WOTMT
I know, 'cos I wasn't there
...or why some pants is better than no pants at all

The pages of WOTMT and here on-line are often garlanded with people talking about the great matches in Wednesday history – what they remember, stand-out moments, all that. In one of the All Wednesday fanzines last year Richard Jones even reminisced about missing a memorable game (the play-off final in Cardiff) through an unfortunate holiday booking. But what about when you miss a game that will go down in the annals as pretty much rock-bottom?

Earnshaw the football god bowled me a googly on Saturday; my wife had been waiting for a medical appointment which had to take place in Manchester and I had said I would be happy to drive her there. Imagine my gobsmackedness when the appointment duly arrived as being 1.30 p,m, on 18th January. Not really any way round it – I had to take it on the chin and duly gave my mate Martyn my seasoner for the Blackburn game.

As it turned out we set off on the road back from Manc at about 2.30. As we headed into Glossop the first few messages (all duly read out to me from the passenger seat) began to arrive from Mart – “0-1, young RB getting done”, then “Our Aussie just got sent off”, then “0-2” and then “HT 0-3, we haven’t got a clue”.

Those of you who regularly travel the Snake Pass will be familiar with the dead spot where you not only lose phone signal but also the radio. So, with the half-time score leaving me grinding my teeth we entered the dark side of the moon. The phone eventually came back before the radio did, dinging with a simple “0-4” followed by “Nick and Rick went at half-time”. As we arrived home Mart got expansive “It’s freezing here, off to Barracks at next goal or 4.30, whichever comes first”. This was followed shortly afterwards with the simple epitaph “Had enough”.

So yes, I wasn’t there but this is where it gets complicated. In the car Mrs T put her head on one side and said “Bet you’re glad you’re not there love”. I should have bitten my tongue but felt honour-bound to explain why in a bizarre, inexplicable way I really felt the need to have been there to see first-hand what had happened. As a proper Wednesdayite you need to make sure you there when we are wallowing in the troughs as surely as you are there when we are shouting from the mountain-tops.

And then worst of all you get into one of those thought processes that more properly belongs in a Philosophy class. Would things have somehow been different if I had been there? Surely nonsense but what if I had shouted out “Massimo mate!”, and he had heard me from way back on the North Stand, and looked up and not gone into that challenge? What if I had taken all my kit off, run onto the pitch and put all the Blackburn lads off their stride with my astonishing pulchritude (albeit whilst incurring some sort of life-time ban)?  What if in some bizarre way just by sitting in my seat everything would have been different?

Of course I am now fully up to speed on what was, even by our standards, a day of abject misery. As usual I recorded the Football League Show but I was never, ever in any danger of watching it. These feel like big decision times for Wednesday and we are all holding our breath to see what the plan is now.

One other thing though. Of eight of my pals who were there, I am clear that only one stayed to the end; even people I know who never leave early only got as far as 80 minutes. The romantic (?) in me says that I would like to think that I would have been still sat on that empty North Stand when the final whistle blew; but how easy is that to say for someone who wasn’t even chuffin’ there? But blimey we must have been absolute pants.

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27.09.2020
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