Thursday, 27 October 2016

26th October 2016 - Morpeth (a) TG Senior Cup -1

End of an era (again)

This was supposed to be a run-of-the mill we-got-knocked-out-of-the-cup-at-the-first-round-of-asking type of blog but events that followed the mild evening in Northumberland have over-shadowed that.
It was a packed car that set off for the big Cup game game with The Boy Mark driving myself, Mr Twitter (kicked out by his poorly wife to stop him moping around the house- get well soon Mrs Twitter) and Coventry Neil (who'd just managed to get away from dropping his cats off for their injections) into the pleasant evening.
There was the walk through the dark from the car park to the ground which will probably be immensely amusing in the middle of winter.
This was followed by the following highlights:
Morpeth dog with his own knitted scarf.
A nice dog-walking area behind the goal!

A pleasant drink in the welcoming club house:
Alas Smith and Jones anyone?
Defo for the older readers ie all of you.

Pleasant set of conifers (IMHO) - not cut down in any way!

The match itself went like this:
Ooops we scored while you were selling that paper.
We were re-acquainted with Mr Chronicle Seller (formerly at Ashington: Karl Dryden) which is always a pleasure even though he never appears to appreciate our mimicking of his nonsensical calls. Kempster came up with the worst corner in history that almost went out for a throw-in on the half-way line.
Morpeth battered the Bay but amazingly going into half time we were 1-0 up thanks to Kempster's  skillful threading of the ball throw Dryden's legs. Bless him he was not amused.
Josh Nearney was flinging himself left right and centre again to keep out a Morpeth strike force that included our old favourite Paul 'don't expect me to pass' Robinson. It was also nice to see Chris 'It's my new team and I'll moan if I want to' Reid. True to form Robo shot from distance (very accurately) and Reid was dominant at the back (mostly) but moaned a lot to the ref. Happy days.
Just as we set off to beat the queue for a tasty pie, Morpeth were level. 
The second half was more one-way traffic but Whitley were looking considerably more tired and Morpeth were 3-1 heading into the closing minutes. Most of the game had been spent looking into the distance with the occasional foray nearer Karl D's goal...very occasional. 
However on 90 minutes there was delight as Callum Patton's free kick nestled into KD's left hand post. It was however too little too late and yet again we were out of the cup. 

On the way out, I was consoled by my Morpeth-supporting mate and his daughter but as I told him, the best team had won so there were no hard if! We were miserable heading back but none of the talk centred on Chan losing his job. Okay so putting Callum Anderson up front to partner Shanksy might not have been a master stroke but what other options did we have? We were struggling. I won't mention who was moaning about missing the Bake-Off final for that.

It was a real shock when I found out that Chan had been sacked. Yes, we'd lost the last two against top three teams away from home but it had only been by one goal each time. However, before that there had been a winning run that had seen us also beat top boys Newton Aycliffe and Marske. With the smallest squad for a long time the Bay legend that is Ian Chandler had performed the equivalent of Moses parting the Red Sea. Remember what it had been like BC (Before Chan)? We'll soon remember when Mr Happy-Go-Lucky Paddy returns to the Hillheads with his new lot of Terriers. 
I wonder if the decision to part company with Chan ran a bit like this:
"We have a  business consortium wanting to invest millions in the Bay! They want us to be bigger than North and South Shields combined!"
"Oooh, that sounds nice. Bring them in!"
"Unfortunately they want to bring in their own man....someone called Allardyce."
"Ooh is he called Sam?"
"Och! That's the man!"
"We'll be sad to see Ian go."
"True, but we'll tell him and his family can always come back!"
"That'll be splendid, I'm sure He'll understand."
"Of course he will...and we did just get knocked out of another cup..."
"True, I really wanted to go to St James' Park again this year."
"Me too!" Wiping tears from their eyes as Chan walks in.

Somehow, I have a feeling it didn't. Only time will tell. 
Allardyce? Moyes? 
Who could be coming? 
So long Chan and thanks once again for more great memories...although not quite as record breaking as the last set of memories but still worth the ride.  You can sit down now! 
Haway the Bay!

Friday, 21 October 2016

18th October 2016 - Guisborough Town (h)

We still couldn't believe Saturday's smash and grab at Marske or Logan Powell's miss but it was an optimistic pair of myself and the returning Boy Mark who arrived at Hillheads. In time-worn tradition I stood by the turnstiles trying to find my season ticket in the depths of my moth-riddled wallet. I know I promised the Boy Mark to have it in a handy place but it probably would be better if it was A4 sized so I could easily see it...but then I would need an A4 wallet and A4 trouser pockets and that would mean probably wearing the pair of jeans hanging outside of one of the Bay's gentleman's retailers which announces "We stock massive sized jeans..." You think you have problems!
Disco board...woaw.
For that Tommyknockers experience on the Bench.
The Boy had also lost his hat (and it was a little bit chilly) so it was off to the Bay Supporting Wonderland that is Doug's Club Shop. His choice was a plain blue one which "wouldn't show the dirt up": practicality first! We were very excited to see the club's disco board charging in the corner. We even got to touch it but weren't allowed to play with it.
A rather trim-looking
bearded wonder with the cup.
Fans of Berrywatch will have missed the Bearded one but our hero was adding his considerable skills and knowledge to the Armed Forces team that won the Kentish Cup against Armed Forces teams from the Netherlands and France. Well done young man, glad you were doing something useful with your time and not lounging around painting your nails.
Your fans all over the world salute you!
It was also confirmed that our Greek firecracker was no long ours. His move to Team Northumbria had been confirmed and that he had been offered a great deal to support his studies, something we couldn't compete with so we wish him all the best and yes...will never learn your name.
All I can say is: "να έχεις μια καλή μέρα".
I have no idea what that says but if Google translate is given me the phrase for "May your moussaka always be tasty" I apologise. Blame Google translate.
The lads who were left were on a run of good results based on teamwork and great effort, even Shanks had been known to pass the ball, so there was a good deal of optimism for the game. Yet again, however, we had a kit clash as Town appeared in a Purple kit that made it difficult for those people with poor vision to see the difference between the teams. That means me! Why couldn't they have been made to wear the kit that Newton Aycliffe worn the previous week and still, probably, lay in the corner of their changing room?
There was no Tom Flynn so the relatively unknown Sean Gordge stood in. The first action centred on Callum Patton, who pulled up, limped off, limped back on then soon after limped back off again to be replaced by Aiden Haley. The squad was getting thinner: 17 and counting?
Rumours were that there was a scout from Fleetwood Town in the crowd so we were wondering who he/she (don't want to be accused of sexism) was looking for. Shanks, though seemed to be on overdrive as he chased everything and never complained once to the ref. It was therefore, a just reward when Robbo crossed beautifully for an outstretched Shanks-foot to volley home superbly.
There then followed another ball-gate controversy when James Dawson in the visiting goal fumbled a corner. The ball then appeared to bounce off the back of a defender and in the ensuing scramble, it crossed the line by about 3 foot. We all spotted it (even me), the Bay players celebrated but the ref and linesman completely missed it...again. The sooner goal-line technology is installed at Hillheads, the better. I'm sure the Bay's Mr Twitter would volunteer to help out, when he's not doing everything else!
On 31 minutes, the ground was stunned when Town's Thibault Charmey (their French world cup youth winner, apparently) finished perfectly, high to Gordge's right hand post. Soon after Josh Nearney and Shanks combined perfectly for Shanks to hit a screamer that just missed.

Where's Kenny?
However, a minute later, the Shankster dispossessed an ambling Town defender to uncharacteristically pass to the perfectly placed Robbo to control and score. After recovering from the shock of the pass, the ground erupted, even the man standing behind the goal pretending to be the Parker-wearing Kenny off South Park.
There was a real indicator that winter was coming (Any news from the wall?) because Tommy the Tea impresario had abandoned his baseball cap in favour of his Bay beanie hat! It's going to be a cold one! He was stunned when both the Boy Mark and I followed the two ladies in front of us in ordering hot chocolate instead of the usual tea and bovril.
"I'll never look at you two in the same way!" he noted with a wistful shake of his beanie-covered head. As we enjoyed our half time choccy feasts, we watched the confident Logan Powell slam shots in from outside the box. As we reminded him, helpfully, it wasn't outside the box he needed to concentrate on, it was about three yards out.
The Bay continued to press in the second half but gradually Town came back into the game and Gordge's handling looked pretty confident and the defence held firm. Tackle of the match went to supersub Haley, who perfectly robbed a Town defender when it looked like he only had to beat Gordge to equalise.
Shanks, again, then had an effort close in, which was saved by an outstretched keeper's foot when it seemed destined for the corner.

It was the impressive Fryatt, who sealed the win when he was put in by the equally impressive Nearney, who was steaming forward at every opportunity, to blast the ball past the flailing Dawson.

3-1 could have been a lot more but a fourth just wouldn't come. Once again it had been a team effort. Nick Allen had another superb game with some great interceptions. Four wins on the trot is a fantastic effort after the previous poor run and the lads fully deserved to stand seventh in the league.

Sadly I will miss my first Classicoast (yes, I've bowed to peer group pressure in calling it that instead of El Coastico which is a Shields creation, allegedly). Having to take my eldest daughter to look at Huddersfield University, I know where I would prefer to be. But fear not I will return for the match at Morpeth in the Northumberland Senior Cup. Fingers crossed for the big game and good luck lads, after all our dear local rivals are only top of the league and unbeaten at home! Haway the Bay!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

15th October 2016 - Marske (a)

Shamed by the Shanky one and Mr Twitter (although didn't take much persuading) into making the HOUR AND SIX MINUTE journey to the home of another set of Seasiders, the Woodster and I set off on our unexpected journey in bright sunshine.
Memories of our previous visit in the cup and the intimidating 'wall of sound' that emanated from the home fans as they cried out "Sea, sea, seasiders!" in their Tin Shed were still fresh. As if to rub it in, the Tin Shedders had added their own sign to rival the Chicken Run Collective. But, as Woodie so eloquently put it:
"Which came first the Chicken or the Shed?" Scarily, for visiting fans, the ferocity of the Tin Shedders was underlined by their hashtag: #Tin shed or dead! Scary stuff.
There was also a great to-do as we entered the ground because the Prof, whose birthday it was, was standing with a metal pole then a football, gingerly prodding a tree.
The Shankster was blamed for losing a ball up there so Mr Twitter, his mate and I set about, unsuccessfully to retrieve it. Thankfully, the Marske officials promised to get their stepladders out to get the ball back at half time.
I was later reliably informed that the ball was recovered and a relieved Shankster avoided a club fine for losing a ball.
Just like Peter Andre.....
the Prof is always ready to help.
The rumour around the ground was that our Greek could-have-been-a-legend Angelos Elfie had left the club to join Team Northumbria in their promotion push. If that is the case then we'll hope to have a replacement soon to help the all-ready threadbare squad. Guess we won't be learning your name Elfie after all if that is the case.
Purple: shoes,
 socks, top...
well turned
out Deano?
Without the Prof, who failed a fitness test just before kickoff (nothing to do with recovering the errant ball), it was the thankfully recovered Nick Allen and Callum in the centre with Munro and Supermac who lined up in defence. The quartet soon found themselves under strict examination as the home team poured forward. Shots whizzed left, right and centre as somehow Flynn kept a number of great efforts out and the defenders threw themselves in the way to help out with the rest. It only looked a matter of time before the home team scored.
However, there was a brief moment of hope when Kempster chased a through ball only for the Purple-clad Robert Dean in the home goal to head away as he raced out of goal.
Shanks: 1-0? Keeper got it covered
However, the play returned straight back to the Whitley goal as hearts were back in mouths for the travelling fans.
Amazingly though, with the half time whistle approaching, it was the frustrated but hard-working, figure of Shanks who let fly with a shot that skipped goalwards to give the Bay the lead. Deano, looked to have it covered but the ball slid through his grasping fingers and in off the post.
Not one Bay fan had a clue how that had happened! Neither, probably did the Shankster, who duly celebrated his 50th Whitley goal. The Purple-cladded one was not amused, however and as he lay on the ground in shock, his team-mates screamed for him to get up as they took the kick off.
The second half carried on in the same vein, after a spell of consistent Bay pressure. Once again we needed our binoculars to make out the action. The occasional Bay break threatened to seal the game but it was Flynn and co who were the busiest, with our own Mr Anderson playing a blinder. It was the Tattooed Titan who came up with possibly the tackle of the game that deprived Marske a goal-scoring opportunity. The ball was launched forward and as the Purple Wurple raced out of goal, the ball took an amazing bounce that cleared him completely. Sub Logan Powell carried on running and was left with the simplest task of rolling the ball into the gaping 24 foot by 8 foot goal, however he dawdled and a defender got back to clear for a corner.
As ninety minutes turned into injury time, Marske mounted a final all-out assault and despite the fact that we looked likely to pay for Logan's miss, the ball flew everywhere except into Flynn's net. The lads had well and truly smash-and-grabbed the three points.
The Purple Wurple showed his great sense of humour as he stylishly photo-bombed our victory selfie. What a dude! The lads were doing an amazing job of papering over the cracks: third coating in a row...wonder if the floodlights are fixed!
Everyone's excited!

Friday, 14 October 2016

11.10.16 - Newton Aycliffe (h)

All that had happened was that the lads had won a game and Chan had stood (admittedly for a long time). The problems of the club didn't get forgotten. The squad was still threadbare, the debt was, probably, still there and the floodlight didn't seem to have been fixed. But a win puts a smile on a football club's face like nothing else can.
Tonight the lads were up against the second worst bad boys in the league (we were fourth worst - not helped by Elfie's two sendings off: Angelos certainly wasn't living up to his good name!). But our visitors were the quintessential bad boys, over 24 points worse than ourselves; the same as 3 straight red cards on the fair play league table. It was also galling to notice that not only were our North Shields buddies top of the Northern League but that they were also top of the Fair Play League! Splitters!
When the teams came out, it was entertaining to see our visitors had had to borrow one of our oldest (and probably smelliest) away kits after forgetting that our kit was blue and white and that it might clash with their all-blue affair: who knew? Not them, obviously.
Fryatt continued where he had left off against Washington and looked lively and physical. In fact none of the team shirked any of their challenges while Robbo looked to have re-discovered his fire. Patton managed the first real effort on goal and his super smash was saved by another candidate for Northern League Miserable Goalkeeper of the Year Award,  Lewis Brass...and he hadn't even conceded a goal at this point.
The Bay were not the only ones who were up for the fight as Barry carried on his one-man psycho routine by encouraging the lads with the old tactic of shouting out: "Get Jiggy With it". I couldn't resist asking the great man and was informed that it was a "forward play tactic".
Barry then began shouting out "That's what the chicken got!"
I knew he was leading onto some crap joke but I couldn't help myself: I had to know which chicken.
"The one who committed the foul!" laughed our entertaining friend as he carried on his route around the ground. Cracking!
There was better to follow, thankfully, as a superb Shanks dummy to confuse a defender on the edge of the box sent Robbo in. Faced by his own defender, the nimble striker produced his own footwork to send another visiting defender to the ground. He then unleashed a similar strike to the one that hit the far post the previous Saturday and bounced out. This effort indeed hit the post but then bounced in, to the delight of the massed hordes behind the goal. Grumpy was not amused. The good work was almost undone as Flynn had to turn over an Aycliffe effort just a few minutes later from eight yards out.

2-0: The Whitley hordes went wild!
The Bay of the start of the season had at last returned! Sir Isaac Newton Aycliffe's bad boys were not having things their own way! In the second half things were twice as good as Grumpy Brass called for the ball. However, before the ball could reach him, the Shankster had nipped in between them to both steal it and score into the gaping net. #Backofthenet!

Minutes later it was Robbo again, who did a Shanky one by appearing to tie his shoe lace up when Supermac found the Fryster hovering around the box. His pass across the face of goal was perfect for the fully laced-up Robbo to lash into the net for 3-0.
Claire and little Claire go mad!

Ah! Bless. So not happy!
Our evening was complete when, after a series of suspect tackles the ref decided somebody on the visiting side needed to have an early bath / shower / not bother. The roulette wheel of fate fell on their number 9: Dennis Knight, who gallantly left the field to chorus of boos.
There was still time for Robbo to complete his hat-trick but his closest effort came with a fine overhead kick that is probably still orbiting the Earth.

Penalty? No chance!
The three points lifted the Bay to ninth. The brave 198 souls who had shunned England's exciting - 0-0 draw with somebody from another country were well rewarded.
The problems at Hillheads are still there but the cracks have been papered over with another coat of three points!

Saturday, 8 October 2016

8.10.16 - Washington (h)

My rant in the last blog was well received and even gave me my first ever comment on a blog post in 64 attempts so thanks for that Mr/Mrs/Miss Unknown:  it was gratefully received on my part.
My October was improving, I enjoyed a fantastic performance by soon-to-be stratosopheric (imho) indie rock sensations Blossoms, my signed copy of indie popsters White Lies' new album had landed on my mat and my man-flu was on the way out. Add to that my first Whitley Bay Park Run in two weeks and you could say life was on the up. Surely my good fortune would rub off on the lads!
My journey from Newcastle, where I had joined my better half and eldest daughter in a spot of shopping and lunching out, didn't go according to plan. Thanks to the wonderful 900 bus that was supposed to effortlessly and instantaneously whisk me from North Shields station to Whitley Bay, it had taken me an hour to get to the coast. I abandoned the Metro at Cullercoats at 3pm, raced home, grabbed my trusty stead (my bike of course - where do you think I live? Earsdon?) and arrived at Hillheads 15 minutes late. I thought the lads at the gate were joking when they said the Bay were 2-0 up and had to ask a number of fans before I finally believed it: Tommy the Tea Emperor doesn't lie! General Patton had scored a penalty after 4 minutes and Kyle Fryatt had produced a cracking bit of skill to beat a defender then score (apparently).
My immediate thought was that we were going to lose 3-2 and it would all be my fault but the lads were playing well, Chan was standing up and away from the bench and....the sun was shining! 
I was in time to see Shanks get booked and then witness a bizarre argument between Adam, Mr Bay Twitter, and Dale Connor in the Washington goal. It started when Josh (staying a bit longer at the Bay) Nearney went down in pain after 'heading' the ball. Connor shouted something helpful towards the ref doubting the validity of the stoppage in play. 
"It was a head injury!" helpfully called Adam.
"He should have headed it properly." replied our sensitive visiting keeper.
"Still a head injury"
"This is a man's game..."
"Still a head injury."
"All you big men behind there!" 
We studied the waist high pole that separated us then watched Josh being helped off the pitch to be replaced by Callum Munro.
Next thing we knew our friend was having a go at the Wandering Minstrel Barry. We dare not ask either what it was about for fear of either accusations of fans' bravado (protected by a waist high pole) or a protracted description that ended in an appalling joke. 
Instead Adam preferred to chunter on about: 
"The lack of keeper-supporter banter in the Northern League" 
"I love banter if it is any good." OOooooh! Mr Huffy! 
"You should have stopped the two goals shouldn't you?" 2-0 back of the net. Ha!
Kempster slides in.
Robbo then turned the ball past our friend and as he turned to celebrate, it bounced off what I thought was the post but had in fact been the diagonal pole supporting the post and base. It then rolled along the goal-line and out. The lino hadn't spotted it had crossed the line either, unfortunately.... but our at least our visiting chum was smiling.
Fryatt found himself through on goal but his attempted lob was easily saved.
In fact this was a much better Bay performance, with General Patton living up to his name and being the link we've missed in midfield. It was also nice to see Nick Allen back from injury and growing in confidence throughout the game. 
When the Shankster fluffed a chance there was a cry of "Shanky!" from Mr Twitter. Inadvertently this then became a new dictionary entry:

Shanky  adj: 'description of an action or object that promises much'
                     (to be said in a Sean Connery-esque voice or in a slightly creepy manner)

The man himself hit a cracking shot wide before being subbed along with Fryatt, who had played much better today. The Fryster had been more physical up front, taking players on more effectively in the same manner that had excited the fans in the pre-season friendlies. 
Back prowling the touchline!
The chances continued to come for the Bay and it was the Prof this time who was out of luck when Mr Grumpy saved his point blank effort. 
Was the fact that the Bay were playing well connected with the fact that Chan had ended his 'sit down protest'? In fact, Chan had not sat down on the bench at all so the moment I set off to record this event, the visitors' Marc Costello scored, forcing the Chan to sit down in shock. Thankfully the Great One resumed his touchline vigil and the Bay surged forward. At one point defender Ryan Keltie set off on a mazy dribble that ended with a charged down shot. Supersub Callum almost scored as the ball squirmed across the goal but beyond his despairing lunge. Supermac was also being found more often and his runs down the wing were causing more problems for Washington. He almost finished the day off with great aplomb as he fought his way into the box before playing keepy-uppy (last count was 17 - although this is probably exaggerated) to get the perfect shot. 
The performance was miles better than the previous two. At last we had a win. Next up: those nice lads and lasses from Newton Aycliffe.
The keepy-uppie king

The Kempstervator doesn't flinch....much!

Robbo charges in.

Friday, 7 October 2016

4.10.16 - Chester-le-Street (h)

What is going on?

Spot the Whitley Bay players?

The fans who were at Hillheads on Tuesday were treated to another forgettable night. The match itself was one of endeavour and occasional moments of skill but the Whitley team lacked the direction of a leader on the pitch and on the bench. Passes failed to get to Bay players, the teamwork from the start of the year season was missing: the team that had performed so well at the start of the season and given us so much hope was absent. The management very rarely left the dugout, except to announce substitutions (and even then I'm not sure if they stayed on the bench and turned on their disco light board from there).
The match itself featured an unfortunate own goal to give Chester the lead on 22 minutes. This was soon followed by a Robo glanced effort that rolled in slow motion past their admiring keeper. However, ten minutes before half time a super curling effort, to Tom Flynn's top right post, from Chester's Callum Johnston returned the lead to the visitors. That was how it stayed. Despite the endeavour, there was no addition to the score. The '214' fans there deserved better, but what is happening?
The match passed me and the crowd in a blur!
How is that a club that boasts one of the best attendances in the league can exist with only three forwards? The voluntary effort that goes into the club each club is immense from the likes of Tommy and his tea Emporium, Adam, running the social media (he never stops updating the match stats throughout the game), the lovely programme team, Doug in the shop, Peter and David on the programme, Julian with his constant camera wanderings...the list goes on and apologies to those missed off. There are good people running this club: directors willing to put their face on the line for the club (sorry Ann) so why is it we keep hearing rumours of the club's massive debts and struggling to survive? Are we not the most successful club in FA Vase history?
Sadly those days are long gone so why are we not building for a brighter future? We had an extremely successful U19 team so they should be coming through, filling the gaps in the first team bench. Why do we get players named on the bench when they are injured and having no chance of playing? Robbo, Kielty, Harry Potter have all looked solid players and fitted in well so where are the rest?
Where's your fans?
Chan is still The Man! He has raised us up from the dark Paddy days and promised a minor miracle after some great results but injuries and suspensions have decimated an threadbare squad. Players have gone and not been replaced. Nineteen players on a Northern League squad isn't enough: (1 goalkeeper, 6 defenders, 7 midfielders and 3 forwards). Bottom club Chester-le-Street and Seaham have 24! The players look tired and so does the manager after being asked to work miracles time and again over the last few years.
The lack of new sponsorship around the ground needs looking at. It is good business sense to have as much advertising as possible yet the ads we have look tired and probably out of date. More adverts at a lower cost is surely better than a few. It is simle supply and demand (I learned that during A level economics lessons). Is there enough money to pay for the floodlight repairs needed or do we all need to bring torches to future night time matches?
As I have said there are so many good people, on the board and amongst the supporters who are working hard to move the club forward but it needs an honest approach with everyone together from the top to the bottom. We need more advertising, players and teamwork. Let the people who care about the club do their stuff.
Tuesday night was the first time I came away from Hillheads feeling so miserable and disillusioned. We now look up at North Shields, who have risen from non-existence and well done to them. Please don't let Whitley Bay go the same way!
Let's give Chan, the Prof, the Shankster, Kempstervator, Harry the Wizard Potter, Elfie (when he's back, Supermac, Flynny, General Patton et al the best support.
 Haway the Bay!
Proud to support the Bay!

Sunday, 2 October 2016

1.10.16 - Seaham Red Star (a)

The previous week, I'm afraid I abandoned my post and accompanied my wife to see Middlesbrough lose 2-1 to a Spurs team that looked extremely impressive. However, in my absence, the Bay lost 2-0 in the FA Vase to Division 2 leaders Stockton. Despite the glamour of watching the likes of Valdes, Negredo, Deli was Hillheads where I wish I had stayed. The things we do for love!
In the middle of the week, the lads were unlucky to lose 2-3 in the last minute away to Morpeth. By all accounts it was an extremely impressive display so I travelled with hope to Seaham with Woodie confident that we could get a win. My weekend had been disappointing as I had been struck down by man-flu: no Park Run for me either so a pick-me-up was needed: a trip to Seaham Red Star. What could be better?
As we entered the ground we were welcomed by the grating sounds of "Now that's what I call Rave Music" (probably).  My day got even worse as I emerged from the toilet to find Barry dancing to the self-same rave music on offer. The toilet cubicle, that had scrawled the terrifying "SR5: we we are here!" on it, also had no lock on the door: although it could be wedged closed then opened with a foot lodged under it. Thank the lord for the welcome sight of an antiseptic hand-wash; I know: what a wimp! There was also a noisy, brown Labrador that barked at every dog walker who walked past us. Those dog walkers, who are here at the match, instead of taking their faithful friend for their expected walk. Good job the cold and flu tablets were working! It was like Crufts...sort of.
Then the match started and my day took a nosedive. I, and probably everyone that was there connected with the Bay, wished someone could have done some kind of Jedi mind trick on us to make us forget that dismal afternoon. The fact that the sun was shining was scant consolation.
It basically went like this:
0-1: No!
0-2 No! No!
0-3 No! No! No!
Half time, cup of tea and chunky kitkat: nice!
0-4 We need to sign more Redheads as all these blond players are easy to mix-up!
1-4 Yay! Anderson's overhead kick saved and Fryatt pops in the rebound. We're going to win 5-4!
1-5 We're not. Oh! Bugger!
1-6 Can we go home now? Thank you.
The debate on the way home was whether the Duke of Northumberland, who we think owns the land Hillheads stands on would invest in the team: he owns the land my house stands on anyway. The chances though of this knight in shining armour arriving looks slim we decided because we are not a croquet, quoits or polo team.
Suffice to say, I will try to forget our visit but the scars will still remain. However, my Whitley shirt was immediately washed in preparation for the visit of Chester-le-Street.