The view from the Vale steward - #1

09 August 2010 08:30
I've recently put sanity aside . and become a steward at our beloved Port Vale. Here are some things you should know! I’ve recently put sanity aside and become a steward at our beloved Port Vale. However, why they need stewards when the club has all that fancy surveillance gadgetry is beyond me. I once spent a game observing officials in “The Control Box”, and it’s something every fan should do. The Vale spy cameras see everything, believe-you-me. They can spot you picking your nose, squeezing a blackhead, or trying to secretly film the girl two seats in front of you on your mobile. So, homing in on someone trying to light up a secret fag, preparing a missile ready for throwing or even building a dirty bomb from gravy-soiled foil trays (!) is a piece of cake. Of course there’s a contradiction here. I come to watch football for a little “release” from life. I want to jump up and down, rant and rave, and punch the air and roar with delight when we somehow plant one home at the Bycars End. I don’t care that I look a pratt as I dance around to Dave Clark Five’s “Glad All Over” when we score. But if I stopped and thought that I was being filmed, and that the film was archived for a period of time in case officials/police wanted to view it, I might think twice about…well, the dancing bit at least. What the club needs is big signs saying YOU ARE BEING FILMED, AND ANY EVIDENCE OF WRONG-DOING WILL BE USED TO MAKE YOU LOOK SO STUPID IN COURT THAT YOU AND YOUR FAMILY WILL HAVE TO LEAVE THE STOKE AREA FOREVER AND GO AND LIVE SOMEWHERE REALLY GROTTY …LIKE HULL. Actually, that’s rather a long sign, but you get the idea. Of course, now I am a steward, I’m not allowed to dance, rant or punch anything, however tempting it might be. So what is there left for me to do? Well, for the Aberdeen friendly (a ponderous 0-1 defeat), the powers-that-be must have been thinking the same thing. They decided to make their stewards’ lives just that little more scary by closing the Hamil End and allowing the away supporters to mix with the home fans. WTF?! The idea of gathering the Aberdeen supporters to one area of the Lorne St was quickly abandoned, instead allowing them free-reign almost everywhere. Several even perched precariously in the Press “Area” (you can hardly call it a “Box”) until the journos grumbled about the noise, and they were moved on. One of their number was particularly miffed with being turfed out of his seat. He was completely bald, muscular, and wore a kilt – not a particularly striking clan-like one, more like the sort of generic kilt that you find next to the Lock Ness monster stuffed toys at twee souvenir shops in Edinburgh. A few of the women gave him curious yet encouraging looks, but he was in too much of a huff to notice. When he finally found himself a private seat in the corner, it became obvious why he’d liked his place in the Press Area – there they had boarding in front of it so that no one could see what he wore under his kilt. The morale? Aberdeen fans like their privacy…which is why they should have opened the Hamil End! But what do I know.