Thanks mate, I ordered issue one and two within 1 minute of them both being released. Everything I like, Football, Fashion, Music. A fine read. Each issue is like a work of art
Excellent stuff John. Looking forward to all your upcoming reports with top chaps.Boreham Wood Away
For the first time since 2019 I had a no restrictions football match to look forward to. With the mercury set to hit 30 degrees and a day booked off work the excitement levels had been building over the last few weeks. I had enjoyed a bath, walked the dogs at Astral Sports park and put on my summer clobber:
- Adidas Trimm Trabb
- Aquascutum Shorts
- Lacoste Polo
- Ellesse Bucket Hat
- Ray-Ban Mirrored Aviators
Mrs Fleet dropped me at the newsagents next to Franks Café in town and I purchased a Daily Star. The tomatoes have feelings cover story caught my eye as well as the fact that the UK was going to be hotter than the Sahara. Then for the first time in a long time I bowled into the café and ordered my breakfast. Like a player returning from a lengthy injury, skills I used to take for granted needed to be relearned and I stared at the menu unsure what to order. Anyway, I made my selection and took my seat and enjoyed the paper – I read an article about the football kit supplier and thought how much my boys would like a replica kit if only we had not changed supplier all those years ago. You can imagine my shock when a breakfast that included chips arrived – it looked like a carb overload – I ordered:
It was a schoolboy error, but like the players better to get it out the system for a pre-season game knowing that when the real thing comes around in a few weeks I will be much better placed to get the basics right.
- Fried Egg
- Black Pudding
- 2 Bacon
- 2 Bread & Butter
Breakfast finished I plugged in my apple headphones – turned the volume up to full and selected the Prodigy. I then walked to the station feeling like a million dollars ready to take on the world. On arrival at the station, I purchased a travelcard, a lucozade and a water – the drinks were polished off on the platform and I caught the 11:34 to London Euston. The journey down was uneventful. On arrival at Euston I caught the tube to Embankment and then on to Blackfriars. I exited the station and walked across Blackfriars bridge. London has a lot of problems, but I have to say it really did look extra special basking in the summer sun.
Anyway, I arrived at the first pub of the day the Doggett’s Coat and Badge at 13:00 and ordered myself a bottle of Devon Red with ice. I wanted to enjoy one drink on my own and be the first chap to have a matchday drink in our first topflight season since the 1940’s. It was a moment of quiet celebration and reflection – just a shame I could not mark the occasion with Herefords finest cider a Strongbow. Anyway 30 minutes later at 13:30 Sir Nick of Logan arrived, and we enjoyed our first pint together before walking five minutes down the south bank to the Flounders Arms at about 14:00. We took a table outside overlooking the Thames and I hit the Bulmer’s. It seemed a great way to kick the season off enjoying cider in the Summer Sun overlooking the Thames. Before long Jambo had turned up. We all passed the time talking about some of the low points of the GPG in recent weeks, threads about cheering for Saka when he plays us, supporting Denmark over England, people wanting to stay locked down for ever (you all know who you are).
We were all having such a great time that it was not long before another couple of pints had been knocked back and it was time to go and find a supermarket for #cans – harder than you think in this part of town, but we did eventually find somewhere. We caught the train from Blackfriars to Boreham Wood and were joined by Motherwell Bee at Farringdon – as the drink flowed it was clear to all that the good times were back, and we left the train (unopposed) at Borehamwood at 17:00.
The first pub we went into was the Alfred Arms by the station. We were greeted by none other than the famous social media sensation the Boreham Wood midget who went viral during the Euros – he seemed pleased to see us. This pub was my kind of boozer, and I would have been quite happy to stay here for the rest of the day (including the match). There were four rough looking Murphy Men there who we left alone and some tramp like Burnley fan who I chatted a bit of football with.
Before you knew it another two pints were demolished, and we were making our way down the high street to the next stop a little Irish boozer called the Wishing Well. Lionheart joined us here. This pub was a bit of a dump, but it’s one distinguishing feature was the dreadful beer garden at the back which consisted of one table a couple of chairs and an ash covered bench – it was the worst I have ever been in and that’s saying something given some of the places we have had a drink over the years. We sat down and enjoyed more Strongbow in the sun. It was not long before the air conditioning unit kicked in and was so noisy, we decided to head back inside.
After another couple of pints, we made our way further up the high street to the Hart & Spool where we stood outside the pub drinking. For a spoons it was pretty decent and even had a few other Brentford fans in there – no Boreham Wood who lived up to their non-league billing of having absolutely no chaps whatsoever. 10 pints of various ciders and a can of Strongbow before the first game was a pretty decent effort and whilst I could have stayed in the pub Nick Logan pointed out that we should probably make an effort and watch the match, so we headed to the ground.
Once in Meadow Park we made our way round to the home terrace and positioned ourselves behind the goal. I enjoyed some light-hearted banter with some of their fans (they had no chaps sadly) but as things were starting to get somewhat lively we decided that we would go to the bar and have a drink which is what we did. I think we stayed here till the 2nd half – it gets a blurry if I am honest, perhaps it was the sun getting to me as I tucked into my 11th and 12th pint. On our return to the ground the stewards kindly gave us an escort to the other end of the ground, as they were concerned that some of the Wood fans were getting over excited, regardless we took it as an opportunity to enjoy some more high jinks with the home support, carrying ourselves off with a mixture of distain, panache and nonchalance – textbook chapness.
As most will know – when it comes to friendlies the football itself is completely irrelevant and its all about the social. I don’t remember anything that happened on the pitch but do remember chatting with the Boreham Wood midget again with Motherwell Bee and Lionheart.
I’m pretty sure we left shortly before the end of the match, and I knew that a train home from Boreham Wood on a Tuesday evening would bound to have some characters on board (we were not to be disappointed). We stopped at the off license for #cans and boarded our train home – it must have been the 21:40 I think. We were kept company by a friendly heroin addict who we passed the time chatting to. Despite having a terrible drug problem, he was well connected in the spirit and beverages world and had a bag of bargain price drinks on him. It goes to show you should never judge a book by its cover and great to see him taking the initiative and offering a useful service to the general public despite his personal problems. Motherwell bought a bottle of gin off him for the way home.
I have no recollection of getting to Euston and was surprised when Mrs Fleet seemed a little upset with me when my train arrived at Leighton Buzzard at 23:40 as opposed to 23:10 so she had had to wait in a dark car park for 30 minutes for me. We drove to the Tesco car park near the kebab shop which was full of teenagers vandalizing the place and throwing shopping trollies around. I left Mrs Fleet in the car and went to Kebab Ye Kebab shop for some Kebabs. Mrs Fleet asked me to get her chips in a pitta to make up for the 30 minute wait. I completely forgot what she ordered and ordered us both 2 extra large Chicken Shish kebabs (salad, chili sauce, no green peppers, no lemon, no cucumber) – she was less than pleased when I came back to the car with completely the wrong order. I tried to tell her that this is what preseason friendly matches are all about – ironing out the mistakes before the real action takes place in a few weeks but she just did not seem to get it.
All in in despite some of the teething problems it was a solid return to the topflight for the Brentford chap contingent that sets us up for our Blackpool trip against the Red Devils next week perfectly. As Joe Fagin said That’s Living Alright.
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Anyone else got a funny feeling that when we play Man Utd /Liverpool and Man CIty in the league, Fleet John will watch a combined total of 45 minutes, but be less than two miles away the whole time. "It was a nice pub so decided to stay there and leave the football to the excitable young chaps"
erm FJ is a casual chap with standards not a scumbag football yob.....one has to have a certain sense of panache when going into battle against other like minded chaps lolyou had the bucket hat, you had the 20 pints, all that was missing was a load of coke and a flare up the bum.
No, the bucket hat is part of a TW8 casuals armoury in behaviour.Can't help wondering if this bucket hat has anything to do with FlyBee's comment immediatey above yours.
£70 for a bucket hat???Like this
<p>Brentford Reworked Bucket Hat 19/20 - LIMITED EDITION</p> <div id="shopify-section-static-product" class="shopify-section product--section"> <section class=" product--container layout--two-col-large custom-product--bayern-reworked-hat-198 custom-collection--accessories...shop.brentfordfc.com
Having grown up in Blackpool (believe it or not), I could picture your every step, even the bloody crazy horse saloon, which can go either way each weekend, depending on the mood.Getting on for nearly 2 years since we were last in Blackpool you can imagine the excitement of a couple of nights away in the height of the Summer season with a trip to Old Trafford to boot, with the TW8’s pitting themselves against some of earliest dressers in England – Manchester’s Perry Boys, to say I was excited would be an understatement.
I had a play list for the car ready that consisted of mainly dance and trance music to get us in the mood on the way up and baggy / northern soul / brit pop on the way back when we would be feeling somewhat more mellow. I opted for:
We were representing London in the north so it was important to look our best, especially as Blackpool were hosting Burnley in a friendly so there was the possibility, we might bump into some chaps on our night out. I was on driving duty for this one – every lad must do his bit etc. Pointy landed at my house at 16:30 and by 16:40 we were loaded up and ready to go. We drove 25 minutes up the road to Milton Keynes Central station to pick up Sir Nick of Logan. Tunes turned up (starting with 808 States Pacific State dance classic) Pointy and Sir Nick got stuck into #cans whilst we bombed up the M1 music blaring with 3 of London’s finest football casuals onboard, the retro feel of the near 20-year-old Mini capturing the mood perfectly.
- Adidas Trimm Trabb
- Aquascutum Shorts
- Benetton Polo
- ELLESSE Quarter Zip TIE Dye Jacket
- ELLESSE Hallan Bucket Hat (Tie Dye)
Other than the great soundtrack the journey up was relatively uneventful, with the exception of the four lots of biblical rain we had to drive through. Piss stops were done at Norton Canes and Charnock Richard and before you knew it we were only a few miles away from Blackpool itself. Sir Nick was like an excited schoolboy when the first glimpse of the iconic Blackpool Tower came into view 5 miles from our destination and with a soundtrack of Debbie Harry do her thing to Atomic we parked up next to our Hotel the Norwood Hotel for Groups at 20:30.
This was the first time we had used this hotel, having selected it on the basis of its inexpensive price point – a mere snip at £16 per person per night including Breakfast for a treble room with single beds. TBF the Chelsea and Glasgow Rangers fan pictures that are plastered all over their website should have given us a clue – this Hotel should have been renamed the Norwood Hotel for Chaps as for the chap element of any football it was perfect.
We dumped the bags in the room and all headed downstairs to the 24-hour bar for our first Blackpool pint, myself and Sir Nick opting for Strongbow and pointy for something else that I can’t remember. Our host was a 61 year old Barnsley chap who’s name I can’t remember but who was of the mindset that basically anything goes and just have a good time. We chatted a bit of football and told him about the friendly the following night.
Anyway by 21:00 we were walking towards the classic Castle public house. As we went, I looked down one of the side roads near our hotel to see a woman barely in her 20’s struggling with four kids walking past an abandoned sofa, I thought about taking a photo for the repot as nothing screamed Blackpool more than this scene but thought I would look a bit strange and carried on. We walked past a group of hammered teenage girls being lairy in the street (not to us) and made our way into the Castle. Given the recent bumper freedom weekend the pub had sold out of Strongbow an hour before we arrived and most of the fridges were looking a bit bare so we had a pint of dark fruit and reminisced about some of the great times we have previously shared in there such as the time a coach load of Owls Crime Squad landed on us first thing in the morning (they did nothing fortunately) or the time the house DJ verbally abused all of us in front of about 200 people. We could not reminisce for too long though as we had another amazing pub to go to, namely one the greatest pubs known to man, Ma Kellys North Shore.
We bowled into Ma Kellys at about 21:30, knowing we had 3.5 hours drinking in this place. We were joined by two more Bees in the shape of Paulo Bee and a non GPG Bee. The five of us sunk 7 pints of Strongbow over the next 3.5 hours and generally had a great time, I was enjoying myself so much that myself and Paulo Bee decided the dance floor needed some casualness and we decided to throw a few shapes. 9 pints in and a few blue shorts later (I have no idea what they were) and with the time fast approaching 01:00 in the morning we drank up and made our way to a little Australian themed bar called Walkabout. The place was doing a roaring trade, the Ozzie’s sure know how to have a good time and we knocked back another 4 pints of Strongbow whilst collectively looking the best chaps in there. Regrettably all good things must come to an end and Paulo Bee and his mate were feeling it – they had started drinking before us. So, we said our goodbyes and myself, Nick Logan and Pointy made our way next door to the Crazy Horse Saloon bar next door – with a tagline that said the West just got a whole lot wilder it seemed like our kind of place.
Given it was 03:00 in the morning the place had thinned out somewhat. That did not deter us as we sank another couple of Strongbows in there. The only thing I really remember about this bar was that there was a strange fat Eastern European bloke in there smoking a cigar and dressed completely in red. Sir Nick obviously took the surroundings a little too literally and nearly and nearly got a bit wild west after things got heated, we figured at this point it was probably time to head back to the Hotel Bar for more drinks so we staggered out the bar into the waiting taxi and headed back.
We got back the hotel bar at 04:00 and had a couple more Strongbows for the road whilst chatting about the Barnsley five O firm with our host, 15 pints in and the guard had slipped somewhat and the talk had turned from football tactics earlier (how do you think you will do next season etc) to reminiscing about the golden age of the football casual in the 80’s and 90’s with our host. Our host almost seemed disappointed when we decided to go to bed at 05:00 (after finding out that any kebab shop nearby was shut at that time of night) but needs must we had to be up for the small window for breakfast between 08:30 and 09:30.
3.5 hours later we were all awake – After 17 pints I felt pretty dreadful, so I let Pointy and Nick go and have their breakfast and I got myself ready. Mixing it with Manchester’s finest we had to look the part so had a shower and a shave and I opted for:
I headed down for my breakfast at 09:25 opting for:
- Adidas Stan Smith
- Aquascutum Shorts
- Benetton Polo Shirt (a different color to the one I had the day before)
- Lyle & Scott rain jacket
- Sergio Tacchini Bucket Hat
It was a buffet eat as much as you want and tasted amazing, even after a skin full and only 3.5 hours sleep. Breakfast demolished myself and Sir Nick headed out whilst Pointy had a shower etc. We jumped in a taxi on the sea front and opted for our first pint of the day at the New Albert pub which was now owned by Ma Kellys and marketed as a Sports bar. It was 10:00 in the morning and already it was doing a reasonable trade. Myself and Nick enjoyed our first pint of Strongbow on the benches outside the pub and watched the world go by. There was a family from Ulster on the table next to us and a bloke in his late 60’s also having his first pint of the day. Just as we finished our first pint Pointy arrived, so we went inside and Nick Logan and Pointy played a game of pool. We were impressed by a couple of local woman who were also knocking pints back like it was going out of fashion early morning, a scene you just would not see in a London boozer at 11:00 on a Wednesday morning. I was chatting about drinking to the bloke behind the bar who had recently been taken to hospital after drinking too much at his mate’s stag do. Outside the window a group of tracksuit clad smackheads walked past – with the Strongbow flowing it was a good time to be alive.
- Fried Egg
- 2 Sausage
- 1 hash brown
- 4 bacon
- Orange Juice
Four pints later we weighed up walking 10 minutes to the Gallant Pioneer and then ordered a taxi there. Since we had last been there the place had, had a makeover with the whole thing being refurbished, doubling in size and a new outside roof terrace being opened. Again, it was doing a fair trade and the owner was delighted to see us. He gave us a full tour of the pub and explained that even when the Jocks played England in the Euros the place was packed out and everyone was supporting England. He seemed especially proud of the toilets which were more Ritz than Blackpool. We took up our table by the Gazza picture and carried on drinking. We watched one bloke lose a score in the fruity with his three children watching and then him leaving the pub straight after – no day out at the pleasure beach for his offspring we thought. Whilst drinking ciders we also opted for a jug of the house special drink called Venom. I don’t know what’s in this drink other than lots of alcohol, but the last time we drank it Druggie got turned away at the turnstiles of Deepdale and was not seen again until the early hours the following day when some Brentford youth found him in a Preston kebab house having missed his train home to London. We also had a chat about Chap Mudder. Similar to Tough Mudder but basically just getting on it in Blackpool everyday for a week. We all agreed that whilst we may not excel at physical sport, chap mudder might be right up our street. With the time approaching 15:00 and having consumed 10 pints each (well 9 for Pointy) and a jug of Venom, thoughts turned to the match, so we left the pub having a good sing song and started heading towards the north shore. We decided to pop into Duttons for a quick one for old times’ sake before getting a taxi to Ma Kellys for one final drink before the train to Manchester.
Ma Kellys was buzzing even though it was only 16:00 on a Wednesday afternoon. We had another pint and went to the station via Sainsburys but missed our train to Manchester so had to wait till 17:00. Pointy was struggling by this stage so went on the water whilst myself and Sir Nick hit the #cans (3 each) and ate a few of Pointys crisps (appreciate eating’s cheating but it was a moment of weakness). We spent most of the journey listening to Andy Swotdog Layng’s chap anthem the Road to Sheshlehem on repeat (I’m not sure what the rest of the carriage thought but we were having a good time listening to SwotDog talking about being in love with the session.
We landed in Deansgate at 18:15 and headed to meet Paulo Bee and a few other non gpg Brentford chaps in the Albert Schloss pub. They did not have Strongbow and given the lack of practice I too was struggling at this stage. We only stayed for one and got a taxi to Old Trafford, Sir Nick had a sleep in the cab and I just concentrated on not being sick. We got out and headed to Old Trafford walking through the crowds of Mancs.
We got to the ground at 19:45 and made our way to the front right of the away stand with 50% of the other Brentford chaps. Rebus came over to say hello. As you might expect I was completely disinterested in the match itself and spent the whole of the first half trying to look as casual as possible whilst eyeing up the Mancs in the stand to our right. Given the Red Armys fearsome reputation and the Perry Boys reputation for dressing, to say I was disappointed would be an understatement – maybe I should give them the benefit of the doubt as it was a friendly, but it was almost up there with MK Dons level of chapness (not good to the uneducated).
The first half went by in a blur and at halftime I went downstairs and said hello to fellow dresser GP200 and Nocoat. Myself and Nocoat spoke about the football museum in Manchester and Nocoat introduced me to his son who’s name I can’t remember but I do recall him putting his old man to shame in the dressing stakes looking very dapper in a buttoned up Fred Perry. It will only be a couple of years and he will be binning his old man off and going on awaydays with us lot I thought to myself……….
By now I was now beginning to feel a little bit more human as we made our way back down the front for the second half and I did my best confident walk to the seats hoping that the Mancs were watching. The chaps started to drift away and with 20 minutes left it was only myself, Sir Nick and Pointy left. We figured we might as well stay till the end and made a big thing of clapping Thomas Frank and the boys at the end who came over to clap the chaps that had made the trip.
With the final whilst blown it was time to head out and as if by magic as we left the stand we were joined by another load of Brentford’s chaps. With our numbers up to about 10 the cry of no passengers and no runners echoed through the Manchester air as we made our way outside. We stopped at the programme stool for the matchday magazine which was a sterling effort to be fair (a shame their chap element could not live up to the quality of the programme) and I made a point of loudly telling the Manchester Old Bill and anyone else that would listen that we were London’s best dressed.
A five-minute walk later we flagged down a cab and were transported to Manchester Piccadilly station. Having been off the drink for a few hours it was time to make up for lost time so we purchased 3 cans each of Strongbow for the way back to Blackpool and then caught the 22:35 train back.
This train really was the TW8’s at their best in their natural habitat and we held court and talked football to a couple of female Preston fans and four lads who had gone to the match that night, one who supported Man Utd, One Preston, One Everton and I can’t remember who the other supported. The conversation mainly centered around the best things in life, football, drink, fashion and music. We all agreed that the best thing about Old Trafford was Man Utd running out to the Stone Roses and Nick suggested that perhaps Brentford should run out to Swotdogs road to sheshlehem. We gave the girls and Strongbow each and everyone left the carriage at Preston other than us who continued onto Blackpool. 2 cans later we were celebrating a historic night in Ma Kellys North Shore which was still doing a decent trade and we had a couple more Strongbows in there till it closed at 01:00. We all had a bit of a sing song to Princes Purple Rain which was the last song they played. We decided that staying in Walkabout till 04:00 was probably not sensible given the drive home the next morning so headed back to the hotel for more drinks there.
Our Barnsley mate was happy to oblige with more drinks so of course we got stuck in. Pointy had one and retired to bed at 02:00. I lasted another hour. During this hour there was a chap from Sunderland at the bar but his accent was so thick I could not understand anything he said so I just said Seaburn casuals whenever he spoke. We talked more football violence and fashion with our host and I had a debate about how if John Lennon was alive despite being a bit of a lefty he would love an evening out with the chaps. We both agreed that anything the Beetles did pre revolver was rubbish and post revolver was decent and both agreed that Magical Mystery Tour was the most underrated Beetles album. We were soon joined by a publican from the Lake District who was up there playing golf. He was ex RAF and wanted to talk about planes and refueling jets and that, but by this stage I was seeing double and could no longer talk so at 03:00 I finally called it a night and went to bed. Sir Nick followed an hour later at 04:00. We were all up at 08:30 for breakfast – I opted for
Clobber for the way home was the Blue England shirt circa 1990 – no need to make too much of an effort on driving home day.
- 2 Sausage
- 2 Fried Egg
- Fried Potatoes
- 4 Bacon
- 4 toast
We hit the road at 10:30 in the morning for an uneventful drive back. Given the amount of Strongbow consumed and the lack of sleep it was a real struggle but my playlist and a couple of Luczades saw us though and I finally got home in bits at 14:30.
This was only the warmup for the real deal to come and we have another five Blackpool trips to look forward to next season, starting with Burnley at the end of October. Like the team themselves undertaking their first season in the topflight since the late 40’s, where do we go from here……….
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Superb fj love you and the boysHaving grown up in Blackpool (believe it or not), I could picture your every step, even the bloody crazy horse saloon, which can go either way each weekend, depending on the mood.
Keep up the great work boys, I feel smashed just reading this.