No Norwich game? Only one thing to do - hop it!
- Credit: PA
Another International break - and another chance to take my mind away from all the joys (or should I say the perils?) of the Premier League. Even if it is just for a week.
Today, myself and two fellow Groundhoppers and Norwich City fans, will be doing the long old journey to the Lake District. Tomorrow we will be trekking up a mountain before heading back to Norfolk.
But however much I enjoy hiking, the purpose of the trip is to tick Barrow AFC's Holker Street ground off my list, so today my football fix is Barrow AFC v Leyton Orient.
It’ll be my first groundhopping day for two years. And, boy, I’m looking forward to it. It won’t put me back on the magical 92 just yet. The events of the last 18 months means I was unable to add to my list last season, so there are five new grounds this season to tick off.
Barrow, Harrogate Town and Sutton United have joined the Football League plus there are new grounds at AFC Wimbledon and Brentford - and that one will be sorted when I go with Norwich next month.
I wasn't born when Barrow left the Football League in 1972 after 51 years so, unlike some other lower league clubs, Barrow AFC have not really been much on my mind. If I think of Barrow, the only thing that comes to mind is Grant Holt. I’m sure I’ll get talking to Barrow fans and hopefully some of them may remember the legend that is Holty.
Usually when I speak to fans from other clubs, especially in the lower leagues, I tell them I’m a Norwich fan who is groundhopping and I believe I get respect for wanting to visit their club and there is nothing but nice and positive comments about our club.
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I have met many fans of other clubs over the years and would normally mention Delia Smith and talk about her with fondness and her passion for my club. A lot of fans know about our restrictions, financially, and how we do things and say how fantastic we do as a club. I normally stand proud of how genuine football fans see us as a club.
It's what makes this season frustrating when I hear what feels like a daily diet of constant slating of our club from so-called football experts. Yet again we've had more rubbish coming from Talksport.
Someone who has been for years slating us is Adrian Durham. He's a Peterborough fan, so you would’ve thought he would have some knowledge or understanding of our club. No.
Peterborough United maybe a smaller club than us, but as a club I find them very similar, the way they are run, trying to live within their means but at the same time making as much realistic progress as they can.
They have a chairman, Darragh MacAnthony, who I’ve respected for many years. Listening to his podcast you can understand what he is trying to do for his club. He has had his frustrations with some of his supporters, a bit like Delia has over the years. It's been about producing many fantastic players, selling on, making profits on many players and spending little trying to find the next Peterborough United star.
Last season, they were not the biggest club in League One, but they were the second best team and earned promotion. After a quarter of this season, Posh are second bottom. Luckily, Derby County have had a points deduction because if they hadn’t, Peterborough would be bottom. Yep, Derby County - who didn’t live with their means.
You would’ve thought Durham may have been more understanding of us. Maybe some of his colleagues should think before speaking about us in future. The latest in that particular queue is Jamie O’Hara - you would’ve thought someone with numerous relegations and representing clubs who have had major financial difficulties would have had a little think before speaking. No.
I won’t bother engaging with those who lack any proper understanding of the game, like some do at Talksport. Instead, I’ll have good proper chat with either Barrow or Orient fans who will probably talk more sense than some who do it for a living.