Who Are These Jobbers?
It’s Checkatrade Tuesday, baby! It’s two visits to League Two grounds in the space of three days and you better believe we at Cans & Megabus are GODDAMN HYPED.
If you told me when Jermain Defoe leathered in that winner against Chelsea that in the space of two years I would be booking a hotel for a Tuesday night Checkatrade Trophy game at Morecambe, I would’ve laughed in your face. I would’ve ordered you off the premises and then attempted to get you sectioned - as you my friend, would’ve been pulling my leg.
The years have passed, however, and here we are. We’re sitting pretty at the top of Northern Section Group A after vanquishing the feeble foes of Carlisle United and Stoke City Under-21s and now we’re in Morecambe to add the final touches to a fairly flawless group stage. There’s over one thousand lads and lasses going because everyone wants a taste of that sweet, sweet Checkatrade Trophy success.
Our opponents? Morecambe? Pfft, they’re not going to stand in the way of this train, hellbent on reaching Wembley Way with cheesy chips clasped in our sweaty palms.
If there is one thing that Morecambe bloody loves, it’s shrimp. They can’t get enough of the stuff. They make loads of stuff with shrimp - shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. They pan fry it, deep fry it and even stir fry. They’ve got loads of varieties as well - pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp. Then they make dishes like shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger and shrimp sandwich. That’s about it I think.
Look forward to May 2019 when I make the exact same joke about Southend United.
Morecambe have only played Sunderland once in their entire history and we absolutely battered them, shrimp battered them, SO COME ON! GET CHECKATRADE TROPHY HYPED!
What’s The Ground Like?
When it comes to swanky lower league grounds, Morecambe raised The People’s Eyebrow and laid down the marker. After saying goodbye to Christie Park - their home for 89 years - the Shrimpers upsticks and moved into an ARENA. And not just any arena, a GLOBE ARENA.
Where better to spend Checkatrade Tuesday than in a goddamn arena with the world watching. This purpose-built shrimping masterpiece cost a cool £12 million and features a stand named after the current chairman Peter McGuigan, elite big dawg behaviour if ever we saw it. Boasting some, frankly, sick modern terracing you can bounce about on the smoothest concrete you ever did see.
Such is the hype of Checkatrade Tuesday, Sunderland supporters are split over two stands with 500 seats in the big dawg’s stand and a further 1,400 in the Bay Radio Terrace. Drink it in, folks. It’s these nights that we tell our children about.
How Do I Get There?
Give me a rev of the engine for Checkatrade Tuesday! Yes! That’s what we like to hear. Let’s get this goddamn show on the road! We’re going to the motherf**king Fylde coast, y’all!
You take that A1 (M) to Scotch Corner before heading west on the A66 before exiting for the A685 when you get to the delightful village of Brough. When you reach Tebay, join the M6 until junction 34 when you want to take the A683 heading into Morecambe. Take a right after Lancaster & Morecambe College onto Morecambe Road then left onto Westgate and the ground will appear on your right. All parking at the stadium is permit only so you’ll have to find some sweet street parking.
Planning on getting lost? Plop LA4 4TB into your sat nav.
For you lot arriving by train, Morecambe railway station is about a 25-minute walk from the stadium so you can either catch the shoelace express or both the number 6 and 6A head up that way.
A Love Supreme buses leave the Stadium of Light at 2pm with return fares priced at £30. Book your place here.
Where Can I Get The Sesh Started?
Participating in Checkatrade Tuesday is going to work up quite a thirst so luckily for you, that The Hurley Flyer is right outside the bloody ground. Not only can you slide in a quick one before, if park your car here (£10 per vehicle) it can be refunded against a food purchase. Now, if that doesn’t scream ‘Checkatrade Tuesday!’ then I don’t know what will.
Since we’re in Morecambe, how about a pub with a sea view and a stone’s throw from the Eric Morecambe statue? Never fear as The Kings Arms on Marine Road Central can deliver all those things while you slurp down a refreshing pint of Checkatrade. If you fancy propping up the bar until Non-Checkatrade Wednesday then Smokey O’Conners on Morecambe Street is open until 1am.
Enjoy a drop of the local tipple by sliding into Thwaites Brewery pub Joiners Arms on Queen Street while The Palatine on The Crescent dishes out beers and pizza to a baying public.
I’m Staying Owa, Is There Owt To Do?
The comedown from Checkatrade Tuesday will be unlike anything you have experienced before. Your body will be drained, your brain fried and soul yearning for something that will even come close to what you have just experienced. It will take time to replace this feeling, it won’t be easy, but, in time, you will return to normality.
Well, we say normality. How could anything be normal after Checkatrade Tuesday? Even the most mundane tasks will be seen in a different light, relationships will be transformed and there will be days where you gaze out into the ocean and remember the time we all shared on Fylde Coast. You will smile, knowing that you played a part in it all.
Anyway, since they closed Blobbyland in 1994 I can’t really promote anything else in Morecambe apart from a nice walk along the promenade and having a picture with that Eric Morecambe statue.