I truly hate the last day of the season. For many it is a time to celebrate, but being a West Ham and now a Lewes fan, the end of season is normally a time to reflect on a relegation season rather than winning anything (Play off final at Wembley last year accepted). But to me, after planning my games with military precision for the past nine months I have nothing to look forward to. What will I do next weekend (OK, apart from going to the FA Vase and Blue Square Bet Premier Play off Finals…and a few games in the Summer European leagues…and then pre-season starts in late June…but apart from that)? Or in June when the sun is shining? Cricket? Rugby League? Gulp, family days out at the seaside?
Once the last ball has been kicked I will be counting down the days until clubs start to announce pre-season fixtures. My objective of a 100-game season may fall just short this season but I will be back next season, fitter, stronger and willing to travel to even more obscure places to see a game. But hang on, this season still wasn’t quite over yet. The sword of relegation was still hanging over The Dripping Pan. With just one game to go, there was still one spot in the relegation zone left to be decided and Lewes were technically still a “relegation contender”. Granted it would have to take an extraordinary set of results to see that happen, but I look at the fact Titus Bramble is still a Premier League football to prove that football is a funny game and anything can happen. So for those unaware of the current situation, or my visiting colleague from the New York office, here was the low down.
In order for Lewes to be relegated (a concept that would take a few thousand words to explain to any US sports fan) we had to a) lose to Bury Town, b) see Carshalton Athletic win away at Enfield Town, and c) see a seven goal swing to Carshalton Athletic. Possible? Yes. Probable? Even with our poor performances this season, we hadn’t been thumped by anyone this season (well, apart from the 6-1 defeat to Wealdstone). So this wouldn’t be an end of season party, rather a slightly nervous 90 minutes, looking at our phones at events from North London.
Come match day and the traditional end of season sunshine had appeared from behind the rain. The pitch looked fantastic, just two weeks after the game against Leiston which should have been abandoned. Ironically this was to be Roger, the groundsman’s, last game in charge of the turf after what seemed a lifetime. Never a more loyal and passionate fan you could want to meet and it is volunteers like Roger (or Boysie who was stepping down as programme editor) that keep non league football alive. Thankfully Roger’s departure will mean we can play some decent pre-match music, especially as Ed Ramsden is still serving his three year ban from the PA system after trying to slip on one too many Fall songs earlier in the season (the actual number was of course one). So next season there will be a new man on the seat of the lawnmower and in the editor’s chair for the programme. Who they will be is yet to be revealed, although I have a pretty good idea who the latter will be (The Pan is Round is a catchy title, no?).
The bumper crowd were showing no nerves as they tucked into the Harvey’s. In fact this had the optimistic feel of a first game of the season, rather than the last. Bury Town arrived in Lewes with nothing but some pride to play for, knowing that they had once again shown the league they were not to be underestimated. Whilst not quite making a second successive play off spot (they beat us to 5th place last season by just 2 points), they have once again been there or there abouts in a tougher league. Continue reading