Sunday, 9 December 2018

County Ground

Swindon Town 0-1 Woking

2nd December 2018

It is generally felt never a good idea to annoy people; for they invariably find a way to get you back.  And the Woking F.C. players had been, in the words of defender Josh Casey, “kind of annoyed” by what they perceived as the weakened side put out by their hosts Swindon Town, in this FA cup second round tie.  'Cause no-one likes to be taken lightly.

So they got them back by unceremoniously dumping their hosts out of the F.A Cup, this afternoon.  Although do I wonder if we would have heard anything of these ire feelings had Swindon won.  I rather think not.

But I suppose the day belonged to goalscorer Jake Hyde who, it could be argued, actually had a double reason to be annoyed at Swindon Town; the Wiltshire club having released him as a teenager back in 2009.

I had actually seen Hyde play for Dunfermline, in 2011, I think it was.  If memory serves (which it often does not these days, I have to admit), I saw him turn out for my local club against Cowdenbeath.  The player had initially signed for Dundee F.C. some weeks earlier, there having to be some jiggery-pokery required involving Dundee-based junior club Lochee United, in order to circumvent some transfer embargo or other imposed upon the Dens Park club.  All very ropey.

Hyde did rather well for The Blues but, as he was signed as an amateur, Dunfermline were able to drop in and pinch him from their rivals, ostensibly to help bolster a promotion drive which had started to falter.

But his displays were pretty forgettable at Dunfermline (I had certainly forgotten them), and he was released at the end of that season.   Dunfermline did go up, however, should anyone be wondering.

The Energy Check County Ground, Swindon Town FC

Tickets were sold from these tiny little windows, which put me in mind of those anchorites of the middle ages,
(usually deranged women) who would volunteer to be immured within the walls of churches
 to allow them closer commune with god.  Or something.

The slightly austere rear to the Don Rogers Stand.

The Energy Check County Ground, Swindon Town FC

Before his 55th minute goal, and indeed afterwards, HYDE was also fairly anonymous this afternoon.  Although, if truth be told, the encounter offered poor fare generally for the 3,600 attendees.   The home side dominated possession throughout, and forced a whopping fifteen corners during the match.  But Keshi Anderson and James Dunne appeared simply to take turns messing them up, with crappy delivery after crappy delivery.  Although, to be fair, Dunne was one of the few home players who emerged from the afternoon with any credit – always on the move, always looking for the ball.

But the best chap on the park was Woking's Number 4 Jack Cook; elegant and unflappable, he coolly navigated his teammates through both a decidedly rocky first half, and a slightly fractious closing period when Swindon were kitchen-sinking it.

And the reward for his side's efforts?  A third round home tie with Watford.  A visit from a Premier League club, yes, but unlikely to be one of the names the club treasurer would have been hoping for.

Swindon Town v Woking - December 2018

The thousand or so Woking bods, who would go home very pleased with their day out.

Panorama of The County Ground, Swindon.

Panorama of The County Ground, Swindon.

Swindon''s Rolex

I love seeing foliage inside football grounds.

This was even better.

There is a Jethro Tull lyric which goes:
"Will these changing times, motorways, powerlines, keep us apart?
Well, I don't think so
I saw some grass growing through the pavements today."

I thought it really rather nice of this steward to help with laying out the big flag.

The Swindon red is such a cool colour.  But I was less sure about the sponsor's logo.
It just sounds, in some undefinable way, slightly salacious.

The Arkell's Stand - built in 1972

One of a seemingly endless series of Swindon corner-kicks which came to naught.

My man Jack Cook - Woking FC

Woking 'keeper Craig Ross took a bit of stick for going down injured after this incident.
But he did clearly take an arm in the face.

The visiting support took great delight in greeting Berti Schotterl, as their "BFG".

Panorama of The County Ground, Swindon.

About an hour's drive south of Swindon, but still in Wiltshire, can be found the iconic prehistoric structure of Stonehenge.  I had long wanted to visit, and I was glad I took a friend's advice to book onto one of the (very) early morning stone circle access slots where one is allowed to wander amongst the stones.  As opposed to just gawping at the site from a disappointingly large distance away, which is what a run-of-the-mill visit entails.

There were a couple of dozen or so folks like me who pitched up at the visitors center at the ungodly hour of 5AM, whereupon we were bused up to the henge, and let loose with dire warnings not to touch the stones.  But like the rebel I am, I did.  Bad Boy.

And it was really rather special to be inside the circle as the sun crept over the horizon.

I perhaps, scarcely need to add, these pics were not taken on the same day as my Swindon trip, but the previous summer.


  1. Very enjoyable read. Thank you.

  2. Thank You. I do occasionally wonder if any of this stuff I post is ever read !