THE EARLY KICK-OFF

Greetings from Southampton Airport Premier Inn, where I’ve put my foot down and SHAN’T go down to reception and ask for more coffee and milk for the 5th time on this trip.

A week ago Mrs RM was sleeping off a Jaipur-induced hangover so I made the 9:20 trip to Manchester alone, promising her a pic of her beloved son later that day.

When I bought my City season ticket last summer I envisaged all the fixtures moved to Sundays and Monday nights but instead it’s all been Saturday kick-off at 12:30 like the “18 pointer” against Chelsea, whose fans must have set off at 5am to make the Manchester pubs at 10:30.

I arrived at Piccadilly at 10:40, took a stroll through the alleys and streets that make Manchester what it is,

and contemplated my pre-match pint options.

For all of 12 seconds, before deciding it was Spoons or one of those odd places like Waldorfs near the station that seem to exist entirely on football trade.

The Waterhouse, one of those 3 pubs in a row on Kennedy Street, is Matt’s closest Spoons, and the one most likely to be in the GBG.

Some of those folks above were even queueing for cask. #QueueForCask

I know you’ll have been urging me to test the 10:45 Doom Bar, but there’s no price on it. What if it costs more than £1.49 ?

And besides, the bloke in front ordered two (2) pints of Saltaire South Island so I had no choice, did I ?

It was gorgeous (NBSS 3.5), enjoyed in the only table free, out in the Manchester sun opposite the Town Hall on Albert Square (Manchester’s Sagrada Famila I suspect).

And that is a pint, I just have HUGE hands (apparently, used to be a goalkeeper).

The Waterhouse will never look its best on a frenetic matchday, but on a quiet Tuesday one should take time to linger and admire the library opposite the Gents, surely almost on a par with Rylands.

And then back to finish a pint, and consider a second.

You’d never believe just how many 50p CAMRA vouchers I still have in my wallet.

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