Last night saw Mildenhall take on Ely City in the rearranged Boxing Day Derby game, so we went on the relatively short journey. I didn't really know what to expect. They finished second in the league a few years ago, but the money ran out and they seem to have been mid-table ever since. They are a club with ambition, some might say delusions of grandeur: they have applied for promotion despite being in midtable and there being rumours that they couldn't even pay the cleaning lady last month.
The ground is a bit of a strange one and despite them wanting to get to Step 4, it looks more like a Step 6 ground when you get in there. As you enter the ground on the left hand side of the pitch is a small covered terrace, a clubhouse and a very small stand, which consists of three rows of benches and offers restricted view if anybody is ordering from the tea hatch. The rest of the ground is open and unterraced.
They obviously have some commercial ideas though, as they had a decent stall of souvenirs, although I'm not sure if £12 for a club hat and scarf offers the amazing value they advertise it as. They also have the annoying trick of having music play when they score a goal, it's annoying at bigger clubs, but it's never going to crank up the atmosphere in the Eastern Counties.
If I sound a bit downbeat about the whole experience it was the programme that really annoyed me. We were given a warm enough welcome by the locals, but racist jokes in the programme? That's not acceptable.
Luckily the game was entertaining, although Ely lost (report to follow), but I guess if it hadn't been we could have entertained ourselves by watching the planes land at the nearby air base.