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AWAY DAYS



Happy Birthday
To be born in (the back end of) May, June or July, you miss out on having a birthday game. Rarely does it fall on the actual day, but it is regularly celebrated on the nearest day to it. I'd had some shocking games in December, however my 21st birthday fell on a Saturday, and it was a great trip in Lincoln City.

Preparations had begun early for this one, with the local party shop enjoying some excellent business in the week running upto it, of which more later. A nice early start on the day too, culminated in me, obviously not the kind of person who draws attention to himself arriving in Barnet via bus with a large 'I'm 21' badge proudly on display.

The day begins in regular fashion, with us meeting in the Railway Bell at 9am, otherwise known as 'Bell At 9'. Party hats had been donned as me made our way through the fine Wetherspoons breakfast. Soon we were onto the train headed for Peterborough. I don't know what it is about Peterborough. Trips there, or any that go through there, always seem to result in a superb day out. This was to be no different. As is standard, drinks were already flowing nicely on the journey.

On arrival, we met some Barnet fans who all wished me a happy birthday. How did they know? It was nice that everyone knew, seemingly without any prompting! Or something like that. A two carriage rickety train arrived to take us to our final destination. This is where the aforementioned party gear becomes very important as the train became covered in party hats, amber streamers, matching plate and cup sets, a party mat, 'I'm 21' bunting and party food including Cocktail Sausages and Chocolate. I loved it, what a brilliant birthday!

Some unsuspecting rail passengers had however been caught up in the party, as well some more Barnet fans on the same journey. They all joined in and took a party hat, which was excellent! The upmarket northern man next to us wished me a happy birthday, took a hat and promptly returned to flicking through his broadsheet, and even the ticket inspector found it amusing. Fantastic. Even some bemused young Lincoln supporters were happy to join in further up the line, and we all discussed how many Lincoln would win by. Everyone was in a state at this point, unsurprisingly.

We arrived into Lincoln at about 1:00. The station is right in the middle of the busy city centre, so (most of) the party attire was removed. As the team bus drove past to some slightly bewildered looks, we holed up in a Student-y bar called Varsity in keeping with the general spirit of the day. More drinks were sunk before getting taxis to the ground.

Barnet were on a poor run of form at the time so hopes were not high for the game. True to that, we found ourselves two goals down at half time. I made my way down to the snack bar area by the stand where I was approached by some stewards, who immediately grabbed an unopened can of Strongbow from my pocket. A completely genuine, without realising error but I wasn't really going to put up an argument as they began writing out my ejection notice. Three of the others had also suffered a similar fate, but with the football on show, this was not going to ruin my day in the slightest. We were all in agreement as we embarked on the walk back to the pub.

By the time we arrived, Soccer Saturday broke the news that we were 3-0 down. At this point it looked like the stewards had done us a favour by asking us to leave. Certainly there was no complaint from us. Others soon arrived in the pub before the final whistle, in general agreement that the football was very poor. 4-1 was the final score, depressing really.

More importantly however, a birthday party was still to be had. Previous experience has told us that there is only one off licence in the whole of Lincoln. We stocked up and returned to find that we would have to get a rail-replacement bus to Newark to begin our journey home. Some other Bees fans had suffered such fate, but such is life.

Arriving in Newark was much like the to Gainsborough the previous year in that nothing seemed to be going on. A frantic search for a pub was formulated. Imagine the surprise when twenty or so Barnet fans arrived in what was a small, grimey, and otherwise completely quiet and uninhabited pub. One man was sat lonely at the bar and he was soon being bothered due to his resemblance to David James. He seemed to enjoy the attention however and was happy to join in the photography.

We had around 45 minutes to burn, so enough time for a few more drinks at these dirt cheap prices. Someone decided that it would be a good idea to purchase some Baby Guinness' (Tia Maria/Baileys) at this point. Awful. This made me sick on the quick stroll back to the station as we boarded the GNER train home. A few lads had previously gone off in search for food, with one somehow conspiring to be bitten by a dog. For him in particular, his first away trip with us, the whole day could be described as something of an experience!

The train home was silly, with much luggage racking and general caper aboard the empty carriage. At one point or another, I was going to get 21 birthday bumps. However, little did I know that the 'one for luck' would result in being thrown high into the air, nearly hitting the ceiling and being allowed to crash onto the floor of the train. This left me winded, and the pile of the bodies soon falling on top of me did not help much either. Very funny though.

As noted in the site intro, this site is about our trips away and rarely is football significantly mentioned. This game was a prime example. Yet, we still managed to have a great day out in following our team. When the football isn't great, you have to make the most of the day. Otherwise, aside from that compelling feeling to watch Barnet despite walking out each week castigating the team's performance, why else would you go?



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