Jane Stuart – Writer

Writing about real life Up North: football, ale, food and mental health – with a good dash of humour.

Blackpool v Accrington Stanley & Blackpool v Ipswich Town: It’s Not Easy Being Tangerine

Dear reader, it’s not been a good week.

I hadn’t slept well on Monday night, so wasn’t in the best of spirits on Tuesday. I struggled through the day, only to be greeted at teatime with an extortionate bill that I wasn’t expecting. Never a good thing – and quite a shock. Frankly, I just wanted to curl up into a ball and cry. But no. There’s a match tonight. Just the tonic.

Football: know your place. It is your job to entertain me and distract me from the stresses of everyday life.

Blackpool v Accrington Stanley

It was the EFL Trophy tonight. I don’t know who the sponsors are any more and I don’t care. I don’t like them because without them we might not have to play in this stupid competition this season.

We’re playing Accy. We look ok for a bit. Bez looks the best we’ve seen him. We lose on penalties. Here’s our watchalong:

The WiFi went down at LCTV Towers on Thursday and we didn’t realise quite how much we relied on it – especially since lockdown. I encountered great difficulty working from home on a Hotspot. It was very stressful.

‘Alexa, play me something soothing.’

‘Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!’

Of course she wasn’t working either.

No Netflix that evening. Grr. We’re really enjoying a good few series at the moment: Snowpiercer (a modern day Noah’s Ark), Better Than Us (an AI robot thing set in Russia) and Ratched (prequel to One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest).

Tonight I had to settle for re-runs of Big Bang Theory (why did I never notice the annoying canned laughter before?). Oh there’s football on? Nah. Had enough of that on Tuesday night.

I must confess I did enjoy the temporary freedom from social media and bonus study time afforded by lack of WiFi. I’m now already a week ahead with my OU course and we’re only a week in.

Bad days are also bad days for the diet. I comfort eat (and drink) when I’m struggling. We made an emergency trip to Booths for beer – and came home with these, which are AMAZING.

Like mince pies but slices instead of pies and gingerbread instead of pastry.

We also had a Domino’s Pizza. Perhaps they should sponsor the football, because it is contributing towards my desire to comfort eat at the moment.

On Friday morning the WiFi just randomly started working again and all was good with the world. I decided I wasn’t going to let anything get me down today and asked Alexa to belt this one out:

Our new WiFi router arrived and we installed it in the hope that would settle things down in the tech department.

And then came Saturday…

Blackpool v Ipswich Town

I wasn’t even looking forward to this one. I really wanted to be heading out to a local non league match while I still could. I enjoy myself every time at a non league match and meet so many interesting people (and dogs) at grounds with character. But, as always, I find I’ve tied myself into watching Blackpool because it’s what I do. I’ve been here before – going to matches purely because I was writing a column on Blackpool for Shoot, not because I actually wanted to go to matches. Back then, I eventually stopped going. And now I find myself doing these watchalongs with Lee when I don’t really want to be watching along myself. You see, dear reader, the football is no good any more. And TV football is only the football. No characters, no atmosphere, no people, no chants, no chance encounters, no pub pre- or post-match, no travelling, no experience. Just football. Blackpool FC are not doing enough to engage with the fans and frankly it’s hard going.

I spent the morning working on my book, which I’m really enjoying researching and writing. I wanted to continue with it but time ran away with me and very soon it was time for the match. Woo.

Dear reader, it was shit. We were 3-0 down before half time and, if I’d been at the ground, I would have got out of my seat early and escaped under the stand for a bit. I didn’t want to look at them. Fuck #LetFansIn – I’d rather stay at home so they take up the minimum time (and expense) possible out of my day. I wanted to turn off iFollow but we were committed to the watchalong, so we suffered the rest of the match.

It’s hard at times like this to keep our spirits up and keep viewers entertained. I thought back to what I would do to entertain myself during matches through the Nigel Worthington years and started thinking up games to distract us from the match. It was I Spy this week. Our viewers immediately engaged:

‘I spy with my little eye something beginning with PP.’

‘Piss poor?’

Perhaps we’ll throw in some football quizzes in the coming weeks.

I’d cracked open a beer before the end of the match because, hey, I was watching from home so I could. It finished 4-1 to Ipswich so yay we drew the second half.

Enough was enough and I had a couple more beers, two pieces of Christmas cake, two gingerbread slices and a curry. The latter was homemade with fresh, Slimming World friendly ingredients, though, so at least I wasn’t completely abandoning the diet.

We spent the evening getting magician fatigue and watching a lot of adverts during the Britain’s Got Talent final. We were rooting for local star man Steve Royle (Blackpool panto legend).

Of course the way our week was going, it was never going to end on a high, so we headed back to Netflix for some quality drama. Let’s hope we see some of that back on the pitch at Bloomfield Road soon…

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