A couple of years ago I almost decided against going to see Birmingham City playing in Bruges. Other commitments meant I couldn’t stay overnight so I left St Andrews at 3 am on the Thursday morning and arrived back at 5 am the next day, which seemed a bit mad at my age. I had such a brilliant time on that trip that I decided never to reject an idea just because it was crazy.
So, just 17 days after my last visit to Huish Park Stadium, I went there again. This time I went by train and a friend came with me. I must say that we received a very friendly welcome in Yeovil. A policeman gave us lift to our hotel after we got lost trying to walk from the station. And the people running the hotel* were friendly too, even though there was a teddy bear with a Yeovil Town scarf at the entrance. The stewards at the ground were pleasant and had a sit-anywhere-you-like policy since there were so many empty seats. I’d decided to try out the seats this time and found that away fans used the same refreshments area and ladies loo as the home fans. And there was a vase of artificial flowers in the loo, something I’ve never seen in a football ground before.
My friend, who is more than 50 years younger than me, stood on the terraces. It’s sad that a lot of young football fans may never have that experience.
I don’t think there’s anything I can add about what happened in the game. So much has been written already and I didn’t understand all the details myself until I read the reports and watched the highlights. Yeovil Town’s controversial 2nd goal really got the crowd going. I wonder if all the loud “Cheat, cheat” chants helped Gary Johnson decide to give Blues a goal. I had absolutely no idea what was happening when Novak wandered down and put the ball in their net after the kick off for the second period of extra time. It wasn’t until the Blues fans behind the goal started cheering that I realised it would count as a real goal. I had been hoping that Novak would score a goal soon and that it would boost his confidence and help him score a few more. But that wasn’t the sort of goal to boost anyone’s confidence and he missed a chance to win the game right at the end of extra time.
The penalties were agonising as they always are. Doyle has a good record of saving penalties but I wasn’t sure if we had anyone in the team who was good at taking them. The goal at the other end seemed a long way away and I didn’t see where the ball from Adeyemi’s shot had gone at first; I just saw the Yeovil crowd celebrating and my heart sank. Then I saw the ball in the net, though I had no idea how it had got there, and the Blues players celebrating. It was great way to end an incredible cup game and I’m so glad we went.