29/3/19 West Bromwich Albion v Blues, Passports At The Ready For A Trip To The Black Country.

Regardless of reasons, the regulars begging on Birchfield road, are increasing in number, it feels like it won’t be long before we’re all jockeying for pitches, without getting all political, I don’t believe that the politicians are addressing the problem, just scooting round the inconvenience, whenever they encounter the people with their hands out, wherever they may be. Standing, waiting for the tram in Brum, I heard a couple of street wise millennials, with their street slang, next to me, after about a minute of listening, I felt like moving to another stop, as my mind was getting clogged up with the banal patter. Thankfully the tram came, giving my ears a rest. Getting off at the Jewellery Quarter, Darrell and Paul Mason were already in Jewellers Arms, when I got there, as we chatted about this year’s death list, I forlornly looked for mine, I’d forgotten to stick it in my wallet. J.k. joined us, and the conversation, we hit the trail, bumping into Dave Thomas, of M.I.B. fame, at the door, we got the train to Rowley Regis, where Jinksy was waiting, as was a mate of Paul’s. Shell-ter was first, a micro pub that had got a village hall type feel to it, with World War ll memorabilia.

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“There’ll be bluebirds over, the white cliffs . . . “

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I’d definitely go back for another browse round, and with only £3 for my pint, wasn’t expensive either. The Black Country Ales owned Swan was next, Black Country Ales know how to run a proper pub, with proper ale. Conversation was about obscure games and grounds done, mention was made of a certain friend of ours who hasn’t been to see his team all season, but has been offered, and taken up the opportunity to watch them in the F.A.Cup semi-final, as the day arrives, I can see said mate, getting a bit of stick for glory hunting. It’s an amount of jealousy of course, but it’s not something you can let lie.

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“Fixed Wheel brewery, the home of great beer”

As the artwork took my eye, Jinksy had taken someone else’s eye, the lass in question, had a brief chat with us, or more to the point Jinksy, and I noticed that once back with her friends, never took her eyes off him, so if Mr Jinks ever fancies the idea of becoming a Toyboy. . . . . . . , after supping a typically wonderful beer, in the place that it was made, we got the train back to the Jewellery Quarter, to the Rock and Roller, Taffy, Steve and Ian were in there, we described Shell-ter to them, me and Taffy chatting about what our Dads had had to put up with during their time in service in the war, and how each generation since, have less and less understanding. It had been far too long since I’d been in the Rock and Roller, and the feeling of comfort and relaxation had not diminished, catching up with the rest, I bumped into Bryn and Gav, or they bumped into me, my mind was elsewhere when they spotted me, after saying hello, I highly recommended the Rock and Roller before joining the rest on the tram to the Black Eagle, Ian and Darrell had something to eat, while Ian upset Paul, I attempted to smooth it over a little. Ian has a truly rebellious streak, when L.J. was arguing with the whole class that the grass he’d just coloured blue was green, thus discovering he was colour blind, Ian would’ve sided with L.J. in his misplaced belief. We got the tram to the ground.

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“Not making kick off”

As I got to the stairs to the stand, we scored, a quick confirmation, another lad who’d missed it too, celebrated, I saw Colin and Russel, and stood with them. It was a good game, even with the Baggies equalising, I spotted Badge and also Nat Peters. I love games verses the Baggies, they’re proper derby games, but without the evilness that envelopes the Villa ones, you get the full on commitment on the pitch, so the games are always good to watch, usually full of goals, supporter wise, kindred spirits, with the same expectations, make for a good atmosphere, with no animosity, before and after in the pubs, but don’t get me wrong, when the game is being played, you definitely, desperately want to win, we took the lead again through a header from Jutkiewics, he’d ended his drowt, we were then done by a terrible piece of refereeing, though I wasn’t too sure, as it was the other end of the pitch, penalty dispatched, 2:2, Albion then took the lead for the first time in the game, and were to keep it, another defeat, and with the 9 points taken off and games running out, it could, could be that we get dragged into a relegation battle.

I caught up with Jinksy, catching the train back to Brum, put my passport away. Probably against my better judgement, and not because the beer was rubbish, or anything like that, we ducked into the Old Contemptibles, Darrell, Ian and then Steve after he’d been to the Square Peg first, thinking that was the plan, a plan I’d forgotten, joined us. We chewed the game over, the penalty apparently was outside the box and shouldn’t have been given. You get those kind of breaks depending on where you are in the league and how big a club you are, that’s not sour grapes, that’s years of observation. With a ground hop the next day, I left for the bus, the only public transport that I’d actually paid for all day, not because I had been trying to jib it, but just hadn’t been asked to have my ticket checked.

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