the real fa cup

Bouncy Bouncy

The clocks may well have only just gone forward but you’d be forgiven for thinking that summer is already here.

In true Great British fashion, we gleefully took advantage of the early Spring sunshine and surged to the Vale in Dulwich just as soon as we rose from our beds on Saturday. Admittedly, that wasn’t quite as early a start time for a drinking session as it might sound but there was time for at least one of us to be forced to move to a more secluded part of the pub garden due to sunstroke as well as a few pints of the distinctly off-tasting Powder Monkey before we headed across the road.DSC_0018.JPG

It’s amazing the difference a bit of sun makes to British people and so it was that our contingent numbered an incredible 4 (four) with one more to come as we sauntered into the Hamlet bar only to be greeted with the news that the Pride, the Adnams and the Amstel were all off – every man and his alcoholic dog wants a pint on a day like this and they’d clearly got there before us.

DSC_0020.JPG Pints of various untried (and frankly, unwanted) beverages safely decanted into hooligan-proof plastics, we wandered around the pitch, pausing only to sample the phenomenon that was the glowing heat emanating from The Wall behind the goal before we took up our positions on the halfway line opposite the main stand – the key factor in this decision being the lack of sun due to the roof on that side which would prevent the more follically-challenged members of the group from suffering further.

No sooner had we balanced our beers on the railings and availed ourselves of some lino porn and Dulwich had scored. Skipper Francis Duku – back in the side after being left on the bench whilst his team mates weakly donated the Championship Manager Cup to Wingate & Finchley last week – popped up to head in a cross and give the home side a deserved lead.DSC_0004.JPG

Worthing equalised 10 minutes before the break and their small band of followers found the heady combination of sun and goal too much for them and promptly removed their shirts to reveal some less than athletic torsos, the sight of which, when combined with an amusing “bouncy, bouncy” song was not my favourite vision of the day.

Feeling brave and possibly a touch inebriated, we decided to brave the full South London sun for the second half and joined the Dulwich faithful behind the goal at the Wall end.

Dulwich are our local side – indeed, this website was born in the main stand at Champion Hill in 2008. Inevitably, we’ve been to watch them play more often than any other non-league side and as any fan who regularly watches the same team will know, football can be very predictable sometimes. In the 3 years we’ve been going down there, Dulwich have played their football to a theme – the general pattern is to play nice, neat football with some excellent passing and moving but fail to have the cutting edge up front to kill sides off and end up being punished and wondering what happened. For an Arsenal fan such as myself, watching Dulwich could well be described as a busman’s holiday.


And so it was that the team in blue and pink contrived to lose the match 2-1 – the winner scored midway through the 2nd half by Terry Dodd. From my slightly hazy memory, Dulwich failed to create a single chance worthy of the name during the second period.

Once again the home fans were left wondering what could have been and we were left to return to the Vale for yet more tangy ale and to gradually realise that it really was far too early in the year to be wearing T-shirts and shorts.

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