Highway to Hull
Wednesday 9th March 2016
Fixture congestion is always as a result of one of two things. Bad weather forcing postponements or progressing in cup competitions. Last night means the latter of course and our love affair with the FA Cup continues.
Writing these notes heading south on the East Coast mainline, my journey, purely for social reasons, started in Portsmouth on Monday and will end up back there some time later today….but via Brighton, London Victoria, Kings Cross, Doncaster and Hull. You could wallpaper a room with the amount of tickets this has required!
The journey up was thoroughly enjoyable and the levels of comfort being across the scale from the speed and efficiency of the London to Doncaster bit to the rather amusing train that took us east to Hull.
An article on the BBC website on Monday described how a train constructed in the eighties known as a ‘Pacer’ would finally be phased out over the next 3 years. The 2 coach example we got to ‘enjoy’ can only be described as a bus on wheels. It was very uncomfortable, bumpy and slow but provided brief amusement to the many travelling Gooners onboard.
“Excuse me, where do we get the next train to Hull mate?” was overheard on Doncaster station.
“This is it Sir”.
“Are you winding me up?!”
Hull’s old town has got loads of excellent pubs, a fact we discovered at last season’s League fixture and it was here we headed to enjoy the pre match refreshment.
Our quite fantastic support were present in great numbers as always and on a bumpy pitch, without being stunning, we avoided slipping on this latest potential banana skin by helping ourselves to four goals without reply.
So apart from the disrespectful idiots who brought that flag along, it was a successful night. I aired my views on that situation after the West Brom away game last season and I’m not going to go over old ground. But I reiterate I am deeply offended that these fans think they can represent me with a banner I totally and utterly don’t agree with.
Today’s announcement that away ticket prices will be cheaper next season is a step in the right direction I feel but I also strongly believe steps should be made to offer compensation to fans when fixtures are changed extremely late through no fault of their own.
I don’t mean with FA Cup ties like this coming weekend as they are on the fixture list from minute 1. But spare a thought for the 500 odd Brentford fans that were expecting to be in Hull for a league fixture last night for example. Some of them still made the journey North as we met them in a pub after the game. Their train tickets and accommodation were non refundable so they chose to have a night out anyway!
And fair play to them. But in my opinion there should be something in place to cover any costs if they didn’t travel.
It’s rare we get 2 FA Cup ties on the bounce but with Watford coming to London N5 on Sunday afternoon that is what we’ve got.
And another Wembley trip is an enormous incentive to put in the kind of performance required for us to progress.
Come on you mighty Gunners!