2nd January 2023. Or “New Year’s Day (observed)” as the hipsters call it.

Among the many things I’ve taken for granted over two years in Sheffield are the theatre (just missed the Richard Hawley musical at the Crucible), the local football teams, and the New Barrack Tavern.

In fact, only one visit to the Barrack, and that was on Black Eye Friday 2021, hardly the ideal day to sample what’s traditionally been one of Sheffield’s best known ale houses (in a crowded market).

So inevitably I chose the New Year’s game, Wednesday v Cambridge (wherever THAT is), where it was packed.

Oh well, at least the pumps will be flowing.

Which they were, so I had to take a Vanilla Porter out past the Wednesday memorabilia to the garden.

I think that game against Chelsea in ’61 was the last one ticker Alfie aka Ian missed, possibly because he wasn’t born yet.

I had the smokers garden to myself. Plenty warm enough in our warmish start to the year, and an absolute joy.

So good, I stayed for a second. Unfortunately queueing culture has moved from Spoons to Proper Pubs.

What can you do ? If I go to the bar I’ll be labelled as a queue-jumper. I struck up a conversation with a couple of Owls fans from Epping who couldn’t get their heads round the idea I’d moved North, but we bonded over a shared love for Essex pubs and Barrow, improbably.

The house Barracks Bitter from Bradfield was, well, bitter.

On to Hillsborough, where I was meeting James and his housemate Matthew, two of only a handful of people who can walk as fast as me. That number increases if I eat a “football burger”,

so I waited till I reached the ground for a steak pie and can of Stones (an ambitious £4 each).

I joined about 700 Cambridge fans who probably wished they’d stayed in the New Barrack or Fat Cat rather than watch a lifeless 5-0 defeat to a Wednesday team who would go on to beat Newcastle at the weekend.

A terrific old ground, the emphasis on “old”, and a traditional repertoire of football songs. Press PLAY now.

I’m sure Jeff Beck would have been thrilled to have his biggest hit sung every week (to different words) in 2023.

10 thoughts on “HI HO SILVER LINING

  1. I didn’t know until his untimely death last week that, despite having a hit with it, Jeff Beck actually hated that song, and only released it because of pressure from his record label for something more poppy – a bit like his predecessor in the Yardbirds Eric Clapton who left the band after they put out For Your Love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When Jeff Beck died I realised that while he was obviously “a rock legend” I knew nothing about him, despite having half a dozen of his ’70s records acquired from an old hippy 30 years ago.

      I’m not even sure I’d have immediately associated “Hi Ho Silver Lining” with him.

      But then, my lads in their early twenties couldn’t name a Velvet Underground track.


    1. I’ll have to disagree with you there Paul. Jeff Beck made some absolutely brilliant music over many decades, but I share his disdain for Hi Ho Sheffield Wednesday and variants.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You young people! No idea about proper music….

        Some people rave about his first two, Truth and Beck-Ola, but I don’t like Rod Stewart’s voice. I started with Rough & Ready (1971) and I also like the follow up with the same band, called Jeff Beck Group. I prefer the vocalist on these two – Bob Tench, but he may not be to everyone’s taste.

        His best selling album was Blow By Blow (1975) – produced by George Martin, and it still sounds great today. The next album was Wired (1976), which I don’t play as much as the others, and the same applies to There & Back (1980). These three were purely instrumental, and jazz/funk influenced. Later albums were perhaps less inspired and a bit patchy. An oddity was Crazy Legs, a 1950s rock & roll album, dedicated to Gene Vincent. You might like his 2008 live album, Live at Ronnie Scott’s.


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  2. A friend of mine worked in the pie stall at the away end of Hillsborough as a teenager. One season Millwall fans bought loads of pies purely for the sport of pelting the stall and its staff during half time. Cue terrified adolescents pulling down the shutters and running away.

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