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Games you chose not to attend (and always regretted...)

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  • steviecowden
    replied
    cowdenbeaths away play off win against dunfermline.my missus had sacked me the day before and i wasnt in the mood
    italia 90 with scotland

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  • Capybara
    replied
    I'd forgotten about this but it came back to me earlier. Friday 27 February 2004 and two days before my lot were due in Cardiff for a League Cup final. My Hereford mates asked if I fancied going to Dagenham to see the game against the Bulls. I was keen at first, but I'd been to Dagenham before, it was cold, and I'd had a hard week so I decided to give it a miss. But the game was televised so I went to the pub and asked them to put it on. No one else in the pub was interested in a Conference game, but by the time Hereford scored their ninth they were all watching.

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  • Despondent Hammer
    replied
    March 26th 2000, West Ham home to Wimbledon. Game finishes 2-1 to West Ham and I watched it in the pub in Dorset instead of going.
    The regret being, that was the day di Canio scored THAT goal and I had decided to miss it. When you consider he is my all-time hero in claret and blue, I am still mortified that I missed that in the flesh

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  • Capybara
    replied
    Originally posted by Ray de Galles View Post
    I've always regretted not rocking up to Wembley on spec in 1992 for the European Cup Final between Barcelona and Sampdoria as I saw Barca fans heading up there that afternoon and was told sometime in the days following that tickets had been available on the gate.

    However, on checking the video of the match now the ground looks pretty packed. The official attendance is 70,000+ so maybe there was space available in the gods.
    Yes, you could get into some European finals on the day until quite recently (relatively). I went to the Cup-Winners' Cup final at Wembley the year after and it was basically a spur-of-the-moment decision at 4pm that afternoon. We just pitched up and paid on the gate.

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  • Grimmer
    replied
    Originally posted by Jobi1 View Post
    My friends at home have always since tried to console me with their feeling that I didn't miss out on that much by not coming over for the matches because while the games were great, the best and most joyous bit of the whole thing in their opinion was the open-top bus parade with the trophies a few days later (which I definitely would not have been able to stick around for because of work). Not sure I really believe that, but there you go.
    ... and there’s my regret, attend both games but not the bus.

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  • Ray de Galles
    replied
    I've always regretted not rocking up to Wembley on spec in 1992 for the European Cup Final between Barcelona and Sampdoria as I saw Barca fans heading up there that afternoon and was told sometime in the days following that tickets had been available on the gate.

    However, on checking the video of the match now the ground looks pretty packed. The official attendance is 70,000+ so maybe there was space available in the gods.

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  • Jobi1
    replied
    The play-off chat has reminded me of another of my huge regrets...

    I missed the whole of the "Wembley Twice" thing – the mad week in May 2012 when York became, to the best of my knowledge, the only team to date to win Wembley finals on consecutive weekends. I was living in Italy at the time, though I struggle to use that as an excuse given I have friends who came home from Australia for the games. I think it would have just about been logistically possible to nip over for at least one of the two finals, although extremely tricky for me in my circumstances at the time due to the cost and work commitments. Having suffered through the awful Wembley defeats of 2009 and 2010, I decided I just couldn't bring myself to take that punt. I at least managed to find a dodgy stream to watch the play-off final, but the elation of the victory was of course tempered with a huge dose of regret for not going.

    My friends at home have always since tried to console me with their feeling that I didn't miss out on that much by not coming over for the matches because while the games were great, the best and most joyous bit of the whole thing in their opinion was the open-top bus parade with the trophies a few days later (which I definitely would not have been able to stick around for because of work). Not sure I really believe that, but there you go.

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  • Simon G
    replied
    I've definitely mentioned it before. I think it was that bad I nearly fell asleep second half, and it was a lunchtime kickoff.

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  • Patrick Thistle
    replied
    Originally posted by Simon G View Post
    Great story NHH.

    The only game I ever chose not to attend was our first Division 3 game on Sky in September 1999. It was against Shrewsbury, who were also on Sky for the first time I believe, and we lost 1-0 to a Lee Steele goal. The game was rubbish. I chose not to go because I wanted to see what it was like to watch us on telly - no Sky plus back then of course.
    I think I've said this before but I was at that game. It was rubbish. Extremely poor.

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  • Bordeaux Education
    replied
    Originally posted by Ray de Galles View Post

    Can you remember if you were on your way to meet me there? I can never quite recall if I was at that game or not. I have a strong mental image of seeing the goal live but am worried it is a false memory.
    I think I was. Myself and, oddly, Mrs Bored were coming from Raynes Park as all of us were living there at the time however you were already there. You probably left at the crack of dawn as you wanted to get the programme so you could know who the left back was three hours in advance or, more to the point, you realised, from experience, that I would leave it too late as I thought the Selhurst Park was vaguely near Wimbledon still even though the weight of evidence was against me.

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  • Simon G
    replied
    Great story NHH.

    The only game I ever chose not to attend was our first Division 3 game on Sky in September 1999. It was against Shrewsbury, who were also on Sky for the first time I believe, and we lost 1-0 to a Lee Steele goal. The game was rubbish. I chose not to go because I wanted to see what it was like to watch us on telly - no Sky plus back then of course.

    There are a ton of games I've not been able to go to that I regret though. The obvious two are Rushden away in 1999 when we did a Manchester United at the Nou Camp a month before they did, and then a few weeks later the Yeovil home game where we clinched promotion to the Football League for the first time in our history.

    The Rushden game I couldn't go to because my uncle didn't buy me a coach ticket to go. At the time I was visiting and staying at my nan's fortnightly and the Rushden game wasn't one of my weeks, but I'd gone there in the hope he'd got me a coach ticket. Sod's law that one and I always brought it up as a jokey regret whenever the conversation turned to that game. I still do now with family members even though my uncle passed away in 2015.

    The Yeovil game was a Thursday evening and, being 14 at the time, I had school on the Friday. Living in Churchdown (near Gloucester), getting over to Whaddon Road after school, watching the game, then getting back afterwards, simply wasn't feasible. Instead I followed the game on Teletext. At around 10pm the page flickered and said "Cheltenham Town 3-2 Yeovil Town FT" having been stuck on 2-2 for what seemed like an eternity. I jumped around the bedroom like a lunatic and the next day at school was the greatest ever. My tutor was a Cheltenham fan and had been there and not left until gone 2, was clearly hungover, but he'd brought in sweets for the tutor group in celebration.

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  • NHH
    replied
    It certainly makes for a great dinner-party getting-to-know-you tale

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  • Sporting
    replied
    Seconded.

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  • Fearful Symmetry
    replied
    NHH Blimey, that's some story.

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  • Ray de Galles
    replied
    Originally posted by Bordeaux Education View Post

    Another that springs to mind is driving to Wimbledon playing Leeds but the traffic was so bad to Selhurst Park that I turned back. Tony Yeboah scared that goal that afternoon.
    Can you remember if you were on your way to meet me there? I can never quite recall if I was at that game or not. I have a strong mental image of seeing the goal live but am worried it is a false memory.

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  • NHH
    replied
    Part 3...

    For a long time, this did feel like something to regret, or at least be ashamed of, but it really was the best thing that ever happened to me. I'd been wanting to leave the organisation for some time, feeling totally burnt out. The perpetual crisis of funding Supporters Direct had taken its toll, and absent the Labour Government who had all but demanded the organisation be funded, the powers that be had us under the sword of damocles for the best part of 2 years. To some extent, the events above were a form of breakdown, I think. I knew I couldn't leave until funding was secured, but that was constantly being kicked into the long grass, and so was trapped. The delight over Wimbledon's success was to a great extent because it represented the clouds parting for the first time in years.

    It's clearly a sliding doors moment, where had I gone to the game, my life would be very different now, but I'm convinced I wouldn't be anywhere near as happy. Being free of that stress was marvellous. We'd be trying for a second child for around a year by this point, and it wasn't happening. Mrs NHH was pregnant 5 weeks later. Medium-term, I think that accumulated stress was a contributory factor to the stroke I had in 2017, but despite that, I'm happier than I've ever been. I've not had a boss since, no commute, no office politics, no industry-political wank of any sort, no responsibilities for other team members and the chance to work with wonderful people trying to make their communities better without any of the downsides of this community-led approach that bedevilled attempts to do it in British football.

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  • NHH
    replied
    Part 2....

    The morning of the play-off final dawns and I’m back in London for the conference. It’s a lovely warm day and I’ve got a plan. I ask on twitter if anyone knows any pubs in New Cross that might show the game and it’s pointed out that Premier Sports also carry Gaelic football. So my task is simply to find an Irish pub in the area and I will be happy. Twitter is my friend!

    The conference is going well. I’m used to speaking in front of a football audience about football issues so I’m outside my comfort zone here but it’s gone well. I’m now buzzing like Gazza after the 1991 FA Cup semi-final. I wait until the interval to work through my list of pubs that might be showing the game. The second one I call assures me they’ll have it. They’ve got two tellies, and they’ll see me at 2.45.

    I start to get a sinking feeling the second I walk into the pub see the Celtic shirt. It’s the same day as the Scottish Cup final and not only are this pub showing that match, it takes about 1.24 nanoseconds to realise that this will be the case in every one of my list of Irish pubs. The second telly is of no help either. It’s showing the horse racing for the sole pleasure of a guy who will, in due course, doubtless die due to the amount of money he will sink into this pub, which judging by the look of him, might not be so far away.

    I ask the barman if there are any other pubs nearby which show football. He tells me there’s one down New Cross Road. I get the number from Google and call. They swear they have Premier Sports and have no Celtic fans in. I beg him to check for me — this is my last hope — and he informs me that he can see the teams warming up. I promise to be there in three minutes. Thank god for the Internet!

    I walk in with seconds to spare. This is great. The pub has some lovely looking pork pies and a great ale selection. I have pride of place in front of the telly and am taking the kind of contented smile-encrusted sip that you see men in beer adverts do and think looks completely fake.

    And then it happens. The screen goes blue. It turns out that Premier Sports were showing a Freeview teaser. The pub doesn’t, in fact, have the game. They’ll have to get a subscription to do that.

    I’m not thinking straight by this point and proffer my bankcard to purchase it; a month will be about 50 quid I reckon. The guy can’t do it though, as only the manager can do these things, and he, of course, is out. But he feels for me, and says that they have free wifi. Can I maybe watch it online? So I get out my laptop, connect up, and head over to one of the very many sites which tell you where to look, and several clicks later, I’m watching the game. The Internet is the best thing ever!

    But the network (BT OpenWorld since you didn’t ask but I’m distributing blame widely) is bobbins. I decide to use my mobile phone as the connection instead. It’s more reliable than the wifi, but no better in terms of the quality. Remember when Luton hit the post on 88 minutes? I had no idea whether this had gone in or not for about 30 seconds until the pictures starting moving. Can you imagine what might feel like? The low bitrate was causing a very high heart rate.

    I know that I can’t watch extra time like this, never mind those things that come afterwards which begin with ‘p’. No sir. We are going to switch medium: it’s time for Radio WDON, where the lack of pictures will mean a reliable and consistent connection.

    But now there is sensory underload. I need something to do with my eyes, and my hands can’t keep lifting pints to my lips, as lovely as the four I’ve had by this point had been. After all, I am a responsible and judicious representative of fans. And then I get a bright idea, since my laptop is open: twitter is my friend!

    I can follow the action there. Heck, it’s kind of like being there, so many people are tweeting from the ground. There’s also a global cuddle of love from all those people around the world who think that it will be in the wider interests of football if our righteous club is playing in League Two. Wonderfully, it’s slightly behind the radio commentary, so it’s like we’re reacting to the action. This is great, I think, as I embark on pint number five.

    And so to penalties (I can’t remember a damn thing about the extra time) and my drinking/listening/tweeting companion is genuinely worried for me. He sees my face drained of colour, my shallow and labored breathing, and is fearful. A few other people have gathered around us in the pub, probably as intrigued by me and my palpitations as much as the action 250 miles away.

    As Danny Kedwell walks forward, I start to cry. This would mean so much, so very, very much. Not just for me, or the club all my friends in the stadium, but for fan ownership and for Supporters Direct, of which I was now Chief Executive.

    I can’t help thinking how wonderful this will be for the idea that there has to be a better way to own and run clubs than for them to be the plaything of rich men. How it would sheer unalloyed bloody brilliant news to people who were trying to make it happen at their clubs up and down the country and often got dog’s absue for their efforts. I think of those who said it was a crazy idea, which wouldn’t last the first flushes of enthusiasm, who predicted that since fans shouldn’t run clubs, fans couldn’t run clubs.

    Most of all, I think of those who had told all those Wimbledon fans that what they were trying to do was not in the wider interests of English football, and of all those people I knew who were at the game and had refused to be told what to do and what to think and instead by force of will had changed the landscape of the game.

    And he scores. I go crazy. Certifiably-unable-to-tell-you-precisely-what-I-did-next-bonkers. Maybe its work stress. Maybe its the beer. Maybe its just the fact that AFC WIMBLEDON ARE A LEAGUE CLUB. The twitter hashtag is rolling fast, with messages pouring in from well-wishers, who in our moment of glory take some vindication too as people who share the ideals and ethos of the club.

    Now I’d love to say that at this point, I left my computer unattended, and someone came in and messed with it (they might well have been the same person who sent emails from Garry Cook’s account at Man City). But that’s not true. I done the blag myself.

    I send three tweets, one of which compared our success to the title of the 1963 epic ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’. This would later be said to be disrespectful to the film’s subject matter of the Bible, which makes me wish the film title had been used some years earlier to retell a story like Pinocchio.

    I send one tweet which reminded people of what was said by Pete Winkleman about how no-one could ever rise from the lower reaches of non-league football like Wimbledon ever again. And I then send something unprintable in a family newspaper about the person who’d chaired the committee which had said that all this was not in the wider interests of English football, and had never publicly acknowledged the horribleness of this remark, never mind apologised.

    Actually, I don’t send that about him. I send it about a minor TV psychologist who shares several syllables of his name with the panel chairman. I come back from the loo to be informed of my mistake, and doing what any responsible and judicious representative would do. I correct it, and with a flourish of my finger, I send the tweet again and send my career down the gurgler.

    As I walked home that night, I was called by The Guardian’s David Conn, friend of Wimbledon and fans everywhere. He’d seen my tweets and wanted to share the joy. Neither of us realised that to a some extent, I was a dead man walking.

    I thought that since the next two weeks’ papers had been full of the goings on at FIFA, that in the scale of egregious problems in football administration, what had happened would be even less likely to be newsworthy. Samir Nasri and Wayne Rooney had said very injudicious things in response to some abuse they'd got on twitter, so in the scale of egregious problems in football on twitter, it was even less likely to be newsworthy. Sadly not.

    I went to a meeting with some civil servants a few days' later, who had had their attention brought to the tweets by people ill-disposed to me and our work in football. I went to a meeting with a friend who worked at UEFA who was in town for the Champions League Final, who told me that the meeting between Gianni Infantino (then CEO of UEFA) and the PL CEO the previous day had focussed on my tweets as the major issue, as far as the latter were concerned.

    It was only a matter of time before these were put in front of a compliant journalist, and lo it happened a week or so later after the media circus had left Sepp Blatter behind, publishing the first tweet and referring to the rest. This created an orchestrated pile-on and several days later, it became clear that the job security of my hard-working colleagues was in jeopardy thanks to the affair. In a surprisingly calm moment amidst the storm, it was clear there was only one course of action I could take and fell on my sword.



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  • NHH
    replied
    Massive post alert...I suppose me missing Wimbledon's play off final against Luton should count here. I wrote a piece on this back in 2013, which I've self-indulgently borrowed from...


    So when Danny Kedwell scored, I went totally, absolutely berserk. I ran around the pub I was in and jumped into New Cross Road, oblivious to whether anyone was walking past. Then I nearly hyperventilated. And then I sent some tweets which ultimately led to me leaving the job which had become my life’s work.

    This wasn’t how it was supposed to happen.
    * * * * *

    I’d helped form the Dons Trust back in 2002 when I was a lowly caseworker at the newly formed Supporters Direct. I remember walking into the first meeting to talk about whether there should be a trust at the club and thinking to myself ‘this lot will form their own club if they lose to Milton Keynes’. You could feel the resoluteness in the room, even if key protagonists disavowed the possibility at that stage.

    I’d moved to London a year earlier, and such was the demand from fans across the UK for Supporters Direct’s help, I’d spent much of that time on the road. As a result, the weekly meetings to get the Dons Trust going back in November 2001 were the first regular events in London I’d been able to go to, and thanks to the convivial meetings in the Wibbas Down following those meetings, I got to know a lot of great people. Slowly, they became friends.

    When May 28th happened, I was there in Soho Square, being asked by the FA to see what we could do to make the crowd disperse — release the written report of the decision, was my response. That report showed that behind a stunningly awful decision lay the worst piece of reasoning football has perhaps ever seen. Buried in there was the weaselly nugget that this reformed club — no longer disavowed — would not be in the wider interests of English football.

    We went onto the Fox and Grapes that night, where Marc Jones spoke passionately about that reformation, and I was there two days later, at probably the most electrifying meeting I’ve ever had the privilege to attend, when Kris Stewart said he wanted to watch some football.

    I ended up watching most of those first season’s matches, and admitted to myself that I was indeed a Don. Whilst I always knew we’d get back into the league, I couldn’t quite envisage when it would be or how it would be. But I knew one thing most assuredly of all: it would be in the wider interests of the kind of English football that I, and hundreds of thousands of others, wanted to see.

    * * * * *

    I spent the next nine years working for those interests, meeting hundreds of committed volunteers who wanted nothing more than a secure, stable team which treated them with respect and gave them the voice their loyalty deserved and the accountability the terrible state of the game demanded.

    Over that time, I also became involved in the co-operative movement, and by late 2009 I was starting to see big parallels between the work I was doing with football fans and the world of local newspapers. I wrote a short paper that said that there were opportunities in the media for readers to own their newspapers just as Wimbledon fans owned their club, and people within the co-operative movement were receptive. Get on with it, they said. (In my spare time, I replied).

    So there I was in February 2011, sat with various media types talking about running a conference to give these issues a good airing. Since we were doing it on a shoestring we couldn’t turn down the offer of a free venue for the conference, and so we could use Goldsmith’s College for our event as long as it was held on May 21st. My memory twitched; I was reasonably sure this meant a clash with the play-off final. But a) I couldn’t be sure, b) I couldn’t look the gift horse of a free conference venue in the mouth and c) I didn’t want to hex our chances of getting into the play-offs by saying I wasn’t free on the 21st. No matter though - Goldsmith’s College is about an hour from Wembley; I could go to half of the conference at least and still make the game, I reasoned, before quickly apologising to the football gods for my impudent thoughts.
    * * * * *

    By now, it’s now mid March and the media co-op conference agenda has been finalised and I’m down to give a speech on the day. I’ve also found out that thanks to the Champions League final being at Wembley, the play-off final is going to be in Manchester instead. I check the train times — I can make the match, but only if I leave the conference half an hour before I arrive at the conference. Something’s got to give.

    The football fan reading this is probably wondering what the dilemma is. It’s a textbook no brainer. But I’m feeling all responsible. I’ve lobbied for this media conference, got various people together from several organisations. I’m representing the co-operative movement and this could be big. I can’t back out.

    I decide to put off making a decision until we are actually in the final, so as to not annoy the football gods. But really, that is decision made because I can’t back out of the media conference with only a week or so to go. I know in my heart of hearts that should we be in the final, I shan’t be there.

    *****

    There’s a famous scene in Goodfellas, where Henry Hill has a crazy day racing backwards and forwards across New York, before the world comes crashing down around him. The week leading up to the play-off final felt like that.

    I’d been interviewed by The Times ahead of the match, talking about what a major achievement it would be for the club and for the cause of supporter ownership, and how wrong it felt to be missing it. The club had then offered me a seat in the VIP area as a representative of Supporters Direct. It felt horribly wrong to have to find someone else to represent the organisation I’d worked at for eleven years watch the club I’d played a small role in creating and which I supported, play in the greatest game since 1988.

    After that, I’d been to Wrexham to speak at a crucial meeting to help a fans’ takeover bid, then flown to Dublin for a meeting with UEFA and the FAI, before flying back to England to pick up my daughter to take her to my parents for a week by my parents whilst my wife and I did some urgent DIY at home in Brighton. So there I was two days out from the game in Piccadilly Station, where I bumped into club commercial manager Ivor Heller who was off to inspect the City of Manchester Stadium. I then got on a train to London. This felt the wrongest of all.

    * * * * *

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  • imp
    replied
    Originally posted by Mr Cogito View Post
    Not only did I pass up the chance to be at Headingley for the final morning in 1981, just up the road from me during a school holiday, but I also actively persuaded a few other people not to go - including someone who'd never been to a cricket match before - on the grounds that it wouldn't be worth the bus ride.
    I was at the first three days of that test match. Aside from a perky 50 from Ian Botham, three of the dullest days of test cricket ever played. My mum picked me up from my aunt‘s (she lived a short walk from the ground) to take me home on the Sunday because I had a cricket match on Monday evening. Having said that, I watched days four and five on TV and was not any less enthused than if I’d been there in person.

    When I was seven, and was already a Sincil Bank semi-regular, I for some reason opted not to go with my dad and uncle to watch Lincoln v Stockport one Saturday afternoon. They tried to persuade me, but I was dead set on not going. How they mocked me when they got home - eight goals, a 5-3 win for Lincoln. I don‘t think I‘ve passed up the chance to go to any game since.

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  • Jobi1
    replied
    Originally posted by Mr Cogito View Post

    Not only did I pass up the chance to be at Headingley for the final morning in 1981, just up the road from me during a school holiday, but I also actively persuaded a few other people not to go - including someone who'd never been to a cricket match before - on the grounds that it wouldn't be worth the bus ride.
    Not the same level of fame in terms of the match, but...

    In the summer after I did my GCSEs, I didn't bother doing anything sensible like getting a summer job or anything else to gainfully occupy my time. But I did go to a lot of cricket. One particular Championship match against Warwickshire (I think) at Headingley, I went along to 3 of the 4 days. On the one day I missed, for reasons I can't now remember, Darren Gough scored his one and only first class century.

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  • Capybara
    replied
    I've thought of one as it's the 40th anniversary today. Boro were drawn away to Swansea in the FA Cup. I was living in Cheltenham at the time so seriously considered going. But I was a bit off football at the time and that, combined with some poor weather on the day, swayed me against. It was before the days when all matches were recorded and teams still took the FA Cup seriously so the challenge was for the BBC to select a game for MOTD that would produce a 'shock' result. Middlesbrough were in the first division and in not great form while Swansea were pushing hard for promotion from division two (which they subsequently achieved). Everything pointed to this being the 'shock'. I can still remember David Coleman telling us how well Swansea were playing as Boro went up the other end and scored five goals.

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  • Bordeaux Education
    replied
    I probably could have got to the Wales/Belgium semi-final in 2016 but had run out of holiday, credit with Mrs Bored, money (I was pushing it in all three departments with the quarterfinal) and, anyway, we would be solidly beaten by the best team in the world.

    Another that springs to mind is driving to Wimbledon playing Leeds but the traffic was so bad to Selhurst Park that I turned back. Tony Yeboah scared that goal that afternoon.

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  • Third rate Leszno
    replied
    There's a lot of Liverpool away games in Europe that I wish we'd tried to get to, but I know we either wouldn't have had the money or qualified for tickets for most of them so they were never really a possibility anyway. One that was a possibility was Celtic away in the UEFA Cup in about 2003, we'd been to Auxerre in the previous round so we got tickets for it, but decided for reasons that I can't remember now (work, I suspect) not to go and passed the tickets on to a mate who was desperate to go.

    With Carlisle, I regret not making more of an effort to do all the aways in our only season in the Conference - a couple were missed due to holidays but I wish I'd ticked off Gravesend and Northfleet, Farnborough Town and Woking when I had the chance.

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  • Uros Predic
    replied
    Doncaster Rovers 5-4 Dover Athletic. The 1998-99 season, Rovers' first in the Conference, was my first watching them regularly. I've no idea why I chose not to go to this game in mid-December, I was 15 years old and certainly not doing owt else with my Saturday. With Ceefax telling me Rovers were 3-0 down after half an hour, and 3-1 down at half-time it looked like a wise choice. It didn't last. Mind, it could be worse, there are several Rovers fans I know who left at half-time.

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  • Mr Cogito
    replied
    Originally posted by Sporting View Post
    Not football, but cricket; and not one which I didn't attend but rather chose to go home at the tea interval as nothing much was happening.

    Chelmsford 1983. I missed ten wickets and a team score of 14 (fourteen):

    https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/...full-scorecard
    Not only did I pass up the chance to be at Headingley for the final morning in 1981, just up the road from me during a school holiday, but I also actively persuaded a few other people not to go - including someone who'd never been to a cricket match before - on the grounds that it wouldn't be worth the bus ride.

    Leave a comment:

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