Simply Red: A Harrow Borough fan’s view of the FA Trophy defeat to Dulwich

PUBLISHED: 12:23 30 October 2013 | UPDATED: 12:29 30 October 2013

Harrow Borough manager Dave Anderson

Harrow Borough manager Dave Anderson


“What goes on in the dressing room, stays in the dressing room”.

That has been the mantra trotted out from an assortment of former pros asked to comment on the recent ‘space monkey’ controversy that has sullied Roy Hodgson’s remarkable achievement of guiding England to next summer’s World Cup finals.

It’s a consequence of much improved stadia at Ryman Premier level that there are no longer, I think, any grounds where the curious supporter can lurk outside the outer wall of a dressing room at half-time and hear every word of the half-time ‘chat’.

I think back to afternoons at pre-1974 Earlsmead, Leatherhead or – an especially well-acoustically endowed location – Bishop’s Stortford’s old ground where at the interval a small crowd of fans, tea and chips in hand, would gather to hear what came from within - all the better if a window had been left open.

Past Borough bosses George Borg and Bob Dowie were particularly good value for 10 minutes of thundering into their charges, and a charity swear box could have raised enough funding to cure third world poverty at a stroke.

Especially entertaining would be when the braver (or perhaps most foolhardy) supporter used a pause in the stream of abuse from within to interject a comment of their own: along the lines of “well, you signed him” or “get rid of the whole lot of them”.

Such action was at high risk to the person’s own safety, were their voice identifiable, but would also invariably lead to the closing of the window and the muffling of the sounds, thereby curtailing the entertainment.

Dulwich Hamlet’s Champion Hill ground has the dressing rooms buried deep beneath the main stand, so what Dave Anderson said to his Harrow side at half-time two Saturdays back will, indeed, remain privy only to those who were inside. Nonetheless it would have been interesting to have heard it. Borough had been full of running and effort but were nonetheless being played off the park by a Dulwich side that treats the ball as their friend more than any other side in the league. Dulwich’s stoppage-time winner was a cruel blow to Borough, though the side in pink and navy would argue that their domination of the first hour deserved victory.

So that’s the FA Trophy over for another season, and the key question now is whether Borough will emerge for their next league fixture, a key one against struggling Cray Wanderers this Saturday with the same attitude they displayed throughout 10 days back and, equally important, the playing style that they showed in the last half-hour of the game. The Earlsmead faithful will have been pondering this question while the side have been out of action over the last week.

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