I blame Stafford Paul….to be fair, there has been many a pubman over the past 50 years who’s had a pint and blamed it on Paul.
The doyen of Staffordshire pubs set me a challenge in the comments section of my last post….
“Ticking every Staffordshire pub by the end of the year could be your challenge for 2024.”
I reckon I’ve got 141 under my belt since LifeAfterFootball started in August 2017, so there’s probably about 500 to go!
Mind you, I reckon I could tick off about a quarter of those if I spent a couple of days with the man who is quicker than anyone in Britain when walking between boozers.
So, there I was, with an edict from Mrs BB to pick up one of the kids from Stafford station on a Saturday night.
I didn’t want to go to a pub, of course, but with Paul’s words ringing in my ears then I thought it would be too good an opportunity to miss.
The other option was to sit on Platform 1 and wait for the train whilst watching lots of hammered Colchester fans in Santa outfits waiting for the connecting train back to Essex after losing at Wrexham. Or, slightly less loud, but no less pissed, Wigan fans making their way back post Port Vale defeat.
That came later, as I took the Sheffield Hatter’s advice and sought out the nearest Craft Union pub between the station and the town centre.
The 861 – Coach & Horses ST16 2QT was a classic of the genre and I had a very drinkable pint of Doom Bar (Sharps) at the bargain price of £2.65.
The live games had just finished as it was about 5.30 and the barmaid/gaffer was looking harassed before she launched into a tirade against one of the younger lads at the bar.
Suzi Quatro was banging out of the sound system so I couldn’t hear but got the general gist of it, he either worked there or was related, and the lecture was delivered in no nonsense fashion!
There were lads outside having a fag and working out what they were going to bet on before one of them headed off to the nearest Ladbrokes, which is handily positioned about 50 yards away.
There was a good mix of locals in there along with dartboard, big sports screens and a fruit machine … the sort of place to keep you on your toes.
I like to get ahead of the game and that’s one down Paul, another 499 to go!