Coventry V Bristol Rovers 25.3.17

Or alternatively: Bob’s day out

Transport to game.

A rather ridiculously early start for the shortish trip to Coventry. Why we had to be in town for 10.50 only the good Lord knows but we were not alone at the station nor on the train. We were among the faithful 4000 ticking off Coventry as a new ground. Most hadn’t the chance to do so the last time Rovers played there in 1963.

The Plan as agreed with Bob; the man with the local connections.

Rose lift to B.T.M. for 8.30 train
Change Birmingham New Street 1.10 train
Arrive Coventry 10.35
Drapers 10.50
Town Crier 11.00
Old Windmill 11.45
Gatehouse 12.30
Town Wall Tavern 1.15
Taxi to ground at 2 – Yellow cabs
Rovers to win
Taxi to town
Whitefriars Old Ale House 5.30
Twisted Barrel 5.30
Phoenix 6.15
Drapers 7.00
Train from Coventry 8.02
Change – 8.42 train at Birmingham New St
Bristol Parkway 9.58
Rose to pick me up
Home for Casualty

The team for the day was large but flexible. The core was the usual gang of Bob, Donnie (as he is known for the day), Andy and myself. The regulars were the Lord Powell, Geoff, Tim and Peter. Joining us was Phil the Lion. Also meeting up in Leeds was Roger Right Hand and his mate but no Paul, Clive or Craig.

The conversation on the train was also of the usual. We had updates on Ronnie’s fascination with the new American president, a quick look at the I quiz, sorted out a plan of action for the day and recapped on the Bristol Rugby debacle. Ronnie played the false anger card when glowing in the fame of the Bury report and all seemed well with the world. The biggest problem was how not to lead all the other Gasheads getting off the train into the pub we were using. We slipped off up a side street leaving the masses to hunt out their Wetherspoons breakfast ciders. I thought we might have a new member of the team but David Maddy, he of two seats down from me at home games and good old Patchwegian, opted instead for a coffee and cathedral lunch; probably for the best.

Pre-Match pubs

Drapers (11)

Beer: Purity Saddle Black (6)

This one opens at 8. We were spotted as not being Coventry fans by the astute barman. They don’t arrive much before 1 apparently. The pub opens at 8. For the students was the explanation given. Really? The pub is impressively modern in design. It was typical of the brash and frankly impressive architecture of the city. It has barrel shaped ceilings, woodwork of sixties Catholic Church halls, a big bar and masses of space to stand or sit. We opted for beers in the sun and all was certainly good with this start. It was a first for all of us and we vowed to return. Little did we think it would be this evening.

Town Crier (7)

This was chosen as one of two that opened at 11. It was typically Marston’s. Cheap in comparison to many but frankly a bit tired and unexciting.

Beer: Marston’s Saddle Tank 7

Old Windmill (11)

In contrast to the Town Crier this pub has plenty of character and interest in the wooden partitioned rooms and fake log fires. They even added entertainment in the form of a handy man working on the windows while we sampled our beers. The numbers grew as others caught up but we were on a mission to tick and left soon after Tangent Tim arrived.

Cameron’s Brown Bear 5

Gatehouse (13)

Note the dangerously well watered lawns

You know I like to race. This next pub offered a chance to let the others take the long route and for me to be smug and use my local knowledge to walk the shorter route to the pub. In this case I was rumbled and followed by the stragglers. Bob and Ron settled for a chat with Coventry fans in the bar. The rest of us ventured in to the warm beer garden where the Bristol real ale crowd had already assembled. Roger was tucking in to his pub lunch. The Farquar clan were doing the Farquar family things. There was a table available for our team to commandeer and I went to claim it for the team. Now you also know I am a big bloke. Certain trestle tables do not take to my sitting on one side. The lawns were impressively mown and crucially well-watered. Twenty plus stones of Stedders on one side of a table had the inevitable consequence as the legs sunk into the ever so giving sward and toppled slowly backward on to the chest of the slowly rotating Stedders. The pint flew majestically into the air. The table rested gently on the then fully flattened whale and those who caught it in person were treated to free candid camera entertainment. The bar staff caught the action on their CCTV. No doubt there might be e few re-runs of that one in time. They also fully refreshed my pint and all was well with my world again.

Purity Mad Goose 7

Town Wall Tavern (10)

Some were worried about getting to the game. Bus or taxi for them? Bob assured us there would be no problem. To convince myself that the choice of one more pub was o.k. I booked a taxi for the usual 2 departure and relaxed to an excellent pint. Bob and Ron squeezed in to the Donkey box at the front of the pub. I went for an outside table to keep company with the smoking Andy. Entertainment was provided with our consequential conversation. The local scouts were on a beer break from the gang show at the Belgrave theatre next door. We talked of scouts and Architecture, Then an old boy reminisced on Coventry Rugby of the past. We might well have been in opposition in Bletchley Rugby days at Broad Street or Keresley.

Theakston’s Old Peculier 8

The Game

Coventry 1 Bristol Rovers 0 Attendance 11,946 (4,069 Gas)