After pinning my colours to the mast and declaring, like the petty fan (and man) I am, that I would only go to Barnsley if we beat Oxford, here I am, pootling my way back down the A1, delighted that I never keep my word.
It isn’t quite as hard to wake up at 7 am when it’s both a sensationally beautiful March morning and the final day of winter – but as I got on the train down to Dartford to board my chariot, I couldn’t shake off the lingering sense of unease; a churning fear of impending disappointment that I had all but committed to.
The drive to Barnsley slaloms you through a torrid expanse of nothing. It’s A1 in name, A1 in rubbishness. No hills, no scenery, not even any traffic jams; just modest humps that can scarcely claim graduation from the school of mounds, and a bewildering array of motley Portakabin cafes in lay-bys. The kinds of places that sell black coffee but give you the option of a cappuccino, which is the same as the black coffee plus some effervescing ricin dust on the top.
Thoughts of missing our sexual FA Cup away win a few years back (thank you Leon Clarke) and then witnessing the final nail in the magical Mowbray coffin on a bitter Tuesday night clouded my head. Whatever was about to happen on March 30th 2019 - at least I was definitely going to bear witness.