Bognor Regis is an interesting town inasmuch as it's interesting for something other than nothing at all. Say the words to any member of the British public born before cheap airfares, and they'll tell you it's home to Butlins. Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares was once filmed in my hometown, but that's about it (except this). Bognor sports an institution as crucial to Britishness as jellied eels and Broadmoor, a holiday resort that may be past it but is still remembered in a way few other dead traditions are. With the exception of Nokia 3210s, Acid House and foxhunting - for all the toffs reading.
The resort still exists, but the redcoats of old have largely been replaced by pilled up dance festivals and a reasonably tidy water park. But I'm a hopeless romantic with a taste for nostalgia, so when my football team were away to Bognor Town, me and the lads thought we'd head down to marvel at the history that hung in the air!!
And to get battered on cheap Polish lager from a wholesale market. Eight Okocim for £6? Na zdorovie!
Of course our main reason for heading to the coast was to watch the mighty Dulwich Hamlets stomp all over Bognor Regis's piss-poor excuse for a Ryman Isthmian Premier League team. But in order to do that, you have to get really booted on a train and then take a load of shit photos:
As we lurched out of the station, the bright shine of the seaside sun hit us like a pap's camera. There was also a pervasive mist of rain that permeated your clothes as well as a full submersion in a tub. Knowing that this torrid away weather might finally prove to the anoraks on the club's unofficial fan forum that we're double hard, not to mention as commited to DHFC as that fat guy with the bell is to Portsmouth, we stood outside for a tab like it was bloody nothing.
One fan walked out of the station as we smoked. Although no words or eye contact were exchanged, I'm pretty sure he'll be telling a few folks about us.
Inevitably, all that lager had to go somewhere lol!
Like a baseball pitcher warming up in the bullpen, or a sprinter composing himself in the blocks, this building served as the crucible in which diehard fans could prepare to face each other on opposing sidelines.
And with a laminate floor like that, you can see why the venue was also a popular choice for childrens parties and Zumba classes. If I lived in Bognor, I would definitely book a function here. But aerobics and musical chairs weren't the banter we were looking for, so we hit up the terraces.
These lads were a good time, and when they Googled the goalie's name so they could shout "CHRIS. TELL YOUR SISTER TO ABORT THE BABY", everyone readily joined in. We all had a bloody good laugh about that one.
Shockingly, Dulwich found themselves down 3-0 after only 30 minutes. As hard as this was to bear, we knew there was enough time left for them to pull a memorable comeback out of the bag. Sadly, when I came back from a piss they'd conceded a fourth, which really put those plans to bed. It was a bit of a downer tbh, meaning spirits were low on the train ride back.
Until one of us started necking beers at arm's length!!!
Miserable effort if you ask me!!
Would I recommend an away day in Bognor to a person desperate to feel the thrills of human feeling, knowing that continuing to tumble through the motions will turn their soul into putty?
Yes. Yes I would.