27 October 2012

Out of Darknesss

Regular readers will be aware that I have a tragic genetic condition: the chronic, if low-level, affliction of supporting a consistently disappointing football team, Wolverhampton Wanderers. My family are from the Black Country and although for some time, there was a Wolves–Walsall divide among us, we are now all Wolves supporters, in name, at least. We used to go to matches quite often but I haven't been for a few years. Last year, though — the last season in the team's latest run in the top flight — my parents had season tickets and so we all went along to watch them play Charlton today. We even got the same seats they had last year, although as they were right at the back near the goal line, this probably wasn't too difficult.

One girl, two shirts; our stand, the Billy Wright stand

After a morning visiting various grandparents, we had lunch at Beatties, the local department store whose cafe is decorated in Old Gold and black, the team colours. I had some mediocre fish and chips and then it was match time. I don't like wearing old gold, orange or yellow, but had been parent-pressured into wearing a spare home shirt of my mum's. Luckily, there were plenty of retail opportunities at the Wolves Megastore, where I managed to acquire an away shirt in a more flattering shade of teal.

Clockwise from top left: quality meerkat merchandise in the Megastore,
match-day programme, Wolves pie, fun & games in the programme

As for the match, well, it was pretty standard Wolves fare. We were doing well, scored early, dominated the first half, and then fell apart in the second half, letting in a goal, and failing to take advantage of a number of shots on target. Charlton were playing dirty: they made 12 fouls compared to our five. I was slightly disappointed that the stands were relatively empty—the gate was about 22,000 out of a 36,000 capacity, but since the relegation from the Premier League, attendance has dropped considerably. We were next to the rowdy South Bank, behind the goal, and I was hoping for some good songs or chants from them but morale seemed pretty low; no one really seems to care what happens now that we are only in the Championship. There wasn't much cheering and there was a mass exodus from around the 85-minute mark.

Goal! (Yes, ours: Sako, 12 mn)

It was a fun day, anyway, although very chilly in the stadium, and maybe the experience will encourage me to pay a bit more attention to my team's performance this season. And now that I'm a south Londoner, maybe it was for the best that we didn't win, given that I was still wearing my Wolves shirt when I got off the bus in SE16 this evening.

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