Saturday's game at Hatches Farm with Wellow was postponed due to a frozen pitch, but that didn't stop Burridge enjoying an evening out in Bournemouth.
It is 7pm on Saturday evening and Burridge manager, Paul Dyke, is going through his pockets whilst sat in the driving seat of a hired mini bus. He has volunteered to drive us, the Burridge squad, down the M27 to Bournemouth for our Christmas night out, which he has organised. We are parked in a lay-by outside the West End Brewery, a pub in the eastern suburbs of Southampton, that we have just left, having spent the previous two hours in, stopping from time to time to point at the TV screen showing Ipswich Town play in a snow blizzard against Leicester City, whose manager, Sven-Goran Eriksson, with the hood of his jacket pulled up over his head, looked unlikely to find the strength to make it through the night. We talk loudly between ourselves whilst jostling for a seat, and helping ourselves to cans of Fosters from the front seat, waiting for Dykey to set off; there's just one problem, he cannot find the keys to the ignition.
Wearing a green short sleeved shirt, despite the sub zero conditions, Dyke quickly singles out Ben Rowe, who is sat at the back of the bus, as his prime suspect. Rowe strongly denies all knowledge of the whereabouts of the keys, insisting that the bus had been left unlocked. The squabble that follows between us all serves as a cast iron certainty that the 36 mile journey from West End to Bournemouth is going to be an arduous one, if indeed it gets going at all. Missing from the trip is Dan Allen, who is too young to drink, Kristian Hewitt, who is bed ridden with flu, and Paul Andrews, whose frank assessment was he really didn't fancy getting a mini-bus home at three in the morning with us lot. We are one passenger light in Dan Esfandiari, who after much deliberation finally decided on having a dump in the pub before setting off. On his way out he noticed the keys to the mini bus laying alongside the empty pint glasses on the dark pine table that we had stood surrounded around only minutes earlier. He handed them to Dyke through the driver side window. Finally we could get on with a night of reckless excess.
Bournemouth was chosen as our destination to minimise the chances of any Irish good-byes, whereupon those too drunk to continue their evening disappear into the night without so much as any warning or a reply on their mobile. We were bound together for the duration of the evening, for good or ill. Dyke remained adamant that if a single snow flake fell he would be obliged for reasons of safety to drive back. It didn't snow, but the conditions on the roads were still dicey after the dusting of snow we'd had earlier in the day, and at times our vehicle's tyres struggled to maintain any grip onto the road. Driving in these conditions can be a cause for concern for the driver, but with a bus full of drunk passengers on board you don't worry about having an accident, you fantasise about it.
The first place we visited was called the Brass House, a large bar thats lack of any other people inside it minimised the chances of getting into any bother. Kev Willsher fought manfully for the prize of most inappropriate footwear, in a pair of thin white canvass plimsolls, but narrowly lost out to Jason Wilson's black espadrilles, that naturally, he wore without any sock. Whilst they looked sharp with his non pleated cream chinos, they offered little to no grip on the pavements, that due to the weather conditions were closer in resemblance to an ice rink. The rest of the evening rapidly descended into the usual alcohol induced race to oblivion, so regrettably I am unable to divulge any further information. Hopefully, there will be some football to report on in the New Year. Happy Christmas.
Click here to see how each Burridge player faired in 2010.