Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The Poppies & Newport County - ships that passed in the night

Just last season we beat Newport County 3-2 in our first home game.  God, it seems a lot longer ago than that doesn't it?  It is difficult to entirely grasp, but when we start next season an incredible 5 divisions will separate us from the team that JP's incredibly poor penalty finally beat in the closing seconds in our first game at Non Park.  Their supporters looked so glum in the bar afterwards, whilst we all enjoyed the moment.  At least I hope we did, because there have been precious few since!

Of course, if we knew then that the entirety of Ladak's planning for "Project Nene Park" was to hope that Morrell could sell all the Executive boxes and that magically 4000 extra supporters would appearout of thin f*cking air, we would have looked far sicker than the Newport fans.

Only last season...?  Bloody hell!
 I can only recall a couple of other notable Newport incidents.  Of course, there was their failure and the folding of the club back in 1989 which helped cost us any chance of winning the league that season.  Again, difficult to grasp now, but a place in the Football League came down to a straight scrap between us and Maidstone United.  Unfortunately, Newport's dropping out of the Conference handed Maidstone an advantage as they had lost to them whilst we had won.  With these results expunged, the men from Kent received a boost and never really looked back.

Newport then spent many years in a figurative and literal wilderness, only returning to Newport itself in recent years.   I remember us winning at their athletics stadium during the Southern League triumph under Shutty.  Without doubt they were the angriest fans I'd ever encountered. They shrieked abuse at us, our team and our country until they were all purple in the face.  They saved their worse bile-spitting fury for poor old Ian Bowling.  Every time the ball went out for a goal kick the assembled Newport hordes, probably because we were cruising to our accustomed victory, screamed for him to hurry up.  Ian's cause wasn't helped by the lack of ball boys of the fact that the ball rolled 40-50 yards across running tracks and grass, and he had to clamber over various advertising hoardings too. 

That said, given with how far Newport have progressed from going bust to getting back into the Football League it should at least offer a crumb of comfort as we start entering Fleet, Thatcham and Royston into our Sat Navs!

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