Another season came and went. I’m not working in the same job, or even at the same place that I was at the start of it. I’m not going to go into detail, other than that the situation wasn’t entirely down to me. At the time it meant a huge amount of personal upheaval, and an uncertain future. At one point, I felt like I was walking and sinking in glue, but whether it was luck or not, I got out out of a relatively short, but extremely stressful time, without the dark predictions I was imagining, coming to fruition. Every job has its pro’s and con’s, and although, like almost 100% of the working population, I’d rather not have to go, I’m actually in a better financial state, than I was at the start of the season. I can relax and enjoy the summer, without worrying about how the Hell, I’m going to stop hitting bank charges, pay bills on time, and fuel my addiction. It is addiction though, some will say that it’s a hobby, a passion, but it’s an addiction. I’m actually embarrassed that even after all the upheaval of losing my job and managing to secure another one, I only managed to get to 57 games. If you’re feeling that 57 games is a huge amount of games, then compared to the 70+ that I was hoping to hit, it’s not, and coupled with hitting 60+ in each of the preceding two years, it isn’t, I suppose I should pat myself on the back for still managing to get to games, while unemployed, but that’s where you realise that you’re addicted, in reality, I shouldn’t have been wasting money, whilst facing a perilously uncertain future. Right then, end of maudlin. (You can wake up now) I don’t know whether the managerial revolving door down St Andrews broke, or that the owners were having the same difficulties with trying to remember who the current boss was, but for the first time since I’d left Cardiff v Blues at half-time, in the last game of Rowett’s last full season, (four seasons ago) we ended up with the same manager, who’d started the season. I’m not going to go into detail (Everything is still fairly misty, in that respect) with what happened with F.F.P., but that it definitely effected how the season panned out. There’s been good times, bad times, mostly good times. The football has been brilliant at times, utter rubbish at others, but a lot more consistent. Am I confident of a better season next? Not with the untrustworthy ownership we’ve got. With consistency and stability, comes contempt and boredom. Que sera sera as they say (Spell check where applicable) I’ve already renewed my season ticket, so will be adding to the 822 games Blues have had my presence at, and after only attending 13 away games, will definitely be pushing on from 276 towards closer 300. Although we’ve got 3 London based clubs in the Championship, I didn’t get to any of them, only West Ham in the F.A.Cup did I watch Blues in the capital, yet coupled with that game, took in 7 London grounds, except for Crystal Palace, the rest were new grounds for me. Mentioning new grounds, I managed 16, three in the league, (Only Arsenal and the new White Hart Lane to complete the set, Brentford and Wimbledon pending, curiously all in London). 37 grounds in all, had to put up with me. In that 57 games, 9 were double weekends, by that, I mean two games on consecutive days, in addition to those weekends, was one weekend where I managed 3 in 3, and 3 in 4 over the Easter weekend. I suppose the jewel in the crown was 2 in 1 day. F.A.Cup 3rd round day, afforded me the opportunity to take in West Ham v Blues, then scoot down to Selhurst Park, to do Crystal Palace v Grimsby Town. If I hadn’t realised I was addicted to attending games by then, that was the day. It’s not just games though, I love real ale, and I love the establishments that serve it. I don’t log down all the different brews, and all the different breweries, but I do bullet point all the boozers, to stick in my blog posts. There was 241 in all, and no, that doesn’t smack of obsession, or a drink problem, if there’s any medical professionals reading. I’ve been in some I wouldn’t go in again, some that I probably never will again, but definitely would, given the opportunity. I struggled with the concept of micro pubs at first, but now look out for them, to add to the itinerary. They’ve got their own identity and quirkiness, usual stocked with locales, well kept and ran by knowledgeable, likeminded people. Middlesbrough and Chorley are places that have embraced the micro pub phenomenon, and thus, have enriched the towns. Slater’s Pick in Middlesbrough, Wigan Central, Victorian Craft beer cafe in Halifax, Barbridge in Stourbridge, Bob Inn Chorley market, Weavers Arms in Kidderminster, are well worth the visit, and I could easily go on and on. (I won’t) I still seek out pubs of historic note, whether something happened in the pub, like the Olde White Hart in Hull, with its ‘plotting room’, or The Old Contemptibles in Brum, a last pint before going to war from the nearby Snowhill station, as well as pubs with external or internal decor that takes you back in time, such as the Black Horse in Preston, Three Pigeons in Halifax, (Pure Art Deco) Cafè Royal in Edinburgh, New Beehive in Bradford, (With its gas fuelled lighting) The Black Friar at Blackfriars in London, the Marble Arch in Manchester. Again, I could go on and on. (I won’t, I won’t, promise) Then you have the wonderfully named places, such as Mirth, Marvel and Maud in Walthamstow, Purple Dog in Colchester, Shelverdine Goat House at Selhurst. Last, but not least, a mention goes to Wetherspoons, either a start of the day and breakfast, or a stop gap, whilst waiting for a particular choice on the itinerary to open. 17 in all in 2018/19 season. They have their uses, and some, like the Babbington Arms in Derby, or the Crosse Keys at Monument in London are really good, some, and I won’t name them, (I could, but I won’t, don’t panic) need sorting out. Incidentally, Spoons didn’t get his nickname from working in one.
It’s been the usual interesting season, both in what’s happened in football, coupled with ground hopping and ale trailing. I will post football related, (Rants probably) stuff from time to time, but I need to go and lie down in a dark room and recharge my batteries. (Licks fingers, wedges them in plug socket)