In 1998 my old schoolmate Sean and I drove to Hillsborough to see 4th Division Cambridge United grab a memorable first leg League Cup victory at 1st Division Wednesday; Des Walker, Pressman, Di Canio et al.
A memorable night, topped by a pre-match pint in a new Guide tick in the Cow & Calf in Grenoside.
Most away trips with Sean involved a trip through grim estates, parking up near the ground and suffering a rough pub with only Websters Bitter on. The sort of pub I’d rave about now, in fact.
Pretty clearly the Cow & Calf, one of Uncle
Sam Humphrey’s more rural treasures, was a bit of a culture shock for a Cambridge lad (OK, he lived in Southend by then) used to thinking of The North as, well, grim. Have YOU ever been to Mansfield ?
Five minutes from the ground, but it felt a different world.
More farmhouse than pub.
Full of characters, beer at half Cambridge prices, and unintelligible Sheffield accents.
I remember his astonishment at the quality of the Pure Brewed Lager, and the OBB would still have been a bit of a novelty for me after Sam pubs in Manchester, Beverley and Holmes Chapel.
I’ve always wondered why it only lasted a few years in the GBG; then I counted the handpumps again.
But it made the headlines last year when Sir Humphrey closed it down, allegedly for failing to serve his favourite desert, which seems a trifle petty. As Pubs Galore wryly notes; Closed after a Humphrey incident
What a character that Humphrey is, eh ?
NB: Will has just reminded me about the second leg at the Abbey, after which we celebrated Di Canio’s humiliation at another classic Cow & Calf.