Though for 20-odd years it was an expectation of office, I’ve never been very comfortable sitting down with the prawn sandwich brigade. More of a pie and Bovril man.
Wembley lay on a lovely lunch, mind, and they do a very canny spring roll at St James’ Park.
No chance of any of that at tonight’s Northumberland Senior Cup final: after all those years in the directors’ box, I’m relegated to the paying seats – codgers £4 50 – on the opposite side.
Among the reasons that it’s by no means a disappointment is that I no longer have to endure the stadium’s glass-sided lifts, a truly fearful prospect for those of us with no head for heights.
It’s Blyth Spartans v North Shields, a repeat of last year’s final which Shields won, memorably and dramatically, 4-3. “It was bedlam over here,” says former West Allotment Celtic programme editor Stephen Allott, sitting alongside.
Tonight’s much quieter: perhaps everyone’s still taking in the events surrounding Newcastle United earlier in the day.
The seats are in much the same position as those on the other side, the principal difference that these are bare plastic. In the west stand they’re padded: the directors’ box is the padded sell.
Blyth deservedy lead 2-0 at half-time, inspired as ever by livewire captain Robbie Dale. Stehen Allott points out that Robbie holds West Allotment’s record for the highest ratio of goals per game – five, all of them against Willington in the only game he played.
The second half’s much closer, three goals in the last few minutes bring Spartans a 3-2 victory. Pleas to smuggle spring rolls in the medical bag having fallen on deaf ears, we head home via the chip shop.
*It’s also a bit warmer than Tuesday night at Newton Aycliffe. Harvey Harris, who’d been at Spennymoor Town, has images of a blizzard on his phone. Penrith secretary Ian White reports similarly “Arctic” conditions at Sunderland RCA, though it didn’t prevent South Shields secretary Philip Reay from pitching up in his accustomed T-shirt or from presenting a club badge to Penrith mascot Bradley Hodgson as a farewell gift. “What a star,” says Ian. He’s right.
*Reporting the medical ministrations of Dr Bethan and Nurse Maeve – grandbairns aged two and four – yesterday’s blog also noted their diagnosis of chopping the ears off. It alarmed Tow Law secretary Steve Moralee who fears I could go blind as a result. “After all,” says Steve, “where are you going to put your glasses.”