Join the CTSA Express…even if your life isn’t in a mess…and end up in Carlisle!

Gill - CTFC's new Assistant manager- gives Richie some advice on whether to play two up front...

Gill – CTFC’s new Assistant manager- gives Richie some advice on whether to play two up front…

Last Saturday a coach full of hardy insomniacs left Crawley at 5.30 AM to travel to Carlisle. Megabus Matt Putland wrote a diary of the day, and we thought we’d reproduce it here for your delight and as a reminder of an enjoyable day.

3:30am – After finishing off preparing the entertainment for the coach at 11pm last night I’m awake and ready to head to the checkatrade.com stadium to meet the other hardy souls making the journey with the CTSA to Carlisle. Upon arrival we are met with a bacon sandwich and a coffee courtesy of the club. They have also given us each free match tickets if we went to Sheffield United earlier in the season. A fantastic gesture.

As I said I didn’t head to sleep until gone 11pm but some haven’t slept at all. Some finished work at 3:30am and came straight here and others spent the night drinking in town before making their way.

The coach left at 5:30am and it’s time for sleep for a couple of hours

8:45am we’ve arrived at our stopping point of a restaurant in Staffordshire and it’s time for a spot of breakfast for those who couldn’t stomach a bacon roll at 4am and a coffee for the rest. Back on the coach just before 10am and we all settle down for a bit of entertainment in the way of a quiz and a couple of competitions.

11:30am we are due to go live on Talksport at 12:15pm so the boys at the back of the coach are composing a new chant to sing live on air. A version of the proclaimers 500 miles is decided upon.

12:15pm we go live on the radio and everybody on the coach makes a tremendous noise. It did lead presenter Johnny Vaughan to suggest we couldn’t be that loud on just coffee

12:30pm we arrive in Carlisle and several of us decide to purchase a football from the club shop and have a kick about.

It’s truly jumpers for goalposts stuff as 8 somewhat out of condition guys and a couple of youngsters from Crawley have a 5 a side match on the gravel / grass surface that is the Carlisle United car park.

I may be somewhat biased but I’d say the highlight would have to be my overhead kick, though my elbows are now paying the price after landing on a rock. The match finishes 6-4 to Joe Compers side

3:45pm A truly dreadful half of football. It has been tweeted that one of the members of the press has fallen asleep in the press box. I’m not surprised

4:45pm after a dreadful 2nd half where we conceded a sloppy penalty just after half time came a moment which makes getting up at 3:30am completely worth it. Billy Clarke introduced as a substitute sprinted through the opposition half before unleashing a shot which the keeper should have saved. He didn’t and we didn’t care, the 133 travelling fans were jubilant

5:00pm everybody is safely back on the coach and our long journey South begins. Our coach quiz today was won on a tie break by Stevie’s Wonders. They guessed the closest to the crowd today. We will play a game or 2 en route home to keep everybody entertained.

8pm most have been asleep since leaving the ground as we now pull in to the services to grab a bite to eat. We happened to stop at the same service station as the players and staff who were all more than happy to chat with the fans. Another example of the fantastic bond that exists between the supporters and our club

9pm with everybody back on board for the final stretch of the journey we played a game of Crawley Town Bingo. This seemed to go down very well as it reminded fans of our heroes of years gone by. To finish the journey off we watched an Only Fools & Horses DVD

12am some 20 hours after leaving we arrive back at the checkatrade.com stadium. A good day was had by all. Roll on Crewe Alexandra on November 30th when we do it all again

If you would like to book travel to Crewe or any other away game with the CTSA please call Matt Putland on 07843124845 or visit the club ticket office during office hours- and we have a special offer combining this trip with our FA Cup match