Flood, Sweat & Tears- from Reading to Newport via Hell

Morning!

I was hoping to keep things brief this morning and just let you know we had made our time up and were heading back towards Essex. This is not the case. Not one bit!

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We left Wycombe Wanderers and made it over to Reading with no problem. It was there things started to go rapidly downhill! We got to Oxford easily enough, but the stadium was pitch black and we struggled to get a decent photo. This however turned out to be the least of our problems as we set off for Swindon as Scuzz managed to get a good pic of the Kassam Stadium. As we headed west we were making good time and getting back on track. Then our night from hell started…

We made our way to the main road between Oxford and Swindon, only to find it was closed for roadworks! We got sent on the most ridiculous diversion of all time, which ended with me driving through country lanes with my full beams on for 12 miles!! After adding nearly 45 minutes to our journey we finally reached The County Ground. However as we pulled up we quickly noticed a few cars in the car park with their windows down passing things between themselves. We had only walked straight into what appeared to be a drug deal!!! After panicking more than our brush with the hooligans at Bradford, we sped off round the corner and found a tiny section of the ground where we hid from the dealers! After trying to avoid drawing attention to the flash on the camera we sped off out of Swindon still not quite believing our luck. If we never go to Swindon again we would be bloody delighted.

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So on we pushed and again I dealt with more country roads as we headed deep into the Cotswolds and got a photo at Cheltenham. We knew we had to smash it to Swansea as we needed to make the time up…we decided it would be a good idea at 3am to get some Deckfast (a cross between dinner and breakfast. A bit like brunch but a stupid version).

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After some dozing in the car (not by Smithy and Tony who were driver and navigator) we headed into South Wales, only for a biblical rain storm that certainly made smiths life a nightmare. With the help of his noble steed Tony the Baker they smashed the storm and got us to Swansea. We then drove to Cardiff in more rain but in good time…until we got their, when our weird night got even stranger.

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Turns out the police were waiting for us there. Well not for us, but they had shut down Cardiff City Stadium! God knows what had happened, maybe Tony’s past had caught up with him! Anyway we managed to bargain a photo out of the security guard and darted to Newport.

As we pulled into Newport (a town on a grimness level with Luton, Bradford and Burnley) we were relieved to put a long painful night behind us. But the travel gods were not done with us yet, and as Betsy pulled up to the gates we were stopped by more squads of police! Know idea what has happened to Welsh football but fair to say we were glad to sweet talk the copper into a quick pic and get the hell out of our neighbouring country!

We crossed the Severn and got to Bristol with no problems, so maybe things are looking up. We’re still amazingly in great spirits, Tony is still smashing his usual one liners, Smithy is still being rattled by things (chicken nuggets being sold in odd numbers by McDonalds), Scuzz is still doing his best David Bailey impression at each ground, Betsy is still entertaining us with his thoughts on the state of some places and I’m just happy to still be awake. Roll on Exeter…

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Thanks to you all for reading and for your incredible unwavering support, it’s fair to say the love you have shown us on this blog, our Facebook page and twitter has kept us going through a trying 24 hours!! We are grateful and we are proud to be doing this on behalf of the fantastic Little Havens. Please continue to donate and help us get this target up to a level we could never have expected.

See you all tomorrow,

Mike

So after going to what seemed like the end of the earth in Hartlepool, we made our way over to the two giants of the north east, Sunderland and Newcastle United.

Having organised a photo in the ground by email a month or so earlier, we thought we would be ushered in and out quickly. However the┬ástadium manager gave us permission for a picture next to the pitch, on the subs bench and then in the home changing room! Once we sort out the camera lead situation (Jessops in Carlisle hopefully!) we will post the pictures! Even Betsy managed a smile in the home ground of his football teams rivals thanks to the great experience we had! We left there thinking we wouldn’t get access like that again…

Then we reached Newcastle….who then in turn gave us amazing access to St James’ Park! The PR manager took us down the tunnel (with the famous ‘Howay the Lads’ sign) to the pitch side, before allowing us photos in the home and away changing room! Smithy said it was like we had taken Betsy out for his birthday!!

Both clubs were fantastic and have given us unprecedented access to two of the biggest stadiums in the country. We’re now stuck behind a caravan on our way to Carlisle and are running pretty much on time. we’re all a bit knackered but we’re battling through until tonight when we plan to stop overnight!

We will keep you all updated with our efforts today, and keep your eyes peeled for all our photos which we will upload once we replace the lead we somehow managed to lose all the way back in Peterborough!

Speak soon,

The 92 in 92 boys

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