Yesterday was truly historic.
As if a decade-long spacecraft journey flyby of Pluto (it’s red – who’d have thought?) wasn’t exciting enough, there was also the long planned first ever clash between two yellow and green football clubs with the same avian nickname, with the cherry on top of the unveiling of the Norfolk Canaries new away strip.
While the green shirt/yellow shorts combo seems to have received a general thumbs up, you have to feel deep sympathy for John Ruddy who has surely have drawn the very short straw of an all and shocking pink away ensemble to go with the luminous lime green home affair revealed at Gorleston the other day… two very short straws in fact.
Presumably, the idea is to dazzle and confuse any on-rushing opposition centre forward, but I’m half expecting JR’s transfer request to be on Alex Neil’s desk as you read this.
But enough of football fashion talk. What of proceedings at Top Field, the home of Hitchin Town FC?
Firstly, well done to all those City fans who travelled to the game last night. As Gary Field wrote earlier in the week, Hitchin’s finances, as with probably every other non-league club, are bordering on the desperate – and unlike the Greeks, there is no big boys bail-out option for them.
Consequently, all entrance money, programme purchases and refreshment investments from those hardy travelling City fans will have made a most welcome addition to the Hertfordshire Canaries’ coffers.
(What were those Hitchin FC pies like out of ten?)
Well done also to our club for not opting for the Asian gravy train which many Premier League clubs have greedily hopped on board for in their early pre-season outings. Even Stoke are topping up their tans on a different continent.
On the pitch, as with the home strip, we saw two distinct halves and two distinct City line-ups which gave the majority of the squad a chance to stretch legs and to be examined by the all-seeing-eye of the Premier League’s youngest boss.
It also which gave the home crowd the chance to see far more quality players than they will have ever seen on their hallowed turf.
Everyone was a winner in fact – at least until the final whistle blew and our boys had made it two wins out of two in July.
To put it in a nutshell the final score 10-0, with goals from Jerome (2), Andreu (3), Hooper, Hoolahan (pen), O’Neil (2) and Whittaker. A cumulative pre-season score to date of 17-0.
That incredible unbroken Alex Neil away record still stands… at least until Friday night – clearly a stiffer test awaits in ‘Silicon Fen’.
I’ll admit I was following last night’s events from the comfort of my own home. I decided to try the online equivalent of going in with the home fans for a bird’s eye view of the action. I was kept informed by the Hitchin FC Twitter feed.
The local tweeters rightly expressed their pride for their club’s 150 year existence and seemed genuinely excited to have Norfolk’s finest in town to mark the occasion.
I was also treated to pictures of car park portaloos; a world away from the Raheem Sterlings of this world.
There even seemed to be the odd West Brom fan at the game and tweeting – presumably because of our recent purchases from their squad ‘surplus to requirements’ section, but also because the Baggies played in yellow and green in their Ron Atkinson/ Bryan Robson heyday, and so on that basis, they felt compelled to join in the jamboree.
What did we learn about the fitness and form of our boys? Preseason run outs against non-leaguers are of course fickle indicators of what lies ahead in the months to come.
Cameron Jerome was my player of the season in 2014/15 and seems to be determined to break all pre-season scoring records this summer. But calm down Cam – save a few for Palace and the like in August.
After almost disappearing without trace following his move from Hamilton, Tony Andreu seems to be getting into the swing of things down south now and clearly has a handy knack of popping the ball in the net. Definitely an option for Alex Neil, but then he probably knew that already.
1,777 headed home from Top Field last night; their average home gate last season was just under 400. So, coffers duly swelled and good luck to Hitchin and here’s to another 150 years of community service.
And so, as New Horizons ploughs on into deep space, the City pre-season bandwagon heads for the Abbey Stadium, Cambridge on Friday night.
Until then, it’s back to the wacky and so far wildly inaccurate transfer rumour mill. Am just waiting for Tom Cobley and a couple of his nephews to be next up on that.