This isn’t a match report, it’s an emotions report. For any Maidstone fan, or any Wrexham fan who missed Saturday’s game, they missed a trip to the Theatre of Joy. Listen to the podcast if you weren’t there, not to Mark Griffiths’ words, but to get a sense of how he felt about the game. Bloody brilliant!!
My first positive emotion came from the way the teams approached each other. The photograph taken to commemorate the Christmas truce in the First World War seemed to set the tone. The combat itself was brutal at times, but the fiercely aggressive Bishop had time to have a joke with the object of his brutality and Wes York, having been smeared into the mud all game, still took the time to haul his big bully back to his feet.
Maidstone’s fans were everything a team, and an opposition set of fans would want. They were incredibly rude, had a grossly inflated opinion of themselves, and were full of the spirit of the underdog. I lived in Kent during the time their club went bust. I watched Wrexham beat Maidstone (One of only two away wins that season I believe, the other one being at Gillingham, just down the road). Their ground was lost, their money was lost, but their heart wasn’t. Their heart was on their sleeves yesterday, and I guess they went away happy that their club is going places and it is going to bring them many more days of joy.
From an emotional point of view the game had everything. An inviolable law of FA cup games is that the ball must hit the bar. You’ve been short-changed if it doesn’t, and we weren’t , we were undercharged, I would have paid £50 to watch that. The attacking gusto of Maidstone was that of a team who really wanted to play Barcelona. They were like a little man after too many pints : ‘Come on, I’ll take on the lot of you!!’. When Maidstone had the audacity to score with ten men their fans felt that exquisite ‘Mickey Thomas moment’ of anticipation we all felt against Arsenal. When they lost one of their comrades through the sending off I plaintively shouted “Don’t send him off, It’ll ruin the game!!” It didn’t.
I came away wanting to tell everyone I know what they had missed. I think we all did, and that is the best method of advertising our club, by word of mouth. We are in an delightful position now : We’re full of hope for the team, since no-one can doubt they are showing some solid potential. Kevin Wilkin has got us to phase 2 of his plan with a sense our earlier doubts and frustrations may have been worth it. Perhaps most importantly we’ve got some money! and we’ve got a delicious feeling that more might be on its way.
Go out brothers and sisters. Go out and spread the joy!.