It’s been a long day, but my trip to watch the Swans take on the Rovers of Tranmere was well worth it – with a 2 nil victory for the Swans. As Paul Daniel’s would say “Its magic”.
Lance (or should I say hop along?) and I left a sunny Swansea valley at 8am for the 160 odd mile journey to Birkenhead via the picturesque (and deserted) roads of mid Wales. We duly arrived at Prenton Park at around 11:45 having only stopped in Newtown for a pee – which incidentally cost us 10p each, so we made sure we had out money’s worth. All proceeds going to Powys County Council (apart from the urine of course).
At this point a special mention must to Granty (one of the stewards at the ground) – who was seemingly sponsored by HM Samuel judging by the amount of rings on his fingers – (a) because he pointed us in the direction of said car park and (b) becuase he reckoned that the mere mention of his name at the local bookies would guarantee a free cup of tea. He didn’t mention whether or not we’d be wearing it though.
So after parking up within the safe (by that I mean no chance of having any part of your car nicked) confines of the ground – thanks Granty – for £4 we headed off in search of some much needed refreshments – food and drink! Next stop was the ‘Mersey Clipper’.
Believe it or not this is actually a pub, although the picture above makes it look like the outside of someone’s flat. The place had the feel (and menu) of a Beefeater to it and it was being frequented by locals and Jacks – very amicably as well it must be said. At this juncture we decided to try out the food – I went for the gammon (£6.90) and Lance devoured the ‘Surf and Turf’ (£7.20) – sounds disgusting but am assured by Lance it was very tasty. Both meals were swilt down with lashings of strongbow and ruddles alike – well at £2.12 ‘ish a pint it would have been rude not too. Lance even decided to try the culinary delights of the dessert menu – a sticky pudding (by the look of it), which didn’t seem to touch the sides, a sure sign of it being pukka tukka.
Having stocked up on the official matchday programme in true programme collector style (i.e. safely deposit programme in a nice A4 wallet and then gently place it within a bag of suitable size), we headed off for the ground – all 50 yards or so down the road. The £16.50 entry fee for away fans – which is quite cheap by League One standards – saw us seated in the ‘Cowshed’ stand. Thankfully it didn’t smell like one and we aligned ourselves in a position directly behind the goal.
Just prior to kick-off we met up with some of the other Dieters Bar Jacks – whom happened to be in Merseyside for a stag do.
There was an evident air of disappointment about the group though, as Helmet Rarch – whom had meticolously planned the football aspect of the stag weekend – was most disturbed to realise that the stripper that had been booked had actually gone into the wrong part of the ground.
Despite frantic attempts to get the stripper (shown above) to bare all from the other stand, she seemed content merely to sit there fully clothed whilst showing us her assets. Which were arguably the biggest pair of baps your likely to encounter in the entire football league. Thankfully the start of the game saw us all turn our attention to matters on the field.
The game itself was an interesting spectacle with the Swans showing some good movement and accurate passing – both of which have been a rarity this season. The Scouse trio of Craney, Robinson and Trundle were like men posessed – why the hell can’t they play like that every week!?!?! No doubt the fact that around 30 or so of Robbo’s family/friends being present spurred him on (and some ‘in your face’ baiting from the Rovers faithful no doubt). I actually said to one bloke – who was the spitting image of Robbo – “You MUST be Robbo’s brother” to which is reply (in a broad scouse accent was) “Aye I am fella”. Incidentally, the Robinson brothers ALL look the same!
I won’t ramble on about the match itself as you can read the match report in the usual places. Once again though I will mention the standard of refereeing. All too often this season I have witnessed some totally inept decision making by the match officials – Trundle’s sending off yesterday for what can only be described as two petty yellow cards (goal celebration and kicking ball away) was another example. Bias aside, some of the decisions are still mind boggling – whether for the Swans or other sides.
The Swans defence deserve a positive mention – which hasn’t happened much this season – as they played well as a unit despite being under the cosh for almost 30 minutes in the 2nd half. If we can continue to keep clean sheets and defend as we did yesterday, then we might make the play-offs after all. Fingers, toes, legs crossed like.
The only other point worth a mention was my save on 13 minutes (Rovers first chance of the game btw) when Paul McLaren blasted his shot well over the bar and into the Cowshed – I swiftly sprang out of my seat and tipped the ball with my right hand before gathering it in calmly and distributing it back to Big Willy in due course. The next 20 seconds were spent acknowledging the various calls of those around me to don my gloves and give Willy a run for his money – be it this season or next. Did anyone see me on ‘Soccer Sunday’ *wink*
I could go on to talk about the scouse female steward who wanted to go home early to watch the Man Utd game (she was a fan) but I won’t bother – mainly becuase I think it would upset the natives too much.
The final whistle was greeted with delerium (well almost) by the 494 Jacks in attendance and it ensured that we’d go home happy and looking forward to the next adventure with the ‘Martinez Barmy Army’. Which will probably be Bournemouth in my case on April 14th.
Before leaving the car park, we witnessed the comical scene of a rather expensive looking Range Rover losing part of its bumper by clattering into a large steel gate – it was funny because we couldn’t quite figure out how the guy managed to do it in the first place.
We finally left Tranmere at 17:30 and despite some crazy tractor drivers in mid Wales trying to kill us – whilst driving their 2nd cars (a VW Polo and Golf respectively) around either a blind bend or hidden brow of a hill – we arrived home safe and in one peice at 21:45.
Ohhh, I almost forgot to mention as well that I’ve added some footage of today’s game to YouTube – I hope you enjoy it and some of my other Swans stuff which is on there.