Saved from a trip too far

Tim Allman, Capital Canaries I have a great deal to thank my employer for. I turn up at around 7.30am each day to do a job I like and find interesting. All I have to do, according to my colleagues, is sit at my desk, drink tea all day, field a few calls from clients and leave each day at 5pm.

Tim Allman, Capital Canaries

I have a great deal to thank my employer for. I turn up at around 7.30am each day to do a job I like and find interesting. All I have to do, according to my colleagues, is sit at my desk, drink tea all day, field a few calls from clients and leave each day at 5pm. In return they pay me each month. This allows me to support both my family and my football team, in measures that are sometimes not quite as equal as each other.

My company have also relocated me from east of Docklands to a road called Austin Friars, which for all you non City slickers is a couple of minutes' walk from Liverpool Street station. This is very handy for midweek games as it means that I do not need to take a half day's holiday and can sneak out at 4.15pm to get the 4.30pm train to Norwich.

Around the middle of June, just after the new season's fixtures are published, there is a flurry of updates in my work calendar on the dates of our midweek games, with a warning not to over-schedule with an appointment or meeting. Being an organised supporter, I booked time for the potential FA Cup third round reply even before I knew who we were playing.


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After I had suffered on January 5, along with the other twenty thousand or so, watching Chris Martin and Ryan Jarvis trying to prove they were up to first team football, seeing Jamie Cureton and Darren Huckerby squander several gilt-edged opportunities, and Daryl Russell show that he is a much better central midfielder than a right back, at least there was the consolation of a midweek game and a new ground, Gigg Lane, to go to.

My employer had other ideas though, and on the Monday after our draw with Bury, an all-day meeting was re-scheduled to Tuesday, which was unlikely to finish before 4.30pm at the latest. I was aware of a couple of cars that had spaces in, so getting back to London from Bury after the match would not present a problem, it was the getting there that was looking very tricky at best. If I could sneak out early and get to Euston by 4.30pm, I could be in Manchester by 7pm and at Bury for kick-off. Not a bad plan I thought, as a flying pig passed overhead.

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My plan was starting to fall apart as I realised I would need to get a peak time train which would cost around £100 for a single fare, and after I tried and failed to get out of this meeting early, my plan now held as much water as a wet paper bag. The final nail was hammered into the coffin that was my plan as I wondered how I would explain to my wife that I was proposing to spend twice the cost of a weekly shop at Sainsbury's attending a football match in Bury.

So, after our glorious win at Barnsley, which almost certainly swelled the travelling numbers at Bury, I decided on the opposite course of action and opted out of going to the replay. Taking on my employer, my very understanding wife and my bank account to get to the middle of nowhere, for a game that according to the weather forecast might not even be on, was just not worth it.

I'll finish as I started, by thanking my employer. If that meeting had not been re-scheduled, I would have taken time off, made a 400-mile round trip and suffered along with the other 800 who made the trip to Bury. Lucky me.

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