Triumph. Tragedy. Farce. Pantomime. Today’s trip to Preston had all the ingredients of a Shakespeare play- apart from the codpiece (though I understand that Paul the bell has one of these in his wardrobe for those special occasions). As I sit on CTSA coach 2, ten minutes out of Warwick Services, the world seems a warm, comfortable – albeit a little noisy- place. Our mighty reds are sat in fourth place in League One. We’ve just visited a club with an enormous Football League pedigree and outplayed them in their own back yard. A great recovery from last Sundays referee dominated disaster.
I have to admit I started the day with a little trepidation. For the first fifteen minutes I thought I had reason for that trepidation. After that- with perhaps the exception of the last five minutes- we dominated the game. Solid defending, good passing and movement, two fantastic goals- a deserved victory, and a performance to rank with trips to Hull and Doncaster.
Preston’s fans seemed like a nice bunch. Personable before the game, philosophical after it. However their stewards taught me something I didn’t know. Apparently a drum is a dangerous article. I kid you not. The next time you’re at a concert expect to see the drummer encased in Perspex and foam rubber “for your safety”. If the Rolling Stones ever play Deepdale, Charlie Watts needs to stay at home.
First, the stewards confiscated the drum. Then they let us have it back. Then, after we made a noise and scored two goals, they confiscated it again. Apparently it was being played “dangerously”. Yes, Ross was playing it with flaming drumsticks whilst dressed from head to toe in chain mail studded with razor blades (sorry, we’re back to Paul’s wardrobe again). Through all of this the Preston drummer played away in relative safety at the other end of the ground. Cuckoo? Double standards? I couldn’t possibly comment. I may like to visit Preston again in the future, and I don’t want to have my iPad confiscated in case it electrocutes somebody. And poor John the Gas may be denied entry just for having an unstable element in his name.
Whilst all of this was going on, our favourite opposition manager, Mr Westley of Stevenage, was going apoplectic on the touchline. Like a poor mans Di Canio he pouted, waved his arms, encroached onto the pitch, ranted and raved. At one point I’m sure someone shouted “he’s behind you”. It was all that was missing from a perfect pantomime performance. Well done Graham, you were far more entertaining than your team. Perhaps if you’d been a little less theatrical your players may have concentrated on playing the game rather than moaning and fouling. Your fans deserved better.
Anyway, when the whistle finally blew, untold joy amongst the red hordes. Joy which has continued to pervade the coaches on the way home. So far we’ve sung, danced, cheered, chanted, and at one point I witnessed the surreal sight of Paul and Colin dancing up the aisle to the Birdie Song. Oh, to be able to produce a video blog!
Tragedy? There was a major disaster at Warwick Services. Andy Tester suffered a terrible mishap. Upon finally reaching the front of the KFC queue, he was met with the news that they’d run out of chicken. The result looked rather like a slightly chubby Westley after ninety minutes. The tears. The pouting. The theatrics. The veiled threats. The calls to Amnesty International. I only hope he’ll have recovered by the time we set off for Colchester on Tuesday. But I doubt it!