Firstly, thank you for continuing to support these blogs after I neglected to write up about last week’s shit storm against Luton, it would have just been me swearing. A lot. Hopefully this extended weekend blog will make up for it.
6:00 am on a Saturday morning means only one thing, one f****** long journey.
I was however fashionably late arriving to Chiv’s in Guildford just after 07:00. Armed with our flag, fruit pastilles and Chiv’s ipod full of Now 6 music we headed to Blackpool in his Skoda go-kart.
After 2 and a half hours we stopped off just before the M6 Toll to grab some breakfast.
Thank you to the Pompey reader who suggested that I tried a McShite breakfast, I did, it was like eating stale bagel with melted plastic. You did save me a few pennies though which would be much needed later in the day!
When we were eventually gifted our food and tea, with no milk I might add despite it being advertised “Tea with milk” we went to find some seats when we discovered the Pompey coaches were also here. You can always tell when the coaches are about as there is a smog within the air.
Which meant only one thing, the LC1 boys were about. If you have never met these boys they’re actually a minority of really sound teenagers who go to Pompey games, so we pulled up a pew next to them and ate our McDross.
We always try to eat at the half way point of our journey and being a long trip it was agreed that we would share the driving between me and Chiv.
The Skoda go-kart was an automatic, which being a manual car driver didn’t phase me at all. I sat in the bastard and gently touched the throttle to reverse out of the car park space.
Three seconds, 10 metres and a doughnut later with Chiv grabbing hold of his safety handle we were successfully out of the space and plonked in the middle of the car park.
Note to self – automatic throttles are extra sensitive in reverse.
For the rest of the journey at junctions I was slamming my foot to the floor in a desperate attempt to find a clutch that wasn’t there and grabbing hold of a gear stick that shouldn’t move. I’m never getting an automatic car, it takes all the fun out of driving.
Just after midday we arrived in the deceptively sunny seaside town of Blackpool after what seemed like the easiest journey of our season to date.
We parked in a 24 hour car park directly outside the ground and about 200 yards away from what would be our hotel for the night when we eventually checked in.
Travelling up on a Tuesday last year for an evening game and with only a fiver in my pocket I managed to buy a pint from The Bridge pub and a portion of chips round the corner, so I knew how cheap it would be up here.
That being said I wasn’t however expecting to only be charged £18 for 3 pints of cider and 3 bottles of Bulmers when we went back to The Bridge which was already heaving with Blues fans.
We grabbed a seat each on a table to ourselves and soaked up the jovial atmosphere boosted by the Pompey fans music taste on the jukebox.
By the time the line up was announced we couldn’t work out if the line up was generally confusing or we were just really pissed, turns out it was both – we were both pleased to see the core element of last seasons championship winning team back in the first XI.
We left the pub which was only a 2 minute stroll to the ground at about 20 to KO but somehow or other we only managed to enter the seating area of the ground as the teams were coming out of the tunnel.
After discussing this we learnt that the 18 minutes we lost were taken up talking to a poppy seller about the future of his club.
I’m sure most Portsmouth fans will share my views when I say I hope Blackpool get their club back and I wish them all the best for the future except when it’s against Pompey. The Blackpool fans that attended the match were pretty poor. Even when Pompey fans sang “Oystons Out” they barely applauded.
With our newly bought poppy on our jackets, the silence was impeccably observed by all within the ground to pause for a moments reflection for all of those who fought for us to be here today.
Very clean and spacious designs. The tangerine orange looked like it had been freshly painted and there were enough urinals for it to seem extremely empty even at half time. 7/10.
This is the part of the blog where I usually comment on the game but I’d be lying if I said I remember anything of the first half or anything of the second other than the limbs with the LC1 boys when those three goals went in. Ben one of the LC1 lads ended up in the row in front after Pitman’s first.
I managed to accidentally punch one of them in the face amid the celebrations of the first goal too. He did get ‘accidental’ revenge in the same celebrations by ripping my coat hood. I forgive you Ryan and I’m sorry for punching you.
One thing I remember during the half-time break was talking to a Queen of the South fan who had travelled down with a member of Clan Pompey, he expressed how welcomed he had been as an outsider. At the time we didn’t have much to talk about regarding what we had just watched.
It takes long trips up north that combine all the different groups of Pompey for an afternoon of action and tends to filter out the fair weather moaners and makes for such a better atmosphere which is being mentioned by Tangerine fans all over social media.
After full time I needed to just sit down for 5 minutes in my seat to let my head have a breather. You as football fans who consume beer and have a sing song can imagine how my head had felt after celebrating Pitman’s winner.
Back to The Bridge where the rest of the night began. On route we bumped into CEO Mark Catlin who was as equally buzzing from the result and he couldn’t help but praise the Pompey fans support every time Blackpool equalized.
“The Pompey fans just got louder and louder which was brilliant.” – Mark Catlin
More beer, spirits and Jağer. We stayed for about an hour before we had to head back to the car to collect our stuff and actually check in to Hotel Lucena…30 seconds away from the pub.
For £20 each we can’t complain about our room as it provided a bed for the night when we eventually got in.
A quick freshen up and a change of clothes we then headed to the pier where I would be throwing my hard earned money at piss easy games such as ‘Ball in a Bucket’ and ‘Pole through the Hole’. Unfortunately for me I didn’t get my pole through the hole which is the story of my life.
I couldn’t even hook myself a Thomas the Tank engine toy that I bizarrely wanted for some reason on the grab machine. I did walk away from the pier as a 7-5 Air hockey champion after Chiv through away a 4-2 lead.
Then to The Lifeboat karaoke bar where we spent the rest of our night consuming more beer, spirits and Jağer to the sounds of merry Pompey fans on the karaoke machine which was backed up by a talented musician on the guitar and saxophone. I get the strange feeling that I went up for a sing song…
The bar had a few locals in who are clearly regulars. “Wendy” and “Uncle Bob” being notable ones. They were soon amalgamated into the Pompey fans thoughts and given their own chants. “Wendy give us a wave” and “there’s only one Uncle Bob” rang out as they took the stage multiple times. The latter taking time to praise the visiting Pompey fans.
Big shout out to the staff though. Especially the doorman who split his time between doing the door, collecting glasses and belting out a classic from Jungle Book.
It was gone midnight when we left the establishment. Realizing we had spent best part of £100 on beer left us with only once course of action. Draw out another £20 and get some kebabs. The kebab shop was your standard one although I immediately noticed that the chicken kebab looked like haemorrhoids.
I pointed this out to Chiv…who promptly ordered two of them.
The journey back to our hotel was uneventful. Chiv staggering around tweeting his every move. Between us we managed to get the door code right. There should be a medal for that considering our alcohol blood levels.
We finally got off to sleep after Chiv had pulled himself out from the 12 inch gap down the side of the bed which he had drunkingly fallen down it.
6 hours later and we were up – suprisingly well. A brief walk along the seafront was called for before breakfast. It was freezing and winds strong enough you had to lean forward into them to walk. Very sobering!
After a fantastic fry up included in our £20 we made our way back to the car. Bumping into several sore headed Pompey fans who had clearly enjoyed the night as much as we had.
I then dropped Chiv and his Skoda go-kart outside his house and left him immediately to deal with the wrath of his wife after he explains where all his petrol money had gone.
May we take a moment to remember him.
Keep the Faith.
P.S Allsop’s still shit.
Photos: PNE Police, Joe Pepler and Pompey Memes