30 July 2008 – Aveley 1-4 Gills
My first game of the season and we rattle in four goals away from home, heralding my first away win in over two years. Everyone seems to have a bit of a downer about all things Gillingham, letting the five years of accelerating decline, mounting debt, rapidly diminishing support and increasingly inept playing squads cloud their outlook. Yet on a beautiful evening it was easy to become intoxicated on the fumes of pre-season optimism…let the good times roll!
Actually the evening was a bit of a personal disaster. I was working close by (hence my excuse for popping over to Essex for a low key friendly) but several accidents on the M25 and a diversion to Aveley that took me out of County Hell and round the Hook of Holland to reach the ground left me in a bit of a foul mood. Then I had an attack of the shits. And they might embrace pimped up Capris, Y shaped coffins and stilettoes in these parts, but they haven’t exactly taken functioning bogs to their hearts. No locks, no toilet seats, no loo roll. And while I’m at it – no food, no programme, no PA announcements.
I spied Adam Miller wander past eating a bag of Scampi Fries so ambled into the bar to see what they had to eat. I was met with an irritated frown by the barman, suggesting I’d asked if I could pickle his brain and feed it to an invading army of giant alien beavers from outer space. I eventually secured a bottle of of Lucozade and a packet of crisps.
To start with I couldn’t really tell which team was which, not helped by Chris Kiely playing in goal for Aveley. Once I’d got over this minor confusion I managed to recognise Clohessy, Richards, Lewis and Facey, who certainly looks like he could be one for the future when he gets match fit. Guinness Gill as ever helped identify most of the others, though some remained a mystery. The bumper crowd of about 100 included Paul Scally, who looked like he’d aged another ten years over the close season. Running a football club is no way to retain your youthful good looks, I noted cunningly to myself.
I didn’t really pay much attention to the first half, as I was still rather phased about the state of the facilities and the potential danger of pooping my pants. But we scored and they hit the bar. In the second half they equalised, sending the home fans into a frenzy, including a nutter in the stands and a rotund woman with a pink Burberry hat and aggressive looking but somewhat soppy dog. But the last ten minutes put them firmly in their place, as superior fitness told and we trashed the little buggers with a late scoring extravaganza. And as the sun set over the East London skyline, the world seemed a happy place and I allowed myself to think only positive thoughts. I really think we might finish above Luton.
Not defecating in public.
The Morty Vicker