Away Day Robins

Padiham - Story 1

2004

The latest trip for the famous Blackburn & Darwen Robins was the local derby at Padiham. As usual the trip was over-subscribed and the lucky five were Jimmy ‘Mad-Dog’ and Billy ‘The-Kid’ Hughes, Michelle, Big Dave and yours truly.
First of all it was down to Thomco to pick up some bits and bobs for ground repairs. Inexpensive, quality and friendly knowledgeable staff, who could ask for more?
We’d never been to the Arbories before so we set off in plenty of time and arrived at the ground at 7-00, so we decided to go to the local pub.
“Now Michelle, whatever you do, don’t upset the Landlady like you normally do,” I said.
Now I admit that the Landlady did have funny coloured hair and had hold of a cat, but there was no need for Michelle’s opening line.
“Oy, Mrs. Slocombe, when you’ve finished playing with your pussy we’ll have five pints over ‘ere!”
Our hostess was not amused, in fact she was as mad as a tadpole in a jam jar.
“GET OUT NOW, YOU’RE ALL BARRED!” She screeched.
“We’re going you old bag,” replied Michelle. “Your butties are full of cat hairs anyway.”
Off to the ground then, and we were greeted by a turnstile man who was old enough to remember when neighbours Nelson were in the Football League, but to give him credit, he was really friendly, totally opposite to the Goomer on the gate at Ramsbottom. He asked Billy how old he was and when he was told 15, he said that it was just a pound to get in. That’s what we like to see, encouragement for the youngsters, well done old timer!
A bigger than average crowd, thanks to an excellent Harwood following, saw a scrappy opening with Padiham calling the shots and it was no big surprise when the home side took the lead inside 20 minutes. Plenty of space down our right resulted in a cross into the box where an unmarked midfield player slotted it in with the minimum of fuss.
Against the run of play, Harwood equalised thanks to the evergreen Pete Smith, who turned his marker this way and that before curling a left foot shot into the bottom right hand corner of the net. For the next 15 minutes Harwood took complete control and played the kind of football which we all know they’re capable of. Despite some near misses, Padiham held on until half time but we all anticipated a Harwood victory.
The second period began with the Robins on the attack but each time we looked dangerous, it seemed to end with a shot over the top. Darren Rogers was closest with a terrific 25 yard effort which dipped against the crossbar, but far too often, promising situations ended with a poor shot or cross and the nervous looking home keeper was not tested enough.
Desperate for the three points, manager John Hughes brought on Paul Mashiter and Neville Nelson but despite their bets efforts it wasn’t to be.
It has to be said that Padiham are one of the poorest teams that we’ve played in recent weeks, they’d lost their last two home games, 3-0 against Blackpool and 3-1 against Oldham, and after our draw they lost to Division Two ‘whipping boys’ Castleton Gabriels 5-2!
Definitely a case of two points dropped rather than one won. Apart from the second quarter of the game, the performance was not good, and the chances of us finishing in the top four are growing more remote with each League game.
Since our first League defeat of the season at Cheadle, our displays have been erratic to say the least and I’m sure that the wholesale changes for each game can’t be helping. The only plus points were the man of the match performance of Pete Smith (5 goals in 2 games) and Ryan Parr (although he was booked for a crazy challenge) but we need more than two players on top form to climb the table.
On the way home Billy rang his girlfriend.
“Yes my little angel, I’ll be home at 10-15,” said our romantic, lovestruck chum.
Ahhhh, that’s nice,” I said, “Is that your pet name for her?”
“NO WAY!” Shouted Billy. “I cal her that because if she doesn’t stop moaning she’ll be up in heaven sooner than she thinks!”
And they say that romance is dead!!

Padiham - Story 2

2005

The latest report from the Blackburn and Darwen Robins comes from the local derby game at Padiham in October.
After four defeats on the trot I suspected that morale was a little low but nothing could have prepared me for the shock which I got when Jimmy ‘Mad-Dog’ Hughes and Fat Phil arrived at my front door at two o’clock.
“Billy ‘The Kid’ won’t be coming, he rather watch the England World Cup game.”
Well, if that’s the case then we’ve reached just about as low as we can probably get. Watching that load of rubbish instead of Harwood-the shame!! Things didn’t get any better as we called for Andy ‘The Hat’. “
“No sorry, I’d rather go out for the day with my dad.”
The whole thing seemed to be falling apart at the seams.
Off we went and despite missing our junction and ending up in Colne, we arrived at the ground at 2-20.
Now let’s have a look at this super-duper car park that Denis Hill has been telling us so much about. They’d probably have an attendant in gold braid epaulets.
‘CAR PARK FULL’ read the signs.
Good grief there’s only enough room for a dozen cars, no wonder they’re switching the FC United game!
The surrounding streets are very narrow but we soon found a space. Actually it wasn’t so much as a space, as a space with a mini in it. Anyway with the help of Phil’s considerable weight we managed to shunt it forwards onto a double yellow line then it was into the ground for a swift pre-match pint. There we met the usual crew including Michelle, Dave and Auntie Sheila. A couple of brats were leaving Padiham ‘lucky 6’ forms on all the tables so we quickly chucked them away and replaced them with our own GHTFC ‘Lucky 6’ forms.
The rain was bucketing it down but the pitch looked in very good nick and with most of our missing players back we were quietly confident of a win.
Most of the Harwood fans in a very poor crowd congregated behind the goal and gave the lads some fine vocal backing. Unfortunately the afore mentioned Padiham brats also decided to stand there and proceeded to get right on our……….well, you know! Mind you, the Harwood ladies were rather shocked by some of the choice four lettered words which they came out with despite them being only about ten years old. They were less surprised when they learned that one of them belonged to the poison dwarf who manages the Storks.
On to the game and for the first 20 minutes both defences were well on top, but then Harwood, with Dean and Eastham up front began to look more dangerous. Deano found himself through on goal with just……flippin’ ‘eck, another Steve Wilkes, this time in goal, to beat. The shock of coming face to face with the Uncle Fester lookalike was all too much for Dean and he hit it straight at the keeper. At the other end Ex-Robin and butt of most of the abuse, Denis Hill shrugged off a powder puff tackle by the last defender and waited until Bobby fell limply to the floor before despatching the ball into the empty net for 1-0.
We fought back and a great overhead effort from Deano was spectacularly pushed over the bar by the keeper.
Half time arrived with us once again having to chase the game. Phil went off for a pie...or two, and we took the flag round to the other end.
As the second period began it was down to just me and Jimmy as Phil stayed at the snack bar and the other three hung around near the half way line.
Despite some terrible refereeing we managed to take control of the game and a great one-two with Eastie released Deano with a clear run on goal some 40 yards out. Sadly as he reached the edge of the area, he blasted high and wide and we weren’t to get a better chance again. A long range shot was in fact fumbled by Uncle Fester in goal but he managed to stop it on the line. If there had of been any doubt as to whether it was over the line or not, it wouldn’t have been much good asking the ‘liner’. He was loitering near the dug-outs at the time and judging from his 50 inch waist he was probably dreaming of his supper.
With the Robins pushing up, Padiham made the most of the extra space at the back and a good move involving another Ex-Robin Steve Pickup, resulted in a cross to the far post where an unmarked forward finished the game off.
Things then got a little heated and yet another of our former players, Liam Denning, was booked for getting involved in a little ‘handbags’.
Deano joined several of his team mates in the book after he made a really good tackle as the Ref. totally lost the plot.
Just before the end some trouble broke out near the snack bar and we later found out that Fat Phil was involved. With the much lower than expected crowd due to the weather and England playing, there were loads of pies left over so ten minutes from the end they started to shift them at half price. Needless to say Phil was first in the queue and began to make his way through them. A Padiham supporter decided that he’d take advantage of the offer but Phil was having none of it.
“I was here first so push off Dingle boy!” And with that he shoved the goomer over the perimeter wall and into a big puddle of mud. Let that be a lesson Mush, never get between Phil and his food or you could end up in hospital! Things continued to be eventful as a Padiham defender belted the ball into the crowd and hit Jimmy full in the Goo***s. As Jimmy’s eyes began watering the defender soon made amends by lashing another clearance right into the face of one of the two annoying little Padiham termites-we mustn’t laugh though must we?-HA HA HA!
The game ended as it had begun in heavy rain and with yet another defeat for our favourites, but at least this time we’d put up a decent show and maybe deserved something from the vastly improved showing.
Disappointed once more, we decided to skip the clubhouse where we’d have the Mickey taken by Denis Hill, and went straight home to watch England put in another inept performance against the second-raters from Austria. Apart from the brat getting whacked with the ball, we were also cheered up when we saw the mini that we pushed onto the yellow lines, with a parking ticket – things are beginning to look up.
If you missed it, WHY? Padiham’s only round the corner and when the team’s going through such a bad run they need you more than ever.
Join us for the next trip and remember…


Rally round the robins!

   
Go to the Harwood Home Page Go to the Harwood Home Page Contacts Page Take a look at our souvenirs
©2009 J Fenton