Mouth of the Tyne: An idiot’s guide to St Albans City’s long trip to Truro
PUBLISHED: 16:02 10 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:10 10 January 2019
Herts Advertiser’s Neil Metcalfe made the long journey out west on Tuesday to watch St Albans City take on Truro. A fool’s errand or something else? His take on a big day out.
There’s a saying we have at Jarrovians Rugby Club: “I’m an idiot, not a moron”.
As the clock got close to midnight on Tuesday I was pulling onto the M5 at Exeter where I was greeted with a sign that told me I still had 81 miles to go before I got to Bristol.
Bearing in mind that almost 90 minutes had elapsed since I pulled out of the car park at Treyew Road, home of Truro City Football Club, then it was perhaps no surprise I started to contemplate whether I was actually a moron.
Following St Albans City to Cornwall for a game on a Saturday would have been foolhardy enough but going there on a Tuesday was downright bonkers.
But it was a journey I felt I had to make.
The trip counter in the car read 588 miles by the time I got home at 3.15am on Wednesday morning, a mammoth trek to say the least, and by far the longest the Saints have to make this season.
And that made it an adventure, bringing back memories of my younger days when you’d pile onto a bus at some ungodly hour and head off to parts unknown to watch your heroes.
Granted I was driving this time but it gave me a similar buzz.
Others felt the same and a good couple of dozen City supporters were there too, many staying over and making an event of it all.
The talk of visiting karaoke bars after the game is enough evidence of that.
And for those that haven’t been the city of Truro is a beautiful place, one I had never been close to but one I will gladly return to, perhaps when I have a bit more time to explore its charms.
That was something I didn’t expect. Before leaving I thought this would be a one-off, a tick in the box never to be revisited.
The joy of away trips you see.
Driving for that long also gave me plenty of time to think, as well as a break from some rather loud and probably off-key singing.
I began to wonder if the league was split the right way. Instead of a National North and South, would an east and west split be better?
After all the trip to Truro is almost the same distance as a journey up to Blyth Spartans.
But a quick crunch of the numbers when I got home showed that as much as I would love to follow Saints up to the likes of Croft Park and other outposts of football up in the motherland, it wouldn’t be feasible.
I was also pleasantly surprised by the quality of the roads. I had heard horror stories of single lanes but apart from a few stretches on the A303 on the way there, it was dual carriageway pretty much all the way there and back.
So it looks like Truro will remain the big journey for the time being, their 2-1 victory giving them a bit of breathing space in the battle to avoid the drop.
Whether they will still be at their Cornish home remains to be seen and at this stage I’ll point out that I am studiously ignoring that can of worms on purpose.
But these journeys are the ones St Albans as a group of players and as a club want to be making, as Ian Allinson pointed prior to the game.
Promotion to the next level is where they have set their sights, certainly for the near future, and that would bring the likes of Hartlepool United (236 miles), Gateshead (257 miles) and Barrow (269 miles) onto the fixture list.
That last one, while being a drive with some stunning vistas as you pass the bottom of the Lake District, would actually take much longer than getting to Truro.
The worry before hand was the toll the journey out west would take on the players.
But it certainly didn’t seem as if there were any bus legs responsible for the late defeat on Tuesday so the hunger to gain that promotion should not have been harmed in the slightest.
And it’s a promotion they are more than capable of earning and regardless of pre-season fears, the play-offs are very much within their grasp.
If that means more and longer road trips, then bring them on. They can be a source of huge joy and I will certainly look back on my big day out to Cornwall with great fondness.
So maybe I’m not in fact a moron after all, as I thought I was on the outskirts of Exeter in the dead of night.
Idiot, however? Well...