Victorian age

Oxblogger has always had a soft spot for Arsenal. Before their move to the Emirates Stadium they represented a golden tradition of English football.

I still have programmes from my early 80s visits to Highbury; the inside pages would be laden with pictures of Liam Brady playing floodlit UEFA Cup quarter finals against far off teams like Dukla Prague or Spartak Moscow. The back page would list the teams in an reassuringly old fashioned serif font, 1 to 11 – no squads – with one substitute. The teams’ colours would be described in terms of their shirts, shorts and stockings.

I always used to think that stockings was some kind of official footballing terminology; only two types of people wore stockings; footballers and naughty ladies, everyone else wore socks.

The closure of Highbury saw the end of an era, the final passing into the world of franchises, Russian oligarchs and publicly limited companies. Not so in the Conference, of course, it seems that the traditional values remain. Not least in the nomenclature of the teams involved; having just said goodbye to Accrington Stanley, the league welcomed Northwich Victoria, who are next for the Us. The name, for me, is synonymous with those teams you see on Match of the Day in the first round of the FA Cup. A club from a more honourable age trading off a long past FA Cup defeat to a giant of a bygone age, like Blackpool. The game is the biggest bucket of cold water yet, but I expect another 3 points which should set us up for the top of the table clash with Weymouth on bank holiday Monday.

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