‘All of life is based on timing’: My trip from Stevenage to Morecambe
PUBLISHED: 15:56 20 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:03 20 January 2019
CometSport’s Dan Mountney made the long trip up North to watch Stevenage take on Morecambe. Here’s what happened on his travels.
As Morecambe’s most famous son and legendary comedian Eric Morecambe once said, ‘all of life is based on timing’. It certainly was for Luke Wilkinson and Stevenage FC yesterday, but it took a lot to get there. 227 miles to be exact.
When my esteemed colleague Layth Yousif asked if I wanted to cover Stevenage’s trip to Morecambe I said yes, although I wasn’t quite sure why.
It’s an eight hour round trip to the Lancashire costal town and I was fully aware it was going to be freezing.
But alas, with the help of the wonderful BBC Three Counties commentary duo of Steve Watkins and Dean Thompson, I made the journey up North.
The day started at 6am – 6.15am if you count the one snoozed alarm – with the typical mad morning rush of scrambling to find all necessary chargers before being picked up at 8am to start the drive.
Bar a stop off in Dunstable to swap cars and for a coffee at Newport Pagnell services – which was very much needed – it was a nonstop journey filled with conversation about all things Stevenage FC and football in general. The perfect road trip in my eyes.
Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa and ‘spygate’ was on the agenda, as were local rivals Luton Town and their new stadium & managerial situation.
It was Steve and Dean’s Stevenage stories that I found most interesting and insightful though. Having only ever watched and reported on Stevenage as a Football League club, to hear there stories of the bygone days of the Conference, the memorable games they have seen and the characters they have met such as Graham Westley and Peter Taylor was a superb listen.
I do have some bad news for Deimantas Petravicius as they agreed he was the worst they’d seen pull on a Boro shirt.
Considering the temperature outside, the weather was somewhat ironically a hot topic, with both Steve and Dean recalling a memorable 1998 afternoon in Swindon were not even the torrential wind and swirling rain could dappen their spirits.
The 2014 FA Cup tie was also one that came up, again for the biblical wind and rain as well as the lighting storm over the Lamex before kick-off. Thankfully for Dean, he was in the bar.
As we approached Morecambe, the attention turned to placing bets for the afternoon, with both myself and Steve dissuading Mr Thompson from betting on a host of teams such as Cambridge United. He was not best pleased with us come 5pm.
After arriving in the seaside town, a quick trip to see the Eric Morecambe statue was followed by a short drive to the Globe Arena, were we parked in what can only be best described as a quagmire.
Despite this, I must praise Morecambe. They were fantastic hosts with a wonderfully spacious press box and warm food on offer. Luxuries not often afforded in League Two.
90 minutes of football followed, and as I alluded to earlier, ‘all of life is based on timing’ with Luke Wilkinson rising like a salmon in the Shrimps box to head home a 94th minute.
We headed back down the M6 happy, although I can’t tell you about half an hour of it as I dozed off, waking up just as Villa Park came into view on our right hand side.
Most of the journey home was spent discussing the game, listening to some of the brilliant late night radio phone ins and deciding whether the caller had ‘been on the sauce’, which was almost always yes for every one.
After swapping back to our original vehicle in Bedfordshire, we finally made it back at around 10pm – about 14 hours after we had left. And what a wonderful 14 hours they were.
A big thank you must go to both Steve and Dean, as without them I would not have got to Morecambe.