Who Are These Jobbers?
Well, it’s here ladies and gentlemen the final trip of 2017. After 8,522 miles, 23 games, 25 goals, six wins, two visits to the glamorous locations of Hull and Middlesbrough and a ludicrous amount of Stella Artois ingested - we’ve come to the big swansong and we’re going to Nottingham.
We venture to a city famous for a large space of woodland populated by a lot of trees (it’s a forest joke) and a fox that wore a green shirt and a hat but no pants robbing a lion which wore a crown and dressing gown - but again with no pants - and gave the dosh to some kind of badger. Also, he had a pal that was a dancing bear, wearing some form of dress.
What’s the craic with drawing animals with no pants? If you’re going to create an anthropomorphic universe where animals interact with humans, surely they should conform to the norms of the human world? For instance, Bojack Horseman (a talking horse which stands upright) wears pants but Brian Griffin (a talking dog) plays fast and loose with the use of pants but often wears a jacket. It’s probably a side issue, I know, but it’s worth thinking about.
Anyway, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, Nottingham Forest. The thing with Nottingham Forest is that despite the fact they’ve won two European Cups (which no-one can remember anymore because it’s 2017 and we’re too busy taking street drugs) and they won a league at some point - you can’t strike fear into an opponent if you’re called The Tricky Trees.
The Tricky Trees. Have you looked at a tree and thought “boy howdy, that tree sure is tricky”? How does a tree even become tricky? It’s just a large piece of lumber with a few leaves on it. Why would you give your team the moniker of that? Who even came up with that (alright, sit down football anorak, I don’t actually care)? Well, anyway, congratulations Forest, you have the lamest nickname in the land.
I don’t even know if Nottingham Forest are actually good any more as they seem intent on not sticking to any sort of form. They win the odd game then lose a couple, setting themselves up for a really weird season. Daryl Murphy plays for them so I’m sure he’ll score again. Can we go back to talking about animals not wearing any pants?
How Do I Get There?
What better way to say goodbye to 2017 than a long drive on the A1 (M) because guess what, buddy boy, that’s exactly what you’ll be doing on a crisp New Year’s Eve Eve morning. You’re going to be riding that bad boy all the way to junction 35 near Doncaster where you exit for the M18.
This will then merge into the M1 which glides along until junction 26. Exit here for the A610 heading into Nottingham following the signs for Melton Mowbray. Pass over the River Trent and the ground is on your left. There’s limited street parking around the ground or you can dump the motor at the cricket ground for £5.
Alternatively (and wisely), you can sack all that off and get the train. Nottingham railway station is around a mile away so you’ve got plenty to revel in the delights of the many, many alehouses this fine town has to offer.
Where Can I Get The Sesh Started?
When the big wigs at the purveyors of canny chicken wings and voluptuous ladies, Hooters, got together in their headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, with a view to expanding their restaurant business they naturally saw the UK as their port of call. But where could they put this emporium of poultry, buffalo sauce and crop tops? They mused.
London? Nah, too obvious. Manchester? Nah, they’ve got enough up there. Newcastle? Nah, northerners don’t deserve anything. Birmingham? Nah, not nondescript enough. So they threw dart at a map of the British Isles and landed on Nottingham. Subsequently, if you want to sup in a weird sports bar/restaurant you’ll find the UK’s one and only Hooters on London Road.
If you prefer to spend your pre-match in an establishment where not everyone is ogling the bar staff and making terrible, terrible attempts to flirt then swing by The Cross Keys on Byard Lane and have a fancy craft ale. Hey, if you want to have that same craft beer but pay twice the price then BrewDog Nottingham is on Broad Street.
You’ll be hard pushed to find an accommodating watering hole near the ground, so it’s best advised to stick to the city centre. Why not see how much Jeans and Sheux you can spot in Pitcher & Piano on High Pavement (weird name for a street), become effortlessly cool at Malt Cross on James’s Street, or get all historic at the Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem on Brewhouse Yard.
It’s the last day out of 2017 - you might as well make the most of it.
I’m Staying Owa, Is There Owt To Do?
Okay, I’ll admit that the Christmas and New Year period can take its toll on the ole body. We are all feeling a little tender (and fatter) after the overindulgence, so you may need a little comfort. You may need something to cheer you up and The Kitty Cafe can certainly do that. Spend an hour or two rolling around with a bunch of cats and you may feel a little better after watching Marc Wilson boot a ball into touch in the freezing cold.
Do you like plays about horses? Of course, you do. So get down to Black Beauty at Nottingham Lakeside Arts for a tale of this famous stallion which the Guardian described as “a galloping, five-star triumph”. Tickets are £8.50 and it finishes at 2pm, so you can still see the match - buy them here.
What’s The Ground Like?
Everyone still here? Great. It’s alright, I’m nearly done. I always feel that The City Ground should be classed alongside other famous grounds like Villa Park and Hillsborough, but - like those grounds - since the team that inhabits it is rubbish it seems to have fallen off the radar.
Lest we forget that this stadium hosted such classic encounters such as Portugal vs Turkey in Euro 96. I mean I fondly remember Goran Vlaovic’s late winner for Croatia against Turkey in that hotly anticipated Group D game. Alright, I’m struggling now.
Sunderland haven’t graced The City Ground in a competitive capacity since winning 2-1 in a League Cup tie in 2008 when David Healy (lol, remember him?) scored a winner in extra time. Anyway, our lot are housed in the lower tier of the Bridgford Stand and we’ve sold out over 2,000 tickets, so it should be alright.
There’s nothing left to say except fill up your lungs with oxygen, shout the word “scabs” as loud as you can (despite you being 21 years old with no real understanding of the 1984 miners’ strike) and kiss goodbye to 2017 with another inevitable defeat.
From everyone here at Cans & Megabus, happy new year to you all!