Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Brass Monkeys in Steel City

Taking a leaf out of Dagenham & Redbridge's book, I travelled by first class to Sheffield where Brian and Trevor were patiently waiting for me. Unfortunately a staffing crisis at Olympic Ministores meant Tony wouldn't be joining us for an extended pre-match session. I bet Mr Tesco is always having this problem...

My trip today was going to involve a few firsts - and this started immediately as we board the Sheffield Supertram.

There has been some debate in recent years on introducing trams back to London - if they're as empty as the one we took then I'd be happy. Somehow I doubt they would be though. And no doubt there'd be chaos on the roads for years.

(left) Supertram leaving Shalesmoor

Our first calling point was the Wellington - just a hundred yards or so beyond Shalesmoor tram stop.

It's a cracking pub that reminds me of the Wenlock Arms in many respects - a great range of beers, some excellent scratchings, a lived-in feel plus a pub dog which will hoover up those scratching we dropped (though the landlord complains that he's the one who has to get up in the small hours when they make the dog sick).

Whilst Brian and Trev went for pints of Millstone's Baby Git, I decided to go for the 5% Keystone Hops from the Weatheroak Brewey. This turned out to be a full-flavoured hoppy beer, not a surprise, which belied it's strength and was very easy to drink.

Although we were well settled here, we headed over to Kelham Island and my first visit to the famous Fat Cat. This has now become the new base pub for the London Millers when attending home games and it is a nice little pub though currently surrounded by scaffolding.

What is to say about this place other than it has a great range of beers and what looks to be a very hearty menu. We just had more scratchings.

After another couple of pints, we walked round the corner to the Kelham Island Tavern - another famous pub.
Looking slightly more refurbished than the Fat Cat, we were faced with another impressive range of beers. And a barman who kept calling us "love" - very Dick Emery...

Conversation was slighly stifled when we noticed the sign asking patrons not to swear otherwise they'd have to leave the premises!
Don't they know that swearing is both big and clever?

Before we caught the tram towards the Don Valley stadium, we returned for a final pint at the Wellington.

The temperature had dropped dramatically and it was bloody freezing - Brian muttering that it was too cold to watch football and threatening to miss the game and go home instead.

As the tram drove through Sheffield, we were joined by young turk and former travelling companion, Chris Stockdale, who was late arriving.

Trev and Chris went onto the stop for the away end whilst Brian and I got off at Attercliffe in order to have a final pint at the Cocked Hat. The place was full of Darlo fans and our new chum, the Gloryhunter.

I tried to get some beers but they don't serve real ale on matchdays as it take too long - doesn't stop them pouring Guinness though does it? I take a perverse turn and order a G&T as the beer choice on keg was less than inspiring.

Spencer and I were having a good chat until we realised the game had been going for ten minutes and we'd better get in. I made the long walk to the away end - the DVS looking impressive from the outside but the view when I'd finally found a seat in the upper tier was a tad distant. Apparently it's a lot better from the home end which is scant consolation.
A fairly even first half with some early Rotherham pressure but not a lot of excitement to keep us warm. For the second half I moved to the lower tier to join Chris and Martin.
Darlo managed to restrict the Millers forward line whilst still creating chances of our own. We got a bit of a scrambled goal from Ravenhill and for the final third, we worked hard and restricted the Millers to just a few chances.
Given the freezing conditions, the final whistle was more than welcome and we rushed out of the ground to find where Martin had parked is car.

Not surprising I slept for most of the drive back to London and it didn't seem too long before Martin dropped us off in Hammersmith where I was able to thaw out in my office. Time to dig out the thermal long johns at this rate.

No comments: