All Aboard The Blackpool Express!

May 3, 2006

To see larger images, click ‘slide show’ at the bottom of the article

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 We left the Memorial Stadium at around 10.45 am on Friday. Weather was good and a promising start. We bumped into Phil Kite and Roger Harding in the car park, we explained what we were up to and they were really impressed. I invited Phil along but due to football-ling commitments had to decline. I know he was tempted.

The journey seemed to take forever on the way up and we were all so eager to just get up there and get on with it. The next few days were to bond us and we were to make new friends. There were 68 on the coach and it was great to put faces to names from the Forum. We all seemed to have mixed ideas on what the Rochdale result would be, some confident predicting a 3-0 win and others not so, a 0-0 draw.

[image2] During the trip up we had a quiz and after stopping briefly for a well needed rest room break in the services we got to Blackpool mid afternoon. All tanked up and under the influence of one or two too many Babycham and sherberts!! Unfortunately breaking the cap on my bottle of Archers meant I HAD to finish the bottle much to my disgust.

After unloading all our luggage we settled in for our evening meal and after dolling ourselves up we hit the town Rovers style! The night life in Blackpool was really good, a favourite of ours had to be Reflex, 80’s songs for us to get us warmed up for the singing the following day. We also became very familiar with places like, The Manchester pub, Linekers and NTK. A heavy night was had by all.

[image3] Saturday morning started with a few sore heads and yet more alcohol at the B & B. We headed off to the game around 11.30. A short trip later we arrived in Rochdale where low and behold we found another pub just next door to Spotland. Although crowded and full of Bristol lads and lasses there was a nice pub garden which opened out onto a bowling green. The sun was shining and we couldn’t wait for 3 o’clock.

Once in the ground I was impressed by the turn up from Gasheads. It was impressive, looked around 1,000 and we made the noise of around 2,000. The atmosphere was electric, reminding me of a few occasions in the past where we were up for the game. We opted to bring along various inflatables to add to the fun. We had a cactus, crocodile, orange thingy, Irene the sheep (to feature throughout the weekend), beach balls, saxophone and a hammer. Apologies though to the Gent who had his Tetleys knocked out of his hand and all over him. The croc was extremely difficult to navigate, not a natural flyer! Oh and well done to the guys who dressed as Shepherds (sorry couldn’t resist it Turbo). Who would have thought you’d then be going out at night donning them.

[image4] The game started off promisingly and to my amazement Rochdale had very few fans there. I’m sure they must have been impressed by our turn up and the inflatables we had flying around the stand. I wont go into much detail about the game as we all know the disappointing result and it was very hard to swallow. Despite the 2-0 loss we left at around 4.50 pm and headed for our big red coach knowing that we had put in our best effort to get behind the team and I’m sure the players appreciated it.

Another really good night was had on the Saturday and the majority of us headed along the seafront into the various nightspots. Some stayed back at the B & B in the bar, where the drinks were really cheap in price I thought. Karaoke was a hit; Neil was his usual self, a true nutcase! Those who know Neil will know him best for his dancing and wardrobe of every shade of pink shirt. Saturday was to be the night where I humiliated myself in front of a whole dance floor, and no not my dancing ability but my 8.9 scored dive from one side of the dance floor to the other. I hurt my knees pretty badly as I crashed to the ground! (That’s my dancing days over).

[image5] Sunday was spent mostly at the Pleasure Beach. The obvious big rides were popular, The Big Dipper and The Tango Tower etc. The weather was drizzly and cold which was a shame. It was nice to bump into the guy from Screen Soccer who films our home games (his name escapes me (sorry). My other half and myself took a lovely ride on a horse drawn taxi back to the B & B where we dropped off our must buy rock and cuddly toys from the stalls we’d won (allegedly for our kids). We then watched the Spurs game in The Dutton Arms whilst consuming a few more beverages.

[image6] Sunday night was perhaps the most controversial night of the weekend. Mischief was going on all over the place. The cabaret act was very good and he enjoyed our own entertainment put on by Neil again, Paul and Von who blew us away with her rendition of my heart will go on.
I was unable to go clubbing that night due to my Travolta accident but everyone came back from their nights out to find the rest of us still up and drinking in the bar till the early hours of Monday morning. We drank the bar dry again and finished off all the lovely licquer shots. Once the bar shut and the lounge doors were locked some went up to bed ready for the following days journey back down South. Those who stayed up made their own entertainment with drink we’d brought with us. Unfortunately we didn’t spot the CCTV cameras installed in the hallway and a couple of us got caught literally with our tops off whilst messing about.

We were informed about our TV appearance in the morning whilst we were nursing hangovers from hell. For Neil this was a regular occurrence and didn’t faze him, though Nicki and I were a little embarrassed once we sobered up. I think it must have been around 7 am when we all eventually got our heads down for a couple of hours kip.

[image7] The trip back home was not surprisingly quiet. Most slept and others gingerly whispered. We left at around 1 o’clock after drinking more from the bar. The eating establishment in which we ate from in the Services was shocking, one girl cooking, one girl serving, on a Bank Holiday Monday!!!! Kate quite rightfully gave little miss attitude behind the counter a few short but to the point words to which everyone in the queue agreed with. We got back to the Mem around 6.30 pm and unloaded our cases and bags. Goodbyes and thankyous were passed around and everyone headed back home, to rest for the following day at work no doubt.

I would like to say a huge big thank you to Paul Davis who organised the trip and to those who stayed responsible whilst having a really good time… The couple of complaints we had from Pete and Lorraine were pretty tame when you weigh up what trouble there could have been. They were perfect hosts and I would gladly go back there to stay, as long as they perk up their menu a little. Janet, Paul’s wife, also deserves a mention as she also helped with the smooth running of the weekend, also keeping Paul in control, kind of which is no mean feat.

Just a few last little teasers to get your memory juices flowing…

Fire extinguisher
Table dancing
Running through the street in your underwear, whilst it’s pouring with rain
Pete’s Pies
Smile you’re on camera
How’s your head Lee? How comfy is a bathroom floor anyways?

And to end with the quote of the weekend, for which we are eternally grateful to our friend for…

”Where do you have to take this coach back to then Driver?” – Neil Thomas aka Pink Spice

Bear in mind that the coach was bright red, had Cheltenham plastered in huge writing on both sides and had an unfortunate I Love Cheltenham Town sticker in the Drivers window.

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