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First Team

Southport: Travellers Tales

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Posted by Kelly Gilchrist
Posted on Tue 22 Apr 2014
Posted in First Team

Around 6,500 miles and the last of 23 different league venues on the road supporting the Shaymen this season and it’s the most annoying journey of the season.  The 57 miles should take just about an hour, leaving at 11.30 am we’re still three miles away and stuck in Bank Holiday standing traffic at 2.00pm, panic is starting to set in.  With the sun beaming and windows down, Megaphone Man’s at it again.  Spotting a passing hot and sweaty pedestrian pushing a heavy motorbike miles from anywhere, he decides to comment “It’ll go faster if you put petrol in it mate!”  A few knowing glances around the car and we hope the pedestrian sees the funny side of it.  He does, just the short and obvious reply and we’re in the clear!

Twenty past two and no time for seaside fish and chips, we head for the away end of the ground.  At a cost of £13.50 to stand on an open terrace behind the goal or £15 to sit in the main stand, there’s already a few hundred Shaymen there as we arrive,  With another 20 minutes spent in the tea hut queue and it’s time to claim the spot to watch the game.

Haig Avenue is dominated by a main stand that holds 1,840 supporters. A covered terrace behind one of the goals provides the only other shelter in the ground; great on a sunny day like today but no doubt bleak in November. We’re segregated in the open end. The big Southport news today was the imminent construction of new floodlights in summer; they seem to have had good value from the existing rusty towers.

Five minutes into the game and Lee Gregory scores. The blue mist descends in the away end, 931 travelling Shaymen are having a party (where did they all come from, it’s just like Whitby away again!).  The elusive Shaymen drummer strikes up a beat as the calm and laid back stewards deal with the pyrotechnics like it happens twice a week.

Two second half goals for Southport, the second, a cracker, applauded by many of the travelling Shaymen, meant the first defeat since our day out in Chester.  It was a fair result on refection; Southport are now clear of relegation worries for the final game of the season.

Back to the car and time for some more Tommy Degnan at full volume. Smiles and waves from many of the Southport fans on the streets reflected their satisfaction with the afternoon; many also were keen to wish us well in the play-offs.  What a refreshing change!

Back on the M62 and the news that Barnet had taken the lead against Braintree, it’s not a bad day after all.  We’re soon discussing the price of Wembley tickets once again. Will it be Portsmouth away next season or a day out against our old friends from North Ferriby?

Who knows?  A draw for Braintree and we’ve got at least another away trip this season, not sure where though……

Read more posts by Kelly Gilchrist

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