The Anonymous Widower

To The Football At Huddersfield

I arrived in Manchester on my trip from Southport at Piccadilly and had the long walk from Platform 13 to the main concourse to get the tram to my hotel. There are plans to put another two platforms here, so careful design must be used to avoid worsening a nightmare interchange.

I had a bath and then returned to Piccadilly for supper in Carluccio’s. This branch seems to be much faster than most and I’ve not missed a train yet there, due to a slow meal.

I nearly did this time though, as the next Huddersfield train left at 18:11 and I didn’t get to Platform 13 until 18:15.  But the crowded train was late!

I was in my seat half-an-hour before the match started.

Ipswich won 2-0 and I was able to catch the 22:00 train back to Manchester, where I had a non-alcoholic nightcap in Carluccio’s.

I suspect that Piccadilly needs almost to create a new concourse linking the dreaded Platforms 13 and 14 and the proposed two new ones to the lines in the main station, at the far end of the station.

Let’s hope some of the UK’s best architects are working on creating a station fit for the twentieth century, let alone the twenty-first!

April 8, 2014 Posted by | Food, Sport, Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Will Ipswich Make The Play-Offs?

This looked extremely unlikely after David McGoldrick got injured a couple of months ago, but after three wins out of the last four games, it just could happen!

C would now be going on about the dreaded play-offs.  I don’t know why she hated them so much, but it could be that it made me increasingly edgy.

But if they do make the play-offs, after last night’s win against Derby, where they gave away a goal in the first minute and didn’t score the winner until the last, they won’t do it the easy way!

It’ll probably be a roller-coaster ride all the way to Wembley! That’s if we get there!

March 26, 2014 Posted by | Sport | , | Leave a comment

Comfy Seats At The AMEX Stadium

The AMEX Stadium is one of the few in the country, that have comfy seats for all.

 

Comfy Seats At The AMEX Stadium

Comfy Seats At The AMEX Stadium

As you get free train travel in the price of tickets, surely the attitude of the club and the stadium design, did all this contribute to a full stadium.

Sadly for Brighton, Ipswich spoiled their party.

March 22, 2014 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

East London To Yeovil By The Long Way

Yeovil is a long way from London and when I saw the fixture list, I felt it was a game that would be impossible to see.

So when I found out that Thomas Heatherwick had designed a café at Littlehampton, a town I’d never visited, I thought perhaps I could go there on the way and have a decent lunch.

So I booked a ticket to Littlehampton from Clapham Junction and then another from Littlehampton to Yeovil, with changes at Fratton and Salisbury.

I  started just after ten and took a Class 378 London Overground train to Clapham Junction.

I just missed a Littlehampton train at Clapham Junction, so I had a cup of hot chocolate on the bridge at Knot Pretzels.

The train I did get to Littlehampton was direct, but it did take an hour and thirty five minutes in a comfortable Class 377. I did walk to the beach at Littlehampton see the café and have lunch.

I just caught my train out of Littlehampton at 15:23, which was the first leg of my journey along the South Coast to Yeovil to Fratton. The train was an elderly but well-refurbished Class 313.

From Fratton it was a First Great Western Class 158, which was going all the way from Portsmouth Harbour to Cardiff.

The final leg was a South West Trains Class 159 from Salisbury to Yeovil Junction. I arrived on time at 18:40.

I think this journey shows up our trains in a reasonable light. The journey times are slow not because of slow trains, but because of the frequent stops and complicated route. The journey took three hours seventeen minutes from Littlehampton to Yeovil, but there was only thirty-three minutes wasted in connections.

Although some trains date from the 1980s, there wasn’t anything as bad as the dreaded Pacers that inhabit the North. The services were pretty well-used and except for the short leg from Littlehampton to Fratton, there was a catering trolley on all trains.

Would I do this journey again? I might, but I doubt I’ll ever need to do it. My next trip to the South Coast involves a trip to Brighton, which will be a lot quicker.

I had hoped to take a few pictures, but my camera died at Littlehampton.

 

March 11, 2014 Posted by | Sport, Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Mick Gives A Lesson In Motivation

This report of an interview on BBC Suffolk of Mick McCarthy is a classic and shows how to motivate your remaining strikers, so that one steps into the big shoes of David McGoldrick. Here’s an extract.

“All the ones that think they should be playing every week – Paul Taylor, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Frank Nouble – opportunity knocks for one of them,” McCarthy told BBC Radio Suffolk.

I would assume that gentle tactics like this didn’t appeal to Roy Keane.

February 24, 2014 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

It Happens Again Travelling To And From Ipswich

This afternoon, I went to football at Ipswich and like last week, when I encountered the troubles detailed in this post, I had more trouble.

I decided to get the 13:00 rather than the 13:30, in case the latter was a bit late.  I was advised by staff at Liverpool Street station, not to take the 13:00, as it was only going to Colchester. Instead I was told to get the 13:02 slow train to Ipswich. After a few stops and hiccups, I eventually got to Ipswich, a few minutes later than the 13:30 normally would, which meant I missed about two minutes of the match.

Then at half-time, a couple of people turned up who had caught the 13:30, which had arrived forty-five minutes late.

Returning to London, I normally catch the 17:09 and I did today, but it had lost thirty minutes from its schedule by Manningtree.

By Colchester, we were going better and eventually got into Liverpool Street only losing a few more minutes.

The ticket collector told us all that it appeared that there had been an attempted cable theft, although that is not mentioned in this article in the Eastern Daily Press.

February 1, 2014 Posted by | Sport, Travel | , | Leave a comment

An Open Letter To GreaterAnglia

As I have been travelling up and down to Ipswich from London since probably about 1963, when I used to put my bicycle in the guard’s van and have it hauled by a Britannia between my parent’s main and retirement homes, it was inevitable, that one day I’d end up in the sort of incident that I did last night.

I should say, that after the death of my wife and son to cancer, and a serious stroke, I retired to London from Newmarket, and as I’m still a season ticket holder at Portman Road, I come up for every Ipswich Town home match.

Yesterday incidentally, was the first day, when my chosen train up (down in your terminology) to Ipswich, the 13:30 from Liverpool Street hasn’t been within a minute of its scheduled arrival time of 14:43 and I missed the first few minutes of the match.  Luckily, Ipswich left the excitement for later. As I’ve taken this train, perhaps fifty times in the last three years, that is probably not a bad record.

I usually go home on the 17:09, so that I can experience the comfort of First in a Mark 3 coach. Yesterday though, we were advised to take the Football Special and in common with everybody else, I ended up on Colchester station. At least the buffet was open, and I was able to get a decent cup of hot chocolate, as from my knowledge of railway electrification, I knew from the fact that all the lines for London, were blocked by fallen trees, we could be in for a long wait.

But Ipswich fans tend to be fairly stoic and resourceful, especially after the troubles of the last few years.  I thought and hoped, that my mate, Ian, who lives in Kent and had also been at the match, might be in the area, and as luck would have it for me, but not I suspect for him, he was visiting his father in Colchester Hospital.

So unlike others, just after 18:30, I was sitting comfortably on my way south. Ian lives near Ebbsfleet, so he was able to drop me at the station there, to get the High Speed service to Statford, which is an Overground ride away from where I live in Hackney.

I was starting to get hungry, but as I’m a coeliac, getting food at Stratford and the nearby Eastfield shopping centre is difficult, as not even Marks and Spencer, has anything like a gluten-free sandwich and there is no restaurant that I trust to serve a meal without gluten.

So instead of getting home at about seven, I was home just before nine, which given the circumstances and probably the experiences of other passengers, wasn’t too bad.

It is interesting to compare the trip[, with one I took on Deutsche Bahn in similarly awful weather, where I was abandoned at Osnabruck on a trip from Hamburg to Amsterdam, and left to my own devices. With incidentally no offer of compensation.

Obviously, you will always have problems with trees by the line, if we continue to get this awful weather. And obviously now, unlike in the 1950s and 1960s, there are no Britannias to periodically clear the trees, by setting fire to them.

In some ways, you suffered from one of the problems of an all-electric railway, which is obviously vulnerable to an event as last night. It would of course have helped if the line from Ipswich to Cambridge had been electrified, as it would have enabled the ferrying of Ipswich passengers for London to Cambridge, for onward travel. But that infill won’t happen for some years, if it ever does.

I think that the only solution, that might help, would be if you had a couple of Class 88 engines to run direct services to Yarmouth, as their go-anywhere capability would have allowed a shuttle via Cambridge.  But then the first of these is a few years away from being built.

I think, under the circumstances, you did as well as could be expected. But probably the fact, that Ipswich had won, meant most fans were in a good mood.  But you can’t please everybody!

Certainly though, your performance in times of smaller troubles over the last few years, has in my experience, been a lot better than some other companies I could name.

January 26, 2014 Posted by | Sport, Travel | , , | 2 Comments

A Day Of Lots Of Misses And Rain

Yesterday was one of those days. I went to Portman Road to see Ipswich play Charlton.

I got there on time, but only just, as the journey to Liverpool Street was a succession of misses, buses and Underground trains. I had to skip lunch, as my usual pit-stop at Carluccio’s at Spitalfields was closed for New Year’s Day. The alternative of sandwiches from Marks and Spencer was also not on, as they were closed.

No Sandwiches

No Sandwiches

Luckily, I was able to get a couple of EatNakd bars from Boots, although after I’d bought them, I found that the Camden Food company had a bigger selection.

I was soaked, by the time I got to my seat and the rain was so bad, they’d had to move some spectators to a drier part of the stadium.

To say the match was ruined by the rain, would be an understatement. That makes it three out of the last four matches that I’ve seen, have been ruined by the weather.

To add to the misses, David McGoldrick missed a penalty, so the match was only drawn.

Coming back, I wasn’t as fast as normal to the station and as the match finished late, I missed the train and had to wait for forty minutes in the cold.

And then coming back from Liverpool Street, I decided to take the dry route to Barbican station to get a 56 bus. And as i walked to the stop, the bus I wanted roared past. So I had to take a 153 and then a 38!

It was not the best of days! It probably summed up my miserable Christmas. But speaking to others at the match, mine seemed to have just about this year’s norm. Next year, I won’t be here!

January 2, 2014 Posted by | Sport, Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

An Embarrassing Half Time Entertainment

Bournemouth put on a Crossbar Challenge at half-time, but it was rather unusually embarrassing for the hosts.

One of the travelling Ipswich supporters won the prize, by hitting the crossbar.

I’ve seen this run a few times and most clubs don’t let visiting supports take part for obvious reasons.

We all gave him a big cheer, as he returned to his seat amongst us.

December 29, 2013 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

Real Fans Don’t Like Certain Teams

I’m a real football fan, who has followed the game probably since about the age of six or so, when my father first took me to White Hart Lane. One of the early games I saw was when Newcastle and the legend, Jackie Milburn, were visitors. I think Spurs won and I do know that Ted Ditchburn, their goalkeeper was outstanding and that Jackie Milburn missed a penalty. Other teams, I saw in the fifties and early sixties with my father, included Leeds with John Charles and Stoke City with Stanley Matthews. I watched most Cup finals of that era on the television, but the earliest I remember is probably the Manchester City v Birmingham City final of 1956, when Bert Trautmann broke his neck and Don Revie played as a deep-lying centre-forward.

my father had had a long history of both playing football and supporting Spurs.  He always said, that he first went to Spurs in a pony and trap, and hisfather paid a boy to hold the horse’s head during the match. i think too, he’d been at the 1921 Cup Final.

I started going to Ipswich when my parents moved to Felixstowe.  Usually, I was taken by the next door neighbour as getting between Ipswich and Felixstowe in those days wasn’t easy by public transport. As I was living in London most of the time, I still cycled to some of Spurs home matches and later at Liverpool University, I visited both Everton and Liverpool and quite a lot of teams in the area, including Manchester United, Preston, Leeds, Blackpool, Blackburn and Burnley. I didn’t carry a camera as I do now, so there is no record of the visits to the old grounds. Some were very rudimentary and far inferior to how they are today. I remember that getting to Old Trafford involved getting a steam powered shuttle train from the centre of Manchester. I think this was probably, when I took the train from Huyton.

Over the years, I’ve developed a dislike of certain teams. I won’t mention them all, but the usual suspects are there.

This last few weeks, I’ve been watching the story unfold at Cardiff City. I don’t like bullies and I very much feel that the club, the fans and the manager have been very badly treated.

So I felt quite a bit of delight, when Sunderland scored their second goal tonight at Cardiff.

To not  win couldn’t have happened to a more deserving owner!

December 28, 2013 Posted by | Sport | , , , | Leave a comment

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