Monday, November 12, 2012

Barrow away : Victory, frustrating fans and Father Ted

Hello all

When you've had a difficult week, the last thing you'd have needed in recent years is to go and watch Lincoln City away from home, but not any more. I'd had a bit of a bad week due to issues I can't really go into but the form of the Imps meant that going to watch Lincoln doesn't feel like the task it has done in recent years. City went into the game at Barrow in excellent form and fans sort of expecting to win games.

Despite the recent run of form, manager David Holdsworth has struggled to get praise from the fans who have pointed out that the improved form has only come since Grant Brown and Chris Moyses became more involved in the first team. It has seemingly gotten to the point where some fans have an attitude of "If we win it's because of Grant and Chris, if we lose it's because of David," a bit of a ridiculous statement as Holdsworth has assembled a side that is finally started producing. That's not to say that Chris and Grant aren't doing a good job, but it will certainly be interesting to see how certain fans react and when this unbeaten run ends.

So onto the matchday and my first experience of the new Red Imps Cafe at Sincil Bank. Food at Sincil Bank has always been a bit suspect, and that's putting it nicely. Buying a cheeseburger in the CO-OP stand basically means you get a cold bit of meat located between two cold bits of bread, infact, putting it bluntly, the food at Sincil Bank is shit, so you can imagine my surprise when the food in the RIC was actually quite nice. The coach eventually arrives and off we go.

It could be Craggy could be Barrow. Who knows???
The roads to Barrow are pretty bland until you get to Cumbria, at which point you are actually treated to some views of some wonderful countryside for miles on end.....until you get to Ulverston. It's amazing that you can go from looking out of your window and thinking "oh, that's quite nice" to "what the fuck is this shithole?"

Ulverston makes Grimsby/Cleethorpes look like a metropolitan paradise. Barrow, just a few miles further down the road, isn't much better and the view from out of the main stand at Holker Street is one of the most depressing in the country. I've been to some right shitholes, but Barrow is right up there amongst the others.......hello Alfreton! You know it reminds me of in many ways? Craggy Island from Father Ted, for which myself and a few other of the coach-goers were talking about gleefully on the way.

One of these days I'm expecting to go to Barrow and see that they've got a local fair on, looking inside and there's a bench being lifted up by a crane as one of the rides, or a sideshow called the "SpiderBaby".....two more Father Ted references....seriously, watch it, it's very funny.

When we finally arrived at Holker Street the gates were already open, and fortunately we timed it so that the rain was only just starting to fall when we entered the turnstiles. I see a lot of City fans head into the seats and I follow a few seconds later, they ask why I want to go in the seated stand, to which my reply is....."Well I like to sit down when watching football and side views are always better," which they let me through with the words "It's ok, this one's not a troublemaker."

That kind of bugged me in a way. For those who aren't aware, I'm going through a sex change, so I'm not sure what part of me, a six foot tall guy with red hair (and I mean red, not ginger), make up, fake breasts and a handbag, lead the steward to initially believe that I was going to cause trouble, but let's face it, there aren't many transgendered individuals going around causing trouble at football matches these days.....or indeed just transgendered people at football matches. The wind is so bracing that despite initially staying in just a very fitting t-shirt, I have to put on my nice, warm, hooded jumper, the rain then starts pelting it down, but fortunately we under cover so it doesn't affect us......unlike the below set of so fans who stayed in the terrace despite of the adverse weather.

As the away end fills up, the weather calms down quite a bit and it's all good with the exception of the wind, and I get some fans sat in front of my who are amongst the most annoying type of football fan, those that have a choice between seating and terracing, go in the seating but then insist on standing the entire time, and then do it right in front of someone who has no interest in standing. Eventually the steward pretty much forces them to sit down, but these were not fans, these were the type of people that Lincoln has attracted in recent seasons, those that moan for the sake of moaning. They were shouting at one point for Dan Gray to clear the ball, he clears it, and then they moan at him for not clearing it directly to the feet of Jamie Taylor, who is stood 60 yards away. There's just no pleasing these types of fans and they will always find a fault, or cause those around them headaches because they won't shut the fuck up!!!!!! All I can hear through the entire game is high pitched moaning and it gave me a bit of a headache.

Infact, they type of fans do my head in so much that I've decided to give them their own anthem. A song that sums them up perfectly, their attitude, etc, I present to you "Predictable" by Good Charlotte.

The pre-match rain made it hard for either side to really get a foot hold on the game and the first chance comes just before half time, and it resulted in the opening goal of the game as Dan Gray cleared the ball (moan, whinge, bitch) upfield, Jamie Taylor gets the ball, plays in Alan Power with a clever trick and the former Hartlepool man slots it home from just inside the area.

The second half isn't much better with both sides again struggling on the poor pitch, but City do make it 2-0 just after the hour mark as Vadaine Oliver scores a rare goal to extend City's lead from a corner. Ex-Imp Louis Almond is tripped late on to give Barrow a penalty (but of course according to the fans in front of me it was never a penalty, and it's a conspiracy worse than the Kennedy assassination that they've been given a penalty) and they put it away to make it a nervy finish for the Imps, but City do hold on to take a well earnt three points. The Imps suddenly find they've reached the nose-bleed second that is 13th in the table......dizzying heights indeed.

The trip home seems to last forever as those of us at the back of the coach are trying to watch the Aston Villa vs Manchester United match, with a Chelsea fan taking particular please when Villa take a 2-0 lead.......I am soon rubbing it in though as United turn it around to make it 3-2. It's not easy watching a football match on a phone though, especially in an area which seemingly has no mobile coverage whatsoever, but we do our best. Granted, it's better than sat there looking blankly into the pitch black countryside, or watching other traffic on the motorway, but the image freezing just as you're about to see a goal is frustrating.

Other than that it was a pretty uneventful, but long, trip home.

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