Yorkshire Football Weekends got back on the road this weekend. A trip to Derbyshire to watch the oldest football club in the World that used to play in Sheffield, not a bad way to kick the series off. Sheffield FC faced Sutton Coldfield in what was the opening game of the Non-League season.
In 2001 the club left Yorkshire and moved to Dronfield and purchased the Coach and Horses pub, and of course the adjoining land that has become their BT Local Business Stadium. Throughout their history this is the first ground the club have actually owned. A football club attached to a pub, it’ll never catch on.
The day started with a pint in the “Sheffield Tap” where I met fellow blogger Karl Smout (@footysphere) and his brother Craig. Ever since my move to Yorkshire I have never seen the obsession with ale; I’m a beer or a lager man. What took my fancy was a pint of Bernard Cerne Pivo, a very lovely 5.8% dark beer. Not usually my choice for a midday beer, but it was very tasty….a trend that would continue later.
We jumped on the train, one stop down and we arrived in scenic Dronfield. Ten minutes up the road and we arrived at the Coach and Horses, a good hour before kick-off plenty of time for some more of the tasty local beverages.
Karl and Craig were on the ale, Karl had something called “Brother Rabbit” Craig was on “Lord Marples”. I’m not one for these weird named ales, so I went for the German equivalent. “Erdinger” that’s a name I know, out came another dark beer, not what I was expecting but it went down quicker than a lady of the night.
Three of those 5.6% pints in a lovely glass later and time had flown past us. Fifteen minutes late we stumbled into the ground. Only £6 to get in, no complaints there and the score was still 0-0 so no harm done.
After the beer I already had the cravings for some tasty food, luckily I just managed to see Sutton Coldfield taking the lead before joining the queue for Steak pie, peas and gravy. Pretty tasty and good value at £2.50. Karl had got in there before me and looked to be enjoying his pie.
Obviously spurred on with the fact I was paying attention Sheffield FC hit back, and after goals from Steve Woolley, Conor Higginson and Andy Gascoigne the home side went into the break with an impressive 3-1 lead.
As the teams left the pitch there was what is becoming a regular event at this level of football. The ogling of the fit club physio, and Sheffield FC have two….bonus. The second half started and Sutton Coldfield meant business, they dominated the game but couldn’t find the second until the 81st minute. They could have easily levelled the scores but Sheffield FC held on.
My personal highlight of the second half was the assistant referee’s excellent hair, this boy could go far. The game ended and with the happy home support in tow we returned to the pub, with an hour to the train there was time for another beer.
A very nice day out, some excellent football and company we arrived at Sheffield station. My plan was to go home and watch the Saturday night games in Ligue 1 but once home I feel asleep and woke up at 23:30…signs of a great day.
Wherever YFW takes me it is always nice to visit a historic club or ground and it doesn’t get much better than the oldest club in the football association, not to mention it being attached to a pub. Surely that’s what this is all about.
PRICE: 8.5/10 – £6 for football on a nice day, bargain!
FACILITIES: 9/10 – Nice little shop inside, but bar next door to the ground it all kinds of WIN!
ATMOSPHERE: 6.5/10 – 238 people turned up for the opening day, not bad.
FOOD: 8/10 – I might have had two pies, definitely a good sign.
OVERALL: 8/10 – Great day, great people, great beer.