Some of you, no doubt Mrs RM, probably think I spend all my time travelling to and drinking in pubs.
Nothing could be further from the truth. At least 10% of my life is spent carefully inserting errors in this blog for Russ to find, and 3% is spent searching Google maps for a good Chinese takeaway. So that’s only 87% spent on pubs.
I used to take my sons to home games until 2008, when they started to articulate their true feelings.
“Boring. Boring.” and it was*.
But it’s grass roots, salt of the earth football where you’re still allowed to kick more skilled players you can’t catch (he says bitterly).
But first, a pre-match pint in the St Radegund.
Despite a dull refurb recently, the tiny Radegund is one of those non-GBG pubs, like the Blue Moon and the Champion of the Thames, that a pub visitor might be recommended to visit.
The gent with the impressive scarf might very well have been one of those tourists, taking tentative sips from a half of Colchester. A row of Colchester pumps is rarely a great sign, I find.
The excellent barmaid pointed to the Pride when I asked what was going fastest. With four people in at 2pm on Saturday, that could have meant it was winning by 1 pint to 0.5 pints. The Radegund has been quiet on my recent visits.
“Would you like it in a handle ?”
Of course not ! Straight please“.
The straight glasses were on the top shelf, clearly reserved for the lowest of mankind.
“Is a Brewdog glass OK ?” Is there a shortage of nonics ?
I’m not sure Pride is supposed to look like that, but it was Beer Guide standard. Just.
It’s still a pleasant pub, with a good mix of custom and proper seating. But it used to look like the Olde Vic in Stockport and now it looks like a Kent micropub, having lost its lived-in character (and famous Polish vodkas, says Mrs RM).
The descent to the toilets is still the highlight, with the Ross-on-Wye poster recently granted listed status.
No chance of a listing for the Abbey, but at least you can still see Saturday afternoon football in Cambridge, something of a rarity at the Etihad.
“United v Mariners. The battle of the Galacticos” the overheard line of the day.
No beer for the proles standing behind the goal, but a few signs of ill-advised pre-match ale drinking outside the ground.
The Newmarket Road End is where you stand if you want to swear, and to be fair football and pubs have been the main outlet for authentic swearing for a century or more.
It costs £18 for this view, and will only cost £25 to see City in the Champions League next month. But you’re not allowed to swear at the Etihad, of course.
The pre-match tunes in Manchester are “Hit the North” and “Hey Jude“. Here it’s U2’s “Unforgettable Fire” and middle-aged blokes humming “Take on Me” as they pass this poster;
The football is awful, as bad as it was back in 84-85 season when David Moyes was in the side. That’s not just me saying that; the chap next to me is in despair. To think we used to have players like Ashbee and Finney;
Of course, this being football rather than rugby where possession matters, Cambridge score with their only venture into the Grimsby penalty area (see top).
Grimsby capitulate in the second half to lose 3-1, but the biggest cheers from an astonishing crowd approaching 5,000 are reserved for the school boys soaked by the sprinkler,
and the misery of a Sunderland fan hearing the Mackems are 2-0 down to Brentford and heading bottom (even worse than Hull).
Not even a pint of Greene King IPA (reserved for the main stand), but I do get a free apple and one of the great sunsets. I’ve had worse days.
*Sadly within five years they were bored of Aguero, Silva and Toure, too.