A Special Day.

"We are such stuff as dreams are made on, rounded with a little sleep"  The Tempest; William Shakespeare. Certainly last Saturday (16/ 4) was one for the dreamers. It started so strangely with the weather which might have prompted the Bard to say," we have seen better days." Timon of Athens."

For in heavy rain, at 6:45am, I drove daughter d to the nearby bus stop, only to see snowflakes falling from the sky and the temperature at freezing point. I pondered whether today's match would turn out to be ' A Winter's Tale,' or indeed would it survive the dreaded pitch inspection.
Thankfully due to the vagaries of the English climate, by eleven o'clock the precipitation ceased, the temperature moved up and even the clouds went walk about.

Making sure I had my required red robin coloured warmth on, I boarded the bus and arrived at my favourite watering hole ' The Bay's ' at half past twelve. Daughter d soon arrived back from work and we soon attackedt a warming repast of faggots, potatoes, peas, gravy wrapped in a Yorkshire pudding and all washed down with a nourishing pint of Wadworth's I.P. A. Real ale. As we ate I remembered the Late Derek Goddard, him of the flowing white Santa beard and bulging trouser pockets filled with receipts and tickets for the Robins weekly draw to which he took it upon himself to sell and in doing so over the years raised more than forty thousand pounds for the charity causes, Derek was an habitual Bay's drinker ( half a Diet Coke or half a Beer Shandy ) to supplement his regular lunchtime meals.His regular job, was as the chief sport's writer for the local paper " The Gloucestershire Echo."
Not surprisingly he was a life-long Robins supporter and wrote wonderful verbiage about the team and the matches. He would have loved a day like this.

Suitably refreshed, we slowly processed towards the football ground, taking in the nearby independent record shop " Badlands" which as I reported last week was engaged  in ' the  annual Record Store Day ' promotion. It was very gratifying to notice the large number of punters queuing outside the premises to browse and buy the special day's vinyl stock.

The weather was brightening on cue and warming.  To celebrate this solar breakthrough we took in the regency delights of Pittville Park. Once through the Gates, we entered an oasis of calm amid buildings of natural charm with prices to match, bringing up the massed chorus of the Estate Agents," We like 'em {prices}"      Once away from the enclave , we entered the Park proper, where on the port side we espied a group doing press-ups and other vigorous exercises, under constant encouragement from ' officer/leader types' l asked d about this and she informed me it was probably a team bonding activity. Well I have to say it didn't look much fun to me. I definitely would settle for the three C's: cafe, cuppa and chat.
In sight of the Pump Rooms, we turned to the right and made our way to the " World of Smile" football stadium. The crowd was building and by the time we had reached our seats ( C34/5 , block2), the standing enclosure was almost full.
I was pleased with our seats , being nearer to pitch side and at the end of the row, so few pesky steps to climb and no standing up to accommodate others reaching their seats. A win win.

I had purchased our tickets the previous Monday at the club shop, from a lady called Jenny. Being emboldened and thinking of avian matters I ventured, " you must be Jenny Wren." She brightened up and replied, " that's what my old dad used to call me, I haven't heard that name for years."
" And I bet you were Sweet Jenny Wren. "
 She smiled and the tickets were secured.

As we sat in our seats the sun shone brightly, calling for sun-glasses and incredibly, considering the morning's weather, parts of the pitch were actually being watered!

The arithmetic,for the match was simple. If Cheltenham ( Robins ) won this's  afternoon 's game against Halifax Town,the championship was theirs, because even if rivals Forest Green Rovers won all their remaining three games, by the fact of our overwhelming goal difference,we would always be at the head of affairs

Or as Manager Johnson succinctly put it in a video, " I'll stick my backside out of Burton's shop window, if FGR score twenty four goals in those three games they have to play!."

 The crowd was buzzing and each of the Cheltenham players were greeted like royalty as they entered the arena. The match commenced and the Robins were soon in control. Their defence was solid and continued that way throughout. The fan's chants became more vociferous-  'Red Army, Red Army; Cheltenhamshire and The Tractor Song- oh RR oh RRR and we were even entreated to " Stand Up For The Champions,"to which many, I'm bound to say complied.

By half-time the match was effectively over. Robins were leading 2-0, through a dipping shot into the right top corner of the goal and then by a penalty.
It was then just a case of keeping up the concentration until the final whistle.
At this point we had a real bonus, for rivals Forest Green  Rovers surprisingly lost against Woking 1- 2.. This made us outright Champions and thus  we will play in League 2 next season. Hurray.

The joy of the crowd was infectious and a massed pitch invasion was called for and sanctioned.
It was wonderful to see young and old including wheel- chairs and carers coming onto the turf.

Robins are Champs !

And so with many memories, d and I made our way home leaving a joyous crowd who had numbered 5245. A very special day indee

A Strong Defence.

On The Pitch

Champs-onies !

Cheerio for now,


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