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DONE THE 92

 

Done the 92 questionnaire – Damian mcentegart (MCENTEGART)

Damian McEntegart
Damian on the pitch at Exeter

  • How many grounds had you visited before you realised you wanted to do the lot?
  • I can remember the exact moment in 1984! It was after 30 grounds.

     

  • Did you choose the last ground you were going to visit or did it just pan out that way?
  • My last few grounds were based largely on the distance to travel. Exeter was the furthest away.

          

  • Did you have company for some or all of it – were you in competition with anyone else and what happened to them?
  • For the matches themselves I generally went by myself for the last 50 grounds but my late wife Julia accompanied me on many of the trips; a couple of girlfriends accompanied me for some of the first 40 grounds. Julia didn't like football but would enjoy exploring the town and shopping, particularly if it had an M&S and John Lewis. She really enjoyed some of the towns - to mention just a few – Torquay, Cardiff, Plymouth and Cheltenham. The towns associated with some clubs were real dumps but this didn't stop her accompanying me and we had some great weekend breaks. It was very poignant for me to finish with Exeter which she would have loved.

     

  • How many had you done when you thought ‘Right, I’m going to finish this now’?
  • Julia died at the start of the 2014-15 season and I decided to finish the 92 in the same season in her honour.

     

  • Obvious question but, best day out?
  • It has to be the two final day relegation matches where the teams I was supporting stayed up. The first was the infamous and controversial Coventry vs Bristol City match in 1977 which kicked off 10 minutes late and allowed the teams to play out the last 5 minutes without competing after the news that Sunderland had lost came through. The second was Wigan’s win at Stoke in 2011 which kept them up.

     

  • Did you manage to do more than one ground in a day at any point?
  • Yes did that twice. One of the occasions was on Boxing day to escape the mother in law! (Just kidding but it was a Boxing day escape).

     

  • Apart from non-League football at the moment, what does Plainmoor have that the Emirates never will?
  • For me it has to be the memory of my 25th Wedding Anniversary. Torquay were in danger of dropping out of league on the last day of the season and I hadn’t been there. My late, long suffering, darling wife Julia agreed we could spend our 25th Wedding Anniversary weekend there so I could take in the game. Of course we stayed in the best hotel and had champagne and all the trimmings and generally had a lovely weekend. Torquay stayed up and I ran on the pitch with home fans at the end.

     

  • Did you ever turn up to find the game wasn’t on, or that you’d gone to the wrong ground?
  • No but when I got to Blackburn for a game I realised I had been there 20 years earlier to see an FA Trophy replay involving Wigan. How annoying was that? On the plus side I had travelled without a ticket and couldn’t find a tout to buy one off (big promotion match against Leeds). As I began to trudge away disconsolately, a man came up to me and said he had a spare ticket and gave it to me and wouldn’t take any money.

     

  • Best/worst food on your travels?
  • I generally don’t buy food in the ground – I value my health!

     

  • Do you still call ‘League One’ ‘Division Three’?
  • Yes I’m a dinosaur.

     

  •  Most and least welcoming hosts?
  • Most welcoming hosts were definitely Exeter who were my last ground. They arranged for me to do the half time prize draw on the pitch and took an official photo (displayed above); this made the day even more special. The officials and supporters were all so friendly. Least welcoming host has to be Manchester United – see below.

     

  • Any bizarre incidents along the way. Any brushes with anyone famous/infamous?
  • Just a few striking memories in no particular order have included:

    (1) Newcastle where I was the only away Bristol Rovers supporter as the coaches got turned back at Birmingham due to snow and Ii got personalised abuse from 30,000 fans and my own police escort out of the ground. The home fans even shortened the usual chorus about freaking heads being kicked in to the singular which was quite inventive of them.
    (2) Carlisle where I was stopped on the turnstile search but they were persuaded by my arguments and let me in despite me carrying a container with 7 pints of clearly labelled radioactive urine (I was on a clinical trial that used a radioactive marker to label all excretions. I guess they are used to radioactivity around there!).
    (3) Getting up off my sickbed to attend Luton vs Everton. I had chickenpox and looked absolutely dreadful. People wouldn’t sit near me and I kid you not.
    (4) Lowlights have included being punched at Anfield and Old Trafford, having the fur on my Parka hood set on fire at Old Trafford in the Stretford End and being pelted with coins at West Brom – all in the 70s.
    (5) Hitching a lift to Villa Park to see a Liverpool vs Leicester semi-final replay in the 70s. I was offered a lift back but couldn’t find the car and slept on a bench at Birmingham station. There was massive pile up on M6 on way back and my parents were worried sick as I hadn’t told them I wouldn’t be back that evening.

     

  • Now you’ve joined the small band of 92ers do you plan to keep visiting new grounds as they are introduced to the League, or do you consider it to be a one-off, job-done deal?
  • What a question –has anyone ever answered no? I will definitely keep up to date with new grounds and looking forward to seeing West Ham play at the Olympic Stadium.

     

  • What was your memento/proof of each visit – programme, photo, ticket stub, badge?
  • Programme and latterly ticket stub.

     

     

     


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