When football is good, wow it is good.
Of course I don’t necessarily mean the Champions League semi-finals, which were remarkably good but also the likes of Insch beating Westdyke 4-0 in front of an attendance of 64 at the weekend in the Aberdeenshire Amateur Premier League.
(picture courtesy of Duncan)
I know this of course because ground hopper, GBG man and all round good egg Duncan visits some absolute classic football stadiums and, to be honest, 64 people would constitute an impressive crowd at a National Hockey League fixture.
And that’s the thing…I do like all sports, particularly cricket and football but I dislike all the lazy stereotypes that go with it.
You know the “all footballers are soft,” kind of thing from rugger fans (not in Wales I hasten to add, who like both games) which is clearly ridiculous.
Some of the behaviours of some of the players who simulate, cheat and harangue officials leaves me cold, but I genuinely think VAR will sort this out.
As Duncan rightly points out, it is now a global problem as opposed to a ‘foreign’ problem when he succinctly notes “Liverpool v Spurs in the Champions League is a disaster for UK television commentators with no foreign team to blame for “going down easily”, feigning injury and time wasting,”
I couldn’t agree more with the Pubmeister but there are some fantastic players who don’t cheat. If I go and watch Championship football with Birmingham there is less skill but less cheating and the crowd definitely want that. I’m pretty sure Duncan didn’t see too much play acting in the Insch stadium and players like Martin Hicks wouldn’t have stood for it.
I don’t think Rugby can get on a high horse beyond respecting officials as there are regular punch ups described as “it’s only rugby” by sympathetic reporters and no end of performance enhancing steroids. Add into the mix recreational drugs along with a bit of social media bigotry from Australian and English players.
Alex Hales’ alleged misdemeanours appear to be relatively murky so I don’t think any sport should set itself higher than any other.
Anyway, now that’s out the way I shall get down to business!!!
The reason football is the beautiful game and watched by the masses is due to the Liverpool and Spurs games in the last two evenings.
Apart from Martin, who will be watching curling/eventing or skiing on Eurosport to avoid seeing Manchester City’s conquerors reach the final, the rest of the nation has been gripped.
Late drama, goals, comebacks and full stadiums mean that no one – apart from the BBC who are contractually obliged to mention it 37,000 times per day, has spoken about Brexit…whoops a slight lapse there.
What’s all this got to do with pub blogging I hear you cry? Apart from Dutch Paul of course who is apoplectic after Lucas Moura’s hat-trick…He’s just necking copious amounts of Grolsch!
Well, pre City’s exit, I remember them smashing a huge amount of goals past Schalke in a group game and I when I walked into the Marston’s brewery tap house, they were leaking goals left, right and centre once again on the big screen.
I know there is the Tap House at the Museum but this is putting itself forward and who am I to argue as 396 – The Albion Taphouse DE14 2BE has been transformed from what was a fairly bog standard boozer.
(customary sloping picture for Martin, Mark & Pete)
This was a 2-for-1 style Marston’s boozer for years until it closed for a refurb and ‘gastro boozer’ was the odds on favourite amongst the bookies.
But, and full credit to them for this, Marston’s have turned this into a Tap House and showcase plenty of their beers. It’s actually classed as Shobnall on the outskirts of Burton next to the Athletics track but right next to their Marston’s shop etc and there’s plenty of brewing history in the local vicinity.
(Beers you’ve heard of…in a Tap House)
It’s now a funky tap house that is actually open all day selling pizzas, has barrels on view,
keg lines of beer along with cask options and DE14 beermats, which is their Nano brewery offshoot.
It would be easy to criticise and say the range of beers should be better (which it should, as they have lots of them) but this is a real step in the right direction when many pubs are becoming primarily food based, this is bucking the trend.
I think Schalke only conceded four on this occasion much to their manager’s relief; it was early Wednesday afternoon and the place wasn’t packed but had enough passing trade to make it viable.
I still don’t get the pizza obsession but that is definitely an age thing as most of my younger pals lap them up and are quite excited by “good pizza,” whatever that is!
Nonetheless, I remember coming here when it was a slightly tired 2-1 but the transformation is excellent and they are using a big old boozer to the best of its ability and have made a tap house that shows sport, sells both Marston’s and guest beer on cask/keg and bottles whilst selling pizzas which appear to be the go to food for a generation.
I had a very good pint of Saddle Tank (Marston’s) as it was the lightest option but it was cool, crisp and chewy, just like a Tap House beer should be. Ignore the Marston’s haters; this place is worth a visit.