Behind Enemy Lines – A Swift Half In Shenstone

I’ve met and played against Dion Dublin a couple of times and he’s a top bloke.  Some of my former contemporaries who played with him will also wax lyrical about him and as Homes Under The Hammer star and BBC pundit he is a great advert for former footballers.


However, as I walked into 311 – The Railway WS14 0LZ, deep in the heart of Aston Villa territory, he had clearly been cranking it up ahead of tomorrow’s derby against Blues.

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I have to confess and say I haven’t drunk in that many boozers in the northern half of the city (although Shenstone officially comes under Staffordshire, it feels a little like Sutton Coldfield) and this was my inaugural visit to a cracking boozer in a fairly salubrious area.

(even well to do villages have random chairs on the street!)

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Anyway, there is a room with a screen showing sport, a small bar area and another area selling food and I believe the current parlance is open plan, multi-level interior…

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It’s a pub with a lot of TLC and has a lot of local trade as plenty of people were in and out during my 45 minutes here.

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The beer was good and the atmosphere was even better and this is a pub that is well worth a visit.

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As I sat down with my terrific half of Amber Ale (Banks’s) and watched Rotherham against Sheffield United on the big screen, the conversation was rife to my right with the barflies and barmaid in full flow about tomorrow’s game.

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One of the sages was talking about Football Focus and how Dublin had interviewed Jack Grealish and said it was the biggest game of the season for Blues but not for Villa.

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I’m not sure if this is true… but bar talk is always good and there was a really healthy (in numbers!) crowd in, so it cast my mind back to a few fixtures I watched in the early noughties when the BBC TV star probably had a different mind set.

He was definitely playing in this one as he got sent off for head-butting Robbie Savage when agent Bruce was working for the right side.

Then of course, he played in this one when Villa were 2-0 up…

whilst he definitely appeared in this one when Villa’s goalkeeper was very sporting

I’m not sure he played in either of these two…

but two questions remain…

Isn’t Steve Bruce a much better fit as a Blues manager?  And does Alan Smith (another top bloke) support Aston Villa as he sounds a little bit too upset whenever Blues score!

There is of course, the little matter of the Carling Cup…did I mention that Blues won it in 2011 ensuring they are the only team in he West Midlands to have won a major trophy in the 21st Century?

Unfortunately, that probably says more about Midlands football (Leicester aside) this century but, as well as beating Arsenal in the final, Blues also beat Villa in the quarter final…

it was quite a big game but I’m pretty sure Villa would like to have won too and Olof Mellberg’s “I’ve never heard of them” comments ahead of the 2002 game at St Andrew’s is surely a warning that anything can happen in football.

(white van…always a good sign in a local boozer)

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Anyway, this is a good pub and there were a good crop of locals drinking at the bar at 2pm on a Saturday and this will be the most ‘local’ boozer Shenstone has handily situated a two minute walk from the railway station.

Another good solid Midlands boozer and I reckon it will be packed at midday tomorrow…

20 thoughts on “Behind Enemy Lines – A Swift Half In Shenstone

  1. Nailing your colours well and truly to the mast there! You might win that one even against a team that includes ex-Buddie John McGinn (his two brothers are at St Mirren). 45 mins! Is Slow Pubbing now a thing? Will be watching tomorrow with interest. Your comments box might be interesting tomorrow too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I’ve come out of the closet! McGinn is an excellent player and villa manager is old schoolboy football friend so I hope he does well. Apart from tomorrow of course!! 45 minutes including sun crossword (not completed) watching Sheffield United v Rotherham and eavesdropping!! ⚽😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Celtic refused to stump up the modest fee and they regret it. He’s from
        a big Celtic family too – has great energy, strength and attitude. His nickname here is Meatball. Makes sense that 45 minutes = one half!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “in a fairly salubrious area.”

    Salubrious? Now you’re just showing off for any footy mates that might drop by. 😉

    “(even well to do villages have random chairs on the street!)”

    Of course all I could think of was Monty Python’s ‘comfy chair’. 🙂

    “I’m not sure he played in either of these two…”

    My apologies, I didn’t realise Villa were Birmingham based. (blush)

    That said, good luck to the northern Blues* on Sunday! (thumbs up)

    “(white van…always a good sign in a local boozer)”


    “Another good solid Midlands boozer and I reckon it will be packed at midday tomorrow…”

    Agreed, on both counts. 🙂


    * (cough) Chelsea (cough) 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. “we are the southern side generally”

        But I was cheering for the southern side!
        (I’ll stop now before I ‘cross the line’). 🙂


        Liked by 1 person

  3. Sad but true – many pubs rely on televised football and take the lions share of their turnover during broadcast matches and over two sessions a week (Fri & Sat eve). Noticeable to watch people after the Sat tea time fixture – do they stay or do they go? And if they go where do they go?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s a positive as a good excuse to go to the pub for many people…I’m all for it…i suspect most people probably stop for one more and then go…lots of houses within walking distance of this place so it’s got a head start


  4. If there’s an award for the pub blogger who posts the most tempting ‘beer in glass’ photos – you’ll win it hands down LAF 🙂

    Rotherham didn’t do too badly against Sheff Utd either – in their struggle to stay afloat in the Championship

    Com’ on you Millers…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I didn’t realise you were a Millers man?!!! Massive achievement if you boys stay up again….Yes, apparently I have been nominated for that award at the inaugural PUB awards in January….You’re up for the “Best Enid Blyton style blog’ and ‘best hat pictures in a blog’ award….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rotherham born and bred…..keeping my fingers crossed for them. They need a win against Si’s team when they meet again in February (even though the Millers let them win the first time out this season…!) 🙂

      Great news about the awards nomination…justly deserved…

      Not sure about mine – but I’ll start writing my acceptance speech just in case…

      Liked by 1 person

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