Away Day Robins

Oldham Town - Story 1

Division Two Trophy

01-02-03

The latest away day for the Blackburn and Darwen Robins was the Division Two Trophy Quarter Final at Oldham Town. After collecting the troops from various Blackburn suburbs, it was off to the Fantasticsuperdupermoneysavingcaringsharing Co-op Superstore on Queen Street where we picked up all sorts of bargains, not least some cracking rump steak and cheap beer.
We hit the road at 1.00 giving us plenty of time to stop for a pint on the way-did I say plenty of time? Two hours for a half hour journey, yeah, no problem! On the way I heard this fascinating conversation coming from the back seat of the car;
Fat Dave-“I’ve started going to night school once a week.”
Andy ‘the hat’ McWood-“Oh, that’s nice, what have you learnt?”
Fat Dave-“Do you know who Tony Blair is?”
Andy-“No.”
Fat Dave-“He’s the Prime minister of the U.K.”
Andy-“Ooooh.”
Fat Dave-“Do you know where the pyramids are?”
Andy-“No.”
Fat Dave-“Well, they’re in Egypt.”
Andy-“Fancy that. Tell me Fat Dave, do you know who Jimmy Melia is?”
Fat Dave-“No.”
Andy-“Well he’s the man who goes round to see your wife while you’re at night school!!”

We hit the outskirts of Oldham at about 1-30 and stopped at the Cock and Bull for a pint. As we piled in, there was quite a celebration going on, party hats, streamers, sausage rolls, the ‘full monty’. Stepping up to the bar, Michelle asked the Landlady,
“Why the festivities? Is one of your sandwiches eighteen?”
This went down like a lead balloon. The Landlady angrily replied that it was actually her 50th birthday party.
“Oh, you don’t look fifty, said Michelle.
“Thankyou,” replied the Landlady.
“You probably did ten years ago!!” Sniggered Michelle.
“OUT, YOU’RE ALL BARRED!” Screamed mine hostess.
We decided to go somewhere else.
We found another pub and had a couple of pints (coke for the driver) and at 2-15 we set off for the ground. We passed through Oldham, Chadderton, Royton and Bury before giving Oldham Town a call and asking for instructions. Farnworth, Ashton, Hyde, Stalybridge and Salford were toured before we gave the club another call.
Arrived at the ground at 3-30. Mad Mick had been on nights and had fallen asleep in the back, and in our rush to get into the ground we forgot about him. The Robins were already one up through Paul Mashiter and John Eastham added another before half time as we gave the basement side a good hiding on a quagmire of a pitch.
A scrambled goal and a last minute equaliser saw us go into extra time. Coupled with some very weak refereeing which left Mashiter lucky to walk off the pitch in one piece, and some bad luck for our forwards, no more goals were scored and it was down to penalties. The unfortunate Chris Heslop saw his kick well saved and Oldham won 5-4-a travesty of justice. As usual the small crowd was made up of about 50% Harwood fans who gave the lads tremendous backing throughout. The tea hut was a smashing little place-here was a bucket on the counter collecting the drips from the hole in the roof! Now I don’t want to worry anyone who had a brew, but the water from the bucket was used to top up the geyser!
Feeling down in the dumps, we decided to go straight home and we also knew that we’d be in trouble with our spouses because we were late. Just as we passed Bury, there was a stirring in the back seat as Mick woke up.
“Are we there yet?” Asked Mr. Sleepyhead.
“WE’RE HALF WAY BACK!” Replied Fat Dave.
Oh well, at least we got him out of the house for the afternoon!
If you didn’t make it to Oldham, you missed a smashing day out, so let’s see you all at Nelson next week as the Robins try to get back into winning ways, and remember……….

Rally Round the Robins!

Oldham Town - Story 2

The latest report from the Blackburn and Darwen Robins comes from the FA Cup 1st qualifying round at Oldham.
After completing another horrendous delivery at Royal Mail, I just had enough time for a quick bite to eat before picking up Auntie Sheila, Jimmy ‘Mad-dog’ and ‘Billy the Kid’ Hughes, and Andy ‘The Hat’ for the 2 o’clock departure. No time to stop on the way but it only took half an hour so we adjourned to the Oldham club house for a pre-match pint. One thing that we’ve noticed about most of the ‘Mancs’ clubs, they’re not the most welcoming so we supped up and got into the ground to put the flags up. We were astonished to see that some work had been done on the old flee pit and it had been improved 100% with more seats, new cover and fencing and plenty of blue and yellow paint. As the Oldham team came onto the pitch we realised why it looked different, we were at the Oldham Rugby League ground-no, I stand corrected, maybe Town had just signed up some of their players. Six foot high and just as wide, cauliflower ears, scarred faces, tattooed arms and squashed noses, and that was just the players’ wives! The crowd was the biggest at Oldham that we’d seen and as usual, most were Harwood supporters. We won the toss and decided to change ends, kicking down the slope in the first half, and what a good decision it was. Harwood made all the running in the early stages and Oldham looked surprisingly poor considering their excellent start to the season. On a rare attack, the dangerous midfield dynamo James Agoo burst into our box before being partially stopped by Bobby and a defender but the Oldham player did brilliantly to win the ball back and was caught by the Harwood custodian who gave away a penalty. The 2nd Division’s leading scorer Scanlan stepped up and blasted the ball towards the bottom left hand corner where Bob leapt like a salmon to save the day. This was the signal for Harwood to step it up and after several near misses, a corner was headed firmly into the net by the ever improving Gordon Watson for his first goal for the club. The boys were now rampant and three minutes later, a great move ended with a cross to Eastie who slammed home the ball from 12 yards. Despite the difficult surface, Harwood put together plenty of fine moves and only some good goalkeeping and last ditch defending by the Oldham bruisers kept the score down. The keeper picked the ball up from a back pass despite being told by the ref not to, giving us the perfect opportunity to kill the game after 40 minutes. A pass to the side was crashed towards goal by Deano but the right back made a great goal line clearance. Off for a half time pie, well it would have been if they’d had any left. If Fat Phil had been there, there would have been a riot!
We knew that Oldham would be looking for an early breakthrough but we held firm and with 20 minutes of the second half gone things looked rosy. Oops, we spoke too soon. A long cross from the right was misjudged by the whole defence and Scanlan rose unchallenged to put the home side back in it. The bruisers started getting rough but the Harwood players stood up to them and defended stoutly although most of the play was now in our half. Eastie, who was our best outlet, was surprisingly replaced near the end as Oldham threw men forward in desperation. Then a riot almost broke out behind the goal as a whale in a tracksuit, I think is was the Oldham physio, rushed into the crowd and tried to ‘confiscate’ the bugle! “The ref said that he wants the bugle playing stopped,” shouted the half-wit, with tears rolling down his cheeks and double chin. I said that we’d stop but that still wasn’t good enough for him, especially when some of the Robins fans started taking the mickey. Anyway, after I’d placated him, he wobbled off back to the dug out. With Oldham throwing caution to the wind, gaps were left at the back and the better chances fell to Harwood, the best of which saw Mark Beard race clear of the defence and belt the ball towards the top corner. The keeper pulled off another top save but could only parry it back to Beard, who chested it down before blasting wide. For the last few minutes it was all Harwood as Oldham struggled to get out of their own half, and with the boys attacking down the right wing the ref blew for time. The crowd went wild as Great Harwood Town won their third FA Cup tie of the season, a feat unmatched for many years, maybe even since 1970 when we reached the 1st Round Proper. The players left the field to rapturous applause and a loud rumbling noise. We thought that it was going to thunder and lighten but it was just the Physio running off the pitch.
We would have liked to stay and celebrate but most of us were going to wedding ‘do’s’ that night so we had to get off. As we made our way out of the ground, we could hear songs about Wemberley, Wemberley, ringing out.
Oldham had won 6 out of 6 this season and with players like Agoo and Curley it was easy to see why but we were undoubtedly the better side over the 90 minutes. Three rounds gone, ten to go and we’ve made it to the final. Bring on Chelsea! If you missed it, and not many of you did, you missed a cracker.

Oldham Town - Story 3

2004

The latest trip for the famous Blackburn & Darwen Robins was the away game at Oldham Town. With the home side on a bit of a roll, and the Robins promotion hopes sinking faster than the Titanic, we were far from optimistic.
After picking up Jimmy ‘Mad Dog’, Billy ‘The Kid’ Hughes, Fat Phil and Michelle, we just had time to shoot off down to Thomco for some bits and pieces for a job on Phil’s house.
Got to Oldham with plenty of time to spare so we stopped off at an ‘Offie’ to see if we could get some of the excellent Lees Bitter. When I walked in, I thought that I’d gone into a museum by mistake as there was floor to ceiling glass stopping you from self serving. Obviously the local yobs had been helping themselves a little too often. Because of this, there was a huge queue so I asked one of the alcoholics in front of me whether I’d be able to get Lees in a can.
“Yah can geddum in a can er frozzan from t’ local growshers,” came the slurred reply.
“I SAID LEES NOT PEAS CLOTH EARS!”
Anyway, they didn’t have any Lees or peas so it was a bad start to the evening.
Got to the ground at 7-15 so we’d time for a swift half and a game of pool. Not only was there no chalk, but the pool cues didn’t have any soft bits on the end, just brass.
“Maybe it won’t make any difference, you break Phil,” I said.
Phil did exactly that. As he belted the balls with the metal end, fragments of broken cue ball flew all around the room. A guy at the bar was left holding thin air as his pint glass was shattered. A dog with him had part of its ear taken off, and a pub mirror bit the dust!
We quickly drank up and made our way into the ground. As it was on our last trip to the Whitebank Stadium, the crowd was made up almost entirely of Harwood supporters.
The Reds began the half kicking up the slope and for the first 15 minutes there was nothing to choose between the two sides in a scrappy opening. But Oldham scored with their first attack as a one-two bamboozled the Harwood defence to leave the home forward with a clear run on goal and he buried the ball into the bottom left hand corner of Bobby’s net. From then on it was mainly Oldham on the attack with Harwood giving the home defence very little to worry about, just as they had done four days earlier at Winsford. There were no more goals before the break and the one goal advantage to Oldham was a fair reflection of the play so far.
Hughesy must have had a few words at half time because afterwards we took the game to Oldham and it came as no surprise when Darren Rogers equalised after about an hours play.
Now there was only going to be one winner as we started to pass the ball and create some good opportunities. Sadly the defence went AWOL during a rare Oldham attack. The ball was played down the right and with the defence being drawn to that side, the ball was switched to the left where an unmarked forward gleefully put the home side back in front. Once again the complexion of the game changed and Oldham now went for the kill. As if to prove a point, the Robins defence once again went missing when Oldham this time attacked down the left, drew the defenders and crossed for the unmarked Curley in the inside right position. His mis-hit shot somehow eluded Bobby despite being struck straight at him. I can only assume that it hit a divot and bounced up.
Thankfully we didn’t concede again, but the result was yet another blow to our disappearing promotion chances.
I can’t finish without praising the supporters who really got behind the lads in the second half and gave the game a decent atmosphere, well done to all concerned.
On the way home Billy’s girlfriend phoned and the two youngsters had a ‘lovey-dovey’ conversation. “Bye bye chicken,” said Billy as he rang off. “Ah, that’s nice Billy, is that your pet name for her?” I asked.
“NO WAY!” Exclaimed the indignant young chap. “I cal her that because she smells like a hen pen!”
And they say that romance is dead.
If you missed the trip to Oldham, shame on you, but you can make amends because we’ve a rake of away games coming up and I want to see good followings at all of them. With the team going through a dodgy spell, they need your support more than ever.
Join us for the next away game and remember…

Rally Round the Robins!

Oldham Town - Story 4

01-04-03

The latest away day for the Blackburn and Darwen Robins took us to the lost city of Oldham. After our two hour excursion to get there for the Trophy game we took no chances and set off at tea time. First of all it was down to the Superduperfantasticmoneysavingcaringsharing Co-op Superstore on Queen Street where we picked up so many bargains that we‘d have to use up the whole of this article just to list them.
As we passed through Haslingden we were stopped by the local Constabulary, possibly because Jimmy had had one too many and was hanging out of the window abusing passers by.
“Excuse me sir, would you mind stepping out of the car?” Asked the young Bobby.
“No problem,” I replied sheepishly.
“LEAVE HIM ALONE ROZZER, HE HASN’T DONE ANYTHING!” Screamed Billy ‘the kid’ Hughes.
“Have you been drinking?” He asked me after giving Billy a filthy look.
“No officer,” says I.
“Would you mind blowing into this bag?”
“But I’ve told you, I haven’t been drinking, don’t you believe me?”
“Yes sir, I believe you, but I still want you to blow into this bag.”
“But why?” I asked.
“Because my chips are too hot!” Came the witty reply.
“Now get on your way and keep the chimps on the back seat under control!”
PHEW! We carried on with our journey, didn’t get lost like last time and were there by 6-30 so we had a wander around the town. First stop was a chippy-normally we’d have gone to a pub but we’re banned from most of them in the Oldham area.
Up we stepped to the counter, all four of us.
“Right Mush, what do you want?” Asked the Nora Batty look-a-like behind the fryers.
“Fish and chips four times please,” said Fat Dave.
“And what do you three want?” She asked the rest of us after eyeballing Dave’s belly-Cheeky Mare!
We scoffed our tea down then made our way towards the ground. None of us had a watch so we asked a passer by what the time was.
“Don’t know,” came the reply.
“I don’t live round here!”
Flippin’ ‘eck, the locals are all barmy.
We arrived at the ground in plenty of time to have a pint in the club, where almost everyone was from Harwood. When we entered the ground five minutes before kick-off, we were greeted by the players coming out and a torrential downpour which saw some of our brave lads go scurrying back to the changing room. With the biting wind and sub-zero temperature we knew that we were in for a lovely evening.
The game kicked off with ten people in the ground but within five minutes there were about thirty, over twenty of them from Harwood. With the wind and slope in their favour, Oldham took the initiative and the Robins found it difficult to put more than two passes together. It was no great surprise when after about half an hour the excellent Curley put the home side ahead, a goal which was greeted by a huge silence form the home ‘crowd’. The goal seemed to wake up the Harwood players who responded with two tremendous long range shots which both skimmed the crossbar. Then, right on half time the Ref. gave a free kick on the edge of the area for a push on John Eastham. Luckily the linesman was right up with play and signalled that the offence had occurred in the box. Up stepped Easty and belted the ball against the post.
With the wind and slope in the second half there was only one team in it as Harwood launched wave after wave of attacks. Eventually some tremendous work down the left by Matt Derbyshire saw him beat several players before crossing into the middle where a great piece of control by Chris Heslop was followed by a turn and shot into the corner of the net. Harwood really went for the kill and only Curley was able to give the home side some respite with his running and dribbling. As in the Trophy game, Oldham used their ‘bully-boy’ tactics in an effort to stop the more skilful visiting forwards. This culminated in an extra-ordinary assault on young Green by an Oldham player who went completely berserk. As the Harwood players tried to pull the players apart, several Oldham players dived in with fists swinging in all directions. The Harwood contingent did magnificently in only holding players back and when calm was restored, Oldham were very lucky to lose only the nutcase, as the Ref. could have quite justifiably sent off several of their players.. With tempers very frayed, I’m sure that the Ref. blew the final whistle early just to get everyone off the field before another bout of fisticuffs broke out.
This ha to go down as two points dropped but we can’t win ‘em all.
Due to the ‘friendly’ nature of the locals we decided to hit the road, after all, most of us are up not long after 4.00 a.m.
In the thirty odd years or so in which I’ve been watching football, I’ve never seen anything quite like it, and I’ll be amazed if the League don’t come down very hard on Oldham Town F.C.
If you missed it, you missed a real ‘occasion’.
There’s just one more chance to experience all the excitement of a Robins away day, at Castleton in two days time. It’s only a few miles away so let’s see another great following, and remember……….

Rally Round the Robins!

   
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