92 Clubs – Day 20 – Liverpool, Macclesfield, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Millwall
Not quite the Magnificent Seven, but I’ll take six after a total of nine trains, four buses, three trams, two taxis, one Underground train and quite a bit of walking, it was a long day well done.
I started very early in the morning by taking the 05:27 direct to Liverpool. I got another friendly taxi-driver, who took me to the ground for a discount and took my picture in front of the Anfield Gates.
I was all very quick and I was on a train to Macclesfield just after nine. I changed at Stockport for Macclesfield and as there was no information at all at the station, it was another taxi.
I got the impression the driver couldn’t use a camera, so this is the best picture I took of the ground.
To get to Manchester I took one of Virgin’s Pendolinos, which as I had the right ticket was OK. However, it could be possible that you end up with a cheaper and incorrect ticket at Macclesfield, that is not valid on Virgin. So if you do buy a ticket there, check you have the right one for the train you are catching.
Piccadilly station at Manchester, is an information desert, so don’t do what I did and go there without total preparation. You’d think that directions to the Etihad Stadium, where Manchester City play would be displayed prominently. But you would be very wrong! Eventually, someone from Virgin, who I suspect was a City fan, suggested I walk to Picadilly Gardens, as any of the buses to Ashton would get me there. But there would be staff there, who I could ask! There was and I got a bus that passed the stadium.
One of the problems of buses in the provinces is that few announce the stops, as all London buses do. So it was try and peer out the dirty window on a typical rainy Manchester morning and see the stadium. In the end, I felt that I might have gone far enough, so I pressed the bell and got off a couple of stops early, so I could get wet in the drizzle.
If Manchester thinks it is an important city, it could spent a few pence on getting more information and maps for the buses and making them more user friendly. But then only the elderly, the unemployed and losers use buses. I suppose, I’m in at least two of those categories.
The stadium is impressive, but there wasn’t anybody to take a picture, which probably shows how unwelcoming and sterile many grounds have become these days.
At least I had no problem finding the bus to get me back to the city centre, although crossing the road, you were just a target for speeding motorists.
Again though, I found it difficult to find the right tram in Piccadilly Gardens, as they don’t believe in telling the punters what they need to know. There does seem to be this belief up north that public transport is for the locals and they don’t need information, as they know where they are going.
I did pass the other Old Trafford on the way to Manchester United ‘s ground.
And this street of healthy eating establishments.
Note one appears to be taking Lou Macari‘s name. But then he comes from the Land of the Deep-Fried Mars Bar. Something that is definitely not gluten-free.
I did pass the stadium and took this photograph. Obviously, I didn’t want to be photographed outside, but if I had, there were lots of people about, many who seemed to be from the more eastern parts of Asia. They would probably know how to use a camera better than some I have asked on my journey.
I carried walking past the ground aiming for a Metrolink station called Pomona. However, it wasn’t signposted. I eventually found another station with the aim of getting back to Piccadilly.
Note the non-functioning information system, which sums up Manchester well. Eventually, I got back to Piccadilly for a train to Middlesbrough.Finding trains at Piccadilly isn’t the easiest as this board isn’t the best.
Why can’t they use the system they have at Leeds or London Bridge, which is a list of all the places served by all of the trains? This would appear to be doing something similar, but it doesn’t show all of the stations all of the time and they move about from place to place. Quite frankly, it’s one of the worst and most useless information displays I’ve seen, except for some in places like Egypt, all in Arabic.
Eventually, I arrived at Middlesbrough and walked to the Riverside Stadium.
It is another one of those modern stadia, that are surrounded by fast roads, with no crossings for pedestrians. But at least in the only match, I’ve seen there, Ipswich won.
I walked easily to and from the stadium from the station, although I wouldn’t do it in the dark with all the fast traffic about.
I got the late train back to London from Darlington and then it was off to London Bridge to catch a train to South Bermondsey for Millwall. It was dark by now and this is the best of the pictures I took.
I couldn’t get any closer without climbing the unfriendly fence. But I suppose it is Millwall and there might be lions loose inside.
I was in bed just after midnight, after a friendly and talkable 141 bus from London Bridge.