And so the Big Day dawned. All set for the long journey down the M6 / M5 to Plymouth; we were on the way by 08:30. From my memory of the day, the weather down in southern Devon was reported to be inclement enough for a postponement. So what was the plan? Travel to Exeter, at the end of the M5 and just 45 miles away – against a total distance between Shrewsbury and Plymouth of 247 miles – there to check if the game was on with the plan of watching Exeter against Tranmere if it was off. Mad, stupid, devoted? All apply probably.
Anyway, it wasn’t off so by around a quarter past two were arrived at Home Park – right on the front as a I recall, with a howling gale blowing off the Atlantic / western English Channel. Apparently, there had been some trouble in a pub in the town before we had arrived so the police presence was heavy. We were afforded no time to think about heading off anywhere and accordingly we were marched straight into the ground to stand on the open terrace in the pouring down rain to wait the start of the game. My ankle, having been relatively unflexed for the past six hours was giving me some severe gyp now so I was one unhappy bunny.
The game is a bit of a hazy memory, suffice to say Plymouth won by the only goal and there was a real sense of injustice about it too. I can’t remember why, but it must have been off side or hand ball or something. Hey ho, these thing happen. The only bright spot was the promise of a good laugh watching Spurs put to the sword by Port Vale on Match of the Day when we returned home. We left at five o’clock after being held in the ground for 15 minutes and being marched around the pitch and out through one of the home stands, arriving back at ten forty-five – not so wet by now but still with that burning sense of injustice.