The best laid plans – Middlesbrough Preview

What we need is a nice weekend break to get over all this recent stress. So I’ve booked in to a lovely little guest house in Middleham in North Yorkshire on Friday night. I just found it from research on the internet – it looks lovely and gets really good review scores.  I still need to see it for myself, though - not just rely on the opinion of random short breakers – that would be like scouting and buying football players based on Football Manager, and no-one would be daft enough to do that, now, would they?

Anyway, the owners are there to welcome their guests. They have a long track record in hospitality and seem to have invested very wisely in the place, so I’m pretty confident we’ll enjoy it.

Middleham is a big horse-racing centre, so on Saturday morning we’re expecting to see plenty of thoroughbreds: highly-trained, super-fit professionals haughtily enjoying their moment as the centre of attention.

Not far from the medieval centre lie the ruins of Richard III’s imposing fortress – worth a visit, I’ve heard, to read tales of courage and indomitable team spirit, of battles against the odds and in the face of adversity. Those guys followed Richard over land and sea – and Leicester.

On Saturday evening, we are catching up with old friends in Newcastle, staying over with them. They’re Magpies fans, of course, so I might even come across a black and white scarf or two.

We’ve never been to Holy Island, so that’s the plan for Sunday morning. Lindisfarne Priory, once the epicentre of Christianity in Anglo-Saxon times, but sadly brought to its knees by marauding foreign raiders with no regard for its history and culture.  Despite the wanton destruction, it remains a spiritual place and focal point for pilgrimages to this day.

Our friends have booked us in for a late lunch on Sunday at a local hidden gem – looking forward to that, as it’s a place which prides itself on customer service. We’ve had to book well in advance – it’s always packed out.  We’d probably never have stumbled upon it ourselves without that personal recommendation – more likely we’d have just ended up at one of the famous names in the area, and that would have been a lot more expensive, too.

So that’s the plan for this coming weekend. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Oh, what about Saturday afternoon, you say? Well, to be honest, I’ve got match tickets but I’m still making my mind up on that one: do I really want to spend it in Middlesbrough with any old Bob, Guy or Karel?

Middlesbrough v Charlton Athletic, 3pm, Saturday 31st October. Tickets are £32 adults, £24 Over 65, £17 Under 18.