Kev Lawrence: on football fan hell

Last updated : 08 April 2009 By Kev Lawrence

It was full of intoxicated, loud, thuggish, ill-mannered football supporters, hell-bent on bringing misery to the poor old sods unlucky enough to be on the same train as them.
norwich city 0-1 sheffield wednesday
Judging by their accents, their scarves and because I was also at the game they had attended, I can reveal that they were followers of Sheffield Wednesday.

For reasons best known to some cotton wool-brained individual who works for East Midlands trains, only two medium-sized carriages were fixed to one another, as this journey from hell commenced from platform one. In other words it was a very small train. And unfortunately for everyone, there were about eight million people who wanted to be on it.

Have you ever sat in a confined space, and had a gaggle of drunken middle-aged men singing football songs way too loudly in your ear? It is a very unpleasant experience indeed. I felt trapped, sad and, at times, threatened.

I also felt very sorry for other passengers positioned near me. Like the ladies ladened with Primark bags who had been on a shopping trip, and must have wished they'd stayed at home. And the ashen faced bearded man who must have been pushing 70, and was alone looking terrified. And most of all, I really felt for an elderly couple, probably a nan and grandad, who were looking after two young girls aged about nine or 10.

"Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday," went the chant. Then into songs that contained un-printable lewd lyrics. Loud enough to draw blood from your ears.

OK, they were out for a good time, but did they not stop and think for one minute how offensive they were being?

Most of them were drinking strong lager, and were struggling to stand un-aided.

At one point the smell of a very fishy cigarette filled all our nostrils. An announcement from the guard, who was presumably locked in safely somewhere at the front, asked for it to be extinguished immediately. His appeal was greeted by a mix of cheers, jeers, and then chants of "pass it round, pass it round, pass it round".

Then it was back to "We love you Wednesday, we do" by those still capable of speech.

After Ely, I managed to get a seat. And next to me appeared a supporter who had obviously drunk way too much. He fell asleep within moments of plonking himself next to me. Not only did he snore, but he also had a very un-pleasant odour about his person, and despite his state he strangely never once let go of his can. Note to self. Next time I want to go and watch my beloved Norwich City lose, go by car.