The Winchester

"Not all those who wander are lost" – Tolkien

Swindon Town

with 3 comments

June 2011

Talk of climbing stuff had been getting louder over the last few weeks and a set of floodlights was made a target. Nowhere in particular, just a classic floodlight pylon, a metal frame with a ladder and a row of shining lights at the top. The advent of modern stadia has diminished this provincial staple and I feel it’s not going to be too long before these die out, a relic from the early 20th century and the boom years of football.

You don’t find these in the top stadia any more really. The stands of Old Trafford, Emirates and Stamford Bridge stretch higher than the tallest point of a lot of floodlights, and as such, the lights are mounted on top of these. The pylons of old an icon that has largely and periodically been removed from the top tiers of football.

I remember as a kid, watching Second Division Reading across the country, the culmination of a long drive to some provincial outpost with my Dad would be the sight of these sticking out of the skyline of another Dickensian town alongside rows and rows of terraced houses and factory chimneys. The pre-match would tend to be in a working mens club where people spoke funny, we’d watch the game on a freezing terrace with the likes of Mass Sarr, Trevor Morley and Byron Glasgow bumbing to another 2-1 defeat

2001-2002 season was the last time Reading played Swindon, and I didn’t go. I think it was parents evening.

The climb up this floodlight was a sharp one. a single ladder reaching all the way to the top, no chance for a break, all the exposure of the Shrivenham Road and the cars going round the famed Magic Roundabout. At the top, the structure wobbled far too much for my liking, it was akin to being at the top of a giant tree in a storm. My arms were tired and I felt exposed. It was nonetheless nice to get up this structure, something to have done.

We climbed down and walked on the pitch. Much of what I love about the game was absent. The noise, the atmosphere, the smell of onions and the bright lights from above illuminating the pitch. I can’t remember when I fell in love with football but it’s the one relationship in my life that doesn’t waver.

We left Swindon in the early hours of the morning. and returned down the M4.


Written by Winch

June 5th, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Posted in Infrastructure/construction

Tagged with ,

3 Responses to 'Swindon Town'

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  1. Hope you disinfected yourself after?


    6 Jun 11 at 8:35 am

  2. Grow up


    6 Jun 11 at 6:13 pm

  3. Grow up Tumbles I should say.


    6 Jun 11 at 6:14 pm

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