Arrive at Leyton Orient at 2.45pm to attend a home match for the first in three years. Due to a serious traffic accident on the A406, opponents Hartlepool are delayed and at 3.30pm the match is officially cancelled.
(Its a shame their are no Olympic Lanes on the A406)
Ironically, in April I wrote a spoof about Orient fans getting lost on route to Hartlepool.
After telling my friend that I was at Leyton Orient on saturday (see above) I am asked to buy her ticket for the big Cup match on Wednesday v Everton and post them to her (in Manchester) on Monday. Later realise Monday is a Bank Holiday. The tickets should still arrive if posted by recorded delivery on Tuesday, but my friend who works in the mail industry says this could be affected by early collection times because of 'The Olympics'.
I could ask my London based friends who are going to the match to take the ticket and meet Manchester based friend. Against my better judgement, and a poll of spoof writers, I decide to go to Everton by the official supporters club coach. Hey, if Orient win (you know, by penalties against a weakened Everton team) at least I can say I was there.
Arrive at Leyton unusually early (for me) at 12.50pm for a 1pm departure. At 1pm coach has not arrived. 'Olympic Traffic' is blamed, as tonight down the road in Stratford is the Paralympic Opening Ceremony. This should not come as a surprise to coach company who are coming from Tower Bridge Road (South London side). Everyone in London and indeed the world has known about The Paralympics in East London since 2005. Coach eventually arrives at 1.50pm - 50 minutes late.
After one hour on the motorway, there is a problem with the windscreen wiper on the drivers side. Driver pulls over to hard shoulder. Speaks to company on phone. The words "We knew this was faulty - it should have been fixed beforehand" were used. Oh dear. Assistance called. Around an hour later the repairman arrives. He looks like Steve Redgrave's less famous brother. Fixed in 15 minutes - we are on our way - almost 2 hours behind schedule.
Driver assures us we have 180 miles to ground in three hours, we should arrive on time. Within 15 minutes we are caught in rush hour traffic. IT DOES NOT LOOK GOOD. Sat nav ETA says 7.40pm. Match kicks off 7.45pm.
We take the toll road and pick up speed, eventually crawling into the Liverpool area, its going to be touch and go. Then a tweet from the official Leyton Orient twitter feed "The match has been put back to 8pm kick off because of large crowds outside the ground" Not because of 37 LOFC supporters on a coach, but hey, we'll take it.
Our coach arrives opposite the ground is directed to park.
We wade through 'thousands' of Evertonians still queueing to collect pre-booked match tickets. Seems the Bank Holiday hampered their delivery as well. I meet friend, and we arrive in ground at 7.50pm. The crowd of 24,000 ends up being the largest attendance of the League Cup 2nd round.
Everton open the scoring on 15 minutes. 32 minutes into the game and Orient are 4-0 down. (How did that open? WTF JUST HAPPENED?) Should have stayed at home to watch the Opening Ceremony. At least I won't get into trouble of Frankie Boyle style proportions by making an inappropriate 'comment' on twitter. Final score 5-0. Against a less than full strength Everton. Imagine what it could have been if Fellaini played?
Back to coach for the approximate 4 hour journey back to London. Due to commercial driving laws(?) our driver cannot take us all the way and we have to have a changeover. Having known about this, you might think the new driver would be at arranged meeting point before us, but no, another half an hour delay. We eventually make it back into London and Leyton for 3.20am. As a freelance I am lucky, but my friend had to be in work at 10am.
What did we learn from tonight? You really did(n't) have to be there!