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Posh Punishment

By: Andrew Doherty
Date: 25/03/2007

MY friend Terry has supported Peterborough United all his life. It isn’t a crime, but it’s certainly a punishment. Each Saturday and the occasional Tuesday night we keep in touch over the misfortune of our respective teams, and it’s unusual that at least one of us isn’t disappointed.

Occasionally Terry declares a ban on football talk in a bid to achieve the fantasy of happiness. It doesn’t last. We’re soon back to "McLean scored, but we were 0-3 down already, dire rubbish". Anti-entertainment is as alive at London Road as it is at Blundell Park. Of course we can’t complain at the moment. Seven wins out of eight and some sterling performances has proved a shock to the system. Welcome as it is, as a football supporter there’s always the feeling that disaster is just round the corner. You don’t go to football matches to feel comfortable. My Stockport supporting colleague recently went to Barnet, hoping to see them continue their run of wins. They lost 3 - 1. We have to console ourselves that it’s all about being there, the occasion.

The occasion today is Grimsby v Peterborough, so Terry and I joined forces and set out for the Land of Wind and Haddock. Terry often used to come to Cleethorpes with his work and was familiar with Beckett’s and other tourist attractions. I suggested as a treat that we went to Steel’s across the road for the statutory piscatorial experience. I put this one to Andy Humberstone. "It’s a bit expensive for us northerners". I know what he means. It is more expensive than the norm but going to Steel’s Corner House, to give it its correct title, is like a state occasion. I think I went there once in all the 21 years of living there full time. You were just never taken and you never went. It was for "them", whoever they were. In spite of never going, you still felt that you knew all about it. It’s for posh people. You dress up to go there, don’t you? Celebrities would go there to escape the cold and wind, if there were any celebrities in Cleethorpes. Alan Bennett would have a field day observing life in Steels. I’ve been there a few times since and whilst there is a church-like aura about it it’s the friendliest place on earth, quite apart from the utterly heavenly fish and chips, accompanied of course by tea and bread and butter. Yes, it costs a little more than Beckett’s across the road but this is gentility in Cleethorpes Market Place. So Steel’s it was. And I took a Posh person with me.

The eating done, we arranged to meet up with Andy for a drink. We were going to meet at the Imperial. "It’s been done out", explained Andy, "not done in" he added by way of an extra selling point. We finished up in fact in the No 2 Refreshment Room, which had also been done out since I was last there. So far, so good.

As we headed off to the game, the tide was coming in, the wind was blowing and piercing. It had stopped raining. Spring was in the air in Cleethorpes. There was not a tourist in sight on the beach.

We got to the ground in good time and made our way to the highlands of the Carlsberg Upper. A healthy crowd was building up. I wondered aloud what the crowd was. "Bloody cold" suggested Terry. Global warming was not part of today’s entertainment package, it seemed. Enigmatically, Terry had commented "It’s going to be an interesting game". We were now about to find out. The game began.

The report continues in the Part 2

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