And so, it came to pass, that The Mighty Swindon Town FC did not triumph in the League One Play-Off Finals. I bore witness, as the men in white (why white rather than red, exactly, I still don’t fathom) were apparently overawed by the occasion in the first half, and who can blame them: the travelling West Country faithful too were subdued by the colossal scale of Wembley where, unlike at the County Ground, there was no hope of building a proper chant, due to the problems of echo and sonic delay.
I’d urge anyone who hasn’t been to visit our national stadium, which truly is sensational: the seats angled at a sufficiently acute incline so as to give you a sense of proximity to the pitch no matter how high up in the gods you might be. Close to eighty thousand people enclosed within a crucible of second-rate football; by my reckoning probably a fifth of the total population of my home town.
The second half was a different affair, and there was one point in particular when Charlie Austin, ex-bricklayer from Poole, had the chance to level the match. But his over-exuberance, combined with the unnatural bobble of the pitch conspired against, and we quitted the ground without the chance to cheer and lose ourselves in the joy of the consummated moment. So another season in League One beckons. Perhaps, when all is said and done, that’s where we belong. For the moment, at least.