I think I have always liked travelling by train. As a child I lived and grew up in London, so journeys on the Underground were regular occurrences. My childhood bedroom looked out across a playing field to Ruislip Gardens station in the depths of so-called Metroland. Of course there were also childhood journeys on ‘real’ trains. Before my father learned to drive and bought our first car we would take an annual trip to the seaside by train, usually to Westgate on Sea in Kent.
When Newcastle United reached the last 32 of the Europa League in 2013 we held our breath to see what team we would be drawn against, dreaming of a February trip to warmer climes, maybe Italy, Spain or Portugal. Instead we got Metalist Kharkiv, a team we had never heard of, in the eastern depths of chilly Ukraine. Would we go? You bet we would!