When your team loses its 100% record on the first afternoon of the season, you’ll have a distinct sense of being Back to the Future. Some of the players, you realise, belong in Jurassic Park – even the one (usually strolling around the midfield) who thinks he is The Greatest Showman. Out in the fresh air all afternoon, why not spend some more time out of doors and take in a showing of the real thing?
Back to the Future at Crawley (where the away team is Salford 10 Aug)
There must be a crossover between gaming enthusiasts and football fans. Apart from anything else, footballers clearly love gaming. So if you like to swap the screen for the stadium occasionally, here are the towns and cities with something extra for you this August:
LiverpoolSunnyCon Anime Expo on 10/11 Aug (where away fans from Norwich 9 Aug might still be in town)
BarnsleyComic Book Art (Fulham 3 Aug, Charlton 17 Aug, Luton 24 Aug); and at Shrewsbury (Portsmouth 3 Aug, Rotherham 13 Aug, Rochdale 17 Aug, Burton 24 Aug)
ManchesterPower Up (Chelsea 11 Aug, Spurs 17 Aug, Palace 24 Aug, Brighton 31 Aug) and Salford (Stevenage 3 Aug, Leeds 13 Aug, Port Vale 17 Aug, Orient 31 Aug)
This is something of a long shot. Tickets often go quickly for open-air theatre – to watch a play in the gently cooling evening of a summer’s night is such a treat. But if you were planning to follow your team to one of the following destinations, it might be worth checking availability and adjusting the time of your return accordingly:
Alice in Wonderland at Brentford (where the away team is Hull 17 Aug) A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Exeter (Macclesfield 3 Aug) Comedy of Errors at Brighton (West Ham 17 Aug) Frankenstein at Mansfield (Morecambe 10 Aug) Gangsta Granny at Shrewsbury (Portsmouth 3 Aug) Love’s Labours Lost at Northampton (Walsall 3 Aug) Moby Dick on SS Great Britain at Bristol (Tranmere 20 Aug, Oxford 24 Aug) Sense & Sensibility at Sheffield on 23 Aug (Leicester 24 Aug) Theatre on the Square at Accrington (Bury 10 Aug) The Secret Garden at Gillingham (Blackpool 20 Aug) Treasure Island at Peterborough (Ipswich 17 Aug) Twelfth Night at Oxford (Peterborough 10 Aug)
If you can remember far enough back you’ll know what a treat it is to be taken to a match, home or away. But you can earn even more gratitude from your kids if you plan an away game around them. You’ll find summer events through to late August in many towns around the country. The list below is a sample; some are the civic events, but adventure parks, heritage sites and shopping malls will often have similar programmes – check out the destinations at Towns
Is the highlight of your matchday experience the pie at half-time? Did you ever suffer the cheese and onion pastie at Harrogate Town and wonder whether life might not have more to offer? Well, it does, and especially for a few lucky sets of supporters. Food-loving Leeds fans can view the start of the season with particular satisfaction. Their game at Wigan Athletic coincides with a Food Festival and that’s in addition to the justly famous Wigan Tapas. Leeds are also at Stoke during an event called The Big Feast, but that turns out to be an arts and street performance festival. Follow your nose to the following Food Festivals:
Watching two football teams slog it out on a hot August afternoon doesn’t always feel right. Listening to a live band as the sun goes down, a drink in your hand, will restore things to their natural order. There are music festivals and events up and down the country this August; some will require more commitment and time than others, but there are plenty of options. For example, Macclesfield fans who make the long trip to Exeter City on the opening day of the season will be rewarded by Crazy for Soul at the Corn Exchange. Find the possibility that’s appropriate to you:
Sequences 2019 at Bristol (where the away team is QPR 17 Aug)
GlastonFerret at Preston (Sheff Wed 24 Aug)
Livewire at Fleetwood (Accrington 24 Aug)
Shuffle Shuffle at Bradford (Oldham 17 Aug)
Street Music & Theatre at Preston (Wigan 10 Aug)
Victorious at Portsmouth (Rotherham 24 Aug)
Youth Music Festival at Preston (Sheff Wed 24 Aug)
Moseley Folk & Art Festival at Birmingham (Stoke 31 Aug) Shrewsbury Folk Festival (Burton 24 Aug)
Planning to travel to an away game with the family? You’ll spot some obvious seaside attractions early in the season. If you have a game at Brighton, Southend, Morecambe etc, the promise of an ice-cream on the prom will be part of the appeal. (And don’t overlook Grimsby – the Mighty Mariners’ ground is in Cleethorpes – or Fleetwood, a few tram stops from Blackpool.)
But those aren’t the only possibilities. Since the turn of
the century, urban beaches have become popular and they turn up in some pretty
unlikely places. Here’s where you might get sand between your toes this August:
You can’t have failed to notice that it’s the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 this month. The first men to set foot on the moon blasted off from the Kennedy Space Centre on 16 July 1969, landed on the moon on 20 July and returned to earth on 24 July.
If you’re fired up by the media and film coverage, there’s a good possibility you’ll be able to combine an interest in the anniversary with a trip to an away match in the early days of the new season. There are special Apollo 11 events and/or exhibitions in August in (or very near):
Congratulations to England’s 50-over cricket team. But let’s keep a sense of proportion. English sportsmen won World Cups in 1966 and 2003 by outscoring the opposition. The cricketers won thanks to the small print in the Ts&Cs. You’d need the soul of a contract lawyer (or the breathless enthusiasm of a TV presenter) to regard that as a comparable sporting achievement.
What would have been so offensive about having co-champions? The first ICC Champions Trophy (another One-Day International cricket tournament) was shared by India and Sri Lanka. The result on Sunday at Lords – as, not far away, at Wimbledon – was unsatisfactory for being contrived. Cricket used to be a game in which a draw or a tie was an acceptable conclusion. In the most famous case, known as The Timeless Test, England and South Africa slugged it out over nine days, whereupon they declared the result a draw so that the English players could catch their boat home. At the time England were 654 for 5 in their second innings, chasing 696 to win. Another hour’s play would have been enough, but a draw was in their blood.
If the 50-over white-ball triumph has whetted your appetite, the first six weeks of the new football season overlap with the cricket season. On a Saturday afternoon, football and cricket will usually clash. But if you’re traveling a long way and making a weekend of it, you could take in some top-class cricket. Here are a few examples:
Swansea City at Derby, 10 Aug; T20 Blast Derbyshire v Durham, 9 Aug
Luton Town at Cardiff, 10 Aug; T20 Blast Glamorgan v Surrey, 11 Aug
Liverpool at Southampton, on 17 Aug, T20 Blast Hampshire v Surrey 16 Aug
Bristol City at Derby, 20 Aug; County Championship Derbyshire v Gloucestershire, 18-21 Aug
Plymouth Argyle at Northampton, 31 Aug; T20 Blast Northants v Worcestershire, 30 Aug