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The Quest for the 92
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sharrowblade
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:28 pm 
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Ground No 78, (Macca 78-Danny 77) West Ham, London Stadium.

It began badly and got worse as the morning went on. It rained, and then rained some more, even the dog was hiding behind the sofa, no walk in the park for Fido, a trip down south beckoned if only I could get two teenagers out of their cesspits.

I went south to Chesterfield and cut across to the M1. This was an error on my part, I wanted to go Worksop and down the A1. Not the M1, I couldn't face sitting outside Luton on a rain sodden saturday morning languishing in the roadworks. I can't face Luton at the best of times.

Nevermind, just cut across via Mansfield, skirt round the northern edge of Nottingham and join the A1 at Newark. That was the theory but we were still labouring around the Nottinghamshire countryside due to floods and road closures at 10:30.

Finally, the site of Newark's giant sugar beet factory came into view, an achievement in itself given the smog it was generating.

The constant biblical downpour, the considerable distractions from the back of the Reliant, 'when's breakfast Dad?', 'Can u charge my phone up' 'who's eaten all the tangytastics' and so it continued.

Arrived in Epping at just gone 1, London's largest underground tube station car park, but obviously not large enough, no room at the Inn as it were, parked around the corner, just a five minute walk back, the rain continued.

Its the usual ecleptic bunch of Londoners on the tube. West Ham Fans, Orient fans, jewellery selling hippies, catwalk glamour model, several Kim Jong-Uns doppelgangers, a big momma with a 20 pc bargain bucket and a young girl dressed as an extra from the Wicker man. Viva Exstinction Rebellion.

Stratford central, out through the shopping centre, Dan's thrown caution to the wind, and kicks off outside the Cow PH, he's jumping up and down on a Carlos Tevez mask, rest assured there wasn't an 8 year wearing it at the time.

Around to the Arcelor Mittal Orbit we go. I jest about the monstrous beast of rustic architecture. Its a expensive looking giant helter skelter, I confess my ignorance, it wasn't until we got home that it does indeed turn out to be just that.



Theres a ring of steel around the stadium, but little indication of where away fans are supposed to go, so we joined thousands in a queue to get through the metal scanners, I've got my hands full, its not easy carrying 6 programmes, a folder, and two errant teenagers who insist on shouting to each other in broad northern accents surronded by Hammers. The scanner detected something metallic in the downstairs region I explain its my car keys, and I'm waved through,its surprisingly easy to get a Glock into the ground. Im now accosted by the police Cocker Spaniel again......Rover leaves me alone...so we're good to go. Team-sheets will have to wait....I've no idea where the Media, or Main reception is. The outside is devoid of any discernible features, but a painstakingly bad claret and white mural. With 20 minutes to go we're in, a large bar, a nacho stand, its all very spacious, exchange pleasantries with a lot of familiar faces.



Lets get in a sample the atmosphere says Macca, The thought was there but in reality there wasn't any. The away end is split, we're on the lower tier, and we're down near the front, our upper tier is roughly about 250 yards behind us. At his point both sets of supporters are suggesting that the other sides supporters have very singular sex lives.

There's one lad in particular, he's a ginger Herman Munster, he can't help himself, he's dancing in the isles, waving excitingly, he's inviting anyone he can find to come over to the home section and have a hug, he's filming it on his phone. I'm scared' declares Dan, Why says I, 'Halloween has come early', says he



West Ham start well, but United have the best two chances of the first half, we knew we were close, but not sure how close, the net at the far end wasn't even in the same postcode, the lads in the upper tier have got the binoculars out. Then, its bedlam, Snodgrass strikes, West Ham lead, there's handbags in the upper tier. Herman's besides himself, he's worked himself into a frenzy, he's cutting shapes that won him third prize in the Upton Ugly Society Club Disco competition 15 years ago. I was genuinely worried I thought he was having a stroke..... or he'd been tasered.

Went walkabout at half time, and received two long distance phone calls .....................from mates in the upper tier.

United have clearly had a Wilder rollicking , they are on the front foot after the break, the pub team are asking questions but missing chances until the Mousse finds the corner. With 20 minutes to go. There's more handbags in the Upper tier, and down below Herman's gone missing. Shame that.


No...........the Blades have scored

West Ham are the better team towards the end, and it ends all square.

Once you're out, you're out they won't let you back in, so the team-sheets will have to wait another day. I shelved the original plan to buy a football, walk over to the other side of Victoria Park for a pint and a kick-about before returning to Stratford. It was still weeing it down, so I come up with an alternative plan, hit the shopping centre, find somewhere to eat and drink. Great, just one problem with that. They shut it off, so were diverted back to the station with thousands of others.

Finally return to Epping at just gone six, skipped back to the van in the pouring rain, Drenched is an under statement. No heart or desire to find a local watering hole. Head home, but have sat nav upside down so actually head south before North. Surprised Shocked

It had been one of them days, Maccas nodded off, Dan's on his phone, and I'm listening to the weekly Frank Lampard Appreciation Society on 606, and Talk Shite.

Arrive home to be greeted with the BBCs new epic saga 'The Frank Lampard Love in'.

In conclusion, without wishing to sound biased, negative, stereotyped or contrite. Its not Upton Park is it.

Its not built for football, its featureless and a little soulless and the weather was miserable.

Tickets: 80 (1 x 30) (2 x 25)
Programme: 3.50

Next Stop: Spurs
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sharrowblade
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:41 pm 
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Ground Number 79, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (Macca 79, Dan 7Cool

Depart 9:30. The weather looked about as appetizing as a Ray Adler Lecture on early Newton Heath autographs. Approaching Nottingham the Trent has expanded sideways four times, the horizon had long since disappeared, there's ducks on the hard shoulder, there's an unconfirmed report of a woman driver in the fast lane and Dan's substituted Johnny Cash for Oasis on the musical playlist.

There's been an accident near Watford Gap with anticipated delays of over an hour, My God, that's normally reserved for downtrodden metropolis such as Luton. No matter detour at Loughborough, around Leicester and over to Peterborough. An extremely hazardous journey sabotaged by groups of depraved persons, who revel in misery, they clamour in groups with their sordid whispers, occasionally the ring leader points and then they return to being motionless, staring into the abyss of a hole at the roadside. For these are the scourge of travellers....workmen,.... oh the irony.
A sarcastic round of applause as we circumnavigate them on the outskirts of Leicester. Over to Peterborough and down the A1M.

The M25 no better, so I take a devil may care attitude and put Plan C into action, the lads are curious...what was plan B dad? Naturally I had no idea by now I was winging it. Through places I had never heard off such as Totteringham and Whetstone. It turned out to be a masterstroke, the reliant reached 25mph at one point, windows down with the damp in our hair and the smell of kebabs in the air. At Palmers Green, the traffic lights were being patrolled by a old Syrian refugee, who was approaching cars shaking a tea cup for spare change. I confess I felt sorrow to what I was witnessing, but if he wasn't offering to clean my windscreen, its sayonara my good man.

Arrived at 1 at Haringey Borough FC, to be met by forum member Botanybaykid (Adrian). An absolute gentleman, he provided us with free parking, programme, and a little bit about the club whilst policing the turnstiles. They had their own game in the FA Trophy that afternoon.
In the bar, there's a couple of Canvey Island supporters 'Alright guvnor, you come down to watch the Spurs'. Good lads they were, one supported Manchester United and the other one Liverpool.



Left the Club at two for the 20 minute walk down White hart Lane. Not the most aesthetically pleasing ground from the outside on the approach on a miserable autumn afternoon, Macca 'Its a spaceship', Dan 'It's a toilet seat'. Bit harsh, I thought.
Over to a programme seller,
'Three programmes mate', say I
'Put your card into the machine sir' says him
'What's wrong with cash' say I
'They don't trust me mate' say him
They had a point, he was listening to Stormzy on his beats.
Over to the media office
'any chance of a couple of team sheets mate'
'Move along, nothing to see here, we don't have any here, never get any' from a man clearly embracing his position of power.
The lads are window licking the office windows' He's lying dad they're on his desk'
'I know boys but sometimes you've just got to hold your hands up and admit that its not going to happen and that some people are .....er...you know....are like...diplomatic words were failing me
'You mean a twat' the lads were in unison. This was met by a sharp rebuke and a frown of dismay and then a nod that secretly I agreed.

It was the hottest ticket in town and the biggest, how do these people expect us to travel down and back to Sheffield and keep these bad boys nice and flat.

The tickets were bigger than the team sheet.

Through security at 2:30pm, no problem at all, and into the concourse, its lively, the feral lunatics had taken over the asylum.
Spacious there wasn't enough space to swing a ferret around. Its a struggle to find a portal to the inner sanctum but eventually we make it.



The slight disappointment about the outer, now gives way to appreciative nods of respect with regards to the inside. The South Stand which we are facing is particular impressive, wall like, with a perceived steepness on the grandest scale. Topped off with a golden cock at the top. Pitch close, Safe standing seats, plenty of leg room. good sight lines, It was top notch. Job well done.



We start well, and after 12 minutes Harry Kane finally touches the ball. 'You're just a s*** Billy Sharp', .Ah the eloquent beauty of the terrace poets. There's plenty to admire from United's passing and organization, and to Dier, masquerading as an international and to Dele, (apparently he's dropped the Ali') who was giving an acting masterclass, a true exponent of face planting when he feels an opponent breathing on him. Its a wonderful gift. United squander their opportunities, Spurs get lucky and Son, the one player that worried us, delivered on that angst. United respond instantly when Didzy pounces it was no more than we deserved. Absolute scenes... celebrations are cut short and put on hold while there's a check with the Var. It didn't take long, just under 4 minutes to decipher that Lunny wears clown boots, he's a big toe offside.
Total Bollocks of course, The sense of injustice fuels United and they finally equalize, and here comes the Var again, sheer torture. It stands, but it does takeaway from the euphoria somewhat.
Out into the night, with a sense of disappointment with regards to the result. There's tales of trouble here and there. There's certainly no quarter being given at the entrance to Sainsburys at the corner of Worcester Avenue. Horns are being honked, abuse is shouted, there's some argy-bargy, but honestly, who decides to go shopping at 5pm on match day. Madness.

Back along the sodden streets to Haringey Borough. Adrian's running the kids club, the boys are happy watching the football. I have one for the road, with a couple of Haringey fans and Adrian provides a couple of badges for the lads. Many thanks for the hospitality.
Head home, but make huge error in judgement by hitting the A10, where rules of the road are being blissfully ignored, vehicles cut in and out without a second thought.
Dan's not impressed , and asks 'what's the difference between ignorance and indifference'
'I don't know and I don't care' and with that I mounted the pavement and careered off towards Barnet.

Back Home at 10:30.
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Jim LFC



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2019 8:23 pm 
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Another excellent post, thanks for sharing! Thumbs Up
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Dorking



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2019 2:08 pm 
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There are two concourses for the away end at Spurs (think I mentioned this a while back) - the second one up the stairs is usually near deserted and yet is probably the bigger of the two. Huge sausage rolls for 2, toilets all to yourself, and a panoramic view of the neighbouring houses through the large windows
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sharrowblade
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:30 pm 
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You know what Dorking...I remembered that.....but only after the game Sad
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