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Them were the days!
Them were the days!

Way Back Then - Part 2

By: Chris Smith
Date: 24/11/2010 (Last updated: 28/11/2010)

THE next home game was Blackburn and we hammered them 5 0. There was an old miserable get that stood to the left of us in the Pontoon who was heard muttering loudly with five minutes to go, "We could still lose this b*****d".

He made a point of standing in a place where the main surges would occur and then complain about his poor bloody feet as they were trampled on by celebrating fans. Shrewsbury were beaten 2-0 at home the following week. I went to the next game on the supporters bus to Charlton, permanently ruining my kidneys with trying not to p*ss myself after failing to perform at Grantham services. Draught cider and a 1-0 win made up for this and eased the trauma of a repeat non performance at Grantham on the way home. We then beat Bolton 1-0 at home and I finished work a bit early and picked up the coach to Middlesbrough. We arrived before the ground early and a non performance on the A1 led to more discomfort caused by a four pack of Special VAT cider. This was where I was faced with a choice:

  • P*iss yourself
  • Go into skinhead pub near ground and do the same with fright entering door
  • Enter door and relieve yourself via catheter provided by hospital when repairs carried out.

    As it was, I barely hung on, limped into the ground and uttered such a sigh of relief at first release that a fellow fan walked out of what passed as a toilet thinking he had interrupted an act of spontaneous onanism.

    As for the game, a 4-1 win and Town were top of the league and whilst it sounds impressive, Middlesbrough had lost every home game by this score. The locals were obviously community spirited although a little careless and whilst ensuring that nobody would be tripping over bricks outside, it was unfortunate that by some coincidence, they were chucking them in where we were stood rather than at the wide open spaces.

    You know the form now and the usual problem struck on the way to and way back from Chelsea where we got a 5-2 spanking. ITN had a correspondent there speaking to our fans before kick off and was a bit bemused by one lad showing off his tattoos in response to a question regarding major football issues.

    It was a good job we won six out of the first seven as we only won twelve all season, staying up by two points. I was due back in Colchester in a few days, and having caught a honker of a cold getting soaked at Chelsea, had to give the home against Sheffield United a miss. I think this is the only time that I have missed a home game when I've been in town since joining up, so to speak. I missed a Kevin Drinkell hat trick in a three all draw. It was a good job Kev was on form this season as we would have sunk without trace by Christmas. I was keen to get well as I had serious booze up planned with my new found wealth. I had however, seen us play Scummy twice again in the League Cup with a 2 1 win away and a goalless draw at home. The sharp eyed may have realised that I have previously referred to Scummy as Scunny and why the sudden lack of respect. Simple really, I don't have to spell check Scummy and get rid of that green squiggly line that I get with Scunny. I've just had to spell check twice explaining this. I don't know.

    The first league game I missed was Leicester away but came up for the next home game against Derby when a few of their lads made an unwise assault on the Pontoon. I'd been as sick as a dog the night before, it must have been the shepherd’s pie but still got up at half past six on Saturday morning to get the train to London and then up to Cleethorpes before doing the return trip the same day. A one all draw was my reward. I have no idea how I where I got the stamina from.

    I don't think I went up to the Wednesday game having got well and truly stuck into the drinking in my last year of academia. I did make the effort for Wolves though and saw us well beaten 3 0. I met Big Jim at Wolverhampton station and I suppose the only result we had was safely negotiating the route to the ground and avoiding the notorious subway army. I also learned the tiptoe through the Pontoon chant which joined the list of football songs I had scrawled over my coursework and folders during the many times my concentration went in classes and lectures. I'd got to about 350 different chants at this point. Most of the Grimsby ones had agro, drinking and how good our support was as themes. I'd picked up quite a few from rival fans as well. I'd also gathered a few from Desmond Morris’ book The Soccer Tribe which our student house had bought between us the following year. I had been a little annoyed with Morris and had thought about doing a joint degree including Sociology where I would do a project on football hooliganism. Then he comes along and steals my thunder.

    The Wolves game was mainly memorable for the fancy dress vicars singing "The Lord is My Shepherd". Not the last time I would have surreal experiences watching this mob. I might have had a few but I'm sure one of them got nicked for causing trouble.

    I decided to go and visit the folks mid term and whilst it wasn't a big game, we were at home by another strange coincidence. The least said about this one the better. I never ever thought we could lose 4-0 at home and to be quite honest, it could have been worse. Fulham came very close to promotion, missing out on the final day of the season in a shortened game at Derby where the referee blew up early for crowd trouble. They did have a very good team but this shouldn't take away the poverty of Town’s performance. We even managed to concede a corner from inside the opposition half from which they scored. Notably, Town fans did applaud Fulham off the pitch.

    The next game for me was QPR away just before Christmas which came early for the home side and another 4-0 battering. We were still picking up the odd home win having stuffed Palace a week earlier and we had a chance to put things right at Blundell Park against Burnley who had just been promoted. We were 2-0 up and our defensive frailties allowed them to pull level although we got an undeserved last minute winner to send us into the Christmas period in the top half of the table. I joined a large Town following and suffered a 3-0 defeat at Rotherham who were relegated at the end of the season. Our annual draw at home to Newcastle followed with Drinkell scoring both in a two all draws in front of the second biggest crowd of the season. Normal service resumed with a 4-0 defeat at Barnsley who were hardly pulling up trees in my first and last New Years Day supporters coach trip after a mega sesh on the Barge the night before. We beat Carlisle at home a few days later. We would now only win another two games before the end of the season, both at home and within a week of each other.

    Continued in Part 3

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