Mike Bacon: 'I've been everywhere man.... well except League One grounds!'
© Copyright Stephen Waller
In his weekly column MIKE BACON looks at his so far League One Tour... Which isn't adding up to much!
I have been to Burton (St George's Park).... Fleetwood - more on that later - and Doncaster races (lost a pretty packet).
I've been to Bury cycle speedway club (long story), Coventry speedway (Up the Witches) and Lincoln cathedral.
I've definitely been to Southend (airport), Blackpool (stag weekend - couldn't afford Prague) and spent a few days in Bristol but didn't go to the zoo.
And rather strangely I've watched AFC Wimbledon in FA Cup action, in Suffolk - at Debenham Leisure Centre - yes our Debenham, just outside Ipswich, in a clash many moons ago when AFC Wimbledon were making their way up through the leagues after MK Dons became 'Wimbledon' and played at Milton Keynes, if you remember the fuss.
I've also been to Wimbledon! - tennis that is.
So, you see I feel I have a little - just a little - bit of affinity with League One teams and where they hail from.
I just have one problem.
I don't appear to have actually been to, or seen any, games at League One grounds - bar - as I said, Fleetwood, who I saw play Leiston in the FA Cup many moons back when the 'Cod Army' were in National North!
Fleetwood won 2-0 if my memory serves me right. I went with Brenner Woolley, from BBC Radio Suffolk, and we 'enjoyed' a late night curry in some very strange Blackpool curry house, before returning to our hotel to find Leiston fans - led by chairman Andy Crisp - dancing in the bar waving shoes! All very strange!
Now, I have walked past Fratton Park, Portsmouth and seen the Stadium of Light, Sunderland (distant). But again, never actually seen football matches there.
Is this all just me?
Apart from the fact Ipswich Town haven't played many of next season's opponents in years, there are some clubs in League One who now of course play in different stadiums to ones Town fans may remember back in the day ie. Oxford, Shrewsbury, Coventry City (who are playing at St Andrew's, Birmingham next season... in fairness, I have been there), spring to mind.
I've also noticed St Andrew's is called the 'St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium'... trillion trophies. Big talk.
But indeed, why would Town fans know of any of the stadia they are set to visit next season?
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Unless the poor souls were at Sincil Bank, Lincoln a few seasons back, or Accrington Stanley... Enough Bacon, enough!
Like many of you, I've been brought up on a diet of Anfield, Old Trafford, Highbury and White Hart Lane (old).
It's been UEFA Cup not Checkatrade Trophy - whatever that is.
The FA Cup has always started in January and the only time there have been two divisions between the Super Blues and the Budgies from up the A140, in my lifetime, was when Norwich 'graced' League One..... it's all a big change of scenery.
But do you know what?
Sometimes change can be good.
And while no-one will want to see Paul Lambert and his team still in League One in five years time, (or League Two, or Bostik North, I best add!), I sense a tinge of excitement about the fixtures next season, or is it a sort of perverse intrigue?
To start the season with Burton (away) and Sunderland (home), with Luton in the Carathing Cup, doesn't make it feel like League One.
Town also have Bolton (away) early on.
However, reality bites when AFC Wimbledon come to Portman Road in August. No disrespect but as mentioned earlier, the last time I saw them was at Step 6 non-league Debenham LC!
But we are where we are and where we deserve to be.
So, let's make the most of it.
Get out your sav nav and treat yourself to visiting grounds you never thought you would. Indeed, make a weekend of it and take in towns and cities you have only glanced at on a map on the way up to Anfield, Newcastle or down to Southampton.
You never know.... Could be a once-in-a-lifetime adventure - here's hoping anyhow!
See you at Rochdale!
UP THE TOWN!