POST MATCH RAMBLE: Wednesday -v- Blackpool

POST MATCH RAMBLE: Wednesday -v- Blackpool

5.30am. Awake.

I lay in bed cursing my body clock for this ludicrous time.

Toss. Turn.

Suddenly it’s gone 6 and as I set the alarm for 7, I get up, shower and prepare for the trip across the Pennines to the Irish Sea. Blackpool away.

This is two firsts: my first time to Blackpool (for football or otherwise) and the first camper van away day.

Four gay Wednesday fans in a camper van to Blackpool for the weekend. What could go wrong?

Lucky camper van?

Lucky away day camper van?

After showering I get to breakfast. Every away day needs a good breakfast although I was short on food in the cupboards.

I have eggs and bread. Two poached eggs and two toast it is then.

I’ve perfected the art of the poached egg late.

The trick is lots of water on a fast boil, put your eggs in and the drop the temperature for the eggs to settle in about five minutes.

These were perfect and nicely runny with a good solid white.

I set off for our rendezvous point of James’ house.

As I’m approaching, Tom texts that he’s running late and that we’ll need to get diesel en route.

This camper van trip nearly never happened as Tom put petrol in last weekend and had to abort a trip to Snowdonia.

I did the thing a good friend does. I replied with one word: DIESEL.

As I get to James’ he’s battling with a duvet and plastic bags. He was trying to get this huge duvet in my tiny bag. It was never going in. I ask why is he bothering as Tom is picking us up.

‘Didn’t you get the text? We’ve got to go to Tom’s!’.

I had the text, I had read it, just not very well.

Eventually we squeeze the duvet into a bag and set off.

We get to Tom’s with another text saying he’ll be another ten minutes. This is to be expected.

A dicey trip with Priscilla

A dicey trip with Priscilla

Eventually the van or Priscilla, as we’re calling it, turns up, complete with pink dice.

I’m in the back and dismantle the seats to find a seatbelt and eventually get in on.

And we’re off via the nearest petrol station. I point clearly to the diesel.

I’m at a distance to the others so keep myself to myself and read this week’s Economist. As you do on an away day.

As we pass the stunning scenery of the Snake Pass, Alexander points out that we’ve passed the point where the van broke down last weekend.

Result.

Snowdonia 0 – 1 Blackpool!

Finally we get to Blackpool and park up at the camp site where we’ve arranged to stop.

It’s not the most glamorous location in the world, but this is Blackpool.

We check in and the site owner asks what we’re doing in Blackpool.

Site man: So are you here for a night out then?

Us: No, we’re here for the football.

Welcome to Blackpool: twinned with somewhere presumably not quite as horrid

Welcome to Blackpool: twinned with somewhere presumably not quite as horrid

Site man (looking as though we said we’d turned up for the Tiddlywinks World Championships): Football?

Us: Yeah, we’re Wednesday fans.

Site Man: Ah right, so what game are you seeing? (Seriously?! Does this guy not realise he has a camp site ten minutes walk from a league ground?)

Us: Blackpool against Sheffield Wednesday

Site Man: The football is just an excuse isn’t it for a night out?

We nod politely without saying that football is the ONLY reason we’re in Blackpool and head to the pub (via KFC).

A tower burger each and four pints later and it’s nearly time to head off.

It wasn’t the most atmospheric pub we’ve been in and had the novelty of mixed sex toilets as the gents was being refurbished.

It was showing the Bradford v Reading FA Cup game but on one small TV facing away from most of the seats.

In most pubs now you get used to loads of screens and projectors so it was a throwback to see football in a pub so close to a ground given such little attention.

We were joined by two of James’ friends, Sara and Jill who he’d also got tickets for (although not sat with us) and we head off the ground.

They’d been drinking on the sea front and apparently loads of Wednesday fan were there. Why didn’t we do that?

Although at a tenner for a round for four pints, we weren’t complaining.

We get to the ground and there’s a huge queue to get in, going right around the corner.

No more beer? NO MORE BEER?!?!

No more beer? NO MORE BEER?!?!

What the hell? It was only 2.40, not 2.55. Ridiculous.

Eventually we shuffle round, get into the ground and Tom is outraged.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Tom this outraged.

He was fuming.

Incandescent.

There was no beer in the ground!

We have a quick pre-match leak and get to our seats just before the players came out.

THE MATCH

Wednesday lined up without the injured Jose Semedo and Kamil Zayette, so Jeremy Helan was in at left back and Chris Maguire was wide on the right on a pitch that rivals the Hillsborough surface for poor quality.

Blackpool beach: A better surface than Bloomfield Road...and indeed Hillsborough

Blackpool beach: A better surface than Bloomfield Road…and indeed Hillsborough

Given our own pitch problems I don’t think any Wednesday fans or staff can be arrogant about this.

It was a tight match but Blackpool looked like a poor side with little going for them, destined for League One.

After 15 minutes, Sam Hutchinson goes down.

I turn to James: ‘Hutch’s down again,’ he says.

Typical.

‘Oh, wait,’ I replied, ‘he’s only tying his shoe laces’.

I honestly thought he was doing his laces but he stayed down and Marnick Vermijl came on to replace him. He played wide right with Maguire moving to the left.

We played some nice stuff in the first half and just lacked that clinical edge to create a clear chance or finish off a good move.

There were some nice runs at the Blackpool defence by Lewis McGugan and Maguire, with the best chance falling to Atdhe Nuhiu, who had what looked like a point blank header to score but managed to head it over.

I punched the seat in front as it looked a certain goal, much to Alex’s alarm, who was a bit taken back.

I do get carried away sometimes. That’s what it’s all about isn’t it?

Half time soon comes around to more moans from Tom that he can’t have a pint.

HALF TIME: Blackpool 0-1 Wednesday

The second half gets under way and Tom’s frustrations move into Vermijl, who he’s not very impressed by and very harshly he compares him to Jon Beswetherick.

Soon after we get a free kick on the far side in a very similar position to the second goal against Middlesbrough last week. Lewis McGugan steps up, puts a very threatening ball into the box, it misses everyone and goes in.

Class act: McGugan's strike was the difference

Class act: McGugan’s strike was the difference

GET IN!!!!

Much pandemonium and high-fiving followed.

It was one of those slightly delayed celebrations as we’d weren’t expecting it to go straight in!

That was about as excited as the game got.

To be fair to the Wednesday team, we saw the game out well and we never looked like conceding.

We saw the game off, on a very difficult pitch without any major headache.

FULL TIME: Blackpool 0-1 Wednesday

The crowd were all over McGugan with chant after chant:

LEWIS MCGUGAN! LEWIS MCGUGAN! LEWIS MCGUGAN!

SIGN HIM UP, SIGN HIM UP, SIGN HIM UP!

He’s been more effective on his second spell and is our best midfielder.

We must keep him in the summer.

This was a very hard-fought and ugly win.

I love the beauty of an ugly hard fought win.

They’re not as exciting as a late winner or as euphoric as a big win, but there’s something satisfying about getting the points through effort and organisation.

We clap the players off and head out of the ground to get food and pints.

Celebratory beers in a 'home only' pub

Celebratory beers in a ‘home only’ pub

There’s a chain pub/eatery type thing nearby and says Home fans only.

None us have colours showing so we walk in acting as though we’ve lost and order.

We drink to three points, 10th place a pick food off a menu that includes doughnut burgers and food served on a trash can lid.

Only in Blackpool.

After a couple more pints and food (none us braved the doughnut burger, much to James’ regret) and head to sample the Blackpool gay scene, which was like going back 20 years.

As though food served on trash can-based plates wasn’t enough, they were advertising an event called Bin Bag Blackpool.

A night of more beer, some spirits, the same music rotating on a loop and drag acts follow and we head back to the camper van to collapse and await our hangovers.

Blackpool was certainly an interesting experience and although it’s easy to mock towns like this, they have their own character and charm, even if it includes the Trash Can Challenge.

A good day, a good win and four awful hangovers on Sunday morning!

JP
Owls Alive
E-mail: admin@owlsalive.com

Twitter: @jpowls and @OwlsAlive


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