Away Day Robins
Blackpool Mechanics - Story 1
The latest report from the Blackburn and Darwen Robins comes from the 2nd Division game at Blackpool in September.
With the expected heavy traffic going to the illuminations and the football followers heading down to Jepson Way, we decided to set off in plenty of time. Picked up Andy ‘The Hat’, Jimmy ‘Mad Dog’ and Billy ‘The Kid’ Hughes and Auntie Sheila. The roads were quite quiet and we were at the ground at five past seven. Time for a game of footy. Well it would have been if I hadn’t taken the ball out of the boot on the previous Saturday! It’s been in there for the last six months and now, but just when we needed it……. We called over the wall of the ground to the Harwood boss Hughesy but the tight sod wouldn’t lend us a ball so we went onto the adjoining football pitches and spotted a couple of six year-olds with a spare ball. As we ran towards them, they spied our ugly looking crew and decided to scarper pretty quickly. They grabbed their coats and balls and were last seen running towards Lytham shouting “Dad, Dad.”
Oh well, into the clubhouse for a pint and a game of pool on the worst table in the west. Last time we were here, the bitter matched the table so we stuck to lager. Jimmy and me then proceeded to wipe the floor with Andy who almost burst into tears when he was whooped 5-0. Billy got stuck into pie, peas and gravy as he’d not had time for any tea before we set off.
Thanks to a tremendous following from East Lancashire, the attendance was way above normal and the boys attacked the town end in the 1st half. The Blackburn & Darwen Robins ensured that the atmosphere was the best at Jepson Way since the last time that we played there. The lads soon got into their stride and we played some cracking football, pass and move, none of your hump it up front and chase after it. A defining moment came on 35 minutes when the Blackpool captain, the familiarly sounding Matt Derby, already booked for a dreadful foul, pulled back Daz by the shirt. The Ref., who looked as though he should have retired several years earlier, waved play-on! We soon realised that it wasn’t going to be our day after an incredible incident on 40 minutes. A scramble in the box ended with no less than 3 goal line clearances and just as many shouts for hand ball. Shots rained in on goal from Deano, Daz and Eastie but somehow the ball was kept out thanks to a combination of feet, chests, hands and goolies. Despite our superiority, the half remained goalless until the last minute when Mechanics took the lead thanks to some more strange refereeing. After the ‘liner’ had signalled for a corner, the Ref. over-ruled him insisting that Bobby had handled before the ball had gone over the goal-line. With 45 minutes on the clock, you just knew what was going to happen next….and it did! The cross from the edge of the box was headed in by Rochester . Off for a half time brew and pie. Billy had another pie, peas and gravy. “Take it easy Billy, you know how those mushy peas affect you,” I said. “No worries,” said Billy. “Mind you, I do feel a little bloated.”
The 2nd half began with the boys determined to get back on level terms and it seemed only a matter of time before we scored. Eastie, Daz and Ryan soon had the Mechanics defence chasing shadows but we couldn’t find a way through. As the half went on, we threw more and more men forward. If we could get the equaliser, then surely a winner was just around the corner. Sadly it never came although Mark Beard was presented with a golden opportunity a couple of minutes from time when the ball dropped at his feet after another goal mouth scramble. Sadly for the Robins and their vociferous following, he shot straight at Speight.
We decided to stop off for a quick pint and with no Michelle I was very confident of actually getting one!
We stopped off at the Fat Ox near North Shore. The landlord and landlady were right out of a fifties set. He was bald, fat and sporting a vest while she was fifty, full of make-up, bleached blond hair, and was cuddling a white poodle behind the bar.
“Five pints please missus,” called Auntie Sheila.
“He’s nice,” she said, pointing to the dog. “What’s his name?”
“Cyril.” Replied the old dear.
“Ahhh, he looks just like his mum,” said Auntie Sheila, first looking at the dog and then the landlady.
“GET OUT! YOU’RE ALL BARRED!”
Doh! Not again!
We then decided to go home via the illuminations and luckily most of the traffic had passed by earlier.
“Ooh!” said Billy.
“Aah!” called Jimmy.
Wow!” shouted Andy.
“Ughhhhhhh!” groaned Auntie Sheila.
“BILLY! YOU AND THOSE B****Y PEAS!” I screamed!
“Quick everybody, open the windows!
If you weren’t there, and I know that most of you were, you missed a good night out despite the result.
Blackpool Mechanics - Story 2
As I’m sure you’re all aware by now, the huge majority of the Blackburn and Darwen Robins are Posties, so as we’d all finished work by lunchtime we decided to make a day of it when our heroes were playing at Blackpool Mechanics recently.
All the usual crew came but Woody said he didn’t fancy it because of our early start the following morning. Luckily his dad, who is a boss at our place, said that he could have the Saturday morning off, so we had a full ‘squad’.
As we set off, accusations of nepotism were strongly denied by Woody as he busied himself in the back of the car counting his £150 weekly bonus!! First stop was the wonderfulmagicalfantasticgroovycaringsharing Co-op Superstore on Queen Street where we stocked up on lots of beer which was on offer at silly prices.
We arrived at the seaside mid-afternoon, parked up and went for a walk along the Prom. There was a huge sign advertising The Big One and Fat Dave insisted that we check it out. Now I’ve known Dave for years and I had no idea that he liked that kind of thing. When we got there, there was a long queue and Dave said that it must be good if so many people were waiting. When we reached the front half an hour later, Dave’s smile vanished from his face and he explained that he thought we were queuing for some type of giant burger! Oh well, as we were already there we decided to go on the ride, although I did think it a little unwise for Dave as he’d polished off a dozen cans on the way. The ride was almost full of Scots who’d been to the Rovers-Celtic game the night before and they looked a pretty fearsome bunch so we decided to keep our heads down and not say anything about the ‘poofy’ tartan dresses they were wearing.
Half way round Dave said that he didn’t feel too clever, before turning a funny colour and ‘throwing up’. The 6’ 5” Jock who was sat in the carriage behind us, copped for the lot and was far from amused. When the ride stopped we legged it as fast as we could as the poor chap wiped himself down.
Over to the ground making a stop at the local newsagent for our ‘Lotto’ cards, and if we manage a big win then we’ll build Harwood a new ground a buy a load of top players. We had to queue for ages as an Irish bloke was causing a fuss at the counter. Apparently he’d just bought a scratch card and had won £150,000. the shopkeeper said that he hadn’t got the cash on him at the moment but he could give him £50,000 now, another £50,000 tomorrow and the final £50,000 next week, to which the Irish bloke replied:
“Oi’m not havin’ all dat messin’ about, de game’s off, give us me pound back!”
We arrived at the ground just in time for kick-off and it looked as though half the crowd were Harwood supporters. The team started off like a house on fire and should have been three up before the 15 minute mark when we eventually took then lead with a scrappy effort from John Eastham. By this stage Blackpool were struggling to get out of their own half and we were fully expecting to give them another seven goal thrashing to go with the one which Bacup had given them a fortnight earlier, but has been the case all season we shot ourselves in the foot by conceding a needless penalty. Missed chances at both ends left us all square at the interval so we adjourned to the Clubhouse for a pint, and what a pint! It tasted of chemicals and it was definitely the worst one of the season.
Into the second half and yet another penalty (the 4th one in a week) saw us go behind in a game which we should have had sewn up before the hosts had even got into penalty area. Just a few minutes later, a Blackpool forward went rampaging into our box before being scythed down for what was a cast iron penalty but amazingly the ref. turned down the appeal. After this let-off Harwood really got their act together and murdered Blackpool for the remaining 20 minutes. Inspired by Liam Denning who was causing havoc on the right all evening, chances came and went until the lad cut in from the wing and fired in a great equaliser from the edge of the box. You’d have put your house on a winning goal from the Reds but the keeper, who had looked a bag of nerves earlier in the game, made some outstanding saves to earn his side a point and deny us the three points which we undoubtedly deserved.
As the players and officials left the pitch, the Mechanics manager was going crackers with the Ref. and from what I could hear, he’d given Blackpool the ‘advantage’ after the third penalty appeal as they still had possession. The manager was not impressed by this explanation and he let the Ref. know in no uncertain terms!
We set off back straight after the game and were home by 10-15, which is even earlier than when we’re at home. The earlier pint we’d had was having an effect on us and a couple of the lads started hallucinating. Woody said that he didn’t fancy last orders at the Brown Cow and Fat Dave insisted that we stop off at McDonalds for a salad sandwich!!
If you didn’t get to the game you really did miss a good night out and overall a superb team performance, so let’s see you at the next away game and remember……….
Rally Round the Robins!
Blackpool Mechanics - Story 3
Latest trip for the now famous, or should that be infamous Blackburn and Darwen Robins was the annual trip to the seaside to see our heroes take on Blackpool Mechanics. As with last season we set off early so that we could spend some time in Blackpool and also see the illuminations. Big Dave, Jimmy, Billy and I set off at 3 o’clock, but not before I’d been down to Thomco’s on Delph Road in Great Harwood to get some quality building materials for a job on the house. The traffic was light, we arrived at about 4 o’clock, and decided that the first thing we’d do was get some fish and chips, or in Dave’s case, fish, chips, peas, a couple of dabs, scraps and half a dozen barmcakes. Jimmy was about to feed one of the donkeys when he was told not to by the owner. “Don’t give him anything fried; he’s playing in defence for Mechanics tonight.”
We’d realise what he meant later on in the evening. Had a walk along the front then went to the Pleasure Beach-this story sounds like a postcard doesn’t it? Before we left for the game Jimmy asked if we could stop at a newsagents so that he could get this weeks Roy of the Rovers comic. Unfortunately the ‘top shelf’ mags looked a little bit more interesting to our teenage chum, and too embarrassed to purchase one himself, he asked me to buy it for him. As I was paying, an old lady looked at the mag, then looked at me, and then gave me a right ‘ear-bashing’. “You filthy pervert, you ought to be castrated!”
“Hang on a minute Grandma, it’s for the young lad over there,” I protested. “You animal, now you’re trying to blame that sweet little lad with the innocent look on his face, get out of here you beast!” And with that she proceeded to whallop me with her walking stick.
We got to the ground in plenty of time for a pre-match pint on the most extra-ordinary table that any of us had ever played on. The slant was so great that if you hit the ball towards the far cushion, even if it didn’t hit it, the ball rolled backwards to lean against the near cushion.
As per normal, almost everyone at the game was from Harwood and it seemed like a home game. We just had time to get the flag up before Matt went on a great run and was only denied a goal when his shot hit the keeper’s legs before being cleared. Blackpool, who were on an excellent run of form, gave as good as they got but the best chances all fell to Harwood. The Mechanics right back, centre half and keeper were blocking all our efforts and it was obvious that we’d have a hard time winning this one. Just before half time the breakthrough came from man-of-the-moment Matt Derbyshire. Taking a ball played down the middle, some ‘Premiership’ control saw him burst in between two defenders and slot the ball into the corner.
As we moved round to the other end, I heard a strange chinking sound coming from Billy’s pants! “What’s that noise Billy?” I asked. “Well when we were walking along the Prom., there was a big bucket that said ‘Illuminations Donations’, so I donated a couple of handfuls to the poor and needy……me!”
The second half saw the Robins give one of their best, if not THE best 45 minutes football of the season, with Matt running the hosts’ defence a merry dance. Bobby’s handling was superb, the defence were very determined not to concede, the midfield took the game by the scruff of the neck and the attack had Blackpool panicking every time we had the ball in their half, which was most of the 45 minutes. Two more classics from Matt made sure of the points and with Paul Mashiter also on top form, there was little rest for the beleaguered Blackpool players. Only some bad luck and great keeping kept the score at a respectable level and John Hughes could even afford to rest Matt after his third goal. With the score still at 3-0, the Blackpool players, officials and supporters were mightily relieved to hear the final whistle, and the Harwood players departed to a tremendous round of applause from their fans.
As we left the ground, we could hear loud cheers from a nearby old folks home, and a voice in the distance shout, “Good riddance you bloody hooligans, we’ve been trying to get to sleep since eight o’clock!” Ah well, never a dull moment on the Blackburn and Darwen Robins trips.
We had a trouble free journey home and were in a Darwen chippy by ten past ten. By twenty past I was in bed with the fish and chips and a pint of Bateman’s-perfect end to a perfect day.
If you missed this outstanding away day then I’ve no sympathy for you. I’ve been preaching to you for over a year now so you all know the score. Make sure that you’re at the next away game at Cheadle Town in a few weeks time, it’s only half an hour away and the players need your support.
Join us for the next away game and remember…
Rally round the robins!