A Tuesday night in Barnsley.
I used to do it all the time, week in week out without fail – but over the past few years it has become a very infrequent event, normally around Xmas or my birthday.
I could blame pressure of work, financial constraints or simply having to raise a family, but those are just excuses.
The truth is, I just haven’t wanted to do it any more, because it had become a lot of time and effort for very little reward.
So the real reason it has stopped is down to one person.
Well last weekend, wifey had finally had enough. She took one look at me moping around the house with a face like a slapped backside and said; “For God’s sake man, get yourself to an away match before I shoot you.”
And so that is exactly what I am going to do. Next Tuesday I am off to Barnsley, which will be my first away trip in over 18 months
I thought I had got this away game drug out of my system but watching the turnouts at Fulham, Derby and Rotherham has rekindled flames that I thought were long extinguished
I’m glad it’s Barnsley because it is one of those grounds that holds a lot of memories for lads of a certain age , with huge turnouts heading that way in the pre-Sky days. My last visit was in 1991, just a few weeks before the arrival of Keegan.
Not that this visit was a good one. Actually it was a pretty miserable day out for a number of reasons.
One, if you made the mistake of parking your car in the sloping grass field situated next to the ground, the single exit meant that you would not be able to get it out again until about midnight.
Two, South Yorkshire constabulary treated us like terrorists; even taking cans of coke off 10 year old kids.
Three, Ossie’s Newcastle tried to win the match with Steve Howey as centre-forward and with a team whose average age was about 14.
We were heading for third division oblivion and you won’t be surprised to hear that we got absolutely gubbed 0-3.
Just to finish off a perfect day, Barnsley tried to poison the away fans with dodgy pies. The Oakwell terraces were strewn with literally hundreds of them, all with one bite missing. On closer inspection they were weeks out of date and obviously left over from the last match. However, my tight arsed brother refused to chuck his and ate two of them because; “he had paid for them and he was going to eat them.”
This was something that he and the rest of us would pay for on the 100 mile car journey home, even with all the windows open.
So I will be there, amongst the daft lads jumping up and down for 90 minutes. Obviously I won’t be jumping up and down due to my arthritic knee but I can still shake a rattle, and sing; “we hate Nottingham Forest” as good as anyone.
A Tuesday in Barnsley is possibly not the most exotic location in the world but next week I can’t think of anywhere better to be.
It’s made me feel like a kid again and I probably haven’t looked forward to an event as much, since Rosie said we could go behind the youth centre bike shed in 1974.
I have never seen us win at Oakwell.
Now is the time for that to change.