Every week across the country football fans set off on a journey following their team away in the hopes of seeing them pick up a result.
You have to be stupid to do it.
Trust me. I do it.
Here presented in the form of a – day-in-the-life – we will see how idiotic you must be to be an away fan.
Early start…. Just 5 more minutes…
Up now. Still you shouldn’t be expected to get up at this time. I shouldn’t be getting up at this time; If only Sky hadn’t changed the kick-off time to 12:30. Again.
On the coach now. Last one on and everyone’s staring and… Yep got the single seat next to the toilet. Never sleeping in again.
Oh no why is the driver pulling off the motorway; oh brilliant he’s stopping off at the service station. We’re only half an hour away. Well might as well make use of the toilet facilities. As we get off the coach the driver tells us that it’s just a quick toilet break and to not get any food, as I walk in I’m inevitably greeted by the sight of men eating Whopper meals at 10:30 AM. And you know I’m feeling a little peckish so yeah. I’ll grab a Doughnut from the Krispy Kreme booth – then proceed to pay for it at WHSmith – quick trip to the loo then I’m back on the coach.
Made it. Here an hour early. Not long enough till kick off to search for a pub. Can’t bring myself to take my seat an hour early. Burger van it is.
Well that burger didn’t last long, might as well go in now.
In the ground and…
There’s no one here, 40 minutes till kick off and you’re the only one there. Well at least I can watch the players jog around, lazily hoofing balls at the keeper. Brilliant.
Finally. The referee blows his whistle and we’re off. The atmosphere’s great, the sun’s out and the grass is green.
They’ve scored. We’ve dominated the first half and right on the break of half time: they’ve scored. Typical.
Got a doughnut and burger before kick off so no point in being involved in a rugby scrum for more food or drink. Just have to watch some middle aged fat bloke take on the “crossbar challenge.”
COME ON BOYS. We can turn this round of course we can!
2-0 down. 25 minutes left. No hope. Have a rant to the old man next to you about how the players are overpaid prima-donnas with no passion who don’t care about the badge. He agrees and proceeds to tell you about a player from the 60’s whose first name is something like “Taff” or “Stanley.” Once he’s finished you turn to watch the game even though there’s no point.
GOAL! Yes you’ve clawed one back. You’re overpaid striker has bundled one home from a set piece with his shin. There’s only 1 goal in it!
4 Minutes of stoppage time.
You can’t believe you thought you could come back when you got that goal. You’ve been abysmal since and the other team are riding the game out. Still it’s your goal kick maybe you can create something. The goal gets launched up by the keeper. Played out to your winger who’s beaten a man on the inside. And another! He gets to the byline and puts in a ball… GOAL!!! THE BIG CENTRE BACK HAS GOT HIS HEAD TO IT! Pandemonium in the away end; the old man next to you is whooping and cheering and everything you said about the players is taken back. You didn’t mean it. Course you didn’t. The game restarts and after 30 seconds of fear you might concede the game is over. The home fans – so cocky at 2-0 up – leave dejected and you get to clap the players as they come over to salute the travelling support. Then before you know it you’re back on the coach. Back next to the toilet.
Finally back. And it’s only 5:30 PM cause the game was so early. You’re tired you smell – from being next to the coach toilet – and your away day is over. But in that moment you know why you’re stupid enough to go to away games. Because even though it’s expensive, the travel is gruelling, and you always lose. Sometimes, sometimes you get moments like the one you had today.