Posted by: musinganorak | January 9, 2012

January 2011

After the thrilling “spectacle” that was Derby v Millwall I could quite happily have abandoned my grand plan. If that was a sample of things to come then I wasn’t sure I wanted any part of it. Two things spurred me one, the first being that if I saw it through then that would be it done, once and for all. The other, more pragmatic, reason was that I had already tickets for the next couple of games!

First up was a trip to the Stadium of Light for Sunderland v Notts County in the FA Cup. To be fair it was another fairly poor game, but with the visitors winning 2-0 I did at least witness a bona fide cup upset. It also saw the first small landmark on the way to completing my goal – the Premiership was completed.

Probably the biggest downside to my plan was the fact that all of the grounds I had to visit were in the North of England. I guess that’s what comes of only starting groundhopping after moving down South. It also meant that a week after driving to Sunderland I was heading North again, this time to Hull City. The car got a rest today though as I had managed to pick up some relatively cheap train tickets. This meant I got to travel some new rail lines, visit more pubs and get 1 step closer to finishing the 92. This time it was a fairly entertaining game that saw Hull City beat Barnsley 2-0.

So I found myself, midway through January, with 2 Championship, 1 League 2 and 3 Conference National grounds to visit. Blimey. I might just do this!

7 days later and I was driving back up to the North-East for a visit to the Riverside, home of Middlesbrough. The result was a scrappy 1-1 draw with Preston North End. After being impressed with Pride Park I was now tiring of the design as both the Stadium of Light and the Riverside were pretty much identical. Ho hum.

Guess where I headed the following Saturday? Indeed – the North-East of England! The plan this time was to get the Darlington Arena out of the way. It was I was starting to enjoy a half in one of the town centre pubs at around 13:00 that I overheard a conversation that I didn’t want to. The game was off. Bugger. Darlington is an awfully long way for a postponement. A frantic search of club websites and forums and I managed to find a game that was still on in that part of the world and I ended up thoroughly enjoying Newton Aycliffe 4 Washington 0 in the 2nd division of the Northern League. To be honest I know I wouldn’t have enjoyed a game at Darlington anywhere near as much.

So the plan hit its’ first snag in the last weekend of January. In all honesty it had been optimistic to expect it to go trouble free through the winter months of January and February, especially given the winter we were experiencing. I just had to hope that everything else would fall in to place. I’d just have to come back to Darlington. Oh joy.

To break the monotony of trawling around football league grounds each weekend I managed to visit Thame United’s new ground for a midweek game as well as a couple of bracketed ticks to bring me closer to re-completing the Combined Counties League.

Onwards and upwards – but please let it be over soon!

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