Some Like It Hot - but not on Tuesday: Day Tripping to Cheltenham

Last updated : 27 November 2008 By Shrimpers24
My daughter has been to three Southend games in her 23 years on the planet.

Boxing Day 1994, at 8 Kathryn was excited to be seeing 'Grease' in the West End. A young Shane Ritchie was Danny and, bizarrely, short-assed scouser Sonia in the Olivia Newton John part of Sandy. Kat was not so excited at the prospect of me taking her to her first football match, sport not being a priority in her mothers household.

Armed with enough pencils and drawing paper to sit through a whole season of games we made our way to the old Valley.

"Look Kat, the man's trying to get the ball in the back of the net from 12 yards". Unimpressed, she went back to her drawing and missed Bressington's spot kick which gave us a first half lead.

Bar my child the rest of us were all in a Whelan Wonderland. By the end I was asking if she had any spare paper left, we lost 3-1.

11 years later, April 10 2005, and a student at Aberystwyth she joined the thousands on the march to Cardiff and the second LDV Vans trophy. She didn't draw, but we lost again 0-2.

Having moved to Cheltenham in 1998 she'd managed to get out of the previous Robins-Shrimpers encounters but I was not letting her miss this one.
"At least your see some action, one thing about watching Southend is you get goals."

Having practically frozen to death after a game of such utter dullness, it will probably be a long time before I see her at another! (At least she didn't see us lose at last!)

The day started well. A pound fare on Megabus getting me up there just after two. I killed a couple of hours before meeting the daughter outside Game where she was putting in a few extra hours on top of her restaurant job to get money together for travelling in the new year.

Blimey, I told her, you serve drinks and work in a computer game shop, you've become every 15 year old boy's dream date!


The Weatherspoons in Cheltenham is a good one and at the end of one of their beer festivals had several choice names on offer but at a ridiculous £1.49 the wonderful Lomond Gold Organic Beer was the ale of choice, more than once!

We got some food in at the Brasserie Blanc, two five-star courses and two glasses of white wine for the lady, all for £23.00, before visiting the Cotswold pub where I had to have a shot of Bishop's Tipple, though at £3 a pint it was a shock to the wallet after the Moon Under Water.

A 20 minute walk to the ground and time for one more pint at the Cat and Fiddle close by. Excellent, Arkell's 3B; sorry, off. Oh well, 2B; sorry, off. Pint of Strongbow then!

Interesting the official site have somehow found 8 minutes of highlights, the TLG report is shorter, and that was a struggle: www.southendunited-mad.co.uk/news/loadnews.asp?cid=TMNW&id=419146

The hot coffee kept us going through a dreadful game, I see we hit the bar, must have fallen asleep! Truly awful, I felt so sorry for Kat.

The players did their best in the circumstances but Betsy as centre-forward is an experiment that should never be repeated. A word for Macca though, outstanding. It's also far too early to count us out of the play-offs yet, it was a few games later last season when we lost at home to Bristol Rovers so time yet to go on a run, and who could see that happening back then! On saying that the Lord and Dougie can't miss too many more games.

Afterwards, a pint back in the Wetherspoons where I joined the daughter outside, she had to have a smoke, you would have thought she was cold enough! A gorgeous blonde joined us in a conversation about 'Some Like It Hot' where Kat can recreate the whole closing scene. The blonde was mesmerised, put it this way, I don't think she was in to older men!

Back home, time for some tapes of Futurama that I'd bought up as the daughter had just got Sky back on Virgin, missing out on the early new episodes. Bender has to be the funniest cartoon character on TV, sorry, even ahead of Homer and just ahead of Stewie. ("Hey. What kind of party is this? There's no booze and only one hooker.")

The next thing it's 5am and I'm getting ready for the 5.58 train back to London and work. Bugger!

Always great to spend time with daughter but these midweek away games are taking their toll, why do I keep doing it?

Oh well, "Nobody's perfect."

Mildenhall - 6; Had one comedy moment when a cross when he dropped an easy cross but overall a good return.

Sankofa - 6; Skined a couple of times by the Cheltenham winger, was probably shocked to be in the side.

Clarke - 6; Good performance, won most in the air, not much to do really.

Barrett - 7; As ever, twinned with above but distribution was better.

Harding - 7; Stood out as the best defender who was actually trying to create something.

Francis - 6; Wasn't much worse than he has been in his normal position.

McCormack - 8; Back to his best. Strong in the tackle, seemed as if he actually cared out there.

Christophe - 6; Bit too cold for the Frenchman. Gave the ball away to many times.

Milsom - 6; Not as involved as Saturday but OK and the closest Blue to scoring.

Betsy - 5; As quiet here as he is on the right wing, never got in the game.

Walker - 6; Feeling generous, he went on a couple of runs but not much else. Must know he'll be sacrificed when the other strikers are fit.