20/1/18 Preston North End v Blues. Mag he may.

I was virtually down to pence for this one. Luckily it was a northern game and not a London one. Everything is cheaper up north. More for your money or more to the point, you don’t get as ripped off. Maybe that’s why they’re more friendlier. Especially in Lancashire. Jinksy phoned me as I was approaching New Street station. He was with the usuals. My headphones would stay in my pocket. J.k., Mikey, Darrell, Spoons, me and Jinksy commandeered a couple of adjacent tables and settled down. The two bottles of ale from the Brew Dog stables, showed that Jinksy was back on the beer with a vengeance. Doing “Dry January” definitely hadn’t agreed with him this year. We were welcomed on the train by what sounded like Mini Mouse. We were all disappointed when the owner of the voice didn’t check our tickets dressed in a red polka dot dress with a bow between big black ears. Touch down Preston and it was just me and Jinksy that got off, the other four were going on to Lancaster. A brilliant city for real ale. A place, I’ll revisit, at some point in the future. Since my last visit to Preston, Wetherspoons had opened up The Twelve Tellers. As you’ve probably worked out from the name, its previous use had been as a bank.

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A plush branch of the Trustees Savings Bank by the looks.

A mate of Jinksy’s Dad came over to say hello. We chatted about Brexit, and the impact so far. Although we’re polar opposites when it comes to politics, we do seem to spend a lot of time talking about the subject. We moved on to The Old Bull. A Green King outlet. It’s a nice enough place but it’s missing something for me. We hadn’t been in there long before Paul, a White Swan and away day regular came in with his Grandson. They joined us. Chatting away, it was mentioned that a Barnsley fan on his way to their game against the Villa and also celebrating his birthday, had been forced to wear a Blues shirt by his mates. This is something that I couldn’t and wouldn’t ever do. I don’t even think I could wear a shirt of a club I hadn’t got an affiliation with, but put myself in that kind of situation? No chance. Paul and his Grandson stayed with us for the next place. The Black Horse isn’t just my favorite pub in Preston, it’s one of my favourite pubs in the country. It’s beautiful. I would defy anyone not to be impressed with it.

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Where’s Tommy and Arthur?

There were a few locals to the right of the bar when we got in there. They heard our accents and asked if we knew an Ian Allen. It’s a small world at times. After pretending we didn’t like him much, and then seeing the surprise on their faces, we admitted that, yeah, he’s a good bloke. It’s always nice to know your friends are liked and are held in high esteem. I wouldn’t tell him though. He wouldn’t be able to get his head through the door. We took over the back bit once I’d taken the pic. We were quickly joined by Carol, Jeff and John. Then a couple more Spotted Dog regulars, including Andy but no Moz. Moz was suffering from the night before, and hadn’t made it from Blackpool. Nick the postman landed with his mate Colin and then Nat came in with what seemed to be a whole train carriage load of Rangers fans that both he and Jinksy knew. They took over one of the side rooms.

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Built in 1898 when civil engineers were civil engineers.

With time moving on, I said hello to all the Rangers boys and girl on my way out, being recognised as “Jambo Sid” by one of the lads having a smoke with Nick just outside the door. On to the Guild Ale House, and there was a pocket of Blues from off the same train as us. The place had expanded since my last visit. The toilets were now downstairs too. The beer hadn’t changed though, it was still excellent. I was joined by a woman and her South African husband who had travelled over from Huddersfield for a concert as part of his birthday present. Nick and his mate, who I was to learn, is Colin, came in. My phone went off, it was my Nephew Dave. To his shame, he’d forgotten where the pub was. I say shame, because he works in Preston and has done for a while now. Don’t worry Dave, I won’t tell your Dad. If you’ve been reading this rubbish since I saw him last, (Haringey v Heybridge) you’ll know that I was rather jealous of his long flowing locks. There was now a pillow somewhere, stuffed full of those long flowing locks. He’d had it all cut off. Damn it, his hair still suited him. With him working till 1 o’clock, time was very much of the essence. We hit the road to the Ale Emporium. They had the Chelsea game on, not that either of us were particularly interested. I’m old enough for the Premier league to bore me, but it says a lot about the state of the game at the top in this country, when someone Dave’s age views it all with an apathy bordering on contempt. I’m sure if you gave the lad the choice between attending Arsenal v Manchester City or North Ferriby United v Spennymoor Town, he would plump for the latter. In fact, I’d put money on it. (After payday, obviously) There was one last pub I wanted to do before the game. The Moorbrook. Another pub I could easily pick up and take with me. Spoons was already in here when we entered. Apparently, the rest had gone on to the ground. I told him about the Ian Allen fan club in the Black Horse and he told me how good Lancaster had been. I introduced him to my Nephew. I don’t think there’s many of my family that Spoons hasn’t met yet. I had a White stout in here. Spoons doubted it was a proper stout. Not only is he a brewer, but a brewer of the champion beer of Great Britain. No way was I going to challenge his knowledge. It was nice, whatever the Hell it was. With Dave needing to get a ticket, we headed for the ground.

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The plumber has sprung a leak

Preston North End is a club that understands football history and doesn’t miss an opportunity to celebrate and commemorate. It’s a shame that the football history museum was moved to Manchester. It should’ve stayed at Deepdale. After first, seeing that there was no queue for the away ticket office, I left Dave to it and waited the other side of the turnstiles for him. We moved to a place halfway up the away stand to the right of the goal. What was I hoping for? Anything that wasn’t as bad as the corresponding fixture last season. A game that Dave exclaimed, was the worst he’d ever seen. News for you Dave, this season has been worse. The first half was just as bad as last season. The highlight was a scrappy opener from Preston. I’ve come to expect and except it now. I’m too numb to be angry. All hope packed it’s bags and marched out of the door way way before Christmas. In fact, the Christmas adverts hadn’t even started to air before hope walked off down the road shaking its head with sad disbelief. I don’t know what happened at half time but Blues decided that maybe they did want to play after all. Preston stayed in the dressing room and left us to it. We completely ruled the second half. The equaliser came and went. Fantastic work from Maghoma. Yeah yeah, you did read that correctly. Maghoma and fantastic work, in the same sentence. Almost as rare as seeing a chicken in a chemist, pondering on which toothbrush to buy. Gallagher, 1:1. The winner didn’t arrive. It should’ve arrived. Three unanswered second half goals wouldn’t have flattered us. It wouldn’t have been harsh on Preston either. Full time, 1:1. With games running out, it was definitely two points dropped, not one gained. I saw another rarity on the way out of the ground. Aida at an away game.

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Not before time, this lot commemorated.

If you don’t know who the Dick Kerr Ladies were, then hang your head. Look their story up. Better still, find a recording of channel 4s  “When Football Banned Women” and watch it. I’m not going to say anything else. I’m not even going to comment. I don’t need to. We managed to walk back in to town without getting lost, we did last season.

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Preston bus station. A grade II listed building. Stop shaking your head. It’s true. 

We did The Market Tavern first. I didn’t get to do this place last season and Dave was adamant that I should do it. The axe is hovering above this place. If it goes, I can’t see it reopening. It’s a shame if that happens as it’s definitely got character. Not in the same league as the Black Horse but definitely should be valued more than it is. It has the unique feature of a glass window in the floor between the door and the bar. Because of health and safety, it’s got a rubber mat covering it. I was hoping to take a photo but the hatch underneath was closed so there was no point. Dave lives in Chorley now and to cut a long story short, if either of us wins the Euro lottery, we’re going to buy Chorley F.C. we talked about our plans for not only the football side of things but it’s place and impact on the community. We share the same philosophy when it comes to both football and life and talked in great detail. He goes in to more depth in his blog so I won’t in mine. It’s called Davids adventures in ground hopping, if you’re interested, and you should be, it’s a better read than my tosh. It’s on WordPress. Check it out. I couldn’t resist in dragging poor Dave back to the Black Horse.

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No apologies for another photo.

Luckily for Dave, it was time for me to get the train back to Brum, I’d bored him enough. I bumped into Nat and Jinksy for the train home to Brum. The Rangers lads and lass had been impressed enough to want to do another game. So had Dave. At least the game hadn’t replaced his worst ever. St Andrews is still on his wish list and I’m going to take that as a positive. A group of Blues further down the carriage, were convinced Nat was Tubes of Soccer A.M. I could see their reasoning. Nat couldn’t, tiredness had got to his humour.

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