Dagenham & Redbridge 3 Macclesfield Town 0
27th April 1996
Most of my friends growing up all had pretty awesome first football matches. Glamour ties like Spurs vs Man Utd, and West Ham vs Liverpool were common place. However, my Dad wasn’t really into football (in fact I took him to his first match in about 40 years Grays Athletic vs West Ham XI in 2009), so I kind of missed out on the “Nick Hornby sitting on your Dad’s shoulders at Highbury” experience, not that I’m complaining as he took me out shooting air-rifles and stuff instead.
No, instead my first match was with a couple of school friends, and was a Conference relegation battle between Dagenham & Redbridge and Macclesfield Town in about 1995/6. I think Dagenham won yet still got relegated. We were about 15 and to be honest it was probably the first time any of us had been to a match without a grown up. We sat in the stand rather than go on the terrace. We didn’t know any better.
Anyway, the game seemed amazing. I mean three goals amazing. THREE GOALS. I imagined every game would be like that if you went to see it. However, I subsequently went to almost all the home matches the following season (on the terrace, I was always a fast learner), and there weren’t that many goals then (although we went to Wembley in the FA Umbro Trophy).
The majority of matches I’ve been to have been non-league or very low league matches, and I think I’m always trying to recapture the magic of that first match.