Thursday, 16 April 2015

Reading was a buzz - it was all about the result

While I had been to the Madjeski stadium before, the last time I went via car and found it a good way to visit the ground as long as you found a cheap parking space. This time I went by rail as I work in Dorking and it is on the cross country network to Reading. So come 5pm I had left work behind and slipped away down the paths to the Dorking Deepdene platform station to where the 5.26 train was of course running a bit late, but it was a sweltering April evening so I did not mind waiting a bit and sorting my Cherries' shirt out ready for the game.
Gary (left) outside he station at Reading.
I did not really see any other Bournemouth supporters until I got to Reading station and when I did hit the sunlight my AFCB jacket drew attention to me quicker than I thought, although I was also taking pictures of the stadium and any red and black shirts that happened to be passing. An AFCB fan called Gary soon had me spotted and asked where to go to get the bus to the stadium. While we still had an hour and a half before kick off I wasn't going to risk a pint in the centre of town knowing that Reading traffic can get busy. So I walked about with Gary with map in hand and tried to look for some other AFCB fans who had a better idea than me. 
The bus ride was fairly uneventful apart from the driver carrying out an
 emergency stop as he almost 
went into the back of another vehicle - glad I 
wasn't eating anything at  the time!
Sure enough we came across another group which included a guy I recognised although I had not seen him for 30 odd years, but Martin acknowledged that he had been at the same school as me  all those years ago - I never forget a face! We were not doing that well at our task though so Martin asked a member of the local constabulary where to go and we soon had much better directions to the F1 bus that was well priced at just £4 for a return ticket. While the traffic soon built up on the dual carriage way, we got talking  to some Reading fans who were of course more excited about their FA Cup Semi-Final. Begrudgingly they actually admitted that they would not be too disappointed if the Cherries went up, but they didn't want their team to get hammered.
Well someone is giving signatures away.
Always a queue.
At the ground it was a case of finding the best chippy and seeing if we could find anyone we knew among the throng of 4000 AFCB fans. I grabbed myself some chips and sausage and suddenly realised I had to eat quickly if I was to get any player photos before kick off. Bag search done (camera tucked away) I started climbing the steps to where I could get some good pictures and was spotted almost immediately by club photographer Steve Cook who was pleased to snap me a couple of times before I had even set my camera up.
Got Mr Cook this time.
I didn't expect to contact my mates unless I happened to see them as the ground was filling up really fast and there was not much space to move. Still a steward took a fancy to my large camera lens and was straight over to ask me not to use it until I said the guy over their said it was okay before kick off - that usually works. Anyway I asked where row HH was and the steward direct me back up to the top of the stand where I soon blended in with everyone else and of course started taking a few more shots. I did meet quite a few fans who know me now and like to get their picture on the blog (no problem). It is good to see lots of smiles.
Tommy finds his lucky post.
Noisy lot, but they only knew one Wembley song.
My seat was fairly well in the corner to the right side of the goal, from behind the south stand with a bank of Reading fans to our right who were a constant source of amusement through the evening as the banter went to and fro. While I was pleased that we scored early I kept trying to stay positive even when the final 15 minutes came and it was clear that the Cherries were under a lot of pressure. The time seemed to drag and I was delighted when Kenwyne Jones came on although I was less pleased to see five minutes of extra time that soon followed that. The final free kick was also something that most of us could have done without but the lads coped with it well and I lost count of the amount of clearances that were made into row z in those closing minutes. 

When the whistle did go though everyone was hugging each other and the joy was just tremendous. I was keen to take a few photos but I just wanted to savour the moment really and so I took a video despite being bumped a lot, but I couldn't blame the fans - "We are going up!".
Reading fans were a bit quieter by now.
Eddie Howe was clearly delighted with the fan turnout and we were just glad that the match was over and the points were won. It wasn't such a great trip home though. First, the man holding the sign for the F1 station bus had it pointed away from where we had got off a couple of hours later and while following the direction we were persuaded to go in, I soon found that the bus was indeed in the opposite direction and pretty much in the same spot as where we had go off it earlier. 

I met a couple of fans as you do on the bus to the station and we got talking and I found out that they were both heading to Dorking and while that meant I'd have some company for most of the trip I was soon told by them: "You know the train doesn't go any further than Guildford". Oh great - another bus then to Redhill from Guildford! Well, even then it was a short taxi ride before finally getting home, but it didn't really matter how I got back or how late it was - AFCB were still top of the league!

Robert and Stephen were not with me for this game but they'll be joining me for the final three and they were pretty pleased to hear the score in the morning from this game.

I have added to the Championship Run-in tab with an update on Watford's result last night and my views on the Norwich v boro game on Friday - Can't these other teams just lose a game!

No comments:

Post a Comment