Friday 15 November 2013

My Worst Away Match Is....

We asked exiled fans to reveal their worst experiences of following Chester away from home. Here, Sue Choularton talks about her travelling nightmares as a Chester fan. Have you had it worse? Send in your stories to

I've thought long and hard about my worst away match as a Chester fan, and concluded that the day had to involve more than just a poor performance and result. Chester seem most likely to let you down when you've made a monumental effort to get to a match, or bring a non-Chester friend along with you. I also think it's compulsory that a 'worst ever match' has to happen at winter - when there's no crumb of comfort of a day out in the sunshine. I ruled out a couple of contenders before reaching my decision.

My first thought had to be Lincoln City in the Associate Members' Cup on January 11, 1994. It was a Tuesday night KO and I was travelling there and back from the Bristol area. I remember persuading my mum it was a lovely city and a day out there could be her birthday treat. The last thing on my mind was getting back in the small hours and needing to be in work the next day.

As this isn't my worst match, I'll cut a long story short-ish. Yes, we had a lovely day in Lincoln. But that was before my car broke down on the way to the ground. Rather than going to the match (which we lost 1-0) I had my car towed to a Lincoln garage to be told some major part (I can't remember which one) had gone kapputt and my poor motor was towed back to Bristol, with me and my mum sitting in the tow driver's cab. All the time my car was being checked, I could see the floodlights. I think we got back about 3am, and I was not popular!

My second choice was the 6-0 defeat to Cardiff in the FA Cup on November 14, 1998. By now I was working Thursdays-Sundays and could only have a Saturday off by taking the whole week off. So yes, I took a whole week off work in November for that match. We were 2-0 down in 15 minutes. The only highlight was seeing Martyn Lancaster make a half-decent job of his debut, or else that might have been my number one choice.

So my worst ever match?....It goes to Dagenham & Redbridge v Chester on February 12, 2008. I picked this one for the simple reason that I dragged a work colleague along with me. It was another evening KO and about 34 tedious stops along the District Line to get there from our West London office.

Quite simply I was embarrassed when we went 3-0 down inside barely 20 minutes. Not only that, but there was a freezing fog and there were only 147 Chester fans there. So the atmosphere was morbid to say the least. I've almost wiped the actual match from my mind, but I know we lost 6-2, with a couple of consolation goals from Kevin Roberts and John Murphy. But that didn't help my miserable feeling as we sat back on the tube and I couldn't look my friend in the eye. It was not anyone's idea of an entertaining evening, as you can see in the faces of the Exiles below.

I'll say this for my friend though. He did attend another Chester match - this time the match at Aldershot which sealed our relegation to the Conference the second time around. I'd better make sure he doesn't show his face at the 'business end' of this season!

Sue Choularton