Going the football used to be a relaxing, carefree experience – at least until the match kicked off.
Now it requires regular toilet trips, a heavily stocked bag of snacks and a fully charged iPad.
But I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I’ve been taking my little girl now for just over a year – with her first season ticket being purchased back in May, the same week as her third birthday.
Taking my daughter means my wife isn’t stuck at home with two kids all day, and it gives her the opportunity to bond with the boy.
Equally, spending the day with my daughter means she gets daddy’s unwavering attention which is virtually impossible any other time as I have her brother’s needs to contend with.
Thankfully, she loves going too.
I’m not sure she pays a great deal of attention to what’s happening on the pitch but she knows when we’ve scored.
A recent and rather surprising 4-0 win left her as perplexed as the rest of us – she’s never had her iPad viewing interrupted so much!
Her match day starts with the bus trip to the ground and after deciding who gets the honour of sitting next to her – dad, grandad or uncle Ian – she starts making a dent in her food supplies.
When we arrive it’s straight to the chippy for her cone of chips and then we rush inside for the first of many toilet trips.
Sandwiched in between this is the stewards making a big fuss of her as she waltzes through the turnstiles like a seasoned pro.
The girl tucks into her food and after declining uncle Ian’s weekly offer of a beer, she waters it all down with a juice.
Another toilet trip follows before we make our way up the stairs and to our seats.
After more fussing from those who sit around us, she parks her bum and begins tackling the treats mummy has packed in her bag.
During the game we may require one of two toilet visits, though I’ve managed to convinceher to take these at half time and when the full time whistle is blown.
She is such a pleasure to sit next to, it still amazes me how she takes it all in her stride.
She enjoys singing some of the (clean) songs and when she’s not playing on the iPad she’ll cuddle up to me while the action unfolds.
The ten minute walk back to the bus sees her take pride of place on dad’s shoulders – she pretends she’s the policewoman and I’m the horse!
Again we await her decision as to who gets the honour of sitting next to her on the bus.
Then it’s homeward bound and the end of a lovely daddy and daughter bonding day – whatever the result.