The Football Neutral: Match Thirty Three – Sheffield United vs Leyton Orient

2014-10-11 14.10.17

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!

…We then headed for the wrong turnstile, poked our tickets around in the automated barcode readers for a bit, and then were pointed in the direction of the turnstiles we actually needed.  It seemed very busy, and the Kop looks like a “proper” stand from the outside, stairways snaking up either side of it.  It holds over 10,000 over one tier, making it one of the largest “Kop” ends in the country.  The street behind it has a few chip shops and the like on it, and they were ridiculously busy with queues winding their way out of the door and down the road.

Once in the stadium, I grabbed a burger (which wasn’t too bad) and because it was oddly warm, didn’t have a Bovril (just 7up for me).  Tony had a pie and a coffee, but then we walked up the steps towards the seats and found a chip shop up there.  Obviously Eddy had chips and mushy peas, but did have to return them once because they were cold.  I admire him for bothering to do that; I’m the sort of weakling who would just sit there and put up with my cold chips, try and coat them in the peas to work as some kind of mashed-vegetable type blanket.

The chip shop had a “sauce station” across the way from it with all the condiments that you would want.  Most were in little sachets, but there was a massive bottle of Henderson’s Relish there as well, a very localised speciality.  I only know of it because I used to work with a lad from Chesterfield and he had to have it on EVERYTHING.  It’s like a cross between brown sauce and vinegar and Worcestershire sauce and magic.

The Kop end is massive.  Maybe it’s because of the trip to the tiny confines of Coalville, but it really is a great stand in a Premier League level stadium.  Already boisterous when we arrived, the louder and more enthusiastic Blades are concentrated towards the back of the stand and the centre, whilst we were further down and towards the corner.  The playing surface looks great these days too, I remember it always being a bit boggy back in the day…

The only way to read this post from last season in full (along with 23 others and a load of extra stuff) is to get my eBook for less than £3. Click here to get it. I’d be really grateful!

The Football Neutral: Match Thirteen – Leyton Orient vs Sheffield United

2013-11-30 14.28.53

This is now an edited version of the original blog… you can read the full one by downloading my Football Neutral 2013/14 season review on Kindle.  Well over 300 pages of daftness. Less than £2! Thanks!

…Then came time for the football.  Quick tube journey and a bit of a walk and I was bearing down on Brisbane Road with enough time to spare to actually have a wander around the ground.  What was odd was the tube journey in; even for my trip to Dagenham and Redbridge the tube was busy with fans on the way in.  For this match, 40 minutes before kickoff… nobody.  The odd early Christmas shopper, but no fans of either team.  Was most bizarre.

Walking down the main street from the station towards the ground, fans of both sides mingled perfectly, the police keeping a watchful eye but with smiles drawn rather than batons.  It all felt really pleasant, and the pavements were packed with fans hurrying through the chill air to get the stadium and grab a bovril.  This wonderful atmosphere was shattered briefly by cries of “BBC” from a cab carrying five youths from Sheffield.  BBC, in case you were wondering, stands for “Blades Business Crew”, the firm of United hooligans.  Rest assured, your license fee does not fund them and pay for their Stone Island and Aquascutum.

Thing is, I doubt that these chaps had anything to do with said collective.  Why, do you ask?  Let me list my reasons.

(Before I do, may I say that I know a few, shall we say, “naughty” chaps who may have misbehaved at football matches in the past.  I definitely don’t condone what they’ve done, but I know enough about this subject to pass the comment below)

1:  These lads were honestly, 16 or 17.  Whilst they may have said they were in a taxi to the ground to make out they were flash, it’s infinitely more likely that they were in the cab because one of their mums gave them the money so they wouldn’t have to take the dangerous old tube.

2:  If you’re a member of a group of genuine football hooligans, do you think shouting out the name of said group from the window of a taxi that is stuck in traffic, in front of the police, alerting them to your presence, is the brightest thing to do?

3:  When the taxi went past and they shouted out said phrase, two very hard looking thirtysomething lads next to me looked at each other and, in broad Yorkshire accents, said “stupid fooking kids, making us look like twats.”  I suspect these two gentlemen may have been real members of the BBC.  They were not happy at all.

Instead of the fear that I think these kids thought their shouting would instil in the Orient fans, they drew laughter from fans of both sides, and a roll of the eyes from a policeman who radioed for his colleagues further down the road to “have a chat” with these boys, delivered with a tired sigh….

Enjoy this little titbit? Then please support my project by downloading the full 2013-14 season review on ebook for less than £2.  It’s over 300 pages of me wandering around he country being daft. I promise you’ll enjoy it!