An hilarious look back on our trip to Blackpool back in 2003 over the easter holiday.
Day 1 – Saturday
The day began quite early as everyone was up and finishing off last minute packing before they hit the pub. Certain members of Deja started as they meant to go on and were in the pub at half ten, us lot were a little more subdued and waited until the afternoon. More important than Blackpool was the match against Barnsley.
Division 2 status was hanging by a thread and a win was vitally important (it would also set the weekend off very nicely). Me mam took us down to the Bridge to drop our bags off, before heading up to the Vic for the first of many, many pints!! Dadge and Jon Boy stayed in there until kick off while, me, me mam, Tesco and Emma walked to the ground to get an early seat. The Barnsley game was certainly entertaining and Stags played well, it was very disappointing that we lost, especially with it being such a soft goal.
You get bored of hearing how bad we are at corners but it is so true, bloody useless, we have not scored enough goals recently either. Throughout the game everyone’s talk was on the Blackpool trip, what were they going to do when they got there and how good was it going to be. So at the final whistle it was a quick clap towards the players and a walk to either the Vic for a quickie or the Bridge to wait for the coach. Pirate was particularly upset with the result so he had no more to do than throw his season ticket away. He tossed it over his shoulder where it landed on the road enabling me to pick it up rather than it being lost forever in the rubbish near the Village Nitespot. He wanted to “do it properly” next time but I kept it and gave it to Netty for safe keeping until the final game of the season (saving him the cost of admission at least!!). In the Bridge there was time for a beer or two and a chance to meet the mysterious “Skeglad” who went to the Wigan game on the Deja coach, but I never got the chance to meet him. He took the all important camera so it is to him everyone must thank for the memories he has no doubt captured!! There are loads of the game it’s self as the beer turned him to Japanese tourist mode and he went button happy!!!
The coach arrived, everyone piled on and we set off. Thankfully Mike had ordered a bus with toilet so people could carry on drinking with out the fear of having to re-fill the empty cans of Fosters up with “waste liquid”. There was minor panic when someone locked the toilet door and was unable to open it again. It was left to Bettie to save the day and open it and relieve several peoples inflated bladder. We even had a video and were intending to watch all the Stags goals from last season until Ed realised he had the left the video in the baggage hold (he forgot it again when we stopped at the services).
On the way up we were informed Ronaldo had booked a bus with NO toilet and not even a video and had paid substantially more than Mike!! Good work Mike, you knew it was safer travelling with him! A lack of toilet was all to obvious to see when we passed Ronaldo’s bus on the hard shoulder of the motorway with about 30 people peeing on the verge, it was a good job officer Dibble wasn’t patrolling! Luckily we found a video to watch on the way up and what a cracker it was, Rambo 3. John J. Rambo’s boss was held behind enemy lines and should he go and rescue him? We were never to have known as we got to Blackpool before the film ended, we had to force everyone off the bus and told them the driver was in a rush to get back so no one could watch it!! We were going to save Ed’s video for the way home but as it turned out we didn’t watch it! We collected everyone’s 20 quid bond and a tip for the driver (about 40 quid) and sat waiting to spot the tower when you knew you were nearly there! With a bit of luck and Mike’s map reading skills, we found the hotel (The Wellington on Coop Street, although it became known as Co-Op street when people asked for directions after a few beers) easily and piled off the bus, in to the hotel to be greeted by some Cockney wide boys and girls (who took a fancy to Pirate although they would have eaten him for breakfast, lunch AND dinner). Mike sorted out room keys and I did the guest cards (required by law for health, safety and fire reasons). Everyone found their rooms which were clean and tidy although the space allocation was interesting to say the least.
Our room had a bunk bed (for 3 people) and a mattress on the floor for the fourth, two lucky lads were going to sleep with each other, “you’ve got to try everything once” was the managers reply to someone’s comment. Worst case scenario was a room that slept 3 people but had 5 people in it! It didn’t really matter because plenty of people didn’t go to bed anyway. After a beer and game of pool in the hotel bar it was time to hit town. We walked a mile or two before we went in to the first pub (I can’t remember it’s name) where surprisingly you could have 2 bottle of Stella for a fiver which wasn’t bad. Next stop was the big Yates in town where we drank until we went to a club called Rumours. It was a little seedy and skanky but all good fun, although I can’t remember what went off??
The walk home was quite interesting though, I know at least me and Skeglad stopped to listen to a tramp who was doing his own Oasis/Coldplay acoustic session. He was quality to his credit and I made sure everyone stopped and put money in his hat. The bloke made a fortune and I would like to take the credit, along with this other youth who was gathering troops. Skeglad tried to drag me away but I stopped a little longer as he played through the Heathen Chemistry album. I think all the singing/shouting was the cause of me losing my voice which was an absolute pain in the arse. Walking home on my own I got lost and was very glad to find the hotel after an hour hunting for it. The hotel was buzzing when I got back with loads of people still up drinking. I had a couple more beers and went to bed to get ready for the huge Sunday session everyone was expecting!!
Day Two: Sunday
This was going to be the biggest session and the most fun of the whole weekend. I woke up about 8.30 and the noise I made got Dadger and Geary up too, but there was no sign of Jon Boy! When went down for brekkie we found him still up with several others including Netty and Bez who had been sat in the same corner the whole night drinking away! Things were all too much for Jonny who had to go straight to bed where he spent the rest of the day suffering, much respect to Bez and Netty for staying up and coming drinking with us! Breakfast was OK; the usual fry up, tea and toast etc and as usual never enough but it was just what the doctor ordered after a large night out! Everyone was allocated their special polo shirts with our collars (oh bugger!!) and we headed off to pleasure beech where people either sat in a vegetable state or wandered round the park wasting money.
Eventually we arrived at the Pleasure Beach and it was Bowyer first to play, he went on one of the drum machine things where you could beat away to the Jam for the duration of the song, even though you were bored after about 30 seconds, the guy definitely had talent, but I’m not sure as a drummer!! He and Bettie then went on one of those dance machine (picture available in the Blackpool gallery), I’m not sure who won but after a heavy night “the night before” there was no need to be bouncing around juggling the contents of your stomach! Dave and I had a romantic picture taken in some dodgy photo booth (I’m not sure why) whilst everyone else buggered off and lost us. When we did find them it was THAT time, the time when the pubs were starting to open, boy was everyone ready for a bevvie!! First stop was Yates on the sea front, not far from the Pleasure Beech. We must have stayed in there for an hour or 2 I reckon. Me, Ed, Dave and Ganna amongst others played on the quiz machine, winning a bit then losing a bit as you do. You know the Jacky was close when questions kept repeating themselves, it was a good job Ed spotted these and remembered the correct answers. We were joined by Baka for a bit and even Ronaldo popped in to the pub for a beer with us (shock horror I hear you say!!). Then it was off to the Manchester Pub where we were greeted by naked ladies!! For a fiver you could have had your photo taken with two tasty birds with next to nowt on. None of us took up the offer but Geary was gutted that he didn’t do it in the end! Some lads played on the footy machine while others drank and got there photo taken to go in a key ring. I was one of the mugs who bought one for three quid although they are pretty good. The mug shot included; moi, Skeglad, Dadger (who had joined us after a lie in!!), Grezza, Bowyer, Bettie and you can just see Lormor’s head poking over the top. After some more beer, a chat with some of the Ollerton Stags who were also in there and it was off to the Towers Lounge where it was rumoured more Staggies were hanging out.
There weren’t many left although you could tell something had gone off! It was an absolute dive, with shit and snot everywhere so we only had one or two in there before some people headed off back to the hotel and some of us went to the fair. Me, Dadge, Ed and Grezza went to the fair where we watched Ed and Grezza on the Ferris Wheel and the Death Slide. We then went to Lineker’s bar for a beer before enjoying fish and chips on the sea front! We then went back to the hotel to get changed before heading out for the evenings entertainment. These started with a beer in the local Stanley Arms where Karaoke had just started. I don’t know if this gave everyone the bug but the next bar we went to was a Karaoke one. It was your usual mix of people who were shite but thought they were good and people who knew they were shite and were shite but just having fun. Up steps Ed, obviously a closet Robbie Williams who preceded to do a cracking rendition of “Let Me Entertain You”. I’m sure a beer or 2 gave him some Dutch courage but he did do a great job of singing it, with attitude and facial expression to match.
We left there and a few of us ended up on the pier for a drink. Not so bad I hear you say but when we realised the entertainment was a bunch of kids singing and dancing we thought we had made a mistake (no Sidney Cook comments please). Nevertheless we stayed there for the beer and walked out head down hoping to not receive too many dodgy looks. A bit of mischief went on outside the Pier although I can’t remember what Mike and Grezza got up to (was it Mike carrying that blackboard on his back??). We crossed the road again and made our way inside Jellies night club. It was free to get in but a bit of a hovel, lucky enough there were plenty of Stags fans about to chat and sing with. We stepped in side and spotted a bloke in the blue away kit bopping away on the dance floor, “Yellows, yellows” immediately blasted out!! This was to be our down fall later in the evening as someone told me we were chucked out for singing, I’m sure someone will confirm/deny these rumours for us. It was in here that we first met Manc who would play a big part later that night!
We arsed about on the dance floor for a bit, some poor lass fell for Ganna and next the thing I remember was being back in the hotel. Naturally we stayed up for some more beer until the bar closed (not much of a 24 bar I hear you cry, they had their reasons). It was all a bit too much for one bloke who fell asleep on the couch in the bar, what a mistake that was. I was talking to this bloke from Bristol or somewhere that way who was giving this bloke laid down a dodgy look. Next thing I know, this bloke says “I’m gonna shave his eye brow off”, so he did. This bloke was so spannered he didn’t realise someone was rubbing shaving foam/soap on his eye brow and shaving it off!! It was funny as it comes!!! The night turns to a blur then when some trouble went off with another bunch of guests. Apparently one of the hotel blokes was glassed, punches were thrown and dummies spat out (hence the bar closed). Manc tried to calm some stuff down which nearly dragged him in to it, unfortunately nothing happened to him.
We headed off to our room with Manc en tow, for a reason that slips my mind. I do know he was in our bedroom for well over an hour arsing about. Geary and Jon Boy were well a sleep until that annoying shit came up. Naturally a water bottle came out and was squirted over everyone, then the old faithful, shaving foam was squirted everywhere too. The only joy we got was where I wiped my shaving foamed covered hands on his very expensive Paul Smith shirt, he was lucky that was all we did to him. We got rid of him and he went to Mike’s, Mellor’s and Chegger’s room to cause more mayhem. I’m not sure what happened then apart he trashed their room and stripped Chegger’s naked for some reason, Chegger’s certainly had “his lad out!!”. Chegger’s went to sleep in some one elses room leaving Mellor’s on his own, Mike was no where to be seen.
Day Three: Monday
The day of the game and our final day in Blackpool, we had to make the most of it! It was up early to find Manc, John, Bez and Ed had been up all night! That’s 2 nights running for Bez, what a session and congratulations! It turns out Manc had been sat going on about a certain part of Ed’s face (not wishing to go in to too much detail) for the whole night. Naturally Ed wasn’t amused and was very bored of Manc’s childish behaviour by now, but there was nothing he could do about it, Manc kept going on and on. The conversation was interrupted several times by John saying “Manc, get to bed” but that was about it, it continued in to the breakfast room where I’m amazed Manc didn’t get evicted for using foul and abusive language in front of the young lassie serving brekkie. Ed constantly barracked Manc back explaining how Manc’s nose looked Jewish because of it’s size, but I don’t think any offence was ever taken personally.
Around 11.30am was opening time so it was off to the Stanley Arms where we sat for the next 3 hours or so until football was kicked off. Here everyone topped up from the night before and enjoyed fun and jokes with the Easter cabaret put on by the pub. Our lot had been “interacting” with the bank holiday entertainer the pub had laid on. Ed and Grezza were dishing out the heckling and abuse with Skeglad rating the blokes jokes, to Skeglad’s credit he was even said to be quick by the guy who was having as big a laugh as we were. I’m sure everyone who was there remembers Jerry. A yodelling type country and western signer is probably the best way to describe him. But give him credit, even after the whole pub laughed and shat on him he got back up several times and sang again. We left a few people in the pub to drink the afternoon away and wandered up to the ground, some walked, some hobbled (Dadger) and some “staggered” according to the police and stewards (mentioning no names). After being seen to staggered and fall over a barrier as he tried to scale it, the mystery person was refused entry to the ground and had to go back to the boozer, he was even told by officer Dibble to go back to the pub and have some more beer!! There was a great atmosphere in the ground with over a 1000 Staggies cheering the boys on, thankfully the game was entertaining too although the manner in which 2 points were lost was annoying to say the least. Baptiste was joined at center back by Jake Buxton, another youngster with a bright future, it again amazed me why Gadsby didn’t start. With Clarke playing too it was a very young, inexperienced defence. It was the home side who made the brighter start, but the mighty yellows took the lead with a surprising but cracking goal from Jamie Clarke. He was left unchallenged to carry the ball in to the area and finish past a stranded keeper. It was at the opposite end to the away fans and as I watched him carry the ball forward I thought he was going to fall over or something, but when it went in everyone went mental with some people sitting down in shock!!!
The equaliser was a joke, why the foul was given against Curtis I will never know but when Lawrence was a judged to have stopped Blackpool taking a quick free kick, we thought it was going to be another referee day. To be fair, Lawrence shouldn’t have reacted as he did but we all know he has got a short temper. The referee moved the ball 10 yards closer to the Stags goal turning the free kick in to one of great danger. The following shot was tipped on to the bar by Pilko and as it bounced clear no Stags defenders were there and the equaliser was scored easily!! 13 minutes later Stags were 2-1 down, unbelievable. A looped header over Pilko hit the bar and as it dropped down it hit the keeper on the back and rolled in, own goal to Pilko!! At half time we were 2-1 down and staring relegation in the face. Colin Larkin made a welcome appearance at the start of the second half and made an immediate impact. He ran at the Blackpool defence and was fouled in the area, he managed to keep his feet and bent a superb shot in to the top corner, if only he had been fit for more of the season! Stags then took the game to Blackpool and looked class, how was a team who could play like this going down? After a couple of misses from Corden and Lawrence, Andy White White White scored what looked like the winner. Lawrence started the move with a ball to Larkin who carried it down the wing. A quality cross was then volleyed home by Whitey. I missed the goal as nature had called but knew we had scored because I thought the stand was going to collapse. 4 minutes plus injury time to hold on, far too long with Stags’ record of last minute concedings.
And yes it did happen, you knew it would, especially with Stags conceding a corner right at the death. An unfortunate deflection off the head of Bobby was nodded in by Blackpool. “Last minute”, “2 points dropped”, “header off a corner”; all words to make Stags fans cringe and give reason to why we will go down. So we got back to the pub to find Geary lying on the stage waiting for everyone to get back from football. Everyone sat around Geary who then decided to lose the few pounds he had put on over the weekend by swimming. He got on to the floor and preceded to do a front crawl type of motion, even mimicking coming up for air every 3 strokes, Duncan Goodhew would have been proud of the technique! Funnily enough after ten minutes of swimming he had moved about 3 inches at the most.Next thing we know it is half six and time to get ready to go home, gutted is an understatement!! Jon Boy went to the shop for some Vodka and Stella to keep us entertained on the journey home. Someone was certainly poorly on the way home as the toilet floor was a wash with multi coloured bodily fluids. Not that I want to embarrass Gav but he was in the worst state out of anyone on the bus home (good lad), however it may not have been him. We arrived back at The Bridge in very good time where our lot was picked up by Blad in her van and Geary went clubbing (he was spotted by Wint in Lexis!). We all went back to the Copper Beech for lager and Baileys to wrap things up. All in all, it was an excellent weekend enjoyed by all, a huge thanks and well done to Mike for organising things and I hope the next away travel executive is half as good as he was.