As well as the reception accorded to the Jones family on Tuesday, I was intrigued to see how much had changed about the match-going experience. Travelling there hadn't. Getting off the train at Bankhall, I walked the rest of the way with many others. Even as I approached Walton Breck Road, the old pubs were heaving, despite the smoking ban. There was still the dubious aroma of the hot dog stands, the hearty laughter of rotund individuals in replica shirts outside the Salisbury pub & the wide-eyed wonder of small children as they looked around.
Inside the ground, little had changed The sausage rolls were as greasy (& overpriced) as ever. It was only when I looked at the Kop that it hit me. Last time I'd been there, the old terrace still stood. Now, an expanse of seats occupied that space. It seemed surreal, I had to gaze at it for a few moments to take it in. Of course, I'd seen it countless times on TV. However, seeing it for myself made me recall childhood memories; my late father took me on to the Kop when I was 18 months' old.
I don't think it's going to be a trend, but I'll be back there tomorow for the league game against Derby County.