Derby V Wolves by Richard Perkins
I spent the day with Punjabi Wolves Supporters Group having being invited along by Andy Sahota on their trip to Derby County. We met at Jacks Bar in Wolverhampton about 9am. Remembering it was a 12.15pm kick off this didn't seem too early. In fact after having a couple of pints before boarding the coach about 9.30am, I could have stayed longer in Jacks. Good atmosphere. A few of us ended up here later on our return. More later....
I have heard a lot about Punjabi Wolves Supporters Group and indeed seen them in action a few times at away games. I will admit I was a little nervous at first as I did not know what to expect. As I boarded the coach I was aware that I was not the only non Punjabi based person on the coach. Instead it was a mixture of cultures of which soon became apparent was made up of the Punjabi group and those who love the days out with them. I had some cracking conversations on the way to the match, aided by the early morning beer session which had begun before we left. Not unlike the official travel club that leaves from Molineux each game, the PWSG coach has an extremely relaxed atmosphere and it is very easy to slip into conversation with anyone on there, whether you know them or not. Its sometimes hard in a social environment if you do not know anyone, there is always that one person who tries to make you feel uncomfortable. Not here! I did not meet a bad egg all day. We arrived outside Derby County Football Club. Everybody soon knew we had arrived when the Dhol drum was unleashed outside the stadium and the group walked in unison up and down the outside of the stand near the away end. he Derby stewards went into panic mode at this and did not know what to do. They became intent on getting the drum back on the coach as soon as possible and get us into the ground. So naturally we took as long as possible. Inside the ground I went typically straight to the bar for my £4 pint of watered down beer. I can never work out what's better value, the watered down pint at £4 or the bottle of water for £2..... anyway I digress. I stood next to the bar and taking into consideration I had just travelled to Derby with a coach load of people I have never met before, it was now as if I was amongst friends. We made our way towards our seats and ended up pretty much standing anywhere towards the back of the stand. There was a party atmosphere and a great buzz amongst the Punjabi group and it made me feel as if I could do this every away game they put a coach on for. Now at this point it would be easy to go into a full blown review of the match and how we were tactically, physically, skilfully and any other words ending in “ally" destroyed by Derby. Grrrrr but I will resist. he game was at 4-0 shortly after half time and a few of the Punjabi guys and gals decided to spend the remainder of the second half in the bar. It was not just a case of the games over and we have been embarrassed but also its a great way for me to get to know some of the group.
After the match had finished you can imagine that most the Wolves crowd were leaving pretty dejected. We made our way to the coach again and a few of us had a stress related cigarette. Andy Sahota came back to the coach a few minutes later, "cheer up guys, we are going for a party now!", and he wasn't wrong.
We drove to a bar on the outskirts of Derby centre. he Punjabi Wolves Group were meeting up with their Derby counterparts for a celebration. Admittedly I am sure the Derby group were initially more cheerful than our lot. Wonder why. I can think of 5 good reasons. he beers started lowing, the music started, the buffet was served. To be honest this is kind of after football match heaven. (apart from us being stuffed, have I already mentioned that?) I will be the first one to admit, I was a little bit petrified of the thought I was going to possibly face having to dance with the rest of the Punjabi group. I am not the worlds best dancer so to witness a new dance and culture in action I was always going to feel like a fish out of water. A few more beers sorted that one out. In fact it became blatantly apparent that everybody was having a great time and there were no reservations in the room. You do not see this in most bars or clubs on a night out.
I think the factor here is Punjabi Wolves Supporters are a close knit community and can be themselves because of it.
Eventually when we had enough partying we made our way back on the coach to Wolverhampton. For some this was the end of the road, for others, including myself, we made our way back to Jacks Bar where it had all begun. he beating our team had taken was a distant memory and because I had such a great time with everyone it didn't even feel like we had lost, which is unusual as normally getting beat 5-0 would have me contemplating jumping in the canal.
I thanked Andy for such a great day. I cannot put everything down in this review as to what happened on the day as there is way too much, but rest assure it was a lot of fun and if you get the chance to go on a Punjabi Wolves Supporters Group match day experience, don't think. Do it!! I am sure I will see you there. Thanks guys. As one member of your group told me, I'm half Punjabi now.
By Richard Perkins - Editor of “The Tatter”