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BrettieAngell

THE ROCK GOD
Joined
Oct 26, 2003
Messages
19,642
Location
Southend
'The rain falls hard on this humdrum town, this town has dragged you down ...'

Morrissey's words resonated with me on the drive out of Birkenhead. This was one of the most miserable evenings watching (and having) The Blues in a long time. It was a dismal affair and all you lot sensibly encamped in the chat room and/or listening in by whatever media at your disposal can congratulate yourselves on missing this misery on the Mersey. Anyway, 'On The Road Again' is the title of this thread so we'll return to where this 'little' journey started ...

A sunny Sunday afternoon in Penzance quickly gave way to some grey murkiness over the A30 as me and the white van continued our long haul fright on some increasingly dispiriting journeys to away grounds this season. I'm rapidly coming to believe that it's me who is the 'Jonah' on these travels, but that would be incredibly egocentric and as you know, that's not me one bit. First stop was an overnight stay in Oldbury (near West Brom) at my step-daughter's so I could sort out some 'family business' in Brum first thing Monday. She'd got me a 'Good Pub Guide' for my birthday which I put into immediate good usage when getting off the M6 Monday lunch-time. Not far from Junction 14 is a village called Salt, which is home to The Holly Bush Inn - a lovely old boozer which sells Adnam's and does some traditional (non-poncy) pub grub. Next stop was Southport where an old mate known as 'Alick Jeffrey' in our old team of footballing psueds - I was 'Billy Worst' - now plies his trade. We had a good night catching up on the things that matter, ie football, football and football, and he took the Tuesday off work to show me around town ahead of the trip through the Mersey tunnel. During our promenade on the Lancashire Riviera, it occurred to me that three teams on this north-western stretch of shore had gone out of the league in my lifetime, ie Southport, Workington and Barrow. I have a special affection for Workington as they were our first opponents that I can remember, kindly getting stuffed 7-0 at the Hall back in the spring of '68. I also find it very sad when the teams of seaside teams go out of the league, which maybe I have been thinking a bit too much about lately.

Tranmere too have had their problems, so I was feeling a mite optimistic that we could come away from Birkenhead with three points. Ha - how this reinforces the mantra that you shouldn't get whimsical with the gods of football ! You didn't know it was a mantra, did you ? Well, it is now. There I was sat in a good old-fashioned local called 'The Beehive,' admiring their range of slashed seats, and keeping my '67-'68 season replica shirt discreetly covered up. The three points were still there in my imagination as I wondered if there could be room for a pub with the most unthreatening selection of slashed seats in 'The Good Pub Guide.' Just over three hours later, my whimsy had turned to misery and not even the unexpected rendezvous with my fans, Tinkerbell and The Old Blue Lady, could alleviate the gloom which descended on me with Tranmere's second goal. I couldn't hang around in this humdrum town for one second after the final whistle so me and the white van hurtled down the M53, then along the M56 and finally a wet and windy M6 to the anodyne comforts of the Wolverhampton Central Travelodge, just before the witching hour. I dreamed that Franno, Dougie and Scanners had played the balls that Barney had wanted and that we won 3-2. This morning, I remembered that I remain a sad, sweet dreamer. Oh well, better luck next time and see you at Charlton !

Awesome!!

Good read as always mate.
 

Rob Noxious

Retro Supremo⭐
Joined
Oct 23, 2008
Messages
7,388
Location
Penzance
Here you go, Rob, couldn't resist this after that read!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9Rrrz0ZfRc

Quote:


Thanks, Kay - will need to look at this on Mrs S' pooter as this work lap-top doesn't allow me access to the wonderful world of 'youtube' ...

...it's just one of those things to put down to experience ! Mrs S' pooter's got no speakers, but lucky I know the words ...
 

Rob Noxious

Retro Supremo⭐
Joined
Oct 23, 2008
Messages
7,388
Location
Penzance
'Into The Valley'

I'd been planning this little number for a while. It takes a bit of organisation supporting The Shrimpers in my case, seeing as I live nearer Land's End than Roots Hall. I tend to see more away games as a result and after a great start on my travels at Cheltenham, it's been progressively more disappointing at Walsall, Wycombe, Brentford, Yeovil and Tranmere. However, the thought of a trip to The Valley, even at twenty-five quid, was one that got my imagination going. I lived in London for nearly fifteen years, but never got there. Charlton were homeless for much of that time, then I moved to Cornwall shortly after they returned home. The last time I saw us play them was at Upton Park in early '92. We were never in it, lost 2-0 and Rob Lee was inspired. My feeling was that we were going to get turned over, but what the hell, there are some games you've just to get to. If nothing else, I could at least pour scorn on the ginger Judas.

Me and Mrs S ('a Southend fan by marriage,' she says) set off from 'PZ' on our first anniversary tour on the Thursday afternoon, taking in the delights of the South Coast en route, stopping off at Bournemouth and Brighton. One thing I miss living in Cornwall is seeing indie films whenever you want. 'Oil City Confidential' - the film about our very own Dr. Feelgood - was on in Brighton that Friday night before the game. The director, Julien Temple, introduced the film and had a Q&A slot after. Wilko Johnson, the original band's songwriter and guitarist, joined him on stage for this and was in the bar for a bit of a chat after. One of his crowd in the bar was (like me) also an ex-Earls Hall pupil and was amused to see my Southend scarf when I told him of the other reason for making this long roundabout trip via Brighton's Duke of York cinema.

Driving through South London the morning after reminded me of why I left London 16 years ago. It only took forty minutes to get there and then twice that long to get to Rotherhithe, where we were staying. I left Mrs S at London Bridge as she had long wanted to get to know the smoke better under her own steam and said I'd see her there at seven as I'd heard that sometimes Charlton station is shut till about six after the game. I then ran nearly alongside a couple of young lads who were dressed in our away shirts to get the train with a few seconds to spare. I checked out the scene near the ground, saw that my cousin was policing the entrance to some dodgy-looking Tory Club that clearly did not want any of our right-wingers to attend, and skirted back to the Woolwich Road in search of 'The Rose of Denmark' for a pre-match pint. Being of a certain age - when you had to be careful on away trips and not wear your colours too obviously - I still tend to dress in neutral garb, especially in South-East London. I always have my scarf and hat, and sometimes a shirt, in my knapsack for a safe change when ensconced in the bosom of the ground. I was really pleased to see that we had brought so many for this expensive trip - there must have been at least two thousand, maybe more. I was even more pleased to see my old mate, 'Johnny Mac,' who kindly bought me another pre-match pint minutes before kick-off.

The old Charlton song 'Red Red Robin' preceded proceedings with an appropriate Christmassy feel. Only trouble was that Barny decided to play Santa after taking too long to get a shot in and we were one down a few minutes later, with the ginger Judas celebrating vengefully in front of us after he'd been given the anticipated stick. Their midfield started to dominate and it looked like the rout might now begin after all. Luckily we clawed our way back into it and 1-0 didn't feel too bad at half-time, especially with Laurent looking threatening whenever he was on the ball. As you know, the game stayed this way despite our midfield dominating possession in the second-half. Judas made two great sliding tackles on Laurent just as he was getting up a head of steam, but despite our much improved play, we never really looked like scoring. We really seem to lack a cutting edge in our approach play at the moment and I can't remember the last goal we scored from open play. I am generally an optimist by nature, but our current run is making even me concerned for our prospects over what could be a long, hard winter.

On a more cheerful note, my misplaced concerns about Charlton rail station being shut till six gave me an extra hour and a half on the beer in Greenwich where I met up with Johnny Mac in 'The Mitre.' I just made the train to London Bridge, where I wasn't too late and there you have it, another long trip and ground added to the collection. Next one's the easiest of the season - Exeter's only one hundred and eleven miles, I checked it on the way back ! I'll be the 'stocky' old bloke with the black knapsack should you be at St. James' Park and as Shepherd's Bush Shrimper selling 'All At Sea' outside The Valley said, 'Keep The Faith' - you never know, we just might actually win again soon !
 
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OldBlueLady

Junior Blues Coordinator⭐
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
48,203
Location
Benfleet
Rob, mate....question....what's your win/draw/loss figures this season? I am so much hoping for a Walsall performance rather than a Tranmere one next weekend!
 

Rob Noxious

Retro Supremo⭐
Joined
Oct 23, 2008
Messages
7,388
Location
Penzance
Jonah's On The Road Again ...

Rob, mate....question....what's your win/draw/loss figures this season? I am so much hoping for a Walsall performance rather than a Tranmere one next weekend!

Ha - they've got worse, Kay ! Started off with a win at Cheltenham, then drew at Walsall & Wycombe. Lost at home to Oldham, then away at Brentford. Further losses at Yeovil, Tranmere and Charlton. Bad news: I'm at Exeter next week ...:'(
 

OldBlueLady

Junior Blues Coordinator⭐
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
48,203
Location
Benfleet
Ha - they've got worse, Kay ! Started off with a win at Cheltenham, then drew at Walsall & Wycombe. Lost at home to Oldham, then away at Brentford. Further losses at Yeovil, Tranmere and Charlton. Bad news: I'm at Exeter next week ...:'(

Hmmmmmmm.......well, if you've been practising any superstitions can I suggest you change them for next week please? Don't want to be travelling all that way for a dire loss! :nope:

Only kidding, based on last couple of performances and having now actually found the net three times yesterday from free play, I hope things are on an upward trend again.

Will see you there!
 

Rob Noxious

Retro Supremo⭐
Joined
Oct 23, 2008
Messages
7,388
Location
Penzance
Hmmmmmmm.......well, if you've been practising any superstitions can I suggest you change them for next week please? Don't want to be travelling all that way for a dire loss! :nope:

Only kidding, based on last couple of performances and having now actually found the net three times yesterday from free play, I hope things are on an upward trend again.

Will see you there!

Yes, the Pool second-half performance has given a good fillip to precedings for this game, as well as Exeter's loss of their last five. Me and Richie C, another Kernow-based Shrimper, will be in 'The Great Western' prior to the game. It's next to St. David's station and isn't far from the ground apparently. As for the superstitions, me and Rich rarely lose when we're at games together ... :)
 

GrumpyBlue

Director⭐
Joined
Jul 17, 2009
Messages
2,724
Location
Devoran, Cornwall
Yes, the Pool second-half performance has given a good fillip to precedings for this game, as well as Exeter's loss of their last five. Me and Richie C, another Kernow-based Shrimper, will be in 'The Great Western' prior to the game. It's next to St. David's station and isn't far from the ground apparently. As for the superstitions, me and Rich rarely lose when we're at games together ... :)


Yeah but no but - my record is rubbish this season - 1 draw, 4 defeats and I am at the Hall on Boxing Day !!!!!
 

Rob Noxious

Retro Supremo⭐
Joined
Oct 23, 2008
Messages
7,388
Location
Penzance
"Beware the Jabowobbly, my Tilson..." (Exeter, 19.12.09)

... are possibly not the words Paul Ince used when counselling Tilly about the assets of Jabo Ibehre prior to loaning him to the mighty Shrimpers. This was the second time I've seen him and I really don't see what more he brings to the table than Alex Revell. Still, I'm sure he could have been all showered and ready to rustle up a post-match snack for the lads prior to the long trip home.

I was really looking forward to this one. The easiest trip of the season from my exile in the Celtic enclave and the hope of seeing a rejuvenated side following the Hartlepool comeback added a little spring in my step down the hill to Penzance station. Unfortunately, the years of expecting too much from our team should have prepared me better for what ensued. We never looked like scoring. Even when Jabo was presented with two gilt-edged heading opportunities, we just seemed to lack conviction. We had little of the ruthless determination that is required to dominate a game. The enigma that is Francis Laurent seems to typify this - he is great to watch but incredibly frustrating too, his final ball always seeming to go nowhere near our central strikers. I feel that he may actually be too nice a guy to really do it in football. There are few people more skilled at bamboozling defenders at this level but he seems to lack that streak of ruthlessness and that bit of malicious devilment that separates the assassins from the also-rans.

On the plus side, we did not give up. It was good to see Franno getting forward but just a shame there was only one of his well-decent crosses. I thought Granty was a diamond, doing lots of unsung work tidying up for others' mistakes. He rarely wastes the ball either and it was a very shrewd piece of business to tie him to a longer contract earlier this season as the guy is a sound footballer, despite last week's dithering which led to Hartlepool's first goal. The skipper did well too and held that defence together at times. Too much holding of Exeter's forwards for my liking, but that's another story. And fair play too to the two hundred and ninety-four away fans who braved the weather. You can relax a bit for the next two months as I'll be off the road for the duration, so here's hoping my absence will help. We certainly need at least a share of the points from Brisbane Road next week as we're sailing a bit too close to that zone. I'll be happier too that Jabo won't be playing as - apologies to Harry Redknapp - even Mrs S would have put one of those headers away.

Well, that's it from me for a while and here's wishing you all a Merry Christmas, especially on Boxing Day.

ps Good to see you and the Mrs. there, Brettie - got a better view near the food outlet, so hung out there in the hope of changing our luck. Also, was good to be near the bovril too. And what about the Domino's Pizza ? How good was that at a footy game ?!
 
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