Last weekend the Oldham Athletic game at Southend United was called off. International call ups had, somehow, left Oldham without enough players to play the game.
I had been ready to press the “book now” button on £150 of rail tickets for me and Chris but held back knowing there was a chance the game might not take place, risking more expensive tickets if it did.
Others were less fortunate. My Twitter feed last Saturday filled with pictures of a large group of Oldham supporters outside Southend airport. They’d taken the non-refundable early morning Flybe flight south and, with no football to ruin their day, were about to commence a day of Christmas shopping. Or maybe drinking. Before a Travelodge night and flying back the next day.
It reminded me of Mr Corbyn’s election promise to refund the cost of advance rail tickets to football supporters who’s match was called off. A small part of his land of milk and honey election campaign. Didn’t extend it to decadent budget airline flyers heading to the match though, did he? Maybe Teresa would have done better making a similar pledge to those buying advance rail tickets to attend a cancelled fox hunt …
Moving on, the Southend game has been rearranged for the first weekend of December. Mainly due to both Oldham and Southend being giant killed by lesser sides in the previous round of the FA Cup which reaches the second round at the same time.
In preparation as a trial run for our mammoth Plymouth train journey later in December, I’ve bought the Southend rail tickets this morning, benefiting from 500 bonus Nectar points. Prittlewell station is the final destination. At this point in time I feel up to the nine minute walk from station to Southend’s Roots Hall stadium. I’ve allowed ninety minutes to cover the distance if the trains are kind.
The tickets are also first class. This gives us access to the Virgin lounge at Manchester Piccadilly. And London Euston. The former we experienced last month on the way to Milton Keynes. It’s a broom cupboard serving coffee, biscuits and crisps with signs on A4 paper sellotaped to the wall saying don’t steal the biscuits and crisps. I’m struggling to understand what the point of a lounge is if you can’t secrete quantities of supplies in your bag for later use.
A tube trip across London from Euston to Liverpool Street will be followed by our first experience of Greater Anglia rail services. An hour to enjoy their varied first class service which apparently extends to green tea and a variety of coffee in addition to the less exciting weekend drinks choice on Virgin.
It might not be first class flying to Boston or Vegas. But it should be fun.