Oyster cards and horse poo

A catchy headline I’m sure you’ll agree. Or lyrics Ian Dury would have written. So it was with a heavy heart and little to no adrenalin running through my velvety veins that I closed my laptop for the day and contemplated a few jars of ludicrously expensive beer in Liverpool St, before cramming myself onto the central line, being sexually groped in places my wife has long since forgotten and looked heavenwards, hoping the pain would be over soon.
A slight exaggeration maybe, but having to mix with rush hour commuters for a night game is quite a traumatic/amusing experience. For the commuters that is. Many have little to no interest in football, therefore the sight of waves of C&B looking to engulf their quiet time on their way home is quite amusing to witness. “What is going on?!” pleaded one smartly dressed business lady, as an Avco Trust replica shirt squeezed against her Prada handbag, which was forced into her ample assets. Meanwhile, a 1960’s away shirt squeezed into her rear, almost literally from what I could see.
Entering Stratford from this direction then opens the delights of dealing with the underground tunnel. The only similar scene I’ve witnessed to this is when I poured a kettle of boiling water on a colony of ants. Wildly scared people running left and right. Barely interested transport staff pretending to talk to someone on their walkie talkies in the hope they’ll be left alone and they can crawl away to a sleepy corner of the locker room until the madness subsides. Shoppers, with bags bigger than them, attempting to cross from one side of the tunnel to other, akin to trying to cross the M25 on roller skates. The horrified looks on their faces are hilarious, watching this mass tide almost sweeping them away from their intended destination. This is progress ladies gents. Suck it up.
Once one has emerged from the human scrum of the central line and underground tunnel, an added twist to the joyride is the implementation of working barriers. Apparently having them open is far too logical. No, not for this operation. The control managers in the 2 way mirrors above you have far too much fun watching that Oyster card being refused for no apparent reason. Watch as the hapless individual attempts to tap, tap and tap again. Watch as he turns, looking for divine intervention, or a station assistant, or the ground to swallow him up as he tries to back out and find solace in a more accepting barrier. The oyster card is then rubbed, like a lucky charm, as the hapless commuter-fan becomes a high roller @ the table of Stratford station. Another queue is joined, more flesh is pressed, the beady sweat forms on an already furrowed brow as the gates loom larger. He reaches, he presses, he hopes…….! “Invalid Card”……What?!?! How can the card be invalid from the time I entered a barrier @ Liverpool St to reaching Stratford?? What on earth happened on that central line? Have I passed into a parallel universe? Is it now 2090 and we are still struggling at the foot of the premier? Alas no. Even the station assistant has taken pity, a life buoy is thrown to retrieve me from this oppressive Groundhog Day. What’s this? The station assistant is opening a door for me and waving me through? Does my Oyster now work and controls minds? How do they know it’s not broken? Apparently now is not the time for such discussions, I’ve taken too much of their time, distracting them from the professional navel gazing, I need to be out of their space.
The cool night air climbs into my nostrils, non-consensual groping and officious barriers now sliding from my shoulders and into the distance.
The walk round and up the hill is welcome after the delights of the London underground system. Sadly a pocket brolly is now a must for this leg of the journey. A brisk 15 minute walk can break a man if conducted in “fine rain”. However, no need this evening. Spirits seem jovial, hopeful and expectant. Until a cry is heard up ahead. I thought someone must have seen an early team sheet and seen Noble as captain again. Alas no. One of the many problems with today’s social media obsessed world is the danger of the face engrossed in the screen whilst walking along. Some seem to believe they are immune from the dangers this presents. However, an iPhone is no match for some sturdy police horse poo.
It looked as though his shoes may once have been a blue suede (quite young for an Elvis fan I thought) however these had now had a makeover of epic proportions. I believe it even reached his socks. His iPhone was fine. The irony. Oh well, he still had time to get to the shops.
Continuing on. The swirling up and down the road. The now familiar landmarks, strange swimming pool, horrid red structure with a ridiculous slide and now, what’s this? Security checks before the stadium? By Jove they’ve actually made a good decision! From my summer jaunts, one of the many events I took in was the Guns n Roses concert at the LS. When walking up to the stadium I noticed the security measures in place, just before the actual concourse of the stadium. Sure it took a few minutes to get through, but it was far easier once through. Being able to wander the concourse, no crowds blocking the narrower access points (stadium store for instance). I observed then that this should be employed for our games, and so it has proved to be.
It took me 3 minutes to queue and get through (yes, I timed it) and that was it. No queue at the turnstile. Much, much better. And if you do not agree you have a little brain.
So seat taken, observation of the innards surmises little change. Less grey concrete visible which is welcome. Tannoy system still the loudest thing heard since The Who played Charlton in 1976. Team news scanned. Welcome changes. Surprised the Big Man starts, Smiler (Daffy) must be chuffed.
As for the game, better. That’s all really. ‘Uddersfield didn’t really turn up (their fans did though, great turn out – once in a lifetime stuff though for them). They looked poor and I expect them to spiral to their natural habitat.
Antonio was game, honest, thrilling and messy in equal measure. Zabba had his best game yet. A real throwback and someone to rival Ginge for heart, passion and commitment.
It was still evident, however, that we are 50% of the side without Lanzini in it and any future absence from him will hurt us badly. We needed to address that creative element and it could bite us. The striker situation is well known so when Carrol and Daffy break down, Chick pea will be run into the ground. Fully expect Antonio needing to cover that position at some stage.
Obiang had his best game. Wyle E was bang average, but that was still better than anything Cap’n Nobes has produced so far.
Cresswell looked to be getting back to his former self, which is welcome. He was SO poor last year though that anything is an improvement.
Defence and keeper had little to nothing to do so cannot judge or comment on them in this game.
Will Slav keep his job? Who knows? It doesn’t look good from where I’m sat. Unless he gets 5 points out of the next 3 games he’ll be gone.
Who will replace him?
Could do worse that a poo sodden oyster card….

Nice DH, agree about the security checks and a lot easier at the turnstile. I actually hung around the ground for 30-40 mins and it was a lot easier to leave as well. The cattle prodding wasn't missed and we could actually sit on the train!! Anything other than a win would have been crap so I'm going to enjoy it of the week, before I start thinking about West from and if we will lose or not

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Dartford Bhoy's picture

Lovely post DH, entertaining and spot on regarding security and the scum that is the Central line. I guess particularly bad as we were travelling in the rush hour. I thought the process in reverse was much better getting to the station from the LS. Good night all round started well with a few sherbets in the Bat n Ball where Cottee and Gale were holding court and to their credit were very approachable.

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Haha I was there too Dartford

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nice report and might i say up to your usual standard ,you certainly keep raising the bar .good result last night onward and upward from here i hope c.o.y.i

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