Day 3. Sunday. More snow and more adventures. I set out in search of a good day out and I got it in more ways than one. The snow had been quite heavy over Saturday night which left me pondering how my journey to Blackburn would go? My train from Brighouse was set down for 9:24 am due to the midday kickoff at Ewood Park. Damn you Sky Sports for your crazy lunch time kick offs! On the plus side, it wasn’t as cold so my toes wouldn’t be at risk of freezing off.
At the station, I soon discovered there were no ticket machines to collect my pre-paid return train fare so I got on the train without my ticket, hoping the ticket collector would show some common sense. Thankfully, he did, so I got through to Blackburn unscathed and with time to spare. Time enough to stop off at a cafe for a hot chocolate to warm the body. You can either get a train or bus to Ewood Park however, I prefer the 35 minute walk and fresh air. You also get the chance to see things you would otherwise miss out on.
This was my third visit to Blackburn for football. The last coming around 7 years ago now. It’s a beautiful old English ground full of locals who come for the football and nothing else. For me, this is where the real England is. Groups of lads together. Not a tour bus or selfie stick in site. Traditional British food. Decent beer and good old fashioned lower league football with crunching tackles and local players coming good.
This. Is. England!
The home side went up 2-0 after around 20 minutes thanks to Adam Armstrong and Elliot Bennett. Top of the league and cruising to another win. Then, the half time break came and I think Blackburn stayed in the sheds because Wigan played all over them during the second 45 with Michael Jacobs and Max Power levelling midway through the second stanza and probably should have nicked the winner late on. All four goal scorers are English born and Max Power is a Scouser! Well in!
During the half time break, I won a Blackburn away kit which will make for a good gym shirt when I return home. Can never have enough of those.
The train journey back to Huddersfield via Preston and Manchester was an adventure on its own. For the best part, the carriage was packed full of Wigan supporters and some of the young lads caught onto my Australian accent so felt I needed to sink a few cans of larger with them which I duly did. We chatted about Wigan’s promotion chances and the prospects of summer purchases to help them should they return to the Championship next season. After watching them today, I’d suggest they are a great chance of automatic promotion.
Once home, I settled in with a cup of tea and the final stages of Manchester City v Chelsea along with the post match dissection of Arsenal’s now abysmal season. I felt a bit sorry for Arsenal’s supporter base who turn up week in and week out to follow a team who look completely disinterested in anything other than collecting their pay cheque’s. My personal feeling is that there are far too many overpaid foreigners plying their trade in the Premiership now who play for money and not much else. It’s partly why I enjoy my trips to lower league football so much.
The night wasn’t over however. A lovely evening dinner and drinks session awaited me with Denis, Pearl and other regulars at the local Bridge club down the road. I enjoy these gatherings because everyone involved is utterly wonderful and welcoming and I get to spend a great deal of time with Peter, a local cricket tragic talking about, you guessed it, cricket! Earlier in the day, Pearl and Denis avoided relegation from the Bridge league at Bradford which made for good spirits all evening.
I love the north of England. For me, it’s where the real England sits. It’s where traditional British culture still sits head and shoulders above the south. This. Is. England!