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World Cup? No thanks

Anyone who has watched Colin Murray host EFL on Quest and Match of the Day 2 or listened to him on BBC Radio 5 Live will have no reason to doubt his football knowledge and passion. It was therefore quite telling, on the eve of the Qatar-based World Cup, to read that he could “barely muster up a thimble of enthusiasm” for the competition.

Now he might have felt a smidgen differently if his beloved Northern Ireland had been a participating nation, as I might in relation to the Scotland team, but he summed up perfectly how I was feeling.

I am determined not to watch a nanosecond devoted to the World Cup, be that match coverage or via news bulletins. I decided I would get my general news coverage from the always sensible BBC Radio 4 and my football fix from various levels of Scottish football.

FC Edinburgh, formerly Edinburgh City FC, and perhaps soon to be plain old “Edinburgh” was my first port of call, with the Wasps from Alloa providing the opposition. I had been to Meadowbank to watch athletics decades before but never for a football encounter featuring Ferranti/Meadowbank Thistle. The rebuilt London Road stadium looked great on You Tube and I was looking forward to the occasion.

I was not disappointed. The match featured seven goals, the first three scored by the visitors within seventeen minutes of the kick-off, and it could have been more. The Wasps then missed a 50th minute penalty when it was 3-2 in their favour and five minutes later they were down to ten men. The Citizens, who at no point had been out of the match despite the early score line suggesting otherwise, scored two spectacular goals after the Alloa dismissal.

It was some comeback by the home team and anyone who hadn’t enjoyed such a match should probably consider a different sport. All the post-match comments I heard as we were exiting the stand were along the lines of “thoroughly entertaining”.

FC Edinburgh have plans to build a second stand, not least to cope with those visiting trams who bring a healthy travelling support. However, if the Edinburgh team continue to provide the level of performance on show against Alloa Athletic, they will need enlarged spectator facilities irrespective of visitor demand.

The existing stand comprises three rows, or three tiers as the young man next to me rather grandly described them. The stand runs the full length of the pitch, not dissimilar to one side of Barnet’ s Hive Stadium, and approximately 100 of the 500 very comfortable orange seats are allocated to away fans. The view is uninterrupted, and the roof looks much more capable of keeping supporters dry than the covering in many larger stadiums.

Not surprisingly for a new ground, and particularly one which is essentially an athletics stadium, there are still a few teething problems being sorted out. To this end, the club may also need a few more matchday volunteers, but even at this stage there is much to commend the new FC Edinburgh set-up at Meadowbank and I will certainly be back.

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