With Russ describing Matlock Town’s 1977 FA Cup run in great detail in the comments section of my last post, it proves the ‘magic of the FA Cup,’ is still alive and kicking…in Canada.
The Gladiators 5-2 win at Mansfield is still arguably the best win in the club’s history as they reached the FA Cup Third Round and Newport of
Division Four League Two are certainly pulling up trees this year.
After last year’s exploits in holding Spurs to a draw, The Exiles have now beaten Leicester City in Rd 3 and were in the process of out-
Pullising muscling Tony Pullis’ Middlesbrough in Rd 4.
As I walked into 348 – Pied Bull LE12 9AA in Shepshed I couldn’t say cup fever had hit the locals hard in this Leicestershire town, but it was certainly on the box and the gaffer was keen for it to get an airing.
Of course, if this was 1982, the year that Shepshed Charterhouse reached the first round only to lose 5-1 at Preston, then it might have been different; but Newport did knock out the local boys and former Premier League winners so there may be an element of sour grapes in the air.
Even the LCFC dart flights were defiantly on show…
…but the gaffer in this place didn’t bear a grudge as he was rooting for the Welsh underdogs.
I spoke recently about how a gaffer can make or break a pub in Swannington and this bloke was top notch. He was very welcoming and happy to serve me an excellent half of
Burton Bitter Saddle Tank (Marston’s) and when he saw me sit down near the TV turned it round and came over to chat about the game.
The first thing I noticed was it was a classic FA Cup pitch. FA Rule #37 decrees all FA Cup tales must make reference to Hereford circa 1971 and this gluepot was up there with ‘classic pitches prepared for an upset.’
It was only the first half but it looked odds on as though Newport were going to win as mighty Middlesbrough decided the FA Cup is of no importance to them and stuck a huge two fingers up the fans who had travelled six hours to watch them play.
Not to worry, as I’m sure their fans didn’t want to play Manchester City anyway; they much prefer seeing them slug it out with the likes of Ipswich, Rotherham and Reading.
The boozer was really tidy and had around 20 punters in on a Tuesday evening at around 8pm, so that’s not bad going.
They sponsor Shepshed’s cricket team, have both Sky Sport and BT Sport but it’s not intrusive and there were pockets of conversation going on all around the pub with the two blokes next to me discussing the various merits of Silent Witness and Luther (got to be Luther all day long for me).
They had beer you’ve actually heard of and with loads of houses nearby it appeared to be a proper local on the edge of the town centre that is doing very nicely indeed.
Due to the February gloom I can only tell you that it is a grade 2 listed pub, with a thatched roof and oak beams but you can always check their website if you don’t believe me
I was delighted to see that Newport had won when I returned home later after my parental taxi role and I reckon the gaffer at the Pied Bull was absolutely ecstatic. No doubt he’ll be showing the fifth round game against Manchester City as well so I’ve already booked the seat by the dartboard for Martin to watch the drama unfold.
It’s unlikely to be a pre-emptive tick though, as it falls under the Loughborough wing of the GBG and they have a huge amount to choose from but don’t seem to include solid local boozers from Shepshed, Whitwick or Coalville.
However, should Newport pull off the unthinkable and actually beat Guardiola’s boys then I reckon the whole of the Pied Bull clientele will be glued to the action.