Number 32, Come On In

Morning. This I shall keep brief.

Overall, a sporting weekend to remember. Yesterday I was at the Oval for the farcical ending to England v Pakistan – when nobody saw fit to tell the crowd what was going on for 90 minutes or more – and then of course, there was Saturday’s visit to the Grove.

It’s been said a thousand times and I suspect it will be said more, but the Grove really is a sight to behold. Even with my blinkers off I think it’s got to be the best finished stadium in the UK, and one of the best in Europe. It’s simply breathtaking.

And you know what, it’s also noisier. Not, of course, when nobody’s singing [a rather obvious statement perhaps], but when the fans open their gullets, it resonates in a way Highbury rarely did. I can’t wait for one of those lung-busting games against one of our biggest rivals to really put it to the test.

The seats are big too, like cinema seats, padded, wide and long [though without the holders for drinks and popcorn – surely an oversight]. The bogs, too, are as memorable as bogs can be, and a far cry from the rabbit hutch-sized pissoirs in the old East Lower.

It would be churlish to criticise really, though I suppose I could point out that the queues for beer are huge. This has probably got a lot to do with the fact that the ‘outlets’ sell food and soft drinks too – so everyone queues there. Some bars for beer, perhaps?

And inside our part [the lower tier], it’s undoubtedly a bit functional in design. Upstairs, looking out of the glass, it’s airier and altogether more pleasant, but hey, it’s a small point.

There was a football game too – with the highlight being young Theopholis P Walcott’s debut. A more incisive and impressive debut you’d struggle to find – he was electric.

Otherwise, despite our overwhelming territorial advantage, we couldn’t make it count. Lots of football positives, but guilty of over-elaboration. So nothing changes there.

That said, given it was a new beginning, a new season in a new ground with a young team, the result was not too bad.

And I’m back on Wednesday. Lovely!

Not that brief after all, was it.

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