24 hours earlier I was in my shirtsleeves sunbathing on the terraces at Folkestone Invicta. Today I was wrapped up to protect me from the ravages of spring as storm "Katie" blew across the Nottinghamshire plains bringing with it gale force winds and driving rain. This was proper Bank Holiday weather.
A small village three miles outside of Nottingham, Attenborough play on the village green, which is as nice as it sounds, sharing their facilities with the cricket club, and five minutes walk south from the station makes this a comfortable one to do by public transport. It is situated adjacent to a large bird sanctuary which is a very pleasant place to stroll round for the athletic groundhopper, if such a being exists. The clubhouse had hot drinks on the go all afternoon with sausage rolls making a welcome appearance at half time. This is the second of 10 (ten) consecutive home fixtures creating a lot of expenses for the club - officials, hospitality, programmes, etc. Fortunately the 10th match is a hop game which should bring in enough money to pay for the other nine. Attenborough are doing 220 programmes for the occasion so there won't be any worries of a paper shortage for latecomers.
Prior to kick off the crowd was treated to a quality display of handshaking. First off was the obligatory "respect" stuff where everyone was forcibly lined up to shake hands with everyone else. The ref then called the two captains to the middle and their first actions were to shake hands with each other followed by the officials. What's going on here boys, you've just done that, how much "respect" do you need. After issuing his instructions and tossing the coin I bet you can't guess what happened next? The five all shook hands again. That's three times in a couple of minutes. And still we weren't finished as for a final flourish, with the players lining up to start, the referee and linesman shook hands with each other! Can't help feeling it would be more respectful to cut all this nonsense out and with the time saved the referee could kick the match off on time.
This was a mid table clash with Attenborough' usual goalkeeper injured and outfielder James Birtles, son of Gary, did the honours. Although it was obvious this wasn't his regular position he did o.k. The first half was pretty average as players tried to come to terms with the wind but things perked up in the second which was when all the goals were scored. With no cover it was fortunate the drizzle only turned into a heavy downpour after the final whistle which was exactly what the B.B.C. had predicted. I Shared the train back to London with three fans going home from the Burton Albion v Oldham Athletic match. They were Sussex based Oldham supporters and I shouldn't think there's very many more of them knocking around. Another great day out.