I started off at New Street to get the next lot of advanced train tickets. The booking clerk sussed out that they might be for football and enquired, no, I said trying to look sheepish. Is it that obvious I asked laughing. Pretty much she smiled. But in all reality, who goes to Middlesbrough if it’s not for football or you’ve got family there? It’s already looking like the worst away following this season. I don’t know anyone that’s going. It had just started raining as I got into the Wellington. Pete was at the bar. He’d read my blog and was full of praise for it. With the way it’s going, I can see me ending up wearing dark glasses, a berry, smoking French fags. Jinksy text to say he, J.K. and Dave Broughton were upstairs. We went out on to the roof terrace. Russell joined us soon after. We talked about how good Derby was. That’s the pubs, not the game. The game very rarely matches the pubs. This is where I got some really good news. The Rock and Roll brewery tap is extending their opening hours. Including every Saturday. I love that place. Best place in Brum. Still on the subject of pubs and opening, a new place was opening in our neck of the woods. We’d have to check that out on the way. Steve turned up and we sorted a few plans for Hull.
I dream of a world where this sign is in every pub.
The sign is in the Woodman. We got talking beer festivals. I haven’t been to one this year. I joked that Chelmsley Wood was holding a Carling festival. For the second time in as many home games, I spotted someone from somewhere else. I went over to say hello to a lad called Paul who I used to work With back in Telford. It was a good feeling telling him I was now living in Brum. Was good to see him too. A Man Utd fan who goes as many times as money allows. The rest were on the move so I said my goodbyes. This is where the evening took a nice little twist. We found the Dig Brew quite easily. The door was open and we had a cheeky little look inside. We were spotted and invited in.
It is now open. It’s on Floodgate street. Go and check it out. I can’t wait to. As we walked away from Dig Brew we were confronted with a sight none of us were expecting. There on the corner of the street where the Horans once was, was the Ruin. This place had been boarded up for over 10 years. I’d saw that they’d been working on it but never thought for one second it was going to be a pub again. It had got two pulls on, both Two Towers. I find their beer a bit bland but it’s something that’s better than nothing and I’ll definitely be giving it a go. Things are definitely looking up on the Brum real ale scene. On to the Clink. There’s a certain amount of animosity towards craft ale. Personally, I believe it’s got its place. Tasty and well kept beer is exactly that. My only bone of contention is it tends to be more expensive. Talk of beer is never too far away from any of our conversations and Jinksy said about how in Belfast, it’s more of a bottle culture. A legacy from the need for petrol bombs during the troubles? Doesn’t work with an empty can of Carling. We got on to the subject of supporter links between Scottish and Northern Irish clubs. Every now and again, Sky covers an Northern Irish league game. Linfield and Rangers being a long standing link, it’s usual to see Rangers Union Jack flags at Linfield games. I’d spotted a couple of Hearts flags at a Crusaders game before now. Jinksy having been over to Belfast was filling me in with all the different rivalries. I have now added a Crusaders game to the wish list. It was on to the last stop before the game. Spoons came into the bar after me so I bought him a cider along with my own. Aida was already in the garden. Don’t know if it was just me getting middle age hot flushes but it was a humid evening and it had made being inside stuffy. Aida was having to get everyone’s phone numbers again as something had happened to his phone. He’s now under Unfascinating Aida in my phone. We were full of news of the two places that were opening and the expansion of the Rock and Roll opening hours and got on to how the Anchor was in such a good place and being run by an idiot. It was time to move. Darrell is renowned for several quirks of nature, one of them is his walking speed. He walks faster than most people can run. He’s also got a distinctive laugh. We took it turns to do an impression of him on the way to the ground. He’s a one off, is Darrell. He comes in for a bit of stick. Truth is, he’s a likable character. His meticulous attention to detail and planning has dug us out at times. Had it not been for him, we would’ve missed the tram back into Sheffield centre and thus the train to Rotherham to get to the game in time. Me and Russell went with him to Crawley, ground hopping, the season before last. He knew where to be and when. Me and Russell just followed.
The match had just kicked off as I got to my seat. The £20 team looked a bit shaky but then, so did we. For those who don’t understand the £20 reference, look up Carlos Carvalhal’s press conference after the Steel City Derby. There’s a manager feeling the pressure, if ever there was. We looked a lot better going forward than we did versus Derby. That’s not really saying much but it was something. The rain started coming down and didn’t stop. Alex landed at half time so I moved across so she could gush all over Seeley. He was lapping it up. Dave Moyna made an appearance so I warned him not to wear colours at Millwall. He’d worn his Blues top at Derby and because of that, they kept getting turned away from the pubs. That’s going to be the least of his worries if he wears it at Millwall. Rob is driving down to the game. Not the wisest of moves. I advised him not to park near the ground but to park a couple of stops north on the overground and get the train the last two stops. He took my advice. I think I’m going to have to work on Dave. By the day of the game, I’ll have him in a suit and tie. Maybe even a dress and a wig. Millwall is the moodiest ground you’re ever going to do. No difference between the old and new grounds. You have to have your wits about you. I spent the second half clique spotting. The squad is a collection of little groups. City we are, united we’re not. I could understand why Carsley didn’t want the job. Why would you want to be the scapegoat for this bunch? You could sense the inevitable Wednesday goal coming. They were getting into dangerous areas. Putting more and more pressure on us. We got a free-kick on the edge of the Wednesday penalty area. Up stepped Gardner to take it. Everyone in the top tier started taking cover. Knowing I was in more danger than the net was, I took this as a cue to visit the toilet. He wouldn’t be able to hit me in there. I heard the groan of disappointment as I got to the top of the steps. The law according to Sod, meant that whilst I was spraying stainless steel, we go and score. It’s always a bitter sweet feeling when it happens and you can’t drink as much beer and watch as many games as I do without it happening at least a few times in your football watching life. Carsley made substitutions to shut the game up Rowett like, and once Wednesday had missed their compulsory championship level injury time chance, I knew the game was ours. With Stephs homemade curry in hand, I said t’ra and made off. The relief in the roar that met the final whistle was obvious. If Leeds was wet. This evening was worse. By the time I’d got home, I was soaked through to the skin. The restaurant quality curry helped to dry me out. Another good evening but with a 1:0 win cherry on the top.