Everyone looks forward to Friday, unless you are working the weekend of course, I was no different. Now with money in my pocket and the weekend approaching I could indulge in my favourite pastime, football. Every two weeks during the football season I would travel all over England to watch my team, Hull City.
I visited quite a few cities I would never have bothered with usually but the different places excited me even though we usually ended up in a football stadium. I can’t remember the very first away game I went to see Hull City but I can remember the first away game to see a football match. That was London, yes the big smoke, and it was to see the local youth club football team play in a cup final.
I remember we set off about 7am on a dull morning, my brother had taken me to the departure point on his motorbike, and so started my worldly travels. The destination was Crystal Palace, a sports stadium, not specifically a football stadium, but London was a huge disappointment to me. We had a little time to explore, not much, but what I did see didn’t impress.
One thing I quickly learned was the distaste towards us from the North of England, a kind of snobbishness. But our team won, and that’s all that mattered, but none of this well done stuff for us, just a sneer as the opposing supporters trooped off home. For us it was celebration and a long, long journey back home. It was the early hours of the morning when I got back home, tired but elated, both at the result and the travel.
From then on there was no stopping me as over the years I visited places dotted all over the map. These included, London ( a few times) Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Derby, Norwich, Preston, Carlisle, Newcastle, Rotherham, Huddersfield, York, Mansfield, Cardiff, Peterborough, Grimsby, amongst many. The routine was usually the same, there was a group of us who use to meet up at matches and pay a little bit each week toward our next away game. Then on a Friday night, if the journey was going to be a long one, we would go into the Hull City centre and catch the coach about 11pm.
Then we would travel through the night usually arriving at our destination in the early hours of the morning which meant we could have a bit of a sleep then find a cafe that may be open. Then it would be a meander around the place we were at, make our way to the match, and depending on how far we had to travel home after the match meant we either went to the pub or not. By the time we arrived home, the coach would drop us off as near to our houses as possible, we were very tired, but if we won, happy with it.
We had the same coach and driver almost every two weeks and we became quite a tight knit group of supporters. During one particular season I only missed one match and that was a midweek fixture right down to the south coast to Plymouth, I had a night class to attend for my job so my parents said that comes first. But we had fun on our trips, laughter and football were an intoxicating mixture, and seeing as most of us were the same age we got on most of the time.
There were a few problems sometimes, like when we went in to a pub and one or two overstepped the mark with the drink, no toilets on the coaches in those days so unscheduled stops along the way for relief, girls and boys, which lead to a few laughs. But the main thing for me besides the football was the travel, I was smitten.