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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.

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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.

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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?)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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…and it was in very decent nick, so the gaffer clearly feels there is a market for this judging by the advertising.

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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…

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I shared my number one with a variety of fictitious characters…

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..I thought I might try here…

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…but settled on this

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whilst clearly NOT doing this!

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as Andy Capp was watching on…

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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.

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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.

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15 thoughts on “Salah!

  1. Ok first off, that first photo is a Winnie comment is it not?

    And I love the “hole in his shoe” in the second photo. (LOL)

    “if the final home game against Fulham isn’t win or bust”

    Even though Fulham was my grandad’s team I’ll be rooting for you (my Dad’s team was Chelsea). 🙂

    “so the gaffer clearly feels there is a market for this judging by the advertising.”

    He’s definitely trying to make his mark.

    “so it is targeting its audience and hopefully succeeding.”

    They’re certainly giving it the old college try.

    “I shared my number one with a variety of fictitious characters…”

    I don’t know what to say to that. 😉 (LOL)

    “and ensure that Blues could be facing both Albion and Villa next season.”

    Fingers crossed!

    (oh and love the Andy Capp stuff) 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Surely not a free house with all that Marstons branding and all their beers?

    I like the parody of Marstons and Liverpool FC; a proud and fine heritage, now a shadow of their former selves, living off the past taking parts from here there and everywhere, occasionally a flash of brilliance (for LFC anyway), but you know it’s all going to end in tears because they thought they were on a winner and took their eye off the ball.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You have set a new benchmark on the number of toilet pics there! I rarely watch an entire football match in the pub but that would have been a good one to do precisely that. Marston’s also seem to be pretty much the only brewer still building pubs, in turn bringing Pedigree to some unexpected locations (eg the old Ravenscraig steel works site in Motherwell).

    Reading and Blues both have good reason to be grateful to Barnsley but not yet mathematically safe?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I should clarify that not all piccys were taken in the toilet..only about 75%😉 yes they are still building pubs and whist most are food based I reckon Motherwell will benefit from pedigree…I rarely watch live football on TV only really in pubs and one half is usually my maximum as I much prefer the live experience…and I know you definitely do!!! Yes I feel as though I should seek out a pint of Barnsley bitter to say thanks! We could stop up with lowest ever points total?


  4. Any Forest game is the most important game and we did Birmingham City a big favour.
    Why are liverpool in the crap champions league or whatever it is, they did not win the Premier league last year so how can they be champions.
    When Forest won two European Cups all teams had to win the league they were competing in, not come second third or fourth.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I owe you a large drink Alan after that result! In principle, I agree with you. I would love to see the Champions League as just a knockout tournament for the champions of European countries and you could start with 64 after preliminary rounds and work back from there. It would be the true test but, unfortunately money has taken control. I would also have the Europa League as a knockout trophy and no one dropping down from the Champions League to give it a bit more credibility. Also, less games might appeal to mangers and players…until you mention the fact their income stream would be vastly reduced due to reduced TV revenues..having said all of that, I loved watching Salah and Liverpool in the first half even though they clearly aren’t champions. Is Salah better than John Robertson in his prime????


    1. Slightly off topic but it’s the money thing over here as well. Wild card teams added (for more games); playoff rounds now best of 7 instead of best of 5 (for more money) etc. Didn’t realise it was the same over there. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    2. No,
      If Salah or any of the other poncy players these days went onto a football pitch when John Robertson was playing they would all end up in a heap on the deck crying that someone had hurt them.
      My wife had a very soft spot for Robbo, not boy band members like most young women did at the time, but she did have a Forest season ticket from age of 15.

      Liked by 1 person

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