Blog number sixteen in the #Doingthe92 challenge is a visit to Globe Arena, home of League 2’s Morecambe. Like Stevenage the week before, there wasn’t much for both teams to play for when I bought my ticket but as the weeks went on, Southend had clawed their way into 3rd and a victory over Morecambe could send them up to League One. A draw or loss would mean Bury would take their spot and Southend would be in the play-offs. If that wasn’t enough to keep things interesting, Morecambe had announced the Wednesday prior to the game that Steward Drummond would be retiring after 16 years at the club over two spells. Then things got more interesting. I got a phone call from Morecambe who told me that the stand I had booked was originally for Morecambe fans but because Southend sold approximately 2800 tickets, the club asked if I wanted to move to a different stand or “pretend to be a Southend fan”. I decided to stay and be a Southend fan. With everything sorted for the game, there was nothing left to do but wait for May 2nd to arrive.
As I made my way to Morecambe, I took the train which took me around the Peak District. The only downside to this was that the journey felt like it took forever. It took nearly 3 hours to get to Morecambe! When I finally arrived in Morecambe, there were a few Southend fans that were on my train already singing and getting drunk. I should note that I arrived in Morecambe at around 10am. 10am and fans were already looking forward to the game.
The first thing I noticed was the Blockbuster Video sign next to the train station. Blockbuster no longer exists so the shop is now a Domino’s Pizza but they kept the sign up. As I wandered around killing time and trying to avoid the rain, I couldn’t really find much to do. I wanted to save my money for the game and spend any loose change I had on the 2p machines after the game.
I also noticed that there weren’t any signposts telling people where the ground is. When I asked someone at the tourist information center where the ground was, their response was “I don’t know”. Eventually I found the ground located next to a caravan site after using the map on my phone. It didn’t take long for Southend fans to fill the pub next to the ground. It got to the point where security had to turn fans away because they were overcrowded.
I found my stand and noticed that it had no roof. A terrace stand with no roof… and it’s raining! I wasn’t looking forward to it. Things were made worse when fans packed both the North Terrace and the Bay Radio Stand. They brought so many fans that some of them ended up in the South Stand. As I mentioned, approximately 2800 fans turned up to the game. The overall attendance was 4108. This is the first time I had ever seen away fans outnumber the home fans. That and the Morecambe fans didn’t fill up their stands until it was time for the game to kick off. And Southend fans were in full force.
Rather than dress up, with the exception of one fan that came dressed as a French maid, Southend fans decided to bring anything and everything that was inflatable. Balloons, aliens, kangaroos…. and many sex dolls. Or as someone on my Facebook put it, “their girlfriends”. As the players were warming up, Southend fans were constantly chanting for Adam Barrett. Barrett re-joined Southend in January from Gillingham and fans were quick to make him a legend at the club. He had previously spent 6 years with them between 2004/2010 before moving to Crystal Palace making 251 appearances for The Shrimpers, scoring 27 goals along the way.
The game kicked off it didn’t take long for Morecambe to spoil Southend’s hopes and dreams of automatic promotion as Jack Redshaw scored the opening goal after 4 minutes. However, things quickly turned around as Southend would equalise after 10 minutes thanks to Jack Payne. The only other thing that happened in the first half was that Gary Deegan got yellow carded after 30 minutes.
During half time, someone got word that Bury were losing to relegated Tranmere Rovers. Turns out that someone was lying and this clearly caused Southend to be less defensive in the second half. It didn’t take long for Morecambe to exploit those defensive errors as Aaron Wildig made it 2-1 to Morecambe after 54 minutes. Then things got worse. Not only had Bury scored to take Southend’s automatic promotion spot, but Morecambe scored a third goal after 66 minutes thanks to Jamie Devitt.
Shortly after, Morecambe made their first substitution of the game taking off Andrew Fleming and bringing on Stewart Drummond to play a little over 20 minutes of the game that was left. As the game drew closer and closer to the final whistle, Southend fans were irate and pissed off that they were losing. They were so pissed that they took their frustrations out by kicking the advertisement boarders.
No matter how many times Southend had a shot on target, they were denied constantly by Morecambe’s goalkeeper, Andreas Arestidou, who made some great saves throughout the game. The final whistle went and Morecambe were the winners, 3-1 meaning club legend Stewart Drummond could retire with one more victory under his belt.
Southend’s response to losing was storming onto the pitch while trying to pick fights with security. With the game over and done with, I had a nightmare trying to find Morecambe’s beaches. I asked a police officer who gave me directions that took me through some rough parts of Morecambe. Eventually I made it back to Morecambe with a little over an hour to kill before my booked train home arrived. So what better way to kill time than to try my luck on the 2p machines. And luck I had as I won two Despicable Me minion pins which I decided to give away to my mum as a present. A crap present I know but it’s something. At least she smiled when I gave them to her.
Overall, I had a lot of fun in Morecambe. The only downsides would be the weather, the way Southend fans reacted to losing making me feel unsafe and the town making it really hard for me to find the ground. If you are planning on visiting the ground next season, you’d better bring directions with you or a sat-nav. The game itself was great to watch throughout and wouldn’t mind visiting the ground again when the weather is nicer. If you have any recommendations on where I should visit at the start of next season, then let me know where I should go on Twitter @DanWhite1993. My final visit this season is a trip to London’s Selhurst Park, home of Crystal Palace, for Julian Speroni’s Testimonial against his former team, Dundee FC.
Here are the full stats about the game
Team Visited – Morecambe
Taking on – Southend United
Venue – Globe Arena
Date Visited – May 2nd 2015
Overall Attendance – 4108
Score – Morecambe 3-1 Southend United
Goal Scorers – Morecambe – Jack Redshaw (4), Aaron Wildig (54), Jamie Devitt (66)
Goal Scorer – Southend United – Jack Payne (10)
Yellow Cards – Southend United – Gary Deegan (30)
17th – Crystal Palace (May 26th – Julian Speroni’s Testimonial vs. Dundee FC)