Full of hope and expectation, the first day of the season is always special. Proudly wearing his brand new bright orange away shirt, the Greetland Shaymen was waiting at the car well in advance of our planned departure. We couldn’t wait to get the season started. Those 75 days of summer had really dragged by since our last grand day out at Wembley.
Soon after setting off and picking up the usual suspects we hit the first traffic jam of the season on the M62. Tesco Pete immediately rummaged in his man bag and brought out a phone. We were expecting him to share the traffic news but soon discovered he’d got other priorities. Apparently as long as you drive under 15 miles an hour, you can impress your friends and gain extra prizes on Pokemon, or so he says. No wonder Megaphone Man turned us down in preference of a lift with the Bookmarker and an ageing estate agent! Luckily we were soon on our way again.
Nuneaton’s Liberty stadium is relatively easy to get to, just over two hours on the motorway then past the world famous Crossroads Motel before arriving on the outskirts of the town. In terms of distance to travel, relegation does seem to have a positive side, there are only three other away trips this season with more travelling. With free on street parking available we were soon sitting on some seats made of enormous old tractor tyres outside the turnstiles waiting for them to open well before 1:30pm.
It’s always dangerous to have a few old blokes sitting around for too long and before long with the help and encouragement of the Northamptonshire Shayman and some serious teamwork we managed to up-end one of the 6 foot tractor tyres. A feat that even those guys in the Olympics would have struggled with! The 64 year old Greetland Shayman was soon reliving his childhood pushing the massive tyre across an empty field offering us all free rides in the process. Luckily the turnstiles opened just in time, I’m sure bus driver Graham was about to have a go!
What a start to the game, two early goals but still all square. It seemed so easy for 30 seconds or so. Half time and no further goals, was this a good start or not we wondered? A comedy goal soon had the 200 or so travelling Shaymen singing. We’re still not sure how the ball trickled across the line; the goalkeeper seemed to have saved it twice! Soon afterwards a third seemed to settle it. Nuneaton got one back before a nervy finish, our first away win.
Back in the car we’re all delighted with the win. Tesco Pete’s soon reading out the other scores and trying to work out who the contenders are and where the next points are coming from. Expectations are still high; you can’t beat a first day victory. Next up it’s a local trip to Stockport County and the first of many trips to Greater Manchester this season.
Total miles on the road this season 153, total Goals 3
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