Some games you look forward to. Games against the Baggies are always in that bracket. Similar clubs, with fans with a similar mindset. You don’t have to dig a map out, to see that the grounds are geographically close. Historically, we play at home on the same day. We mix in the same pubs in town, unsurprisingly, we play away on the same day, many a time, we’ve found ourselves catching trains at the same time, sometimes, the same ones. We’ve landed back in Brum at the same time, catching final pints, in the same pubs. We share a dislike of the same clubs, for virtually the same reasons. Over time, you end up becoming friends. The games themselves, usually lend, to being good games. Don’t get me wrong, both sides want to win, but that usual friction, isn’t there. I headed to the Jewllers Arms, to meet up with the rest. It’s only the second time I’ve been in there, since Black Country Ales took over, the range has expanded. I spotted a copy of the new Good Beer Guide, the Jewllers is now in it. Jinksy, J.K., Darrell, Steve, Paul, Worcester Pete, Taffy and Jakob, landed with Paul Mason. I was expecting a couple more Baggies to be with him. I was surprised to see Jakob, without any of the Swedes too. Originally, I had been at odds, as to whether to take the day off as holiday. That option had vanished, as I’d lost my job. I’d put it down somewhere, and couldn’t for the life of me, remember where I’d put it. I even looked down the back of the fridge. I’m not going to go into detail, as to why I got sacked, just to say that the bloke who is in love with the fork lift, lied on his statement against me. Maybe he saw me as a love rival to his one true love, the fork lift. Least I won’t have to put up with him moaning about the place anymore, or having to put up with anymore potential lies. I won’t have to put up with the ineptitude of the warehouse supervisor anymore either. He’s digging a big enough hole for himself, without any help from me anyway. We moved on to The 1000 Trades, a place I hadn’t been in before. Definitely one for the office staff and the younger crowd, as was reflected in both the feel of the place, and the prices. The beer was excellent though. I got to have another go at bashing Rowett, with Pete. Compared to a lot of people, I have encyclopedic knowledge with football, I walked through what Rowett had done on as a manager, including how he became a manager in the first place. To say he’s a mercenary, is putting it mildly. Compared to his reputation, his achievements are meagre. Pete was a little in the dark about Rowetts past, so needed to confirm for his own peace of mind. He did that on the way to catching up with me in Burning Soul. Me, Taffy and Jakob were lagging behind. Pete confirmed to me, that I was right, (Which I knew I was) and Rowetts reputation got another bashing. I also found out that Taffy’s married, and has been for a commendable amount of years. He lives by a code of conduct, where you don’t cheat on your wife, and you don’t hit her. I totally agreed over the violence side, but as for cheating, I’ve been terrible, let my middle leg, rule my brain. My brain rules these days, it’s so much easier. I found out Jakob wasn’t married either. He lets his brain rule too.
“Is this what they mean by bottle bar”
We caught the bus into town, and headed to The Woodman. The selection wasn’t as inspiring as usual, so moved on to Dig Brew. Des, one of the Baggies that comes in the Spotted Dog after a home game was outside. We got into a conversation about games past, between us. One game, and one season in particular, cropped up. The 4:2 Blues victory at the Hawthorns, in 94. Anyone who was there, either side, remembers it. It always leads to the final game of that season. Ian the Blues/Rangers lad turned up, and I joined him and the rest inside. After a quick one, and another uninspiring selection in the Ruin, a couple of us headed for the Clink, instead, passing Ian Allen, Mikey and Rich on the way. We took up residence at our usual shelf, and then it was on to the game.
We started well, and took the lead. A minute later, and the referee, rightly, pointed to the spot. Leo was already celebrating a second goal. I’ve watched Blues a long time, and knew it wasn’t that easy, and reminded him. Jota, the scorer of our goal, a minute earlier, duly missed. We were pressing well, and picking the ball up. Once the belief grows, that we can read the gaps, we’ll be able to use the ball more intelligently, make more chances, score more goals. Patience is a virtue. Our big money signing of the summer, made another defensive mistake, and Albion capitalised, equalising. There wasn’t anymore goals in the second half, and the game ended 1:1. It had been a good game. One for the neutral.
I walked up into town with the Baggies fans. Unlike when we play the lot from B6, everything, and everyone were relaxed. I met up with Badge on the bus, and discussed with another Blue on the bus, how on earth, we weren’t picking more points up. I’m confident we will, but ain’t too bothered if we don’t.