Day 10 – Blackburn-Preston-Morcambe-Back to Preston!
What an incredible day in terms of getting things done, some exciting news on the promo front and Preston North End were absolute superstars when it came to helping me when I got to Deepdale.
Starting off in Blackburn, the hotel were so accommodating that they don’t turn their plug voltage up to 10. So when I woke up, my phone was on 70% battery and my power bank was on 22%. This poses 2 problems. 1. the GPS on my phone wouldn’t have lasted to Morecambe and 2. I couldn’t check if I had any tinder likes in Morecambe.
Ewood Park is a big, assuming stadium. Surrounded by residential areas, you can only imagine how incredibly buzzing the place was back when they won the premiership under Kenny Dalglish, with the likes of Alan Shearer taking the field. For a working class area like i come from, that must be indescribable. Those things usually only happen once in a lifetime.
I had to go buy a new power bank which set me back an hour and I had a long journey to go today. The only shop around it to get food was Waitrose which was an experience. Im from Pontypridd in the Welsh valleys. I do my weekly shop in happy shopper. Me going to Waitrose is the equivalent of the Sultan of Brunei holidaying in Chernobyl. Instead of ribena they sell coconut water and instead of sausage rolls they sell cucumber slices with spicy humous.
Anyway, one peach melba and fermented brie with organic cranberry pureé with sautéed onion ryebread sandwich later and I was on my way to Preston North End.
I’ve been to Deepdale once. In 2009. Cardiff were chasing promotion and we were flying. It was a brilliant trip up, we were full of voice, full of ambition, full of confidence. We lost 6-0.
My memories of Preston have changed for the better this time. The ride there didn’t involve inclines that id rather get waterborded than cycle up, the Lancashire countryside is beautiful and the people spit on the floor when you mention Blackburn. Rebecca and her colleague at Deepdale were brilliant and took me pitchside, a great experience and I can’t thank them enough. Which makes them the friendliest club in Lancashire (other clubs take note-up yer game)
Another stadium that is multi functional. It houses the Preston collage and a fully functional gym, who i won’t give a mention because they couldnt be arsed to sponsor me. It seems to be a thing up North, to have businesses built into your stadium space. Which is to be fair, a sensible, financial model to work from. Other things up North include gravy and chips and being called ‘pet’ or ‘duck’.
One thing I’ve noticed is that despite visiting some of these stadiums before, from a fan perspective, being blessed to see the whole stadium outlay this time not just the away end, none of them are as i remember. Liverpool fans who don’t know Prestons history will be interested to know, as you can see by the pics, their much lauded ex manager Bill Shankly has a stand named after him at Deepdale. He made 297 appearances for a preston at right half.
Moving on from here took me to sunny popular caravan holiday destination Morecambe, home of the ‘shrimps’ due to the fact that shrimps are the local delicacy. I like that way of thinking. Although my local side already have a nickname and I can’t envisage us changing our name to Sausage in batter FC.
Morecambe is a very closed off stadium, the front looks OK then it just a series of stone walls surrounding it. Due to the bike, I assume, some local kid asked me which player I was, which is ironic as the last time I won a competitive football match was when i beat my 8 year old niece on fifa.
Moving on from there became the problem. My next destination was Fleetwood Town. It was 27 miles away and it was getting on 5pm. You can’t get a hotel in fleetwood, apparently its not a major tourist destination. I didn’t want to get there at 9/10pm and not have anywhere to stay. So I did the one and only test i could think of doing to see if it was habitable. But no, it doesn’t even have a Greggs.
I had a bit left in the tank so wanted to do more, so did the 17kms back to Preston, its a ballache literally coming back the way you went but its halfway to fleetwood so thats 17km less than I have to do tomorrow as I try making my way to merseyside.
Lastly, I want to thank you lot for your kind words and subscribing to what mindrush is trying to achieve. Youve all been brilliant, for those who have kept up, it means the world, do thank you.
Today is national suicide prevention day.
If you do need someone to talk to, please open up, even its to someone you know. Its a very sensitive subject, which is part of the problem where stigmas allow themselves to attach. It is a very real thing. If anything I want this to raise awareness that you or anyone else aren’t the only one. I don’t want anyone else to feel that there is no way out. Lets help each other before it gets to those feelings.
If you need advice, or help www.mindrush.org.uk has all the links to everywhere you can get such help.
To donate to calm, who work towards eradicating suicide here in the UK through research and support, you can go to…
Whatever you are going through,
Together we got this ❤