Away Day Robins

Cammell Laird

The latest away day for the famous Blackburn & Darwen Robins took us to Birkenhead for the FA Vase tie against Cammell Laird from the West Cheshire League. During the week we were confident of progression to the next round and banking the £300 winners cheque to boot. All that changed however when we read Friday night’s Telegraph and realised what kind of side they had. Five of the previous seasons Vauxhall Motors side who beat QPR in the FA Cup had arrived and also a guy from Liverpool Reserves who was reportedly on a huge wage at Cammell. We’ll settle for a draw!
Big Dave, Jimmy and myself made our way to junction 4 of the M65, the Darwen turn off, while the coach made its way to Junction 31 of the M6, the Salmesbury turn off. Enter heroine of the day, Sandra. “Hey Mush, where are you going?” She asked the driver. “We’ve got to pick up at Darwen!”
“Well nobody told me,” he replied indignantly. The coach eventually picked us up and we made our way to Merseyside. It chucked it down for the whole journey but stopped when we arrived and it was sunny and warm all afternoon. We were met by the very friendly club officials who showed us to the club where we all had a pre-match pint and a bite to eat, or in Dave’s case, a meal for a family of eight!
Into the ground at five to three and just got the flag up in time to see Cammell Laird almost score and then do the trick with a goal that went in before three o’clock! The home side continued to run us ragged for the next half hour before they took it easy for a while. They had in fact won the game within about 20 minutes when they went three up. Harwood won several corners and tested the home keeper who made two or three terrific saves. A half time pep talk for the home side soon had them in top gear again and the massacre continued unabated. Luckily, or so we thought, the danger man went off after Camell had gone four up, but the sub. ran riot scoring three times to leave everyone connected with GHTFC highly embarrassed.
On this form, the home side will be one of the strongest sides in the NWCL next season when they hope to have a new stand completed and join the competition.
Back into the club for a drink or two and some spud pie kindly provided by our hosts. When the players arrived, they suggested that we have a few pints and watch the England game on the big screen. This went down like a lead balloon with our cheerful driver who made it perfectly clear that anyone hanging around after six o’clock would be making their own way home! The Blackburn & Darwen Robins didn’t fancy that too much so we dashed off to the coach. Whilst we were waiting for Dave, who was finishing off his sixth bowl of pie, I was tuning in the radio to get the footy commentary when I felt the coach jerk. I looked out of the window to see two local ‘scallies’ jacking up the back end of the vehicle. “What the hell do you think you’re doing pal?” I screamed. “If you’re ‘avin’ the radio ah kid, weeer ‘avin’ the wheels!” Came the reply. Once everyone was on board, we set off, the driver red with rage at the slightly late departure.
“Oh John, could you ask the driver if he’ll stop at an ‘offy’?” Asked Bobby Harris.
“You must be bloody joking Bobby, he’ll go crackers!”
So there we were almost back in Liverpool when someone from the back shouted, “We’ve left Sharps.”
If was left to Mark Jones to courageously ask the driver if he’d possibly mind just nipping back to the ground. Now that kind of bravery deserves an award. Enter Sandra once again with a cunning plan to save us all being driven into the Mersey, a whip round! This pacified the old guy a little as he put the handful of mainly coppers into his jacket pocket. There was also the added bonus of being able to spend all the pesetas and ffenigs, collected mainly from the players, the next time he took a party abroad. Got to the Mersey tunnel and we just happened to get in the lane with the broken barrier-we thought that we were never going to get home.
We did though and as we got off at Darwen, I heard our jovial host say, “I’m not takin’ these bloody ‘ooligans on any more trips.”
He was talking about the players not the supporters!
If you missed it, you missed…… experience, so let’s see you all at the next game, and remember…

Rally round the robins!

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©2009 J Fenton