We’re on the road again and we’re still on the beer!!!
It has taken 2282 days to get there (yes I’ve counted it), but we are finally back where we belong, gracing a host of exotic places such as Oldham Athletic, Yeovil Town, Newport County and Burslem(!!!) in the EFL League 2.
It’s been a long wait, but after exploits of the last couple of seasons, you have to admit it’s been worth it.
While spending the evening last night sampling the array of glories at the Mecca of real ale that is Waters Green Tavern, it got me wondering and looking forward to a new season of new venues, new pubs (and I’m sure some old favourites)…… and obviously football!!!
Getting on at Harvest Printers for 9.05am, I met up with many people who, although it has only been 3 months since we were last on the road, it’s felt like an eternity since we were celebrating our meteoric rise back to the EFL. Those eagerly awaiting the Swindon curtain-raiser included Alan & Ruth Brown (who were celebrating their wedding anniversary on the day), Chris Edge, SLE hosts Andy & Sean Worth, George Ventris, Steve Caulcott and our Cockney rebel Steve Mundy to name but a few. Bobby Trafford (a regular Moose Tours traveller for many a year) was missing in action, having left early to “prepare.” What for we had no idea!!!
Harry Stokes was doing his best to provide the on-board entertainment for the outward journey. His attempts at getting a bit of a coach sing-along going with his array of MTFC songs (some old, some new and some completely made up) were falling on many a deaf ear at the back, although myself and Andy Worth didn’t help matters by inadvertently leading him into a couple!!!
You can’t take away from Harry the fact he is incredibly passionate about the Silkmen, very enthusiastic about his beloved team……. if only he’d wear a belt for whenever he got out of his seat!!!
After being stuck in slow moving traffic on the M5 for the best part of 2 hours, we finally made it to our stop off in Cirencester at about 12.30pm.
Given the duration of the journey so far, we were only given 1 hour to play with. While some people went to the Marlborough Arms to sample their selection of liquid assets, a group of us went to the Black Bull, a favourite on previous Moose trips to the Gloucester area.
As it turned out, Bob’s “preparation” only got him and his chauffeur Ciaran Perks as far as here, so we met him there for a pint!!!
Due to the lack of time we had, and being told there was a 35-40 minute wait for food to be served, many of us settled for a couple of pints instead, although some people chanced it and ordered lunch!!!
Harry showed his youthful cheekiness by nipping out to a nearby chippy and bringing his lunch in (either the staff were seemingly oblivious to this act of treachery, or they were accepting of the fact we were “on the clock”) while Andy Worth provided the Diet Coke for him to wash it all down with.
Anyway, once beer was supped and chips were munched, it was time to re-embark on the Moose Tours excursion. Thankfully there were no road works or stoppages to be seen from then on, so we were at the ground by just after 2p.m.
We firstly got our tickets, and then proceeded to Bar 71 by the away end. Drinks-wise it was a bit disappointing, with only Carling, Peroni, Guinness & Stowford to choose from (no real choice), so made do with a pint of Carling (and a crappy one at that).
After more pre-match natter about all things MTFC and our predictions for the game and the season ahead, we went to queue up at the entrance gates. While waiting we were greeted by a familiar face from our venture to Boreham Wood last season, none other than the Dark Destroyer himself, Shaun Wallace from ITV quiz show The Chase!!! He shook hands with us and wished us the best of luck as he went his merry way (he’s definitely a lot happier in real life than he appears on TV)!!!
So on to this game and a further 45 as we embark on a new season of fun, frolics, coaches, beer, football, more beer and more football.
MOOSE TOURS BARMY ARMY!!!