Today I found myself here; Riverside park. I’ve played on these pitches countless times, but it’s been years and years since I’ve played proper 11-a-side. Maybe it’s seeing the 1990s team photo round-up in the Daily Echo Sports Pink earlier this afternoon, but I’ve got a ball with me – albeit a very under-inflated one so what else is there to do, but have a go at re-living past glories. I stroll over to the right hand side of the penalty area and try to curl the ball into the net. My first attempt is high and curves sweetly. The wind catches it just as I intended, but I’d put slightly too much on it and it eases well-clear of the top right corner. My second attempt, from ever-so slightly closer, has a lower trajectory. Truth be told it’s a bit of a mishit, but it goes straight in the middle of the goal. Had there been a ‘keeper it would have been a routine save, but I’m happy, particularly with the way the net ripples. I can kid myself that I’ve still got it. My confidence rising like the tide on the Itchen I walk to the very edge of the area. I step back and take a short run up. My trainer scuffs the wet ground and I drag the ball wide – ahhhh those were the days.
Riverside Park: Theatre of Dreams