It was a beautiful sunny day, we were taking an inexperienced goalkeeper, no substitute keeper and a bench primarily made up from Academy kids. It was fancy dress and I wasn’t dressing up. We’ve already been relegated, we were expecting to lose, possibly heavily, and I was going on a minibus leaving at 9:30 am with a two hour pub stop as the only non-drinker. What could possibly go wrong?
Well to be honest, not much really – we had a great day out. Just short of 500 of us made the trip, which was about double what I was expecting, and we made a fair bit of noise at times. The football was a bit rubbish in the first half, but somehow we managed to go in on level terms. the football was better in the second half, but somehow we managed to end the game behind. That’s been our season really.
We played a dangerous game with fate by packing 75% of the presenters of The MooCamp Radio Show into the same minibus. Had the bus exploded following an attack by a flock of angry wrens, the entire future of the show would have been in the hands of Young Alby, and that just doesn’t bear thinking about. The very thought sends shivers down my spine. Anyway, great pub stop in a village whose name escapes me (but it definitely began with an H) and then on to the ground.
We faced our relegation with generally good humour – lots of self-deprecating chants, which got occasional recognition and applause from some of the nearby Ipswich fans. A fair bit of chanting was targeting one particularly large lad, who gave as good as he got for a while, before leaving in a bit of a huff. The irony of me chanting towards an overweight bloke wasn’t lost on me, and the disapproving looks from Mrs B helped to keep my participation to a minimum.
In what’s become something of a regular feature at aways this season, there were some cross words exchanged between a few of our fans at half-time, with some people getting angry about some other people’s ‘we’re not very good’ type of chants. Usual handbags type of arguments, but it did result in one of our group (who shall remain nameless until I know he’s alright) deciding to leave at half time, not to be seen again. I have no idea whether there’s anything we can do to keep these rows from spilling over into genuine anger, but I hope we can – it does tend to put a bit of a damper on things, and I could do without it.
As soon as I saw the challenge that won us the pen, I thought ‘definite penalty’, though the fact that literally EVERYONE else around me disagreed suggests that I may well be wrong. Revell took the penalty well, and level we were, just before half time. To be level at half time was actually really, really funny, as we really shouldn’t have been in the game at all, but level we were.
Second half we played a little better football, and at times looked like we might still know how to pass the ball around, but it really was in quite short bursts. On a couple of occasions, the ‘we want you to stay’ chant went up for Revell, and he looked genuinely moved. I think he was just about to be subbed for Maynard when he got our second, so Maynard sat back down again, and a few minutes later came on for Bowditch. They did sub Revell a short while after that and when he went off, you could see that we’d made an impact on him. I don’t think he’s the greatest striker we’re ever going to see, but he is the best striker we’ve had in the air since Clive Platt, and when combined with his fantastic workrate and dedication, that makes him worth keeping. I hope he does stay. But I doubt that he will.
Anyway, just as it looked like we were going to cling on for the point, something happened and they got the winner. I have no idea what it was, because I wasn’t watching, and neither were anyone else around me. I blame Antony Kay myself.
So, a great day out, only spoiled in part by some of the football, a bit of arguing, and a missing presenter. Aways are fun. End of season aways doubly so. And the scary clowns were fantastic – kudos to all those who took the time and effort to do it.
One more game to try and claim that third from bottom spot again, and to try to go down with a bang.