TT Groundhopping No.1 – Stockport County (a)

‘TT Groundhopping’ is a new series for 19-20, as we ask supporters for an alternative look back on a TUFC away day of their choice, preferably from the current season.  

First up we have a thoroughly entertaining blog on Stockport County away by Clive Hayward:

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Clive Hayward – @ByeHorse

“Do a blog about an away trip” Dom said. I offered him Burnley 1988. Not interested. “How about Burnley 1991?” He told me to forget about Burnley. Not that I ever could. “I want something from this season”, he told me. That’s Concord off the list then. Given that Barnet passed in a sweaty blur and that I have missed some otherwise promising trips because I just love cricket too much, all I can really write about so far is our Edgeley Park adventure.

One of the joys of higher education, in the 80’s as much as now, is that it allows spotty lads from the South West the chance to explore the North of England, drink proper beer and go to places that Karl Marx had in mind when explaining why capitalism’s days were numbered as surely as Gary Owers’ coaching career.

Back in the day, Stockport used to play on a Friday night. When I was at Leeds University it was a train ride across the Pennines via Stalybridge. Please believe me, you never, ever want to miss the last train back from there. 

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Stockport was always the sort of place where Torquay might get a point. They had a flirtation with Championship football not so long ago, but as we know they then became  another “massive” club who had unexpectedly found themselves in regional football. What a crying shame that their fans were for a while unable to wander along our seafront and we were hundreds of miles away from another pint of Boddingtons. This needed to be put right.

Which was how I came to be waking up on a York bedroom floor three Saturdays ago. As you may know my son is a student there, and we had braved the Friday motorways to get him back up to his salubrious new shared house. Why catch a bus when you can sweat out last night’s beer walking into town along the Hull Road?  Having achieved our first objective of a Spoons Breakfast (“Dad, Rugby’s shit: I don’t care if Japan are beating Ireland”) we had almost no trouble sourcing some Stella for the train. Drinking on trains is one of my chief pleasures and I would commend the Twitter account of the same name. It would be too much to expect a direct service to Stockport. From a plethora of attractive options, we chose to go via Sheffield.

Linking up there with a fellow Yellows Uni Tragic (son of a Popside regular I used to work with, and with whom Matty has a banterous twitter bromance), we set off on an off-peak Peak District excursion. People say nice things about that slightly underwhelming National Park. It’s probably lovely. Dunno. We were only on our second can, so it’s not the booze that caused us to miss the scenery. It was the fact that the line goes through numerous lengthy tunnels and, more pertinently, that it was pissing it down in quantities sufficient to make Noah check his tide times. By the time we trundled down the hill into Stockport the rain had, if anything, got heavier. Noting the floodlights handily close to the station your intrepid trio splashed off the train in search of sustenance (Beer. Maybe crisps). 

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Handily, we rapidly found both. An added bonus was that the pub boasted not only ale & carbohydrates but, crucially, a roof and a funtioning heating system, You know that bit in films where people stagger into shelter from inhospitable conditions, half-drowned and on the verge of collapse? Yeah. That. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in this vote of thanks to The Jolly Crofter. Jack Duckworth was pulling the pints, and as nearly always in the North West the natives were friendly, funny and genuinely welcoming. “Torquay? That’s a long way, in’t it. I got me end away outside t’Hideaway in 1993”. That sort of thing. I was very clear that although they had lost four in a row, I could see no way that our soft-underbellied young team would get a result. This sort of thing always goes down well, and we made it to 3 o’clock un-beaten-up and with bellies full of Boddingtons (self), Carling (son) and Dark Fruit (SL).

You know what happened next. Kalvin was unplayable. Whitfield made his Auntie June very proud. Reidy was a shagger. Four-nil up at half time. My prediction up in yellow pyro smoke.

My, how we enjoyed the leisurely post match pint and gloat in the “Now Thoroughly Pissed Off Drover”. After a dirty, disgraceful, delicious mid-evening kebab back in York, Matty and I spent the rest of the night in the wettest pub in the city. Right on the banks of the Ouse, the Kings Arms is famous as: “The Pub that Floods”. Sure enough, on the Sunday it did just that.  On the Saturday we were joined by a jolly party of Norwegians (you couldn’t make it up, could you?). They were in Yorkshire for the World Cycling Championships (“Dad, cycling’s shit!”). I learned everything I had ever wanted to know about Stavanger. By the end of the evening I was feeling no pain, and Matty’s floor felt as comfortable as a four poster bed.    

“Was Jerusalem builded here, amongst these dark satanic mills?”. Was it f##k! 

Clive H

AWAY DAY RATING: 5/5 

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Away Sponsor of Kyle Cameron


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