Pitch Please

Game 4

Sligo 0-0 Dundalk

Let me tell you a couple of stories…

When I was growing up there was a long stretch of grass outside our house. From our front door there was a garden, then a footpath, then the big stretch of grass, then another footpath before another garden and house facing ours. That stretch of grass was the San Siro when we were growing up, or Old Trafford or wherever we imagined it was. We played on it constantly. We were the street footballers that Damien Duff loves to talk about.

Jumpers for goalposts and all that, the games could start early and finish late, people showing up that you’d never met before but someone knew them so they joined a team. All that good stuff. I can’t remember how often the grass was cut but, I’m willing to be corrected on this, I don’t think it was very often. Us playing on it is what kept the grass down.

I can remember one Christmas getting a new goalkeeper kit and wanting to show off my goalkeeping skills so one of my friends said he would take shots on me on this patch of grass outside my house. One shot, one dive and one muddy, muck covered kit.

There were also two enormous trees in the middle of the grass which made it difficult to have a free flowing game of football. There was the constant threat that if the ball went into a particular neighbors garden that the ball would be stabbed and set on fire and the game would be over. There was the pot holes and dog poo that litter any patch of grass in any estate. There were tufts of grass that could pop a rolling ball 8 feet into the air if caught at the right angle.

That patch of grass was better for football than the Showgrounds was.

My wife and I bought a house a little over a year ago. It was November time when we moved in and it was a new build so a lot of things needed attention. We had to get our appliances in, we had to get flooring and carpets, there was a lot to do. We were a little surprised at how good the garden looked though. It was November after all, not great growing weather. The grass was coming up and at first glance it looked like we might have a healthy garden without really even trying.

When you walked onto it though it was a different story. Patches of grass were growing at alarmingly different speeds from other patches and they were a different colour as well. We had a multi-coloured, multi-lengthed garden that also soon became liberally sprinkled with dog poo. What can you expect though? We had only just moved in, it’s not like we had months to prepare, knowing there was going to be a football match played on it was it?

My back garden is better for football than the Showgrounds was.

That’s the end of my stories. There’s not much you can say after a game like that. The pitch was atrocious and both teams struggled. Neither team picked up any injuries by the looks of things and both teams can move on and join us in forgetting that the game ever happened.

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