I’ve got to say I wasn’t really feeling yesterday. When I woke at 9am I could have happily stayed in bed but there was beer and football in store so I eventually prised myself off the mattress and got ready. My mate Craig had stopped over and as he dropped me off outside Katz he announced he was going home to have a couple of hours in bed. I was so jealous. Although had Katz been open at that time I could have seen myself spending those same two hours in there.

I needed food and as I’ve not had a Wetherspoons breakfast in ages, St Matthews Hall is where I was headed. I was very excited about my order, so much so it took me three attempts to say Eggs Benedict and I’m still not sure I got it right. I’m not very good at talking during my first awake hour of the day. Fortunately the top lad that is Matt was serving and he knew what I wanted. It arrived quickly and once I’d removed all the rocket, the meal was polished off quickly.

As I passed St Pauls, a nice man stopped me and asked if I wanted to do market research and I’d be paid £5 for sampling 3 strawberry yogurts. I don’t do strawberries, rarely do yogurt but I do like free £5’s, especially as that amount brings back memories of Mark & Lard on Radio 1. “£5? Blimey Charlie, it’s a lot of cash” and all that.

10 minutes later I was back outside with my gut enjoying this rare influx of friendly bacteria and my wallet boosted with another £5 towards Josh’s stag do weekend.

Just like last Saturday Tim was on the platform of the train station so we travelled to Brum together before he went for the the easier route to the ground and I opted for the more alcoholic one.

We separated at New Street and I headed to Moor Street. This is the simply a beautiful station. Like catching a train in the 1930’s. I should have got a picture but the train was due and I needed the loo. Google image it if you want.

It didn’t take long to reach Solihull and on the way to the town was a Waitrose. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of these with my own eyes before. I really was tempted to pop in for a laugh but there was the serious business of pre match supping to be done, not a time for laughing.

The first pub I found was Wetherspoons The White Swan. There was a civilised queue for the bar and it didn’t take long to get served. I headed outside to enjoy the view of a multi story car park and the banter of Dave O’Shea and his friends.

Next up Was Yates’s. Quite a few Saddlers were in here so that was good. After a couple of sips of my pint I started to get the munchies. The Eggs Benedict and 3 yogurts were wearing off. Perhaps I should have eaten the rocket. I headed back up the bar with menu in hand as is standard procedure. I went for the two small plates of Hunters Chips and Scampi. The extremely friendly barmaid explained the special offer and for just 1p more I could have a third plate. Bargain. Lavish the cheesy garlic bread on me. The food was really good and the garlic bread divine for just 1p. I won’t feel bad about winning the lowest prize on Deal Or No Deal now I know what it can get me.

I liked the look of the entertainment in this place especially the Wednesday night Drag-aoke hosted by the splendidly named Tanya Minge. It’s a free shot for every singer and a £20 bar tab for the best performer. Apologies in advance to my liver for all of these incoming bar tabs.

It was now 2pm and I’d only had 2 pints. I know it’s pre season but it’s a really poor showing on my behalf so I needed another venue. The top lad Matt Stacky was close by and he drives around for his job so I asked his advice. He suggested Popworld across the road but it was closed. Good job really as another pint and a couple of Katy Perry songs and I wouldn’t be making the game.

As I left Yates’s my eyes initially struggled to adjust so I made my way very carefully down the steps. Passers by must have thought I’d had about 12 never mind just the paltry two I was on. My eyes adjusted quickly and I spotted O’Neils across the road. That’ll do.

Solihull O’Neils

As I was in a posh town I thought I’d go for a more upmarket beer in here and opted for Camden Hells. Upmarket price too £5.75. Hmmm John Smiths next time I think.

Not Stella but still reassuringly expensive.

From there it was a black cab to the ground. The driver was eager to talk football until he came out with the line “Walsall? Are they even a team? I never see them on the tele.” Now I can take comments about my looks, my height, weight, lack of hair, lack of sex life etc but diss my football club and to quote our mutual friend Celine Dion “this is getting serious”. His comment bought out different responses from various parts of my body. Mouth said “yeah we don’t get picked up by Sky very often” in a tone which cut short the conversation. Brain thought “carry on like that and I’ll withhold your fare then overturn and torch your cab”. Throat thought “what’s all this talking? I need beer”.

The fare was £8.90 (I always tip but didn’t on this occasion) and soon I was outside the club with a pint and enjoying the company of Matt Stacky, Lee and Michelle. It’s a really good setup at this ground. The main club has an additional bar out the front of it which is what we were using. Home and away fans were drinking and mixing happily. I’m sure Neighbours fans would also do this.

Nice set up.
Distressing sight of an abandoned cheeseburger. They were a fiver each too.

By the time I’d finished my pint and made a few notes it was 3.30 and too late to go into the stand so another pint was in order. We took the lead before half time and I finally made it into the stand abut 15 minutes into the second half just in time to see us score our second.

Ideal for the player that likes a long run up throw in.

We won 2-0 and I was back up the bar just in time to hear the barmaid inform the customer in front of me that she was from “the shit part of Solihull”. He went and she asked me if the match was finished and I replied “yes” thinking this was also going to spark a conversation which would reveal personal life details but I got a “oh in that case I have to close. We finish when the game ends”. The main bar in the clubhouse was still serving and we had a pleasant hour and Matt let me jump in his Uber back to the station and only wanted a pint for it – which I still owe him. Next Saturday in the Bescot Bar Matt.

I rounded the day off back in Walsall with visits to Tap & Tanner, Katz and Walsall Arms. It was a really enjoyable day and I could have missed it due to being too lazy to get up or dancing around to Katy Perry in Popworld.

Pre-season is over then and my record is played 2 won 2 goals missed 2 goals seen 2. Lots of even numbers there. Bring on Hartlepool on Saturday. Proper football is back.