Since it’s definitely shirt sleeve weather, it’s possible to suppose that Shildon may have a greater proportion of supporters wearing club gear – promoting social housing provider Livin, the main sponsor – than any other Ebac Northern League team.
They’re all over the pre-match clubhouse, them and the wasps. Escape outside and there are more wasps. It’s probably what’s called a sting.
One chap looks like he’s in there for the duration. “Aa canna stand the sun and aa canna stand the rain,” he says, and orders another pint.
Town mayor Peter Quinn is on the gate, nips outside for a couple of minutes sunshine and hastily returns. “I’ll get wrong,” says the mayor, rightly.
Shildon are playing Penrith. Among those conspicuously absent is home director Norman Smith – said to be an Arsenal fan (no wonder he’s so popular) and to have gone to Liverpool – and visiting secretary Ian White, who’s a Sheffield Wednesday fan and has gone to Preston. Neither will end the day happy.
Outside, the music machine’s playing All I Need is 20-20 Vision. Don’t we all.
Shildon are missing several regulars, including the excellent Billy Greulich-Smith. Penrith include Martin Coleman, now in his 7th or 8th spell with the club – is this a record? – and Willie Paul, who’s never been anywhere else, has racked up getting on 1,000 appearances and is the best player on the field.
The Cumbrians have had a difficult start. not helped by the very bad habit of conceding added time goals. It’s perhaps not greatly surprising, therefore, when a 91st minute effort by Danny Craggs takes a big deflection to give Shildon a 3-2 win.
Most of the 316 crowd go home happy. Penrith folk react philosophically.. As they used to say on Auf Wiedersehen Pet, that’s Livin all right.
*Thanks for all the emails following yesterday’s blog on Bedale’s “bangers and mash” strip, now being investigated by the mighty FA. Apart from anything else, and as several readers point out, £5 from every shirt sale is going to prostate cancer research – more than £500 raised so far.
In the meantime, the FA allows betting companies a virtual open goal to promote their activities.
Remember the song about the Bold Gendarmes? “But when we meet a helpless woman, or little boys who do no harm….” Of whom does that remind you?