The best of 2020: Andy Wilkins, Canvey Island

By Ian Townsend

We head to Canvey once more as Andy brings us his best bits of 2020

For me, my best moment of 2020 is one I deem as more bittersweet than anything else. I try and get down to see my local side Canvey Island in action whenever my commitments as Media Officer at Southend Manor permit me to do so, and I was lucky enough to get down to both the Second Qualifying, Fourth Qualifying and Second Round Proper ties in their fantastic FA Cup run.

I achieved the latter in a professional capacity, representing my media agency with tweets, photography and a match report all achieved on that cold November night in front of the BT Sport cameras. I doubt I’ll ever see as many photographers or journalists as I did that night at Park Lane. It was just a shame that the result wasn’t that desired by myself or anyone who loves the Gulls.

The saddest part of it was that that game- against Boreham Wood- would ordinarily have been played in front of a crowded Danny Green Community Stand and Seawall Goal End. On this occasion, however, the only people at those ends were photographers, BT Sport videographers and a small number of Canvey fans who were peering over the fence or perching on the seawall to watch the game.

I’ve seen some big crowds in my time watching Canvey; for example the 1900+ who packed out Park Lane to see the Gulls beat West Ham 2-0 in a friendly in August 2015 and the 600+ for the visit of Havant & Waterlooville in October 2014. But had the Boreham Wood game not been behind closed doors the likelihood would have been that we would have had a sell out. It's rather sad when you think about it.

The cup run was a good one, with penalties against Biggleswade, joy in the victory over Cray and heartache in the Boreham Wood game. There was a good atmosphere at all three games I saw despite the challenges created by the rise of Covid cases throughout that period of time. This brought memories I’ll definitely hold on to.

In a year where football- a big part of my life- was taken away, then restored temporarily before being taken away once more, the Gulls fantastic cup run is definitely my highlight of the year. Three games where I felt my happiest and was able to put behind me my fears and worries for a while.

I cannot wait to return to Park Lane whenever that chance comes along in 2021.

Image also from Andy Wilkins.

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