Winning Isn't Everything - The Welling United Fanzine

The Welling United Fanzine

Wednesday 23 August

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The Holy Grail

Knowing the match at Grantham was in doubt due to the weather, WIE's band of Knights nevertheless set off, coconuts in hand, for Lincolnshire. At King's Cross a quick call to the Gingerbreads told us the game was off so at least we hadn't wasted our money on train tickets. Retiring to a nearby cafe the Knights gathered round a table to make a plan to find some football to watch.

Having looked through the non-league fixtures in the newspaper we came up with a shortlist of games in the F.A. Trophy, Ryman League and Dr. Marten's League. But how to find out whether any of these alternatives were actually on? It was decided the internet was the best method and so, whilst most of WIE's Knight's retired to the now open pub, two of us popped into an internet cafe to check various websites for results of pitch inspections, and also to obtain club phone numbers.

Having ruled out a number of games due to frozen pitches, the two made their way to the pub with the available options, only to find a congregation of Wings' fans gathered on their ways to various other engagements. Top of the list was a trip to see former Welling striking legend Terry Robbins in Enfield's Ryman League match with Bishop's Stortford. With Enfield's chairman having sold their Southbury Road ground, home games are played at Boreham Wood's Meadow Park ground. Enfield's phone was busy but a call to Boreham Wood resulted in a very positive, "it most certainly is," reply to being asked if the game was on. So off we set for the delights of Hertfordshire, safe in the knowledge that the day would not be wasted.

Arriving in Boreham Wood some 90 minutes prior to kick-off we decided to take advantage of the local hostelries before making our way to Meadow Park. And what bland hostelries they were too, making Welling's pubs look like a drinker's Mecca. A couple of ales later and it was time to jump into our carriages and headed for the ground. Just as we were arriving a coach marked 'Stort Travel' was pulling out, and we were greeted by a few of the locals signalling that the game was off. Boreham Wood had become Boreham Woodn't to a few disgruntled Welling supporters. We might have been the Knights who say, 'Wie' but what could we do, bleed on them? And just to rub salt into the wounds, Enfield's players went for a kickabout on the field next to the ground!

A swift pint whilst scouring the rest of our fixtures saw us call Bedford Town but that game too had bitten the dust. So expection turned to doom and gloom until we realised that it was very easy to get to Dulwich as Boreham Wood was served by Thameslink. Calling the number obtained from Hamlet's website put us through to Hampton & Richmond. Talk about how to publicise your own club badly, but we were given the correct number and told, not for the first time in the day, that their F.A. Trophy match against Margate was definitely on.

Hotfooting it back to the station saw a short wait for a train, and provided we made our connection we'd finally get into a game midway through the first half. What we'd failed to take into account was the capacity of Britain's Railways to really bugger things up. And so, just yards from Farringdon Station there was a bang, a puff of smoke and the train ground to a halt. After much fiddling around by the driver, who was wearing SS boots so we weren't messing with him, and many a misleading announcement the train finally began moving the few yards into the station. All change, so we got off and waited for the trains in the queue behind to start moving again. 3:30 and we were back on our way again, just making our connection and then striding off on the walk to Champion Hill.

Not being sure where the turnstiles were WIE's weary Knights walked in through a door and found themselves at the back of the stand as the clubhouse was emptying for the second half. I never went to the old Champion Hill but it was supposed to be an impressive ground. However, when rebuilding it in 1992, it has to be said that they didn't do the greatest of jobs. And so, only a decade on they want to build another new ground. Let's hope this one gets built properly. The current set up has only minimal terracing at each end despite the space available, leaving the majority of the area surrounding the pitch flat and at pitch level.

Being supporters of neither team we took the opportunity to watch from the halfway line. Finally, at just gone four o'clock, WIE got to see some football. As is typical in these situations managed to position ourselves next that brand of annoying know-all supporter who thinks he's the manager. This one was wearing a Harlow Town hat but knew all the Dulwich players by first name.

The pitch played reasonably well given the conditions, rock hard along the side where we were standing but we didn't have to wait long for a goal when crap defending allowed John-Michel Sigere to give us show, lasering one into the bottom corner. Victory was wrapped up by the Conference visitors six minutes from time when substitute Jack Leberl scored with his first touch after a flowing move. Ex-Wing Leon Braithwaite made his comeback from injury in the remaining time, leaving us with just the highlight of the afternoon to come: A Dulwich player messed up his cross, slicing it horribly behind the goal and took his frustration out on one of the piles of snow in front of the hoardings, covering one of the WIE gang in the stuff. One for Sky's third eye, and a fitting end to a chaotic day.

The Very Weary Traveller