The cafe was full of fans of various types - including a sizeable collection on Brighton fans on their way to Villa for their FA Cup tie - but it was mercifully free of the usual loud-mouth cabbies that seem to eat here earlier in the day.
The journey to Crewe was as quick as it can be - first stop on this service, taking just 90 mins.
I'd been in touch with the chosen pub for this trip earlier in the week - it is the local pub of the year for 2009 so was an obvious choice - and they'd said they'd open up early for us.
I therefore wasn't going to waste valuable drinking time walking so we took a cab to the Borough Arms.
(left) Borough Arms
On arrival Trevor was already being served - he'd walked from the station along with John and Rich who travelled down from Darlo with a couple of their mates.
There was an impressive selection on offer: Woodforde's Wherry, Bowland Pheasant Plucker, Northumberland Winter Gold and Bucking Fastard, Blue Monkey Ape Ale, Copper Dragon Golden Pippin, Harviestoun Ptarmigan and Salopian Oracle. All served with a smile from Rob.
They'd also ensured there were plenty of sandwiches and pies for us all - a warm welcome indeed.
There was one beer brewed on the premises - Hop and Glory. When John, the current landlord, took over the pub he found the previous incumbent had left behind some brewing gear. Rather than use it himself, John hired a German master brewer from London to brew for them.
It seems the brewer comes up to Crewe about once a month and brews enough for about 16 kegs.
However there was no brewing over Xmas as it seems salt from grit laid during the snowy weather had got into the water supply.
I started off on the Winter Gold which was decent stuff - as was the Hop and Glory - both quite similar at approx 4.5% and easy drinking with a decent amount of hops.
We were then joined by Lance who'd been the first to arrive in Crewe but in true style he'd had a good wander round before joining us. We were also treated to the sight of his Villa socks - not for the faint-hearted.
Colin then arrived having braved the hordes of English Defence League members on their way to Stoke - he was ready for a beer. Last to arrive was John Bell for what was almost a home game.
The best beer for most of us was the Salopian Oracle - yet another golden beer but at 4% it had bags of flavour and slipped down a treat. I'd also had a drop of Colin's Blue Monkey Ape Ale which was very tasty too - and at 5.4% it only cost £2.85 - the dearest on offer with most others only £2.50.
The pub never got really busy which is a real shame - it's a clean, tidy comfortable pub, no noisy jukeboxes or games machines.
(left) Lance and his Villa socks - classy...
The Preston -v- Chelsea FA Cup game was on TV but it seemed that people preferred to chat. There were a few Crewe fans that came in and who were very friendly but not as many as I thought would be in - their loss.
Whilst some of our group chose to walk to the ground, we wanted to make the most of our visit and preferred to take a taxi. Unfortunately it was a bit late - barman Rob kept an eye out for us and kept chasing up the taxi firm - and so we finally arrived about five minutes after kick-off.
The police - of which there seemed to be a larger number than I'd have expected - were all busy tucking into burgers and pies are we came past, looking very sheep-ish as if they'd been caught in the act.
It's many years since I've been to Gresty Road - 1993 to be exact when we lost 2-1 - its a bit of a hazy memory but since then they've moved away fans from behind the goal to the compact Blue Bell stand.
There was a decent contingent of Darlo fans all hoping for another inspired performance from the Quakers - or even a wretched performance from the opposition would do, we're not proud - and for a while we competed but it wasn't to last.
The three forwards for Crewe were very lively and made it difficult for the defence - Alan White is back in the heart of defence, now with hair which I don't think suits him - he needs his hard-man shaven head and not a choirboy cut.
And keeper Liversedge never seems at ease with crosses into the box and following a corner from one of his fumbles, Crewe take the lead though Zola.
And then in the space of ten minutes with the defence at sixes and sevens, Crewe scored another two and it's Goodnight Vienna. And there could have been more - Liversedge making a good stop when one-on-one with one of their strikers.
Up front we never really made any impact on their goal - the only positive from the first half was the work put in by Gareth Waite over on the right side of midfield. Considering he was signed from Spennymoor a week or so ago, he looked good.
At half-time I had a chat with a few of our number and any positive vibes that we'd had following the win against Rotherham in midweek had been blown away. Not that we were surprised of course.
The second half saw a much improved performance - whether this was due to a bollocking from Staunton or Crewe taking it easy - probably a bit of both I suspect - but we started to take the game to Crewe.
Waite moved to the centre of midfield and continued to look good but there were very few chances on goal. There were an awful lot of balls crossed into the Crewe box but I don't remember a single Darlo player getting his head to one.
The game crept slowly to it's inevitable conclusion - the highlight was a steward offering jelly babies to us - and then we all trudged back to the station. Howard tried to buoy our spirits by buying oranges and Mars Bars - he's good like that.
The journey back to London was a quick one - and thankfully the drunken Chelsea fans who traipsed into our carriage had got the wrong seats and moved on elsewhere - and the journey passed peacefully.
Back in London, Martin and I wandered to the Betjeman Arms at St Pancras where we met up with Wycombe chum, Paul. We've not seen each other this season following their promotion to League One but it's been far from rosy - their season has been almost as bad as ours.
Liz and Clarkey then joined us after getting back from Rotherham's victory over Grimsby - two favours from the Millers this week - and we had a couple of beers before heading home...