YOUTH MATTERS Robert Dalling...My home team games in Wales have to take a back seat now

When most people think of long-distance car journeys, the general reaction is they are unpleasant and should only be done if absolutely necessary.

Both of which I think are true, but my ‘necessary’ may differ from everybody else.

When it comes to supporting my home team Swansea, I am happy to travel a 400-mile round trip on a Saturday when I am available, despite living on the south coast of England.

But as I found myself sat in a row of traffic with a glum face returning from watching them lose to rivals Cardiff, still 150 miles away from Hampshire, I asked myself, as many others have, why do I do it?

Blinded by the floodlights and a love for the beautiful game, when I moved here to study in Portsmouth I had the plan set out in my mind to work hard on weekdays and travel to Swansea for any home games.

I even naively retained a season ticket. Well, needless to say many tickets have since been ripped out and chucked in the bin as I underestimated the course title ‘Intense’.

Over the past four months instead of chanting from the terraces, my weekends have had to become accustomed to a new joy of staying in with my head in the books, my stomach rumbling under the weight of empty food cupboards and poor finances while metaphorical £20 notes lay in the wastepaper bin in the form of torn-up football tickets.

Nevertheless, moving here has definitely been the right move. I had lived in South Wales all my life, and although the original thought of coming here alone was intimidating, it had been a long time coming.

Despite the odd bit of banter here and there and the age-old debate with my new English friends about whose rugby team is better than the others (which as the Six Nations currently stands, I am losing), my experience has been very enjoyable.

I have settled in very quickly, love the new area and although the studies are demanding, I love what I am doing day in, day out.

While there will still be room to catch the odd game, it’s time to put the sporting distractions on the shelf for a few years!