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Cans & Megabus EFL Away Guide: Bristol City; Sunderland fans - let’s drink cider on a boat!

Chris Coleman’s hearty band of losers are popping down the M5 to get royally battered by another Championship team. Here’s everything you need to know about the wonderful city of Bristol.

Bristol City v Queens Park Rangers - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Who Are These Jobbers?

They’re a wacky bunch Bristol City, aren’t they?

They do all those funny gifs when they score a goal - oh how we laugh. Look, Aden Flint is rubbing a toothbrush on his head, THAT’S NOT HOW YOU DO IT! Oh, Aden you absolute card. The banter must be absolutely flying in that dressing room. I’m amazed that after all those japes they can even muster the energy to have a game of association football, but here we are.

As the bitter and miserable football supporter I have become, any form of feel-good story makes me sick to my stomach. Thankfully this utter meme club was rightly dispatched with devastating aplomb by the Death Star of football that is Manchester City. One thing I simply I can’t abide is the idea of a plucky team from the lower leagues somehow getting to Wembley while my team hands over money we don’t have for Jason Steele.

Calm down, mate. It’s not Bristol City’s fault, they’re just doing their best. Stop taking it out on Bristol City. It’s not their fault Billy Jones can’t defend against the precocious talent of Joe Garner, it’s not their fault that Robbin Ruiter only decided he was going to be a goalkeeper this year.

Like Sheffield United, Bristol City are one of those teams that you just assumed were rubbish but then check the table and they’re inexplicably third. Thankfully, that bubble has seemingly burst on the back of a firm hard drilling by Steve Bruce and Aston Villa. They even got themselves slapped at Bolton last week but don’t worry sports fans as no doubt The Robins (lol) will be back to their usual selves when Chrissy Coleman’s red and white losers rock up to Ashton Gate.

That inevitable defeat will mean school prefect and man who perennially looks like he’s dropped a fart in a lift, Lee Johnson, will have that cringeworthy smug grin plastered across his face come five o’clock.

One final thing, £32 a ticket. Who do you think you’re kidding, lads?

Bristol City v Queens Park Rangers - Sky Bet Championship

How Do I Get There?

Anyone else keep getting that weird vomit-inducing fear every time they think of the distance it takes to get to Bristol on Saturday? It keeps rattling around in my brain that I will have to spend a minimum of six hours on a Megabus back to the north on Sunday. Although it was only £1 - so I can’t really moan too much - if my iPod conks out halfway through I’m truly knackered and then ther…[EDITORIAL NOTE: GET ON WITH IT].

If you’re driving down to Bristol (lol @ u) take the A1 (M), M1 and M42 down to Birmingham before joining the M5 at Bromsgrove. From there it’s a pretty straightforward journey down to the West Country before exiting at junction 19 for Portishead/Royal Portbury Dock. Keep on the A369 following the signs for Ashton Gate and the stadium will magically appear.

Car parking is available at Bedminster Cricket Club on Clanage Road for £5.

As the away day connoisseur that I am, I have previously taken the train to a pulsating Bristol City vs Doncaster Rovers tie and getting to Ashton Gate is a bit of a ballache. From Bristol Temple Meads, take the hourly service to Parson Street and from there you can walk to the ground.

Apparently there’s a shuttle bus that runs from Temple Meads to Ashton Gate starting from an hour before the game and drops you off afterwards. Alternatively, get a taxi from the city centre which will cost around £8.

If you’re flying down (which is apparently the done thing with this fixture) you can catch the Airport Flyer Express to Temple Meads for £7 single.

2018 Carabao Cup Football Semi Final Second Leg Bristol City v Man City Jan 23rd Photo by Nathan Munkley/Action Plus via Getty Images

Where Can I Get The Sesh Started?

One of the great things about Bristol is that despite the fact that it’s miles away, despite it having loads of Banksy murals everywhere designed to “make you think” and despite it having far too many hills - it does have some frankly sterling pubs.

And what does everyone in this neck of the woods sup (except from moonshine)? Aye, that’s it, cider, and where better to drink this fine nectar than on a boat? That’s exactly what you’ll get at The Apple on Welsh Back which sells a huge variety of locally made ciders which will ensure you won’t be able to see Billy Jones’ sumptuous defending come three o’clock.

The King Street area of Bristol by the River Avon is an excellent place to base yourself both pre- and post-match. The area is a hive of alehouses and eateries catering for pretty much whatever you like. Have a trendy local craft beer at King Street Brew House and Small Bar, sling a few in The Old Duke, fall over at the price of a pint in BrewDog Bristol or opt for a cheap lager in The Llandoger Trow.

You really can’t go wrong in Bristol if you fancy a pint. Unless, of course, you want to drink near the ground where your options are limited to Bedminster Cricket Club or somewhere called the Tobacco House.

Blackthorn cider billboards defaced Photo by Ben Birchall - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

I’m Staying Owa, Is There Owt To Do?

Since we’re all staying over for this one there’s actually plenty to do in the fine city of Bristol. Professor Green is on at SWX, The Damned are playing the O2 Academy, hell even Willy Mason is at the Cube Cinema. My, oh my, look at you Bristol with your cosmopolitan vibes and loads of things to do in the evening.

If you’re travelling down with the family then why not treat the bairns to a Sunday afternoon at Bristol Aquarium? They’ve got like proper sharks and everything, the website even has a smiling man holding what looks like a giant trout under the words “River Monsters”. Honestly, what more could you want?

Now, if you want to have a lovely Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon then head up to the suburb of Clifton. My word, it is delightful around there. I assume it is what Nigel Farage thinks all of the UK looks like with its bunting, boutique shops and pubs overlooking the Avon. I’m not joking, it’s really nice up there and they’ve got that git mint Clifton Suspension Bridge around there n’all.

Assorted Location Shoots Photo by Matt Tuffin/N-Photo Magazine via Getty Images

What’s The Ground Like?

Remember when every time you sat down to watch an England youth game they were always playing at Ashton Gate? Fun fact, Norwich City legend Darren Eadie once mugged off shampoo salesman and World Cup winner Gianluigi Buffon in an Under-21 Championship qualifier. All the lads were there, big Ricky Scimeca lobbing the ball through - 1997 was so wild.

Anyway, Ashton Gate has changed considerably since The Lads last visited. Back then we were all really happy as Kevin Phillips smashed in a last-minute penalty and we continued to beat everyone in the land *bites fist, looks to the sky as single tear rolls down cheek* - oh well.

Bristol City’s home since 1904 looks all proper modern now with two flashy new stands and an away end that isn’t split in twain. Our lot are housed in the Atyeo Stand and our hosts seem to have significantly overestimated how many of us hardened souls are willing to pay £32 to watch us get hammered hundreds of miles from our homes and have given us 3,000 tickets.

Additional fun fact - Nelson Mandela House from Only Fools and Horses fame is actually in Bristol right next to Ashton Gate, so don’t forget your camera.

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