Saturday March 30
Gosport Borough 0 Harrow Borough 1
Gosport Borough, of the Evo-Stik Premier South, have been on my radar for quite a time now being as everyone tells me I really must see their main stand. Looking at pictures online, I agree, so the die is cast.
It is shirt sleeve weather by the time I reach Privett Park. I pay £10 at the gate and am handed a yellow, cardboard four-page ‘update’. Not so long ago I would have walked away and found a club close by that actually printed a matchday programme!
A colour teamsheet is handed out in the clubhouse too. To complete Gosport’s output, fans can see the full version of the programme online.
Inside, one’s attention is immediately drawn to the wooden grandstand down one side of the ground. It is as good in real life as it is in the photos. The teabar is also down this side, serving ‘full breakfasts’ in a bun. There’s another seated stand on the opposite side of the pitch and the clubhouse behind one goal (complete with a few Christmas decorations behind the bar!). The amazing club crest can be found dotted around the stadium.
It is almost impossible to order food from the teabar thanks to the ear-splitting volume of the music being played over the PA system. The old guy serving is having real difficulty, so I head to the clubhouse where there’s another food outlet.
The players come out onto the pitch to the strains of Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights – better known as the theme of The Apprentice!
I take my place adjacent to the edge of the penalty area where I can see Portsmouth’s famous Spinnaker Tower in the distance.
As the match progresses, I feel I may have been better attempting the impossible photo instead of watching the football.
Yes, struggling Gosport force three excellent early saves from Hafed Al-Dououbi in Harrow Borough’s goal but that’s about your lot. Substitutes warming up in front of me even try and tempt one of the ballboys to go onto the pitch to liven things up!
The second half is worse still. Just as I am writing in the final score as 0-0 on my notepaper – in all honesty, I could have done this in the tenth minute – Harrow prove me wrong and have the audacity to score the winner. It is a bitter blow to Gosport, which sends them into a relegation spot.
In the dying minutes, the crowd near the clubhouse are distracted by a full Jeremy Kyle-type argument taking place between a stewardess and a confrontational couple. This features endearing behaviour such as fluffing out of the chest while rearing up into the face of the official, finger pointing in a rapper-gang style and swearing. The couple refuse to leave the ground (“make it happen, then”) and the police are called.
As much as I would like to see the denouement of the Jeremy-Kyle-Guest nonsense, I have a 180-mile drive ahead of me, so decide to get in the car and head home instead!
Pre-match info: 9
Home Team Respect: 6
Home Fans: 2
Overall Trip: 7
Read more Diary of a Groundhopper here.
Saturday March 30