Saturday, 7 March 2015

Fulham get Eight Bells or is it Nine knocked out of them?

I mentioned a certain drinking hole called the Eight Bells that AFCB fans basically descended on during Friday afternoon before the match and I thought I had better let you know what the atmosphere was like pre-match among the fans. I was going to go to the Crabtree pub, but with mates already in place at the Eight Bells that is where I was headed and I guess my name meant that it was a good choice anyway - they could always do with another Bell. I was a bit late up as I had to come from Dorking on the train via Wimbledon and then on the District Line to Putney Bridge. My friends - the two Damiens - had already been at the pub for a couple of hours by the time I strolled up at 6pm and I was met by three bouncers who said move on - no more fans, we are full!
Stack'em high - the Eight Bells - you needed to be a giant to get in.
Standing room only.
Ouch I thought, what do I do? I stood around by the door and pleaded but it was to know avail. So I picked up my mobile and tried to call through to the lads inside to see if they could get me in. Luckily a few supporters came out and as they did I managed to squeeze in.

Big Rich and Rob Mitchell.
Sarah was getting a lot of attention behind the pumps.
I was met by many happy faces and I think they were more pleased to see me as they knew I would be able to buy a few more rounds! We got straight to work of course loading up the drinks and singing a few of our favourite AFCB songs. Things were getting pretty rowdy and most of the male AFCB fans certainly had the eye for Sarah who was pulling the pints behind the bar along with a few fellow bar staff.
My mate Damien buys Rob a pint - I think he was pleased.
There were quite a few songs also sung in the direction of Rob Mitchell, AFCB's Commercial Director, as he came through the doors and while we sang about the bears being on him we actually bought him a pint in the end. You can sample some of the atmosphere on the videos. Come match time we had to make a walk through the park and along the embankment to the ground. As it was an evening kick off I did not get to see as much of the ground as I probably would have done so maybe I'll have to hope we get Fulham in the cup next year if AFCB go up. Still I was surprised that the stewards were very laid back and only gave my ruck sack a token glance such was the closeness to kick off time. 

Once inside, it would have been rude not to go and join my mates at the back of the Putney End and by the time I had climbed the stairs to the very top I soon found everyone singing away and waiting for the players to come out for the start of the match. The wire fence at the back of the stand made a suitable accompaniment to our musical tunes, and the ground was soon banging as you'd say! I could hardly hear myself speak let alone hear anyone else, but with note book and pen I had lots to concentrate on. Somehow the build up to the match  left me in know doubt that AFCB would play well. The noise was so good that it had to inspire them, while the Fulham fans just sat really quietly - well we could not hear them if they were singing.

Once the goals started going in we were getting in even more celebratory mood and being top of the league again really will have made this one of the more memorable away days of the season. As predicted I had lost my voice by the end of the game but it had been more than worth it. 
Yeah, Eddie, Eddie, Eddie!
Breaking News: AFCB are still TOP OF THE LEAGUE!

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