I woke up really early today as I had to take a tube from Paddington to Euston for my train to Birmingham. I went to take a shower and started packing up for the trip today. It was just a day trip but I felt so excited even though I was only half-awake at that time. I filled my bag with my must-haves; my Nintendo 3DS, phone, keys, power bank, purse. All set. I was thinking of bringing my coat instead of my hoodie just in case it gets really cold, but in the end I opted for the hoodie. Bad, bad mistake. I didn’t realise Storm Brian was supposed to hit the UK today.
Anyway, I made my way towards the Paddington Underground Station. There, I took the Bakerloo Line to Oxford Circus, then the Victoria Line to Euston Station. Such a hassle. It would’ve been faster and easier if I had taken the bus straight to Euston, but my tickets to Birmingham had already included London Underground tickets, so why would I waste money on bus? Ah well, it wasn’t that complicated, though I was panicking for a moment, thinking I would miss my train.
I arrived at Euston just in time, about 7 minutes before the train leaves. I got on Coach B and found that there was a person beside my reserved seat. I looked around and saw lots of other available seats, so I just sat at one of the window seats, alone. Looking outside, the Sun was about to peek out. It was about 7am after all. I wanted to stay awake and admire the scenery, but I was still really sleepy so I ended up dozing off while listening to golden child’s songs.
When I woke up, we were almost there. I can’t remember much what happened next, probably because I was still half-asleep. We finally arrived at Birmingham New Street, where I needed to get off and get another Midlands train to Wolverhampton. I was really confused when I entered the station. It wasn’t my first time here, mind you, I’ve been here before to visit a friend and attend a gaming convention. It was, however, my first time taking the Midlands train. I looked around at the gazillion boards and saw Wolverhampton. ‘Platform 6b, leaving in 3 mins’ I was like, what?! I rushed there, but I missed it. I looked at the board again and saw that the next train would leave in about 30 minutes. So I had time to have some breakfast and coffee.
I went to one of the cafes and ordered a salmon breakfast burger with a latte. Hmm. It was quite good. The lady working there was really cheerful and friendly, even when it’s so early in the morning. This may seem trivial, but I love small details like this. I love it when people are friendly, I don’t understand why we rarely have these kinds of service in Malaysia. It doesn’t cost anything to smile and be nice to people.
Anyway, this is getting boring. Let’s go to Wolves! I boarded the train and sat comfortably. After about 30 minutes, we finally arrived at Wolverhampton. On the way out, I chatted with this lady for a bit. She was quite friendly, we talked about the weather today (the only thing the British talks about is the weather). Like I said, I love friendly people. It makes my heart warm in this cold weather. (cringe)
Arrived at Wolves, and immediately greeted by extreme gust of cold wind. Thank you, nice to meet you too. I was shivering. At this point, I’ve already regretted my life decision (i.e. not bringing the coat) I wasn’t sure where I was supposed to go, but as long as there was at least a bit of shelter, then it’s good enough for me. It didn’t take me long to find the town centre (I think)
The first landmark I found was a statue of Prince Albert on a horse. There’s even a plague. Hmm, looks interesting. I wanted to take a picture but since it was too early in the morning, I decided to come back later. Suddenly it started raining lightly. But the problem was the wind, remember? Yes, it was still windy. And yes, it started raining while the wind was there. Here comes the diagonal rain!
Dumb me took out my umbrella and tried to use it but the wind was too strong and it looked like my umbrella was about to break. So I surrendered and saved my umbrella. I saw a Costa café nearby and sprinted there to take cover from the merciless wind. Ah great, I had to buy something, right? Since I’ve entered a café. Hmm, another coffee? Why not.
Chatted to the lady who was making my coffee for a while. Guess what we talked about? Yes, that’s correct. The weather, of course. She said it was really windy when she drove here in the morning as well. Took my coffee and finally sat down in a quiet corner. I played my 3DS for a bit. I had my Monster Hunter Stories with me.
After that, I went outside and discovered that it was still raining. Took cover again by entering a mall. I went to Poundland and Debenhams and other stores there, just for fun. I actually did some shopping. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t in the right state of mind at that time because why would I buy stuffs in Wolves where I could easily find them (and more) in London?! Why?! But somehow I felt more comfortable shopping there than in London. Perhaps because it wasn’t crowded like shops in London? I do hate crowded places.
I went out again and finally found the rain had stopped. Rejoice! I went to the Albert statue earlier and took a picture. I walked around the town. Wolverhampton is a really small town but it feels cosy. I planned on going to the West Park of Wolverhampton (one of, like, only two attractions in Wolves) but I felt like I could probably go there after the match. Bad mistake numero dos. I’ll tell you why later.
I walked pass the St. Peter’s Collegiate Church(the other attraction in Wolves) and saw a guy giving pamphlets about the Bible or something. He gave it to me with a smile. Again, friendly people everywhere. There was a small garden in front of the church. Took pictures like a proper tourist. I continued walking again and found the University of Wolverhampton. Apparently I was just going around the church, as I found its entrance at the back. The Sun started to shine for about 5 seconds, so that was nice.
I walked towards the church and when I was about to leave, a lady came out and invited me in. She said she organised a small concert in the church. It was actually an event about raising awareness on homelessness in Wolves. So I agreed to go. It was about 12.30pm at that time. Learned a bit about the history of the church. The church looked quite nice but it wasn’t anything special. It’s an important piece of Wolverhampton history though.
I spoke to the organiser lady again, told her I’m a student and I came here for the Wolves match at 3pm. We chatted a bit. Again, friendly people. She said the Mayor is coming, the MPs are coming. I guess it was quite an important event. It was a bit boring though, lots of speeches from the politics people. The ‘concert’ was just a guy playing the organ and the piano, followed by some gospel songs. I thoroughly enjoyed it though, especially the lady’s voice. So powerful, so emotional.
It was really nice because I just realised the moment I entered the church, it started raining a lot! So I guess I was seeking shelter at the church. After that ended, they prepared some biscuits and tea. Free food! I took a picture with the Mayor because his chains looked cool, but the photo was blurry.
Okay now for the main event! I left the church and made my way towards the Molineux Stadium. It was really near. The moment I walked out of the church, I saw a guy in a Wolves scarf. Amazing. I followed the crowd and finally saw a glimpse of the Molineux. I can’t describe how I felt. It was the same feeling I had the first time I saw White Hart Lane and entered it. It was surreal. I don’t even support Wolves as much as I do Spurs, but the feelings I felt were identical.
I saw a vendor selling the match programme and realised I didn’t have cash. I asked the cops there if there were any ATMs near, so they said there was an ASDA nearby, just walk along the road and you can see it there. So I did, and I found the ASDA. It was literally across the road from the Molineux. I took out some cash and went to one of the match programme vendors (they were everywhere) and bought one. I walked around the stadium and bought a Wolves pin and a scarf along the way. Finally, I went inside the stadium and made my way towards my seat. It was quite early, most of the fans were still chillin’ outside, so the stadium was quite empty. But it was really pretty, the orange colour really made the stadium stand out. There was a sticker on my seat which spelled out “Season ticket holder”. Hmm that was interesting, the ticket I bought was probably someone else’s before this. I sat down and took some pictures while reading the match programme.
A few minutes later, an old man came and sat next to me. Since we have about 10 minutes until kick-off, I figured I should start making small talks. I started by asking him if a season ticket holder was the original owner of my seat, and he said nahh not at all, no one sat there for the last few years. I was really surprised, so I showed the sticker and he just laughed. “That’s from a while ago, they probably didn’t care enough to remove it”. He went on saying he’s been a season ticket holder since the 1980s. Whoa. “Whenever I want to bring someone to the match, I usually pick this seat (beside him) because no one is here”, he added.
We talked a lot from there on. (I just realised I didn’t catch his name lol or maybe I did, but I’ve forgotten it) Ah well. He was really friendly, he was in his 50s and he lives in Birmingham. He told me about the old days of Wolves, how the stadium has evolved since the first time he saw them. Back then there was only one stand, and the stand has only one tier (now, there are 2 of them in the Molineux). Then there was a corner of the Molineux which was opened when Wolves were in the Premier League, but they’ve closed it since. He said they’d probably re-open it if Wolves get promoted! I asked him about Wolves’ chants, and he taught me the most famous one, which is, when the players get on the pitch, they’ll play a song and at the end the fans would sing “Hi ho, Wolverhampton~!”
The stadium started to fill up. He told me last week’s match against Aston Villa was their highest attendance(~31000), but it doesn’t look like today would break that record. Nevertheless, there were still a lot of fans today, more than usual. (It turns out there were ~28000 fans today. That’s not bad!) I asked him where the Away fans were seated and he said they’re all directly under us (we were on the 2nd level of the Stand). I didn’t know that, so I was quite disappointed I couldn’t physically see them because Away fans are usually feisty and full of spirit.
Finally, the players entered the pitch. A song was played and at the end of the song, the fans cheered “Hi ho, Wolverhampton~!” Itwas so loud! I realised I missed the opportunity to record it but the old guy told me it’s okay, they’ll probably do it again before the second half starts. Wolves didn’t start the game very well, it was all Preston in the first 35 minutes. Whenever Wolves had the ball, Preston pressed really high and made them lose the ball. It was really frustrating but I remembered Preston were also one of the top 6 teams in the Championship right now, so they certainly weren’t pushovers. But just before half time, Wolves got a lucky break and scored! It was totally against the run of play, Preston players must have felt terrible.
At half time, they interviewed someone on the pitch. A former Wolves player who played during the 80s/90s, I think. I got Wolves history lessons from the old guy again lol it was really interesting. He said the player being interviewed wasn’t that good, he was okay-ish during the days. Before the second half started, they did the chant again! And this time I caught it on camera 😀
The second half was all Wolves and they went up 3-0. I thought they were cruising, they could have easily had a 4th goal, but suddenly Preston scored. And suddenly everyone felt nervous. About 10 minutes after that, they scored again, through an own goal. By then, Preston were really fired up and they were looking for the equaliser. It was really nerve-wrecking but the atmosphere was absolutely amazing. I can hear the noise from the Away fans when the score was 3-2, but the Wolves fans did not give up either, so the chants went back and forth.
The last 15 minutes were absolutely crazy. The fans were being loud as usual, but there was a scuffle between the players as well. Because of this, a lot of time was wasted and there was a minimum of 6 minutes of added time. And then even during injury time, there were more scuffles which resulted in one of the PNE players being sent off. Man, what a wild ride. The total playing time probably stretched to 90+10 minutes (obviously we didn’t know, because the clock in the stadium stops at the 90th minute)
In the end, Wolves managed to hold on to the lead and won 3-2. What a relief! I was literally at the edge of my seat towards the end of the match. The fans applauded the players and started to leave. The old guy beside me said goodbye and left early as well. Thanks for all the Wolves history lessons! I waited for the crowd to leave first and I was just admiring the stadium again. This could be the first and last time I am here at the Molineux, so might as well appreciate it longer.
I left the stadium and walked to the train station. Wolverhampton’s city centre is really small, so it didn’t take long to walk from the Molineux to the town centre and then to the train station. When I got there, I realised my train was the last train to London. So I still had a lot of time to kill. Remember when I said I wanted to go to the West Park after the match? Yeah but the problem was it was cold as hell, so I had to scrap that plan. There’s no way I’m walking all the way to the park and back to the station with my pathetic hoodie! Wolverhampton don’t have many tourist attractions, but I still failed to visit one of them today… If only I had brought my coat….
Anyway, I went back to town, went to one of the restaurants and ordered dinner and settled down, just wasting time looking at my phone and playing the 3DS. The adrenaline rush I had from the match still hadn’t completely die down. After about an hour and a half, I left the place and made my way back to the train station. There, I waited, again. It wasn’t that bad, I had my 3DS with me. It was freezing though! And my cold just got worse because of this trip 😦
When I finally got on the train, I was exhausted. I found my reserved seat and it was the one with 4 seats and a table. I just sat down and rested my head on the table and dozed off. (Don’t worry, I kept all my valuable belongings close to me) I woke up when someone asked me if he can sit in the seats in front of me. In my head I was like, “that’s not my seat, why is this guy asking me?” but I just said yeah sure and went back to sleep. He probably did that just to be polite. Thanks. The second time I woke up was when the train stopped at Birmingham New Street (and the guy just now was gone, guess he found another seat or he got off here) and these Fulham fans were filling in the coach. One of them sat in front of me (it was a lady) and I moved my bag (which was on the seat beside me) so that someone can sit there. There were 3 of them travelling together, 2 guys and a lady. The other 2 guys sat beside the lady and the seat beside me. He thanked me for moving my bag and then they started talking.
It was pretty obvious the 2 guys were drunk but they were really nice. The lady was only drinking plain water, so I guess she was sober. I can’t remember what they were talking about but the way they talked made me think they were travelling fans. I think one of them was saying “I f**king hate Chelsea” lol. So I asked them, “Did you guys go for a match today?” And the lady was like, yeah, we did. She told me they’re Fulham fans and they were on their way back from Fulham’s match against Aston Villa. I checked online and apparently they lost the match and John Terry actually scored for Villa. That explains why the guy suddenly said he hates Chelsea lol I mean, Fulham fans in general hate Chelsea, but I thought it was pretty random of him to suddenly say that. Also, one of the guys was randomly saying “We hate Wolves!” because he saw another Wolves fan not far from where we were sitting. Drunk people are kinda funny.
It took me a while, but I then realised the lady was actually wearing a Fulham scarf. They mostly talked among themselves but sometimes they would talk to me and ask me random questions. It was really nice and they were really funny, I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all. I mean, the fact that there was a lady there (and she was sober) helped, I guess. Then I realised I lost my card holder. I had it with me literally a few minutes before (when the Fulham fans came), so I went into panic mode. I think I was still half-asleep at that time, so it was probably just me forgetting where I put it or maybe accidentally dropped it. I didn’t suspect anyone because I knew it was my clumsiness/forgetfulness.
I was searching around, and the 3 of them were like, what happened? Did you lose something? And the guy beside me stood up and sat on the other side to give me space to search. I ducked down and sure enough, it’s there. I guess I accidentally dropped it at some point. I knew it wasn’t stolen because I usually keep it really close to me. Anyway, while I was searching for my stuff, one of the guys saw my Wolves scarf and he was like, “you’re a Wolves fan?! We hate the f**king Wolves!” Hahaha, it was hilarious. I innocently asked the lady “Do Fulham fans hate Wolves?” (maybe there was some random rivalry between them idk) and the lady just said “Nah, they’re just being silly. We hate you guys because you’re doing amazing right now” I guess she was referring to the fact that Wolves were currently top of the league.
I told them it was my first time at the Molineux. I told them I wasn’t a Wolves fan, I just wanted to experience a Championship match, that’s why I went to see Wolves. Then the lady suggested I go to a Fulham match (since I live in London) She told me the Hammersmith Stand is quite good and the price isn’t that bad either. She was really nice, she was really promoting Fulham FC and the area around Craven Cottage (Fulham’s stadium). I’ll probably go next time, when I have the time. Or maybe when Wolves play Fulham at Craven Cottage, I don’t know. It sounds fun.
The train back to London took about 2 hours, so I spent quite some time with these guys. I mostly kept quiet, but the 2 guys were talking non-stop. The worst part was I couldn’t understand anything they said because of their thick accent (and probably because they were drunk). They mostly talked amongst themselves and the lady, but I was there so I was listening as well. The two guys got off at Milton Keynes and the moment they left, it got so much quieter hahaha The lady didn’t talk much after that, probably because she was tired (I know that Away Days feels yo) I was tired as well, so we didn’t talk much all the way to Euston.
When we arrived at Euston, the lady told me “good luck in the future” as she said her goodbyes. I kept on meeting nice people today, I love it. Then I made my way towards the tube and went to Paddington where I walked back home. It was ~12am when I arrived at Paddington Station but the street going towards my house was still lively. It was completely safe, so that was nice. I arrived home safely. Still tired from all the walking and cheering and talking but it was all worthwhile.