The Football Neutral: Match Forty Two – Crewe Alexandra vs Scunthorpe United

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…Once in Crewe I was surprised that I seemed to be the only person on the train heading to the football.  Gresty Road really is easy to find; come out of the station, head left and take your second left.  I already knew this, but two different policemen in the station politely asked me if I was heading to the game and gave me directions.  I have no idea how they knew I was likely to be watching the match, as I was wearing nothing to give it away and they didn’t ask any other passengers.  They’re both tremendously polite and incredibly perceptive.

You walk past the away end that has its own ticket office. It is the whole side of the ground rather than an end, and is named wonderfully.  A few years back I went to Gresty Road with my Dad to watch City play there on the last day of the season (I think) and we noticed that the game that day was sponsored by the same company that now sponsor this stand: Whitby Morrison Ice Cream Vans.  On that day and this Saturday, I asked myself the same questions:

1: There is a company that just makes ice cream vans?

2: How much demand is there for ice cream vans?

3: Who is going to watch Crewe Alexandra and thinking “hang on a minute, I might buy an ice cream van. Thank god they sponsor that stand as it jogged my memory!”

I popped into the home ticket office to get mine sorted out – twenty two quid, same price for any part of the ground – and headed into the massive main stand.  And it is HUGE compared to the rest of the ground.  I seemed to remember Gresty Road being bigger back in the day, but it might be because it was fuller then.  It holds just over 10000 fans now, with the main stand taking up nearly 70 per cent of the seats.  Crewe thankfully still have turnstile operators – I loathe those barcode readers – and I climbed the stairs up to my seat.  I’d been given a seat number, but was told I could sit anywhere that was free.  I sat in an aisle seat just as the game kicked off, with Crewe in red and Scunthorpe in an unfamiliar green…

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The Football Neutral: Match Twenty Seven – Fleetwood Town vs Crewe Alexandra

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The only way to read this post in FULL along with 23 others from 2014/15 is to buy my season review eBook in the Kindle store. It’s less than £3 and over 300 pages of my daft adventures. Pick it up, enjoy it and you’ll be supporting my travels next season. Feel free to tell anyone you might know about it too! Thank you so much!

….So then, it seems that I’ll be watching football in different places every weekend again this season.  But why, may you ask?  Because last season was both tremendous fun (trips to watch Guiseley, Ebbsfleet, Wigan, Portsmouth, Ajax and more) AND it seemed that me staying away from my own club (asides from a couple of times at the end of the season) made us be rather brilliant and get promoted to the Premier League.  More than one Leicester supporter has made me promise to continue watching other clubs this year – and every year – if it means we become the world-beaters that our owners want us to be.  I will not argue with that at all (plus the people who asked me to do it are bigger than me).

Obviously I’ll once again have to try and stick to my own rules – which you can read here – and I’m throwing myself the additional curveball of trying to not go back to any stadia that I visited last season (even though my own rules just state within one season).  I figure that there are enough grounds for me to go to.  Saturday was a case in point; with me working in the North West (Preston Frog and Bucket, where I did jokes about Blackpool’s lack of players.  They’re a football savvy crowd – I once did ten minutes on Nuno Gomes inexplicably ending up playing for Blackburn Rovers) I had tons of games to choose from.  Accrington was quite tempting, having never been there before and being a child of the eighties.  You know what I mean.  Read the following two words:

Accrington Stanley.

If you either read them in a Scouse accent OR followed the words with “exactly” then you’re around the same age as me.  Although that is a more long-winded and niche age test than me just reading out your birth certificate.

In the end I decided to go to Highbury.  No, not that Highbury.  That one has long since been knocked down and had overpriced flats built in its place.  I mean the home of Fleetwood Town, and this season it is a stadium that is hosting League One level football for the very first time.  You might be reading this now thinking “that’s not a big deal, it’s only League One”.  If that is the case, allow me to slap you around the gills with an amazing statistic: Just ten seasons ago, Fleetwood were playing in the North West Counties Football League Premier Division.  I’m a nerd and I didn’t know how far down the pyramid that was until I looked it up.  It’s the NINTH tier.  They’ve gone from that level to the THIRD tier in ten seasons. That is a remarkable achievement.  Seemed only right that I go and watch their first ever game at that level….

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