WARNING : SLIDESHOW FRENZY !
Yippee ! A new town, a Protected Food type, a GBG tick and pre-emptive (possibly), and an old-fashioned Tayside derby at the coldest football ground in Britain.
Yes, I’d been looking forward to Arbroath all year.
15 minutes on the train from Dundee to a Proper Town.
Yes, a scruffy place, with just a hint of humour.
The Gillingham of the North, I thought, and I don’t mean the one in Dorset.
But the High Street is neat and colourful and nearly steep, which Gillingham isn’t.
The Spoons looks like the grandest building in town now the Abbey is in ruins. That’s why Gentlefolk flock to Wetherspoons in their hundreds from Arbroath to Andover.
That, and the cheap beer.
At the bar a chap asked for tasters of two of the cask ales, including the Strathaven, turning both down in favour of a Punk IPA. #TheBattleIsLost.
And then asking for a top-up.
I only switched to the Abbot late on as someone brave had just ordered a pint.
It looked OK, was clearly selling well, and produced some decent lacings.
BUT it was much too sweet and I couldn’t finish it.
With an hour till kick-off at Gayfield I did the tourist trail.
I’d picked up a programme outside the ground, and found out that Arbroath FC had played Signing Of Declaration FC on that day in 1320. Sadly records of the score had been lost.
Luckily, an annual recreation of that match is played at the Abbey annually (below).
I still had time for a half in the Lochlands. an occasional GBG entry.
All blokes watching Hearts v Hibs, but all very chatty and cheery, a BRAPA of a pub.
A reckless late Hibs sliding tackle caused a near riot that actually improved my very decent Deuchars (NBSS 3=).
Just time for the smokies. Scott will tell me that Stuart’s isn’t my best choice, but my warmed portion was startlingly tasty for £3 odd.
That didn’t stop me falling badly for the steak and black pudding pie at the ground though. The best football food in the UK, Kidderminster apart. You need hot food, the sea wind bites right through you.
The tiny club bar celebrates their 36-0 win over Bon Accord in 1885, a tie that will be replayed after VAR is applied retrospectively.
Just the one Arbroath goal today against neighbours Montrose, but that would have been enough to guarantee promotion until a 93rd minute Raith equaliser delayed the pitch invasion till a week later at Brechin.
The carpet disco would have to wait, but at least there was no lack of culinary delights to ward off the biting cold.