Monday, 25 May 2015

BRAPA : Hull City relegation special (2015/16 season preview)

So with the "sad" (I mean exciting) news that we will be playing in the Championship next season, pre-match BRAPA options are already on my planning agenda, with the 23 venues now decided (thanks a flippin' bunch Norwich!).

Of course, by mid-September, the 2016 GBG will be published so you could argue the following exercise is more pointless than a dicegame in a darkened room with Richard Osman, but I'll give it a go anyway......

BIRMINGHAM CITY - Ahh Brum!  Ticked off a lot of newbies on 30th Aug 2014 during a phantom Aston Villa day, but it is such a big city, there are still plenty to do.  11am opener WOODMAN is attracting most of my attention, especially as it's grade 2 listed and even nearer the ground, the SPOTTTED DOG gets busy on football days but has to be done, maybe nip in for a quick one on 12 noon opening.  Still 4 city centre ones I need too.  Should also pop in to POST OFFICE VAULTS as I owe them big time!

BLACKBURN ROVERS .... Good lord, the fact me n Dad often stick to the non-guide listed ADELPHI says it all, especially as the police normally turn up at some stage for a non-football related reason.  Guide wise,  the BLACK BULL listed under Blackburn but in Livesey (so nearer ground) looks decent, could perhaps be combined with 11am opener STATION HOTEL by Cherry Tree station, before a train to Mill Hill to make the walk to Ewok Park easier.  Both Darwen and Wilpshire may be worth considering.

BOLTON WANDERERS .... In recent years, Dad and I have preferred the Horwich angle and with me not sure if the BOWLING GREEN has been done as well as the other two, it'd be nice to confirm.  However, with 5 still to do in Bolton, it would make sense to come here even if none of the ones I need open pre 12 noon.  Late train back to York for after match ticking purposes?

BRENTFORD .... I don't think the MAGPIE & CROWN has been visited before, it's 12 noon and near the station but as the only Brentford listing, will it be too obvious?  Maybe not if the 4 corners of ground all still have a pub (I've been in 3 of these 4).  I'm thinking Isleworth's two (one an 11am opener LONDON APPRENTICE) might be a good outside box option.  Note - 10 points deduction in my quiz on this day for anyone who says "oooh, today is a ground tick for me!"

BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION ..... Overnight stop?  More on them later.  I've done a fair bit of Brighton (and some of Lewes I can't remember pub names for) but eight pubs still to do including a couple of 11am openers, it'd be rude not to have a stab at all of them and squeeze in a cheeky half at EVENING STAR cos it is such a good pub.

BRISTOL CITY ..... Dad's initial thought was the cider place (not currently guide listed) and it's location is so good, I'd be tempted, but I am thinking overnight stop is a real option here too.  Too many central pubs still to do, it even has some pre 12 noon openers now like CANTEEN (nr Montpellier station), BEER EMPORIUM and NO 1 HARBOURSIDE.  I'd start now if I could.
Bedminster area may be worth looking at too, 4 pubs and not far from Ashton Gate.

BURNLEY .... Well, on the plus side, we still have Wetherspoons BRUN LEA and the further away RIFLE VOLUNTEER to tick off which I'll be aiming for.  Further to this, I'm quite happy to visit Bridge Bier Huis and/or Minstry of Ale (why not in Guide?) once again.  Bootleggers was decent too,

CARDIFF CITY .... I'm doing my Cardiff archives soon and despite lots of visits, still a good few central pubs to do.  RUMMER TAVERN and ZERODEGREES are two I've physically stood outside but not quite been in!  These'd be easy ticks.  The other side of the bridge has pubs like MOCHYN DU and CRICKETERS which I'm not sure I've done, whilst going out to local stations like Cathays may generate 2 or 3 new ticks, the 11am ANDREW BUCHAN for example.  No excuses not to get some ticks in here, even if just 2 or 3.

CHARLTON ATHLETIC  ..... Woolwich worked well last time, but options aren't amazing around this area so am wondering if approaching it from the other side might be beneficial.  Something like Blackheath, Eltham or even Greenwich.  ROYAL STANDARD near Westcombe Park is 11am and looks a very good pub.

DERBY COUNTY .... Despite my January trip, I still have some (8) absolute crackers to do though most on the far side of town to Pride Park or whatever it is now called.  Early train, start at GREYHOUND 11am, a few more on way back in to town, then ALEXANDRA post match is a rough idea of what I might like to happen here.

FULHAM ..... Once again, choosing something on or near the District line might be a good idea and though options are more limited after recent trips here and Chelsea, Earl's Court and Chelsea itself still have ticks and some proper White Hart Lane-esque research might give me an idea of pubs near each venue of the District Line.  Chiswick and Hammersmith both look close to tube stops and have lots of pub options.

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN .... If the police allow me into town this year, I'll be sad to declare I've visited all thanks to my midweek West Yorkshire BRAPA trips, though to see Ben's and Christine's eyes light up when he sees the blackboard in the GROVE would make any trip to the Meccano worthwhile.

HULL CITY .... Thought I better include this shambles of a football team.  I only need the NEW ADELPHI CLUB from the current GBG, it only opens 8pm, so the best scenario is an early season midweek game at home to Ipswich where we are 2-5 down after 15 minutes, the game gets abandoned due to a pitch invasion and feeling unsatisfied, me and Dad pop to said club for an Oakham Citra before the drive back to York and a much amusing Radio Humberside phone in where Dave Burns murders Dr Allam live on air.

IPSWICH TOWN ..... Only yesterday was Ben banging on about a trip to ST JUDE'S (OBSCURE) TAVERN next season.  That got Dad on the DOVE STREET defensive.  I will rise above it all and say there are plenty more pubs needed.  4 or 5 but due to the inbredness of the town, they have 'home fans only' pubs still like it's the 80's.  Bless 'em all.  See you in BREWERY TAP 11am.

THE WH*TE SH*TE - Obviously, working in L**ds means I've done the lot so no BRAPA ticks likely as we speak, but hopefully my knowledge will find us a classic or two that won't be busy and now I know the Holbeck area, that's even more tempting.  GROVE anyone?

MIDDLESBROUGH - Ben reckons it's a fair trek but new micro pub DR PHIL's REAL ALE HOUSE is a must for me.  Am sure busses and taxis are an option.  Also, the Swatters Carr Wetherspoons was very impressive on FA Cup day last time out.  The Star had gone downhill.

MILTON KEYNES DONS - Tricky because MK doesn't have much in the way of old pubs or even commitment to ale.  THE BARN in the only central tick I need, it is part of a Premier Inn so am not expecting too much!  Still, a tick is a tick.  Maybe a train out to Fenny Stratford's RED LION would make sense, or a trip out to Willen's SHIP ASHORE, a pub of the year with 11:30 opener but without a car, looks a tricky one.  Still, Bucks is quite high on my overall agenda for BRAPA so there is some sense of urgency to get ticks in.

NOTTINGHAM FOREST - It'd be hard not to just retire to the VAT & FIDDLE but as BRAPA demands, a few ticks on the outskirts of the centre like MAJOR OAK and ORGAN GRINDER are needed, and if I was thinking outside the penalty area, then two in West Bridgford are needed but is this where all the home fans go on match days - Poppy & Pint and Stratford House?  Worth thinking about.

PRESTON NORTH END - It would be nice to finally get a classic non rushed pre-match session at Preston after so many foiled attempts.  Stupid trains, evening kick offs, family do's, sister ex boyfriends, overrunning work meetings, everything has conspired against us over the years!  Sadly, apart from the 'Spoons, the other new pub ticks all look a bit out of town, the ANDERTON ARMS is at least in the vicinity but two miles from the centre.  May just have to bite the bullet and have a nice day in some of my old centre favourites, just for my sanity!

QUEENS PARK RANGERS - Last season, we did Hanwell and were unlucky with train problems, but passing the SIR MICHAEL BALCON 'Spoons in Ealing as we bussed it in made me think there are 5 pubs in this area I need to tick off, so why not have an Ealing day?

READING - This is the one I'm looking at most keenly, and I'll tell you why.  If I complete Bedfordshire this year as per my monthly challenge (unlikely as I'm having a 'break' in August due to punk fest and unknown fixture list but the dream is still on!), Berkshire will become my focus.  First pub the BELL INN in Aldworth is middle of nowhere but sounds incredible and a must.  Reading nearest big place.  If I could combine this with an overnight stop on the Friday (perhaps getting a few ticks at places like Upper Basildon, Tilehurst and Caverhsam's duo) I could be ready for a Nag's Head session with everyone on the Saturday pre-match  Or be even more adventurous and do some of the other 4 pubs - which i'm glad to say includes the former Hobgoblin now just called the Alehouse.  Rules state I need to revisit if a pub changes it's name.

ROTHERHAM UTD - So glad now I decided to forgo my May trip to Rotherham where there are 4 pubs in the guide plus one out at Greasborough.  I'll be aiming to be in early for breakfast in the BLUECOAT, whilst I reckon the NEW YORK TAVERN will be the biggest challenge.

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY - It's all getting a bit South Yorkshire isn't it?  The HILLSBROUGH has been on my list since the 2-4 victory night, the BLAKE HOTEL at Walkley is a good opportunity, and three out at Kelham Island I've not been to before mean surely I can make this a productive day.

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS - As recently proved in the archives, the GREAT WESTERN is good but unlucky.  I'd love to solve the NEWHAMPTON/COMBERMERE conundrum, but you've also got to think about the many other good sounding pubs in town, about 10 in total.  I'd be stupid not to try and have a stab at three or more of these.  Some early openers too so early train a must.

So there you have it,  I'd like to thank Mr Bruce, Dr Allam & son and most of the players for helping me expand my BRAPA horizons between August 2015-May 2016 and If I'm sat here writing about Colchester, Gillingham, Sheff Utd and Swindon in a year, back-to-back relegation will have it's compensations!



  1. My suggestions (mainly leaving the box far behind - never mind being slightly outside it) without having a GBG to hand:
    Birmingham : the city centre pubs are useful for post match, even for on the way back from Walsall / Kidderminster / Reditch in future years. These are easy. We have used the train to Bordesley in previous years to get to the ground. There is the option of getting a train to Bordesley from nearby places like Dorridge.

    Bolton is a train job to Horwich if you don't require any of the pubs near the ground. Anywhere between Manchester and Preston inclusive will do the job. May I suggest Salford 11:00 opener, for a train from Salford Central to Bolton for a 12:00. Note that if we play them early on, replacement buses will be coming into play due to the electrification works.

    Brentford. If we play them on the last day and their new ground opens early (like the Circle did on boxing day rather than the following season), do I still lose 10 points. Loads of outside the box ideas, with the Magpie & Crown to be whipped in when passing. Isleworth, Twickers, Feltham, Barnes, Hounslow, anything like that will do the trick.

    Brighton - I'll be using the new southern game move or a variant thereof (depending on the status of project pig and what other track is on offer). Brighton, Lewes, should both lose 10 points but I suppose need to be done. Newhaven and Seaford would seem credible options, is there anything anywhere like Glynde or Polegate. Or Eastbourne.

    Bristol City - I'd say Bedminster. Mentpellier is Rovers country. If an overnight stop, then what about Weston-super-Mud?

    Burnley - Is there anything in Colne (or Brierfield or Nelson)? There is a 14:21 to Burnley Central.

    Cardiff - If you are advocating an overnight stop for Bristol, why not here when there is no other club on the way down the leagues. Or are you proposing that 'we're going down with the Cardiff'.

    Charlton I agree. Woolwich has been done. London Bridge should lose -10 for every single pub there. There must be loads around. The places you mention, Lewisham could be worth a check in the GBG, as would Lewisham (actually still officially outside London by a few yards - don't attempt to use your Oyster here - remember South Shields).

    Fulham - Hammersmith Underground shack is apparently walkable to the ground, so I'd advocate that. This puts anything on any west end branch of the District / Picc within reach. Putney BR is also walkable, which puts places like Barnes, Twickenham and Richmond within reach. Do not think that the out of the box options are done. I shall come up with a tick if we play them every season until we are in the conference.

    Huddersfield Town - don't you still need a Mirfield tick (direct train to Deighton). Or even something like Slaithwaite or Brighouse for the slightly longer walk from Huddersfield station. Anywhere on the Penistone line for a real out of the box option. I reckon this will be 15:00 and there will be a riot, thus justifying every West Yorkshire Police fixture change forever more.

    Leeds - Grove has been known to be SS, but if it isn't I will back it whole heartedly.

    Middlesbrough - Saltburn/Redcar. Train every half hour to Middlesbrough, some even stop at South Bank which I reckon will be closer to the ground. Or Hartlepool, though I suppose the cubs will be playing there. Dr Phil post match maybe?

    Ipswich Town - That'll do nicely. Would you be wise staying over to get all the home fans only pubs on the Friday. Maybe even room for an out of town move if you make the day of it on the Friday.

    Franchise Scum - Fenny Stratford is actually the nearest station to the ground, so that is bizarrely an in the box idea. I'm off to Wimbledon, although with my luck they'll be away at Scunthorpe.


  2. Nottingham Forest - There are the trams out to Basford, where I believe your red pen needs some attention. Beeston is another alternative. There is loads to go at here, although we will hopefully play Notts County in the fourth division in a couple of years time.

    PNE - I vote Anderton Arms.

    QPR - I would suggest west end of the Central line, as this is the only club that this fits with. Ealing fits into this category.

    Reading - I think I agree with your second plan here. That is, get the four ticks in the centre, and hope that the Hobgoblin is still the Hobgoblin in all but name.

    Rotherham - Depends on the kick off time. If 15:00 or a Tuesday night, whip New York Tav in at opening before it gets impossible. If a silly kick off time, use the plan I suggested at Tottenham, ie Greasborough at opening, then work round the others, leave New York Tav and get the train out just before the final whistle, buggering off to somewhere like Mexborough.

    Wednesday - there is loads to go at. We just need encourage people out of the Fat Cat and Kelham Island Tav.

    Wolves - again, loads to go at. There is still Tipton, which we considered for West Bromwich.

    Just the close season awayday to sort now.

    Bruce Out. Allam Out. Huddlestone Out. Other Allams Out. Hernandez Out. Just to start. How are we bookies favourites to win the league?

  3. I'm currently trying to work out how you think we might score 2 goals in a home game against Ipswich Town. The conceding 5 in the opening 15 minutes seems quite likely, the pitch invasion plausible, but City scoring 2, fat chance.

  4. Haha thanks Tom, I thought you might say that. I think it'll be two own goals.

    Thanks re all your feedback, it's given me lots to think about. I think a spreadsheet might be needed, I'll respond to your comments about specific places on an "as and when" basis when the fixtures are announced.

    I know you favour the more adventurous, advantageous to BRAPA options but there may be times I have to consider Dad / other away day travellers.

  5. I've just had the thought that the Hillsbrough could be a bit too close to the ground. Therefore, would it be a cunning idea to save it for when we next lose at Bramall Lane. It should only be a year wait, assuming Sheffield United kindly stay in the third division, which they will after Mike Newell or whichever idiot takes the job has been installated. Unless they make such a bad appointment they actually manage to go down.

  6. Wolves, as you say loads to go at, I'll follow your instructions.

    Charlton. I had a look in the GBG in the Grimsby Central Library earlier, whilst enjoying the spectacle of two school girls being ejected, but refusing to leave to requiring the council security and Blunderside Plod to be called (the latter didn't actually know where the library was and didn't turn up). I have come up with the following two sets of pubs, which follow the two railway lines between London Bridge and Charlton
    Set A:
    SE14 New Cross: Royal Albert
    SE4 Brockley: Talbot (near to St. Johns station)
    SE3 Blackheath: Hare & Billet

    Set B:
    SE8 Deptford: Dog & Bell (12:00)
    SE10 Greenwich: Old Loyal Britons (12:00)
    SE10 East Greenwich: Pelton Arms (12:00) - near to Maze Hill
    SE3 Blackheath: Royal Standard (11:00) - near to Westcombe Park

    Both have the problem that the only 11:00 opener is the nearest pub to the ground, but the stations aren't far apart and some of the trains have toilets, so it may not be an issue.

    Note that Charing X (and by extension Waterloo East) are closed that weekend, so for your early opener you will need something within range of Cannon St or London Bridge.

    My next homework will be Brighton, for which a travel email will be sent at the end of the week.

  7. Thanks for the research Tom, I think we'll go for "set B" as I liked the Blackheath pub idea though I guess we'll have to start there and move further away. Running out of 'early openers now', all are 10am, The Black Friar or Clarence at Mayfair (near Green Park) as other two are both Charing X. Dad is in Canada Sept so will miss Brighton and Cardiff. Sounds like you could have done a Blog just based on Grimsby Library shenanigans, brilliant!

  8. If he was Scottish, your Dad would be able to say 'I caan a da them Cardiff and Brighton games'. Sorry.

    Blackfriars you can probably walk to London Bridge or get the District to Cannon St, Green Park you have can get a lovely jubbily train to London Bridge. Both are easy. Or you could do a Charing Cross pub, then the District Embankment to Cannon St.

  9. Time from the plan so cunning it comes from the land of cunning.

    Seeing as you are out of pre-10:00 openers, what about, each London game, pre-emptively ticking an early opener likely to get into the guide. I would imagine that 'Spoons are a good bet and easily researchable, possibly even Fullers pubs now that they are doing breakfasts. This plan I suppose could be extended all over the country.

  10. For Charlton, if you are on a late enough train (I'm 20:30), would it be an idea to do set A on the way back from the Valley to Kings Cross? Even if we don't get all the list done, I'm sure we can get a good crack at it.

  11. Hiya Tom, re Charlton I'll have a word with Dad as he booked these tickets to see what train we are back on. Definitely worth trying to get at least one after match in.

    Re the cunning plan, it is so 'outside the box' it's like where Sone Aluko spends most of his season! I'm quite relaxed about this though cos the need for pre 10amers is quite rare (granted, more next season needed) but the new GBG out in Sept I reckon may have some new ones in anyway. Incidentally, my 'Spoons voucher system starts again on 1st July.

    Re Scottish joke, crikey, that's terrible even by my standards! I like it. The Black Friar we really must do soon, it's one of those like New Adelphi, Hillsborough Hotel, Cropton's New Inn, Grosmont's Crossing Club etc etc which has really started getting inside my head!

  12. Nottingham Forest
    You've earn't some pedantry here. You stated that I am automatically disqualified from the quiz if I suggest trains trams and buses to Nottingham suburbs. That clearly means that I have to suggest all three to get disqualified. Therefore, I shall work on a cunning plan to get around this, probably by simply avoiding buses.

  13. That is Tom pedantry! I worded it badly, of course I mean any one of the three for disqualification. I know I'm only talking central, but even this 4 pub plan looks quite ambitious - Dad has done trains so hope he has us in for 10am!

  14. So I can use precisely 2 of them, but not 1 or 3. Also, I note that hired unicycles, boats, aeroplanes and spaceships aren't in the exclusion.