A big fish to Edge Hill, 11/1/86.
A typical Saturday move with 310’s up to Euston for an 0830 arrival. The usual fester for a roarer followed on a cold but sunny winter’s day. With a lack of inbound roarers I was about to head for the 1010 Crompton out of Waterloo when the rare 85005 arrived on the 0657 Wolves-Euston. With the stock released, 85005 was duly dispatched to buffer end of the holding sidings opposite platform 15 which meant a rest day for her.
85034 then arrived on the next Wolves, whilst 81006 reversed in a lengthy rake of Mk I’s. With 85034 also dispatched to the holding sidings and 1000 approaching it was 81006 or nought! The departure board was showing her as on on a 1L00 1045 footex to Edge Hill. An elderly steward was found who was sociable enough, but insisted I join the QPR travel club before paying out a mere £11-50 for the piece. With said edmonson purchased I deposited my regulation Adidas Bag in Left Luggage and bought a paper to find out where I was going!
I walked past virtually empty stock to join the obligatory front coach. The expected footex crowds never materialised so I sat back to enjoy Mk I Roarer thrash to myself. A Change of guards in Crewe’s middle road saw the Euston man advising “don’t worry there’re all down the back” oh, “apart from one” on spotting me enjoying the noise as the fish accelerated from hum to scream mode.
As we headed round the tight curves approaching Edge Hill I leant out for a final bellow in case she was swapped. Moving back to join the footex crowd I passed through several empty coaches before a locked coach door prevented further movement. Leaping at Edge Hill I was the first to be greeted by some grim-faced Merseyside policemen complete with long clubbing sticks. They asked, “are you QPR”. After a pause I replied, in my best Bush accent “Yeahhh.” 5 Merseyside Travel Atlanteans were lined up so as directed, I joined the first one and went for the obligatory rear seat for the best thrash.
A few funny looks in my direction from a mainly middle aged, middle class consist were ignored. Then a very irate bald steward challenged me in worse than Fickes style…”Why were you sitting at the front of the train?” Tempted to reply “Thrash” I said “sat in first class, mate”. He replied with a “where’s your ticket?” and he was withered with a valid, clean ungripped blue Edmonson number. Still taken aback, he departed with a parting “make sure you sit with the rest of us on the way back”. A few raised eyebrows were exchanged with a few fellow footex passengers; god knows what the Millwall stewards were like.
3 buses moved off towards the Anfield area with the other 2 going emcars as they were not needed. Our police escort saw flashing lights, sirens and all traffic lights were ignored! We were deposited outside Goodison 15 minutes later and I hoped Everton didn’t operate a members only scheme like lovely Luton Town were. Fortunately it wasn’t and for around £5 I was back at my first top-flight game since the Swans had been flying high in the 1981.
A reasonable gathering of QPR fans were on the small South terrace with a good few more in the stand behind. Engrossed in my program a few other QPR fans exchaged words, a sociable enough bunch. An exciting game followed, Robbie James of Swansea stardom looked a bit slow but with QPR going 2 nil up there was much celebration on our terrace. Unfortunately this wasn’t to last as a classy Everton side struck back to eventually win 4-3.
We quietly rejammed the three buses and a repeat of the OTT police escort followed through the darkened streets of Anfield. Once at Edge Hill the police left us to line up against the wall whilst eventually a railwayman opened the gates. In this time, some of the “crowd” were worried about attacks from the locals…. Nought happened.
Back at Edge Hill’s deserted platforms 3 and 4 the 08 pulled the stock out and we were all ushered to sit nearish the front. The roarer’s blowers could be heard snorting at the 08 to “get out” then we departed, as booked, around 1725. A bloke and his son sat opposite but said nought whilst two younger chaps were engaged in “their first away game” but I didn’t join as I had been to Arsenal v QPR back in 78!
Near Rugby 81006 was flying with our stock rocking violently merely raising a few supporters eyebrows rather than “what a hellfire beast this fish is!” I opted against a bellow with Mr Sociable Steward not far away. Back at Euston the boys returned to ‘The Bush’ whilst I reunited with my bashing bag headed home on a 310. Mr Chapman a few days later tried the usual put you down in that 85034 had indeed returned to Wolves late that morning but I knew I had a real day with a difference.