Well you may not Mr Costello, but the strange truth is, I bloody well did.
After a couple of years without a season ticket today became the day I did as I was asked by Dave Whelan’s mailing and re-joined the family. Of course we all know what a costly business following a football team can be; it even kind of cost me a car once, but that’s a story for another day.
A failed/non-trip, thankfully as it ended up, to Chelsea for last seasons’ finisher got me thinking just how much we football followers spend these days (never a good thing, especially for a tight Yorkshire Latic). In reality we had roughly a 1% chance of causing an upset at Stamford Bridge, but that was enough.
Enough, along with the other obvious reasons for away trips, mainly it being a good laugh, to be prepared to blow close to fifty quid on a match ticket, sixty-odd on train fares, and, if our plans came good, a night or two in some scabby B & B, taking in a few cockney boozers, maybe a gig and plenty of overpriced Guinness. Throw in some dodgy early morning Soho hospitality, Chinese Restaurant variety, I hasten to add, and we were probably talking three hundred semi-hard earned great British quid minimum.
I waited patiently about ten men back, and, as our last home kick-off loomed the be-baseball capped teen before me reached the front of the Chelsea away ticket queue.
“How many can I get?” he muttered before declaring he already had his own but was getting his Dad’s and his mates etc, etc.
“How many do you want?” came ticket lass’ stern reply.
He didn’t know… you don’t know! You don’t know how many Dads and mates you’re taking with you?!? Bit weird I thought.
Anyway, he disappeared with an unknown quantity of tickets. I couldn’t help thinking said tickets were to be sold on and cynically regarded them profit-makers for next year’s season tickets in his back-skyrocket.
It was my go with Ticket-Lass and for the umpteenth time I gave name, postcode and the rest of it only to be told I’d spookily disappeared of the face of the earth and was longer not on the system.
What? “But I bought away tickets for West Ham last week, had season tickets and bought loads of other home and away tickets. I must be on there, can you check again?”
I looked left and the Hull fans were on their feet cheering on their as-good-as relegated heroes as the Kick-Off whistle sounded. Bollocks! I’d missed both a pre-match pint (we were supposed to be on an end-of-season session) and Kick-Off.
SYSTEM SAYS “NO”
“Well you’re not on the system now” she shrugged and then slid around on her office chair for a bit, mumbled to her mates for a bit longer and returned to randomly click a few more keys. To my wallets disgust I’d been miraculously returned to Planet WN and was back on “The all-knowing system.”
“Two then please.” There were piles of the things on the counter, and ticket lass ripped off tickets for seats 44 and 45, but whilst waiting, now not quite so patiently, for the payment to go through she looked up sheepishly. Another shoulder shrug preceded another mumble “Oh sorry we’ve sold out now”.
Yeah right “What are they then?” Overcome by understandable exasperation I was told all our “system” allocation had gone. That guys made up Dad and his imaginary mates had my tickets! This was nearly as bad as getting to the front of the grub-queue at Walsall only to be told the Chicken Balti pies had ran out, and returning to find NRP shoving the last one down his neck.
I tried, but it was in vain, there was no arguing with the system, and we unhappy few dispersed having been told to ring in the morning to check for further allocation (there wasn’t one by the way). To pile on further annoyance “Half-time tannoy guy” announced availability of the unavailable tickets.
Gohouri’s late and fancy equaliser went part way to lightening the mood, but despite some bloke in the pub telling me, his son, some alleged insider, would “see us right for tickets”(he didn’t) it wasn’t meant to be.
We all know what happened next of course, Chelsea may still have scraped a win even if we’d had all eleven on the pitch, we’ll never know, but one thing’s for sure whether it was the fault of a scrotey teen, an inept ticket-lass or that bastard system, not going saved me a bloody fortune and has now paid for the 19 home games to come.
Below is a vid of the great Elvis Costello as a tribute to that away non-trip.
Oh and Chelsea away is the 9th of April so best start saving up.
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