The season countdown…

by Mystical Mike

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

After the initial survival kit for pre-season friendlies, it’s time for some more helpful advice as the season countdown continues.

As football fans we all love the match day…the one day a week where nothing else matters for 90 minutes. You can let off all your steam at eleven men who simply aren’t good enough, and one man in black who certainly isn’t! Home games bring about nerves and for some reason seem more of a stress than going away. Ask anyone who travels away and they will tell you that they prefer away games to home.

There’s something about boarding a coach, getting on a train or getting lost in a car on a Saturday lunch time to watch your side away from home that’s magical and really can’t be explained.

So with not long to go until the big kick off, here’s a check list of things to remember when taking part in the pilgrimage of the away day…


Make sure you know someone else on the coach

There’s three types of people you’ll want to avoid when boarding an organised coach. If you get on by yourself you’re putting yourself in the firing line of either Derek, the know it all who will ask your opinion on every club issue since 1945, Moaning Michael, the one who can still find a fault in a 5-1 away win at your promotion rivals, or Psycho Phil, the one who everyone avoids because of his deathly stare, his eyes not leaving you all the way to Carlisle…and back!

So be sure to book a coach in pairs, even if you take someone who has no interest in football…it will save you a very uncomfortable journey.


Don’t drink too much at the pub stop

This may sound like a fatherly piece of advice but we’ve all been there. The coach stops 45 minutes from your destination for a pub stop and a meal. Four pints and a chip butty later and you’re in high spirits and board the coach thinking that this is definately the right time to start a sing song. But after a few verses of “We all follow the (insert team name here) over land and sea…and (insert opponents name here)…” you start to feel your bladder giving way and the pain you have to sit through is agonising as the coach slowly moves through traffic.

You forgot about the matchday traffic and now you have to hold on for dear life to avoid the most embarressing coach trip ever. Or, as my friends chose to do at Wigan once, back in day when Wigan were only dreaming of the top flight, you could get off the bus, relieve yourself in some poor souls front garden and walk the rest of the way to the ground. Either way, it’s not the best of situations!


Don’t overlook the train

If you don’t like stuffy coaches, the train journey to an away game can be a lot of fun, if a little more expensive. For one, you can get away from any chavs that come on board and also you get some of the best camorarderie with other fans possible. Saturday afternoons are a gem on trains and you’re more than likely to bump into rival fans up for a good laugh and a bit of banter. Of course there’s the odd few who just look for trouble but I’ve found the mood on a Saturday afternoon journey north to be anything but troublesome.


Know where you’re going

Again, it seems like a simple rule to follow but if you’re not being dropped off by the coach, it helps to have directions. Many a time we’ve ended up nearer Liverpool when heading for Chester and somewhere near Wales en route to Macclesfield. So take directions or you’ll miss the kick off!


Gather the troops together

So it’s a cold Tuesday night in Hereford in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy First Round. No-one wants to be there but you just are, along with 20 other hardy souls. So don’t all stand away from each other…this is the time where your team needs you so gather together and sing your hearts out!


Be prepared to be treated like an alien invader

This one is for anyone wearing your sides’ shirt around town before the game. People from the home town will give you that look of “what the hell are you doing here?” and walk on the other side of the road because you might have an infectious disease they don’t want to catch*. So be prepared to be given the cold shoulder, just don’t take it too much to heart if Mcdonalds don’t let you in.
*In the case of Rushden and Diamonds fans, this is actually the case so avoid them at all costs.



To counter that last point, it’s always important to be proud of your side. Wear the shirt with pride, don’t hide it away (unless at Millwall). You’re representing your town in some form or another so don’t be shy of hiding that, even if you are from Colchester.

So with the new season just over a week away, dust off your shirts, plan your trips and get ready to check some ground off your “Visited” list.


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  • Parks numero uno

    love the article

    brings back memories of many a wet saturday afternoon spent on the road to various grounds.

  • Stevie

    i remember going to gay meadow once, it was absolutely peeing it down, to get into the away end we had to walk the plank, quite literally, if you fell you landed in a ditch with 2 ft of water in. Was a very amusing experience yet an uncomfortable one if you didn’t make it!

  • Jackie Emu

    I love being chased out of an away ground after you’ve stolen an undeserved last minute goal and jumped up (because you couldn’t contain your joy) in the home teams main stand so everyone gets a good look at you and threatens to kill you…it becomes like escape to victory where you hide all colours and try to blend into the disgruntled crowd…(but all the time having a self satisfied smug look on your face)

  • Darren

    Speaking of Millwall, I went to the old Den back in the day, and I can honestly say it was one of the scariest experiences of my life. We are talking early 90’s, when all Millwall fans were total nutjobs who had done bird for armed robbery, murder & arson. This was not a family club back then.

    Whilst standing in the away end which resembled a prison with barbed wire gages we were greeted with the usual Milllllllllllllwalllllllllllll chant, and ‘no one likes us, we don’t care’, which was pretty intimidating enough, when loads of bricks came flying over from the car park behind our stand, it didn’t stop there, we could smell petrol and there were even fears that the away end would be burnt down with us still in it.

    To top it all bloody Nial Quinn popped up with a late winner. I was happy to go home with a 1-1 draw but more importantly the full use of my limbs. We were frogged marched out of the ground to the station and I made it home. I’m so glad I didn’t wear my Arsenal top that day.

  • Darren

    I’m with you Jackie, I’ve stood in the away at Spurs many times, although we did get beat 2-1 once, whilst walking out of the ground looking dejected a Spurs fan came up to me and said cheer up you miserable c**t, anyone would think you’re one of the scum, so for my own safety I had to pretend I was a Spurs fan (Sorry Arsenal) and do some fake cheering whilst being sick inside!

  • Danny Brothers

    I was silly enough to wear my shirt at Millwall…and we won which made things a whole lot worse for me on the daunting train run back to London…I tried not to smile too much and just walked through the sea of blue shirts…scary times but I survived!

  • dexylongshot

    I’ve set up a free fantasy league if anyone fancies a bash. Pass onto whoever.

    Set a team up, register it, get all your login details and then join this one.

    League – ukfootballfinder league
    Pw – ukfootballfinder

    I’ll do a proper blog on it later in week along with our wicked new premiership predictor game that goes live this week, you can get to meet the UKFF girls on a photoshoot if you win!!!!!!!!

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