This is an edited version of an article that appeared in the Cambridge United matchday programme for the game against Port Vale on 5 May 2018.
I would like to take this opportunity to quote some Half Man Half Biscuit lyrics at you.
‘Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch,’ warbled the Wirral band’s world-weary singer, Nigel Blackwell, in 1995. ‘It generates a warmth around the ground that augurs well for mankind.’
As ever, the Birkenhead Bard is spot on. Nothing warms the cockles of the average football punter's heart quite so much as a brief interlude starring a playful pooch.
In this age of wall-to-wall TV coverage, every doggy incursion is replayed a zillion times on YouTube, but there was a time when these friendly invasions were so commonplace that they scarcely warranted discussion in the pub after the game.
In the olden days, turnstile operators would turn a blind eye to dogs accompanying spectators, and it was accepted that the canine companions might wander on to the pitch at some point.
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