I only do the odd away game these days, but throughout the 90s we went all over the country and generally had a tremendous time. There were some very funny experiences and some not so enjoyable, but if I was to write a handbook on travelling away from home, or a list of tips at very least, these are some of my key observations, learned in every instance, through painful mistakes…
Taunting individual players can backfire
Blackburn 1992 springs to mind. David Speedie’s wife was all over the tabloids as having been ‘putting it about’ whilst her hubby was on football duty. Of course we gleefully revelled in this and the away end belted out “We’ve all had your wife , Speedie”… A hat-trick later and it was us who’d had the shafting.
Similar results ensued against Arsenal with Dave Seaman (“where were you when Koeman scored?” – poor positioning for a Dutch free kick) and Liverpool and regular taunting of Mark Lawrenson. Some things are just best left unsaid…
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Ignore the scarf in front..
We quite often followed a black and white scarf flying from a car window, rather than having a look at the atlas. Mostly because the co-driver was p*ssed.
One trip to Bramall Lane – never the most visible of grounds – ended up in us missing a large proportion of the game after following a car full of lads on such an intricate journey that you’d have needed a cord tied round your waist to find you way back out of Sheffield again.
They were going to an auntie’s for tea and not doing the match at all. Sat Nav should see an end to this potential pitfall at least
All blokes in black and white are NOT your mates
In trouble again because of scarves…. Of course at Grimsby and Notts County you know the score, but not having the faintest clue about rugby league on a trip to Boothferry Park, and assuming a bar full of meatheads in matching black and white scarves share your opinion that Hull is the land of the cod-headed inbreed, isn’t a good basis for finding a penfriend..
If travelling in a banger, make sure there are enough blokes to push it
A dark night at Oakwell. Everyone has left and the battery on the Datsun Cherry is flat. Suddenly little figures start popping up over walls and fences and getting agitated. It’s like Zulu all over again, but there are 4 of us and we manage a jump start…just.
And don’t forget where you’ve parked the car
Not normally cause for concern, but at Leicester, last game of the season in ’92, it was almost a matter of life and death. If Barnsley was like Zulu, that place was like Middle Earth – riot police with shields, dogs, horses, blokes being dragged out of ambulances into the road and booted again…. And we’re walking back and forth like Japanese tourists (in the Burberry probably, but without the cameras) looking for the Sierra. “Its round here somewhere”…
Check the passport in good time…
How exciting was Milan then? Not very exciting at all for my mate Jeff as it turned out… We booled up to the airport and he only had a couple of weeks left on the passport so couldn’t go. “We’re in Milan you know, Sund’lands in Grimsby-o…and Jeffrey’s at Home-eo…” Very funny but then again not. This scenario is not likely to worry any of us any time soon it has to be said.
Anyone got any other tips that might help today’s youngsters as they set out on away days of their own?