The Long And Winding Roads

October 8, 2005

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Bury and Carlisle, two away games in the space of five days and an awful lot of travelling.
I decided to use the Supporters Club coach for both, because of the distance to Carlisle and the fact Bury is home to one of my favourite pubs the Swan and Cemetery, serving a very nice (but unpronounceable) German white beer.
The Bury game itself was rather forgettable. We huffed and puffed but couldn’t blow the Bury house down. At least I had good company to while away the time.
It seemed to take an eternity to get back and I didn’t get to bed until half past one in the morning.
So, to Carlise then!
It took five hours on the coach to cover the 270 odd miles. What a way to spend your birthday! I’d been out in town the previous night, so didn’t get in until some ungodly hour. This was good, as it allowed me to sleep on the coach, so half the journey was gone before I woke up! Sat on the coach didn’t do wonders for my knee though, and that wasn’t good news as we had to stand on the uncovered terracing to watch the match.
When we arrived we either went in the wrong way, or the driver wanted to see Carlisle Castle. After eventually getting to Brunton Park, the Rugby club bar just down the road came recommended so off we went, and very nice it was indeed. It had recently been refurbished after last year’s floods had left the bars swimming under four or five feet of water.
I was disappointed at some of the early criticisms of our players, but despite going behind to an early goal, the team put this to rest with a bright second half-display, duly assisted by two Carlisle players. Fans respond to players, and players respond to fans. A little bit of encouragement can go a long way on both sides of the equation.
After the usual challenge to get away from the ground we made good time, with only a short stop at Strensham services where we encountered the Exeter team coach. This caused quite a stir, as Exeter Manager Alex Inglethorpe has been linked with the Rovers job.
We got back to Horfield at 10.00pm, though I didn’t get back to Kingswood until half an hour later, leaving me enough time to wind down and finish with a final celebratory birthday drink .

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This article has appeared previously in the Rovers match day programme, The Pirate, and appears here by courtesy of the editor Keith Brookman.

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