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Jul 12, 2005
Canvey Island
Please forgive this old git a bit of self indulgence, but as this is my 10,000th post, and before I get back to working for a living, I decided I would do another away day article.

For the purpose of this article I have chosen an away trip to York in December 1972. As ever my memory played tricks on me as I thought this was the last away game before Christmas, but on checking the SUFC Database (thanks as ever to Robin Michel) I know now it was not. However few of us had decided to try and make a cheapish weekend away without laying out too much of our hard earned. Therefore we decided we would camp :stunned: in December, we must have been mad.

Our party was Barry (Jelly) Houghton, the late John's Welham & Wheatley, yours truly and a last minute addition of Billy Monroe, who by the simple expediency of borrowing a series of 10 pences from unsuspecting donors managed to raise enough cash to make the trip. As I recall Billy's finances were always impecunious at best.

We were ready to set off after kicking out time at the Elms that Friday night and fortified by a fish supper from the Ideal Chippie we were on our way. Jelly was in charge of driving in his ancient and recalcitrant Austin Cambridge, we had decided to get as far North as possible before pitching the tent. Around 2am we stopped on the A1 near Grantham, and erected the tent in what can only be described as Stygian darkness. It was a two man tent, and as Billy was a late addition to the party the accommodation was somwhat cramped. Fortunately I was in the middle and Billy & John Wheatley got soaked in their sleeping backs while I remained dry although bloody cold. Jelly & John Welham spent a comfortable night in the car. After a pretty uncomfortable night we broke out the supplies and made a very good fry up courtesy of of a camping gas stove.

Soon after breakfast we decided to make a move to York, but unfortunately the car wouldn't start. In those days there were no such thing as mobile phones so Jelly hiked to a phone box which luckily was only a few minutes walk away to make a call to the AA. The AA man arrived in pretty quick time and solved the problem with a lavish application of damp start, and finally we were on our way.

We arrived in York around midday, parked the car and adjourned to a promising looking watering hole for a few pre match beers. It soon became apparent that our presence was not welcome, so with discretion being the better part of valour we made our way to the ground. Luckily there was a very good and comfortable club house where we could enjoy our liquid lunch.

On entering the ground we found ourselves in a similar paddock that used to be in front of our East Stand, and we were standing directly in front of the directors box where the Lord Mayor of York was safely esconced. The match itself was awful with Blues sliding to a 2-0 defeat. As I remember York were a pretty useful team at the time and Blues were struggling to adapt to life in our first season back in division 3.

After the match we started on our weary way home, stopping in the car park of a services to cook our supper on the faithful camping gas stove. By this time we were freezing cold and no doubt exceedingly oderiferous after spending the previous two days in the same clothes. The trip home was fairly uneventful apart from a brief stop in Cambridge where Billy spray painted SUFC on the pristine walls of a university in Cambridge (something I regret to this day). I guess it must have been close to midnight before I managed to get in my nice comfortable warm bed at home. Since that trip I have always eschewed camping holidays.

As ever great memories of supporting our club.
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