clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cans & Megabus: Definitive ranking of all 2017/18 Championship awaydays - #10 - #1

Yesterday we brought you our rankings from #23 to #11 - today, we're giving you the crème de la crème of Championship trips and revealing who is crowned the Cans & Megabus King of Awaydays.

Fulham v Blackpool - Premier League Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

10 - Norwich City (August 12th, 2017)

I love Norwich. From its kitsch village green vibe, the quaint riverside houses to that git big cathedral in the centre of the city - it is simply lovely. Even the journey to get there is illuminating, with a bonus pit stop in Peterborough and travelling through delightful hamlets like Ely and Thetford.

Norwich City v Watford - Premier League Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

My dream is for an Alan Partridge-themed awayday, dressed in blazers and cravats, annoying the locals by shouting ‘ah-ha’ at anyone and everyone before feeling incredibly queasy after four rounds of Ladyboys (pint of lager with a gin and tonic and Baileys chaser, for the uninformed).

Carrow Road is right in the centre of the city and there are some of the best pubs in the country spread across it. Enjoy yourself a riverside pint at The Ribs of Beef - go on, it’s on me.

9 - Cardiff City (January 13th, 2018)

One of the worst decisions the FA ever made was moving cup finals back to Wembley after being hosted in Cardiff. The Welsh capital is utterly perfect for an away fixture. Step off the train and you’re immediately in the heart of the city. Bars and restaurants at every turn, there’s even a lush castle to wander about if you so wish.

The Cardiff City Stadium is a short walk away and, whilst I never experienced the delights of Ninian Park and everything that went with that, everyone seems bloody lovely. And, like Bristol, the fixture simply screams “weekender”. If you’re really lucky you may even feature in the Daily Mail’s ‘shame of Britain’ night-out pictures that always seem to be in Cardiff.

8 - Barnsley (August 26th, 2017)

Can you remember the last time that we went to Barnsley? Nine-thousand of us drank the town dry and then danced on the pitch as the wizard that was David Connolly bagged a late winner - yeah, let’s do that again.

Barnsley v Northampton Town - EFL Cup Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

Barnsley may not have the glitz and glamour of neighbours Leeds and Sheffield but, boy howdy, is it cheap. TripAdvisor only lists five “good” pubs in the town and that is something I can really get behind.

“Aye, the cup final was great but I bet you weren’t at Barnsley in 2017 under Paul Lambert”.

Ah, the true acid test of football supporter one-upmanship.

7 - Leeds United (April 7th, 2018)

Leeds is the only entry on this list that would be made a thousand times better as a midweek fixture. Imagine, if you will, both sides gunning for a play-off spot in mid-February. A freezing cold Friday night in front of the TV cameras where the atmosphere is white hot and Marching on Together is being riposted with Wise Men Say pre-match at deafening volume.

Leeds vs Sunderland is a fixture with so much history, and as - arguably - the two true big dawgs in the Championship next season our trip to Elland Road is going to be one to savour. That's before we go into how mint Leeds as a city is.

The only downside to this trip is the fact that Leeds no longer give away supporters the entire South Stand for big games - oh, and the stinging £40+ ticket price.

It will most likely be our biggest game of the season and it will no doubt be a cracker.

6 - Nottingham Forest (December 30th, 2017)

While the West Midlands of Birmingham and the Black Country seem a little too familiar these days, the East Midlands is almost a lost awayday relic. Aside from our trips to Leicester, this part of the UK has been untouched by Mackem footprints for what seems like an eternity.

We've not graced the fine city of Nottingham for a league match since the festive cheer of 2004 and we're going to see off 2017 here in style. An absolute belting city, it is a veritable treasure trove of drinking outlets (including the UK's only branch Hooters for all you burgers and lasses in small tops fans) as well as an iconic stadium to boot.

The city can even double up as the location for a 3-day bender to ring in 2018. What could be better than that?

5 - Derby County (March 31st, 2018)

This has gained some considerable points after landing on Easter weekend, making an already stellar away trip even better. Nottingham's East Midlands bedfellow is another strong candidate for the title of best awayday thanks to a combination of distance, beer scene and ground.

Derby County v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

The party starts as soon as you step off the train as you're confronted with a barrage of boozers, each more enticing than the last. Have a game of pool, have a game darts, hey, have a game of dominoes if you fancy it - you're in the warm embrace of Derbyshire now and nothing will stop these feel-good vibes.

Then take a mosey on down to Pride Park (or whatever they call it nowadays) and enjoy the welcoming surroundings of a stadium which Sunderland have only ever lost once at. The East Midlands knows how to treat us right, so kudos Derby and Nottingham* - I look forward to meeting your acquaintance.

*yes I know it used to kick off at Nottingham Forest a lot back in the day but I'm not old enough to remember that and this took ages to write, so give us a break, yeah?

4 - Sheffield Wednesday (August 15th, 2017)

There is always a certain poignancy going to a ground like Hillsborough. While Sheffield Wednesday are no longer plying their trade in the top flight, this still remains an iconic footballing arena. It feels like an eternity since we've graced the fine city of Sheffield with our presence and while it is not as convenient as Bramall Lane, Hillsborough has all the hallmarks for a mint away.

It's like you're going back to see an old pal. You've not seen them in years but it's like only a couple of minutes have passed as we settle back into the drinking establishments of South Yorkshire. There's plenty of choice to keep you entertained pre-match and then there is the temptation of fully embracing the Steel City and turning it into a weekend.

Again, this loses points for an eye-watering £45 ticket price and, like Leeds, Wednesday have decided to cut the allocation for away fans for big matches. Oh and the fixture list has determined this is now on a Tuesday night - but you can't blame the Owls for that, I guess.

3 - Brentford (October 21st, 2017)

Look at all of you getting excited because Burton Albion has terracing - Brentford has that and A PUB ON EVERY CORNER OF THE GROUND. Griffin Park isn’t so much of a rustic, old school football stadium but a quest.

As you're waved off by your loved ones in the morning and head down to the Big Smoke, you will only feel truly whole if you return having accomplished the Griffin Park Quartet. See it as one to tick off the bucket list, if you will. Then enter this delightful throwback of a ground and jump around with all of your pals as Sunderland swat away the Bees.

2 - Fulham (April 28th, 2018)

Arguably the best ground in the country and, in any other season, the best awayday on the calendar. Fulham is just, y'know, nice. It’s like going round to your new girlfriend’s parents house in the Cotswolds.

David and Martha are so happy that their Maisie has found herself a nice boy, they've got a barbecue going. It's the full works. They've got seabass wrapped in foil cooking away (I've never had seabass at a barbecue), there's an ice bath filled with Peroni and Estrella, there is so much prosecco knocking around with fresh strawberries to perch on your glass. David wants you to try one of his Cuban cigars (he knows a bloke at the country club that can get the real McCoy) and join him for a drop of 80-year-old Scotch he keeps in the drawing room.

That is Fulham. Experiencing how the other half lives in the leafy suburbs of west London where every shop is a Waitrose and beautiful French women cycle through parks with fresh baguettes. All the places you saw when your real partner made you watch Love Actually - they exist here.

Walk past tennis courts and beautiful terraced houses to find the quaint Craven Cottage on the banks of the River Thames. Grab yourself a £5.50 pint from the Sloaney Pony and watch us seal the title here in the spring sunshine.

1 - Sheffield United (December 26th, 2017)

And here it is ladies and gents, the one you've all been waiting, the one that you will look upon and silently rage "that's better than [whatever team you seem to like]?!?!". Here it is, the best Championship 2017/18 awayday - Sheffield United.

Sheffield United V Bradford City- Sky Bet League One Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Yes folks, enjoy those post-Christmas celebrations with a trip to Bramall Lane and an afternoon with the Blades. A return to a city that we share so much in common with - a declining industry, underachieving football teams, a great accent, a wealth of accommodating and cheap alehouses and a bloody great set of lads and lasses.

Sheffield United and Bramall Lane is what we've all secretly been dreaming of as soon as our relegation was confirmed. That humble embrace of a biting cold afternoon in South Yorkshire, two teams going hell for leather at each other, a crackling atmosphere in another of England's most iconic stadiums and two sets of supporters baying for blood but knowing that we're both alright deep down.

Fulham may be the afternoon at the country club where you feel slightly out of place but Sheffield United is the working men's club where everyone knows your name and there's a pint of Double Maxim waiting for you when you walk in.

Also, Greasy Chip Butty is an absolute banger of a club anthem. You try and see Fulham come up with something like that.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Roker Report Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Sunderland news from Roker Report