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Up and Down, We Follow
Written by Jamiebed on Tuesday, 16th Nov 2021 16:32

Having supported Ipswich home and away since the late 1970s, I was somewhat surprised that our recent trip to Wycombe scared and scarred more than any previous.

I live in London, and a short Tuesday night trip to the Home Counties was easier than hundreds of midweeks at Portman Road. I elected to drive as Adams Park is way out of the city centre, the buses had previously been hard to get on and I had an early teaching assignment in Southend the following day.

The suggestion of meeting at The Squirrel pub on the outskirts of town for a pint before the game, a half-hour walk (or wheel in my case) to and from the ground, before making a quick getaway on to the M40 and early to bed seemed eminently sensible.

Predictably getting out of London in rush hour was not good, and only made pub an hour before kick-off. Time for a quick pint and off to the game. Five adults and Google Maps, what could go wrong?

Sure enough, we walked in a massive circle in the back end of nowhere, ending up back at pub half-an-hour later, kick-off fast approaching. Three managed to get an Uber, whilst Sam and I flagged down a bus, which took us halfway and walked/wheeled the rest, getting into the ground just as we went 1-0 down.

All got considerably better as the match progressed and our orienteering inadequacies were soon forgotten. Elated and with a few minutes to go, I remembered my early start in the morning and left a couple of minutes early – unforgiveable I know – missing Celina’s icing on the cake.

Back to Google Maps, the most direct route. A small B-road out of town, and quick cut-through the woods to the pub car park – what could possibly go wrong?

In retrospect, there had been a few warning signs – our collective incompetence in getting to the match, the unreliability of Google Maps and Sam’s and my previous navigation track record. We were about to enter another dimension!

Two miles down an increasingly narrow lane, no pavements, pitch darkness and occasional car whizzing past my ear. Delighted to escape the danger, we turned left into the woods onto a barely discernible pathway. We went in deeper and deeper with the promise of the cosy pub and car park about to be revealed; ‘any second now’, Sam said with increasing frequency.

Pretty soon all pretence of pathway disappeared, the mud deepened and my wheelchair became increasingly bogged down and unmanageable. I had fallen out a couple of times and clambered back in, before Sam uttered the words, ‘Oh ****, I’ve only got two per cent to left on my mobile battery’. The end of the torch and decision made to call the police – ‘Where are you?’, ‘No idea’, ‘We can’t help you’ interaction ensued.

On the distant horizon, car headlights occasionally twinkled and we headed through undergrowth, darkness and mud in that vague direction. An hour and various overturns later, we emerged looking like the living dead. The rare passing cars were unsurprisingly none too keen to stop.

Eventually a family stopped, enquired to our predicament, could not believe we’d been to the football many miles away and managed to convince a cabdriver they knew to come to the middle of nowhere and pick us up. Dropped back at car, no further incidents on way home and crawled into bed at 2.30am.

Not going to Wycombe next season!




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SpiritOfJohn added 17:31 - Nov 16
Good read! And the moral is stick to the path and don't leave before the final whistle!
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foshizzle added 20:34 - Nov 16
Agree, good read Jamie. Seemed a real mess coming out of the Wycombe ground. Puts my 12am bedtime into context! Great seeing you at the game though 😁
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