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Tramming It
Tramming It

Swanning It

By: Chris Smith
Date: 22/12/2009

HAVING been warmed by Town’s display on Friday night and forgotten how cold it had been, I was looking for a game the following day. I didn’t bother looking for a non-league match so had to whittle down (that word bought back a sigh-come back Sarge) the league fixtures. A guess told me it would be Man City, Leeds, Wendy, Forest or Derby.

Man City were asking £36 (I’ve been spoilt by seeing their cup games against Fulham and Arsenal for a score apiece) so that was ruled out and the cheapest Leeds ticket was going at a more modest but extortionate £26. The prices go up a quid after the New Year as well! Happy f****** Yuletide. Glynn fancied a game (anything to get out of Scuntland) and it was therefore decided to give Wendy a go at £16 a pop if booked on the internet, with free travel for me in the People’s Republic.

Whilst I felt a bit uneasy about putting money in the auld enemy’s pocket, I made sure I shaved a quid off by registering on the SWFC website which became a saga in itself. I’ve been using a PC for years now and am still an old Luddite. If I do anything wrong, it is the computer’s fault so being a representative of the evils of capitalism and undermining the role of the worker, my first instinct is to bin the bastard thing.

Mind you, the SWFC site got the blame first. Having given myself an offensive password to log in, I saw that the prompt to change the password was still there. I thought there must be some filter that didn’t allow offensive passwords, especially to the club I was registering with. I thought that couldn’t be true and came up with something viler. Having repeated this about five times, I scrolled down the page in desperation to then find the Continue option. I then realised I could have clicked this after the first attempt and Bob would have been my mother’s brother and the source of an extra Christmas pressie.

We met up at Thorne and got the train from South station with a sense of déjà vu at travelling into Sheffield as we’d gone there last week to watch the Blades play Palace. I hadn’t gone to Shrewsbury as one regular driver had gout and the other, Glynn, was just off nights so couldn’t risk it. I’m glad because I’d said I wasn’t going in any case, but was weakening, as I do. We actually didn’t meet at Thorne last week as Glynn managed to get on the wrong platform at Scunthorpe which takes some doing as it only has two. To be fair, the driver normally shouts over if you are stood where the next train isn’t due for about an hour. This one must have been a local as the anti-social tosser drove off without him.

Our fear of being overwhelmed by shopping rats and screaming nappy fillers were unfounded on a fairly empty train which would be calling at Meadowhell (as it is unfondly known). The bustling at this time of year makes Londoners at the Sales look like piffling amateurs and folk up here tend to be er larger, which makes it all the more horrifying.

Having arrived at Sheffield, we got the tram (got to make the most of these tickets) up to City Square where it is a ten second hop to the Banker’s Draft pub which we’d been to the previous week and has been a regular place for me to go when meeting ex workmates. The missing nappy filler made their presence felt here to let us know that karma was alive and kicking. Why can’t everything go right just for once? Whatever was ailing this kid, it wasn’t his lungs. Probably his chav parents, who when told the bucket they were ordering would take longer than they thought, grunted "Aaaarghhh, we’ll ‘ave ‘nother pahhnt thin".

Unfortunately for Glynn, his fish couldn’t have been more incinerated if it had been placed at Ground Zero of a nuclear testing site so we had a further wait. The attempt to get a free beer met on deaf ears although a tea or coffee was offered and disgustedly declined. Say what you want about Yorkies, and we all do, but they aren’t slow on the uptake when it comes to saving brass. An elderly couple on the next table said they’d take up the free coffee so when the barmaid turned up with the replacement dinner, Glynn said he’d changed his mind and would love a coffee. If looks could have killed at that point… From where we were sat, you’d need hiking boots to get to the kitchen. You’ve normally p***** yourself by the time you get through the maze and corridor to get to the toilets. I think Wetherspoons like you to work up a thirst when you go.

A bit disgruntled, but fed, we made our way to the tram stop where I realised that I wasn’t as street savvy as I thought I was. I’m not normally a scarf wearer but had picked up a Unibond League scarf (I’ll start a fashion if we end up there-first Town fan to wear one) which I’d been given for buying something in Goole’s club shop on Tuesday night and which I thought would keep the cold out.

As I saw a local missing link peer at my pocket (the coat pocket where the scarf was stuffed, honestly, what are you like?) I realised that the scarf was of a very similar colour to Swansea City’s, the away team that day. Talking of colours, I’m colour blind, but the array of colours on some that we saw yesterday indicated that this ailment was alive and kicking in Sheffield. I looked around for collecting buckets for Comic Relief or for p***** partygoers in case it was fancy dress. Despite my own lack of sartorial elegance (I graduated to a donkey jacket in the early 80s when other lads my age were getting into the casual scene), the locals lack of dress coordination was breathtaking.

As the tram doors shut, we realised we were going to pay for the lack of brattery on the train in as a child screamed all the way to Hillsborough. Possibly because they thought they’d be going to the game. A bloke beside us got into the festive spirit by sharing his germs every twenty seconds or so and was obviously going as far along the line as we were.

The last bit of entertainment on the tram was listening to an Owls fan talking at several folk about how they should go into administration to clear their debts as "it’d only tek four games to mek up t’ten points". Considering they’ve only won four games all season, that is insanely optimistic.

The article continues in Part Two

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