Away Day Robins
Cheadle Town - Story 1
Most of the Blackburn and Darwen Robins are Posties and as such , we finish work at lunchtime-Woody finishes about 10 minutes after he starts as he Dad is a Boss!-so we decided to make a day of our trip to Cheadle. At 2.00 we drove over to Harwood to get stocked up on beer at the greatest shop in the Universe, the Co-op Superstore on Queen Street. We know that we’re going to save £’s and be served by the best looking check-out girls around. To enable me to have a few ‘jars’, we decided to go on the train. What could be easier, only five changes en-route, cost a fortune, no late trains back. We arrived at Blackburn Station and waited, and waited, and 30 minutes later the train arrives. The conductor soon came round to check our tickets and Michelle let him know that we weren’t best pleased about the late departure so he went back to the Guard’s carriage to have a good sulk.
Because we’d been hanging around for a while, we’d knocked back a few cams and Fat Dave decided to have a kip. I was starving so I went to the buffet cat to get a nice Aberdeen Angus steak. Unfortunately most of the hot food had already been eaten as there was a party going on-one of the British Rail sausage rolls was 21. The only hot food was Minestrone soup so I chose that, but just as I got it back to my seat, the driver slammed the brakes on and the soup went flying all over Fat Dave. Not surprisingly he woke up with a startled look on his face but quick as a flash I said:
“You feeling all right now Dave? It must have been a dodgy pint.”
What a sucker, he believed me!
The train eventually arrived a couple of hours late at 7.00 so we had to go straight to the ground. We saw a chap with a C.T. F. C. bob hat on so I asked him.
“How do you get to the ground Mush?”
“My brother takes me in his car,” was the comedian’s reply!
We arrived at the ground just in time for a couple of pints of the excellent Lees bitter and were amazed by the size of the crowd, or rather lack of it. Almost everyone, save half a dozen lonely soles in the stand, were from Harwood, and like the previous away game at Colne, it was just like a home game for the Reds.
A quick glance at the Ref. speltt disaster for us ‘early starters’- it was the guy we had at Colne, which meant that it was going to be a very late finish so I phoned Patsy to tell her not to wait up.
Now bearing in mind that the home side had scored seven goals in eleven league games prior to this one, had failed to score more than one goal in a game before or since, an away win was almost assured. After several near misses when some bad luck and shocking finishing by Cheadle kept the scoreline blank, they eventually took the led and almost added it to it several times before a fantastic 25 yard shot by Neil Kennedy, which flew in off the post, put us level. Alex Hinchcliffe soon headed us in front and we waited for the expected massacre. Unfortunately the Robins continued to defend abysmally and presented the home side with an equaliser before the break.
The second half continued in the same vein and two further goals left us with a mountain to climb. Despite tremendous pressure on the Cheadle goal, we only managed one more goal, a fantastic effort scored on the half volley from the edge of the box by substitute Chris Heslop.
The Ref. did us no favours by only adding on 24 minutes of injury time as opposed to the hour and a quarter he played at Colne.
The result, together with the thrashing at Norton three days earlier, had surely put paid to our promotion aspirations. With the quality of players at the club, I really thought that we’d be amongst the leaders but hopefully we will finish in the top six and maybe win one of the three cup competitions we’re still competing in.
Cheadle Town - Story 2
The latest report from the Blackburn and Darwen Robins comes from the 2nd Division game at Cheadle in September.
Seeing as I was on family duties, Michelle had to take the usual crew. Meanwhile, I finished work, loaded the car with enough supplies for ten years, collected the wife and daughter and took them to Manchester Metropolitan University. My wife Patsy was in tears. She said that she was going to be really lonely for the next four years and that she’d have no one to talk to.
“I’ll be home on the last Thursday evening in November so stop complaining!” She wasn’t amused especially when she learnt that it was Saturday at Cheadle, Sunday at the Rovers v Newcastle, Blackpool Mechanics away on Tuesday and Huddersfield Town at home in the League Cup on Wednesday! BUT, I did offer to take her to the Cheadle game on the way back home from Manchester although she declined.
Dropped off the girls and supplies then spent almost an hour driving round Manchester trying to find the M60, which I eventually did at 2-55.
Meanwhile, Michelle, Auntie Shelia, Jimmy ‘Mad Dog’ and Billy ‘The Kid’ Hughes were heading clockwise on the M60,
“Junction two’s what we need,” called the driver.
Juntion One…..Junction Three….. “HANG ON! WHERE THE HELL’S JUNCTION TWO GONE?”
After a 20 mile detour, the intrepid foursome finally found the ground just before kick off.
I managed to get to the ground at five past three and just had time to put up the flag before Eastie scored an absolute classic. As a Cheadle defender tried to see the ball out for a throw in, Eastie robbed him, left him for dead, ran a few yards towards goal and whacked a fabulous shot into the far top corner.
The Robins contingent went mad and Eastie was mobbed by his team mates. The pitch was very bumpy and both sides were wary of playing too much football in their own halves.
Cheadle should have been level at the break but a dreadful miss kept us in the lead. Bobby also excelled with one fine save.
AWAY DAY ROBINS (continued)
Into the club for a pint of the delicious Lees Bitter, mind you, by the time we’d got served the 2nd half had started.
The Harwood defence continued to look a little shaky and after 51 minutes they went AWOL and Cheadle were level.
We stepped up a gear and with Eastie about to head towards goal, he was pushed over in the box for a cast iron penalty. Of course the Cheadle boys didn’t see it that way and they gave the Ref. some pretty strong verbals. So much for the hard line on swearing!
Daz duly despatched the kick into the bottom corner and within five minutes it was three as the same player hit a blistering angled shot into the ‘postage stamp’. We still had time for the miss of the century as a Cheadle forward managed to hit the bar from 2 yards with Bobby still on the floor after making a great save. 7 minutes from the end it was nail biting time as Cheadle scored their second with the defence nowhere. Gordon Watson had to duck to avoid one of the many low-flying aircraft, causing confusion in the defence and the Cheadle lad was first to react. We then put together our best passing period of the game and no one panicked enabling us to see out the 90 minutes without any further scares.
On the way home the weather turned decidedly dodgy. The clouds came over and it looked as though it might thunder so our mini-convoy stopped off at the Cock and Bull in Haslingden.
“Now Michelle, there’s only about ten pubs in Lancashire that we’re not banned from so don’t upset the landlord.”
“No worries, I’ll be as nice as pie,” she replied.
“Five pints please mine host,” she asked.
Well done Michelle I thought, we’re going to get a drink for once.
“Looks like rain,” remarked the landlord.
“YEH, AN’ YOUR CHARGIN’ TWO POUNDS FIFTY A PINT!” Shouted Michelle at the top of her voice.
“GET OUT! YOU’RE ALL BARRED!” Came the unsurprising reply.
As we trooped out of the pub, my mobile rang.
“I’m still waiting here at the University, how long are you going to be?”
“Uh, there was extra time, and uh, it’s just finished, I’ll be there in half an hour.”
Bombed it back into Manchester as quick as I could.
“I didn’t know it was a cup match,” said Patsy.
“Oh didn’t I tell you? Sorry,” I lied through my back teeth!
If you missed it, and not many of you did, you missed a cracker.
Cheadle Town - Story 3
On the absence of our regular away day Robins writer who had defected to watch Boston, it was left down to Jimmy ‘Mad Dog’ Hughes, pie quest Dave and myself to take up the challenge.
A little later than normal, due to Jimmy having to do the papers to get his money to get in, and Dave to get his food supply for the journey, we set off.
“Do you know the way?” Asked Dave.
“No,” I replied.
“Have you got your handbook?”
“No,” I replied.
“But them in the know at work said to go past the Trafford Centre on that tiny ring road thing (M60).
Over the hills we went to woolly-back country (Haslingden) on the M66 and onto the ring road thing, past one junction, past two junctions and then STOP! – Four lanes of traffic – non-moving!
“What’s happened, why have we stopped?”
Half past two went by – moved five car lengths. Quarter to three went by - moved another ten car lengths. Five to three we were moving at a snail’s pace. They have closed the motorway completely and turned us all up the slip road.
“Which way now? Get the map Dave,” I said. “And we’ll go the other way round back on the motorway.”
“Will we make the second half?” Asked Jimmy.
“Never mind the second half, what about half time for a pie?” Said Dave.
“Maybe,” I said, but all was lost when we were nearly in Huddersfield at quarter past four, with Dave crying because his food supply had run out and Jimmy crying because he hadn’t got to blow his horn. At ten to five we found out that we had been beaten, but one consolation was that Boston got beat as well. (Steady on Mush! – Ed)
On going in to work on Monday and getting the Michael well and truly took out of me, them in the know who had told me which way to go said, “No, you should have gone this way……”
Nice one lads – now you tell me!!
Join us for the next away game and remember…
Rally round the robins!