Saturday, 12 September 2009

Day Seven

We decided to re-arrange our plans for today a few weeks ago but only actually realised we forget to print off the amendments last night... That meant that i had to sit with a road atlas on my lap that's so big, that you could fold it out flat and give yourself a full scale model of the british isles. I considered this map not to be one of Dad's better purchases but it did us a good turn for the first few grounds of the day.

We reached Stadium Dave (DW Stadium) at 7am and as we pulled in it appeared to all be locked up but after we circled around looking for some signs of life we came across a truck parked by an entrance. I jumped out and shouted through the hole in the fence. The grounsman was just about to start but heard us and let us inside. We had similar luck at Rochdale just half hour down the road. Neither club had responded to the letter or any emails so it was nice to get a result with these.

Next up was a trip to Bury. Our contact was Gordon Sorfleet. He met us at reception and showed us inside Gigg Lane. He was a huge Bury fan and used to run an online unofficial club fanzine when he was in the navy. The day he left, he was offered a job as media man at the stadium. He walked us through the stadium, boot room and changing rooms until we reached his office. Or his 'den' as he called it. Its only a small room but its full to the brim with videos of games, programmes from the last 60 seasons and he even had 9 cash books from the first few years after the 2nd world war. But the real thing that caught our eye was the shield above. Its an award for 'supporter of the year'. He then told us the story behind it. He'd helped raise £150,000 to keep the club in business and as a reward uefa gave him and his wife an all expenses paid trip to Monte Carlo. At the reception he and his wife were sat on the same table as Zinedine Zidane. Not bad company to keep! However, whilst they were walking round being introduced his wife accidentally stood (high heels and all) on Francesco Totti's foot! It actually fractured his metatarsal and put him out of action for 8 weeks! An amazing man with so many stories to tell.

Bolton next and although we arrived late, our contact Tony Kelly, had phoned us earlier in the day to make sure everything wss going well. I asked at reception for him and they didn't even know him. They cant have spoken to him before! After spending 10 minutes talking to him on a quick tour round we certainly wont be forgetting his infectious sense of humour and passion for the game. He was hugely intrrested in the tour and as such donated a signed ball and shirt to help with fundraising. He also invited us up for a game sometime with complimentary tickets and all. A lovely guy and we'll certainly be looking to take him up on his offer.

It was off to Burnley next and a letter we'd recieved from them asked us to go straight to the club shop on arrival. Unfortunately no one anywhere was able to help until we found a supervisor gathering some stewards together for the trip across to Liverpool. After a short sob story and an appearance by the Great Ormond Street bear he eventually took us into Turf Moor through a side gate.

We'd been given 2 tickets to see Preston play Swansea in the afternoon so we took the opportunity to get to Deepdale early and take in the fabulous national football museum. There's so many fascinating bits and pieces in there. If you're ever up that way you really should try and find an hour or so to go round. Its definately worth it! Afterwards we collected our tickets from the Tom Finney reception and gratefully made our way inside. Since completing the 4th stand, it really has become a magnificent stadium. Preston won 2-0 although we missed the 2nd goal as we needed to beat the crowns away to make it to Blackpool before dark.

We made it to Bloomfield Road easily. Our plan was to get some pictures and walk through from the ground to get something to eat whilst taking in the illuminations. After finding a space i walked over and found a security guard who took me inside before offering us a free space in the clubs car park whilst we did everything else we wanted to. It saved us £7.50 parking fees so we were very happy with Blackpool's donation to the cause! The lights along the prominade were also worth a night out.

All the little extras we've added in seem to have worked out really well so far. Touch wood, it stays that way!

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