Monday, 29 December 2014

Forest - Away Day Special

Well, have you ever known a more difficult Forest game to get to?

It was a Sunday service, at Christmas, so we were asking for trouble. The 9.03 from New Street had two changes [Derby and some no-man's land called 'East Midlands Parkway'] and took 2 hours, or the 10.03 which had the one change at Derby but got you into Nottingham just 10 minutes before kick off.

"Definitely the 10.03" exclaimed my mate, who fancied an extra hour in bed.

"What? You're talking madness pal, madness." I responded in sheer disbelief.

"We'll definitely miss kick off. It'll take us 5 minutes to get off the train, get through the ticket barriers, up the stairs, then it's a 20 minute walk to the ground."

"Naah, see, I'll order a taxi for us from outside Nottingham station, and as soon as we get off the train, we'll jump straight in the taxi and get to the City Ground in seconds."

Wasn't do-able.

The entourage backed the 9.03am train in a 4-1 vote.

The other problem was getting from God's Promised Land Solihull to New Street as there were no trains from here. We opted for a taxi.

Solihull town centre was abandoned. You could see your breath in the air. The streets and pavements were sparkling with a dusting of frost. All of a sudden the Nissan Almera screeched around the corner. 

"Taxi for Birmingham fans?" shouted a guy resembling the Mummy king.


We got in.

"How much you pay for train to Nottingham?" enquired the Mummy King halfway into the journey.

"£17.50 open return".

"I do one journey, £80 all in"


"Ok, £70, one journey, all in"

"Naah, we'd still need to get home. How about £40 and we might have a spare ticket, so you can have that as well and come to watch Blues?" we countered.

"If I go to game and Blues lose, I jump on pitch and I kill the players, like dogs, I strangle them. They always win then. They win because they know if they lose, I have their heads."

Awkward silence.

Well, if there was any doubt, we'd now be giving this guy a massive tip just to be on the safe side. Didn't fancy ending up in Syria, even though it was probably easier to get to than Nottingham.

"This guy's been to the Lee Clark school of man management" somebody quipped, breaking the tension.

The platform for the 9.03 train was rammed, everybody had dispensed with the extra hour in bed and gone for the sensible train.

Everything ran smoothly until we got to East Midlands Parkway, or Chernobyl as it should be called, surrounded by fields as far as the eye can see, except for the massive Springfield-like Nuclear Power Plant next door. Quite a weird place. There didn't seem to be any staff knocking about either, or any signal of life in the immediate vicinity. The only noise coming from the humming of the generator and silos overlooking the train tracks.

All of a sudden 50 Blues-supporting sixteen year olds entered the station, resembling The Simpsons' squeeky voiced teen character. They raised their hands aloft and gave it the hooligan schtick, intimidating a couple of pensioners in the waiting room, singing in shrill, ear-piercing tones as their voices quivered and broke.

I don't know if I'm getting older and more 'grandad-like' but I found them hugely embarrassing.

The teenage gang grabbed the station's humble Christmas tree, ripped it from its pot and proceeded the tear it apart, dragging it hither and thither across the station floor. 

One spotty teen in a gilet and Converse trainers stamped on the thing's broken branches in a fit of anger, smashing the baubles into pieces. The Inbetweeners in the background then broke into a chorus of 'We're Birmingham City, we'll do wot we WONT! The Roost, the George, the Forge, Adebola!'

Most of whom were too young to remember Adebola, with an even greater number scarcely old enough to drink in those establishments.

The pensioners looked on in teary sadness.

A Virgin train guy appeared out of a cupboard and phoned for the Transport Police. The train to Nottingham pulled into the station but wouldn't open its doors, letting the Christmas-haters in, until the police turned up.

Despite the delay at East Midlands Parkway, we got into the ground moments before the kick off. Managed to secure our seats in order to have a lovely Christmas sing-song to Paul McCartney and Wings.

You all saw the game, even you *spits* tv-watching fans, so I won't go into the ins and outs of the match itself too much, but Blues stung Forest three times in ten minutes in a beautiful display of counter attacking football. 3-0 up at half time with just 33% possession.

It's getting quite apparent that the lower our possession stats, the more deadly we are. We had just 36% against Reading, and smashed in 6 against the hob knob-eaters.

The Forest fans were getting angry and resorted to the 'yam yam' chants - which seems to wind us up.

If Forest are going to take liberties with geography in an attempt to wind us up, I can't understand why we don't do the same with them and dismiss them as being Yorkshire.

'You dirty Yorkshire bastards' I started chanting, but we were surrounded by the teenage Christmas tree murderers and they didn't join in, either by not getting it, or because the idea of countering Yam Yam with Yorkshire is a lot better to me in my head, but to everybody else it's a terrible idea. Who Knows. They were too busy dancing to pig-bag, and chanting 'u wot, u wot u wot' back to the Forest fans. Ah well.

Forest had allowed a malaise to set in, perfectly encapsulated by their version of 'chip and win'. Except in the Forest version you don't need to chip the ball into the goal, instead you just roll the ball in - and the guy still missed from 10 yards out, and he was even applauded. Poor. No wonder their players can't be arsed.

We'd won the game by the time the second half started, so we never left 2nd gear. Forest scored once we'd taken our better players off and given some of the 2nd string a run out.

Full time, and another win with a load of goals. You'd think we'd be getting used to it by now, but the guys in front of us in the stand had only brought two smoke bombs, seemingly never expecting us to hit the dizzy heights of 3-0 on 45 minutes.

As we walked out of the ground, we split from the Blues fans and went to find a decent bar. We ended up in a marvelous little hipster joint called 'Das Kino' that had ping pong tables at the back of the room. Highly recommended if we're back at Forest any time soon [which we won't be, because we're definitely going up this season].

Another successful away day for the entourage, our record of having never seen us lose away from home in 5 seasons continues.

We've earmarked Fulham away as the next big entourage away day. It's supposed to be lovely down there by the river, with some lovely pubs, almost as lovely as a pre-match rendition of Paul McCartney and Wings.