We’ll move away from the trials and tribulations of Sheffield United for a week and instead bring you a good news story, says Matthew Bell.
There has been trouble at Wolves before, and we heard there might be some this time too, but we knew we would be nowhere near it.
We were headed for the Great Western, a traditional old pub pretty close to the railway station but tucked away enough so that those not sufficiently intelligent to seek it out would never find it.
We’ve been going there whenever we play Wolves since about 1988.
But I know that when they were in the Premier League it was ‘home fans only’, so we weren’t sure we would be able to get in.
As we approached the pub a middle-aged man in a fluorescent jacket (I wouldn’t call him a bouncer) came across the road to speak to us. We thought, here we go, we’re not getting in.
He asked: ‘Are you Blades?’ Unable to do the accent, we could not lie: ‘Yes.’ ‘Well,’ he replied. ‘You’re welcome here if don’t cause any trouble.’ Said I: ‘We’ve been coming here over 20 years and have never caused any trouble.’
We entered to find the usual Blades crowd, who always seem to be in the same pub we go in. It’s called good taste.
They had even saved us some seats, expecting that we’d show up.
All around were other Blades fans and Wolves fans of all ages mingling without a hint of animosity or a cross word.
The beer is great, the cheese and onion sandwiches take your breath away (the cheddar is about an inch thick).
And so two marvellous hours were spent. Unfortunately the next two hours were not so good.
And after the match we could see the police had their hands full near the coach park so we steered well clear by skirting around the periphery, wondering what they all get out of it.
This isn’t how it should be – it should be like in the Great Western, where everybody gets on famously no matter their allegiance.
Some might not believe it, but the vast majority of football fans are normal, civilised people.