Fans are not currently allowed at sporting events in England, so if you’ve been watching the Premier League, you’ve grown accustomed to seeing games played in front of a sea of empty seats, just as has been the case for most of the last year on this side of the Atlantic.
The closest Premier League team to the town of Seaford on the southern coast is Brighton and Hove Albion, half an hour’s ride away on the Southern Railway. But in England, you’re never really half an hour away from the nearest club, and, yes, there’s a Seaford Town FC, which plays its games in Division One of the Southern Combination Football League, the 10th level of English soccer.
Seaford Town’s home pitch is Crouch Gardens, better known as The Crouch, a public park whose top-billed sporting occupant is the Crouch Bowling Club. Saturday, though, Seaford Town was the main action at The Crouch, as the Badgers were hosting Mile Oak, a mid-table club from closer to Brighton, officially in Portslade. The first-round tie in the SCFL Supplementary Cup was scoreless in the 16th minute when two “very good” supporters made their way onto the pitch.
That is, two dogs. Because it’s a public park, and people can walk their dogs in the park, even if they can’t really go to games right now.
Once the dogs were off the field, Seaford’s attack came barking to life, with a pair of goals before halftime en route to a 3-0 victory.
Not bad for the Badgers’ first match since a 3-1 loss at Storrington Community on December 12. It was Seaford’s first victory since October, a 2-0 home verdict over Roffey. It also was Seaford’s first clean sheet since then, although the same cannot be said of the grass at the fence between the field and the rest of the park after what one of those dogs very clearly did before being escorted out by a Mile Oak player.
To be clear, they are both, still, very good dogs.