Published: May 13th 2012April 29th 2012
I never thought I would end up blogging about Barnsley!
Every year fans of Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club
gather for the final game of the football season. This has become known as the Seagulls Flying Squad and this year's host club was Barnsley. Oh well, we shrugged off the disappointment and booked our flights back from Vietnam anyway.
Now, most people would probably not think of Barnsley as a place for a weekend away, let alone an excuse to fly back from Canada, Malaysia or Vietnam. We were pleasantly surprised with what we saw, but horrified as the temperatures struggled to reach five degrees! Don't knock it. The Premier Inn
is very well located and pretty cheap - unlike the bar next door. Still, when you buy a round for 10 or so people and the barman can't remember what you ordered to put it in the till, it's bound to be a bargain!
We enjoyed wandering around Barnsley and even though it was cold the sun was shining. The locals seemed surprised as we stopped frequently to take photos. The Town Hall is particularly impressive but we weren't really sure about the mural outside
The White Bear. does it mean that Yorkshire-men are regressing towards Neanderthals? The shopping area was typical "Life in a Northern Town" stuff but provided what we needed. There was a funny moment when some young kids were having their photos taken on a couple of donkeys and suddenly the donkeys made a dash for freedom!
The main focus of the weekend was supposed to be the football but Brighton's shocking decline from 4th placed at the beginning of March to mid-table obscurity meant it was all about the social event of The Flying Squad. It's a good job too as the match was awful, ridiculously expensive and too wet and cold for us. The chicken balti pies were nice though!!! Another cheerful memory will be the fancy dress that many visiting fans wore. Most impressive!
On the social side 20-odd of us went out for an Indian on the Friday night. As we went into the restaurant the general impression was "wow, this is a bit posh for Barnsley!" and the food certainly lived up to expectations. the service was excellent and the prices represented exceptional value. We can certainly recommend Chilli
for a superb meal.
On the Saturday a few of us gathered in Wetherspoons for a pre-match pint. Only one mind, because some idiot thought a 12.30 kick-off was a good idea. The authorities know how to spoil a good day out for a crap match! Whilst supping our pints we were joined by a chap from Barnsley but we had left our interpreter at home! We don't normally have such problems understanding our fellow countrymen but this chap's accent was extraordinary!
After the match we had a good rest before 30-plus of us gathered at The Grille Steakhouse.
Bizarrely this restaurant is owned by the same people who run the curry house and they are brilliant at dealing with big parties. The steak was a throwback to our time in Argentina, such was our delight at the succulence of the meat and the expertise in cooking it. Following the meal there was a short speech and then Neil read out one of his famous poems. It's worth having a look at Youtube to see just how good he is. The link, for some reason, appears at the top of the blog! We even got a mention as we seem to return from
a different country every year for these weekends.
Sunday came and it was time to say goodbye to everyone for another year. There was a fine drizzle in the air and the temperature gauge stood at a lowly three degrees. What a horrible day. When we got to the hire car, it turned out I had left the window wound down all weekend. Salt-of-the-Earth, these Barnsley people, or maybe there was just nothing worth nicking inside the car! What a lucky escape!!!!
There are more photos below