Yes, I know it’s early. But these are the sacrifices we make for our team.
Rather than a few beers after work with my colleagues, followed by a few beers back home with my pals, then a curry, shower and sleep, the normal Friday night, a 12.30 kick off in Sunderland meant an early start this morning.
Instead of being able to wake up at a reasonable time, I am up usual work time. I need to be on the 8:11 from Kings Cross to Sunderland, getting into the City at 11:50. I am already looking forward to the disgusting looks from people as I crack open the 1st can of the morning at 8:11 (I have a rule, never open the can before the train pulls off.)
Sunderland is a bit a of crap trip. An awful city, an awful ground.
It is a bit better this year due to the ticket price reductions. Previously their £45 charge and £60 meant that you had done over a ton before you had even bought any alcoholic beverages. They sit you up in the Gods, the wind rattling towards you. Even in May it is cold.
At least in Newcastle, you get to drink in a decent city before and after, possibility of a night out. Sunderland is bleak. I do wonder what the point of it is. Maybe they should just move all the Calais refugees there? Would be a home from home.
Despite all this, it has often been a legendary train journey. One of them ones that due to it being 3 hours long, by the time you make the journey back you can barely remember your own name. A lot of the great stories of away games travel have come as a result from a trip to Sunderland.
Back in the day we did actually used to go via Newcastle. This meant a couple of pints before the game in the old O’Neil’s opposite the station, before getting the Metro to Stadium of Light or St Peters.
They have opened up a new route recently which allows you to go direct into Sunderland. Whilst it is quicker and cheaper, it drops you into the middle of Sunderland City centre, a desolate concrete shopping area where every shop is shut, bar 3 Greggs.
Whilst it is an early start for me, at least the 12:30 scheduling (cheers TV companies – always taking into account travelling fans!) means we can be home in time for X-Factor. The train pulling back into Kings Cross at 18:53. Enough time to get back home, put the dinner on, and settle in for a bit of Honey-G.
I am probably making it sound like I am really miserable and not looking forward to today’s trip. Well you’re right. It’s made even worse by the fact that half the travelling support today, and most of the lads I am going with, are heading to Sofia tomorrow for the Champions League game against Ludogorets. So all they will be talking about is how excited they are. Planning what is happening. They will be buzzing.
Meanwhile tomorrow all I am up to is a bit of washing, some cleaning, re-run of X-Factor and some packing in preparation for me to move house. And The life of a 32-year old man. In fact, I have just looked at flights to Sofia. £113. I am tempted. But then I do have work Monday, and have to pick up a new car Thursday.
So yeh, I am off out now. Basically wrote this because I had 15 minutes to spare before meeting my pals at Walthamstow Central. Enjoy your lay in…