"As for Maidenhead, the conga (which was amusing) aside, quite a strange bunch really – some the oddest chants I've ever heard at a football match" ~ localboy86, Amber Planet forum, 26th April 2015

Sunday 21 July 2013

Maidenhead Beer Festival

This friendly was part of the Alex Wall transfer. Apparently, the Hatters were somewhat inflexible with the date. Ergo it coincided with the beer festival. My colleague CJ is a big fan of real ale and Luton Town, so I hoped he might accompany me. Alas, he had other plans. *rolls eyes* I went anyway, if only because I was intrigued by the set-up ...

To the Anchor, firstly, where I drank Guinness with birthday boy Jonny Wah Wah, Payney, and Uncle Richard. As England ground the Aussies into the dust - Root becoming England's youngest ever Ashes centurion at Lord's - Landlord Joe showed off the latest addition to the scarf collection (below). A German woman - the partner of a former Nomads player (surname Davies?) - literally had a tear in her eye when she spotted the Carl Zeiss Jena one. The pleasant university city, which we visited in 2011, is her hometown.

It cost £2 - with my Advantage Card - to gain entry to the ground  ... for the beer festival. Some were apparently charged £10 for the football! More fool them. Immediately, I saw two sparsely-populated tents in front of Stripes and jumped to the premature conclusion that thSlough, Windsor and Maidenhead branch of CAMRA is as noddy as the local football clubs. More fool me.

The covered car park - where the drinks *were* served - was absolutely heaving; I could barely get in! If that in itself wasn't surreal enough, then the very first person I saw was Kim, an old colleague ... from Bristol! Small world. 

I had given the Bell End t-shirt an airing, and it proved very popular. One gentleman told me to name my price for it. Not for sale. However, it's clear that MUSA should consider stocking the design in the Magpie Megastore. All proceeds, of course, to the Stand appeal.

Hardly anyone paid much attention to the game (taking place, it must be pointed out, on an excellent-looking pitch). One old boy asked me who was playing. "I didn't even know Maidenhead had a team," was his response after I'd told him. He knows now. Will he be back? Yeah, but only for next year's beer festival, one suspects. 

Dark Munrofrom Orkney - and Weird Beard Brew's Black Perle were my picks of the ales. They went down a treat. Safe to say that we were all rather merry (not least me) as we headed back to the pub. Conversation - rather heated, at times - centred on the forthcoming trips to Whitehawk, Gosport ... and Ebbsfleet. Now, I can think of about a billion other places where I'd rather be, on August Bank Holiday Monday, but an argument put forward is that we should go and 'lay the ghosts'. Hmmm, we shall see ...