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Trev's Travels 2003-2004

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Old Trafford
30th May 2004

Well, what a bonus!  I thought that I'd finished with the 'Travels' for a few weeks. Our Chairman announced that the team had been invited to take part in a charity day at 'The Theatre of Dreams' - Old Trafford. I had been there once before but that was when the Owls had a good team....so you can tell how long ago that was! When I heard the news, the first priority was, am I supposed to be working? The answer was yes. This was soon rectified, with a bit of persuasion (and grovelling!). To be at what is probably the best stadium in England was, in a way, a fitting end for the players (and ourselves) after such a tremendous season, and the disappointment of missing out on promotion. Why it's not used for more major matches and international fixtures is a mystery, or maybe we should just ask the people at the F. A. (see the latest World Cup fixture schedule Trev - Deano). Oh, that's in London of course. Okay, I'll get off my soap box.
 
It's a beautiful day as John picks me up and we make our way to Tankersley to join the coach. The bag is already full with food and drink for our day out! It's a full house as the players have brought their wives and girlfriends, or both in some cases! Even Geoff has brought Lynne (his wife) for the trip, although she declines to sit with him, saying she has to put up with him everyday, so someone else can have the burden for a few hours! We knew we wouldn't have to search for our places, as Stu and Liam were getting the coach at the Coach and Horses and were going to save us seats. Funnily enough, Geoff was the only person with no one sat next to him. How strange. I wonder why ? Liam is busy showing us his Euro 2004 sticker album, with Stu informing us he only needs about another 150 stickers to complete it. The cub reporter also has an England sticker book which needs to be filled in as well ! 
 
We get to the ground at eleven O'clock, the early arrival due to the fact that the players are having a meal in the ground prior to their match, which kicks-off at two o'clock. Liam and Geoff start off an impromptu game of football in the car park, using coats and bags for the goals and a neglected sponge for the ball. After about 15 minutes of watching this in the sunshine, we all decide to go and find the cafe and museum to have a look around. The place is that big we nearly get lost just walking around the outside. Of course the megastore is open, but we decline to enter! When we eventually find the museum, Geoff says "I bet it's shut". Of course, at that precise moment the sliding doors open and in we go. We go to the cafe, but as we only really want drinks they direct us to where the coffee shop is...two floors above. On the way there, we are able to look through the museum. As you can imagine it's packed with cups and shields of all shapes and sizes and quite a collection of shirts, both domestic and international, very impressive. There aren't that many of us by the time we get to the coffee shop but it takes an age to get served. In fact Geoff and Lynne have nearly finished their drinks before we buy ours. Me, John, Stu and Liam go and sit at a table that is overlooking the inter-active part of the complex. Through the window we can see some kids taking penalties to see how fast they can kick the ball. Liam is like a boy treading on hot coals - "Dad, dad, can we go. I want to have a kick, are you ready, shall we go?". All this and we'd only just sat down. We reassured him that we would go and take a look just as soon as we'd finished our drinks. He did sit down eventually, but as my watch doesn't show tenths of seconds then it's hard to say whether his bum was on the seat for just the one second, or maybe two!
  
We do eventually finish our drinks and head down towards the interactive part of the museum. Straight away Liam is there with the ball, only instead of putting it on the penalty spot, he wants to dribble it up to the line before shooting.Typical goal-hanger! After much persuasion he does finally do it properly, only to be ousted to one side as we ALL have a go. We did ask the attendant first, and she said we could, but then again we did out-number her by about eight to one! Geoff was one of the first, with Stu not far behind. It was then the turn of yours truly (who was just glad to hit the target), and finally Craig, who put us all to shame with a kick of 50 m.p.h! Lynne then asks Geoff where his phone is. Geoff fumbles about and mumbles about how he must have left it upstairs and someone will have nicked it by now. Lynne then duly produces the said item out of her bag. "He's always leaving it lying around" she says, as a suitably embarrassed Geoff looks on. Next up we spot a football table game (like the one in Friends) and it's me and Craig to take on Stu and Geoff. Some acrobatic defending by me sees Craig knocking them in left, right and centre, as Barnsley's answer to David Blunkett tries desperately to save one. I lost count after we scored six! Even Liam was disgusted with his dad's performance, and tried to get on the winning team. We were enjoying ourselves that much that we wanted to stay in there all afternoon.
   
While some of the others wandered off to take up their seats, me, John, Stu and Liam went on a mini tour of the stadium. This just consisted of a steward taking us to the opposite side of the ground and telling us a bit of history about the place and plans for the future. All the while there was a match going on as some of the actors from 'Emmerdale' were playing an old pro's side. The only person I could identify was Frank Stapleton (ex-Arsenal and Manchester United player). Geoff rung to ask where we were, so I told him, "Bang opposite where you're sitting. We're coming over now."
   
We found our way to where the others were sat and had some food while we waited for our match to start. It was still a beautiful sunny day, which added to the general well being and daftness of us all, especially when I got a call from home to say it was absolutely p...err raining very heavily in Sheffield! I even had a pint to drink, and still managed to stand up.
    
For some reason Liam decides to take his shoes off. Stu says "It's the fourth time he's done that today". I reply "What an amazing feat!" The game itself is going to be 20 minutes each way and it is more like a practise match for us as both sides are nearly all Sheffield players so, as supporters, we couldn't lose whichever side we cheered for! Lynne is looking through Geoff's binoculars which are still around his neck. He's complaining that she's throttling him, so as I'm sat a further six seats away I ask if I could borrow them too ! At present there are 67500 seats in Old Trafford so, where does Geoff sit? Right first time. In front of Stu.
  
The commentator is trying (very trying!) to pronounce the team members names, which we all shout out as he proceeds to get the names wrong. Of all the people here we've brought the most (and loudest ) supporters. As he makes a comment about 'seeing quality football played on here, Geoff shouts "Yes, it's played by Arsenal", to much laughter from all around.
  
Out on the pitch Macca is playing Right Back, the main comment around was he should stay right back...in the dressing room ! He made a couple of blistering runs down the touchline, screaming for Ryan O'Carroll to give him the ball, which he promptly didn't, not once, not twice. I have a feeling that that was a BIG mistake by Ryan, so if he's not in the team come August time he may well regret that misdemeanour! The 'star'of the show was our very own 'Snowie'. Talk about a dwarf on speed...he was beating players left and right, and all without the aid of his 'magic' medicine bag or trusty heat lamp!
  
When the players are resting at half time, some of the little 'uns go up to get some autographs, little Billy coming back with a few. Geoff gets up and says "Here Trev, quick, lend me your pad". He swiftly takes it and goes as if to talk to Snowie, then produces the pad and asks for his autograph! By this time I was having difficulty seeing as I had tears in my eyes from laughing so much! Ryan scored for 'Sheffield' in the first half, then Duncan added a second midway through the second half. He then added another as he waltzed round the defence and walked the ball into the net. The commentator then made his best comment of the day when he said, "The All-Stars can't keep pace with this high standard of football". Once again we were rolling in the aisles, added to this was the fact that he had got Steve (Hall) doing the colour commentary bit - well he was trying to get him to do it, but Steve was deadpan in all his deliveries! I think his longest sentence was "Yes, he's a good player". With just five minutes to go 'Salmon' pulled a goal back for the All Stars which prompted Geoff to come out with the famous "We could lose this!" At the end of the match the teams have their photo's taken and we were reluctant to move. In fact the stewards were waiting to lock up and they had to ask...nay BEG us to go home. It's a wonder the headline in the Manchester Evening Post didn't read ..Sheffield fans ejected from Old Trafford! Back on the coach and Stu, Geoff and Craig are doing some gay spotting as we drive through the city centre. Stu says "Look, even him with the 'bumps' on his chest must be gay, look at that shirt!" John asks Geoff where Lynne is, as he thought she'd been left at the ground. He said "I daren't", to which a little voice further back said "I heard that!"
  
Going back over the Pennines we meet the rain which is now drifting towards Manchester, so it should be dry by the time we get home. Liam is giving me and John a football quiz, the only thing is that nearly all the questions he gives to us relate to the late 1800 early 1900's. John gets his own back by asking him questions such as "Who beat United in the F.A. Cup Semi Final at Wembley". Knowing that it was Wednesday it took Liam all his time to spit the answer out. Mind you our side of the quiz didn't last long as we soon ran out of relevant questions.
 
Back at Tankersley and we leave the others on the coach and head for 'Sammy' for the final leg of our day out. A quick farewell to the players who also get off here and then home after a truly brilliant day out to end a memorable season.
 
Finally, I'd like to thank everyone who has (unwittingly) contributed to these 'adventures and look forward to being with you next time. Remember...I'll be watching and listening! Until next time....
      
Happy Travelling
Trev

Atherton LR v Eagley
Hospital Cup Final
17th May 2004
Reebok Stadium, Bolton

Well it's the middle of May as we undertake the penultimate 'Travels' of this season. Yet again Tim (from Atherton) has informed us that A.L.R. have reached another final, so with nothing else to do on a Monday evening me and John decide to go across and support them in this, The Hospital Cup Final. Once again our Lancashire officials are doing their teams proud as the final is being staged at Bolton Wanderers magnificent Reebok Stadium. We've passed it on numerous occasions and seen it from a distance, now we have the chance to actually watch a game there ...without paying Premiership prices!
  
It's a glorious sunny evening as I set off to meet John at work. With the kick-off at seven O'clock we decide that the best option is for me to get to him so we can avoid he traffic at Meadowhall. We're not sure we'll make the kick-off anyway with the usual tea-time traffic, but we'll not miss much (we hope). It's almost panic stations straight away as my bus is fifteen  minutes late, but I get a connection straight away and even manage to get off at the right stop near John's workplace. He'd already given me a spare set of car keys so I could wait for him in Sammy, but I remembered to report to the gate man first, so he didn't think I was trying to break into the car ! Sammy had been parked in the sun all day so it was like a greenhouse inside, so the first job was to open all the doors and windows before John arrives.
 
He arrives on time and just before five, the radio is on and we're off to the match. The drive over the Pennines is lovely and believe it or not fairly traffic free. In fact, even at Tintwhistle there are no hold ups at all, we can't quite believe it. In fact the only real traffic jam was near the replica Meadowhall, also known as the Trafford Centre. John is very courteous here as he lets twelve cars pull in front of him.....mind you, they were on a car transporter at the time ! The absence of major traffic hold ups has totally thrown our plans into disarray as we head towards the Reebok car park as it's only 6.30 ! At least we won't miss the kick -off. While we wait for Tim and his partner Angela we have a sausage roll, as I've brought something for our tea, and also knowing from past experience that Premiership ground equals Premiership prices!
  
We get inside the ground just as the teams are coming onto the pitch. It's a very neat ground, completely modern and when full can hold about 27,500 people, all with a good view. Once again John tells Tim that we always feel embarrassed about these occasional visits as once again we look at the trophy they are playing for. It's almost as big as the Premiership trophy Patrick Viera picked up at the week-end for Arsenal, and it's only cost us 3 to get in !
   
For those of you who don't know, Atherton play in the North West Counties League, and their opponents tonight Eagley play in the West Lancashire League, which is of a similar standing to our own Central Midlands League.  Oh, I forgot to mention, there is only one stand open tonight but two entrances. The only trouble is, you cann't move from one end to the other due to a fence and as you may have guessed we picked the side with the majority of Eagley supporters!  Luckily we weren't the only ones on this side supporting Atherton.
  
It's a good game and Atherton are the first to settle, as Eagley find it difficult to contain the fast running forwards. The pressure finally pays off as Atherton take the lead and hold on to it until half time. Tim and Angela decide to go and get a drink as I bring out the sandwiches. I ask John if he wants tuna with mustard or ham. He replies, "Oh, I've never had mustard" all inquisitive. "I'll have ham!"
   
Eagley come out a lot more positive in the second half and are duly rewarded on 69 minutes with a cracking shot which the keeper had no chance of saving, much to the delight of most of the people around us. It's end to end stuff now as both sides try to get a winner. With five minutes left of normal time Atherton are awarded a  penalty. From where we were sat it looked a good tackle, but the referee thought different. The kick was dispatched with ease, to put Atherton back in front. Eagley tried hard to get the equaliser, but a defensive error with just two minutes left saw them concede another goal, and with it any hope of winning. The final score of 3 - 1 to Atherton being somewhat unjust on the lower league side who have done their supporters proud, it was just a shame that the majority of their fans decided to leave straight away instead of staying a few minutes to applaud the team as they went up to get their runners-up medals. We do stay to see both teams get their presentations, then it's off back to the car-park. It was still light as well ! John asks Tim if he's brought along the programmes for him (A.L.R. programmes that Tim had saved him). "Errr, no" came the reply, "They're on the kitchen table". Oh well, I guess we'll just have to meet up again, probably for a pre-season match to collect them.
   
Back on the road and homeward bound as we listen to Jools Holland on the radio. Once again it's a fairly jam free journey home, and I do admit to 'resting' my eyes once or twice on the way back...but only one eye at a time, honest!  We still can't believe that there is minimal traffic congestion and we get there half an hour before we intended!  Only one more 'Travels' to go now before Sammy can have a rest and I can put the pen away. Until next time....
         
Happy Travelling
Trev

Frickley Athletic v Worksop Town
11th May 2004
Hillsborough

The season is now drawing to a close for your weary correspondent and tonight it's a walk down the road from Chez Shepherd as me and John are off to Hillsborough to watch the Senior Cup Final. Just think, we were nearly going there to support the Red and Black wizards too. Never mind, there's always next season. At least John should be happy tonight as he'll be seeing some decent football, after all the times he's walked down there this season only to return dejected!  I'm wearing my Sheffield colours anyway for tonight. I'm twenty one today. No, it's not my birthday, just the number of days I've worked since my last day off so I'm looking for a very entertaining match - otherwise John is going to have to poke me in the ribs to keep me awake ! One thing is almost certain, with Stu not going with us it should finish in 90 minutes! For some strange reason, me and Stu have had a habit of creating extra time when we've gone to cup matches not involving Sheffield this season.
 
As it's a seven o'clock kick-off John picks me up on his way home from work, then we drop his colleague Pete off before picking Paula up and back to his house. There's plenty of time for him to get ready so we enjoy a cup of tea and toasted crumpet (ooh err Missus) before setting off to walk down to the ground. One of John's neighbours is also going as he knows one of the lads playing for Worksop, and by the time we arrive at the ground he's already there, having been brought down in the car with his son.
 
We all make our way inside and find a seat near the half way line, and also spot Lee (Walshaw) who comes to sit behind us as we have a little natter to him. Apparently Macca was also going to come along but work commitments dictated otherwise. I'm not particularly bothered who wins but having been beaten by Worksop in the semi I would prefer them to win it. After ten minutes I definitely want them to win it! This is due to the fact that we are sat near some Frickley supporters (I use the word supporter as a vague reference). Neanderthals would be a better description, as every second word begins with the letter 'F' and they are forever singing racist chants and harking back to the days of the miners strike calling all Worksop supporters scabs!  Where are the stewards when you want them ?  They seem to quieten down after 12 minutes when Worksop take the lead through a penalty, but not for long. It's a fairly even match with Worksop just taking the initiative after their goal start, but then Frickley start to play with more passion and start to press forwar, but Worksop are causing problems on the break. For us 'neutrals it's entertaining enough. With five minutes of the first half left Frickley grab an equaliser, much to the delight  of their fans, and the neanderthals, and as the half time whistle blows they depart to the bar for more fuel ready for the second half!
    
We spot Billy Big Lens and big Steve so go and have a chat with them before taking our seats ready for the restart. Frickley start the better this half and certainly look far more capable of scoring than their higher placed opponents. Yet it's Worksop who again take the lead on the hour mark . As a long clearance from the Worksop keeper bounces once and as the Frickley keeper and Worksop attacker go for the ball it breaks free for a simple tap in. Of course this brings a constant round of abuse at the officials from our Frickley 'friends' and to be honest I thought it was a foul, but that's the way it goes sometimes.  It's certainly a thrilling last half an hour as Frickley press forward , with little response from the Worksop side. With just under twenty minutes left a far post header sees Frickley get the equaliser once again. By this time I'm thinking...'Oh my God, please....no extra time!!'. He must have been listening because with just five minutes remaining a ball to the back post sees Frickley take the lead for the only time in the match and emerge as the winners. It has to be said that the better side won on the night. We watch the presentation and then saunter back to John's for a cuppa. I must say it's the happiest I've seen him all season when he's come home from Hillsborough on the occasions I've been with him!  Time for a cuppa then he takes me home, and I did manage to stay awake all the match! 
 
Until next time
Happy Travelling
Trev

Hoyland Town Jags v Arundel
2nd June 2004
Bramall Lane

Yet another match on a Thursday for me. With the season drawing to a close it's now time for a lot of the lower local leagues to hold their Cup Finals. So tonight I'm off to join Stu at Bramall Lane ! Yes, once again I'm venturing into The Pigsty, and with me already suffering with a bout of cold I thought about going to the doctors for an injection for swine fever, but when I phoned up he totally dismissed me....can't think why!  I was going to wear my Owls Wembley '93 sweatshirt, but in the end I thought better of it and put a Sheffield sweatshirt on instead. At least I can give credit to the Meadowhall Sunday League committee who've organised it so that these players have a chance to play at a top venue whilst our own league committee (with no disrespect to any of our grounds) always opt for a run of the mill league ground. The only criteria they consider is to wait until the two finalists are known, then send them somewhere totally out of their way! That's it, I'll get off my soap-box now.
   
As it's in the centre of town, I've arranged to meet Stu and Liam in the car park at the ground. The reason we've come along tonight to this League Cup Final is to cheer on the Jags. This is because they have a number of our own players in their squad. Jonah, Hilts and Salmon aren't playing tonight, but Daz Uttley is out there and Ben Naylor is leading the attack. As a bonus for us, 'Sponsored' Marchie is also playing for them !  It's nice and sunny sat in the stand as we watch Jags take control and take the lead after 14 minutes through Wasden. Liam is sat between us and is busy talking and standing up...trapping our legs between the seats each time ! On the pitch, Wasden and Jags double their tally with an exquisite chip which leaves the Arundel goalie rooted to the spot. As it's almost half time, I go and get us all a drink, taking Liam with me. He says "Trev, can I have something to eat?" and I reply " You always want something to eat when I'm buying....I'm sure your Dad puts you up to it!".  Anyway, he's happy with his drink and bag of sweets - me ? I'm bankrupt!
   
As the second half gets under way, Liam is telling us both about his ideal team formation. Apparently he favours a goalie (of course!), then two central defenders with two attacking wing backs (although we had to explain what a wing back was). He would play a diamond formation in midfield, with two front men. Now these front men would be...wait for it...an attacking forward and a defending attacker !  His very words ! Both me and Stu were helpless with laughter as all around us people were wondering what was so funny. There's no change in the game as Stu phones Lynne, the conversation being along the lines of "Oh it's so one sided love, there's no way Arundel will even score . I'll see you at about 9.30 or thereabouts, as soon as I've dropped Trev off".
    
Back to the action and we don't whether or not Jags have relaxed, but Arundel are pushing forward more and gain a penalty as their winger tries to dribble past our own Darren Uttley, who sticks a leg out to send him tumbling in the area. Apparently he couldn't beat the Daz challenge either !  Still, we thought, it's just a bit of excitement to finish the match with as the penalty easily beats Brooke in the Jags goal. Deep into injury time, as we were waiting for the referee to bring the game to a halt, Arundel launch one last attack. As the ball is floated into the area a couple of Arundel players go up for it with the Jags keeper, and the ball is in the net. Much of the crowd around us jump for joy, as me and Stu are waiting for the referee to blow for a foul on the keeper, but no, the goal stands. Less than a minute later the whistle goes for full time and we both look at each other and say, "Bloody hell, extra time !"  So, as the players are getting ready to re-start, Stu is back on the phone once again. "Hiya love, you won't believe this but.....". The game kicks off again, and you get the feeling that despite all the pressure and the fact that the Jags have hit the post or crossbar God knows how many times, this game is going to end up being decided with penalty kicks. Me and Stu do take note of this fact, as in recent cup matches we've been watching we've had to endure extra time in all of them. So much for both our plans of a quick game of football and then an early night ! (together ? - Deano) With less than a minute to play at the very end of the match we are both thinking that yes, it's going to be decided on penalties, which means about another half an hour before leaving the ground.  Luckily for us, a last minute attack by the Jags sees the ball bouncing around in the Arundel penalty area until Paul Nasim (yet another ex-Clubbie) rifles in a shot which the keeper never saw. The result is wild celebrations both on and off the pitch. We are half celebrating the fact that it looks likely to be the winner, but also the fact that it could save us from enduring a penalty shoot-out!  Arundel re-start the game and then the referee finally does bring the game to an end. We stay around to see the cup presented and also congratulate 'our lads' as they walk past us, Marchie as grateful as ever that we've come to see him !  I'm really grateful to Stu tonight for taking me home, it stops me falling asleep on the bus ! Once home, there's just time for me to phone Lynn to tell her that 'her boys' are on the way home. Then it's time for Lem-sip and tablets before heading for bed, and there's still two more matches to see !  Until next time....
       
Happy Travelling
Trev 

Nantwich Town v Clitheroe
1st May 2004

It's the month of May and we have no fixture. As I'm only working a few hours this morning me and John have decided to pay a visit to see Roy and the Clitheroe crazy gang who are going to Nantwich Town. It's a real cliff-hanger this one. Clitheroe just need a point from the match to clinch the championship from under the noses of arch rivals Moseley. They could have had it sewn up last week in front of their home crowd but actually lost. Not many teams leave Shawbridge with a point, never mind all three!
  
Before actually deciding the journey was definitely on, John checked with Roy. This had nothing to do with whether the pitch was playable or anything like that. No, it was because the last time we came to lend our support was last years Cup  Final...which they lost ! We just wanted to know whether they still blamed us. Thankfully they didn't !
 
It's a beautiful, sunny day as John picks me up at home, and being as it's now May as well John has the shorts on. I'm coughing and spluttering with a cold today, but I've got my bag of medicinal sundries with me so I tell John "If I start nodding off then give me a knock". We've got two sets of directions to follow thanks to Stu and Roy, which at some point actually make sense, but we don't need them for the first part as we have a leisurely drive over Woodhead listening to the radio. Once we hit the outskirts of Manchester there are the usual hold ups and John is living on the edge today as we crawl up the hill in the outside lane, knowing we are not going to take the turn (right) at the top. Instead he manages to ease in front of a young lady who's just not quick enough to close the gap with the car in front, much to the annoyance of several drivers behind her. We then pick up the M6 as 'Pick Of The Pops' takes us back to 1964 and Roy Orbison is telling us 'It's Over'. Obviously he knows the season's just about finished as well then.  We stop just outside Warrington to check the map but we're not lost - honest. Well, not yet anyway. The fact that there are roadworks we didn't know about and a total lack of signage doesn't help. John says "I hate the M6!" as we try to negotiate a way back to the motorway. The locals must all be psychic as we look for a sign (not from up above) to put us back on the right track, as the Beatles sing 'Can't buy me love'. Once we are back on the motorway it's straight forward towards the exit we need as Peter and Gordon sing about 'A world without love' which reached number two. Looking at the time we decide to give Roy a call to tell him we are almost there but we're going to miss the start of the match, so ask him to get the programmes for us. Of course we forgot about the number one record and we totally missed it ! We decide to turn the radio off at that point and concentrate on finding the ground. Just before we leave the motorway we actually pass an open topped Morgan sports car.....towing a caravan! All goes well until we encounter yet more roadworks which send us on a diversion, the only trouble being that after it directs us in one way the signs disappear once again. We know we're near but not quite sure which way to go. Studying the map we see Stapeley Water Gardens so I say to John, "Well at least we can go there for the afternoon if we can't find the ground". No sooner have the words left my lips when we see a sign...Welcome to Stapeley Water Gardens.  Oops! Doing a quick turn round we at last see one of the locals, so we ask him for help. He tells us we're almost upon it. Apparently what we should have done is take no notice of the road signs saying 'Diversion' and just carried straight on. Now come on, how the hell are we supposed to know that? We arrive near the ground only to find out that there's nowhere to park, so we carry on for a little while and find a lovely quiet and posh housing estate which we take advantage of. John emerges from the car in his shorts as I see the curtains moving in some of the windows! It's only a ten minute walk to the ground so it's almost quarter of an hour played by the time we locate Roy and the 'crazy gang' stood behind their flag. Even if they hadn't got the flag we would have found them easy enough as they are very vociferous. There's no score at present and as well as the home and away supporters there are also some Moseley supporters there hoping that Nantwich can win, which of course would hand them the championship. The Clitheroe supporters are taunting them at least once every couple of minutes. Twenty minutes played and the crazy gang go crazy as 'Jacko' puts them one up ! Despite Nantwich having one or two chances it is Clitheroe who are looking the most dangerous on the break. I said it was a hot day, well by now it's absolutely baking and the pitch is hard as rock and like a dustbowl. One of the gang says "It could do with a watering", to which I reply "Well you can have some water off our pitch as it's two foot deep at present!" With ten minutes of the half remaining 'Jacko' once again is on hand to double the lead as the fans burst into 'Champions, Champions' and 'Moseley, Moseley, what's the score?' It's certainly looking like a stroll in the park for Clitheroe now. The fans even taking the mickey out of Nantwich's player/manager Nigel Gleghorn who used to play for Manchester City. On top of which their captain has a dyed blond hairstyle, which the fans are crucifying him about. Not only that, but he looks like Peter Stringfellow ! As the whistle blows for half time me and John depart to the snack bar whilst 'The Crazy Gang' take the flag down and go to re-position it, ready for the second half. Over a cuppa and a hot-dog we talk about how it looks as though Clitheroe could get 5 or 6 goals at the very least, but John says, "Yes, it looks so easy, but it reminds me of Stone Dominoes", (referring to our own match there when we somehow lost, after playing them off the park in the first half). Just before the start of the second half John goes to the toilet in order to take his t-shirt off from under his Sheffield top, he's too shy to admit it but he didn't want to strip off in the snack bar in case I got crushed in the rush as the females all clamoured to see 'The Body' !  Mind you , he did tell me he got a strange look when another bloke walked into the gents, but he assured him that  was as far as he was going and he wasn't preparing to streak across the pitch. 
  
Back outside and the game has just re-started as we join Roy once again. Although Clitheroe seem to have the game won, Nantwich are pressing a lot more in this half and things get interesting when they pull a goal back after 70 minutes. The game is getting a bit frantic now with some pretty wild challenges going on and with the referee slowly losing his grip on things. The Nantwich number 8 was guilty of a foul which on other occasions would have seen him sent off, but he's let off with a booking and a load of abuse from the Clitheroe fans. Would you believe it, five minutes later he's there in the penalty area to rise unchallenged and grab an equaliser for the home side. It's very exciting now with Clitheroe only needing a point, but at this stage they are having to defend desperately to keep the home side at bay. After a shaky few minutes they steady themselves and launch some more attacks of their own. With five minutes of normal time remaining, it's time to go mental once again as a clever backheel by Lee Cryer finds 'Reno' in the clear just ten yards out and he makes no mistake as the ball hits the back of the net and the players come over to join the fans to celebrate. Now it's not so tense as the players are just content to sit tight and clear the lines. Incredibly the ref adds on an extra 8 minutes before blowing for full time. The fans celebrate and we join the players on the pitch to watch them get presented with the Championship trophy amid loud cheers and champagne. They pose for photographs and then Roy introduces us to some of them as they mingle among the fans. We even get the opportunity to hold the trophy ourselves. After that it's back to the club house for a drink, which we enjoy by the pitch as it's still nice and sunny. As usual for a Saturday, John had left his phone in the car so we had no idea how the Owls had done today until we saw it on the television as the results were coming through. Of course they lost, 3-2 after being two goals up AND against a team that our very own Stu supports, but it couldn't spoil our day.
  
We eventually say our farewells to the 'crazy' gang who thank us for coming over and make our way back to the car. I think it will be a few hours yet before they even get out of the ground, never mind back home, they certainly know how to party!
  
We've officially decided we are going to take the scenic route back home, instead of using the motorway being as it's such a lovely sunny evening. So, once we've got the route sorted we get to the first roundabout and guess what? No signs for Congleton this time, so now John hates Cheshire with a passion as well! It's bad enough me trying to navigate normally, but removing the road signs...well that's just taking the piss isn't it. John is shouting "I don't like it around here Trev, I don't like it, get me back to Yorkshire!"  We're cruising through the country lanes now, as The Eagles are singing 'Life in the fast lane' on the radio. On the way to Buxton we see a big tower on the hillside which John insists is a lighthouse....stuck in the middle of Cheshire. I tell him to behave, to which he replies, "You watch, when we go round the next corner there will be a bloody big ship there". Well there wasn't a ship but there as a lovely expanse of water to view. It's very picturesque coming home this way, with some great scenery and also the sheep with their new born lambs in the fields (not for long though Trev. my mint sauce is right beside me - Deano), plus some classic rock on the radio, we were in heaven. Driving through Buxton we thought about going up to Silverlands to leave a note for them at the turnstile, telling them that they weren't going to be promoted and signing it 'Geoff Bray'. We decide against it , mainly because Geoff can get into enough bother without our help!  We pass the house that Stu is always saying he's going to buy one day and I can just imagine him sat outside sipping his pint as young Liam plays footie on the massive drive. Even when we get to the outskirts of Sheffield it's still quiet on the roads and by the time John drops me off at home it's still taken us less time to get home than it did to get there. We've also done 30 miles less travelling coming home too....so much for motorways ! It's been a great day out and there's still a couple of 'Travels' left for me to do.
 
Until next time...
Happy Travelling
Trev

Eastwood Town v Sheffield
22nd April 2004

Once again it's a strange feeling on two counts. First we're going to a match and it's a Thursday, which is a strange day to play (for us anyway), and second it's our last league away match of the season. It doesn't seem that long since we were at Selby on a sunny August Bank Holiday watching the lads in our first away match of the season. The season seems to have flown by again, or perhaps it's my age and time is passing quicker. I'll have to ask John and Geoff if they feel the same at their age! It's a lovely , bright and warm evening as John picks me up, just as I'm walking down the road to meet him. Deano's in the navigators seat tonight as I ease myself into the back seat behind John. We are on our way to pick Steve up, who's joining us tonight. On the way we get onto the subject of 'Allowanhour' ,and Deano remarks how it was shown in a clip from 'The Office'  the other night. Then we talk about The Muppets , as the tune was featured on that as well. This is one of John's favourite shows and, as he says, the humour on there is lost on the kids for whom the programme was originally intended. He then enquires if they are all still alive which raises a laugh.
 
With Steve on board it's next stop Gleadless as we are meeting Stu, who's going to take us all up in the 'Millennium Falcon'.  We don't arrive with enough time for a cup of tea but there is time for Liam to show us his ball control (in just socks) as he kicks the ball into next doors garden, not once, but twice! Steve goes in the front with Stu as the rest of us sort ourselves out in the back. Deano has got a review of our programme which has been done by someone at West Midlands Police who, as you may know, me and John visited earlier this season. So we have a look at that, and John is telling us about the fact that he has to be careful what jokes he sends to their programme editor, as anything to do with the police or breaking the law is a definite non starter. He even told us the latest joke which got pulled out which we thought was very funny , it will be put in our programme no doubt at a later date.
   
For some reason we are then onto the subject of mobile phones and Steve is telling us that it's amazing that you can even send/receive e-mails on some of them.  I say "I'm just happy to get a phone call on mine", which had them all laughing as me and mobile technology do not get along too well!
  
We are nearing the exit for the motorway as Deano says, "Stu, you've come too far".  God knows why. There was an information sign for 'The American Adventure Park' and Deano thought it said 'The Roman Adventure'.  I reckon he thinks we are in another remake of 'Back to the Future.' He can't stop chuckling at what he said but backed it up by saying "I could understand it if I was on drugs, but I'm not". I think he's been taking some of Steve's medication or else he has a secret stash of blue smarties somewhere! 
   
We arrive at the ground and it's still light and sunny, a definite end of season feel atmosphere, which it is anyway ! First stop is the snack bar where me, John and Geoff (yes, he's here) tuck into some pie and peas. Tim comes to say hello. He's brought some red and black balloons which the rest of our away following are busy blowing up. He offers us some, which we say will be blown up once we get our breathe back from eating the pie. After we've eaten  Geoff wants to get something out of his car but he's got a feeling that the steward is going to ask him for his admission ticket, which of course he hasn't got. Luckily we were all issued with them (as we PAID to get in) so John gives him his. With that sorted out it's time for the match to start. We make our way to the bottom of the slope as the lads are kicking downhill for this half.
  
The game is not all that thrilling to start with but we're enjoying ourselves, singing 'Allowanhour' and generally taking the piss out of everyone ...including ourselves.  Geoff is trying his best to get his 'chuddy' on the goal-line, but being as this is at least five yards away he nearly gives himself a coronary with all the effort....I've never seen a man turn that colour before!  We're having some good banter with their keeper. He used to do a diary on his very own website, so we keep telling him what to put. Geoff even says he's going to give him a virus which has us (and the keeper) in hysterics. We then encounter the local 'in-breds' who are climbing on the roof above us. They keep shouting 'Who's playing?'.  When I eventually tell them it's Eastwood it takes a while for this to sink in, of course they then want to know who we are. After telling them , they make some derogatory remark and scuttle off for a while, eventually one of the club stewards comes along to tell them to shift...all this adrenaline and football on show and who gets the job to do this...a woman !  
  
Just before half time the 'in-breds' have thrown a rugby ball over, which we gladly accept as a gift, and as the whistle goes with the score at 0-0 Stu is back in his element. He used to play rugby, so the ball was like a magnet to him, clutching it for all he was worth while sidestepping the stanchions and beating invisible opponents with little Billy trailing in his wake!  Eventually he does give the ball to Billy to keep although I'm sure I saw a tear there as he did this.
   
Back to the snack bar and Geoff gets the teas in. There's four ladies serving behind there and he's giving the order to all of them so totally confusing everyone. He's decided to call them the spice girls, which brings a smile to the assembled crowd who wait patiently behind him to get served. He even asks if he can have a discount for cash!
  
Up to the top end now and the team are under a lot more pressure this half, but the defence is playing magnificently. We all thought it wouldn't be long before Eastwood scored though, but we were proved wrong. With six minutes to go 'Spotless' challenges their goalie on the edge of the area. With everyone waiting for the whistle to blow for a free kick the ball breaks to an unmarked Richard Carrington to calmly roll the ball into the empty net. Well, as you can imagine, we went mental!  It certainly silenced the home fans. At this point I should add that the Eastwood fans have a peculiar shout of  'One ! One ! One !'.  No reason for it....I suppose it's a bit like our 'Allowanhour' song.  Now we were winning we were chanting 'One ! One !  One !'.  When they started chanting again, we just kept on adding 'nil' at the end of it.  The referee finally blew for full time and as the players went off  Deano was shouting 'We're over here lads'. At least Caine heard him.
   
Straight forward journey back to Stu's to change cars. Once we got there I asked if Lynn had made us any supper. Stu said, "Oh yeah, there's liver and onions".  Actually he went inside to say he was home and then came back out to say "I'd invite you all in for a drink, but she's undressed". You've never seen a bunch of guys wake up so quickly ! Before we go Stu says, "So how long will it take you to get home?" To which we reply "Allowanhour!". So, we reluctantly got into Sammy and headed for home , dropping Steve off first. Back at home it's time to break out the Jaffa Cakes and settle down for the night. It may be the last Sheffield Travels for this season , but there's still a few more matches for me to go to.
 
Until next time....
Happy travelling
Trev

Elm Tree v AFC Barnsley
County Senior League Cup Final
15th April 2004

It's a 'Travel's' with a difference tonight as me and Stu come to the third and final part of our own trilogy, following this competition. Having seen both teams win their Semi -Finals we decided to go along for the final to see if AFC can add the League Cup to their Second Division Championship this season. Although Elm Tree are in the Premier Division, our assessment was that AFC should coast it. Of course , we were hoping to see our ex-clubbies in action too , but neither 'Chemical Higgy' or 'Junior Senior'  were even on the bench , let alone the field. Both teams can consider themselves worthy finalists as AFC knocked out all conquering Athersley Rec. who up to that point hadn't lost a match all season , and Elm Tree knocked out last season's winners Edlington WMC. The match is being played at Bracken Moor, home of Unibond First Division side Stocksbridge Park Steels, which is a lovely little ground.
 
It's a solo journey for me there , as John is off to the pictures and I'm meeting Stu there after he finishes work. I did mention the match to Geoff, who said he'd see if he could make it as he had a busy work day..don't know how true that is ! A little background information from one of my work mates tells me which buses I need to catch, so it's straight into town and down to the bus station. Now at present this place (depending which way you enter it ) either resembles a building site or it's brand spanking new. The platform I'm on is one of the new ones, all new tiles and glass.It's all enclosed and in fact the sliding doors don't open to let you get to the bus until it's ready to depart . The bus I get is the number 57. I've never been on this route before as the last time me and the Beermonster came here it was about five years ago and the bus was the alternative route of the number 58.
 
So I get on the bus and just check with the driver , " You go past Bracken Moor , don't you?" I ask."What's Bracken Moor ?", he  replies...oh dear, it's going to be a mystery trip after all! I explain about the football ground and , thankfully , there's another bus driver getting on behind me who lives that way, so I ask him where to get off , and he says not to worry as he'll tell the driver  where to put me off, as he'll be getting off beforehand.  I keep my eyes open for the floodlights anyway, although if the worst happens and he drops me off in the middle of nowhere it's a pleasant night for a walk through the countryside.
 
The driver calls me at the stop I need ,and after a minute to find my bearings I know where the ground is. The bus has dropped me off half way up the hill. Now for you lot that don't know , the ground is at the top of a very steep (and long) hill, so even though I'm halfway there to start with , it's still a slog to get up to the top. Just as I reach the ground my phone rings and it's Geoff , enquiring where I am. I tell him , between gasps for air, that I'm just outside and will see him in a minute. I find Geoff , and Duncan has come along as well, his dad boasting that Dunc had actually paid for him to come in..I wonder if he got him in for a concession? Anyway, to the tea bar and Geoff asks what do I want. "Oxygen", is my reply as I'm still getting my breath back !  We take our drinks and go and stand on the far side of the stand , near the Elm Tree dug out, Dunc has stayed on the other side with some of the other people he knows from Barnsley.
  
Elm Tree start the game really well , and I'm impressed (so is Geoff) as I thought they would be overwhelmed, but they take the game to AFC and have the better of the early exchanges. It's a good place to stand as we can hear all the comments from the Elm Tree bench, which , being from Manor Top they spare no blushes !  All goes well for them until the 22nd minute when Taylor scores with a great goal from the edge of the area to give AFC the lead. It's dusk now , and the floodlights are on. Of more concern to me and Geoff is the fact that , looking across the pitch and over the valley to the far hillside , we can see a giant illuminated cross  stood there.  Geoff says to me , "Trev , just look over there will you, can you see something ?"  He thought he was seeing things. When I tell him , "Yes, a bloody big cross ", he replies  "Thank God for that, I thought I was seeing things.  It's a sign from above! " No more goals this half so we make our way back to the tea bar and as Geoff gets us both a cuppa and a sausage roll. He says to the tea lady , "I really shouldn't have this you know it'll spoil my figure." She just laughs at him so he says "I've really got a six-pack under this coat you know , and if the lights were off I'd show you".  Well without further ado , she turned the lights off and said " Go on then...let's have a look!"  I'm not kidding , it was one of those occasions you had to be there to see the reaction, everyone was just laughing their heads off .
   
After that little episode we went back outside to eat our rolls and wait for Stu. With the second half about to start we go and stand with Dunc and the others for this half, and Stu turns up a few moments later. It's still a good match , but Geoff is more concerned about the cross on the hillside, and his experience in the snack bar. With ten minutes to go AFC kill the game off with two more goals in quick succession, and then rub salt into the wounds of a dejected Elm tree by getting a fourth in the last minute. In the end , the better team won , but the score was more than flattering. At least I didn't have to trek back down the hillside to the main road as Stu gave me a lift home after an enjoyable night out.
 
Until next time.
Happy Travelling
Trev

Harrogate R.A. v Sheffield
17th April 2004

Less than a month of the season left and yet this is the first meeting of the two sides, makes a change from previous years when we always seem to draw them in one cup or another.
 
It's a lovely sunny day as John picks me up from outside work. We're a bit depleted today as Deano has got a throat infection, this also rules Maz out, and Steve's decided not to travel too. The cub reporter is off to a party at the ski village so there's no Stu either and Billy Big Lens and Gwen are sunning themselves down on the South Coast!
 
As we set off we've got the Owls match on the radio. When I left work they were losing 1-0, so I asked John if it was still the same "No, it's 2-0 now" was the reply. Anyway we endeavour to stick it through at least till half time. In fact the Owls do pull one back, but after 45 minutes of torture we tune in to Radio 2  so we can carry on the tradition of listening to 'Pick of the Pops'. It's a sort of lucky omen...(one of many) as we haven't lost away from home when we've played on a Saturday, and being as it's the last Saturday away match of the season we're hoping to create some kind of record, even if it only adds up to a bit of historical trivia as the years pass.
   
It's 1957 chart hits to start with, this should be good as I was only two at the time. We start with Tommy Steele, but I've no idea what the song is...the only ones I've ever heard him sing were 'Little White Bull' and 'Half a Sixpence' !  We're making really good progress and are already on the very outskirts of Harrogate. John say's "It's a bit strange this Trev, I'm sure we're going in the right direction, but I've only ever driven here in the dark".  It's true, the only other time we came here in daylight we were actually on the team bus. Well Frank Sinatra has it right as he tells us to go 'All The Way'.  Not far away now as Les' favourite singer Elvis treats us to some 'Jailhouse Rock'...or in Les' case, Alehouse Rock !
   
Down the hill and it's time to look for the alien on the bike. This is our landmark of where to turn for the ground...you don't believe us ? Well just ask John to show you the photo he took. We find it easily enough and go up Station Road into the car park. No problems getting here at all AND we didn't even have to consult any written directions or the map. How come there's only me and John in the car when this amazing feat happens? Andy is already there with Caroline and Chris as we pull in beside them, with Tim, Sue and today the yellow peril. ..little Billy. We ask about the Owls and are told they've lost 4-1, much to the delight of Sue. We ask them all if they saw the alien on the bike...only to be met with deadly silence and funny looks. Anyway, as it's still early we are off for a walk to actually take a photo of the said apparition. This is for the benefit of John's younger daughter Paula, who's still on medication after her trip with us to Ossett. She was going to come along just to see the alien and wander round the town , but she thought twice about it, just in case we dragged her into the ground to watch the match instead !
  
We raid the snack bar before taking up our place in the stand with the others. Nothing much to report on the pitch as it's a fairly lacklustre display by both sides but there's plenty of sweets to go round as John hands out the Minstrels. Little Billy is offering dolly mixtures which Geoff grabs by the handful then complains to anyone who's listening that Billy is counting how many he takes. Caroline is also on sweet duty as well with Mini Rolo's.
   
So at half time it's scoreless as we head for the snack bar. Geoff is doing the honours and as he's already getting served he's asking us what we want, so the tea count goes up every time he talks to the young lass trying to serve him. He's also bought the sausage rolls and then asks how much it's going to cost. His words of "Can I pay by credit card ?" just gets a smile out of the assistant even when he pleads that he's got to take the wife out tonight as well.  As we're sat eating the sausage rolls one of the Harrogate committee men ask one of us to draw the raffle. Geoff's hand goes into the bag, and guess what ? Yes, the cheeky bugger only goes and draws his own number out doesn't he!!!!  We were all helpless with laughter after that...he was even going to see if he could walk on water !
 
For the second half me and John go behind the clubhouse goal for the first twenty minutes, the intention being to walk back round to the others after that so John could get the Man of the Match votes. Sheffield are playing better this half, but can't get the breakthrough as Harrogate take the lead instead. Then while pressing the home side in their own penalty area, they get a breakaway and double the lead. Nick Tilly is on the field as a substitute and one of the Harrogate fans tells the referee that we're playing a 'ringer' as Ray Parlour has just come on. Even if we were, it didn't help us. Bonno is clattered in a challenge and as he's laying on the floor some of the home fans start hurling some unsavoury language at him. Sue draws herself up to her full height (about three and a half feet) and gives them some back. Then she goes and sits directly in front of them ! Funnily enough they quietened down then. Daz Utley takes over for the last ten minutes in goal, but can do nothing to stop their third goal with just two minutes left. So our 'run' comes to a disappointing end as the referee blows for full time. Oh well hopefully we'll be back to a full compliment of support for the final away match at Eastwood.
   
It's a straight forward run home , Andy passes us just as we get to the motorway, only for us to overtake him further along as we listen to Elkie Brooks on the cassette. No problems what so ever on the journey home, and in just over an hour I'm hopping out of the car at home, ready for tea and a lay down.
 
Until next time...
Happy Travelling
Trev

Mickleover Sports v Sheffield
10th April 2004

It's off to Derby today as we take on last season's promoted team Mickleover Sports. Not only that, but it's a new ground for me to visit. Luckily I don't have to navigate ! Stu is doing the driving honours today as John takes his seat on the kop at Hillsborough for yet another 90 minutes of tedium and torture. It's quite warm as I leave work, and as I look across the road I see Stu's car. Standing next to it is a figure I think is Steve. As I haven't got my glasses on yet I'm not too sure, but walking towards the car I see a police van right next to the car, so then I know it's Steve ! It's one of those combinations that go together, you know...bacon and eggs, Laurel and Hardy, Steve and Policemen. Actually it was good to see him up and about and joining us on today's trip. He is in fact taking the place of Maz who's decided that after a few very hectic weeks at work she really needs to take a breather, so she's pushed her little lad Deano off to the footie so she can put her feet up and have some quality time on her own.
  
Once we're all settled, little Liam being the sandwich between me and Deano, we then tease Liam, asking him what happened to Milan the other night, as they crashed out of the Champions League. He immediately smacks Deano on the leg for even bringing up the matter so we leave him alone to listen to his Milan anthems on his personal player.
   
It's a pleasant drive down with the sun trying to break through and Stu is regaling us with the tale of his incident at work. The store where he works was robbed earlier this week, during the night hours when it was closed...fortunately the culprit was apprehended shortly after it happened. This was due to the fact that he was seen wheeling the supermarket trolley with bags of cash in it straight past the front of the police station!  Stu being the Manager was called upon to help the police with their inquiries that evening, thus resulting in him missing out on his beauty sleep!
  
Prior to my arrival at the car, Steve, Deano and Stu himself had made up a little song of the occasion sung along to the tune of 'The Trolley Song' made famous by Judy Garland, and now made infamous by Behind the Flag! It went something like this :-
 
   Clang, clang , clang went the trolley,
   Ching, ching, ching went the change,
   Clink, clink ,clink went the handcuffs,
   As Stu is woken up looking deranged !
 
If the police could see us all now laughing our heads off they'd probably think we were involved. After we'd all calmed down Stu puts the radio on so we can carry on the ritual of listening to 'Pick of the Pops, this time it's 1967 and we are well impressed when the first record is Jimi Hendrix and 'Purple Haze', all apart from Liam that is. Of course, as usual there's talk about football and we get to discussing the merits of the Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri and wonder if he'll get the sack at the end of the season or not. I say, "Well I wonder if he'll consider coming to join us here at Sheffield, especially if we fail to get promotion". Don't worry Macca...it was a joke !
  
We then hear Steve's mobile ringing and apparently it's even worse than mine. At present, if he answers it the person on the other end can hear him, but he can't hear anything back. So when his girlfriend calls Deano has to call her back to leave a message for her to call Steve on Deano's phone in order to speak to him. Complicated? You better believe it!
 
We finally arrive at the ground, and just as we are about to go through the gates we see the Verbal Terrorist (Dennis) crossing the road in front of us wearing some tight red biciycle/running shorts. It nearly made Stu crash the car. We park up and find Andy, Caroline and Chris just getting out of their car. Tim, Sue and Billy have also just pulled in next to us as well, so all the usual suspects are here. A nice touch was the fact that the stewards let both Liam and Billy in for free. I thought about getting on my knees to follow them in but I guess the beard would have been a dead giveaway.
  
It's a nice little ground as we go into the clubhouse/bar for some refreshments. Tim gets us all teas, which is made fresh from behind the bar. Quite a good turn out for the lads today, in fact even the Chairman has decided to come along today, despite Wednesday being at home. It's an entertaining match as we give away our customary goal start but manage to literally sneak the equaliser just before half time as Duncan finds the net. He's having quite a torrid time against the physical defenders, so when he starts to complain all we can hear is Geoff shouting "Shurrup Dunc!" as loud as possible, much to Gwen's amusement who ends up with a fit of the giggles.
  
The second half sees the team take charge as Tom Jones claims the second goal, and despite pressure from the home side we increase the lead further when Duncan is brought down for a penalty and converts it himself. So it's a happy bunch of supporters as we head off homewards with our unbeaten Saturday away record still intact. Of course we have to have quite a few choruses of 'Allowanhour' on the way as Stu presses on the horn as we pass Andy and family, and then do the same to Dennis, who appears to be driving, eating a sandwich and talking on the phone all at the same time! After all the afternoon's excitement young Liam is resting his eyes as he has forty winks on my shoulder.
   
It's not straight home though, as we pop down to the Coach to look at the latest improvements to the ground. New step on the terracing, hoardings up along the touchlines, cage over the tunnel (we think this is so the players can't get access to the pies in the snack bar before the match) and a new turnstile. It's not boxed in yet but we all want to have a go at operating it. Steve asks Stu to go through it, but when he doesn't let him in he says "Come on then, press the lever". Steve replies "You have to give me three quid first for admission". I'll let you make your answers up as to what Stu said. After Deano had done his David Bailey bit of taking photo's for the website we all piled back into the car to finish the journey. Nearing the end of the Parkway we come across a clown. No, not some idiot road user, it was actually a person dressed as a clown, either going to or from a kids party. As he passed us we were all laughing, guessing when the car would blow up or the sides fall off like in the circus....all this and none of us had had any alcohol at all!
  
The rest of the journey soon flew by as Stu dropped me off at the Beermonster's so I could give him the details of the match, before going home and ripping the head off my chocolate bunny!
 
Until next time.
Happy Travelling
Trev

Pickering Town v Sheffield
3rd April 2004

Despite a cold, rainy and miserable morning weather wise, the sun is now shining brightly as John arrives to pick me up from home. It should be a fun journey today as last night he was telling me that he had printed off the directions for the ground to give to me.....I've only been there once before which was an evening match and we travelled on the team coach. Still, not to worry, it's not too bad for a tour around the North Yorkshire countryside !

It appears I've got my 'slammy' head on today as first of all I close the boot of the car too strongly (accidentally) almost deafening Deano and Maz who are sat in the back, and then I go to close the passage door hard (on purpose) as the new neighbours once again leave it wide open. I sometimes feel like shouting "Were you born in a field?", but realise that this could be viewed as being racist, so I'll just keep slamming the door until they get the message !

Off we go and Deano asks me when I'm going back to the barbers so I can get my haircut finished off....at least he did say "Hi" before wading in with the insults ! John is already in summertime mode as, yes, you've guessed it, THE SHORTS ARE ON ! We head off up the motorway as the rain starts once more. You can tell it's spring as all the nutters, oops sorry, caravanners are out on the motorway. No radio to listen to at present as there's too much static and interference -probably because we're just passing Barnsley ! Talking of which, the Barnsley lothario Geoff phones Deano to ask for directions. We are that busy listening to Deano that we almost miss our turn off for the A64. Deano then hands the directions back to me...oh dear. As we drive past York racecourse, who should pass us on the outside ? No, not Red Rum ! It's Stu and the cub reporter, who give us a blast on the car horn. As it's now almost 2 o'clock it's time for the away day ritual of 'Pick of the Pops' on the radio. Today it's 1962 as Dion gets things underway with 'The Wanderer'. He could be referring to our travels ! I was only seven at the time these records were first out, but the memories come flooding back as the theme from 'Z Cars' greets our ears. For you younger readers (which I guess is everyone except us in the car !) the programme - Z cars, was probably the forerunner to today's television cop shops, only in those very early days it was actually broadcast live. Okay, enough of the history lesson, the sun has decided to come out once again as Carl Denver is singing (I think he was singing anyway) a song called 'Wimaway' (Not sure it's spelt like that Trev, but I can't be ars...I mean bothered to check. Let's call it 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' instead - Deano). Now we had all heard this one before, but never sung like this. It was more like Vic Reeves singing in the club singer style, only Vic's version would be better ! It's time to follow the directions to the ground now, and would you believe it, no sooner do I start reading them than we are actually there....how easy could that be, just don't ask me to do it in the dark ! Of course Stu is already there, chatting to Billy Big Lens in the car park. It starts raining yet again so we decide to wait in the car a little while and find out who was number one in the charts for this week in 1962. Maz reckons it could be Cliff. She was actually quite close as it was in fact the Shadows with 'Wonderful Land'.

It's time to go into the ground now as the rain eases off for just a little while. Of course today is also a big sporting day with the Grand National being run and also an F.A. Cup Semi-Final which kicked off earlier featuring Arsenal (Geoff's favourites) and Manchester United (Geoff hates them ). Well Man. Utd. won, so of course the first thing we need to do is wind Geoff up once we see him inside. Me and John are just going into the club house when the man himself appears, offering to buy us a cuppa. Of course we couldn't resist it so I asked him about Arsenal and he replied saying something about a male dogs dangly bits!

As we are getting served, he asks the woman behind the counter if he can have Earl Grey tea, which makes her laugh. We are having a sausage roll each as well and believe me these are the hottest things I've ever tasted. Before paying he then asks if there are any sweeteners for the drinks. Of course she's taken in again. We then help him to buy the stuff as he doesn't have enough change !

Out on the pitch the match kicks off on a very greasy pitch, the kind of pitch which as lads we would say you could do proper sliding tackles on ! Some early pressure by Sheffield is soon nullified as our hosts go up field and score with their first real attack. Most of the play is then spent in our own half. In fact two ducks have flown onto the pitch at the Pickering end....we'll call them Arthur (Mallard) and Daffy. They just amble along the goal-line as we point out that it's the safest place for them as the ball is nowhere near. When the Sheffield players do have possession we are shouting at them "Get it up to the ducks!". Thankfully we are still only trailing by the one goal as the referee blows for half -time.

Back in the club-house, and this time Geoff wants a coffee, he also asks for chocolate sprinkles on top, bringing a smile to the tea-lady's face.....in fact he actually made her blush! A nice touch is the fact that they give out free biscuits with your drinks. Most of the crowd delay going out for the second half so they can watch the Grand National first, which was won by Amberleigh House, so I'm happy as I backed it with my 50 pence each way bet....the last of the big spenders!!.

On the field the team is playing much better down the slope and get on equal terms when Duncan slots home the rebound from Caine's blocked shot. It's all Sheffield at this stage and we take a deserved lead from a corner kick in which Bogie gets the final touch. Unfortunately, a couple of minutes from time, the Pickering captain is up-ended in the box and he scores the resulting penalty to level the scores. There was still time to snatch the win, but to no avail. It ends in a draw, which, all things considered, most of us would have been pleased about before the match started. More to the point, it keeps our run going of never having been defeated away from home when we've played on a Saturday, an odd fact but true.

Back to the cars and Stu has some books for me which I had leant him. He opens the boot and proudly produces the books, all wrapped up in a Sheffield United bag ! This amuses Liam no end, who can't stop laughing as he shouts "Look what Trev's got". I offer to give him the bag back but he insists that I keep it, so I reluctantly accept and put the offending article in my rucksack.

We set off for home and it's like a Sheffield convoy. We are following Stu and right behind us are Andy, Chris and Caroline. That all disappears once we reach the motorway as Stu zooms off into hyperspace (of course he was only driving at 68 mph officer). Andy's crew give us a wave as they pass us by and we settle down to listen to Richard Allinson on the radio as Deano rings round the other grounds for results. That's a first in itself, as we've never had to bother about such things before, at least while I've been watching them (it used be a ritual we had in the Don Valley days Trev although I'm not quite sure why - Deano), as finishing halfway was regarded as an achievement in itself. The heady heights of the top of the league are starting to give me a nosebleed!

John drops me off at home and it's still light after another good day 'on the road'. I refrain from the customary Jaffa Cakes, and instead tuck into steak and chips, saving the Jaffa's to have later.

Until next time,

Happy Travelling

Trev

Hallam v Sheffield
25th March 2004

It's the second attempt in the space of six days to play this match, due to the adverse weather conditions on Saturday. Of course now it's the usual midweek trip up the mountainside to Sandygate. I can't remember the last time I saw us play there in daylight ! I walk down to meet Les and it's still daylight, which makes a change. He's just about ready and we step outside just as John pulls up bang on time. Deano is actually sat in the navigators seat for a change , which is a shame really because I was so confident I could navigate us there all on my own ! We arrive up at Sandygate and manage to find a parking place in the pub car park as someone is just leaving. Les jumps out to tell John that there's a sign saying that cars will be clamped, so John's just about to drive off and find somewhere else when Les tells him that he was only kidding !
 
So it's straight inside and I go and give Les a hand to put the flag up at the back of the stand. Both Tim and Andy are here with the rest of their families so their flags adorn the front of the stand as we occupy our usual place at the bottom end near the players entrance. Les then decides to sample the beer in the club house while me and John settle for a cup of tea. At the snack bar there is a sign indicating that tonight they have some hot-pot on, so we ask for some. The young girl says it's not quite ready, so we ask if it's any cheaper then if we just have warm pot instead ! She says to come back in ten minutes so we just take our drinks for now and go into the stand. Bill is here and also Gwen, who usually can't manage to get to midweek games due to work commitments (at least that's what she tells us) so if it all goes pear shaped then we'll blame her for being a part-timer.
    
I go and get the team line-ups for Stu, being as he's working late and won't get here until almost half time, so he'll be relying on me to write down the action for his match report, then at half time we'll spend the time deciphering what I've written. Right on time he actually phones John, and without knowing who it is at the time I tell John, "If that's Stu then I've got the teams AND my phone is turned on" holding it up to show John. He duly hands me his phone so I can give him the relevant information, so he can send it to his computer at home.
  
By now Sue is already tucking into some hot-pot so I tell John to wait there while I go and get ours. I wasn't intending to have anything except the usual burnt sausage roll at half time but it looked so good that I couldn't resist! At least the food made up for the book of adverts I bought (oh sorry, did someone say that was the the programme?).
  
There's a good atmosphere as the teams come out with us lot letting our vocal chords have plenty of exercise as well as using the rattles, and Chris has an air horn which will keep the old codgers awake tonight. Deano is the lone figure tonight as he stands behind the goal with his flag, so when Stu arrives he goes and joins him for the remainder of the half. The game starts with us absailing, sorry, kicking down the slope and taking the game to our hosts. We have a new old player to welcome tonight as the prodigal son Darren Uttley returns to the side. Bill says, "You can tell it's posh up here because the young 'uns don't swear when they're chanting". After half an hour we really have something to shout about as Ryan O'carrol scores direct from a free kick as Danny Spooner juggles at thin air. Just after that, and much to the annoyance of the home crowd, a Hallam clearance hits the ref to put us in an attacking position, the defence scrambling the ball away for a corner. With the home fans castigating the referee for this Tim shout, "Get on the back post ref!" much to our amusement. Caroline is doing the sweetie honours tonight by handing out Maltesers while closely keeping an ear out for the score of her beloved Liverpool team, while watching this match - she's very multi-skilled you know! There are no more goals to report as the ref brings the half to a close. Les goes with John for the half time drinks while I wait with the others.
   
The second half is only a minute old when our defence decides to play 'statues' allowing Hallam to level the score. Little Billy says "That was crap", to which his mum (Sue) tells him to say rubbish, not crap. A minute later she's yelling at the referee telling him how crap he is! Geoff has decided to join us for this half and just a couple of rows in front of him are some old guys who support Hallam. Now we know Clive, he sometimes comes to watch us at home when he wants to see some decent football, but we didn't know his friends. Well one of them kept going on and on about the grounds he'd visited, so Geoff turns to me and says, "Bloody hell, I thought I could talk, but he never draws breath..bloody Groundhopper!". Of course, Geoff being Geoff, he made sure everyone could hear him, but the bloke never stopped and just carried on talking away. So Geoff adds, "Deaf as well" and then proceeds to take my rattle and swing it right above his head. "He's deaf in both ears now" was Geoff's final comment on the subject.
  
Back on the field and our defence is taking a bit of a hammering from the long ball down the slope, so it's no surprise that we should concede a second goal, and as much as it hurts to say so, it was a cracker. This stung the lads into action but despite constant pressure over the last fifteen minutes there was no way through the Hallam defence, and once again we ended up with nothing as the referee brought the game to a finish. It was a very quiet journey back in the car as we all wallowed in the disappointment. Never mind , only a couple of days then it will be back to normal as we take on the Goolies at the Coach. 
 
Until next time
Happy Travelling
Trev

Hallam v Sheffield
20th March 2004

You can forget your Liverpool, Manchester and London derbies, even Celtic against Rangers pales into insignificance as this is THE derby of football. The lads are looking for revenge over the 'hoops' after they knocked us out of the League Cup on our own ground earlier this season and are in fact due to play in the Semi-Final of this competition this coming week (come on Glasshoughton !).
 
Once again it's a weekend off work for me as I use my holiday days up, the idea originally being to see Sheffield win at Sandygate and then a trip to Cardiff to watch the Owls in the L.D.V. Trophy Final ! Go on...you can all laugh now. It's blowing a gale and also raining as John picks me and Les up at the library, both wrapped up well because we know how cold it's going to be up at Sandygate. In fact before we left we told Joy that if we weren't back by 7 pm then she'd better phone for the mountain rescue team to come and save us.
 
With John picking us up at 2 O'clock it means we can still have the ritual of away matches by listening to Pick of the Pops, even though we are only travelling to the other side of the city. This time we start off with 1970 and Kenny Rodgers singing 'Something's Burning' which goes on and on. Les says "I don't remember this", to which Deano replies "That's because it's crap!"  As we make our way ever upwards it's now the Na-Na-Hey-Hey song which me and Les add Sheffield Wednesday on to the end as it's a sort of football anthem anyway.  Almost there and the familiar voice of Elvis is crooning away when once again it's Les with "Who's this?" as we all shout "It's Elvis of course !".  You can tell Les lived in a different time span during this period, probably headbanging and full of Theakston's Old Peculiar! 
   
We park up behind Billy Big Lens who's just returning from buying his programme. As it's still early we decide to wait in the car a little while longer and listen to the radio, while Les decides that he'll go and get a drink inside the ground and put the flag up in the stand ready for us all to congregate round. No sooner has he departed then Geoff is phoning Deano up from inside the ground with the news that the referee has called the match off due to the bad weather, which in a way is good as the floodlights are swaying like flower stalks in the wind! Les is soon back, and I go to see if they are still going to give us some programmes now they are of no use to them, unfortunately not, as one of the officials has already disappeared with them. Stu phones me just as I'm outside the ground saying he's been held up with the traffic in the city centre so I tell him not to rush as the match is off. As we are all usually having a laugh he thinks I'm joking ! I do finally convince him as I look at Geoff who's very dejected and wondering if he can get up to Ossett Albion to watch them instead. Back at the car and Bill is trying to phone Stu to find out what other alternative matches there are. Everyone is on the pavement having a natter, including Andy, Caroline and Chris, it's almost like being at the match , but without the football! Eventually we all disperse and John sets off homewards as we listen to Lee Marvin and his 'Wanderin' Star', can't believe that got to number one, perhaps there's hope for us all yet!
  
John goes home via the back streets of Crookes, thus making it seem like a proper away trip, complete with detours, as he points out where he used to live (still no plaque there yet to signify this) and Les points out where his Mum was born, as Dale Winton introduces us to songs from 1981. Stu phones to say he and Liam are off to watch Sheffield City if anyone is interested but we've all decided to go home. Going along Penistone Road, Les says "Let's go in B & Q" (hardware store) to which John replies "No chance, the only time I go in there I end up having to do some work at home". Deano say's "We can go in and shout - 'you all get on our Wickes, and we can Do It All".
  
Funnily enough the wind seems to have eased off as we drive through Hillsborough and the sun is shining brightly. John drops me off outside the house as I struggle to hold onto the door as the wind once again is blowing at gale force up here. In fact when he opens the boot the car almost takes off! Once inside it's the usual cuppa and then I settle down to watch the rugby in the warm, although I'd sooner be watching the lads. A bit disappointing, but now we have the chance to once again gear ourselves up for a trip to Hallam on a cold wet Wednesday night sometime in the near future (you can go on Wednesday Trev and save us our seats - we'll see you on Thursday !!! - Deano).
 
Until next time.
Happy travelling
Trev

Elm Tree v Edlington WMC
(At Muglet Lane, Maltby)
17th March 2004

Once again it's into the unknown as I decide to join Stu to watch this, the second County Senior League Cup Semi-Final. After last weeks feast at South Kirkby in front of a record crowd Stu said it would be totally different tonight, and he was right.
 
We had already arranged the time and pick up point, Stu saying "Make sure your phone is on Trev". Which was just as well as he was already running late when he called, forgetting there was a big ice hockey match at the Arena which caused him to be stuck in traffic. I started walking towards where he would be coming from and it was only five minutes before I heard the famous car horn as I walked to Page Hall.  It's just reaching dusk after a lovely warm day as we head off towards Maltby.In fact we still arrive earlier than expected and it took us less time to get there than it took Stu to drive from home to pick me up!
 
We negotiate the pot holes in the car park and make our way inside. I give the bloke on the gate a fiver and as it's nearly pitch black with very little illumination he's trying to work out what denomination it is. I tell him it's a twenty pound note and we both start laughing, Stu compounding the matter by saying "You're not using the old twenty pound note trick again Trev are you?". As Stu buys the raffle tickets I go and get the drinks.  When I ask for two cappuccino's with an Ameretto biscuit on the side all I get is a blank look and a smile, so we settle for two teas instead. Nice big insulated cups, with lids and piping hot. In fact it took us twenty minutes to drink the stuff. Think I'll pass the recipe on to Dave in our snack bar at the Coach!
 
Tonight the crowd is a massive 75 people, and that's including those in the dug outs. All here to see if the cup holders and favourites in this tie Edlington W.M.C can beat the upstarts from Sheffield's Manor Top, Elm Tree.  Wouldn't you just know it , after such a nice day weather wise , the temperature starts to drop like a stone, luckily , for now at least we are still breaking out in a sweat from the molten hot liquid we've just poured down our throats.  Edlington look the more composed side during the first half, creating the better chances but neither side can breach the respective defences and in Elm Tree's case they not only have to beat the defence but then beat a goalkeeper who makes Kevin Pressman look anorexic! (No wonder there were no pies at the snack bar.)  Once again we go for another cuppa as the half time whistle goes. As we're queuing up there's a bloke who suddenly just bursts out singing Tom Jones songs for no apparent reason. I grab the drinks while Stu gets his cheeseburger and my Mars bar and we head back to our little place near the half way line , away from the crooner who threatens to make our ears bleed with his so called singing. We are stood near some Edlington supporters and they are really giving the ref some lip(which to be honest , some of it was deserved) and also coming out with some good one liners which are much too graphic to repeat on here!  As the cold starts to get through Stu looks at me and says."Bloody Semi-Finals. you just know it's going to go to extra time again ."  Despite some last minute chances from both sides (which we are willing either of them to score)nobody can make the breakthrough so it's another half hour to play...so much for the early night ! Although we are both awash with tea we make our way back to the snack bar and they are still open which is an achievement in itself this late . So it's two more cups of  molten liquid as we trudge back to our stand point. The ref restarts the game and wouldn't you just know it, we've only played just over a minute of extra time and one of the Elm Tree players has the audacity to score a goal ! Only another twenty eight minutes to wait now.  Actually as the match reached the finish we were secretly hoping Edlington could grab an equaliser as we wanted to witness a penalty shoot out, just for something different to watch ! This was never going to happen though as Edlington were pushing on  and Elm tree were happy to just catch them on the break. To make matters worse , the cup holders were getting more frustrated and their lack of discipline saw them end up with only ten men on the pitch as tempers became frayed near the finish. By now me and Stu were almost at the gate as the referee blew the final whistle. Having seen both semi-finals we're hoping to get to Stocksbridge on April 15th to see the final between Elm tree and A.F.C. Barnsley, at least it should be warmer then shouldn't it?  Back in the car and Stu has the heater on as we head for home.Luckily the journey takes less time than a home match at the Coach and Horses so I'm soon being dropped off at the door. There's no tea and Jaffa cakes tonight as I think I've got a case of tea overdose ..so it's just the Jaffa cakes to soak up all that liquid!
 
Until next time.
Happy Travelling
Trev

Athersley Rec. v AFC Barnsley
(at South Kirkby)
10th March 2004

Once again it's an early start as John is picking me up on his way home from work to take me to Chez Sheps. It's Stu who is doing the driving tonight and just before I'm about to leave I see he's sent an e-mail to John (and me). He's tried all three phone numbers of mine (including work) and can't reach me. I'm just locking the door when he actually calls me on the mobile. I tell him I've only just put it back on as it needed re-charging. He asks where I am and I tell him, I'm just stepping into John's car. I say to him that I've been in all afternoon and the house phone has only rung once and that was John. He then asks me what my home number is, and when I give it him he says "Oh dear, God knows who I've been phoning then as I haven't been ringing your number at all!"  He's just checking that he will pick us up just before 6.30 as we have to 'allowanhour' to get there. We're off to South Kirkby to see Athersley Recreation take on AFC Barnsley in a County Senior League Cup Semi-Final, the Barnsley side having ex-Clubbies 'Chemical' Higgy and 'Junior' Senior in their ranks. It's a quick change for John and we emerge outside once again into the cold just as Stu pulls up in front of us. I give John the pleasure of sitting in the navigator's seat so I can relax in the back. Stu has his road atlas and street guide handy as they both just check which route we're going to take, but it's no problem, as Stu never gets lost going to South Kirkby ! Actually that's true, it's just that he's not used to reaching it from this direction.  We only have one minor mistake as Stu decides to go round a roundabout twice, making me and John dizzy! John then say's "It's quite an experience this navigating lark". To which I reply "Well now you know what I have to deal with". Stu then tops it all off by coming up with "Yes Trev, but you're supposed to read the map all the way to the destination and not nod off half way there!" 
 
We actually find the ground easy enough and after parking up walk inside. First stop (after yesterday's experience) is to see if the snack bar is open. Thankfully it is, and as well as drinks the hot cabinet is piled high with food! Stu treats us to burgers and hot-dogs and of course the tea. There's a big crowd here as we make our way across the cricket pitch. Geoff is here somewhere, but we haven't heard him yet...which is unusual in itself!  It doesn't take us long to spot him and we go up to say hello. He's with Mel (Higgy's dad ) and a couple of his mates. He introduces us by saying (looking straight at us) "This is errrrr, Stu, and (pause) Trev and..errr...John!" Talk about pathetic, anybody would think we had never met him before!
 
It's a good game, with both sides riding high in their respective leagues, in fact Athersley have yet to lose a match this season. It's a good open game and Athersley take an early lead, to cheers from most of the supporters who are here. The stand behind the goal is packed out, unlike last season when we came here to see Sheffield and there were only about ten of us in it! As usual Geoff is in fine voice, coming out with some comments regarding the assistant referee who looks like he could lose a few stone and still be fat as hell. Despite a lot of pressure, Athersley can't breach the AFC defence , who then upset their superiors by drawing level with five minutes of the half left. As if that wasn't enough, some very sloppy defending allows AFC to snatch the lead just before half time.
  
It's a walk back to the snack bar for more warming drinks, along with most of the crowd, although it doesn't take that long to get served. We take our drinks back across to the touchline as the teams are just about ready to start the second half. It's also raining now as well as being cold. John decides he needs to get some food so goes back for more while we watch the match. John is on his way back and we have to shout him as he's heading off in the wrong direction, and Stu has visions of him handing his pasty over to a complete stranger!  Stu estimates the crowd to be about 450-500 and he's not far off, although the official figure given was 700.
  
At least it's stopped raining now as a loud cheer goes up from Geoff....he's managed to get his chuddy onto the touchline, after four bounces that is! With fifteen minutes left of normal time Athersley draw level as the AFC keeper makes a real howler of juggling the ball. It then dawns on all of us that we could be in for extra time. With this in mind , we're shouting for anybody to score, as we're not particularly bothered who wins. Despite some really good chances , they all go to waste and yes, we have to endure yet another half an hour of football. Before they kick-off again we're busy chatting away when Geoff  looks at us and says "Who's driving you four home?" We all look at him , laugh, and then Stu points to a space between us and says "He is...that's Hopkirk . (The invisible one from the tv programme Randall and Hopkirk - deceased). For once Geoff is lost for words, but he does have the ability to laugh at himself.  The first half of extra time sees AFC once again take the lead, which they hold going into the final period. It's now nearly all Athersley as they pressure the AFC defence . With time running out they are gambling by putting more men up front thus leaving gaps at the back which adds to the excitement when AFC get the ball forward. A corner from the left , a bullet header , and AFC go further in front. As the players celebrate , the Athersley fans begin to move out . realising that the game is lost, and at the final whistle there are joyous celebrations as the underdogs have beaten the favourites. We walk back to the car ,this time keeping our coats on for the journey home as we thaw out. John is the first to be dropped off, then Stu takes me right to the door and it's the end of another long day. Not bad, two nights in freezing weather but two good matches to watch.
 
Until next time
Happy Travelling
Trev 

Wakefield & Emley v Sheffield
(at The Welfare Ground, Emley) 
9th March 2004

Once again we're off on our travels, this time to visit yet another new ground to me as the lads take on Unibond Premier side Wakefield and Emley in this Quarter Final Sheffield Senior Cup match.  Yes, we're that confident we're taking on two sides tonight ! It's an early evening start as I make my way to the pick up point as John is calling in town to pick up Deano (and Maz) first before heading for home so they all have time to get changed ready for the match. It's still light, which is good but already turning a little cooler. Just as we are about to leave the petrol station, Deano phones John to say he can't get hold of me. John informs him I'm sat right behind him! After dropping John's workmate off on the way we head towards the city with ever increasing traffic jams. John is in an adventurous mood and takes us on a couple of (proper) detours to miss the worst of it, and it works! We pick Deano and Maz up, his first words to me being .." Trev ..why have a mobile phone if you never put it on?"  I show him that the phone is actually on, and say 'See, it is on, it's just slow and old like me and takes some time to work!"  As if to prove a point he actually phones me while we are both sat in the car...it goes straight to voicemail!!! I think I may have to break into the piggy bank and invest in a new phone. I do eventually get all FOUR messages he's left me since I left the house at 5pm. John is really on a roll tonight as he guides 'Sammy' through the backstreets, avoiding all the main traffic chaos. Deano say's it will be fine once we set off for the match as we just have to head towards the big mast (Emley Moor transmitter). I say "In that case, we could end up in Blackpool", mistaking the tower for the transmitter. It's tiring work this travelling lark, I've been on the road for 45 minutes and have only got as far as Hillsborough! We drop Deano and Maz off and shoot up the road for a quick ten minute rest before we finally get on our way, picking up Deano outside his house, as Maz waves us farewell.
  
It's a steady journey and it's not very long before we spot the mast. Well we think it is as it's lit up but Deano says he wants to check that there isn't a sign nearby saying Welcome to the Pleasure Beach !
 
We arrive at the ground in plenty of time, in fact I don't know whether Stu was winding John up when he said to 'allowanhour' to get there.  Talking of Stu, he's already turned up with Craig, and we spotted Geoff on our way into the car park loitering around the village centre! We enter the ground while Stu, Craig and Geoff head off for the  bright lights of Emley! There is hardly anybody here yet, so we have a little wander around, and do some encroaching on the pitch. Unfortunately there is no photographic evidence as Deano didn't bring his camera. As it's absolutely freezing we look for refreshments but to no avail...it's going to be a long night. Stu turns up eating a pie. He bought it at the local shop outside. He must be hungry as he's tucking into it like he hasn't eaten for a week and it's not even been heated up! Tim arrives with little Billy, who informs us he's got some soup in his backpack. We immediately descend on him. I try and bribe him by saying I'll mention him in the 'Travels' if he gives me some, while John tries to barter with him, offering Minstrels as a bargaining tool!
  
The teams come out for the match and the lads are wearing a new strip tonight, white shirts and socks with black shorts, it actually looks quite catching under the floodlights. John remarks about one of their players saying: Hey, that number 7, is he called Days because he looks a bit weak!"  (Come on people, keep up!)  Macca walks past us with a cuppa so we beg him for a drink, He actually says there's a full pot in the dressing room and to go and help ourselves. Once the players have decided which way they are kicking we make our way to go behind the goal, me and John stopping off to visit the dressing room for that cuppa. The smell of liniment hits you as you open the door, almost taking your breath away and making your eyes run. Once we've got the drinks we go and join Deano and Stu behind the goal. The game is only six minutes old and we are already behind from a penalty. This doesn't stop the lads taking the game to our opponents who are struggling to keep track of our players who are creating chance after chance. Just after twenty minutes and we're level. Duncan follows up his penalty kick, which is saved, to head the rebound into the net - a bit fortunate, but they all count! By now we've been talking about how long it took us to get here and have decided on our new 'song', as we start to sing...allowanhour, do-doo-do-do-do, etc, etc. well it keeps us and the rest of the crowd amused. Just after the half hour mark and Duncan increases our lead, which is no more than the team deserve, as the cumbersome Emley central defenders are wondering how the hell they can stop us. No more goals this half and we go over to the sideline and chat with the rest of the Sheffield supporters who have turned out in force, in fact there's almost as many of us as there is home fans!  Deano looks at the transmitter which is towering over the ground all lit up and says "Look at that erection", whilst Geoff studies it, then comes out with "They'll never get that thing off the ground ", which has Tim creased up with laughter.
   
We move round to the far end ready for the second half. Just behind the goal there is a large stretch of netting to stop the ball going over to the adjoining houses. Billy Big Lens is busy looking over the fence, and tells us as there's plenty of action on the field he wondered if there was any action in the bedrooms as well!  Although it's freezing, the team are doing their best to warm us up by playing some scintillating stuff, with BUPA sponsored Darren (Sherlock) Holmes  teasing their defenders for fun. At one stage the ball flies over the goal and finds it's way to Stu. Now normally he's quite good at ball skills, having plenty of practise in the garden with young Liam, but on this occasion he failed to return the ball, not once but twice as it hit the perimeter fence and bounced away...the home keeper looking none too happy about it!  With ten minutes left Emley pull another goal back from nowhere, and we are forced to endure a nailbiting ten minutes until the referee blows for the end of the match. So once again the team reach another Semi-Final, and whoever we play we'll be taking on a side from a higher division, but if they play like tonight then there is a distinct possibility of getting to the Final. 
   
We get back to the car and thaw out before setting off for home. It's even easier and quicker than coming back from the Coach and Horses as Steve Harley hasn't even started his 10 pm radio programme and John is already dropping me off outside the house. No Jaffa cakes tonight though, it's a bowl of porridge to warm me up! 
 
Until next time....
Happy Travelling
Trev

Archived Trev's Travels

Trev's Travels Appear Courtesy of Trevor Herrington