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WRITER, CONSULTANT AND BROADCASTER SPECIALISING IN BEER, PUBS AND CIDER. BEER WRITER OF THE YEAR 2009 AND 2012

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Monday, 18 February 2008

Roll on 2018!

When I'm not writing this blog, another way in which I like to inflict misery on myself is by following Barnsley Football Club.

It's not my fault. I was born there. You can choose your team in that way about as successfully as you can choose your family. I now live within shouting distance of the Emirates Stadium, and while I'm pleased when Arsenal win, I like them as a friend, but I can never love them.

To be a Barnsley fan is to be intimate with disappointment, for it to be one of your default emotions. Barnsley aren't rubbish - if theyb were simply crap, maybe we could walk away. The frustrating thing is that every now and then there is a flash of what they are capable of, and then they are deeply, deeply mediocre.

We were seventh in the Championship when I came back from India, starting to look like real contenders for a play-off slot. And then we took December and January off. We got two draws and a defeat from the three bottom placed clubs, and lost to everyone else. When we win, we win by one. When we lose, we lose by three. We dropped to seventeenth. And then we played

West Brom, who were top of the table, and beat them comfortably. You see the pattern?

And so to Saturday 16th February 2008. We were 14th in the Championship. Liverpool were, as usual, fifth in the Premiership. Our two most in-form strikers were cup-tied, and the goalkeeper whon was responsible for most of our victories was our for the rest of the season with injury. We'd just signed West Brom's tjhird choice keeper on loan, a man who's had two starts in the last 18 months.


He hadn't even had time to learn the defenders' names.


The bookies were offering 16-1 on a Barnsley victory; 1-5 Liverpool. The papers said things like:

"Against Barnsley in the FA Cup the Reds should be hopeful of putting away a few goals and easing into the quarter finals without too much bother."


Ninety minutes later, they were saying things like:

"One of the greatest upsets in FA Cup history."


Yes, when this happened:


it was arguably the biggest upset since Barnsley beat Man U 3-2 in the fourth round in 1998.

Big clubs get famous victories every season. For Barnsley it happens once every ten years.


What, you want to talk about beer? OK: I celebrated with a bottle of Paradox, a 10% Imperial stout from Brew Dog matured in Islay Malt Whiskycasks. What beer would you celebrate such a famous occasion with? What have you got in your cellar or cupboard that you're saving for a very special day?

13 comments:

Goatshed Man said...

It's not compulsory to like soccer just because you are a bloke! Personally I think it's a waste of space.

Pete said...

Nor is it mandatory to take a bleak, negative view about eveything in the entire world.

But increasingly it seems that in the blogsphere, being miserable for a hobby is far more popular than football can ever be.

Alan said...

I can't say because the Greenock Morton last won the cup in 1922. Nothing saved for the repeat victory has lasted. Their collapse in the table since Christmas sees them facing relegation and, really, should taking Gretna out of the cup really be seen as a triumph?

You are right about the blogosphere, though. I've been doing this for almost five years on my own sites and commenting for about as long on others before that and for some reason it is a bastion for the misery goats - including me sometimes.

BLTP said...

Celebration beer:
When Barca won the la legia we were in town and so had a lot of Estrella probably much more than the catalans washed down with Pata Negra!
If the Tykes get to the semis it's Deus all round
and if we get to the final I'll just buy a brewery!

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

Anything that puts Liverpool in its place has to be good. Unless that thing is man u of course.

zythophile said...

I'm a fourth-generation Superhoops fan meself*, and I've always known I'm extremely happy to support a team I can feel a genuine connection with, even if the successes come only once every generation or so.

We're the REAL fans, Pete, and when Manchester United fall again into a lower division, as they did in 1974, the world will see just how fickle their fanbase is.

Celebration beers after footie - it always used to be a pint of Young's in the Brook Green Hotel, but I don't know, after the place has had a revamp.

I'm sorry you don't like football, goatshed man - a well-struck free kick is as beautiful as any other perfectly executed endeavour, and seeing my (other) team win the first cup final at the new Wembley after they were 2-0 down at half time last year was as much of a thrill as seeing Bruce Springsteen on the Pete Seeger tour at the venue next door.

Incidentally, Pete, you'll get your chance for revenge later this month.

*that's the ENGLISH team that plays in blue amd white hoops, Alan - and for pedants, Reading doesn't count, their shirts don't carry full hoops any more.

BLTP said...

I think we drank some victorian IPA brewed the year The Tykes last beat QPR before Pete set of to India!

Alan said...

Zyth - do I have a Subbuteo team for you!

headlessbob said...

That Brew Dog imperial stout is quite crazy. It took me about an hour to finish a half bottle, that peaty flavour is almost excessive. But then again, I suppose its meant to be sipped slowly over a long period of time... for which its a great beer.

I believe they age the beer in Ardbeg barrels.
Cheers!

zythophile said...

I believe they age the beer in whatever casks they can get from whichever distillery has some spares at the time, which means a constantly changing range of different whiskies, and adds to the fun and gaiety ...

headlessbob said...

Ah, perhaps the batch I had was from Ardbeg barrels then. Good beer, certainly.

BLTP said...

off subject but if only all beer related tshirts were this desirable!

http://bp1.blogger.com/_TxN1zjfEtQs/R7r5eTn8IlI/AAAAAAAABEQ/ya-oUz6UQz8/s400/MP_1061855.jpg

al_uk said...

Ah but bltp...stretched over my white and hairy belly I'm not sure it would be quite so desirable but you're right its a great pic.

I dread Barnsley getting other than mediocre, the Championship has to be the best league in the world,. ok the football isn't always brilliantly skilful its better than alot, you can go through the whole range of emotions and as any team can beat any other any given Saturday (there's me being all coy and sentamental...as if football is played on Saturday afternoons any more!) waiting for the results to come in at 5pm is always exciting.