31/3/18 Blues v Ipswich Town. Taking The Mick.

The day started with some family bad news. A few weeks ago, my Uncle had passed away. His devoted wife, had passed away too. I’m not going to depress or bore you with the details, other than to say, they were a lovely couple, hence why I was feeling wistful. I met up with L.J. and Paige in town. Paige hadn’t been put off by the Millwall game. This girl was obviously a sucker for punishment, I was beginning to really like her. If nothing else, I like the fact that she gets my Son in to gear. He follows his Dad with his general tardiness. Same as his Dad, he’s quick with the excuses that we are adamant, are reasons. We made our way to The Indian Brewery Tap. One of the factors with my accident was my reluctance to eat when I was hungry, especially when I’m on a lengthy day out. The Indian Brewery Tap does breakfast, Indian style. It was to set us up for the day. Smokey bacon in a fresh naan, sprinkled with chilli powder and freshly chopped coriander, might not sound nice, but believe me, it is. It had been the first time I’d been in there since the renovation. The place is a lot bigger now. A sign that the establishment is doing well. Not only do I recommend a visit to this place but I recommend regular visits. J.K. came in. He was doing what we were doing. I wanted to show Paige a bit of what Birmingham has to offer in terms of the wow factor, so it was off to The Old Joint Stock. A place that both me and L.J. had been in before.

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Fuller’s Birmingham Pride, but better taste

The Bacchus was next. A Nicholsons pub. For a long time, I thought it was connected to the hotel, so It’s been a new discovery for me. I did take a photo but I’m still relearning my phone, so it didn’t work. What did work, was the impression it made on both L.J. and Paige. Conversations with my Son are always easy. Conversations with Paige and L.J. were proving to be just as interesting and varied. We moved on to The White Swan. A Marston’s pub. With the game ahead, it was filling up, especially as it shows the live Premier league games. I’m bored of the razzamatazz and hype that the media pushes on the Premier league now. It’s something I’ll cover more in detail in the next post. L.J. and Paige were interested though. I was still in local guide mode. This place is a must visit for the breathe taking, historical interior. A place us Brummies tend to take for granted. For me, it’s a shame Marston’s have got their claws into the White Swan, because it’s beautiful. I have no doubt that Marston’s will conserve the interior but it’s about the beer. Their portfolio of ales is very bland and restricted. Marston’s pubs that have a good range of interesting guest ales, are few and far between. With L.J. and Paige not being ale drinkers, it was just me having to put up with it. We went up round the corner to The Spotted Dog. We joined Aida and Spoons in the garden. Aida was on his crutches due to his operation. He showed us the before and after photos on his phone. It was obvious we were both mending. The rest of the ale trailers landed and I introduced Paige to them all aswel as the usual catch up and Bolton away plans. We went on up to the ground. L.J. was considering the Burton game, I suggested to wait on the result before deciding. With his wage hyke and new job at work, he now has all his Saturdays free. Definitely not before time. It was on to the ground.

With Mick McCarthy not having his contract renewed when the present one runs out at the end of the season and Ipswich Town not being in too much danger of going up or down, it had been announced previous to this game that he would be leaving once the fixtures had been completed. I was expecting a tight game. More down to the players loyalty to McCarthy than with how he was going to approach the game. I’m sure he’ll get another job somewhere but did he actually care much about the one he’d got anymore? It’s human nature to relax when you know you’re off. I remember chatting to an Ipswich fan of a similar age to me in the pub before the first game of the season and him being resigned to the board not supporting any manager enough financially and also to the football he knew that McCarthy would get them to play this season. I couldn’t help thinking about this blokes feelings about it all as I viewed this game. I certainly wasn’t expecting the same type of game as the previous home game but it was definitely going to be a make or break game. Maghoma is playing extremely well at the moment. I honestly don’t know what’s happened to him but he’s definitely changed. It was him that won the penalty. A great collection and control that led to a forceful, purposeful run into the box and the penalty. Not the old cheating dive he used to get booked for but a foul where he genuinely looked like he was trying to get past the player to deliver a goal scoring chance. Jota dispatched the penalty to put us in the lead and do his reputation no harm with the Blues supporters who don’t remember how good he was before he came to us and just see him as a huge waste of money. It wasn’t a free flowing game but we were winning and had got something to hang on to. It was a typical cagey mid table Championship game. The lack of the second didn’t make for comfortable watching but at the same time, there seemed to be more steel about us. It wasn’t so much, just score one and hold on but there did seem to be more organization than there had been. We held on, as with how end of season games go, when the result gets more and more important. That survival chance had not been extinguished. Could we? Would we? Who knows.

I met up with L.J. and Paige and we went back to the Spotted Dog. The lads had had took over the seats at the far end of the bar. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough room for L.J. and Paige though. They were ok though. Everything is better when you’ve won. I had made it a mission to ask Mikey the name of the lad in The Lamp from last home game before my accident. For some unknown reason, I hadn’t realized it was his brother. I had met him in The Inn On The Green before a Moors game. It was only after Mikey had told me his brothers name again, did I remember meeting Steve when Mikey introduced him there. In my extremely fragile, pathetic defence, they don’t look too similar. I still should have remembered though. I got talking to Russell about what had happened to me after Brentford and where I was recovery wise but what I had discovered about myself and was prepared to actually admit to myself. Self denial is something we’re all guilty of. I’d like to think It’s something that gets better with age but part of that is denying that you’re getting old anyway. That’s something I’ve definitely been guilty of. You can’t stop the aging process, however much you can slow it down. Taking the batteries out of the back of the clock doesn’t work. Des came in, he’s completely resigned to the Baggies getting relegated. To the point of looking forward with interest, to what will happen. A more friendlier derby game to the Wolves one it’ll replace possibly. As I had been neglecting my lad and Paige, it was only fair that we moved on. I had only ever been to Digbrew, from a certain direction. Because I was now going from a different direction, I made a right mess of finding it. I think they were impressed with the place but I definitely wasn’t impressed with myself with the way we had walked in circles, trying to find it. We could’ve talked all night, but they needed to get off back to Coventry before they missed the train and got stranded in Brum. I hugged them goodbye at New Street and got the bus back home.

 

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