End of Season Travel Blues

The big problem with taking a holiday during the football season is how you minimise missing fixtures. 
For many years now the current Mrs C has been perplexed over the length and timing of our various forays to foreign parts. 
My seemingly impeccable planning with fixture list in one hand and flight schedule in another has generally minimised my absence from EP to about one game and about the same for an away trip. 
This spring Mrs C celebrated a land mark birthday and having rejected most of my game missing holiday ideas and itineraries she settled for her default beach/poolside sojourn. With deft planning I arranged a Mexican encounter that would mean a sharp getaway post Telford at home, miss Blyth away and return (somewhat jet lagged) for the final game against Darlington at home.
 The powers that be soon threw a spanner in my carefully prepared schedule and re-arranged the away game at Chorley two days into my Central American excursion, hence doubling my missed game total.

Following the journey from hell to Cancun via a nine and half hour bus ride through the night in a bullet ridden charabang from the Yucatan capital of Merida depositing us at our idyllic hotel some 15 hours late, I prepared my communication device to receive updates from Chorley.

Editors note: surely not!

 Given the six hour time difference I received news of a creditable 1-1 draw at 3.30 pm whilst stretched out on a sun bed in 30 degrees of heat.

This part of Mexico provides the culture lover with plenty to go at and forsaking our poolside shenanigans we ventured to Chichen Itza, one of the ‘new’ seven wonders of the world.

 I was resplendent in last season’s away shirt which impressed the locals more so than the myriad of laser blue, Middle Eastern airline shirts that permeated the area. 

Drunk on Mayan culture we proceeded a few days later to the ancient city of Coba
Having withdrawn from the near 40 degree heat to a small restaurant Mrs C remarked that the adjacent table had what she thought was a County fan sat at it.
 Quite how she deduced this fact I don’t know, there was no visible evidence but in her inestimable way she marched over to the adjacent table, tapped him on the shoulder and said “are you a County fan” to which he replied in the affirmative. Turns out this is Sean (or Shaun) from Offerton. Been going since 1965 (like me) big Rory Gallagher fan (like me) follows the Sinnerboy tribute band (like me) So, 5000 plus miles from home and a kindred spirit is encountered. 

Adrian bumps into Sean from Offerton in Coba.

Retreating poolside for a few more days whilst I remained attached to the communication device digesting the various play off permutations, highlights up, loudly celebrating Scott Duxbury’s header at Chorley – “hey man are you into sports” opined a large American man gently bobbing around the pool seated in his inflatable armchair with a large margarita tucked into each inflatable cup holder. “Where you from dude” – “Manchester” “yes not far away”  “Manchester United” “no sorry never heard of them” raised eyebrows, floats off towards the swim up bar for a twin refill.

If getting to this part of the world was a nightmare due to Tropical thunderstorms then the return trip was a mini version with more storms and a broken down pushback tug delaying our Dreamliner just the two hours into Manchester

Travelling west – east provides the erstwhile traveller with copious doses of jet lag and although my calendar said it was Friday 27th April 2018 my body (and mind, such as it is) really didn’t know what time it was. 

The following day, still in a state of daze, I walked the 4.6 kilometres to EP for our final league fixture against Darlington. I knew I was severely out of kilter when prior to Darlington scoring I saw a fore armed smash to Michael Clarke’s face and yet the referee declined to show the offender the red card he merited, declined to stop play due to the obvious head injury and declined to rule out the goal. Are three incorrect decisions in one incident a record?

The jet lag lingered but a 60 minute queue for my usual season ticketed seat for ‘the Chorley’ play off game settled things nicely. Pre kick off a great rendition of Taste/Rory Gallagher’s ‘What’s Going On’ (was that you Sean/Shaun?) over the PA meant that the night was going to be a resounding success, except that it wasn’t. Less said the better. Probably our best ‘on the floor’ attacking option in Scott Duxbury had been removed from the equation courtesy of some unpunished thuggery from the aforementioned Darlington game and ……well the rest we know. Incremental progress, a fifth place finish (real play off position)  quarter finals of a national cup competition and I feel a real chance to really go for it next season. Shame that the new play off format that provided Chorley and BPA ‘new’ play off berths and denied us a chance for a two legged affair that I would have fancied us to win was not to be.

So I have more dilemmas. A landmark wedding anniversary looms in August. Mrs C wants travel. 

I have no fixture list at least before the end of June, what am I to do?  

 A day out to Chester or Alfreton is just not going to cut it !

Adrian Caville


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