junior school friend will make of his 30 year old bottle of port.

The game tomorrow at Arundel will therefore come as some relief for me, a bit of an escape from all the Dazzle Wrap. It will be my second visit to the lovely town in Sussex this season, after watching Arundel's 1-0 victory over Chertsey Town back in early October; 'The Mullets' of Arundel will host 'The Cooks' of Cogenhoe United in an FA Vase Third Round Proper clash.

Both sides are in good form. Arundel go into the tie, with a place in the last 32 up for grabs, off the back of only one defeat in 14 games. Cogenhoe United have lost once in their last 11 outings.

It is difficult to predict what the turnout for the game will be. The average attendance from the five games I have been to in this season's FA Vase is 76, with only one (at Hassocks) over 100. Interest in the competition is sure to swell as the business end approaches, and I guess that from the national stages after Christmas attendances will start to rise. I have only just found out the attendance from the game at Banstead Athletic in the last round. Conspicuous by its absence from the FA website (and in many other sources) I ended up dropping the FA an email to ask. Yesterday I received a rather curt reply that "the attendance was 62". At around the same time their website was updated.

But as for tomorrow? I know that Cogenhoe United estimate something in the region of 30 will travel down from Northamptonshire, so we may see a gate pushing 100. Unfortunately, there will be some fans of both teams who will, I'm sure, be unable to find the excuses to avoid the Saturday afternoon trip to buy Christmas presents. In a desperate and fruitless attempt to avoid sounding sexist, I don't mind declaring that I am happy to do the Christmas shopping. But not on a Saturday afternoon. I know where I'd much rather be.

No comments: