My “Proper” readers will recall I was only in That Wigan a couple of months ago, finding it sadly a bit scruffy. Now I was back, just making the 16:48 from Piccadilly after a check-in at Ibis that took longer than the 30 seconds I allow. I remember the golden days when Travelodge just wordlessly gave you a keycard with the room number on a post-it.

The highlight of the journey was a City supporter in his ’70s on his phone fielding continued questions from his family about progress, delays at Salford and whether it was Wigan Nth Western or Wallgate. “She thinks I’m senile, not seventy !” he said, exasperated. I’ve that to come.

I know exactly where I’m going, which is why I turned left instead of right out of North Western and realised I was walking away from town.

Oh, that looks nice;

In September I wrote “I SHOULD have popped in the newly-reopened Swan & Railway, shouldn’t I ?

Now, this is tricky. I am absolutely certain I’d been here before, before a game at the old (and muddy) Springfield Park in 1996. But it’s NOT on my spreadsheet, which means I needed to do it now.

Voices to the left, but I went right to see the handpumps.

Yes !

I was the only one in the bar, and the Bass competes with half a dozen other pumps, all dispensing pints at £3 a pint.

Should I be worried ?

Not when there’s a “Manet with a Bass” and pic of Vic above my head.

The Bass is absolutely marvellous. Cool, crisp and with real bite. CAMRA should stop squandering money on beer festivals that kill pubs and send people here to taste the pinnacle of the brewers craft.

Look how I arrange the beer mats of the Swan and the Railway around the Bass, in the right order (for extra points).

I tell the barman the pub is wonderful. And it is.

Proper bench seating, a view to the street, the train departure updates on a screen above the bar (like the Central), Deniece Williams on the stereo,

and a jukebox with a Mudgie-friendly selection.

Deniece, and James’ Tim Booth, were competing with the rumble of trains heading for Preston, where all things go to die.

It was quite wonderful. A couple of Old Boys in the room next door, where I should have been, ordered pints of Daleside (why ?), and it just about ticked over.

But at 17:30 on Sunday, WHY was it so quiet ?


  1. Been there, like you for a game at the (extremely) muddy Springfield Park in the early 90s.
    In those pre-satnav days, the best way to find the football ground in a strange town was to look for floodlight pylons. We did this and it led us unerringly to… the rugby league ground. We did manage to find Springfield Park eventually.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. The pylon thing doesn’t really work any more as so many grounds don’t have them these days. Apart from my beloved Wrexham AFC ❤️


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