The day’s crew were already at New Street station when I got there, and I thought I was early. Slowly wandering towards them, Jinksy joined me. Like me, he thought he was going to be first because of his earliness. We both linked up with Spoons, Ian, JK, Steve and Daryl. Ian went off to get mine and his tickets on our railcard. I’m honestly surprised that our ugly mushes haven’t melted Ian’s phone. They look so much like criminal photo-fits, it’s untrue. Ian came back and handed me a bunch of tickets, thinking that he’d given me all the right ones. He hadn’t, I didn’t have the first leg from Brum to Derby. Ian managed to get through the ticket barrier ok, but I had to call him back. Walking down to the platform, we sorted the tickets out, making sure we’d got the right tickets we both needed. It’s why I tend to do advanced tickets instead of splitting the journey up. It works out at roughly the same price. Split tickets does give you more freedom. You’re not nailed to a particular train, but you end up with loads of tickets and you’ve only got to lose one for it to mess your journey up. The usual lad banter went back and forth between us as we traveled up to Sheffield. I can’t remember exactly what was said and who by, and that’s probably a good thing. None of it can then be used against any of us. In truth, I don’t want to appear like some kind of spy or snitch anyway. Some things are better left unreported. In fact, most of the things that are said are better left unreported. Besides, whilst I’m trying to take notes, I’m missing things and not contributing. After all, the day is better when you make a contribution. We had a bit of time before our connection to Hull at Sheffield. We stood outside the station entrance so Jinksy could have a fag. A mate of Jinksy’s joined us. I was to learn that his name was Jake. It probably still is Jake, but it was definitely Jake when we went to Hull. On the train to Hull, you go past the Humber Suspension Bridge. I would’ve taken a photo of it for this post, but as I’m rubbish at taking photos anyway, and taking photos out of the window while you’re on a moving train, never ever does a view justice, so I didn’t bother. What I will say, is Hull is a great place to visit and the bridge and view of it is well worth the train journey in itself. Either take my word for it, or go for yourself and attempt to prove me wrong. Hark at me being all arrogant. Seriously, although we only ever seem to lose at Hull, it’s one of my favourite trips. By the way, there were loads of passengers in our carriage who did take or attempted to take a photo of the bridge, such was how much they were impressed with it. Touching down in Hull, we avoided the Admiral Of The Humber Wetherspoons, and instead went to the Three John Scott’s. Even if Daryl did take us the long way round to it. Both me and Steve knew the shorter way, but Daryl being Daryl, was already off, so we all just followed. Getting there, I noticed Jake drank fizz. It was from the Wetherspoons, that we started our ale trail. Lion and Key was first. A place I’ve taken many photos of before. I suppose I could’ve taken more, but as it’s a place I reccomend going in, I firmly suggest you go there for yourself. Great range of ales and the decor is simply brilliant. There’s so much to look at. Wm Hawkes is another fine pub, but as we got there, it didn’t look open. Looking through the window for any signs of life, I managed to catch the attention of someone. She came to the door. I enquired if they were opening. Neither her or the other barmaid was too sure if they could. They did anyway, we piled in, and we were quickly followed by a couple who seized on the opportunity. Thing is, the manager wasn’t too happy that his two barmaids had opened up. Seemed a bit strange to me. Rather not opening and thus turning down custom? It was the first time Jinksy had been in the pub, so I advised him to look at the taxidermy in the other room. The Scale and Feather was next. It used to be called ‘Oscars’ and was linked to the other two we’d just been in, but no longer is. It was totally different from the other two, but just as good. It still is. We were going to go to the Taphouse next, but on the way to it, we spotted Atom Brewery and Co, At Corn Exchange. That really is its full name. It was a new one for all of us and one that I think we may be heading in again. Hull has become a place similar to Derby or Norwich, there’s just so many great places for real ale. The last place we took in before we needed to think about going to the game, was Furley and Co. A little place we’d been in before. The general consensus was to get a taxi to the ground. Jinksy phoned up for one as we finished our beers. The old bit of Hull is great, but it’s a nightmare for taxis. Jinksy got a text message informing him that the taxi had arrived. We couldn’t see it. He phoned up again, still nothing. Just as Daryl and JK gave up and started walking, I spotted it down a side street.I called the two back, and we piled in the people carrier we’d asked for.
Not only had I never seen Blues win in Hull, I’d only ever seen us lose. I missed out on Middlesbrough due to being struck down with the lurgy. Could this time be different? The standard of the officials this season in the Championship has been utterly appalling. Hull took the lead. I still can’t believe and understand writing this even now, how the goal was given. It was the worst decision I’ve seen in a Blues match since Roger Wiseman awarded Stoke their equaliser back in 1992. I was behind the goal and even I could see the ball had crossed the line for a goal kick. We all could. The Blues defence stopped, they could see that the ball had gone out. The ball was pulled back, they swept it into the net. I and everyone else who saw that it had crossed the line, expected the goal to be disallowed. Bizarrely, the officials conspired to give the goal. I will put my hands up and say that I’m biased, but sometimes you see a true travesty of justice unfold in front of you. Like I’ve said, the standard of the officials has dropped this season, but you still expect a certain level of competency. Yes, these people are human, yes they are vulnerable to making mistakes, but for the two that were closest to the incident not to have seen something so blatant, is a disgrace. It definitely effected the game. It gave Hull the boost they needed, and knocked the stuffing out of Blues. How do you compete against the opposition AND the officials?
Things were to get worse for Blues just before halftime. Gary Gardner was booked for a late challenge. Although I can understand his frustrations and reaction immediately afterwards, he is still, a senior member of the team and really should’ve know better than to force his head into an opponent’s face. Even if their breath does smell horrid and their mouth is close enough to his nose as to make him want vomit A red card followed the yellow. As the second half started, I recognised the back of Birdy’s ridiculously handsome head. I joined him, Craig, Bryn and Gav to watch the rest of the game. It had been bad enough with a full allocation of players, we were now having to play against 11 men, the referee, his assistants and all their guide dogs. It was inevitable that Hull would get a second and they did. We were never going to equalise when it was only 1:0. 2:0 might as well have been 20. Game over and yet another defeat witnessed at Hull. It was too much for Steve and Daryl. As they went passed, I joined them.
Although there’s some great pubs in Hull, all we wanted to do was exit the place. Getting the first possible train out, we headed back to Sheffield, and the fantastic Sheffield Tap. I don’t know how it sneaked into the conversation other than the fact that we were in Sheffield, but people are still laying the blame anywhere but where the real reason lies. It really annoys me. It annoys me so much that I’m going to say it again. Those fans at the Leppings Lane end in the F.A.Cup semifinal in 89, killed each other because they simply didn’t look after each other. The Hillsborough disaster would not have happened to any other set of fans. Anyway, mini rant over. We caught the next train heading to Brum, but got off at Derby. Dropping into the Alex. It’s actually called the Alexandra Hotel, but it’s only ever known as the Alex. It’s actually one of my favourite pubs in the whole country. Mind you, it’s on an ever growing list of hostelries I love. Unless you absolutely hate trains and anything to do with railways, you can’t fail to be impressed by all the railway paraphernalia. It even includes the cab of an engine in the garden. No I didn’t take any photos, I’ve taken loads for previous posts for Derby away. Up to you if you can be bothered to look for them. Personally, I wouldn’t. It’s too much trouble and probably not worth it anyway. After the Alex, we went round the corner to its near neighbour, the Brunswick Inn. Again, I’ve taken a few photos of the place for posts for Derby away before, and again, I didn’t take anymore. I don’t like the Brunswick as much as I like Alex, but that’s just a personal choice. It’s an excellent pub and the range and condition of the ale is always top class. We could’ve actually have got a later train, but decided against it. I suspect Jake was happy we didn’t. The guard on the train had either a South American or Spanish accent. Her rear end was definitely the size of a small country. Obviously I’m being harsh, but the alcohol was taking its toll on all of us. Alcohol really does make you obnoxious. We immediately nicknamed her ‘Consuela’, a character from ‘Family Guy’. She was probably just being friendly to Jake, but we just couldn’t help but tease him. It didn’t help matters that as soon as she left the carriage, he followed her. To make matters even worse for the lad, he came back with discounted food. She’d looked after him, nudge nudge, wink wink. He took it in his stride and in the spirit it was meant. Will he be an addition to the ale trailers? Well he needs to start drinking it for a start. He’d been good company mind. Touching down back in Brum, we all went our separate ways. Another great day ruined by incompetent refereeing.