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Macc Again
Authored by Max Bygraves

It had been a long time coming this, an away day of some distance, with a good number of us on the train together; but despite maybe being a little out of 'practice' as it were, it would appear we've certainly not forgotten how to have fun watching Barnet play away.

14 of us met at Euston Station just before 10am for the ridiculously quick service to Macclesfield. As usual the cans were cracked open as soon as we'd taken our seats on the train, but it was all fairly civilised as we ventured North. Our table of 4 amused ourselves with trivia about capital cities and English county capital towns. Cultured eh? Did you know Trowbridge is the capital town of Wiltshire? You do now.

Before midday we stepped off the train into a pretty grey and slightly miserable looking Macclesfield. The ground's a fair walk from the station, but the route is absolutely littered with do the maths.

The George & Dragon was our first port of call. We sampled a few pints there, games of pool and darts took place and a few Northern based Barnet supporters joined the fun too, before we walked the short way down the road to The Jolly Sailor. What a great little pub. It had a piano in the corner and the bar staff were more than happy to allow one of, shall we say, the older members of our group to play it. He was very good to be fair and much entertainment was had from this. Your standard renditions of stuff like Lady in Red took place, along with some proper cockney-esque Chas 'n' Dave. What stereotypical Londoners we must have appeared to the local folk. JagerBombs also made an appearance here, dangerously early and the effects appeared to be beginning to take hold of one or two of the lads.

Time was ticking on, so we made for the next pub, nearer to the ground called The Travellers Rest, now also joined by a good friend of mine from this part of the world, the more the merrier and all that. Final couple of beers were had in here as well as, bloody ridiculously, some neat house vodka. You know who you are and you're a terrible individual for purchasing it! So we made our way to the ground after a little while in here, now in possession of a random shoe brush found in the pub. It seemed a good idea to take it, at the time.

Of course upon arrival at Moss Rose the fun and laughter was put on hold for a bit, as Macc put on a fine tribute to Richard Butcher, their midfielder who tragically died earlier this month. It would have been his 30th birthday on the day of this game. Everything was impeccably served by both sets of fans; what an extremely tragic death.

After the tributes to Butcher the players carried out another quick warm up, all kitted out for kick off apart from Izale McLeod who was wearing a pair of tracksuit bottoms still. I thought this didn't look terribly good on him, so from the sparsely populated terrace behind the goal I told him to stop messing about and pointed out the fact it wasn't THAT cold! He heard, he didn't look too impressed, but sure enough he got rid of the trousers pretty sharpish! It's a mans game, come on Izzy.

It wasn't much of a turn out from our fans (no surprises) but Macc decided to give us both the terrace behind the goal and the bit on the side. This led to some good banter between those of us behind the net and the older contingent of our group over in the seats. The atmosphere otherwise was a bit non-existent from most, though the 5 or 6 of us behind the goal were having fun. Our newly acquired shoe brush was sadly taken off us before long by the stewards though and a lot of time was spent shouting about the alleged match fixing that was supposed to happen. Big rumours before the game that it was a sure thing it would be Barnet half time, Macclesfield full time. Lot of betting firms stopped taking bets and odds were severely slashed everywhere it seemed due to unusual betting activity. Load of rubbish though, clearly.

The phrase a load of rubbish can certainly be used to describe the first half too. Awful. No action of note whatsoever. Half time was more entertaining, complaining in a very over the top and maybe just slightly tongue in cheek way about the prices of the refreshments at the ground. The lads working in the snack bar found it very funny anyway. We were a little upset we couldn't buy any alcohol, but with hindsight I'm not sure that was such a bad thing!

The second half things picked up a tiny bit, then very much so. Some fantastic work by McLeod saw him burst into the box from the left hand side, having given the full back a torrid time, he was then tripped in the box. Maybe a tad soft, but there could be little complaint when the ref pointed to the spot. McLeod himself stepped up and coolly dispatched the kick into the bottom corner, sparking small scenes of bedlam behind the goal. Fair play to the goal scorer, Southam and Marshall, who came right over to us and exchanged a few hand shakes and the like. They looked like they genuinely wanted it, which was encouraging I guess. Haven't enjoyed a Barnet goal so much in an awfully long time.

However, it didn't last. We had a decent spell of pressure but no chances for a bit, before Macc came back into it and scored a scrappy equaliser to make it 1-1. Overall the draw was probably about right, two sides who created very little. At least it was another game unbeaten and the players and Fairclough seemed happy enough when coming over to applaud us at full time.

Now this is when things began to get silly. We all got a bit split up walking back into Macclesfield afterwards, given we had over an hour until our train home. 3 of us ended up back in the pub we'd been in just before kick off. Just as we were leaving this establishment two of the other boys came strolling in, pissed up, with two pints they'd bought in another pub and just casually walked to meet us with. This was beginning to turn.

We made a stop in an off licence and purchased various alcohol for the train home. Deciding to get very much in the spirit of things, if you follow, perhaps not the finest of ideas. Making our way to the train station after this there was a little more Barnet singing and we had a chat with two absolutely hideous middle aged local women who left us when we walked past a pharmacy. I hate to think what they were going there for. Our post-match time in Macclesfield had almost run out and most decided a bit of food would be an idea before the train, but myself and one other decided where our priorities lay and went for another needless beer in a pub opposite the station, before just making the 18:26 train out of there.

The spirits were cracked upon and the singing and so on continued. We had to change at Stoke-on-Trent this time and board a London bound train full of Manchester United fans on their way home from Old Trafford. Typical eh?! Those sat near us were quite impressed by our hardy dedication of following a team like Barnet to a place like Macclesfield. We had a nice little chat with a chap and his 4 year old lad Tom who he'd just taken to his first ever game. However, despite his Man United colours the little fella continually proclaimed his love for Arsenal. Quite a sensible young man clearly, though we did our best to suggest Barnet were the real team for him!

However, our new found mate and his Dad left the train at Milton Keynes. This is the point where the day all changes. Details get very hazy and behaviour took a turn for the worst. It didn't take long before we were in the luggage racks, for a change, singing Barnet songs very loudly. Some people didn't like this, but even less popular was when one of us decided singing some anti-Manchester United songs would be a good idea. It slightly changed the atmosphere to say the least and the individual responsible was maybe somewhat fortunate not to get a slap or two for his misdemeanours.

No one was too disappointed to get off the train at Euston at about 9pm. Our large group now split off into various groups with differing plans for their Saturday evenings. I randomly bumped into a Brentford supporting mate on his way back from a trip to Oldham who came with us lot for a pint in O'Neills down the road. In here I'm not sure what happened, but the day's alcohol intake took hold and not in a good way. Apparently my mate found me outside the pub asleep on a chair. This is about half 9ish on a Saturday night in Kings Cross. Great.

Attempts were made to get it together and go to the Flying Scotsman, as standard when in that area, before heading for a night out in Camden. However, for some reason something of a wall had been hit and I had to retire, via a lovely vomiting incident outside the fine public house just mentioned.

I got the tube home and fell asleep, only for some legend to wake me up just before I needed to get off. I reckon I was probably snoring loudly or something, what a total embarrassment! Those still standing headed for the Electric Ballroom in Camden where I'm reliably informed the fun and drinking continued, but sadly I'd let myself down on this occasion. Bloody nice and very unusual consolation waking up with a fair amount of cash in my wallet on a Sunday morning though!

All in all a very fun day out. Silly, but why not? Not been done in a very long time, let's hope it's not too long before more away days and fun of this sort of standard.

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  All materials on this site copyright Downhill Second Half and its individual authors. Content may not be reproduced without prior written permission. Special thanks to Chris Holland for use of photography and John Snow, John Erroll and Tony Hammond for statistical compilation.

A huge thank you also to Rob Cavallini whose Barnet history books set the basis for our journey to complete all statistics back to the start of Barnet FC.

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