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Question of the Week

Should Russell Slade be sacked?

Yes immediately
Give him one more game

Don't Do It!
Don't Do It!

Danger - Deep Water

By: Chris Smith
Date: 28/03/2010

IT was a return to the relegation battle today after 25 days in the Med. My previous game had been at home to Macclesfield where I realised that for the second season running, Town would manage two home wins out of two in my absence.

I was in an AA meeting in Malta when I got the Bournemouth result last week and it was just as well as I could have had a drink with the exasperation of being short changed yet again as they stuck two fingers up at me for banishing the winter blues that they had contributed to.

I’d let Glynn have a few freebies with my season ticket so he’s seen twice as many wins as I have with it despite my investment. Not that he was grateful for it when we met up in Thorne for today’s game. Instead, he was complaining that the experience had raised false hopes and even I think there is a possibility of staying up whilst a month ago I had just wanted the agony to end. Rich and Gary made up the numbers, with Gary driving.

I expected f*** all from the game, which would be just as well, but was oddly looking forward to the day out. I heard Glynn had driven to the previous away game at Morecambe and picked Gary up at his home near Goole in cotton picking country. Glynn is er, loud and forthright. When knocking at the appointed door, he’d become a little impatient, shouting comments about our friend’s physique whilst banging loudly on the door. Shame he got the wrong house and that the comments he made about Gary’s physical attributes were attributable to the innocent, and no doubt cowering, occupant. I think Gary was brave to be driven by him given that even though Scunthorpe station has just two platforms, Glynn can miss a train by being on the wrong one. It’s even worse as he lives in the town.

A good few tasteless text jokes were shared before the day went downhill as we got nearer to Rochdale. A bit of research had delivered a promising pub off the M62 and about 10 miles from Spotland. The Turnpike looked dangerously expensive from the outside so we didn’t even think about looking at a menu. The cost of the drink was enough to make me want to start again to get over the shock. Apparently this place was a right hole at one time and the furniture regularly ended up in the adjacent reservoir on lively occasions.

We ended up going into Saddleworth and stopped off at the Junction Inn, an altogether more promising looking gaff, at about midday. We wondered what it would be like inside as the proprietor came out to display the Pub Food sign in a dressing gown. Must have been a good night. However, it was a proper boozer once inside with proper unpretentious grub, although we had to laugh when asked what table we were at when we were the only four customers in the place. We were taken with the freebie glossy magazines inside which were dedicated to the promotion of Saddleworth although the worrying prominence given to a lamb on the cover would frankly have passed as pornography to the west of Offa’s Dyke. By the way, the pub dog hated us. It must have smelled "losers" on us and kept a very cautious distance.

I gave the rag pudding a miss although it is apparently Lancashire for steak and kidney. The pub is definitely worth a visit when going to this side of Manchester though and it was a relatively short journey into Rochdale. Poor timing though, as we parked up at the same time as several Town coaches, meaning a surge through the doors of the pub by the away end. I can’t say I was too enamoured with the prospect of being crushed in the place but service was swift and we made our way to the beer garden with its bowling green behind.

It could be a sign of things to come next season in that this arena had two small stands with one named after the Unique Pub Company and another presumably named after a local dignitary whose name unfortunately escapes me. It was too good a photo opportunity to miss so we took a few shots of ourselves posing as though we’d just taken these ends in the manner of football hoolie-porn books. Unfortunately there wasn’t a conveniently placed skip to add further authenticity to the atmosphere of menace we sought to create.

Our tidy little and well naughty firm was boosted by the arrival of long standing London Mariners, Rob Moss, Gary B and Giles. Just for the last thirty minutes before the game, I had that feeling of well-being, reunited as we were with friends of many previous away trips. I was buzzing but it was more the result of a caffeine overdose from the 4 pints of Diet Coke I’d had in the previous hours. The other, and numerous, Town fans were in good voice although their songs were dedicated to Town’s cause rather than the nonsense we were coming out with about how we’d overrun the stands behind us.

The report continues in Part 2

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