Tackling the carbon footprint

9:48am, Tue 31st Aug 2010
Readers of our Lewes programme may have spotted this article by Woking 'Wubble-You' fanzine mastermind Malcolm Wyatt. However, due to a technical hitch, the article was wrongly credited. Here then, with apologies to Malcolm, we re-produce the article as it was originally intended.

So we’re off again, and this time we could be talking about a farewell to regional football and return to the big time (well, the Conference Premier will do for now).

It would be in my interests too, as one of the many ‘victims of geography’ in the Cardinals’ ranks, having to undertake a 450-mile round-trip just to see my beloved Woking step out at Kingfield.

My nearest league fixture this season is at St Albans City, itself entailing a 384-mile round-trip. As for Dover Athletic, I’m talking a 592-mile epic return trip, and as my passport’s run out I can’t even contemplate a quick channel hop while I’m there.

It doesn’t help that Newport County and Bath City have gone on ahead - two more sub-400-mile round treks chalked off in one go.

The next best option is a family holiday cunningly engineered around a weekend taking in the murky waters of Weston-Super-Mare.

But I haven’t the greatest of memories from my last trip there, the 1993 FA Cup draw when I came close to ruling out any family plans on a wooden fence-post at the bottom of a muddy slope, coming away from the ground in pitch darkness.

It all seems a little silly to the less enlightened that I should even bother, when you consider I live just a short trek from Blackburn Rovers (a 23-mile round trip) and Bolton Wanderers (24).

I could also snap up the opportunity to see Ian Holloway’s Premier League new boys Blackpool (52) or shell out on a season ticket at Wigan Athletic (26) this season.

There’s plenty of Football League fare on my doorstep too, at Championship outfit Preston North End (17) or maybe even old adversaries Accrington Stanley (35).

I could even slum it for old times’ sake at newly-promoted Conference Premier side Southport (32) or Fleetwood Town (61), but I’ll save those pleasures for next season.

There’s also UniBond League football in abundance on my patch, not least at Bamber Bridge (7) and Chorley (10), the sides I covered over a 10-year period working for my local weekly and daily newspapers.

I’ve had good times at all those grounds over the years, and was treated well at Brig, Chorley and almost every ground I visited as a reporter - from Gretna to Colwyn Bay and from Workington to Spalding.

Yet Woking remains the only club for me – 16 years after leaving Surrey - and has been since I first grew to love the Cards in those Isthmian League late-1980s heydays.

And illogical as it may sound when you consider the rather unfortunate carbon footprint I create, I’ve only ever felt I truly belonged in a football sense at Kingfield.

I admit to teenage kicks from my many visits to Aldershot in my formative years, and seeing international stars at various bigger grounds over the years, starting with a halcyon afternoon at White Hart Lane in 1978 watching Spurs’ Ardiles, Villa, Hoddle et al see off Brian Clough’s fantastic Nottingham Forest outfit.

But it was only when I was introduced to Kingfield that it felt like the real thing, and not just because of my genealogical link to the town.

How I wish now I could speak to my Grandad about his formative years and visits to the Kingfield Sports ground, where he was also a mean wicket-keeper for the Lyoncelle works team at James Walker’s.

My dad was working on the railways when the ’58 specials returned from Wembley, my Grandad among the countless merry men and women returning from their SW11 day-trip after that glorious 3-0 victory over Ilford.

Despite that past history, it was more out of curiosity that I made my first appearance at Kingfield in November, 1986, for an FA Cup clash with Chelmsford City, but my chief memory was a running battle between two sets of supporters.

I made a few more appearances that next couple of seasons, but it wasn’t until the late 80s that I classed myself a regular, and it wasn’t until 91/92 - after my return from a year of world travels - that we started taking in a few more away-days, trips like those to Wivenhoe forever stamped on the mind.

The rest of course is history, and while the memories have been a little lacking in latter seasons, I saw enough from my admittedly-few trips last season to Kingfield, Maidenhead, Wembley and Bath to believe we’re back on the up.

While personal finances ensure there won’t be too many matches for me this season, I’ve already pencilled in a few trips – home and away.

And all the time internet-friendly Radio Surrey and my family’s texting service are on the ball, I know I won’t miss out on too much.

Freelance writer Malcolm Wyatt set up revered Woking fanzine Wubble Yoo in the early 1990s, and has been watching the Cards from afar since his free transfer to Lancashire 16 years ago. Incidentally, he still has a whole stack of Wubble Yoos available. For details, e-mail

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