Andy Tester from Pound Hill has been a Reds fan for ‘donkey’s years’ and fondly remembers watching the team at Town Mead as a youngster. From his early days he recalls travelling to the old Goldstone Ground (1992) by coach to watch non league Crawley Town take on the Albion in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. He was twelve at the time but remembers how exciting it was entering a stadium with such a large crowd- much different to the usual turnout at Town Mead. Still a seasoned coach traveller, Andy has travelled on a CTSA coach to every away game this season with the exception of Crewe- but he had an excuse for that one, he was in hospital! He’s now looking forward to four away games in a row- Bristol Rovers, Plymouth Argyle, Hull City and Bradford City. It’s a shame the CTSA don’t do “coach miles” the way that the airlines do “air miles”, as that little lot would get him a free trip to Hartlepool (and if you’ve ever been to Hartlepool, you’d know that a free trip is the only way you’d really want to go!).
He recalls being a little concerned about the move from Town Mead to the brand new Broadfield stadium. He said “I was a bit dubious at first but after the first game I was hooked. The Broadfield has always a great home for us”. The anoraks amongst you will recall that the first match was a friendly against Port Vale. Andy took his place on the terrace for that, and has been virtually ever present since then.
As to last season’s FA Cup run he saw every match expect for the Newport opener. He surprised nobody when he revealed, “one of my greatest moments following this club was when Sergio Torres knocked in that late winner against Derby County”. He added “it was a wonderful season and the trip to Old Trafford was awesome!” He has hopes that this season may be better still, and Matt Tubbs goal which knocked out Bristol City on Saturday was another highlight.
On the 10th December Andy was struck down by ill health which kept him laid low for a while. He said “I woke up in the morning and couldn’t move my left arm or leg and was rushed to East Surrey Hospital by ambulance”. The illness was diagnosed as a stroke and he was in care for 11 days being discharged on 21st December. But even serious illness cant keep this good man down and he was back on the terrace for the Boxing day fixture, dressed as Santa Claus- though we’ve never before seen Santa Claus on crutches! At the Bristol City game Andy was looking really well and took his place right behind the goal. He explained “during my stay in hospital the club sent me a fully signed get well card which was very much appreciated.” He added “I haven’t recovered full fitness just yet but am working on it, and expect to be fighting fit again soon.”
The CTSA member is a respected and well liked part of the CTFC family and everyone will wish him the warmest regards and a speedy recovery. He is certainly confident of the future here at CTFC saying “we will definitely secure promotion to League 1 come May 5th!”
Words and Pictures from Colin Bowman, CTSA Press Officer