Day 22 of 32 – Monday 22 April – Derby day, Heat, Flags, Late winner and the No.10 Alehouse

Dropped off some election leaflets and posters at the Bloomfield Club for the BST Open Meeting which I was unable to attend. I believe Seaside Lee is filming it so I will be keen to hear Tim Fielding’s piece and Robbie Whitaker is going to give an election update in my absence.  The landlord of the Bloomfield Club is a big Barnsley fan hoping for automatic promotion ahead of Sunderland and Portsmouth – good to see all his bar staff in tangerine colours. Not been in here for ages but looks an ideal location for a meeting hopefully the BST faithful can put a few quid behind the bar for him.

Hot-footed it to the Excelsior for Rob Purdon’s 53 pieces of NAPM artwork and there are some great pieces on display. Out of diversity comes great art, just look at the hooligan punk band IDFS for instance. I had just missed out bidding for a great picture Rob put up for auction during the week, so was keen to get hold of something. It was good to discover that his artwork was going like hot-cakes and I managed to get two small framed pictures for the combined sum of £25. One regarding a certain individual sitting on the fence and the other of the one OJO being transported away clutching a bunch of colourful balloons. Had a good chat with Dave Horn and Tim Fielding about the power of art and the dangers of power before driving up to the ground for the game.

Match-day procedures (owing to the C.A.R.) are tighter than ever now. It was really busy up in the lounge and hotter than I can ever remember as it would be on a warm day without any air-con. It was a friends and family day today with a few young sea-siders which is always great to see. People arriving at different times saw me jogging up and down the stairs numerous times as the new procedures dictate we can’t leave the tickets at reception for latecomers. Pity really as the majority of people attending were familiar faces to the door and club staff from when we all stopped going 4 years ago. I was a bit preoccupied with all the things I had to re the flags, sorting tables for the guests and getting hold of Andy Mitten from United We Stand who is doing a piece on the changing fortunes of BFC for G.Q. of all magazines – so much so I neglected my duties to certain people for which I apologise.

As part of the new match-day ritual I meet up with Mick Paige to co-ordinate the flying and placing of the big flags BB1 and BB2. Today they both flew at the same time across the North and South Stands. Mick sorted the South today, Our Joe, Sam Mason, Nipper Fullard and I the North. As we were running across the stands we didn’t get chance to see the flags in their glory but reports said they looked good. I thought Fleetwood might have brought theirs, I think it’s based on the cover of  cult football book ‘Casuals’ which was written by a big Blackpool fan, Peter Walsh of Milo Books …. alas no sign of it.

It was a bit of a rush and a hassle collecting and retrieving the flags, running back and forth with them and storing them away. This was compounded by it being a local derby and a good crowd of over 11,000, anyhow it all got sorted thanks largely to the assistance of Wayne – otherwise BB1 and BB2 might not have been flying at all today. Another pro-BFC trooper today who was trying his best to keep the lid on a simmering packed out lounge was Andy Grice. The compere mentioned the amount of work Andy had done since the interim board had been put in place by the Rubin and Partners. In fact I don’t think the club would be functioning without all the effort the likes of Andy and the volunteers have put in over the past 8 weeks since Oxit.  Anyhow I wouldn’t normally mention the quality of service as I am always either busy talking with other fans or preoccupied with other things, and I’m just thankful to get fed whenever the food arrives. That said (cheers as ever BRR) but the room was stiflingly hot, the food was late so late in fact the desert was not served until half time) and all the kitchen staff and bar staff were run off their feet. I know a lot of punters who had spent £85 a ticket and booked tables for friends and family as an end of season celebration were far from happy and will not be going back any time soon. I expect most will be going to be in the stands next season as the ‘prawn sandwich’ experience is ok once in a while but the stands is where the excitement and energy always is.

The game was a close run affair with neither sides stamping their authority on proceedings and the 1-1 half time score through a Spearing penalty and a back-post header from FTFC was about right. The second half was also close run with Blackpool running out eventual winners with an injury time strike well a tap in off the post from Higgins and Coleman supporter Nathan Delfouenso. The scenes were amazing, the energy was electric and it was a shame to see stewards wrestling to the ground some young lads who encroached the pitch in all the excitement. No doubt there will be cynical pleasure from some quarters in identifying these young people and dishing out banning orders and criminal convictions in this insane, target driven world we have created.

After the game we left as quickly as possible. Some ventured for a post-match libation to The Dog and Partridge / Excelsior in Deep South, some to The Thatched House with Poulton Lunatic Fringe and some of us to The No.10 Alehouse in Marton (Middle Earth). All the above hostelries are big BFC pubs and always serve up good beer and great times. After a few pints of stout it was bedtime for this little soldier.

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