|Pic looks wonky. But that's a (slatted) visual illusion.|
Upon arriving at Airdrie United's Excelsior stadium the other evening (for a very sweet 2-1 Dumbarton win - but I digress), a funny thing happened. Being directed to the away end, I found myself exchanging pleasantries with a couple of Sons fans, and following them through the turnstiles. The only part of the notice outside that had registered with me at this stage was the bit telling me I'd have to part with £15. A bit steep for this level of football, even if it is a nice, shiny ground.
Anyhoo, when I handed over my notes I was rather pleasantly surprised to receive four pound coins back. "Must be a midweek discount", I thought. Such things are not unknown in England, where I have spent most of my football-watching life (though I'm definitely making up for lost time now that I'm living in Scotland at last!) Talking to my friends inside, however, it soon became obvious that, er, I'd just gone through the 'concessions' turnstile and been charged the pensioners' entrance fee. This caused some considerable merriment. I mean, OK, I'm about to turn 53 and the wrinkles are beginning to show... but I'm not quite ready to be put out to grass. Not that this is what we should be doing with our esteemed senior citizens, I hasten to add. But you take the point.
The photograph, by the way, relates to another curious happening that evening. Once inside the ground we headed up the spiral staircase in search of the top of the Jack Dalziel Stand, only to find ourselves (courtesy of the lack of signposting or stewardly direction) wandering down the office corridors and into the executive boxes. I took the picture as a little souvenir. I suppose I could have set up shop with my two tangerines, banana and bottle of water. But turning the lights on might have given the game away. Besides, I'd forgotten the water. So that necessitated the purchase of a cup of hot water with a tea bag in it from the food concession. It cost £1.50. Ouch. I was asked if I wanted anything else. I almost said, "Sorry, I'd have to consult my bank manager about that," but graciousness is the the better part of satire. Especially when you've just been discounted for your increasingly decrepit appearance.