Turf Moor is no Emirates or Old Trafford, but we love it
I really wish I could have made the trip to Hartlepool this week.
As bizarre as it sounds, I leave the Football League with a tinge of sadness. As it stands, I'm still not sure if I can make the trip to Anfield. I start uni in a couple of weeks, and am trying my best to look after the pennies in anticipation. I expect I'll drop some big hints to my Gran when I go around hers for lunch tomorrow! You know - 'I really want to go to Liverpool but can't afford it.'
I miss the days when we were rubbish. Playing at grounds with just two sides of faded orange seats, sitting on scaffolding with rotting wood underneath and a pond to wade through if you need the loo. Any supporters that have sat in the 'Gene Kelly Stand' will know where I'm referencing.
Oddly I remember the thrashings fondly. Sometimes, when your playing so poorly, and leaking goals by the minute, you can just relax and have a good time. I remember one particular game at Derby when even we were singing and dancing along to the goal music when the final goals flew in. Mad as it sounds, but that was one of my favourite away trips. We knew the season was going to end in mid-table obscurity and in a way after the first couple of goals the result didn't really matter.
As brilliant as going to grounds like Old Trafford and the sparkly new Emirates Stadium is going to be, it won't be the same as going to Kenilworth Road- where the turnstiles are in the middle of a terraced street and you walk through somebody's back yard and past the washing out on the line to get in- or some more of the lower league grounds that you know, at the back of your mind, could probably collapse any second.
They have the romance, the character. I like to feel intimidated when I go to an away ground. Any ground actually, it's part of football. A couple of months ago our away stand- the Cricket Field Stand- had to be closed for a couple of games after part of the roof fell in. It is ready to be demolished at the end of this season, as it simply cannot cope any more. It is a right tip, it is very old and it shows. From all reports, the concourse is as bad as any around.
Yet when Burnley made half of it available to home fans this summer, hundreds transferred from the comfortable new stands back into there, and more bought new tickets in there. It has that 'something' that nobody can really put their finger on.
One mate updated his Facebook status after the Hartlepool game. 'The trip to Hartlepool was a humbling experience, it brought back some memories of the s*** ive watched in the past' it read. I wish I'd been there.