It was a very strange day, that, actually. I get overwhelmed by travel - especially delays on crowded trains - and crowds so to address it I decided to teach myself the West Midlands in 18 hours. Once there, I advanced through the bullring through the tunnel and back and jumped on a bus to West Bromwich. It was a very round about route through teenage wastelands but ultimately I ended up in West Brom market talking to elderly locals while pretending to be a journalist.
Then it was onto their metro and Wolverhampton where it took me an age to find the Moulinex stadium. It's very smart for a modern building and it does look like a food mixer. The old gold shirts were in abundance - I quite like Wolves and West Brom - but I knew that I was going to the Villa so had to race back. Busting for a piss, I waited outside one of those European bogs in the town centre for 25 minutes as the woman in front of me banged repeatedly on the door and asked if the girl inside was injecting heroin. In the end I gave up.
Just as I went to get the metro system back, the belt on my shorts broke so for the rest of the day I had the waistband of my pants showing and more. Gangnam-style. Once I would have been concerned. In those hours, I just felt young, gifted and black although as an older not very bright white guy that could have been potentially a problem for shopping mall security .
Finding a toilet in New Street on a Saturday afternoon when half of Brum is there is an absolute nightmare and all of the bright lights nearly brought on one of my contortions. I had to throw myself on to the train to Witton which was heaving and, while I was sober everyone else was as pissed as a parrot, so at least I knew if my shorts fell down there no one would give a toss.
The coppers were very good on that day. I find they are mostly. On my arrival I was amazed to find that there was still time for a pint and headed for the main Villa pub. They asked me if I was a Villa supporter as it was strictly for Villa supporters only. I was honest. I said "I am on this day". They laughed and let me in. I was so, so impressed with the stadium. I love the stadium. I would say it is now one of the best stadiums in this country and I really hope that they won't with success ruin it.
Sadly the Express and Star in West Brom has not accepted my piece although I was prepared to waive any fees. But that's the media for you. Look at Adrian C. But given the wonderful reception I received at the vegetable stalls, I doubt that there are too many pricks at the Hawthorns. Whatever, when you're smiling, the Holte End smiles with you.