Thursday, July 18
Royston, Hertfordshire


Crows on the Road: It all goes dark at the Valley: Jez’s Report

It All Goes Dark At The Valley.

Match v Rugby Town FC

Saturday 17th November 2012

Result: Rugby Town FC A-A Crows (1-0 to Royston at time of abandonment):

Attendance 218 (Approx 20 Travelling Crows)

The Journey

After picking up young Tommy Malins in Baldock, we were on the road at 12.30pm. This time I had a navigator in the car with an excellent sat nav system programmed into his mobile phone. Flash get! I was extoled with the virtues of this all the way to Rugby! Apparently this piece of technological wizardry took him all the way to Denmark, via Germany (strange route me thinks. Surely, it would have been quicker to take the Ferry from Hull to Copenhagen?) Apart from negotiating several nutters in their motor vehicles and Tommy threatening to put on Nicky Minaj, we arrived at Butlin Road, home of Rugby Town FC at 13.35.

The Ground

Wow, excellent is one word I could use, a really professional set up geared for a much higher league. Covered on all four sides. Entry into the ground was through a large Main stand with turnstiles purchased from the old Coventry City stadium. I know this too be true, as I could see CCFC marked on one of the bars. Suppose it could have meant Chester City?

A large main stand holding approx. 500 seats, this was marked out with V S in white seats, very impressive. To the left was a huge bank of covered terracing. To the right another bank of covered terracing. Opposite was the original main stand with Rugby Town marked on the roof of this. Either side for some strange reason, the Valley have built giraffe cages! Well this is what the locals have told me. This stand was a little worrying as through the brown external doors held the boardroom. From my view, the only thing I could see behind said doors was the main Birmingham to London railway line! Well, Terry was the first from our adventurous party to try this, just as a Virgin Pendolino flew past. We were a little concerned that Terry ended up on this straddled to the front!

Food and Drink

After previous poor experiences of food at “oppo” stadiums, I allowed fellow Crows to taste first before I committed. However an excellent range of food including the award winning Valley Burger, which must have contained half a pig and half a cow in it for just £4.50! Tea was a little weak, but overall no complaints. Soft drinks though were very expensive. £1.50 for a can of Coke!!! That is expensive isn’t it? Or am I just getting old?


£2.00 for a pretty good read, lots of articles and not rammed with advertising. Only critism I would have of this showing, was that a lot of the articles were taken from websites.

State of Toilets

So clean, so warm and excellent lighting (for most of the time), fellow Crow Nick, was so impressed with these that he has threatened to move his bed in. Don’t worry Nick, due to the power outage we are due to play them again in January!

Tannoy System

Loud, but there must have been a time delay on the speakers, because as a tune was halfway through on one side of the ground it started playing on the opposite side. When it came to the announcer speaking, this led to him sounding like a Dalek. Perhaps he was a Dalek? Perhaps the Dalek was the one to switch the lighting off on 70 minutes? Perhaps he was sent to exterminate us?

Home Fans

Boisterous to say the least. First half you could hear them chanting “we’re Rugby and we play it on the floor” and other renditions. Speaking to them at half time, they were becoming resigned to the fact that they were being outplayed and a defeat was on the cards. I was for warned by one fan who told me about an abandoned game the previous week, when Rugby were losing 1-0 at the 70 minute mark. The lights apparently went off for no reason?!?!?!


Approximately 20 from Royston which is an excellent turnout for a 160 mile round trip. We seemed to be swallowed up by this magnificent stadium, but when the Crows scored, you could hear us!

The Game

The Crows totally dominated this match from start and to its premature end! First half the Crows possession must have been in the 70% mark, with clever passing, excellent movement and great running by both Luke Robins and Taylor Parr. Our defence held firm against a highly rated front two. The only downer on this first half performance is that we could only muster two shots on target. One of these bringing a word class save from the Rugby Towns‘ injured goalkeeper Dave Bevan.

The second half started brightly, with the Crows pressing the Rugby goal and eventually the deadlock was broken by a clever move resulting in a goal poacher’s finish by Ryan the Rocket Lockett. This was clearly a game for “our” Kaan Fehmi and he replaced RL on 65 minutes.

The game though was brought to a sad premature end as for the second time in two weeks (and three in a year!) the lights partially went out at Butlin Road. Interesting this, as all other lights in the local area seemed to be functioning correctly. An announcement went out signalling a suspension of play whilst the “leccy” board came out to fix the problem. It did become evident after talking to locals, that this would be a forlorn hope. I took this opportunity to ask a member of their committee what had been the cause of this. He informed me that some local “scally wags” had burnt the electric substation down last year as entertainment! He also informed me that as it was not the clubs fault, they will be charging for the re-arranged fixture! Nice of them that!

Physio Watch (a new part of this feature)

Still Kim by a country mile, but wow this girl was stunning and moves easily into second place. I did try and chat her up during the lighting episode, but Crows, I was turned down. Her loss hey!

Man of the Match

Well, the “MOM” committee retired to the car and discussed this accolade on the frustrating trip home. Very close this, but I do agree with Tom on this award (Not player power influencing this decision I promise you) but step forward for a second time Mr Jack Bradshaw, who had a really really excellent game keeping those highly rated forwards quiet. I do have to say that the whole team played well and it must have been deeply frustrating for the game to end in this manner. Honourable mentions to Luke Robins and Taylor Parr for some excellent running and also to Ryan Lockett for a hard working shift. I have not worked out yet if Tommy is going to present the champers and beer at the next home game? Is it safe to let him do that?

Mileage for me so far (Round trips)

998.2 miles, plus a round trip to Burnham Ramblers (stupid stupid Sat Nav!)