Away O way O away from here.
By USSkyBlue
Saturday 05 Jul 2008 15:29:00
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Away O way O away from here.



A nine year old usskyblue first visited Highfield Road v Bristol City in 1976. I think we won 2-0, I can't remember. Although I do recall sitting in what we used to call 'the dugout' (one row of seating pitch side, directly in front of the main stand) My main memory of that day was watching Tommy Hutchinson destroy Brizzle's defence and, interestingly enough, try and knockout the linesman who'd flagged him offside. (Rules were obviously a little looser back then.)
In the 25 years that followed I had season tickets in the West Stand, East Terrace and latterly the West Terrace. Even though, as we all know, supporting Cov is 'challenging' at best, I feel honored to have witnessed at first hand some truly great players and amazing games. The League Cup run in 1980/81, specifcally beating Watford 5-0 in the quarter final, and West Ham 3-2 in the semi final first leg, and of course the crazy year that was 1987. Other games that spring to mind are getting soaked in the roof less East Terrace one Tuesday night while beating Sunderland 6-0, Jim Melrose's debut hat trick v Everton, Gibbo's taped up boot hat trick v Liverpool, Speedo's lobbed goal v Wimbledon, Huckerby's wonder goal after beating 27 Manure defenders, Keeno's debut brace v Derby, the underwear stain making 5-4 v Forest, the list is endless.
Favourite players have to be Tommy Hutch, The bomber Garry Thompson, Speedo (not you Bignoj) Big Cyrille, Lloyd McGrath, Keith Houchen* FA Cup matches only... he made Kyle Lightbourne look good in the league games.
In 2001 a family tragedy in the US meant that for the following two years I had to split my time between the UK and America, finally moving to the US permanently in September 2003. Understandably football took a back seat for a while but the last few years I have been following Skyblues' progress .... yeah 'progress'.... to the foot of the Championship and a last day reprieve :) 
Coverage is pretty good here, I watched 1/2 dozen live City games last year via a channel called Setanta. There's also The Fox Soccer Channel ("soccer" *spit) which carries Sky Sports News.  Match days (when I'm not working) I'm normally found getting slapped by wet trout in the mIRC chat room. The 5 hour delay means game time is 10am.
I can't deny, I've been to watch the Tampa Bay Bucs a couple of times, along with a couple of trips to watch The Rays play baseball, notably last week v The Boston Red Socks. Sport here is just a passionate but very different. However I miss my old Saturdays. A pint or two before the game, the smell of pukka pies and cigarette smoke, and hearing the verbal abuse of our own players from that bloke that sits behind you every week. Most of all though, that knowing that the outcome of the game would dictate your mood for the next seven days.
My most recent game was in '05 v Reading. It was strange not going back to Highfield Road but I was very impressed with the Ricoh, and memories of the Parkgate still haunt me (and Jen) to this day. I hope to get over for a game late this year if funds permit.
Although part and parcel of being a Cov fan is that horrible feeling that you're not in control, at least by being there you 'feel part of it', and that's what I miss most..... that and Smiles' hairdo.
Thanks USSkyBlue.
Would anyone else like to contribute an article about following the Sky Blues from a distance?
Please feel free to e-mail me.
It's always interesting to read about other fans.
Come on Jimbo!
Just a note to say the picture is of Bristol City 1979 but it was the best I could do :o)

©2008 The West Terrace

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