Jugs In The Potteries

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“We’re a working class team, who give working class performances from a working class city,” is a paraphrase of something that Lou Macari used to say back in the nineties about Stoke City.

He was definitely right about Stoke being working class and even though there has been some gentrification in the intervening 20 years, it is still earthy.

Stoke and football is unavoidably linked as, apart from darts, it is clearly the City’s number one sport.  I’m not sure how true this is but I remember reading somewhere once (honest) that, aside from Burnley, Stoke had the highest percentage of its population attend football matches.  The six towns making up the Potteries are diverse but they all like football and 97% of them support Stoke…

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But, aside from Nick Hancock, all the famous Stokies seem to support Port Vale.  Robbie Williams, Robbie Williams’ mate who always plays in the football fixtures, Phil Taylor and Lemmy (not confirmed, but he was from Burslem) all support the Valiants which, on current crowds, is probably about a quarter of the gate!

Anyway, I’ve not been to Stoke for years having lived there for a while in the nineties and whilst nearby Newcastle (under Lyme) would probably regards itself to Stoke as Solihull does to Birmingham; there is no denying it is a working class football town.

I knew I was back in The Potteries when I saw this

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and when I heard someone say “I arner” (I’m not) then I knew, whatever Newcastle might describe itself as, it is essentially a suburb of Stoke On Trent.

55 – Old Brown Jug ST5 2RY is another one of those rarities in that it is a Marston’s pub that looks distinctly like a pub, as opposed to an eatery.

Granted, early afternoon on a Thursday it was virtually empty save for three other people. Not forgetting the world’s loudest, largest (but friendly) dog who was adept at barking and making you jump out of your skin just as you were settling down to drink a decent half of Hop Commotion (Jennings)  or read a music fanzine.

This boozer is very music based with a stage and novel microphone lighting!

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In 40 minutes I heard three Beatles and three Queen tracks but I reckon this place, possibly, comes alive at night. All the lads drinking knew the barmaid, so it has a locals feel even though it’s a town centre pub and there was a buzz around something posted on someone’s wall (social media), which is increasingly important in modern day pub life.

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It was a decent place with decent beer but the toilets looked distinctly (not good) old skool with no seats and could do with a bit of a spruce up to put it midly.

Nevertheless, as Lou Macari said it is a working class town and this had the feel of a bar that will attract students too. There were deals galore on show and the barmaid’s tattoos suggested it was definitely more hard rock than Queen or The Beatles.

Stoke On Trent might have a cultural quarter but it’s nice to see it’s surrounding areas (Newcastle) have still got some old style boozers.

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11 thoughts on “Jugs In The Potteries

  1. Love the microphone lighting. 🙂

    Excuse a slightly off topic remark but it intrigues me sometimes as to the number of football clubs in the UK (or anywhere in Europe I would imagine). Over here it’s the big four; (American) Football, Baseball, Hockey and Basketball (though – pardon the expression – “soccer” is becoming more popular over here). According to Wiki there are over 7,000 clubs in the UK! Granted not all are in the Premier League, but that’s still a helluva number. Over here not just the locals but an entire province will go bonkers for the one team in their province. For example, the Saskatchewan Roughriders:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saskatchewan_Roughriders#Popularity

    And that’s in a province that has barely one million people. The same is true for hockey and especially baseball, as the Toronto Blue Jays are the only Canadian team in Major League Baseball (the rest being in the US).

    It’s amazing to me you have two football clubs (granted in different levels) that are barely six miles apart.

    Maybe that’s why pubs aren’t as pervasive over here. We need to get back to grass roots in sports and follow more local stuff. 🙂

    Again, apologies for going off topic.

    Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love off topic chats as that what blogs are about,? It does seem to be a European trait to have lots of clubs in close proximity all wanting a slice of the cake? Will it change in States and Canada with increased interest in socca??

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      1. “I love off topic chats as that what blogs are about? ”
        Well, your blog – your rules; just making sure I wasn’t breaking an unspoken rule. 🙂

        As for it changing over here, I will have to give that a ponder. Off the top of my head I’d say no at present. As Martin sort of noted, the UK has centuries of history compared to over here, as well as (to a point) the smaller geographical area vis a vis over here. (for example the UK has almost double the population of Canada while Canada has over 40 times the land area of the UK).

        But I’ll give it some thought. 🙂

        Cheers

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ok, whilst I wait for the laundry to finish I’ll add a few thoughts. These are from what I’ve seen/experienced/read or whatever. No proper research done, just so you know.

        I don’t think things will change with respect to “socca” over here any time soon. It is becoming more popular to be sure. Part of that is due to cost (way cheaper than outfitting your offspring for hockey) as well as not as dangerous (reports of concussion injuries in American football are pretty prevalent lately). But we still have basketball and baseball as major pastimes over here. Baseball has the minor leagues (as do hockey) which I assume are somewhat like your 2nd/3rd tier divisions in a way. A number of people are turning to the minor leagues as it’s cheaper and more fun (and more local). So “socca” is still up against that. I guess it comes down partly to history or culture. Why North America (i.e. Canada and the US) are out of step with Europe, South America, the Middle East and Africa when it come to “footie” I’ve no idea. The same goes for Canada being one of the few Commonwealth countries that isn’t an avid cricket follower. Location for one (proximity to our big neighbour to the south). Believe me, being “America’s hat” plays a big role. 🙂

        And that will do it for that, for now.

        Cheers

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Russ’s point is really interesting. Clubs formed in the late 19th century around small areas, works, churches etc., and have resisted mergers to city level, certainly in this century. Duncan (the Pubmeister) has been to a large number of those 7,000 club grounds.

    The Brown Jug is a jolly place, just as you describe, but N-u-L is seeing some of the fastest change pubwise of any town in the UK, loads of craft places and micropubs. I prefer the boozers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lots of clubs were clearly built for communities pre cars and therefore people walked there…if you were building Birmingham’s ground now you would arguably build it somewhere else in the city or closer to NEC (watch out Solihull Moors!) Yes there appeared to be loads of little craft and micro boozers ( one to come in future post) but still had market stalls selling whizzer and chips!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good point about walking to grounds. You’re right, if football started now grounds would ALL be just off the motorway and we wouldn’t have the Wolves that apparently Elgar cycled to support from Malvern.

        Liked by 1 person

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