Fleet Life with Ed Miller: It is some years since the Fleet travelled across Offa’s Dyke’
PUBLISHED: 16:45 11 September 2008 | UPDATED: 10:06 23 August 2010
GET your malaria jabs, dust down your Rough Guide to European backwaters and chortle at your amusing passport photos, folks, for the Fleet are back where they belong this weekend, bestriding the glamorous international stage once more. Well, Wales anyway
GET your malaria jabs, dust down your Rough Guide to European backwaters and chortle at your amusing passport photos, folks, for the Fleet are back where they belong this weekend, bestriding the glamorous international stage once more.
Well, Wales anyway.
But the road signs are in two languages, so really it's just like the real thing, only with less sunshine and more flooding.
It is some years since the Fleet travelled across Offa's Dyke (or the A5 if you're going to be pedantic) when Steve Lovell - a Swansea lad himself - and his luckless squad had two trips a season in the mid-nineties to "continental" resorts such as Newport and the terminally-grim Merthyr Tydfil.
Saturday's trip to Wrexham's Racecourse Ground - the oldest international stadium still in use, fact fans - is likely to be a little different in status. With capacity for 15,500, it'll be the biggest ground the Fleet have played at since Carlisle (well, unless you count Wembley, but we've all forgotten about that I'm sure).
However, like Oxford last season, expect some tumbleweed and wide open spaces as the Robins (or the Red Dragons as I believe they call themselves these days) barely fill a third of their home.
Plus, it might be an idea if someone keeps tabs on Danny Slatter. If those North Wales locals get wind of Danny's Cardiff heritage, his head could be mounted on a spike at the city gates by 5.45pm. Which would be a shame when he's just got his knee back in one piece and all...
For Wrexham boss Brian Little, it's a reunion of sorts - although he might find Liam Daish slightly more difficult to intimidate than his opposite number Chris Weller on that day at Villa Park 12 years ago.
Nearly 130 places separated Little from the Fleet that season and now he finds himself eating our dust as we roar away into 10th place.
Perhaps someone could remind him how football is a funny old game when they see him? He'll appreciate it I'm sure.
The Wrexham game also spells the end of a period of what we were referring to as the "difficult start" to the campaign. Being four points off the top - and when you think of the four points we've dropped in the last minute - isn't too bad a haul from those first games, though the trip to Barrow in a couple of weeks is looking potentially harder than any of the other matches we've played this term.
All in all, we're in a decent position - just yapping at the heels of the pacesetters, ready to dash down the home straight when pretenders like Histon, Salisbury and Mansfield have to play a difficult run of fixtures.
Let's face it, if you're not top after playing Eastbourne, Grays, Northwich and Kidderminster at home, then you never will be. Methinks Mansfield are getting too excited, too early.