Away Day Robins
Bacup - Story 1
The latest report from the Blackburn & Darwen Robins comes from the trip to Darkest East Lancashire to see the Robins take on big-spending Bacup Borough in the League Challenge Cup. Being a Friday evening game, it was too late to get down to Harwood for some quality building supplies from Thomco, so straight after tea, Jimmy ‘Mad-dog’ and Billy ‘The Kid’ Hughes, and Dave came round and we set off. Unfortunately we didn’t have the flag as it hadn’t been fixed after some Fleetwood hooligans had torn off a couple of ties.
Remembering how cold it was last time we went to West View, we all had about ten layers of clothing on and it was quite a squeeze to get us all into the car.
Arrived five minutes before kick-off to find a very sparse crowd of about twenty, although there was thankfully a late rush which swelled the gate to over a hundred, with the Harwood following amounting to around twenty. With the big names on show at Bacup these days, the Borough chief, Brent Peters, must be rather disappointed with the response from the locals and the club rarely draws in three figure crowds unless there’s a large away support.
The teams were read out over the P.A. system and we were shocked to hear that not only was the injured John Eastham absent, but his strike partner Paul Mashiter was also missing. New signing Mark Young was to be the lone striker so it was going to be very important that the midfield players got forwards if we were to threaten the home goal. The kick-off was delayed by two minutes as the home keeper finished off his pre-match chicken and pasta……potato pie, chips, peas and gravy……mixed grill, sweet and sour pork and fried rice.
The game eventually got under way and not surprisingly Bacup were soon on the offensive, enjoying the advantage of the slope and strong, biting wind. It was nice to see that the local village idiot, who got knocked off his ladder in the earlier league game, hadn’t suffered too much brain damage and had taken up his usual place on top of the 12-foot high perimeter wall.
Luckily for us, Bacup’s passing was pretty woeful and they persisted in kicking the ball down the hill and into touch. Most of their shots were just as poor with several balls flying over Bobby’s goal, and down the street towards Todmorden. Having settled down, we began to put some good passing moves together without causing Fatty Foulkes in the Bacup goal too many problems and it was no surprise that the scoresheet was blank as the half-time whistle blew.
The second half saw us take control of the game and the midfield really started to pass the ball well and once again Steele and Hill were working well together on the left. Young up front had run himself silly against a solid Borough back four but now he was getting more back- up from the excellent Price and McManus. A neat one-two between Hill and Steele had the latter take the ball on from the half-way line, turn his marker inside out, burst into the area, made to go on the outside but cut in on the right, before burying an unstoppable right foot shot beyond Fatty and into the net. The crowd went mad – well at least two or three of us did. The side was now oozing confidence and were outplaying their high-flying hosts and a few minutes after the goal, Dennis Hill went on a mazy run, similar to Steele’s earlier effort, but delayed his shot which was eventually blocked. There now seemed only one winner and Bacup threw on their three subs. in a desperate bid to change the outcome. ‘Grumpy’, a midget who was playing in midfield for the hosts, decided that he’d start to kick a few players seeing as he wasn’t able to kick the ball, and took great delight in leathering Dennis who was running circles round him. The little chap was booked but he still wouldn’t calm down and the reason became apparent after the game. Snow White had told him that he had to be home by ten o’clock or he wouldn’t get any cocoa so maybe he was trying to get sent off! Darren Rogers, who’d moved further forward in the second–half, was suffering from cramp after he’d also put in a non-stop performance. Sadly he had to be substituted, leaving Mark on his own once again.
Then, about five minutes from time, a highly debatable free kick was awarded on the edge of our area. The ball was chipped to the far post where a forward bundled the ball home while the defenders stood looking. After the way we’d defended for the first 85 minutes, it was a really disappointing way to concede. Things looked even bleaker a couple of minutes later when two forwards, looking yards offside, ran through on goal with most of the back four motionless save for their raised arms. As Bobby came out to the edge of the area to meet the man with the ball, the forward passed it sideways to his unmarked teammate to slide it into the empty net. NO ! Bobby launched himself through the air like a tiger pouncing on its prey and pulled off one of the best saves you’re likely to see anywhere in the world this year.
The Harwood boys were now tiring and young Young was on his knees up front after his non-stop battling. Bacup threw everyone forward in a last ditch attempt to prevent extra-time, but having played over four minutes of stoppage time, it was surely going on for a further 30 minutes. With Grumpy already having missed his ten o’clock deadline, Bacup broke down the right but it was going to be O.K. as the ball was passed to a forward who was well offside.
He is offside isn’t he ? PLAY-ON ? HE’S OFFSIDE LINER !!! In it went for 2-1 and that was that.
Well, at least we played some good football although as usual we didn’t get what we deserved. The players were applauded off by the Harwood followers and as the ground emptied, players and officials remonstrated with the men in black but it was all so futile because they weren’t going to suddenly change their minds and say, “Oh yes, your right, it wasn’t free-kick and we’ll disallow the second goal ‘cause he was offside and I should have blown for full-time a couple of minutes earlier.”
The whistle goes for full-time so that’s it, arguing with the officials can only result in trouble for the club so let’s cut it out. We the supporters are allowed to give the officials stick, and we will, the rest of you button it!
Looking on the bright side, we didn’t have to endure extra-time, some of us are up for quarter past four so night matches are hard work anyway. The team had once again excelled against a leading side, and we can now put all of our efforts into the almost impossible task of avoiding the drop. At least we won’t get any injuries or suspensions from further cup games.
We decided to go straight home as Billy and Jimmy had to tuck their teddy bears up in bed and me and Dave had to be up early in the morning.
As we were nearing Darwen, Billy’s phone rang, it was his girlfriend. “Yes sweetheart, I’ve missed you too, see you in five minutes, bye Daisy.” “Ah, that’s nice, is Daisy her ‘pet-name’? Is it because she’s small, pretty and smells nice?” I asked.
“NO WAY ! I call her that because she’s fat, looks like my uncle’s prize cow and smells even worse.” Replied our lovestruck teenager. And they say that romance is dead!
Bacup - Story 2
The latest report from the famous Blackburn and Darwen Robins comes from the recent local derby at table-toppers Bacup.
With the game being switched to Friday night to avoid clashing with the England game, we set off early, anticipating a huge crowd-we didn’t want the gates locked when we arrived. We needn’t have worried as the huge crowd amounted to 75, half of whom were from Harwood. We toured Blackburn and Darwen picking up the usual crew, but minus Auntie Sheila and Billy ‘The-Kid’, who both went to watch young England, and Michelle who was there on first aid duty. That being the case, we didn’t bother with a pub as it’s no fun unless Michelle gets us banned as usual.
Got to West View at 7 o’clock and Jimmy ‘Mad-Dog, Dave and myself had a pre-match pint and a game of pool. Normally we like to stand on the terraces but seeing as there were none, we leant against the perimeter crush barriers. Just as well really as the slope on the ground was so great, if you weren’t holding on to something, you’d have fallen over!
I seem to recall that Bacup got a load of ‘dosh’ to sort the pitch out-maybe not-anyway they line dup parading their new big money signing Power who had an eventful evening. Before we’d settled down, a 30 yard daisy cutting free kick gave Bacup the lead thank to Booby-sorry Bobby Harris’ feeble attempt to stop the ball. We’ll forgive him as his mistakes are few and far between. After the last game when we were mauled by that Championship chasing team Glossop, we feared another heavy defeat.
“If we can keep it down to six or seven it won’t be too bad.” Said that eternal optimist Jimmy.
But gradually Harwood came more and more into it and our dear hosts found it necessary to give one or two of our players a good kicking. Sadly the Ref. let them get away with it and the game threatened to boil over at times. Getting right behind the lads, we heard a strange noise behind us and turned round to see a local loony, up a ladder leaning against a huge brick wall, supping a bottle of Newcastle Brown and getting a free view, and from the slur in his voice and the absent look on his face, it wasn’t his first bottle.
“Mind you don’t fall off you clown,” shouted a Harwood follower.
“Oh, I won’t, I as shafe as houshez cock!”
With that, another Harwood attack ended with Fatty Felgate in the Bacup goal, rushing out of his area and belting the ball which went flying over our heads and hit the goomer smack on the nose.
The clown fell backwards and the ladder followed him-shame!
As the home side continued to kick lumps out of our young team-no doubt in an effort to intimidate them-our Physio Joanne found herself over-stretched as her services were called upon time after time during the first period. Michelle, where were you when we really needed you?
Half time came with Bacup still one up and the Robins a little unfortunate to be losing. Still, this season has seen some tremendous first half performances-it’s the second half of games where the team has waved more white flags than an Italian infantry Regiment so we were far from confident about the outcome.
We decide to go behind the goal and give Fatty some stick in an effort to unsettle him, and unsettle him we did!
“Who are you calling Fatty?” Asked the portly Bacup custodian, a man who was single handedly responsible for the snack bar running out of pies. Harwood put together a series of tremendous attacks with their slick passing and movement off the ball, and Bacup were struggling to keep us at bay. Mr. Superstar Power, the new signing, found it all too much and lashed out at one of our boys off the ball. Luckily an eagle-eyed linesman saw the assault and consulted the Ref. who gave him a deserved red card. Even then Mr. (I’m a star queue here for my autograph) Power refused to go off and a scuffle broke out. Should the Ref. mention this in his report then Borough and the ‘star’ could be in serious trouble.
If Harwood were on top before, then now it was like one-way traffic as Bacup held onto what they had. Porky in goal made some great saves and it seemed as though we weren’t going to get our just rewards, and as the game moved into injury time, we attacked down the left. A home defender made what looked like a fine last ditch tackle but the Ref. saw it differently and pointed to the spot. Up stepped Mash, nerves of steel to crash in the equaliser and it was no more than Harwood deserved. Into injury time and we piled on the pressure in an effort to gain a much needed three points. The crowd were going wild, cheering on the Robins but there were a few home fans giving us some ear-ache. Fortunately if you took the combined I.Q.’s from the Dingle Boys, you’d probably have enough to make a half-wit, their repertoire consisting of four letter, one syllable words, in fact they were so thick that they’d have made Kirk off Coronation Street look like Bamber Gascoigne.
We could have won, we deserved to win after our best NINETY minutes of the season but at least we stopped the record-breaking run of defeats. The lads were cheered off the pitch at the end with pride of place going to Lewis Hamlin who has been getting better as the season progresses.
As tempers in the crowd reached fever pitch, Dave, who is normally more peaceful than John and Yoko, laid into a rival fan who’s been bugging one of our lady supporters.
“Shut it you fat b******,” shouted our Knight in shining armour.
Kick one of our supporters and we all limp!
Although we deserved the three points, we’d have settled for a draw before the game so we all went away quite happily. The Dingle boys slithered off with their tails between their legs and the Robins’ followers sang their way out of the ground.
On the way home Jimmy’s new girlfriend phoned to see when he’s be home.
“I’ll be home at about ten my little cheeseball,” said Jimmy.
“Ah, that’s nice, is that your ‘pet-name’ for her?” I asked
“NO WAY SUCKER!” SHOUTED Jimmy.
“I call her that because her feet smell like Gorgonzola!”
And they say that romance is dead!
We just about beat the traffic at Ewood and we were all home by half past ten, earlier that the crew who’s gone to the England under-21 game.
There’s never a dull moment when the Blackburn and Darwen Robins are on tour so why not join us for the next trip, and remember……….
Rally Round the Robins!