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AWAY DAYS



Some Places Just Have A Knack
Macclesfield always seems to bring something to the table as far as away trips are concerned. From a birthday trip in 2005 costing just £12 on the train where a last minute Nicky Bailey bullet header prompted an exemplary terrace run, resulting in the birthday boy being inadvertantly toppled over the hoardings and onto a wonderfully soft pitch, to a superb second half in the sun on an open terrace having arrived at 1200 as the local pubs opened.

So when Macclesfield offered itself as the last away game of the 08/09 season, it was an absolute no-brainer, right?

We had only made it into Central London by 1100 this time. The lovely, fast services to Manchester via Macclesfield allowed us a bit more sleep in the morning. Ten of us were stood outside a pub in Euston waiting for it to open so we could get the first drinks in. After successfully knocking two back, the train departed at 1200 at we were in Macclesfield by twenty to two. Rapid. Just like lightning. The same local pub across the road from the station greeted us as it does every year. Unfortunately, the piano that had sat in the corner for all these years had become desperately out of tune, and with an equally out of tune voice (!) lurking over the keys, a singalong was had. It must have annoyed the other two people in the pub greatly, as well as the bar staff.

Still, with that event passed the time had come to go and watch a game of football, albeit a completely academic one with both sides having confirmed their places in League Two for another year. The friendly cabbie dropped us outside the away end for a very reasonable price, though this time we had to be seated as supposedly, we did not bring enough supporters to warrant opening the terrace behind the goal. Madness, I know...

It was nice to discover that the seated stand along the side stocked some great pies as well as bottled cider and lager. This would provide everything we needed for the day really. Barnet went behind very early on in a very pedestrian game and the snack bar was being utilised before half time by a number of Bees fans who had travelled.

The discovery of the mascot's (a Macclesfield lion) head in a nearby cupboard warranted much attention as a deal was very nearly struck to purchase it for literally no apparent reason. As some of the other Bees fans stood in the corner and chuckled at the haggling and bargaining, accompanied by what seemed like a whole fridge of bottles to themselves, it struck me how surreal this game had become. There was still a game going on the other side of the wall, but of those who had travelled, there must have been around 20 or 25 people gathered from in the concourse who were completely oblivious to the nearby action. It had a distinct air of pre-season about it, but everyone was having fun in the name of 'supporting' Barnet FC.

Apparently, the second half began at some point after four o'clock. The snack bar closed, meaning we were all going back to watch the game. It became a little bit more exciting with Barnet having more of the play and eventually we equalised through Albert Adomah, though not many people really cared. Macc right back Izak Reid was given a damning appraisal by a witty individual before those pesky men in blue forced a winner with less than ten minutes left to complete a double over us for the season. Still, it was all over soon enough and we ambled away knowing this would be the last away trip for some time. That's always a low point.

An eventful stroll was taken back down the road to Macc station, though with some time to spare we made it into another local pub where the main activity was general pub sports as well as pub beverages. As per usual to be fair. With some much needed food next door, the train was due to leave and take us back to London.

It's barely even worth mentioning at this point that we were all worse for wear, it should probably be taken as a general fact when it comes to away days. Another eventful train ride home, chatting to some Bolton fans from the West Country, as well as some Brighton fans (not from the West Country) We were back into the pub where we started some ten hours on and it was soon time to call it a night.

Perhaps not. We walked back along the Euston Road and entered The Euston Flyer, which was mainly full of Brentford fans who were certainly well oiled having seen their side just get promoted at Darlington. All nice and friendly, we exchanged a good old chinwag about our respective seasons before being interrupted by the 'One Bees In London' chant which seems to have become custom in our few recent meetings. Grammar aside, it was all taken in good humour. A jovial continuation of the day.

Attention soon turned to the German barmaid in the pub. A few people attempted their finest lines on her. I'm not sure if there is a German equivalent to that silly French phrase about wanting to go to bed with me, but I'm pretty sure I heard some sort of terrible German from further down the bar. Hilarious it most certainly was, but to fair she was pretty stunning.

Some made a move from here, and eventually it was time to call it a night. Livers had taken a huge battering and could have done with some well earned rest. We all made our way back on the tube, including a conversation with an older lady who was telling us how she was going home to have great sex with her husband. The man sitting next to her, her husband, sat quietly, perhaps preparing himself. I took the opportunity to sleep some of the journey and miraculously woke up as the train pulled into our station.

It was more of a stagger home to lay the heads to rest at some point in the evening. Time had become an alien concept somewhere down the line. The next morning was not pretty that's for sure, but it was some day out. A cracking way to end the season then.



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