Officially, the first live game I ever saw was against Southampton in 1975 but I was three and don’t remember anything about it.
My grandparents lived in Abingdon and we’d usually take in a game over the Christmas period so the first game I remember was four years later against Hull City.
We lived in Welwyn Garden City at the time and for a contrived reason I was an Ipswich Town fan. It turns out, that seeing Ipswich getting tanked at Highbury in 1978 was the first game I remember seeing.
It wasn’t until 1981, when we eventually moved to the area, that we started going regularly to The Manor. A 1-0 win against Bristol City triggered more regular visits that have lasted pretty much to the present day.
The first live game I ever saw on TV, though I barely remember it, was the 1978 FA Cup Final. I was also allowed to stay up and watch the first half of Scotland’s ill-fated World Cup opener against Peru. For some reason, the first highlights I remember seeing was Arsenal v Middlesborough, probably in 1979.
These are moments imprinted on my brain and have had a profound impact on my whole life. Now football seems to be hidden behind higher and higher walls. England (away) games, once free to watch on TV, then available through a subscription, can only be viewed by subscribing to a ‘digital platform’ and then and the channel itself. It’s almost as if football doesn’t want to be watched at all.
I feel largely detached from the new season. For the first time since I got my first season ticket in 1995; a wedding and holiday has seen me miss three of the first four home games of the season. Distance has not made the heart grow fonder. The 1-1 draw against Kettering seems like complacency to me. Which seems to be a common theme in the first weeks of the season. A good end to last season, a decent pre-season and some solid signings seem to have bred a laissez faire attitude around the club. The resignation of Adam Murray as captain does, at least, seem to be in a step in the right direction. Nothing against Murray, but the general consensus is that skippering doesn’t suit him.