Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Two minutes with… a ‘The 92’ special

In a spin-off to the usual ‘Two minutes with…’ which delves into the minds of opposing fans visiting Underhill, I have been lucky enough to find one of my Twitter followers, Bolton fan, Joe Gibbons – the genius behind ‘Gibbo’s 92’. If you haven’t heard of it already, it basically is an insight into all the football grounds of all 92 Football League clubs (with a couple of Non-League thrown in along the way!). Anyway, Joe was at Barnet on Saturday for the Shrewsbury game, and I was able to catch up with him after the game to grab his thoughts.

What made you initially decide to do ‘The 92’?
My Dad mentioned the concept of ‘The 92’ in passing conversation one night. I was only aged nine at the time and thought it was a ridiculous thing to do! Why would I want to travel around the country watching other teams when I have the best team in the world on my back door step in Bolton Wanderers?
It was February 2009 and my Dad took me to a match at Turf Moor, Burnley. From that day on I was hooked and couldn’t wait to visit more grounds! I have been going to about one a month since. I enjoy meeting other football fans and taking my Bolton shirt to as many stadiums as possible!
How did you come to a decision about the order in which you visit each ground?
I haven’t got an order at all. It is totally random.
Stadiums which won’t be around for much longer take priority... which is why I was at Underhill on Saturday! You can usually find me on an away trip with my local teams: Bolton, Bury and Wigan.
What did you do pre-match and where did you stand/sit once in the ground?
I set off from my hometown of Atherton – a small place found right in between Bolton and Wigan – at around 09:00. I then caught the train from Manchester Piccadilly to Euston before dashing to Waterloo to check into a hotel.
I then topped up my Oyster Card – yes, a Northerner with an Oyster Card. Shock I know! Arriving at High Barnet I rather enjoyed jogging down Barnet hill, well worth another visit!
After taking a few photos and speaking to a few locals it was time to go in. I was stood in the East Terrace South. I was surprised at how many people were stood in the East Terrace... there were a few comedians there as well. Underhill reminded me somewhat of one of the rugby stadiums you find in Yorkshire.
What did you make of the game and was the scoreline a fair reflection?
It was a game of two halves really, whether the sloping pitch had anything to do with it we will never know. I was very impressed with Barnet in the first half and the stand out performer for me was Jordan Obita. He is one of the best young wingers I have seen on my travels alongside the two Bennett brothers – now of Norwich and Doncaster.
 In contrast I was very disappointed by the performance of Izale McLeod who never really got involved in the match.
In the second half Barnet couldn’t string together their passes, and Obita was non-existent on the left. Shrewsbury deserved the three points as they dominated in the second half.
What did you make of Underhill as an overall experience?
I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Barnet. The locals didn’t understand my accent, but after we had dealt with the language barriers I had a great day. I wasn't too impressed with the food available. As I am educated in Wigan I know a good pie when I see one, and unfortunately for Barnet, Pukka doesn't cut it for me anymore.
 I really liked how easy it was to reach Underhill from Central London.
 I love the more traditional grounds, and for that reason I put Underhill in my top 5 so far.
Which ground are you visiting next?
I am off to Charlton v Stevenage next weekend. I’ll have to get a house down here soon!

Thanks Joe

You can of course follow Joe on Twitter @JoeBillGibbo, and check out his blog ‘Gibbo’s 92’ for all things Football League: stadium reviews, photos and of course the most important part, pies!

Are you planning on visiting Underhill as part of a ground hop soon? To appear on ‘Two minutes with…’ contact me on Twitter @Lucy_BFC

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