I’m not really a beer drinker, so sitting in The Grange pub last night with my pint of Brains Smooth was a deliberate ploy not to buy too many drinks in an evening while watching the mighty Shrews take on MK Dons. And it worked, although the barman did give me the evils when midway through the second half I was only two thirds the way through my pint. If the bar hadn’t been so sparsely populated (there were two of us in there) I don’t think he’d have minded, but it was fairly obvious I wasn’t planning on splashing out my hard earned on his beer. And I think he resented me for that.
Still for a couple of quid I got to watch Sky’s surprisingly unpatronising coverage of a fairly dull, if fast-paced, scoreless draw. The pitch, now free of ducks and even swans, was muddy, but held up reasonably well in what will be the last ever Town game on it.
I did feel nostalgic though, as the cameras panned around a ground I know so well, lingering on the crumbling terraces, the trees above the stands, and the parochial advertising hoardings, while the commentators dutifully reminded us that this was the last game at Gay Meadow after 97 years…
So farewell then, the family stand, where as a lucky mascot I watched Town decimate Grimsby in the old second division; goodbye Christmas Steel Stockholders, the blue ad sign on the Wakeman End where me and Jim used to stand during our sixth form years; arrivederci the Riverside, with its tiny snack bar and stinky bogs.
It’s the end of an era. And I watched it live on Sky in an antiquated, dilapidated pub where no one cared. Except me.