In the “white-hot” pressure-pot of deadly rivalry within Town journalism to get the written word first to devotees of reading about Town and their travels (I jest of course), one thing is overlooked. Sometimes even the greatest authors suffer writer’s block. Lower down the pecking order somewhat you will find “yours truly”. Now this will come as a great surprise to those who know me from the Forum days, and – more recently – in this current run of travel articles. Not normally able to say in 10 words what I contrive to make into 100 !! That’s me !
Hence the rather brief headline. This may have been brought about the team’s performance, my poor showing in the “Predictor” or my general aging ! I had offers of help from co-passengers but none came up to scratch ! “Toggies toil and trauma in telling tales of Town’s tortuous travel tribulation” perhaps ? Too contrived, even by my standards. “Fraught frashing in Frome” ? No ? Much to “cheesey” ( and it wasn’t an actual thrashing anyway)
(Some, however, may say I am making a ”good fist” of writing so far)
The day out set off with a rather full coach for a pleasant change, due to an influx of youth courtesy of the “Stratford Ultras” – a group of DCS choirboys (students) who wished to taste the joys of supporting the lads on the road. Thus, with their chatter and the “Sim music”, there was plenty of atmosphere to enhance the discussions held at the front of the coach by the more “mature” of Town followers.
The weather :- sunny, overcast, sudden hail storms, rainbow , back to sunny in Somerset.
The route :- Usual one to M5, M4, A46 “et al” for the last 25 miles
The “Predictor” :- a good uptake, with £26 up for grabs
The relief break :- Michaelwood Services …. “10 minutes only lads, or fines come in to play !”
The “”Rod Quiz” :- 10 sport, 10 “g/k”, of various toughness and simplicity – 2 winners on 10. No controversies for a change.
(I’m still managing to carry on but still struggling, I think)
Arriving at “The Special Effects Stadium”, non-privileged passengers were invited to leave the car park and walk down the road a bit to gain entry via the turnstiles. Why are turnstiles so narrow wherever you go ?? Most of the ground has cover in one shape or other. The entry side has the main seating, then a tiny snack bar and supporters club. Then behind the first goal is the average size bar and spacious function room(more hot food here) with out side standing area (for those who wish to drink and watch).The far side has a tall slightly-sloped standing area and finally terraced seating behind the second goal. I was not able to complete my pitch-side walk back to the nearside, as the players and officials block was cordoned-off in the corner. Just as at the DCS, there is no standing terracing, which always affords a better viewing position.
The pitch had a slight slope but the actual playing surface was not great and appeared to drain the strength of many players.
A further word here for the “Stratford Ultras” who chanted and banged for much of the match, got under the skin of the local ”Robins” supporters but hopefully kept the “boys in blue” motivated and encouraged – even though, on the day, it was “not to be” (Your bit of Shakespeare for the day !)
Pre-match (yes, and post-match) is invariably the meeting of most of the coach and car travellers in the bar. Frome, or is it Froom [?], was no different; unless you count the strangely quintessential sight of Bob and Dave playing cribbage ! I occasionally name drop so here I mention Steve T who has his tobacco fix and drink intake down to a fine art! I make no apology for again mentioning “our Paul” and his always giving us a safe and smooth journey. He is an integral part of the ”Barmy Blue Army on the road” – in the bar and on the touchline. Did you know that this Wolverhampton-based, “Saddlers” supporter and adopted Town fanatic actually journeyed to DCS last Tuesday to watch Town v St. Ives, on his day-off ? I am pleased to report that the under-age “Ultras” behaved correctly by taking themselves off into the town centre.
(“What writing block ?” you ask)
The game was – to me – the biggest disappointment of the day as Town hardly got going first half, with no sparkle. They had a better showing second half but only for a while when we scored. A brief hope of salvaging a point but well beaten in the end. No doubt about MOTM, as Niall saved us from a proper “Redditch-style thrashing”. No mention of the officials for a change as there were no controversial incidents.
The post-game chat was not too lively obviously. Players were delayed getting to their warm food due to there being only one shower, I believe. So it was that we were not heading home until 18.10 hours. The “Predictor” result was expected to show low scores (it was Cup day again which threw up shocks last time out) but the outcome had “Sniffer” the winner on 7/11 and rather ignominious performances by “Mr P” himself with 1/11 (“Must do better” as school teachers say) and “Mr T” myself on 2/11 ! I must cease tipping Birmingham to win.
An uneventful return leg saw us disembark at 20.30 hours. As I “logged” the Leamington match only 5 weeks ago, I do not propose to write for you after next Tuesday’s BSC foray. The rest may do me good although I am now beginning to believe the “block” was just in the headline writing !
Up the Town !