So, to Rotherham. Or actually Sheffield. The Don Valley stadium, just like the Withdean for grown ups. Actually, more like Gateshead- the view was similarly terrible and it was just as cold. But one real difference- we won! Although I’m still not quite sure how. If I was a Rotherham fan I’d be reaching for the Valium.
I thought we’d begin by comparing celebrity fans. As you know, we have Dan Walker, Simon Calder and Chico (“I’ve been watching Crawley Town for many years”- well he obviously watches in camouflage as I’ve never seen him). Rotherham have the Chuckle Brothers. Well I like Simon Calder, and I like Dan Walker. But I also like the Chuckle Brothers. So which is better? There’s only one way to find out……..actually, I rule in favour of Rotherham, as we will have to lose points for Chico. What time is it? Time the X Factor actually found someone with talent.
The day started well. Travel Ken and James “Bambi killer” Laraman were in good form, Sergio’s Mum and Dad joined us as well, and even better, Paul Prendergast had left the bloody bell at home! Mind you, we watched the Oxford game on DVD from last weekend, and as we scored four goals we heard it regularly anyway. A full coach in good spirits- even better spirits once they’d had a cup of coffee and a kitkat, been allocated their free terrace tickets for the Burton Albion game in a fortnight, had a good breakfast (well, brunch) and some chocolate, and had a go at Travel Kens famous quiz. Well done Paul Clarke for winning it, thanks to Kate Nulty for all of the home made cake- it was apparently delicious (just a shame that some of us are on a diet)!
Once at the Stadium, it was brought home to us just quite how unsuitable athletics stadiums are for football. Think on, West Ham. Two teams of subbuteo players ran out, one in red, one in blue. We were in blue. For most of the first half we needed to relearn our flick to kick routine. We were dreadful. We were beginning to think that it would be like Morecambe again (sorry, I promised not to use the M word)! If Rotherham had taken their chances it would have been a long way back. But they didn’t, so the second half dawned with us one down and counting our lucky stars. We were cold, as the wind whistled around places where we’d have rather the wind hadnt whistled, and the Rotherham fans near us told us it was actually quite balmy. I’m patently turning soft!
Rotherham fans – and stewards- gave us some hope. They were anything but confident. “Panic under pressure”, “always go to sleep in the second half,” “can’t hold on for more than twenty minutes”, were amongst the phrases used. I wish I could have called Steve Evans, it might have helped with the teamtalk. Not that he needed any help.
A different team in blue came out for the second half, and Alan Williams undoubtedly said a silent prayer- those blue shirts would sell after all! A typical Tyrone finish, and then a great bit of work from JP led to a good finish from Josh, after his initial effort came back off the post. After that, some Rotherham pressure which we dealt with fairly well, and the three points were in the bag. Rotherham fans begun their fire drill routine. If I’d predicted a victory at half time you could have had me certified, but as the pundits always say on Match of the Day, sometimes you have to win ugly. We did just that. And with Southend only drawing at home, we’re now second only on goal difference.
Back to the coach. Unfortunately it had developed a technical problem, but whilst it was fixed we had the chance to go and talk to the team and Sergio’s Mum and Dad got to go and say hello to him. Some of the younger fans came back with a collection of autographs and photographs. Sophie came back dressed as a pink cat. Not sure exactly how that happened. Sergio’s Mum and Dad were offered the chance to go home with the team, but declined. They wanted to travel with us! And that was nice, as we wanted to travel with them! Shame we couldn’t have got the team to give Travel Ken a lift though, save us from more singing and dancing! It’s late, we’re tired, and some of us don’t actually like the Village People.
Another successful day. Redbridge next week, then Burton, and then a trip to Crewe to look forward to. Oh, and then Christmas! I’m not a fan of Christmas, but I like having time off and the extra football. Thanks to all the crew on the coach for their support, thanks to the club for the Burton Albion tickets and dvd’s, and finally, thanks to the Stewards at the Don Valley Stadium. A lovely, sensible, friendly bunch who were helpful and good humoured throughout.