For new readers to the website, I have been known to pen regular – hopefully interesting and somewhat light-hearted – accounts of the coach trips undertaken by the players, management and die-hard supporters. For one reason or another, these away coach trips became ever less frequent to the point of non-existent. However, with a new season, a new “central” league, mainly new squad and fresh ideas from the STFC board, it has been possible to plan the occasional coach travel to the few more distant clubs – perhaps seven or eight. The Royston away game was deemed as one such candidate.
Only our second trip ever to the Garden View, this again was early season; the initial trip was last season’s first game of the season, at which we gained a 2-1 win.
We set off from the Arden Garages Stadium, at the appointed time, driven by our good friend and Walsall fan, Paul. On board were supporters, part of the team management and several players, as the balance of the party was to be collected at the Harvester, on the outskirts of Northampton. The change from TGIF Coventry had been necessitated by the many new faces now coming more from the eastern side of the West Midlands rather than the central area.
So the route followed the A46, A45, M45, M1, then the uninteresting A507 to Baldock for the A505 to take us on to destination. Garden View is a smallish ground in a housing estate with no facility to park a coach and only a few cars at that, so we parked on the road at approximated 1.50pm. We had made it on time, but the car with the three officials in was delayed on route and only just made it for kick-off. I wonder if they were fined ?
A short walk took us into the stadium at the near, where refreshment trailer, changing rooms and bar and toilets were found with a tiny covered standing area. Far end saw nothing but tall netting behind the goal. Both touch-line sides had a small covered stand to provide the requisite seating numbers. Pitch was level and flat. The game itself (reported on elsewhere) was two halves – obviously – Town winning the first, the “Crows” edging the second. Two good goals for Town, one in each half, with a battling second 45 minutes earning a well-deserved share of the spoils in an end-to-end, watchable game.
Some driving supporters joined the coached travellers in the bar area before and after the game. Post match, players and officials were fed sandwiches before we set off at 5.50pm to the Morrisons store in the nearby town centre as some players needed liquid refreshment ! !
On-board entertainment had a different flavour to last season. Gone – but not forgotten nor retired – were the “Predictor” and “Rod Quiz”. A Football Card was circulated on the outward leg to be won by Nathan, I believe. Music was not really played as in previous seasons. Perhaps it interfered with the card players’ concentration? However on the return leg, passengers were thoroughly entertained by a procession of players and team management crooning away on the mike, with iPads in hand for the lyrics. We were so truly serenaded by a mixture of genres and, indeed, strange key changes. The singing “talent” on board had been in good, joking and laughing mode throughout the trip ; certainly team spirit is not in question. The Landflight coach deposited its last passengers at our Tiddington base at 8.20pm
One would expect and hope that the next coach would be in eight weeks’ time to Kings Lynn.