Frankie goes to... Torquay with Hartlepool United

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I was well chuffed when this game was announced allowing me to have a mini-break in the English Riviera.

Pools’ battles with Torquay United over the years have always been eagerly awaited by travelling Hartlepool fans – well who wouldn’t want a long weekend away from the wife and kids?

Setting off early for the long drive, well it is over 360 miles one way (more on that later), it’s dual-carriageway and motorway all the way with not a lot to look at until you’re about three miles away from the ground.

You hit that roundabout with the famous ‘Welcome to the English Riviera’ sign and start spotting a few palm trees in gardens as you get close to the ground. It’s just like what we’ve got on the Brus Roundabout then!

Torquay’s ground is situated in Babbacombe, slightly to the north of Torquay itself, in among many rows of street houses, very similar in fact to York City’s ground.

When inside Plainmoor you first notice the new £2m stand ,which holds the dressing rooms and fitness suite among other things – rather impressive it is too.

This is where the travelling Poolies were situated under the warm summer sun. Once again, what a great credit the Pools fans were to the club. They may have been small in number but for large parts of the game managed to out sing the 2,000 plus Torquay fans inside the ground.

One of the quaint things about Plainmoor is that the director’s box is behind the goal at the traditional home end, rather unique I think you’ll agree. Wonder what happens to the prawn sandwiches when yet another shot goes flying past your head in there?

The opposite end of the ground lacks in any real atmosphere as the stand behind this goal was empty, it’s only occupant being a huge ‘Monkey Hangers on Tour’ flag.

As I set off for the journey back to Hartlepool a thought suddently hit me, it’s been seven hours and 30 minutes since Pools last scored a goal, a total close enough to the time it would take me to travel home.

Oh well, good job it’s just a short trip to Bristol next time...