Ian Rush Told Me

Yes ladies & gentlemen, do not adjust your internet for your eyes are not deceiving you. It is indeed I! Back once again with the ill behaviour and some drunken League 2 bollocks. And before you ask, yes I have seen the league table, am well aware of how many goals we’ve let in so far this season and that we are, to put it mildly, defending like twats currently. Thank you for noticing, now can we never speak of it ever again? Or a couple of hours at the very least? No? Sakes.

And what a season it’s been so far eh? And yes, I’m well aware it’s only fucking September, but I refer you to the earlier statement about ‘defending like twats’ and will move swiftly on. Still, it all started so well didn’t it? Pulling down Notts County’s pants in fine style at GGL on the opening day (as ably covered HERE by our erstwhile colleague Mr Clarke) and even topping the table. Sadly since then, barring the brief hiccup of turning up and actually playing bloody well at Wycombe to put us in the dreamland of the Obscure Energy Drink Cup 3rd round and a mind blowing trip of a lifetime to Port Vale on a Tuesday night, we’ve kind of been on a bit of a stumble since Harry Smith got a dopey red up at Barrow so early on it felt like the lad on the PA had only just finished reading out the teams. A spanking at home to the Wombles followed (an event so momentous for them they auctioned off the match shirts from it. When’s the DVD out lads?), a late collapse at Newport (a result made worse by being witnessed shockingly sober thanks to the train strike that day), a largely lifeless home defeat to some lads in tie dye shirts that don’t even eat sausages and capped off with the shambolic fucknado of awfulness that was the first 20 minutes at Swindon on Saturday.

When the day was young and not all fucked up…
Out seeing all the sights!

Now, don’t get me wrong. Yes, we at least subsequently put up a bit of a fight at the County Ground last weekend, but only after a drinks break during which we assume Matt & Jason had to explain basic motor skills to some people in white shirts, let alone fucking tactics or ask the million dollar question of “What the cunt was that lads?”. Therefore we’re firmly of the belief that the final score of 5-3 simply distracted from the fact that being 3-0 down quicker than you can say “There’s no fucking way this is the same squad that won at Wycombe” in the first place is an ill advised manner in which to go about obtaining points from an Association Football contest. It was all a bit like asking politely for a roll of kahzi paper after you’ve just shit on the in-laws living room carpet to be honest.

So of course we’re doing it all again this weekend. And not only that, I’m blogging it. Sick in the head, I know I know. Still, at least this trip has some novelty value in that it’s a new ground for us all. The destination? Accrington Stanley! Who are they? well, they’re that team that went bust in the 60’s started again in non-league and battled their way back into the Great 72 to much fanfare and fairy tale and making it as far as League 1, that’s who, you ignorant bastard. Jeez, call yourself a football fan? Seriously though, if you think we’re going to demean this upstanding publication, your intelligence and the fine achievements of them as a club by mentioning that silly 1980’s milk advert, you’d be bang fucking right. What?

Sorry kids, if you’ve no idea what I’m on about there, click here and no we won’t be taking any questions. Especially not “Who’s Ian Rush?” and “Urgh! Is that actually an advert for milk? As in not made from oats and with real lactose in it?”. Although we will say that given his involvement with shady fuckers who caused the death of not one but two Non-League clubs a couple of years back after turfing them out of their grounds, you have to question Mr Rush’s assertions on the advantages of imbibing milk leading to a certain lucrative career as a professional footballer as carrying any sort of authority. Also, given the punchline in that ad, it’s somewhat ironic that a lot of League 2 lads these days will probably be pulling in as much if not more a week than the ex-Liverpool and Wales striker was in his free scoring Division 1 winning days at Anfield. Which probably explains the involvement with the shady fuckers I just mentioned I suppose. But I digress, let’s get to the ‘getting up really early’ part of the story and get this shitshow on the road shall we?

Much needed…
About all I saw of Accrington!

Alarm, stumble, shower, dress, out the door. You know the drill by now. 7 am and a bus to Croydon awaits. Or doesn’t as I’m left hanging about as per usual and this is why I’ve got into the habit of Ubering these lately. The delay here means I miss out on a glut of trains into town and my best option is a Thameslink to St Pancs, first stop Blackfriars. I fail to notice this little detail and a couple minutes into the trip the driver is telling us all that we’re going the slow way round. Awesome. Less than a 30 minute trip just became 45. Still, I do the maths and reckon I’ll still have time to spare before the 8.32 off Euston. Just in case, I message the other day trippers, let them know and ask for a call out on the platform when they know it. Train trundle later, I’m out of St Pancs a touch after 8.15 and get my stroll on to double time it the short distance to Euston. Still got time before I need to be on platform 16, no worries!

I hit up Saino’s for bacon and a drink and jog to the platform, still with several minutes to spare. Except 16’s empty. No train, no staff about. Uh oh. I call 4Days to confirm platform and he says the train was indeed off platform 16. At 8.23am. Yes folks, I had the time wrong in my twisted little brain. Now, had Thameslink not screwed me, I’d have been in here in tones of time and never noticed until we’d left. Sadly though, I’ve now fucked up and missed the train by a good couple of mins. I can’t even blame my bacon as by the time I was leaving St Pancs, I had precisely 5 minutes to do a 6 minute walk. ‘No man left behind’ and all that. Fuck my life. I hang up my call and get to work, a quick scan of the boards shows there IS in fact an 8.32 going to Preston, an Edinburgh train. Also a quick look on the app shows this is the fastest option as the next direct won’t get me to Accy until 2pm. So I leg it to the other end of Euston and make the .32 after checking with the lad on the barrier if my ticket is good. No group save, no specific services, nothing. So I hop on and find myself a seat in the unreserved section and curse my stupidity. Still, could be worse. At least I have bacon.

Damage assessment time. This service will go via Brum, so despite leaving less than 10 minutes after the others, I’ll get to Preston a good hour after. And with trains the way they are, I’ll lose another 25 mins at Preston as I’ll miss a connection to Accy. End result? They’ll be in town for just after opening time. Me? 1pm. Sakes. That’s a lot of wasted VDT and that’s important with the way we’re playing right now. As we head North, I munch my breakfast and observe my fellow passengers. There’s a few Wolves on, including one lad in a rather eye catching bright gold and black blazer. Geezer looks more set for Henley or Lords than bloody Molineux. There’s also a few Liverpool fans in, all with accents as Southern as mine. A reminder there kids that they were the first real glory hunter beneficiaries before United got good in the 90’s.

Who are they? Sorry.
Coley’s Bar. Impressive setup this.

The further towards the midlands we get, the more abuse I get on Whatsapp from the day trippers and the weekend mob who’d headed up yesterday and are now stirring to life to begin their second day on the lash. Standard and fully expected to be honest. The train busies up at Brum International, as what seems like most of Plymouth’s 3500 away allocation at Preston today joins the train, complete with an ample supply of cans and bottles to get their day started. The intake should make the trains back later interesting too! At this point it’s standing room only until Wolverhampton when the plastic Scousers and home fans leave us and things settle down. Here I spend the rest of the trip chinwagging to the Plymouth lot who regale me with their own visits to Accrington and it’s wonderfully open to the elements away end. Thankfully for us, the weather should be fine today. As we finally approach Preston, I have a choice to make. Wait for the train to Accy, or jump in with Ossie and Greek who have been bag dumping in town. This is tempting, but having worked out where they are and the timings, it’s a 20 minute walk to get to the car or a 20 min wait for the train. Screw it, can and rattler it is.

A can purchased from the shop on the platform softens the blow a touch and thankfully the customary 2 carriage shitter from Northern trains to Colne at 12.24 leaves on time and trundles via pretty much every little town between Preston, Blackburn and beyond. 40 minutes and one beer later, I hop off at Accy and set out for the ‘White Orchid’ where the others are. Googles says it’s a cocktail bar, which is blinding when you want a pint. Along the way, I stumble upon Greek and Magnum doing iffy things in a back street out the boot of a car. Magnum just laughs at me, but I ignore his mocking and head to the pub. I’ve got some catching up to do! Weaving through the busy market, I find the pub and upon entering am of course treated to the usual “About fucking time” cheer you get from a group when you’re late. I don’t mind, as mainly it makes me look like a fucking legend to anyone else present rather than a senile twat that got a 3 and a 2 the wrong way round. The overnight gang in Mr X, Robbo, Rax, Indy and Greek are tucking in despite last night’s intake, whilst 4Days, Magnum and Chalmers who travelled up today have had a good head start. 20 minutes and 2 pints later I’m feeling better about things. Although less so when Chalmers gives Mr X a dig in the guts for an insult made and causes him to drop a rather foul smelling fart.

Waiting for the teams.

Time is against me though and one more down, Greek & Robbo bag a sherbert to the ground. With the others planning to walk, I jump in with them so I can hit the fan zone and get topped up even further before kick off. At the ground we locate the bar, but get sent the wrong way for tickets and as we head back to the other way we find Mr X and the rest of the gang have gone lazy and cabbed in too. And the man of mystery has been and grabbed our briefs, which we need to get into the bar. Tickets doled, we pile in and get a round in before getting in the swim with the other U’s fans already on show. It’s a cracking little venue to be fair, big old bar, plenty of service and one wall is practically all glass looking out onto the ground and playing surface. Very swish. God we could do with something like this on the Rec side when we develop it. The locals are friendly too. We chat a bit and catch up with various faces like Vegan Bev, Fish, Dirty Barry and Keepo, as well as some of the B Team. Hopes are that we put last week behind us, put in a shift and get some sort of result here today and those are boosted when the line-ups show Jackson replaces Kizzi and Rose has dropped out for Bouzanis.

Bouzanis, Jackson, Goodliffe, John, Milsom, Clay, N’Guessan, Coley, Patrick, Smith, O’Brien. SUBS: Rose, Angol, Kizzi, Sowunmi, Beautyman, Pereria, Kashket

Now, the first half isn’t exactly a classic, but given recent form, we’d have settled for that before the off. Both sides are similar in approach, but the hosts have some form to speak of and are just that little bit more fluid than us. However, despite having to do some defending in and around our box over the 45, Deano doesn’t have a serious stop of note to make and we’re largely ok. At the other end, we’re not exactly rampant, but have a couple of ok sniffs. O’Brien played in by Smith gets a shighter but drags his shot wide under pressure from a defender and then a little bit of link up on the right funds Coley in a bit of space left, but the keeper is out smartly to make the block towards the edge of the box. So, 0-0 at the break and….oh no wait. This is us isn’t it? Shit, meet fan.

A ball forwards over the top finds Goodliffe chasing his man back. He does ok and covers things, only for Clay to arrive late on scene at speed and as the attacker turns, the U’s midfielder presents a perfectly placed foot for their lad to go over and the fussy ref just can’t wait to point to the spot. It’s a soft as shit pen, but just the sort of fuck up that we’re making far far too fucking often these days. Of course, their lad sends Deano the wrong way and rolls it into the corner. 1-0. To add insult to injury, cunto the ref then adds just a paltry 3 minutes on when their keeper’s probably burned up twice that long taking his goal kicks this half. Seriously lads, we’re either adding it on or we’re not. Make your fucking minds up and stick to it. And if officials are ignoring the directives, get rid. They’ve actually managed to make ‘game management’ twice as annoying as it was before, quite the achievement.

Clay continues to argue the penalty at the break…
Shortly before the world fell in, again.

Right, I need a pie. Thankfully, the tea bar offers up a find steak and pepper number and a bottle of water for just four quid. FOUR QUID! The bottle of water would cost that at home. So nice is the grub that I want seconds, but sadly lose out on the last meat & potato to Rax. So I risk a Balti and find it’s nicely white person spiced and I scarf that down too. Very nice, 4/5. Would try again. From the restart, things are largely as they were in the first, both sides looking largely untroubled but with them slightly more effective. Then about 10 after we’re back underway, game over. We don’t deal with the ball down by the by-line, Ben gets turned and the low ball across the box is lamely prodded out to 18 by Louis to a bloke completely unmarked for a free hit into the far corner. Looked a decent finish, by Jesus Christ when we don’t defend well, it’s a proper old car crash and no mistake. What was it Totts used to say? Fuckin’ Ada.

Of course, this brings about what the kids these days I believe call ‘Head loss’ and for several minutes, we are all over the shop and inevitably we’re carved open just after the hour and the lad runs though to roll the ball past a spectacularly exposed Bouzanis. 3-0 down. Again. And this after we’ve apparently had a great week in training working hard. Fuck knows what at, because it’s certainly not at football. We’re about as resilient as a 13 year old schoolgirl on hearing her favourite boy band’s split up. Of course, being 3-0 down seems to be the new thing to get a reaction out of this Sutton squad as within a minute, Coley and Patrick combine with a couple of nice passes down the right and Patrick glides between two defenders to flash a shot into the far corner and reduce the deficit. It’s a nice goal to be fair, but frankly at 3-0 down I couldn’t give a two shits about the aesthetics. Any danger of you lot not being 3 down before you start playing lads?

From here, the game opens up as we try desperately to get back into the contest and gaps appear at the other end for Accy as we press up. And yes, by gaps, I mean those that weren’t already there or simply made larger than they already were. Coley has a great chance to pull another one back when a clever ball from O’Brien sends him clear, but having skipped around the keeper around 18 yards out, he’s forced wide and can’t get a shot off. Chance gone. Accy miss a sitter to make it four at the other end after again carving right through the middle of us and then with time running down, Smith ends our hopes by planting a free header wide from 8 yards out instead of into the corner of the net. And then as the disgracefully short 4 minutes of added time runs out, another Sutton attack breaks down lamely and two passes later, some lad in a red shirt is strolling in for the tap in at the back post. 4-1. Jesus we’re bad. We are so fucking bad.

Fuck clapping that…

As is becoming increasingly common this season, the final whistle has me on my toes and heading for the bar. Fuck acknowledging that. In the bar, I and Chalmers grab beers before 4Days and Dr Bell appear. No one else shows, I guess heading off back into town or grabbing cabs back to Preston for what will be I’m sure an absolute fun filled and joyous occasion. We meanwhile stand and sup as the other scores come in and discover that Donny have bagged their first win of the season and we’re officially bottom. But then again, when you’ve conceded 20 in 8 games, you deserve to be nowhere else quite frankly. The locals are sympathetic to our plight, having had a hard season themselves last time out. But they’ve 3 points to celebrate and the lad on the acoustic guitar belting out some well known numbers is getting their evening started nicely. As for us, our train from Accy to Preston is cancelled, so we rustle up a local sherbert and for the princely sum of just 20 quid, transports the Welshman, I, Chalmers and the good doctor back to Preston.

As we arrive we’re treated to the sights of an old steam train chuffing it’s way out of Preston station, much to the delight of the gaggle of trainspotters on the platform. Then we head over the road to the nearest boozer and find Keepo, Fish and DB supping and ruminating over the days events. General consensus is that something just isn’t at all right and it needs sorting quick. Even the unthinkable is discussed. “Even if they do give him the elbow?” wonders DB aloud “Then who do you get in??”. It’s a good question and after some thought all I can come up with is “Jimmy Dack. Coached at this level, in the club already and we love an internal appointment”. Just answering the question folks, keep your hair on.

With time for one, we send Chalmers and Dr Bell off for cans whilst I and 4Days go in search of food. KFC is nearby, but on entering, there’s a queue and several minutes after arriving, still no one’s been served despite a big container of chicken on show behind the lass on the jump. The pissed up lad with his boy ahead of me then make my decision as they start talking about bargain buckets and god knows what else on their order. With 15 to go to departure by this point, I’m not missing another fucking train today!! So I bail and 2 doors down spot Greggs is still open. Beggars can’t be choosers. Thankfully they have a decent selection on offer and 8 sausage rolls and 4 pizza slices later, we’re sorted for some sort of train stodge. Back on the platform, we get the usual “Who’s that mate?” from people spotting colours, including one blonde lad who when finding out we’re Sutton asks “Do you know Southampton Steve?”. A selfie and an abusive message on Whatsapp later and it’s been established that Henry is one of Steve’s England away colleagues. And he has KFC! “I allowed 45 mins” he says “And it took me 35 to get it!” unknowingly rubber stamping my earlier call to ditch the Colonel.

Another awayday, another “Do you know Southampton Steve?”
Aussie Blackburn fans got their retro drip on point!

Train rolls in and we board a busy one, getting our seats with minimal fuss. Although we do find that one of our 4 is ‘interrupted’ by a solo traveller. This turns out to be an Aussie chap called Huw (surname Griffiths, which delights the Welsh separatist), who after having done a buffet run, settles in to talk all things football with our depressed carcasses. It seems he’s a Blackburn fan and whenever he’s in the country, tries to get to Ewood or wherever they’re playing to watch them. Apparently his missus and kids are currently holed up in Gatwick waiting for his return for a flight out to Germany in the morning! The chat turns to all sorts and genuinely helps pass the time as we trundle into London some 25 minutes later, ironically due to a ‘points failure’ around the Harrow & Wealdstone area. Yeah, we know all about those lads, seen several of them so far this season. There’s also time taken to listen back to Matt’s post matcher on YouTube and it’s fair to say it’s short on answers and I can’t ever remember hearing him that frustrated or on edge before. A tough listen all round really and I genuinely hope the squad start turning up for him soon.

We hop on the tube with Huw in tow, skirting round a couple of pissheads being escorted off Euston by no less than about eight BTP and alight at Victoria. Here we leave 4Days to continue South and catch last orders at a mate’s boozer. We also bid farewell to our new Australian friend, but not before he’s added us on Instagram (@Gandermonium in case you’re wondering picture fans!) and he darts off to sort some stuff before heading to Gatwick. Dr Bell splits off for the next one back to Sutton and then I and Chalmers head for the East Croydon services. Despite just wanting to be home now, the train takes forever, crawling through South London. This means I miss a bus at Croydon and Chalmer’s bravely pre-booked cab from Reigate is looking moody. Eventually though, I wave goodbye to PC and trudge up the slope to go and wait 15 minutes for my ride home. Eventually, I hop off a 410 outside HQ just the 16 hours after leaving and tip toe into the flat so as not to wake up Mrs Taz. A quick snack of mini cheddars washed down with a pint of water and I’m crashing out on the sofa for a much needed night’s kip.

So, we’re back to radio silence after this one my friends. We were planning an entry for Crawley away at the end of the month as there were plans afoot for Woody to once more throw open the doors of Bar 54 down in Horley for all U’s fans pre-match along with a set from DJ Tractor boy that would no doubt produce plenty of idiocy of the kind we deal in on here, but sadly it seems that’s now a train strike weekend and getting down to Crawley and back in itself will be a nightmare enough for us, let alone Totts and Woody getting up from Hastings to open the gaff up in the first place. So it’s most likely we’ll be letting that occasion pass unreported as it stands. As things are going for both sides currently, another heavy defeat looms anyway, so probably for the best.

Down to a weary trudge by this point…

In a while crocodile.


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