On the 2nd of November 2021, I travelled up to Sheffield on a National Express coach from London at midday, to watch the Lads lose 3-0 at Hillsborough. I was then stuck in Sheffield until 1am and got the bus, arriving back at my uni accommodation at 6:30am.
Travel was free, so the day cost around £30.
But, to be blunt, it was a very bad day.
Exactly one year later, I travelled up to Huddersfield on a National Express coach from London at 8:30am, hoping for a day as different from last year as possible. Getting the coach so early meant my West Brom supporting mate and me arrived in Huddersfield at 2pm.
Like my trip a year earlier, travel was free.
Honestly, there’s not much to do in Huddersfield, so we decided to go bowling. The bowling alley was strange, to say the least, but it passed an hour of our time. That took us up to about 4pm so we decided to go and have our tea in a pub near the ground. On a uni budget, I decided that tap water was going to take me through to the point of leaving for the match.
We surely couldn’t lose as we did on the same day last year...
Everything in the build-up went so well. The coach was smooth, the food I had prepared the night before was delightful and we had successfully wasted four and a half hours in Huddersfield, only spending about £20.
It would have been so Sunderland to have gone on to lose the game. I wouldn’t have lived it down, either.
When the lineups were announced, my mate put a bet on to get a little bit more interested in the game. Initially, he had Pritchard to score and Sunderland to win but I told him not to because he hadn’t scored in however many games (sorry, Will!).
Shows how much I know!
Obviously we won the game, saw Pritchard give it some to the Huddersfield fans and we watched a Sunderland team with pace (finally) seal a victory.
Now it was for the journey back...
We only had an hour to kill before the coach back to London, time which was spent in the warmth of Tesco, rather than a shelter at Huddersfield bus station.
Eight hours after the coach left Huddersfield, 11 hours after the game kicked off and 25 hours after I had woken up, we arrived back in Wembley at 7 o’clock in the pouring rain.
It was a day unlike any other, and I don’t think I’ll do anything like it ever again.
Having said that, in the rain... I guess it was worth