England U19 v Armenia U19, Saturday 26th March 2022, 2pm

International weekends are often seen as a time to go and watch a non-league game. I see plenty of those anyway and so don’t really need the excuse of the Boro not playing to make a grass roots visit. Harry is quite keen on watching England and so instead I picked out an England U19 fixture at Rotherham. It worked for me as I’d not yet been to the New York Stadium and also because I needed to go to Rotherham anyway to pick up some old chimney pots that I’d bought.

The tickets were cheap enough at a fiver for me and half that for Harry. I needed to register with Rotherham which was a bit of an arse on, but if we end up playing them in the next two or three years it will give me a buying history that could come in useful.

Unfortunately, a late change of plans for Harry meant that he couldn’t go, but I was committed to picking up the chimney pots and it’s only an hour and a half or so down the road.

I parked up when I saw the floodlights. It turned out that they weren’t for the New York Stadium but for Rotherham’s former ground, Millmoor. I had a mooch around the outside of the old place, thirty-six years after seeing the Boro there. Oddly, despite Rotherham having moved out a decade or so ago, the posts are still up, and the grass is cut short. It looks as if someone has been playing there. I’ll have to try and find out what the story is and maybe pay it a visit next time I’ve got architectural salvage to lug up the A1.

The New York stadium is a decent venue. It holds twelve thousand in single tier stands. I was near enough on the half-way in the back row, N, so that’s fourteen rows from the pitch. Pretty much a perfect viewing point. Only the one stand was open and it was fairly full so I’d estimate the crowd as about two to three thousand. There were lots of family groups with small kids as well as a few old codgers like me.

England were by far the better side and were two up at half-time before doubling their advantage in the second half. The biggest drama was a scuffle that led to an Armenian player receiving a red and having to be dragged from the pitch by his keeper. England later ended up with ten men too but at least that fella went willingly. The standard was good, as you’d expect, and I look forward to stumbling across the programme sometime in the future and seeing how many of the names have become familiar.

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