The story of the season - Hull (a)
2010/11 season v Hull in the league at The KC, Friday 22nd October - Saturday 23rd October 2010.
After a couple of miserable trips to Hull you would think that I would 'call it a day', right? Oh, but no I would not do that as I decided to go back for more!
By 'miserable trips' I mean the football was miserable as 2008/09 and 2009/10 saw us play out a couple of dour 0-0's at the KC, both of which were as poorer games as I can remember - these really were poor 0-0 draws and anyone that was at one, or both, will be able to testify to this. At least I saw Danielle Lloyd last year, even if no one else believed it was her, which it was later proven it was. As for the days out, as usual they were fine, in fact more than fine, they were fantastic as they went smoothly, the company was good and both were spent in this working mans club about 10 minutes, max, from the ground with the beer being CHEAP!
This journey started on Friday, as I had to be at Exeter (well, Exeter way) for 7.30am on the Saturday, which would not have been possible from Ivybridge so I travelled to Trina's in Dawlish in the evening - using a ticket that I had wrongly purchased for Cosham, the Donkey that I am I thought it was a home game when I had booked several months earlier, but at least I got some use from it and it was not entirely wasted! So, fortunately the 18:01 - Exeter St Davids, which would have been the first part of my journey, stopped at Dawlish so I jumped on this one to get some use from my outward journey ticket. With Trina working until 8pm I thought 'I can have an hour or so to do a bit of work, quietly getting on with this work.' Well, that was thrown into chaos with the text and phone calls that I started getting through about 6.30pm, 'have you heard the news' was the basic jist of them...
I think we all know what that news was, even so I must say - and not just saying this now - that I was not 'overly worried' although had to admit with thing 'starting' to look better going into this game as we were on a fantastic run of form and it looked like we were closing in on an exit from administration, the bombshell that the club announced that we were 'close' to going out of business was out of the blue. Even so, and I made these thoughts known, I felt it nothing more than brinkmanship. Then again this did not make the thought that Hull 'might have' been our last match a little 'upsetting' - to say the least.
Even so, as said, as I say, I was fairly 'relaxed' about things and just wanted this game played and for us to get another win under our belts. With this in mind when Trina got home I was fairly relaxed when I eventually told her of events - if anything I think she was more 'concerned' than I was!
With her on an 8am-8pm shift Saturday and Sunday we turned in early, as both would be having early starts in the morning...
When my alarm went off at around 5.45am getting up was not something that I particularly wanted, getting up in the pitch black and knowing you will not get back into bed until it is almost pitch black again is not the most inspiring of things. Even so I got up, washed up and then made my way to Dawlish station - of course saying goodbye to Trina first - for my train to Digby + Sowton, close to Exeter, which left at something like 6.37. Going through to here made it easier for Ken to meet us and was not exactly out of my way, or that much more expensive. Richie was going to be meeting me on the train at Exeter St Thomas, which he did at around 7am.
It must have been around 7.45am when we finally got on the road, having met Ken and then had Betsy arrive in on his train, also at Digby. The usual chat was about this, that and the other went on, although little of this was about Friday's events - I think, despite some minor concern in some voices, albeit minor, the overriding thought was 'we would be ok', so why worry?
Making good time the plan was to meet Barry in the usual place in Worcester stop, our 9.30 estimate was looking fine, in fact despite our slightly early arrival as Barry came in ahead of time also there was no real waiting around. He WAS NOT pleased, effin' and jeffin' every other word, but again this was not really because he feared the worse it was again further frustration that was being suffered and was distracting from the main issue of the football.
With Betsy having started on the beers quite early, around 15 minutes or so after picking up Barry it came to light that he needed the toilet so his increased quietness was due to the fact he needed this - the more desperate he became, when it was revealed a petrol station was not too far away, the more we wound him up, taunting him with talk of waterfalls and Ken would drive over markers in the road to jolt the car. When we finally arrived at the services, he was dropped at the door and we then parked up, his relief was clear to see as he minced off, struggling further to hold it in! Of course, seen as we were there, it would have been rude not to have stopped off for a pit stop ourselves, so we did...
The journey continued smoothly and we were into, or very near to Hull, for around midday - as Betsy uttered the words 'I know Hull like the back of my hand', you can imagine the ribbing that he got from us all when it turned out that it had not exactly worked out that way for him, even Hull can change somewhat in 20-years from his regular visits to the place to see an Uncle! No dramas though, having become regulars to Hull, and the working mans club in Walton Road, we soon got there, arriving at something like 12.30pm, if not before. First things first, it was beer time so Barry got a round in.
Based on the time that we had made we 'should' make it back for my 22:37 train from Exeter St Davids - Dawlish were my thoughts, but that was for later, drinking was the order of the day now...and drink we, of course those not driving, did - some would say to excess, or near it!
Having made ourselves comfy in our corner the beer flowed and flowed, as you would expect when you are paying something like £2 a pint! The conversation flowed too; with some of Barry's mates joining us - some known to us, some not, nevertheless we were all Pompey and had no problems chatting among ourselves. It was all very civilised and totally different from most other afternoons in a pub before a game as it is usually wall to wall with people, cramped, hot and often difficult to have conversations with each other. Hindsight, what a wonderful thing this is eh, told me that I should have got something from the kitchen their as it turned out to be a long day without any 'real' food - a serine, a penguin and some crisp do not really count do they. Plus the food, which looked and smelt, as well as tasted by all accounts, top class would have gone down well, but hey ho it was my choice.
It was a fantastic afternoon, one of those where you could have happily stayed where you were all day, although it was sadly interrupted about 2.15pm, much earlier that usual due to the fact that we did not have tickets. Given the news on Friday we did not want to run the risk of their being a mass last minute stampede for tickets, as unlikely as this might have seemed anyway. It goes without saying we had no problems at all and had time for a beer inside, where we met Tim and wife on the concourse, taking our seats - where we of course stood for the entire 90 minutes - just before 3pm where we would belt out our support for the club.
Dave Nugent was on form, working hard and causing problems, and but for the bar would have given us a lead we would have deserved, also a goal he would have deserved following a good run and venomous shot. With half time approaching, and a toilet break calling louder and louder, Ken and I decided to make our run for it when the board went up - Richie and Betsy had already gone. Fortunately I came out of the toilet just in time to catch Nugent putting us ahead as this was shown on the TV in the concourse - Ken was not so fortunate. The other site that awaited me was Richie dancing around with a couple of pints in his hands, one happened to be for me, which made for a double result - a half time lead and a beer awaiting me.
The 2nd half continued as the 1st left off, with another Pompey goal! Greg Halford's freekick, within minutes of the restart, left us in dreamland - all the time there was more news filtering through that Pompey would be ok, in fact former Hull owner Peter Duffen (Duffer!) was being 'linked' with the club. Whilst we might not have really created much more after our goals, the job was just about done. All the time we were fairly comfortable apart from a sustained period of Hull pressure that eventually resulted in a goal thought we won through, deservingly winning 2-1 in the end.
The pressure would be on to see if we could get back in time for my train, having completed phase 1 of the mission!
Now, as much as I love Richie and appreciated his offer of somewhere to crash, I think he would not bee too upset to hear that I love Trina more. So, getting back to her and a house, and bed, that you are used to is always the preferred option. To be honest I felt we would make it fine, but did not want to jinx anyway.
Richie and Betsy, clearly with the taste for it now, wanted to stop off at the next offy to get some more drink for the journey home - they were in luck as the first garage we found, for petrol, also sold alcohol so they came out fully stocked up, especially Richie with a crate of beer! He was on a mission, Betsy, I think, down to Ken telling the cashier to check his I.D got asked for this - in his mid 30's he had no worries! Me, I was not in much of a drinking mood to be honest, but of course I could not say no as that would have been rude :-)
We made good progress home, having a good laugh talking about the usual things - one quiz question was 'when was the last time we won two away games in the same week?' This was something that I asked Dave, and he told me the answer during the week - anyone got any ideas...
The beer continued to flow, not so much through me - although it was going through me, and despite being on a schedule I had to ask for a pit stop! - and the conversation continued before, and after, we dropped Barry in Worcester, all saying our goodbyes.
It soon became apparent that we would make it back in time. Richie and Betsy got dropped off in Exeter so they could hit the town and I was dropped off by Ken at St Davids with plenty of time to spare - as it happens, in typical bloody First Great Western fashion, my train was 10-15 minutes late. The chip stop that was forgone due to concerns about getting home could have been made with or without the train being late, grrr! I eventually got back to Trina's, washed up and into bed for around 11.30pm, she woke briefly to say hello and all that but was soon asleep again - I cannot say I took much rocking either!
With it looking more and more like Portsmouth Football Club would be ok, as we now know we will be, I hoped we could FINALLY, once and for all, get back to talking purely about the football again - something that we had, despite the uncertainty still, started to do more recently really, and why not given our form!
5 wins out 6 is incredible form, so I eagerly await Forest. Another win and we would have completed a remarkable turnaround from a club down and out, almost cut adrift at the foot of the table to a club in a play-off place and starting to track down the runaway leaders, who would have though it eh, bring on the Forest...
PLAY UP POMPEY!