Football is a massive part of pub life and as luck would have it, the second most important game on Tuesday night was being shown live in 197 -The Blue Bell LE65 2JG.
Let’s get THE big news story of the night out of the way first and Nottingham Forest putting Barnsley to the sword means Birmingham City are almost safe with two games to spare.
Clearly, the St. Andrew’s faithful will feel slightly cheated if the final home game against Fulham isn’t win or bust like it’s been two times in the past four seasons but, no doubt, something will happen in the summer to upset the apple cart if everything appears to be running smoothly.
Football never ceases to amaze me and the fact that over 23,000 people turned up to watch the 37th best team in the country beat the 42nd best team in the country in horrendous driving rain is, frankly, incredible.
Even Rochdale v Plymouth attracted over two and a half thousand people and, with Champions League football on the box allied to woeful weather, that is the lure of the beautiful game.
(Darts…the beautiful game?)
In other news, Mo Salah was absolute poetry in motion as I spent a very enjoyable 45 minutes (the first half) in Ashby De la Zouch’s ‘estate’ boozer.
I’ve walked past here before and whilst it has been open the curtains have always been drawn, which is the norm for quite a few pubs but, this time, they were open and the football was on!
I found out from the barmaid that the reason the curtains were open was the fact new owners had just taken over and they were starting to see a quite a few new faces (mine included) in a proper local pub.
Ashby has had as many houses as anywhere in the East Midlands built on it over the past decade and this is continuing apace as about half a mile up the road there is a massive new development on the site of the old Arla Dairy factory with 153 new homes springing up.
Mind you, chimney pots isn’t a problem in Ashby and this boozer is on the outskirts so you almost certainly wouldn’t pop in if you were shopping and there is plenty of old council housing stock nearby along with new and more established estates.
It has clearly had a makeover and whilst I didn’t have masses of company on a Tuesday night there were enough old boys and girls in here to suggest it has a future.
Plus, it was also selling Pedigree (Marston’s) at £3.10 a pint…
(with classic bench seating and beermats)
…and it was in very decent nick, so the gaffer clearly feels there is a market for this judging by the advertising.
Wainwright’s and Hobgoblin Gold were also available although the couple of old boys I spoke to were firmly in the lager market.
I watched first half in its entirety and Salah was rampant and reminded me of Trevor Francis, Frank Worthington and Christophe Dugarry in their pomp at Birmingham as he absolutely roasted
Manchester City old boys Roma.
It was on in both the bar and the lounge and whilst people were watching it, there was still plenty of good conversation occurring and a warm atmosphere.
I sincerely hope this genuine Free House survives and thrives as this side of Ashby needs a pub for those who don’t want to walk into the town centre. The Blue Bell runs quizzes and karaoke evenings so it is targeting its audience and hopefully succeeding.
The toilet visit was great with some fantastic artwork, which was peppered all around the pub…
I shared my number one with a variety of fictitious characters…
..I thought I might try here…
…but settled on this
whilst clearly NOT doing this!
as Andy Capp was watching on…
As a regular watcher of Championship football, Liverpool’s performance in the first 45 was outstanding and the atmosphere at Anfield doesn’t look as though it has become a ‘tourist team’ experience just yet.
So, whilst the nation awaits the second leg in Rome with bated breath next week, I will be more concerned with matters in Shepherds Bush this weekend to see if Garry Monk can continue his escapologist act and ensure that Blues could be facing both Albion and Villa next season.