Saturday, 22 November 2008

Things ain't what they used to be

Pete took his mummy on a shopping trip to Lille today, so rather than do my usual thing and laze around the house, I ventured down to Sarflundun (for those not in the know, that translates as South London) to watch my football* team, Crystal Palace, play Bristol City. It was a fine match with plenty of action and goals. I wont bore you with a full report and I wont bore you today with my views on why the club is failing... maybe another time. I don't really like going on my own, but my mate James was working so I decided to go anyway and travel to the stadium early for several reasons:

1. To buy a retro replica top from the 1990 season. This being the best season in the clubs history and the time that I really became interested in football.... and footballers.
2. To grab some junk food before and after the game. This ritual must be observed on pain of death.
3. To take a walk around the area my grandparents and parents all grew up in and soak up some nostalgia - and as we all know, nostalgia is not what it used to be.

Where the stadium sits is the border between London and Surrey - though it's all just one very crowded run-down hole. I walked to the small flat where my late grandparents used to live (my dad's parents) for over 40 years and a couple of things saddened me. Every Sunday morning, my Nan would polish the brass step and you could see your reflection in it. But now, that same step is tarnished and dull (like the whole road) - I would bet money that the last person to clean it was my Nan 7 or 8 years ago. The second thing was seeing that my Grandad's local pub, The Victory had closed down. He used to go in that pub every other day or so for 40 years, almost religiously, which is ironic as it's now the local Islamic meeting centre. The other regulars made him a t-shirt once with the slogan "Victory fruit machine instructor" as he loved playing the slot/fruit machine - it was the only gambling I ever saw him do.

However, the little house where my Mum grew up looks far better and is very obviously privately owned, but is still in an area that I would not walk about in after dark!

Large parts of South London are not nice - many areas are dirty, falling apart and don't feel safe. Of course, there are some nice areas - but not many. Perhaps it always was bad and my happy memories of long holidays staying with my Grandparents and playing with my cousins are clouding my brain a little.

I am tired now after a long day (as I dropped Pete and his mum at the station at 6.15am). So now is the time to laze...

* No matter how many times I hear or read it, I can never call it Soccer. It's just wrong to do so.


  1. The legend that was Geoff Thomas, his miss against France, a shot that hit the corner flag, stays long in the memory.

    As does John Salako.

  2. Oh come on!!! The guy was a strong attacking forward and did Palace proud - ONE MISS and he is in your memory!!!! grrrrrrrr

    As an aside, Geoff has raised millions of pounds for cancer charities and should be Knighted.

  3. He was a midfielder and a very solid one at that, with massive blond hair.

    I wasn't aware of his charity work but thanks to you I looked it up and now I am.

    Good man.

  4. My pleasure!

    I have never been convinced it was a shot anyway - are you sure it wasnt a cross?!

  5. One must always eat junk food at a sporting event.

  6. Oh it was most definately a shot...he tried to chip the keeper and it nearly hit the corner flag.

    Bless him.