Rockin Robins

I was born not too far from Carshalton. A Surrey boy, despite all subsequent appearances to the contrary. I remember Carshalton as a leafy suburb, a step up on its neighbour, Sutton.

Sutton was where you went for big shops, to see the new James Bond film at the Odeon, and Sutton High School girls….but we’ll gloss over that last bit….and down the road, past the cinema, in my memory, was Carshalton. A posh place with things like a village pond, and ducks, and pubs with gardens.

I don’t remember Carshalton having a football team but, having been in the crowd at Gander Green Lane for THAT 1989 FA Cup game against Coventry, by the corner flag, taking the mickey out of Brian “Killer” Kincline for his recent drink drive conviction, from the safety of three rows back, why would I? Carshalton was floral and ducks, Sutton was glory and the flicks.

Back to today, as 2018 comes to an end, Sutton has (at least in footballing terms) moved onwards and upwards. How about Carshalton?

Now, look, I know your memory plays tricks on you, but WTF???? 

The place is an absolute tip. 

When did the Rotary Club allow someone to offload a few of trailer loads of containers, some AstroTurf offcuts, and a portacabin on to a potholed breakers yard, and call it a football ground? A ground apparently worthy of playing cup finals and the like?? Shurely shum mishtake, as Sean Connery never said in the Sutton Odeon, even when 007 smelled a rat.

As it is, the ground holds nightmares for many Angels fans. Not from expecting a Bob Hoskins or Vinnie Jones gangster lookalike to step out from behind a dimly lit sea container, leading a team of mercenaries to rip off their money with a sawn-off. No, it was from the 2017 Ryman League Cup final against Billericay. 

Recently taken over by an Essex multi millionaire gangster lookalike, they stepped out from behind a dimly lit sea container with a team of mercenaries to rip off the trophy with all the subtlety of a JCB ram raid on a village post office.

This they also did with all the good grace and humility you’d expect from Essex’s finest. But, hey, what goes around comes around very quickly in football, and we’ll be meeting their poor relations again soon on a level playing field (and also on the swamp in Essex that the tattooed twerp never got round to draining).

Coming to think of it, didn’t Carshalton have some bloke who tried that “I’m the Owner and the Chairman, and that makes be perfectly qualified to be the manager” thing, and got them relegated to the Bostik South?

Anyway, moving on, and it’s game day. The last match of 2018. Let’s see how it plays out. 

I can’t remember where in the league table Tonbridge Angels were on 1st January 2018. Probably 8th, as that’s where they usually are. Meanwhile, Carshalton were plotting a successful promotion push for the 2018 New Year to escape the Bostik South and, having achieved this aim, have made a decent fist of settling in to the Bostik Premier.

As the year end looms. Carshalton start the game comfortably in 14th, 4 points off the Angels who are in, er, 8th. 

In 21 games the Angels have scored 26 goals and conceded 24. while Carshalton have scored 27 and conceded 27. An even game beckons; perhaps we’ll see that non-league rarity, a 0-0 draw – in a couple of hours we’ll find out.

~~~~~~ Imaginary transition slide of players running around in jerky black and white footage ~~~~~~~

And at full time it is Carshalton 3 Tonbridge 0. Ho hum. At least the “nil” for Tonbridge was right

I doubt even the most optimistic Robins fan was expecting such a straightforward win, as the third goal summed up the Angels’ current plight. Dixon shot on sight and it deflected off the keeper and onto the knee of Angel’s Arthur Lee and into the net. When your luck is out, it is well and truly out.

Tonbridge had set up with two up front, in a change from the spluttering 4-5-1 formation, which had served them so well in the early part of the season. But it counted for nothing, as Carshalton’s second half performance eased them past an increasingly forlorn away side.

Results were such that Tonbridge end the day in 9th and firmly on the slide, while Carshalton tuck in to 10th, one point behind.

It’s hard to see where the Angels’ next points will come from, while the Robins will be increasingly confident that they can settle in at this level.

And that’s about it for another disappointing Saturday but, as they say, every day is a school day. I’ve learned that apparently it was leafy Carshalton Beeches which I remember from my youth, not its down at heel namesake. So it’s not really my memory playing tricks on me, but a completely different place nearby. 

I expect that people who went to leafy Tunbridge Wells when they were kids experience the same kind of dislocation if they now find themselves turning up to watch football in Tonbridge, wondering why the Regency arcades have been knocked down and replaced by a 1970’s council estate. 

And it’s back to the 70’s next week, with a seamless Regency related link, to welcome non league royalty, Brightlingsea Regent, to Tonbridge. 

Hopefully they will be playing in their crowd pleasing away kit of burgundy silk tops, ermine trim shorts, and jewel encrusted goalkeeping gloves.

And the walkout music? How about “Things can only get better”, because right now it’s hard to see how it could get worse for Tonbridge, although football always has a way of heaping on the misery.

The Assistant Manager’s views on the game:

 

Oh, and Happy New Year!

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