The game at Kings Lynn this Saturday marks a significant landmark in my life as a Kidderminster Harriers supporter.
This will be my 1000th game watching the FIRST TEAM boys in Red and White/Blue and Yellow since records began after I watched the Harriers play against Northwich Victoria on 20th October 1990, we won that game 3-1 and I remember Richard Forsyth scoring twice. This is the day I was hooked and have never not wanted to come again!
In the strictest terms this is not my 1000th game as I watched half a dozen or so games from about 1986 and was a ballboy for a few others. I have a few old programmes but the above date is when I started taking things real seriously like I do to this day haha!
In the last 18 years, I have watched us play on every single day of the week, in 3 different countries, in 8 different "competitions" (name changes excluded) and at all sorts of kick off times. Yes I have missed a few matches due to darts and being away at work conferences, not forgetting my regrettable enforced absence in 1998 for 4 months but by and large I will do anything to attend a game wherever it is and whatever competition it is. I even blatantly faked illness at school and risked expulsion, to get to Halifax on a Bank Holiday Monday (yes my school didn't have May Day off)
In total, I have seen Harriers play 165 different teams at 140 different grounds, the most opposition being Macclesfield and Northwich 26 times each. I have been in the car, on the coach, on the bus, on the train, on the plane and even walked to games before. Of course there were even my plans to use a helicopter to get to a game should the need have arisen at the time.
I have met a lot of new people through Harriers, become involved in new social groups and had a lot of fun. Things haven't always been plain sailing and yes I know I can fall out with people easily and be an arsehole sometimes, but I am Harriers through and through, live and breathe the club and that's why i get upset so easily. People try to tell me what's going on and they have been going 2 years compared to my 22! In terms of individuals, well there are too many to mention. You have the sublime diehards like Statto, the newbies like Spirals, the guys you love to hate like Nem (said in the nicest possible way mate you make me laugh) and the old fans who have provided pure comedy but are no longer present at Aggborough like Lazerus, Malcolm and Phil Underwood.
Whatever happened to those 3 people? I would love to know about the latter, this was a guy who travelled from New Ollerton to every game, was nothing short of a legend and my last memory of him was with Jeeves watching him stick his head out of a train window, shouting Harriers, as it left Kidderminster station after playing Welling on a Bank Holiday circa 1994 - he has not been seen since.
My favourite games/places. Well too many to mention to be honest. A few favourites though. Dover away with the last minute penalty, Gateshead away on a Wednesday night when we won 2-0, Cartwright got 2, my one man board protest at Blyth Spartans, the bin banging at Slough, the champagne drinking on the terraces at Sutton United, to getting soaked down to my boxers at Yeovil (but winning) and the Denmark trip to Kolding/Vordingborg and the like.
There have also been bad times. Plymouth away losing 4-0 due to Richard Beeby's appalling refereeing, driving to Exeter/Torquay/Guiseley and finding it called off, to watching a game shivering with flu (Lincoln United on a Monday night). The thrashing at Hull and I remember us losing 1-0 in dire games to Altrincham and Bath within 2 days of each other with some real depressing football. Pure class each and every moment in their own way. Of course, I haven't forgotten all the FA Cup/title winning scenes and the party in the Harriers Arms till 7:30am the next morning.
Priceless memories and I am still hungry for more of them.
And for a real priceless memory, who can ever forget Alan Shepherd chasing the referee down Hoo Road in his car after the 3-3 draw with Doncaster?!
So there you go, a whirlwind of my 1000 games! All I need on Saturday is a Harriers win and the 1000th game will be a success! Its a shame its not a home cup game, I could have asked for a freebie to celebrate the occasion ha!
I'm on the road to another 1000 and with any luck, there will be an update on the 2000th game around 2027!