Saturday, 14 May 2016

In which I cuddle many men

I was going to entitle this post "Dare we dream?" but then I uploaded the photos and realised that I was a shameless cuddle/selfie whore so changed it!

It was yet another amazing night at Hillsborough. I thought that we would not be able to top the Arsenal match from last year, then Cardiff was incredible a fortnight ago but both were knocked into the cocked hat by last night's play off semi-final against Brighton.  I have goosebumps just thinking about it.

We started early in the New Barrack Tavern as we knew it would be rammed.  We arrived before 5pm and managed to score the last free table in the place.  The bar was jammed but moving steadily so you could get served.  I went to the bar and ending up buying for half the room (they paid me obviously) the round costing over £60!

This was once half of our little gang

And the other half.

Kerry wasn't going to the game - couldn't get tickets - but she came down to see us all and introduce us to her new squeeze.  Happily, she has now left her disaster of a partner after 2 too many years and, while working in a mad sounding chateau in France, happened on Des (tall chap in the middle).  He seems great, totally different to the last one and she is just bubbling over with love and happiness (he is too I think).

It's just wonderful to see someone you care about finally happy and I hope it is not a false dawn.  I have been totally supportive of her but I gather some of her pals have been more, erm, 'cautious' shall we say, questioning whether it is too quick etc etc and she spoke last night of how much she appreciated some of my texts and calls.  Left me all warm and fuzzy (although that could have been the 5 pints...).

I love the fact that in the middle of the male dominated world of football and pubs, while being totally into the football and the beer, Kerry and I managed to share a proper girlie chat.  Best of both worlds or what?!

The ground was packed. Brighton were in the top of the away stand but they sold us the bottom so we had 4 sides of the ground.  We're not allowed to sell tickets in the corner section so they put Sky TV in that section.  Hopefully it will soon be redeveloped along with the Leppings Lane stand (I think we'd all like to see the back of that and it re-named).

The first of many cuddles, with Rich of course.

Then John.  He doesn't get to many and seemed a bit shell shocked by the atmosphere but he got into it later.

So good to see the Old Lady rocking again.  When it got dark later there was a spontaneous display of mobile phone torches which just sent shivers down my spine.  It had started because people in the other stands were recording the Kop bouncing but it looked so effective that then the Kop got their phones out and the whole ground was lit up by dancing fairy lights.  Magical.

I think Middlesbrough organised a torchlit minute of support for the redundant Teeside steelworkers some time ago which was admirable and looked great on the telly but this was just a spontaneous thing and felt all the more special for it.

Rich and his childhood friend Squibby (Anthony I think!).  He used to come to games with us but I think money is a bit tight so he doesn't come very often now.  He's a lovely bloke and so nice to see good pals together, very Bro-mantic - even if does look as though the club shop has been sick on them!!
Me and Dave.  Nuff said.  I had to take about 5 pics to get even one half decent one - he's a nutter (and a successful restauranteur)

And Richard.
And  Squibby.

We won the game 2-nil.  Which is brilliant.  Poor old Brighton were hit hard by injuries - 4 players had to go off through injury which is very unusual but we were beating them even before they were down to 10 men.  It is only half time in the semi though as we still have to play them at home on Monday (if they can field a team!!).

We will start our long drive down to Brighton in great spirits sitting on a 2 goal lead. We will not be over confident but I would rather be us - fully fit team and 2 goals up - than Brighton - team falling apart and 2 goals down!!  Life is sweet.  Wish us luck peeps.

(I should also report that, despite the excess of beer yesterday, the eating is going very well.  I saw a new number on the scales this morning and a welcome one - 15.1.2!  So close to the 14s!!  I resisted a burger on the way home last night and, although I was tired and hungover this morning, have been very good today.  So far so good.....)

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