Authored by Max
September 26th and Barnet still in the top four. Things have been good so far this season, almost too good and the expected crash down to earth, hopefully briefly, arrived at the Don Valley Stadium.
3rd place Rotherham United v 4th place Barnet, an exciting and certainly unusual situation to find ourselves in. I’d been fairly confident in the week leading up to it, until hearing on the Thursday that The Millers had re-appointed Ronnie Moore. “I bet we lose 3-0.” In the end, what a shame I forgot to put that on a betting slip on Saturday morning.
Thankfully, we’d already planned for this one to be a good one, whatever the result. An attitude of late we’ve been able to not have to take, as it has been worth going to watch Barnet for the football and not just for a day out with mates. Most of our lot had made the trip to the Don Valley, in various cars and met at the Cocked Hat pub just outside the ground, enjoying a beer or two in the bright South Yorkshire sunshine.
I got there a bit later than the others and we headed straight into the ground on my arrival at about twenty past two. The admission prices had gone down £2 on last year and the bar was open for business under the stand, a good start anyway. A quick pint was had under the stand and up we went to watch the game.
The view at DVS isn’t as bad as Brighton, but you are a long way back from the pitch. Sadly, it became quite apparent quite quickly this might be the best way to watch the game. From the moment Rotherham paraded Ronnie Moore around the pitch pre-match, you sort of sensed where this was going. Five minutes in and it was even more clear, a quick move down the flank we didn’t deal with was put in the box and poor marking allowed Ellison to fire the Millers 1-0 ahead.
To be fair, we showed a bit of initial fight and it looked like maybe we still were going to have a say in the game’s outcome. It was cruel what happened for the second goal, really. We’d been enjoying a best spell, winning a few corners, but not really had anything too clear cut. From one of these corners, Rotherham made a quick break and it was one of those attacks where as soon as the ball was in Barnet’s half, Rotherham had to be favourites. The ball through for Law to go one on one was exceptional to be fair and he finished it easily. At this point, 26 minutes in, my mate and I decided we’d seen enough for a while and walked down to the smoking area, awaiting the bar re-opening shortly.
Rotherham’s temporary ground gets a lot of flack, but I will say this, all the staff there offered by far the friendliest welcome of anywhere I’ve been with Barnet, possibly ever. Every steward was very welcoming, helpful and up for a laugh. We had a good chat with a few of them. It always works so much better when they respect us and we respect them. They couldn’t have been more hospitable and certainly made staying in the ground and lurking about under the stand with a few beers more tolerable.
I didn’t see much more of the game, missing the third goal before a few of us decided to wander back up for the final twenty minutes. We had a laugh though; you’ve got to make the best of situations like that and just enjoy yourself. Giving the Jake Hyde song a bit of an airing, along with some Barrington Levy. SWING!
The full time whistle came as something of a relief to be fair. It could have ended four or five and we couldn’t have complained too much. I was annoyed I didn’t bet on 3-0 Rotherham though, not a bad prediction in the end.
Now came the fun. Well, it was delayed a bit. Four of us had decided a night out in Sheffield was a good idea, with one of the lads arranging for a friend of his from round that way to take us out and show us what the Steel city has to offer in the way of a night out. We said bye to the other lads and got in the car. Apparently “we’ll be at the hotel by half five, easily.” At six o’clock when we’d been driving around in one big circle, more or less, we finally found out. I wasn’t too fussed, sitting in the back I got the splendid entertainment of the driver and passenger in the front seat arguing. We could have been lost for another hour for all I cared.
When we eventually reached our place to sleep for the night, Sheffield Richmond Travelodge I had a bit of a wait. This night had been a fairly impulsive decision and I hadn’t bothered to sort out my accommodation. Luckily, my lovely friends were happy to have me crash on the floor for free. Once they’d checked in, I made my way to their room, un-questioned thankfully and to my delight there was a sizeable sofa to kip on. Not bad for free.
After watching Newcastle tonk Ipswich 4-0 on BBC 1 and all getting showered and making ourselves beautiful, we headed for Sheffield’s West Street. Which we’d been told by several stewards at the game is “reyt good.” It was, to be fair.
Yates’s didn’t do a bad trade of us, Vodka Red Bull’s flying down like water. After leaving there hammered we sampled the delights of S1 and briefly Player’s. By now we’d been joined by one of our lot’s group of friends. About eight of them, all 21 year old girls who’d recently graduated from university as primary school teachers. Alright?
We ended up in Embrace night club. I’d heard good things about this before and to be fair it didn’t disappoint. It was massive and the phrase ‘cattle market’ for the amount of lovely ladies in there seems pretty apt. Just ridiculous.
Some of the lads got quite friendly with some of the group of teachers and we all ended up making the rather silly decision of getting a cab back to this student house where one of them lived, on the other side of Sheffield. Everyone was hammered by now and sitting in this random person’s living room was all a bit surreal. It proved a bit of a waste of time, we’d been there all of five minutes before we were being asked to leave by other residents of this house, who were understandably none too happy about four loud, pissed up young gentleman from London being in their house. So it was another cab, right back across the city to our hotel at about 4am. All added to the story though really, at least cab’s round there aren’t too expensive.
The feeling on Sunday morning wasn’t great, to say the least. The sofa had done its job in the way of sleep, but after the alcohol abuse the night before no one felt great. Some of us had been out on the Thursday and Friday night prior to this too, the accumulated hangover wasn’t pleasant, but well worth it really. Sheffield certainly scores highly in the night out stakes. I just wish I could have written some more of a very funny night’s details, but such is the way of the world. Ask me sometime.
You’d be hard pressed to say we aren’t partial to a bit of caper... What did we go to Sheffield for again?