Whereupon I review the facilities on offer at a football ground.
This week: Green Park, Millbrook
No football playing experience in Southampton is truly complete without a visit to Millbrook's Green Park. As well as playing for Burridge on Saturday afternoons, I also ply my trade turning out on Sunday Mornings for CFC Hillyfields, who just so happened to be playing at Green Park a few days ago, which encouraged me to review the council owned ground with some degree of objectivity it never seems to get from so many other local footballers who choose to vilify the place as nothing but pikey. Situated off the A33 flyover in Millbrook, the ground has four pitches that are home to all number of teams, who have no real ground of their own to speak of. So, let's take a look at what Green Park has to offer:
First thing I like to do when I get to Green Park is have a crap. Like the vast majority of Sunday morning players, I had got out of bed only minutes before driving to the ground. The previous night's consumption of wood pigeon (starter), steak (cooked rare), and goats cheese (dessert), washed down with Guinness and red wine, made this particular morning's visit absolutely imperative.
Plaudits must be given to the council for including a disabled toilet in their changing room designs, which is one of two toilet cubicles on offer. It certainly gets well used if the pebble dashed stains all over the basins are anything to go by. The locks work too, which is by no means a given at all local football grounds.
Toilet paper is scarce in these parts, so you would do well to bring your own. I hadn't. In the past I've been fortunate. A good friend of mine, Andrew Jopling, once sacrificed one of his Donnay socks, the left if memory serves, that he passed underneath the partition wall in order for me to carry out my necessary duties. This kind of generosity is unusual and should not be relied upon. Socks were unnecessary on this occasion.
The high barred windows give off a vibe of mock 70's prison chic, which is set off against the delicious irony of the premise's relaxed security. It's worth reminding yourself that it's best to take any valuables with you if you wish to ever set eyes on them again.
The five by five foot shower tray gives you ample opportunity to mix with players from all eight teams. Wash the mud off to your heart's content whilst listening to local raconteurs discussing various criminal activity from petty violence to full blown GBH. It's strongly recommended you don't leave your shower gel bottles on the floor if you're at all squeamish about having a stranger's penis flapping around in your face.
Eating out and entertainment
If you have been drinking you may feel peckish, in which case you're in luck, as there are a two very well known restaurants within easy walking distance, both of which offer the local delicacy; they are McDonald's, (feeling a bit ropey you can always get a sausage and egg mcmuffin down you before kick-off), and for the more adventurous amongst you - KFC. If you're very lucky you may even catch a glimpse of one of the many locals. Sunday's game was momentarily halted in the second half as two masked men charged across the pitch on motorbikes, pulling wheelies. Sadly, no one was killed.