Tucked away in a tranquil and leafy enclave, scarcely recognisable as a part of the choked industrial swamp city of London that it lies within, AFC Wimbledon stands apart as a League One fixture, residing in its own singular category of unnerving pleasantness. Whether it’s actually a good place to watch football is up for debate.
For the southern Cov fan, reaching Kingsmeadow is like locating a morsel of food wedged stubbornly behind an incisor; you feel like it’s there, on the tip of your tongue, within your grasp – but it’s not, it’s always just another leap further into the affluent hedgerows of SW whatever, a mirage beyond the shimmering greenhouses of Norbiton; always 20 minutes more than you had ever planned for; it’s in your mouth and yet somehow you can’t eat the bloody thing.
We holed up in a bizarre but perfect boozer, complete with complimentary stilton-topped pork pies, an ailing German shepherd sporting a decent-sized satellite dish around its neck, a portly barmaid who had an extremely laissez-faire attitude to structural undergarments, and an outdoor pond that was something between a pagan gnome shrine, and a cement plant disaster memorial. Safe to say there wasn’t a single woman inside this place (staff excluded), and only a man (or perhaps just footballing lunatic of either gender) could have plumped for the indoor Subbuteo-floored astro pitch we sat watching the test match atop.