I went to Burnley today to see Ipswich play. I went up via Leeds, as in my opinion, First Class on East Coast is so much better than the offering on Virgin Trains.
I also didn’t suffer any delays, but apparently some Ipswich supporters, who took the Manchester route, got to the match at around half-time.
I mentioned this in the previous post about next season and increasingly, I’m finding that this is the way I go to football matches.
I eat first, often at the London station, like Kings Cross or Waterloo, but sometimes like yesterday for the trip to Portman Road at home, which is a about twenty minutes from Liverpool Street station.
I then travel out in First Class, so I get a comfortable trip, getting to the match just before kick-off.
Afterwards, I usually take the first train back.
After yesterday, the matches that Ipswich Town will play next season are starting to come into line.
I can start to work out, which matches will be a bit more than an Eat-Travel-Watch-Return trip.
Looking at Championship promotion and relegation, it looks like the following.
Cardiff are definitely up and although I’ve never been to see Ipswich there, it’ll be one I’m happy to miss. Although, I quite like going to the Welsh capital on the best diesel trains in the world. I must go again to Cardiff or Swansea before the trains are retired from that route.
It looks like the others to go up are one or both from Hull and Watford, and possibly one from Brighton, Crystal Palace, Bolton, Nottingham Forest and Leicester. I would be sad to miss out on the trips to Hull, Watford, Brighton and Nottingham and I’d love to get rid of Leicester, as the ground is so far from the station. I think on balance, I’m prepared to put up with the dump that is Selhurst Park, to see an easy away match. It’s just a pity, that the two to go up can’t be Bolton and Leicester.
Sadly at the other end of the table, three of my favourite away places; Barnsley, Bristol City and Wolves are in line for relegation, along with Peterborough. The only one I’m not bothered about is the latter, as although the ground is one of the worst in the Championship, the city is worth a visit. After my last trip to Wolves, I think that I’ll miss that trip the most.
I’ll deal with who’s coming up first. Doncaster and Bournemouth are definitely up and although, I like Doncaster’s new ground, you have to get a taxi from the station and I would suspect, that Doncaster isn’t the most coeliac-friendly town. But as you go there from Kings Cross, it’s an Eat-Travel-Watch-Return trip. Bournemouth is an easy trip, the ground is very good and I’d probably fortify myself with a good breakfast at Carluccio’s in Waterloo.
Of the other candidates to possibly come up; Brentford, Yeovil, Sheffield United and Swindon, I’m really only against Yeovil, as that is an almost impossible trip. Brentford would be a low-cost bonus and Sheffield United and Swindon are more easy trips. Although, after my last trip back from Sheffield, I’d prefer one of the others.
The big question is who’s coming down from the Premier League, with Reading and QPR, who seem to me certain to get relegated. It’ll either be Aston Villa, Newcastle or Wigan. I hope it’s not Wigan, as that is a bad ground to travel to. I think I’d prefer Aston Villa to Newcastle, solely on the distance involved.
The team I’m annoyed about, who are coming down is QPR, as they have the worst ground for away supporters, where I’ve ever seen a match. Hopefully, they’ll get promoted or relegated quickly, or perhaps their rich owners, will walk away from their toy and the club will do a Portsmouth.
Since I wrote this post, we’ve seen Reading and QPR commit mutual suicide in a monochrome match. So I’ll just have to put on my strongest underwear and brave a trip to Loftus Road for a season or two.
After a good drink of proper Aspall Cyder, I got the train to Ipswich for the match against Crystal Palace.
One guy was saying that Town would win 3-0 and his mates were teasing him strongly. I hope he put some money on it, as Town did.
Evening matches at Portman Road can be difficult for me, as if I’m unlucky with the trains, I don’t get in until after midnight.
Yesterday was such a day, and I fell asleep on the rather hot train.
But I got home safely, after using a taxi driven by one of the smallest and oldest drivers I’d ever had.
His driving skills were very much up to scratch, though.
I slept well after a successful day.
The train got to Derby station in just over an hour and a half and then it was a short walk to the ground.
You walk through, an office park to the ground and it is all pretty easy going. Although a map or two and some more finger posts would be a good idea. For the first time this year, we saw a ground bathed in sunshine.
Derby County had the bulk of the play by 57% to 43%, but despite this, Ipswich won 1-0.
The goal incidentally was the sort you read about in stories, but see rarely in real life. In the last minute of added time, at the end of the match, Carlos Edwards received the ball in the centre circle and runs towards the Derby goal, before unleashing an unstoppable shot from twenty-five metres out.
Mick McCarthy summed up the match like this.
We burgled it. I thought I heard the sirens and I said ‘shut the doors, the police are coming!
I would add that as my ticket to get in cost me £17.50 on top of £29 to get there by train in First Class, I can’t say that my day out wasn’t good value.
At Millwall yesterday, we sat in the North Stand and could see this on the top of the stand opposite.
Cold Blow Lane was the location and name of the old Den.
However, yesterday it would have been an ideal name for their current ground. Look at these flags on the East Stand.
They are standing out ram-rob straight right across the pitch due to the biting easterly wind.
If you look at the shape of the roof, it might even act like a wing and create all sorts of vortices and downdraughts.
Whatever though, the cold and wind ruined the match.
For a lot of the time, play was consistently in front of the West stand, as the ball was blown across, with long sequences of throws-in. Passing was awful on both sides and the match is summed up by the score, as no-one seemed to be able to get a decent shot on goal.
Ipswich nearly scored an unusual goal. This is from the BBC report.
But Ipswich, themselves unbeaten in three games, came back into the match and nearly took a bizarre lead when Forde’s poor clearance fell to Hyam, whose 50-yard lob was headed clear by Millwall defender Mark Beevers.
Until, this point, Town were playing extremely badly and every clearance seemed to go to Millwall.
After the match, I talked to a couple of Millwall supporters. They said that they’d had several matches like this and this was the fourth goal-less draw. They all said that the pitch was rock hard, hence the watering at half-time.
Cricket may have Rain Stopped Play, but Millwall seem to have other weather related problems.
The match may have cost me only £17, but I would have enjoyed myself more if I gone to bed for the afternoon.
I like going to see Ipswich play at Millwall.
The New Den is a compact ground, where away supporters get a good view of the action. In fact, as the view is one of the best, the stewards are generally friendly and it is an easy ground to get to by public transport, it is one of the best away experiences in English football, if you support a reputable club.
It is also exceedingly good value, as my senior ticket cost just £17 and of course because of my Freedom Pass, I had no travel costs. So my total expenditure was much the same cost as taking a lady to the cinema. Although in that case, I’d probably have to buy a drink or even a meal!
I went by taking the Overground to Canada Water station, from where I got a P12 bus directly to the ground. Even though, these buses are every 20 minutes on a Bank Holiday, I still did the journey in just over thirty minutes.
Coming back, I walked to South Bermondsey station and took the train to London Bridge, from where I got a 141 bus home.
wikipedia also says that a 21 bus goes close to the New Den, so as it goes past the end of my road, I might try that next year. You get off at Ilderton Road.
It certainly is the easiest ground for me to get to, with the probable exception of Arsenal’s ground at The Emirates. But that would cost a lot more for a match.
I was going to Millwall to see Ipswich play today, but as ever, I was on the drag.
Then one of those awful meerkat adverts came on the television.
i was through the door like a rat up a drainpipe.
Ask any reasonable football fan to give their list of clubs, that they don’t like and Leeds United will generally be in there. Ask about managers to Ipswich fans and Neil Warnock, will certainly be on the list of those they think don’t behave correctly.
So on Saturday Leeds started playing in a way that wouldn’t win many friends amongst neutral fans. Eventually, Jay Tabb was unfairly clattered by Tom Lees and sent off. The picture shows the aftermath.
The sending off probably led to Ipswich winning three-nil, but you wouldn’t think that Ipswich should have won according to this from Warnock. This excerpt shows he was at a different game.
It’s a crazy day and I can’t believe we haven’t won.
We were dominating. I’ve never been to Ipswich and dominated as much as that in my life. If I was (Ipswich boss) Mick (McCarthy) I’d fill in a lottery ticket tonight.
After all, the skill of good management is to make sure that those working for you, act in a way to maximise your skills and resources.
Warnock didn’t do that, but just seems to get his players to irritate everybody with their tactics.
In the end, Ipswich fans went home, feeling very pleased that the defeat had been inflicted on some of their most disliked rivals.
Although, we weren’t pleased with the snow that was falling. But perhaps it cooled Warnock’s anger!
You can argue, that the referee was wrong, but people do get sent off.
So last night, Manchester United were at fault in not being able to hold on to their lead or at least only ship one goal. Where was the Plan B for what you did if you lost a player? Surely, they should have done better!
last night, Ipswich had two players sent off at Nottingham Forest and then lost one-nil. Here’s the manager; Mick McCarthy’s quote from the BBC report.
They’re brilliant, they’re a great bunch, they really are fabulous. I was really proud of the way they went about their job.
“We were unlucky not to hold out. It’s a deflection that’s cost us – they didn’t look like they were going to get it any other way.
I know the match wasn’t as important, but it would appear the players did what they had to! And only failed by seven minutes!
In the past, I’ve watched some great games both live and on television, when one side has been reduced to ten men and still won or at least gone down with all guns blazing.