Here is another away day story as part of our Away Day Diaries feature. We get some Sunderland fans from anywhere and everywhere to tell us all about their experiences following the lads on their travels. This week Josh Bewick shares his day with us.
There are not many days where waking up at 4 o’clock is a good thing, however this time I had Crystal Palace away to look forward too. You have to start with the standard away day breakfast - bacon sarnie and the first tin of the day! Is it slightly worrying that this was at 4:30am?
The taxi arrived at 5:20am and off we went - picking up the other lads on the way heading straight to Newcastle Central Station. I left a little sticker for the locals and I am sure they will appreciate and cherish it for years to come. Nice lad, me.
Once we had made the train journey down to Kings Cross we got off the train at around 9:45am and headed straight to Millers bar – this was probably the most popular London bar amongst Sunderland fans. Unfortunately it was closed upon our arrival, it was a little early after all but we only had a very short wait until opening time. We went for the first pint of what turned out to be many. After a while the bar started to fill up with all the familiar faces and of course the chants started. They were met with disgruntled looks from the people of London – that was not going to deter us mind!
We jumped on the tube to Victoria Park station, about the halfway point from Kings Cross to Selhurst Park. Around the corner was Shakespeare's bar which we stopped in for a pitstop, the chants started again. The managers didn’t take too kindly to us and we were threatened to be kicked out if it continued! That was our cue to move on and to the final bar which was just in the train station. We happened to bump in to James from Geordie Shore, so as expected out came the shouts of 0-3 which led him to tell us that he was actually a Sunderland fan before trying to use the excuse that he didn’t really follow football – yeah right!
After a walk to the ground we arrived outside the turnstiles, the match had not even started but we had to give one of the lads a drink of water and a couple of tabs. He was slightly worse for wear and we were worried he might not get in!
Once in the ground we were greeted by a massive huddle of people singing "We All Live In A Gary Rowell World" - a favourite away day chant for SAFC. Off to our seats we went and we were ready for kick off.
Let’s be honest, the less said about the match the better, so the only thing I'll mention is our goal. It was a superb cross from Jack Colback and a cracking header from Steven Fletcher, what a relief it was to see him not only back in the team but back on the score sheet too. The celebrations were crazy, people on the floor in sheer elation! I really thought we were going to go on and nick the 3 points, however as we all know that is not the way things panned out in the slightest.
After the game, we made the long, awkward journey back home. I was feeling completely worn out and worried about what the future held for Paolo Di Canio and SAFC.
However, as always we move on and look forward to the next time we foolishly follow Sunderland AFC around the country. Roll on West Brom!