You would think after 28 hours in transit from Melbourne, the journey from Kings Cross to Middlesbrough would be a breeze right? Not when the U.K gets a bit of snow. Well, a lot of snow if I am being honest. My train to Middlesbrough was cancelled due to inclement weather so I had to research my different options which ended up having me boarded to Newcastle then back down to Seaham via Sunderland and then into Middlesbrough. With many trains cancelled, I spend most of the journey standing but did strike up a conversation with an actress, Veronica, who was trying to get back to her family in the north. She told me about her small role in the BBC series, Ashes To Ashes from a few years ago. A great conversationalist who made the journey a little less dull.
Once in Middlesbrough, I checked into a brilliant B&B just outside the city called Chadwick House. It’s a cosy place which includes a delicious free breakfast as part of your room rates. I can’t recommend Chadwick House enough! You even get a cute little flat screen in your room to follow the inclement weather as it happens. Or tacky dating shows for that matter!
Around 3 pm, the reason for my trip to Middlesbrough was given the green light by authorities with Middlesbrough hosting Leeds United at The Riverside. For modern football stadiums (opened in 1995), The Riverside is one of the better venues for football as they chose to steer clear of the soulless bowl stadiums (think Bolton & Wigan) that plague modern football. There are beautiful statues of George Hardwick and Wilf Mannion outside and parked in front of the gates to Ayresome Park, Borough’s home from 1903 until its closure in the mid 90’s. A nice touch.
Access to the ground is simple enough and despite the freezing weather, it seemed quite nice and warm (ish) on the inside. The match itself turned out to be a half decent affair with Patrick Bamford scoring all the goals in a 3-0 victory for the home side who are chasing a promotion play off place. I got talking to a fan before the match who had been watching his local side since the 1950’s! He had some cracking stories and shared some splendid memories from years gone by.
With more snow falling on the way home, the walk was a tad treacherous one at best making the 20 minute walk almost double as I avoided falling over and breaking an arm. The main thing was the match went ahead and I wasn’t confined to my room for the night. Next up, it’s the train over to Huddersfield and then onto Anfield for Liverpool v Newcastle.