POST MATCH RAMBLE: Bolton -v- Wednesday

POST MATCH RAMBLE: Bolton -v- Wednesday

4am and I’m woken by an alarm belting out of my iPad. What the f***?

I haven’t set this. I don’t even use my iPad for an alarm. I try to go back to sleep but it’s not pay for someone to write your essay happening.

I decide on an early gym session to start the day.

I did this before Boro and we won, so that routine must continue, plus it’ll set me up nicely for the day.

As I was walking back to the flat, you could Wednesdayites already heading for the train station. The day was already starting for some, which made me reconsider which train I was going to get. I was due to get one with a quick change in Manchester to get the train to the ground. I changed my initial plans to get an earlier train and have a bigger gap between trains to get food with and not risk missing that train and losing valuable beer time.

I got back to the flat, showered, changed and ready for the day. I decided to bring a charger in the hope that I get access to a plug on the train. I was off!

I get to the platform as train pulls and there’s a lot of people waiting, it’s going to be a packed ride for sure. I make sure I get on, these situations are everyman for themselves.

No room with a view

No room with a view

The train packs out and not everybody got on. It was standing room only and a square inch each but we were off across the stunning Peak District to Manchester. These are views that never get boring.

I get to Manchester and my gym hunger had really set in now. I needed food and soon. I seem to recall Manchester Piccadilly has loads of food options and in the back of my mind there’s a KFC. That’d be ideal. There’s no KFC but there is a pub type setup that’s doing all day breakfast and promise Bury Black Pudding. Perfect. I go to the bar where some lads are getting served. As they finish getting served the barman leaves to do some cleaning. I’m waiting and so are a few others. Come on, fancy serving us. As I wait time is passing and my half hour gap for food is evaporating. Come on, come on, Still nobody, Do they not want service? This is becoming a joke. I look at my watch and say to myself that two minutes and I’m off, this is their fault.


Gym and Subway, it’s the way forward

They never came back by my self imposed deadline so I went away in search of food again. I was now desperately hungry and now quite grumpy. I’m not good when I’m hungry. Eventually I settle on Subway.

I get to the next train and it’s even worse than the first train. I didn’t think this was possible. I managed to get a seat! Miracle! I can’t get to a plug for me already depleting battery, which is down to 50% already. Then I hear a voice behind me, “we’ll get you a seat”. There was  pregnant woman that wanted to sit down, one other guy offered but it was awkward as he was further down the carriage, so volunteered my seat. So much for the seat …

A train guard shouts “MOVE DOWN THE CARRIAGE”. a disgruntled mass reply of “there’s no room follows”. He replies, “No, move right down”, he replied. There’s no bloody room!!! The train should have left five minutes ago. Our train network really can’t cope with football can they? Any sensible approach would be to put extra carriages on lines that will be busy for football but our trains aren’t that smart.

Eventually we’re off. And my battery is running very low. I need this for meeting my mate and finding the pub where he already is. Airplane mode for the journey it is. After about 15 minutes, a group of big middle aged guys come through the train. What the fuck? They’d decided to find their “booked seats”. So there’s no room, we can barely move and these guys weren’t small and neither were their cases. What is wrong with people,. just wait for the train to empty, which it will past Bolton. Morons.

Finally we’re there and I can walk to the pub. The route on google maps looks straight forward. Left from the ground and straight down the main road. I follow the route but I”m some sort of industrial cul de sac. I’ve clearly taken a wrong turn, but it’s running just about parallel with the main road, I’m on track, I think. As I walk it strikes me what a ridiculous

In the middle of nowhere

In the middle of nowhere

place for a football ground.

There is absolutely nothing here, it’s dead.

After what felt like forever I get to the pub to meet James and Tom. James and I had got talking earlier in the week on Grindr where we’d established that we were both Wednesday fans and off to Bolton today, so thought we’d meet for a pre-match pint.

They’re getting food as we start drinking and pointing out the hot or not so hot lads on display in the pub. Tom decides he doesn’t want his food. The food is presented stupidly. He has a burger and chips but the burger is square and it’s not on a plate, but on a chopping board. What are they trying to be in presenting food on a chopping board. And square burgers? It must be lancastrian thing …

Anyway, stupid or not, he’s not eating and asks if I want it. I’m not really hungry as I’d not long since had a foot long Subway, but I refuse to see food go to waste so make my way through it.

It's pink...not for everyone

It’s pink…not for everyone

We head off in time to have a quick pint in the ground before the match but as we get to the ground it becomes apparent that the pint won’t happen as the upper and lower sections are totally cut off. We arrange to meet back after in the same spot.

On the way to the ground, I noticed that James had a very elaborate iPhone cover, it’s a pink penguin and class.

I head up into the stands and ready for the game.



To my surprise neither the new centre half Dielne winger Drenthe were starting the game and I was looking forward to seeing the dutchman. But it’s fair that the same players that have made a good start to the season keep their place.


Settle down for a great game

The game started slowly and never got much quicker. Had some good openings early on but lacked either a final ball or a finish to get a goal. We were dominate in the game and they did very little and when they did come forward we handled it. This game was here for the taking and it was clear why they’ve not won a game all season.

Soon after Maguire broke into the box and beat the keeper but not the last defender and it was cleared off the line. Then Nuihu and May combined well in the box and May went for an acrobatic finish. It looked like the keeper would get but didn’t and the ball ended up in the corner of the net, get in!! Wait, the players aren’t really celebrating – it was disallowed, FUCK. Why? There was no clear reason why. All I could think was a foul by Nuihu or a handball in the build up.

The game meandered on in the same manner, we had possession but didn’t create enough openings. We looked a bit rusty after the international break. This wasn’t a terrible performance, it was just lacking an edge. Others around me were in full moan, claiming that this was a shocking performance. That’s unfair, it wasn’t a shocker, the basics were there, we had a good structure and shape, we just lacked a ruthless edge.


NUHIU…what’s all the fuss?

At half time I bumped to Ante Mirocevic of Owlsalive forum fame. He asked me what the fuss around Niuhi was as he thought he was awful and fat. That’s unfair, I’m a big fan of Atdhe but can look awkward when you first see him. But his work rate and link up play is excellent.

The second half was much of the same. A poor Maguire went off for Drenche and the dutchman immediately showed what he was about straight away and nearly created a goal. You could sense an excitement amongst the Wednedayites. An impression was made but it was short lived as he did nothing else. We continued to waste more opportunities and chances. In particular Tom Lees was very unlucky not score with a header just before the 90 minute mark. Then in injury time Drenche broke into the box and just had the keeper to beat, beat the keeper and he’s a hero. What happems? He missed the goal by such a distance that the ball almost ended up in the gangway in the corner on the stand.

What a miss!

What a miss!

The spirit of Jermaine Johnson characterised our game and it was two points dropped. It’s a strange feeling when there’s neither excitement or sadness.

The team were clapped and cheered off in good spirit as I made my way back to our agreed rendezvous, where Tom and James soon appeared and we headed back to the pub for more beer and to watch the Liverpool-Villa game. They were trying to decide if they wanted food but I was fine after my double lunch.

A few pints later and we put the world to rights as we watch Villa get an unlikely win as we set off to get a train back to Manchester Piccadilly. We had a 20 minute wait for the train to Sheffield so we went into the Sainsbury’s to get beer for the train. We shouted the self serve machines and there was a member of staff there so I showed him the beer so he could authorise. There was nothing wrong with the authorisation but he mumbled something at use but it’s a mystery what he said. He was either foreign or very very Manc. I couldn’t tell.

We went to the platform for the train and there’a Northern train on the platform. This must be our train, James days.

It’s not, I insist, it’s a Northern, ours is definitely a Trans Penine Express, because it’s a 50 minute one and the Northern ones are all local stopping ones that take about five hours. This will go soon I insist. It doesn’t move and I start to doubt myself. In the meantime, they start to compare passers by for hotness, as I double check platforms. One scaly looking white kid over heard doesn’t like the fact we preferred someone else and started to confront us. As he did the platform changed and we went in one direction and he in another.

Tom drops one of the bottles of Peroni and it’s heading to smash but he manages to catch it with his foot. It’s a brilliant piece of skill and I rescue the intact bottle. One of the train guards says, ‘you want that now, you best chuck i’, rubbish I say it was just a bit shaken. The bastard just wanted my beer.

We get to the train and there’s a table with three seats free. Perfect, I make a bee line and we start to take the seats. The pissed up old man protests.

“You can’t sit there, these seats are taken.”Rubbish I say, there’s nobody here and no stuff or any sign that there’s people there and if they’ve moved it’s tough shit.

“We’re sitting here”. And we do.Grumpy Old Man

The pissed up old man says they’ll be back in a minute, the seats are taken. Tough shit we say, they’ve gone and we’re here now. If they come back we’ll deal with that then.

Ignorant Wednesday bastards he says.

Why who do you support?, we ask.

Wednesday he says.

Oh. This is going to be a long hour.

The pissed up old man gets up and disappears. There never were any others, he just made them up so he could sit on his own. Or not with a bunch of pissed up poofs.

We drink the beer and continue to put the world to rites. We discuss the morals of chants and the fine line between banter, humour and offensive chants. Brighton fans get stuff chanted at them about gay men that’s not fair on them or gay men, I argue that football isn’t seen as accepted by a lot of gay men and they don’t see football as a space that accepts them.

A good end to an average footy day

A good end to an average footy day

I think this is sad and needs addressing but how you do this and maintain the excellent banter that you do get with football chants is tough.

Suddenly the train stops. Where are we, I ask? We have no idea. The train moves again and Sheffield station appears. Ah, we’re here.

We have a couple more pints in the Sheffield the Sheffield tap and stumble home where I fall asleep attempting to watch match of the day and the Football League Show.

OWLS ALIVE circliar yeller SPACE

Owls Alive

Twitter: @jpowls and @OwlsAlive

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