Like Eastleigh fans signing about Yaya and Kolo Toure on Boxing Day, or the strangely resilient appeal of Dave Allen, Weston-Super-Mare AFC is one of the enduring perplexities of modern non-league football.
On the face of things they are a club whose ground only Poole could ever be envious of, and whose wage bill only we ever could. And yet, with a team made up largely of academy graduates and players signed from local regional football, they have excelled, over-achieving as they have with a good brand of football.
What cannot be questioned however, is the fact that it’s always a fucking good away trip. And here, having crawled back home 24 hours after the match has finished, with no voice and a head sorer than Michael Schumacher’s, its clear that it once again lived up to the hype. (If Weston could ever be accused of possessing ‘hype’)
(Working out our end of season points tally over breakfast. Guess who’s the optimist!)
The day started as all good away days do: In Weatherspoons horrendously early for breakfast. Having been caught in an absolute deluge of hail en route to the station, the day’s drinking rule that the “W word” could not be mentioned in its proper form was suddenly made that bit harder as we boarded the train to find a couple of their lads on board heading up to Frome. Also on board was an old chap of theirs (who I drew the short straw of sitting next to) who, having decided to open a beer, refused to touch a drop of it. Not that that would stop us….
Plenty of laughs, spillages and shouts of “Drink!” later (not to mentioned a bar carriage down to Taunton) and we arrived at Weston, where we were greeted with the modern day, sub-urban equivalent of the oasis in the desert: A bar within the station. What a fucking idea! Be rude not to. Swift couple later and we headed off to Woodspring Park, where we were greeted with the sight of a rather lengthy queue to get in. There were many things we were expecting from the day, including the pasting that duly arrived, but a queue? At Weston-fucking-Super-Mare?! Must admit, we didn’t see that coming!
The less said about the game the better. We were utter shite, unable to pass wind, let alone a football. Fortunately for us, there was one performance worse than the teams, that of the referee Mr Rob Ellis. Having missed a nailed on penalty on Josh Wakefield in the first half, Clive Makoni was harshly sent off having gone into a 50-50 with exactly the same intent, stud’s down, in-controlled fashion as Lloyd Irish. Irish stayed down rolling around until such time as the card was brandished, when he made an instant recovery. Funny that.
Moments later, Jem stupidly talked himself into a yellow card, as he ran Mr Ellis through his performance thus far, and when, moments later, Jem caught the heels of the Weston winger whilst being turned, Mr Ellis couldn’t wait to brandish that second yellow. What made it even more infuriating was that merely a few moments later Wakefield was taken out from behind having turned his man on the counter. Result: Nothing. Prick.
(Wasn’t us, honest.)
With First Great Western living up to their reputation with only the one train running from Bristol to Dorchester (at 9pm no less) we headed over to Bath, seemingly spending the entire journey trying to explain to Fred with growing frustration that travelling down to Bath isn’t eating into our drinking time, as we’d only have to leave earlier further up the line in Bristol.
Tempers calmed as we reached The Ale House on the square, and after a nice, casual pint, Smithy thought it was time to do some shots, as Bailey’s and Lime entered the fray… quickly followed by Tequila and Rum… quickly followed by the Pièce de résistance: Jagermeister.
Unsurprisingly, it’s here that things rapidly descended as drinking games continued, me leaning across the bar whilst the barrels were being changed to remove the ipod so that I could charge my iPhone, Alan being banished outside and it ending with some lady on another table literally pleading for us to take Steve away from them. All in a days work.
The train journey continued in similar fashion, with songs, laughs with a few Yeovil fans, spilt beer and Steve ending up in the luggage racks. It also included the rather perplexing sight of some lady coming out from no where and calling us “a bunch of pricks” as she got off at Frome, as she thought the ‘You dirty northern bastards” chant was in fact, condoning domestic violence. Very strange. Very funny.
Arriving back in Dorch at 11pm, after 12 hours of drinking, most people would call it a day and retire to bed. Not us. Off to the Junction for a swift couple, before heading onto the George, where the sister of one of the boys was kissed and the ex-girlfriend of another was told where to go. (We have some principles y’know) And when Steve was chucked out for falling asleep on the sofa, we headed up to the Ship to meet up with some of the other London Magpies lot, to continue to drown our sorrows until 2am. Well we did, Steve once again fell asleep. CM.