My occasional travelogue makes a re-appearance to give readers a different slant on Town’s FA Cup venture “up north”. Match reports will be found elsewhere. A 14-hour 390 miles round-trip day out to the seaside – although not actually seen – began with the arrival of Paul and his coach, newly enhanced by a splendid windscreen sticker denoting who was to be aboard his “charabanc” for the day.
There was a disappointing number of supporters (2 new faces though) who joined several players and officials for the usual journey to TGI’s at Coventry. There the balance of the squad and several other supporters climbed aboard. The pick-up point is always a challenge to Paul to turn his coach around in the tight confines of a car-park unsuited to coaches !
The journey was scheduled to take the A46/M69/M1/A1[M} and A64, with a stop an hour south of Scarborough at an American Diner that Mark had found on his scouting trip earlier in the week. This break was needed by Paul, for his driving hours, as well as Carl’s idea of a pre-match bonding for everyone. Now, my vision of an American Diner – formed from TV films – was totally shattered as I saw not one American blond waitress, chewing gum, taking our orders, but predominantly beefy waiters ! However, Holy Moby certainly otherwise kept to concept with its décor, menu and seating.
As well as the “Predictor” being organised by Rod, to be won later by Jason, there was a footballing quiz which was easily won by the “Jim/Rod/Tog triumvirate” although the first-named was head and shoulders the egghead !
We arrived at the Sports Village, this side of town (in which the last day of the Scarborough Fair was taking place} at 1.15pm, so it was deemed impossible to drive to the seafront before the game. The stadium is new this season, as the “Seagulls” have been playing at Bridlington for several seasons since the original ground and side was forced to close.
A crowd of 1,180 was swelled by the small coach-load of away fans and several hardy souls who undertook car journeys to North Yorkshire. This was what the FA Cup has stood for such a long time. No-one at this level of football is ever likely to get to Wembley but the fun and club financials rewards – and temporary glory – along the way makes it all worthwhile.
An amusing zoological twist to the game was the boys in red from the Flamingo Land Stadium faced up to the boys in blue from the Moodchimp Stadium. The jungle games reconvene on Tuesday night.
Pictures from within the ground show the main seating stand, where a good sized bar is situated with great views of the pitch and also the picturesque backdrop of a wood-covered hill side opposite. Apart from the 4 or 5 tiered covered terracing behind one goal there is no other cover for spectators around the ground, who were to be drenched later on ! The Town banner was in evidence in the second half.
The actual game was a good contest with many important incidents, critical goal attempts or misses, which engendered a noisy atmosphere, many biased and far-fetched comments from home fans, and exhilaration – then deflation -for travelling Townites – all of which provided a good cup match and – probably a fair result. I am sure Scarborough players and supporters will not fancy the afternoon/early evening drive down to Stratford. However, how will the injury time equaliser affect the teams or the replay ? Town to have to repeat their heroic effort or the visitors getting a welcome chance to redeem themselves ? Be there to witness the answer !
The return journey started out at 6.15pm, with liquid refreshment already on-board for the playing staff. Four hours later, after a rather wet journey, very brief stop at Woodhall Services, the obligaory drop off at TGI’s, plus the booze and music-fueled happiness from the very much together squad, saw the excursion arrive safely at Tiddington at 10.20pm.
As a postscript to this report, let me wish Roy Craddock, and his good lady, a smashing , long-awaited holiday in Spain for the next 12 days. It was a source of continual ribbing (and joviality) by the front seated passengers – and Roy’s constant reminders (!} – of his 7am flight departure to warmer, drier climes from Birmingham today (Sunday). No sleep possible for our announcer then !
Up the Town !