Friday, December 26, 2003

I’m currently pursuing a compensation claim for the trauma suffered as a result of my injury in Iraq.

After today, I’m widening the claim to take in the trauma suffered as a result of watching Shrewsbury Town “Football” Club.

The Shrews were relegated from Division Three down into the Nationwide Conference last season. After watching them play this afternoon I can see why. It was, without doubt, one of the worst displays of football I’ve ever seen – and I’m speaking as a Cardiff City fan.

Don’t let the blurring in this photograph deceive you into thinking the players were running around the pitch. A tortoise with sciatica has more pace. In fact, I was expecting a call up onto the subs bench at any moment – and with my new leg I’m sure I wouldn’t have embarrassed myself.

Still, Boxing Day is football day and watching a local football team grind out a 3-1 victory in the pouring rain was an example of everything that’s great about the game. The pride, the passion, the pies – and the inexplicable motivations of these people who paid good money to stand in the open air in driving rain for 90 minutes and support their team in resigned silence. Each one of them deserves to be decorated in the New Years Honours List.

At half time, I watched paramedics stretcher away one of the supporters from the terraces. He’d probably collapsed from boredom, although I’m sure the doctors at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital are used to dealing with casualties of this kind when Shrewsbury Town are playing at home.

BBC Sport Online: Shrewsbury Vs Northwich Match Report


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