Day 9 – Leeds-Burnley-Accrington Stanley-Blackburn Rovers!
Have you ever turned Netflix on and scanned through every programme and film selection for bloody ages because you can’t decide what to watch? Then deciding on some crap film starring someone you vaguely know because you can’t decide and at that point you’ll just watch anything.
Inevitably it’ll be some sort of film where American teenagers go to some sort of secluded house in the middle of nowhere. You know the score. It’s all nice and charming at first, everyone’s having fun, all is going really well. Then very quickly and inevitably, the proverbial sh*t hits the fan and all hell breaks loose.
Setting off on a journey on the roads in Yorkshire is like taking part in a live version of these films. At first you’re cruising along at a steady pace alongside a beautiful canal, surrounded by wildlife and ducks, the next, you’re scaling Yorkshire’s version of Mount everest, panting like those awkward blokes who are practicing breathing techniques for the first time in an anti natal class. It only gets worse when someone on shop mobility bombs passed you at 4mph. Just like those films, you know its coming, but you can’t do anything about it.
I left Leeds and the very impressive Elland Road at 8am, on the way to Burnley. I’d be able to describe the ride more if I hadn’t blocked it from my mind already. I’ll make it easy for you. On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being least enjoyable, I’d give it a 1.
Today marked my last day in Yorkshire. It is a beautiful place where in certain places, people leave fruit in a basket outside their house on a table on the pavement, next to a jar. You put a pound in and take a couple of apples and such. No one checks. This could be incredible. Either it is extreme faith in humanity and your neighbours, or that could just be romanticising things and they can’t be arsed to run their own business model.
Due to unforseen circumstances, or as i call them, pot holes so deep they lead to the core of the earth, I arrived in Burnley 8 hours after I left Leeds. It was that tough a terrain to cycle on, watching me go at those hills was probably like watching Stevie Wonder playing Mario kart.
But Turf Moor was beckoning. One of those stadiums on a big plot of land despite being between a housing estate and a main road.
Not in any way tarted up to be anything its not, its just a traditional old football stadium, in shape and structure, quite plain in colour and just a no nonsense stad with pictures of former players such as all time top score George Beel adorning the front.
After the 9 hours I felt like I’d gone up to Mike Tyson and gave him a wedgie and suffered the consequences. There wasn’t much left in the old tank but I knew Accrington Stanley was 18km’s away. I needed a boost, a pick me up. So I drew inspiration from actual cyclist Lance Armstrong, except instead of injecting multiple steroids into my arse, I ate half a bag of maltesers. The sugar did it, I was off to what I would describe as my joint favourite ground I’ve visited so far…
Theres a reason for that. THIS, is a ground like I remember it. When football wasn’t consumed by conglomeracy. When it was kept simple. When fans, wherever you sat, were right up close to the action. If the sheer romanticism of football could be encapsulated within a stadium that I’ve been to for me, this would be right up there.
Interestingly though, the name of the stadium, really made me look twice. Accrington Stanley’s ground, is called the ‘Wham’ Stadium. Initially I started saying to myself under my breath ‘What the fu…’ but it would be careless to whisper something like that. The stadium has only a tiny little bar on the side which is a shame, I’ve noticed a trend with some of the other stadiums up north I’ve been to, who have bars and clubs integrated within the stadiums and just for that added bit of spice, Accrington Stanley FC are crying out for a Club Tropicana.
So after battering my body more than a sausage in a northern chippy, I was all ready to get my head down in Accrington for the night. But then saw Blackburn was only 14 kilometres away. Again, if I don’t push for that bit extra then I might as well make excuses every time I’m tired. So I ploughed on. There was no need for the travelodge in Accrington to wake me up before I go-go, one final push and I made it to Ewood Park!
So thats where I’m gonna start tomorrow morning and fully explore it.
Yorkshire? Completed it mate 🔥
Big love, stay safe and happy and please, if you do need someone to talk to if you’re suffering, press the ‘I’m not OK’ button