I bought a season ticket for City this year, first since 2016 when I was getting fed up of missing games moved from Saturday 3pm, and only doing a dozen out of nineteen games.

With the prospect of foreign travel off the table for a while, and now living an hour rather than three from the ground, I reckoned I’ve no excuse for not seeing the Champions of England (till Chelsea win it back, probably in March).

James has come to a few games with me, as has (more surprisingly) Matt, who has shown as much interest in soccer as America before he realised barbers are expected to have firmly held views on VAR, Ronaldo v Messi and the best footballer’s haircut.

I met Matt, who now lives 20 minutes walk from the ground, before the Burnley match and we had a father/son lunch at Chef Diao, a homely Malaysian place on Oldham Street, opposite The City pub (never been in, should I ?).

I love the fact there’s still about 377 new places to eat in the Northern Quarter alone, many of which I’ve never noticed walking past the Castle or the Crown & Kettle.

Chef Diao were lovely, they even brought us forks, and the Beijing noodles with unidentified meat products were wonderful.

Washed down with a gallon of Chinese tea, the detox I needed pre-match.

Matt skipped the match, a wise move, saving himself for cheaper fixtures ahead (Bruges is £17.50).

After the routine 2-0 win the Premier League flag fluttered gamely in the Manchester sunshine that comes out whenever I’m in town,

and I wound my way down to New Islington Marina, determined to get a post-match pint at cask, the local Pub of the Year.

I don’t like queues, I don’t like standing at the bar, I don’t like having to choose my beer from a board. But nearly everyone was drinking good cask, and that’s got to be good, hasn’t it ?

But everyone else had the Mallinsons so I did too. It was cool and crisp, and improving in the sun (NBSS 3.5). Just a shame I had to perch on a wall to drink it. Goodness knows what proportion of weekly trade Manchester’s pubs do on match days.

It’s possible I’ll start to feel a bit constricted by the season ticket soon, having to spend every other weekend in Manchester rather than in Orkney or Paignton or Lampeter ticking pubs, but I’ve got to say, there’s few better places in the world.

NB Chap pictured at Piccadilly is Pete the Badge, the City super fan.

20 thoughts on “THE CITY

  1. Good stuff. Are you gonna provide season long coverage of City – a bit like the Amazon TV show, but with more beer?
    As I’m visiting Manchester this week I picked up a ticket for the Brugge match. Any recommendations for a pre-match pint? Seem to remember you saying there’s not much en-route to the ground?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Nick

      Good timing to remind me of your blog as I’m soon to write up Swindon, which I see is your speciality !

      I’ll only write up City when we lose, expect a Palace special.

      Assuming you’re arriving at Piccadilly I’d recommend either the Bull’s Head for your Marston’s fix or Port Street Beer House for 8% craft. You’d need to be there by 18:30 to get a seat.

      It’s then about 25 minutes following the crowds. I’m driving a group of us over that night or I’d meet you for a pint.


      1. Cheers for the pre-match tips, Martin.
        I’m lacking a specialty, but I’m not sure I want it to be Swindon!
        Shame you’re driving over that evening as it would have been great to meet up – another time!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The beer in Swindon (and Chippenham, an inadvisable detour) was all excellent a week ago. There’s a few on your post I didn’t get to. I stayed over in the Goddard; the hotel was better than the beer !


    1. I really have no desire to travel abroad while there are any tests to be done. I don’t want to spend my trip thinking about something I might forget to do knowing me. We visited Leipzig on the way to Poland 5 years ago, great city.


  2. The City pub (never been in, should I ?)

    Err no, not unless you like a lot of “atmosphere”.

    To be fair they were selling a decent pint of cask when I visited a long while ago. Later reviews on Pubs Galore suggest that they don’t sell it anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A nice post Martin, illustrating how much Manchester has changed since my student days. I’m doing a bit of a Russ here, as there are quite a few points to comment on.

    I don’t like queues either, and I prefer sitting somewhere, rather than standing at the bar. But good to see the pubs are busy once more.

    I appreciate what you say about shelling out for a season ticket, and then feeling more or less obliged to get your money’s worth.

    Unfortunately, I think testing might be around for quite some time, as far as foreign travel is concerned. Someone’s probably making quite a bit of money out of it, but I agree it’s extra hassle we could all do without. The worst thing is remembering to fill in a Passenger Locator Form (and get a reliable internet connection), before your flight home, although that won’t affect you if you’re abandoning flying.

    For the record, Mrs PBT’s and I are looking at a 16 day cruise around the Baltic, for next spring. No flying involved either, but no doubt some form of testing, prior to boarding.


    1. Russ ? Who’s he ?

      Thanks for your really helpful comments on the hassles of foreign travel. I’d really love to visit Germany, especially Bamberg/Nuremberg/Munich etc, and Mrs RM has great plans, but I want to go carefree and I’ve read enough stories of disasters. I know some people have good reasons to put up with the hassle but it’s not for me.

      And you’re right, I’d like to avoid planes and take the train where I can.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Nope. Look up the Oldham St Tripadvisor

    “This street is often full of alcoholics and smack heads. It’s the most unpleasant street in the city centre. Beggars in abundance blagging smokes and coins. It’s bad enough during the day, but at night it can be really creepy.”

    ….and that’s without going in the pub.


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