With A Little Smile

Its Back! Action from Newport (Photo By Craig Priest)

It's back! Action from Newport (Photo by Craig Priest)

It’s Friday evening. I’m beginning to get excited – I know that the return of Mansfield Town and football is only a sleep away. For a moment I forget my silly pre-match routine (everyone has one!), but I eventually remember and set to work changing / updating the music on my MP3 Player, putting drinks in the fridge, finding my ‘little green book’ and putting it on my desk along with then new book I purchased. I set my alarm for 6am, checking it over and over – I always have my doubts as to whether my alarm will go off or not – another silly nightmare in which I don’t wake up and miss the game! Eventually I drift off to sleep – football’s getting closer!

At around 5.30am on Saturday morning I awake in a moment of panic: it’s light outside.  Have I missed my alarm and missed the game? ‘Check the time, you Muppet’ I tell myself. I do, and I’ve woken up early with excitement, as always! Shall I try and sleep the extra half hour? No, in case I miss my alarm! As I get out of bed I notice the calender with stars all around the date with the words “Football’s Back!” written in very big letters. I let out a little cheer, perhaps a tiny bit too loud! It’s football day, the day where I see all my friends and watch my team. The good times are back.

After a quick check of the internet my alarm goes off – I jump out of my skin, I have forgotten to turn it off yet again! Time for a cup of tea, followed by the rest of my pre-match routine. Before I know it, the time is 8.50am and I am in a friend’s car and off to Field Mill. When we arrive I see all the normal faces standing in the players’ car park instead of the normal car park.

The bus arrives- late as usual! Money has already been taken so we all take our seats near the back of the bus. In go my head phones and my lucky song starts to play as we roll out of Field Mill for the first time this season. A little smile spreads across my face. When we stop at the service station, a few of us get funny looks from families, and one man asks me if the football season has started already. “I wish! It’s a pre-season friendly,” I reply. The rest of the dialogue I cannot repeat, but the gist of what he replied was he thought he’d missed his team’s first game!

The game itself was typical of a pre-season friendly: several faces you don’t recognise, and several people asking the same question repeatedly “Craiigy, who’s that?” With a little smile I shrug my shoulders and answer on auto-pilot “I’m not sure.”

Stags looked sharp, but I feel there is more in the tank – we are yet to spark into life;  If we do we will be a force to be reckoned with. David & Dean Holdsworth didn’t hold back and there was no “brotherly love” when it came to the game – though there was plenty beforehand: both brothers walking around together greeting both sets of supporters, along with the chairmen of both clubs. There was a moment of worry when Kyle Nix went down injured and was eventually stretchered off, but according to reports the injury is not as bad as first feared. Two goals from striker Kyle Perry sealed a victory for Stags, who along with David & Dean enjoyed the reception from both sets of supporters. I had a little smile when I saw David’s face after he whispered something, presumably about the game, into Dean’s ear! It’s always nice to get one over on your brother- no matter the age gap!

"Brotherly Love"? The Holdsowrth Twins Before Kick Off (Photo By Dan Westwell)

"Brotherly Love"? The Holdsowrth Twins Before Kick Off (Photo By Dan Westwell)

The trip home provided the normal chats about which players stood out and which players didn’t took place on the coach for a while; it’s like we’ve never been away. Some sour sweets and little naps later we arrived back at Field Mill happy that we had won and happy that football would return to Field Mill on Tuesday evening.

My day was enjoyable, quite simply summed up when I walked into the house and into my bed room. I saw my cup, half full with cold tea! That’s when it hit home, football had returned; YES! The only downside for me is that I now need a new MP3 player as mine decided to pack in halfway home – it’s a good job there is music on my phone. I always have a back up plan!

Thanks for reading & thanks also for all the wonderful feed back on my “Fixture Night” report. Craig. 🙂

For those who use Stagsnet message boards, they have been temporally moved after being hacked, don’t worry it will be back soon.


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