Three steps to Hell
Date: Monday 18th April 2011
4:10am and the alarm is going off. Roll over and realise it’s Wembley day. Weeks of excitement and planning and the day was here. Up and at them! You may be wondering why 4am. I was stopping at my partners in Wigan and had to treck back to Bolton to pick up two mates who we’re joining me on the long trip south- via car.
Arrived at the first mates, greeted by a tray, cling filmed wrapped of sausage butties. What a delight! ‘What a legend’ I thought, ‘this is going to be a good day’.
Collected the 2nd mate and prepared the car for the journey. Scarf in the boot window and another ‘flapping’ from a back seat window. We were ready! Wembley here we come!
We were on the M61 for 5:30am and so the journey south was pretty clear of any congestion. We went well. Stopped at Oxford for a loo stop and a brew. 15minutes into our stop there and a good few Stoke coaches (unofficial) pulled up. Offloaded a large number of (already bladdered) Stokies, who proceeded to single us 3 young lads out for a bit of a sing. They didn’t look too welcoming and so after a quick smile we scooted to the car and headed on our way again. Arrived in London around 9:30am, parked up and spent a few hours in a Weatherspoons for breakie and liquid!
After a few too many in there we decided it was time to get the tube to Wembley. It turned out to be a fair way away and so a mad dash off the tube and up towards the ground was required. We caught glimpse of the ground and weaved our way up a street towards. What a stunning and magnificent ground it is! I remember the old Wembley with fond memories as a young lad. I never – in the weeks of anticipation – imagined being so numb-struck by the beauty of the new Wembley. A fantastic atmosphere carried us towards and into the ground with 15 minutes to spare before KO.
Sadly, it was at 3:45 where it actually began to go wrong. In the sheer excitement of it all i dashed to find my seat. Row 26 – down the stairs. Down the stairs I went. Not bounding down on my feet though. I slid down on my arse. And Christ it hurt! I should’ve known then that things weren’t looking good.
I remember the Whites emerging from the tunnel and wiping a tear from my eye as the emotion hit me. The Whites at Wembley. This was immense! From about 16:09 though, it all goes a blur. I horrible blur.
A woman on the way out summed it up for me. ‘I don’t feel like I’ve been to a football match’ she said as we all emerged from the stands like zombies and headed away in sheer disbelief. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to describe the feeling amongst Bolton fans as we walked away from Wembley. It was surreal. Even amongst the confusion, disbelief and anger though, there was definitely pride. Pride that we’d just seen the Wanderers, our team, our club, at the new Wembley. It didn’t go well. It didn’t even get near ‘well’ but I’ll never forget my first visit to the fantastic new Wembley stadium to watch MY CLUB on such a stage.
Our time will come. I believe that. I always believe. Even despite how hurt I am now. I’ve never, ever taken a defeat this badly. At work today I must’ve looked a right twit but I couldn’t help it. I’ve just been hit for 6 (not 5).
But we will get our chins up and ‘ger on wi’yit’. We are the one and only Wanderers and one day – in the not too distant future – we WILL be back at that fantastic arena. Then the pain of yesterday will be eased!