Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Burnley v. Barnsley

Last night I did something I haven't done for nearly 30 years - I went to a football match! Visiting friends who were staying in Halifax I was dragged back "over the hill" to Burnley by sometime Starcross crew member Bernard to watch his beloved Burnley Football Club playing Barnsley. It was either that or accompanyhis wife  Kristine to the cinema to see some ghastly rom-com!

Burnley v. Barnsley at Turf Moor
The last time I'd been to a game was also at Burnley when co-incidentally they were playing Barnsley's near-neighbours,  Sheffield Wednesday.  It was interesting to see what had changed and what was still the same.  Burnley still play at their old ground "Turf Moor" but nowadays not only do you get a seat - but you must have a seat; something I probably appreciate rather more now than I would have done then. And, although it's an outdoor event, there's no smoking allowed - a very welcome change. We'd also got tickets in advance rather than queuing-up at the turnstiles (although the turnstiles themselves with their ultra-narrow doors and floor-to-ceiling revolving barriers were just as I remembered them). Here I must confess that Bernard bought us both "over-65's" tickets at a considerable discount. He's a bit older than me and I suppose on average we qualified, but I was a bit disappointed nobody queried it!

So, what's stayed the same: Primarily it's the sense of occasion and the feeling of shared-endeavour. The crowd still chant things like "Cur - Mon - Burn - Ley" and sing their songs but there was no bad language or the naked aggression towards opposing fans that I recall from the Sheffield game.  The referee is still in need of a visit to the opticians however and as ever we wuz robbed of at least one "definite" penalty. At the end of the game everyone still spills out of the ground and walks down the middle of the road, bringing traffic to a halt by sheer weight of numbers (I like that bit). There were even a couple of Football Specials (buses) in a side street to take people home.

Don't ask me much about the game. I know it was a 1 - 1 draw and that both the goals were scored at the far end. Bernard reckoned his team weren't up to much (it's the manager's fault apparently, although I don't think he was playing).  But I enjoyed the spectacle and might go again - although I'd better not leave it another thirty years!


No Direction said...


Mark Doran said...

The last football match I attended was Bolton Wanderers vs Bristol Rovers in 1972. All I remember was the pint of bitter in a nearby Tetley's pub on Manchester Road before the match! My only knowledge of soccer is E.I.Addio's reports in Private Eye featuring tight-lipped, ashen-faced Ron Knee (59)....