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AWAY DAYS



Brightoning Up Your League Cup Campaign
Brighton always had potential to be a great trip ever since it was drawn out of the hat. The appeal of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy game the season previous didn't really have the same affect as an August trip to the seaside. Therefore, the first away trip of the 08/09 season was a memorable one.

12:00 start for this one, with the train into Kings Cross. There is a nice little pub within the station where our group met, though as it was midweek our numbers were less than ten. Still, a good group to make the journey down. The train headed over the water and we were in Brighton for 15:00 having already knocked back a few. Unfortunately though the weather had not been kind to us and the sun was finding it hard to make an impression, being outdone somewhat by a strong coastal wind.

Still, there was a pub and a chip shop about two minutes from the station, fantastic. After a swift pint and what could possibly be the best bag of chips I have ever had, we made our way down to the seafront to be confronted by even more wind. Still, it was an opportunity you can't pass up, even it is a pebble beach in Brighton. Some of the lads couldn't resist going into the sea, so jeans were rolled up as they ran in, and promptly ran straight out when the water was deemed to be freezing. Eventually, the throats were becoming parched so we made our way to the local public house where a few more Bees fans had joined the group.

Our group split up as the younger ones amongst us were too tempted by the arcades and the pier. We moved on, and a silly amount of money was spent in one arcade attempting to win a variety of cuddly toys. Quite why is anyone's guess, but needless to say we walked out with armfuls of these little miracles. That was not all though, the needs were not fulfilled as the pier stood in front of us. Somehow, one of us managed to win a 5ft cuddly shark, coloured in black and orange, on one of the pier games. None of us considered how we would be able to get this, amongst all the others into the ground. But that was the least of our concerns. Jeff The Shark (JTS) was now part of the group.

After finding we had time for just one more pub, we got a cab to the ground. Luckily, the stewards and staff were most amused by what we had brought along with us and had no problem letting us in with every item. The game was all-ticket though, and JTS did not have a ticket, though with Barnet not selling out one of the many open stands at Brighton's athletics ground, we were able to secure him and the other toys a seat.

Well it was another one of those games wasn't it. Last season we found ourselves 5-0 down at Norwich within half an hour. This year we improved slightly by only being 4-0 down at half time. After about ten minutes it was apparent we were going absolutely nowhere, so the atmosphere amongst the Barnet fans, like Norwich, turned into one of enjoyment of the situation. Always look on the bright side of life, you might say. This time though, the songs were interspersed with our very own impromptu versions 90s classics, such as Don't Look Back In Anger and A Little Respect. With the football on offer, you've got to make an effort to enjoy it, haven't you? Just look at our line-up that night and try to disagree...

After all, arguments had already begun between Barnet fans about the state of football. We'd not even played two games, and already people were voicing dissatisfaction at the football on offer. It was hard to disagree when watching such a poor effort, but if you think about it too much, you end up becoming cynical and not enjoying it at all. That's my opinion. I try not to take it all too seriously, otherwise I'd probably end up going mental.

Full time ambles its way around without much major incident, aside from our left back getting himself stupidly sent off, just to rub salt into the footballing wound of course. Still, it's time to make our way home having had a top day out at the very least.

Somehow we found ourselves on separate trains home, and we all said our goodbyes. I had a bit further to go, on my own, having been lumbered with the 5ft JTS. The looks I got walking around Kings Cross with this round my back were interesting, but I got myself onto the train with minimal bother. However, I hadn't accounted for the plastered man who took an interest in the shark and decided to ask me all about him. As I checked the time and noted that the train would not leave for another 30 minutes, I was dreading it.

After 20 minutes of rambling, he moved on and started an argument with some women, for no apparent reason. I think that in hindsight, the days drinking got me through this nightmare event. Still, I managed to get a lift home in the end after another superb day accompanied by horrible football.



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