If you judge a book by its cover or a wine by its label, hide your head behind the sofa now. I’ve never read such total utter bollocks on a wine bottle. Piers Morgan and Worzel Gummidge’s love child could have written something more coherent and less smug. Fortunately, I have an open mind. Unscrew the cap, James…
I woke up with the sweetest hangover. The type that brings hazy memories of the day before. Not caused by alcohol. Oh no, something far more important. Football.
But, one has to eat, and drink, and get on with life so, in anticipation of victory, I had booked us into Barbecoa, Jamie Oliver’s new venture in Cheapside in the City. And as a hangover cures go, you could do worse than select from the “Bites” menu. The mountain of bread with home made butter was as filling as it was delicious. A “portion” of pork crackling (£4) was large enough to serve 16 Northern beer drinkers based on the size of pub bags when I was a nipper. And needless to say the flavour and crunch was in a new class, (but I am known as a bit of a porker).
In a very twee part of London, where, in more controversial political times Tone used to live, lies a pub. I wonder if this was a New Labour den at some point.
Keeping my lefty tendencies to one side, (I dress to the left), I booked through Opentable and consumed a pre-match meal. The glorious Man City made their first Wembley visit since 1999. I made my first visit to Islington since Morgan M‘s in 2008.
The Drapers Arms has a decent array of beers, a pretty and well priced wine list, and a menu that people of my age can read without glasses, which is all too rare. A bottle of 2009 Brouilly was excellent value at £31, and once given 10 minutes in an ice bucket was very drinkable. After only 10 minutes it was turned from flabby Bazooka Joe bubblegum to tight candy foam teeth and who wouldn’t prefer the teeth? But, why serve Beaujolais at 25 degrees in the first place?
Blimey! I didn’t mean to start World War III with my cast aside comment that Mark Hughes might not be the right manager for Man City. Even though I regularly tell anyone who will listen that I never approved of his appointment in the first place, even I, the Bathsheba Everdene to Mr Hughes’ Gabriel Oak, acknowledged that the least worst option was to give him more time to prove himself. Instead the Man City hierarchy (and I smell the ruthlessly inept Garry Cook behind this one) make us look fools again, executing a manager change with the dexterity, care and good intentions of Fred West laying a new patio.
I’ve held my tongue with remarkable virtue on the subject of Man City this season. Although I never favoured Mark Hughes’ appointment, neither do I support chopping and changing every five minutes. So I have been inclined to give him more time. After tonight’s abject 3-0 defeat at Spurs, I admit my patience is being stretched like a City banker’s tax return.
More time is something I ought to devote to US wines, largely ignored on this site – only 14 of Big Sam’s offerings ever receiving the courtesy of a mention. So here is a little redress.
I assured some French friends who visited recently, that ignorant southerners who claimed that it rained in Manchester 24 hours a day were plain wrong. In my experience the average precipitation is a considerably more modest 23. I am looking forwards to tomorrow between 8 and 9am when we are promised a refreshing spot of light cloud.
Just one day after the final match of the season, the 2008/9 FA Premiership is already a distant memory. We now enter the silly summer season where silly sums will be spent on sop soccer stars with scant regard for common sense or the common fan.
If there is one maxim in life that everyone understands it is that money does not guarantee success. I mean, look at Mark Hughes’ under-achievers. Being a long suffering Man City fan, it is no surprise to me that we scraped in mid table a whopping 5 points clear of footballing paupers, Stoke City, even though one of our players cost more than Stoke’s entire squad.
I have to congratulate Stoke on an over-achieving season. Based on the resources available to them and being newly promoted to the division, they were odds on to get relegated. But Tony Pulis had a well thought out strategy and it worked.
Strange game football eh? But the same can apply to wine. This bottle came from a Wine Society Mystery Burgundy Case (average implied bottle price £20 but actually was on sale for £56.75 on the WS website). Ouch! It better be good!
I’ve got my comeuppance for slagging off Mark Hughes. Man City announced that the UEFA Cup quarter final home leg would be a “reward for the fans” and tickets were priced at only £5 so “ordinary fans” could come and watch. I am obviously not an ordinary fan since, despite numerous calls to the ticket office (engaged tone) the match is sold out and I have to watch on some backwater internet channel. Shame – I am in Manchester on 16 April when the town turns into a Hamburger for a night.
So perhaps I should be more complimentary about people I have never met.
Everyone knows that it is impossible to mass produce and mass market a decent wine – especially a Pinot Noir. Trouble is, nobody told Alfred Hurtado. His Chilean Cono Sur brand is taking over the world and rightly so.
So Man City’s UEFA dream survives after clinging by the loosest of threads for 90 minutes plus extra time and penalties.
I never supported the appointment of Mark Hughes. However, I have held my tongue whilst others have defended him. Apologists are fine, but with the budget he has, I think the fans deserve more.