Exeter- 9th August, 2014

Exeter- 9 August 2014 (2)

 

Exeter- 9 August 2014 (3)

 

Ground: St James Park, Exeter
Competition: League Two 2014/15
Result: Exeter 1-1 Portsmouth
Pie: Steak and Ale & Steak Pasty
Price: £2.50
Comments: Horray! The season has begun! It’s that joyous time of the year when all are hopeful little infantile dreamers living in the impossible belief that this will be our season. For Fulham it really couldn’t get any worse than last year’s 38 game horror show, in fact it’s already been an massive improvement as John Arne Riise, along with his massive arse, wonky left leg and dead crow on his head, have been turfed out of the hallowed pitch at Craven Cottage.

Yet rather than venturing to Ipswich to see Fulham embark on their promotion push I found myself going to see football league giants Exeter City as part of my lads holiday. This is what happens when you fail to book a real holiday, take note kids.

Nevertheless, this was an excellent opportunity to sample a new pie from a new ground I’m unlikely to ever visit again, unless Fulham go completely tits up and do a Portsmouth. With Baltis off the menu as some fat bastard had gobbled five up for himself, it was back to good ol’ steak and ale. Adopting the usually less enjoyable rectangular shape the pressure mounted early on the pie’s crunchy topping, luckily once inside the pie provided a moist, juicy filling probably, but by no means certainly, beef. On the downside the pie had probably been a bit frazzled in the oven heater, meaning the pastry itself erred on the dry side, when will clubs learn?

While by no means a vintage pie it was a considerable improvement on the brick disguised as a pasty that my poor friend Sam suffered. Drier than Thomas Gravesen’s cranium, this pasty, from near the Cornish mecca, was one to be avoided at all costs.

So a new pie to start the season, solid without ever threatening to dazzle. At least that’s better than Fulham- different league, different team, same shit result. Derby next on the pie agenda.

Rating: 7/10 (Steak & Ale)
2/10 (Pasty)

Stoke- 3rd, May 2014

Stoke-3rd May 2014
Ground: The Britannia Stadium, Stoke
Competition: Barclay’s Premiership 2013/14
Result: Stoke 4-1 Fulham
Pie: Chicken Balti
Price:£3 (ish)
Comments: It’s taken nearly four months for me to summon the will power to put this symbolic pie of relegation on the site, the memories have just been to devastating and depressing to fear awakening them again. Fulham’s top flight demise after 13 eventful seasons at Stoke was a truly diabolical day for everyone associated with the club, the players’, and manager’s, performance was nothing short of embarrassing with Stoke ripping us apart with consummate ease. Worst of all, we didn’t even have  Senderos about to blame for all our problems.

The pie itself was forgettable, although anything to distract me from the reality that John Arne Riise was in charge of defending a whole section of the pitch was appreciated. This mediocre, probably Pukka, pie will be the last memory of the premiership pastry reserve for at least, most probably longer, one season and actually I’m quite happy about that.

It seems that most top flight clubs abuse economies of scale and bulk buy repetitious amounts of pies from Hollands and Pukka- cheap and cheerful but tedious for a connoisseur like myself. I want homemade pies, local delicacies, innovative fillings and mind pending packaging not the same shit, different ground, hopefully the eclectic and smaller clubs that litter the Championships will offer an exciting selection of pies that won’t force me to writing drivel prose to fill the review or slate are team of footballing imposters.

Sod the top clubs winning everything and buying all the best players, sod the same Pukka Balti every week and sod the Premiership, the Championship is the new hope for success on and off the pie reviews.

Rating: RELEGATION /10

 

Woking- 21st April, 2014

Woking- 21 April Woking- 21 April (Inside Pie)
Ground: Woking, Kingfield Stadium
Competition: Conference 2013/14
Result: Woking 1-2 Aldershot
Pie: Chicken and Gammon
Price: £2.30
Comments: Fulham’s season has been atrocious, Aldershot’s not much better. Despite only cobbling a make-shift side together for the opening day and facing a 10 point deduction from the off, Aldershot have done remarkably well to leave Conference survival in their own hands- a win at local rivals Woking in the penultimate game of the season and they live to fight another year.

The only way to calm the nerves on such a massive day of action was to seek out the nearest pie and smear it all over my tense face. Breaking with the usual steak/balti choice I opted for a chicken and gammon special- more meat= more manliness. While it looked like a salmon had accidentally been stowed in its core, the pinky ham was chunky and enjoyable even if it did comprise of 120% salt. Not the most flavoursome pie it took me back to my glorious school dinner days, where the pies were mass produced wholesome goodness for all, tossed on your plate with little regard for your requests for more crust.

Nothing too exciting, but a vast improvement on the piss pie from shite hart lane two days before. Gazing upon the low quality, low league, football amongst the 1,500 Aldershot fans in Woking’s traditional ground I wondered whether English football could be typified any better? Clearly not as Aldershot scraped a win to guarantee survival, a glorious day of old school football that makes you question if the premiership really is all that

Rating: 7/10

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Tottenham- 21st April, 2014

Spurs- 19 April (Pie Stand) Spurs- 19 April (Pie)
Ground: Tottenham, White Hart Lane
Competition: Barclay’s Premiership 2013/14
Result: Spurs 3-1 Fulham
Pie: Chicken Balti
Price:£3.50 (ish)
Comments: “To be (relegated), or not to be (relegated)?” That is the question Prince Hamlet was pondering in the rotten state of Denmark all those fictional years ago. While he was probably an Aalborg fan, he could have easily been a poor, miserable sufferer of Fulham’s 2013/14 season wondering if relegation is that bad after all. Just as the appeal of losing at Arsenal or Chelsea every season wanes so the thought of having to visit culture hotspots of Wolves and Millwall, yet after a pie at Spurs it seems like being beaten to death with a programme at The Den doesn’t seem to depressing.

The dreamy illusion that a separate pie counter and a puff pastry topping would make for a relegation busting balti pie was quickly shattered when I discovered a large pile of sawdust at the bottom of the barrel. Like a turd wrapped in joyous Christmas paper, this balti hid a horrific nightmare in its base. So burnt I thought Steve McQueen and Paul Newman were going to come a rescue me from its molten horror at one point. Dry, tasteless and cancerous I couldn’t face finishing it, seeing as it probably would have finished me off first.

While it tasted abysmal, one of the worst yet, it probably could have defended Hamlet compatriot Christian Eriksen’s deliveries better than Fulham’s hapless heap. Bring on Millwall and relegation if just so I don’t have to see this abomination of pie again.

Rating: 2/10

 

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Cardiff- 8th March, 2014

Cardiff- 8 March 2014 Cardiff- 8 March 2014 (inside Pie)
Ground: Cardiff, Cardiff City Stadium
Competition: Barclay’s Premiership 2013/14
Result: Cardiff 3-1 Fulham
Pie: Clark’s Pie (Beef)
Price:£3
Comments: Cardiff’s new/plush/generic/soulless stadium may be nothing special , but the pies certainly are- a local delicacy in a premiership ground! Almost unheard of!

The intriguing option sat invitingly on the menu, labelled only as Clark’s Pie there was one way to find out what in Wale’s green earth it was. Unaware of who Clark was, or what he was doing making pies, I went to the most reliable source of knowledge since Socrates died to discover its origins.

It turns out that these novel pastry’s came to fruition way back in 1909 with “the exact recipe of the pie filling a closely guarded secret containing beef, vegetables and gravy. Unusually for a pie, the pastry is thick enough not to require a foil tray. Each pie has the word “CLARPIE” stamped into the pastry”- Wikipedia

It sounds a lot like a standard beef pie, but ohhh no, its far more than that.

My slice of Clarky was like a bread roll from a distance and with a similar sturdiness close up, inside the oblong shape a hearty beef filling resided like a molten meaty flow of gravy lava. The most noticeable novelty with the pie was the pastry, different from anything I’d ever tasted in a football pie, almost like sourdough, but not really like that at all. The nearest comparison could be to that rogue bread roll variety you get in restaurants sometimes, in fact maybe I’m specifically thinking of Red Lobster’s Cheddar Biscuits. Yes, that’s exactly it, for those yet to frequent the seafood chain just head over to America and visit one. Easy.

A lovely new pie experience on what will likely be my last season in the premiership for awhile thanks to Fulham’s completely shambolic  showing on the day. What a mess this season has been for the Cottagers, just awful from Sunderland away on the opening day until now. Let’s hope we’re put out of misery soon, like Michael Owen should have been in 2006, and we can all look forward to a host of new pies in the Championship. I hear Brighton has some special pies….
Rating: 8.5/10

(More on Clark’s Pies here and here)

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Manchester United- 9th February, 2014

United-9 Feb 2014 United-9 Feb 2014 (Inside Pie)
Ground: Manchester United, Old Trafford
Competition: Barclay’s Premiership 2013/14
Result: United 2-2 Fulham
Pie:Chicken Balti
Price:£3…probably
Comments: By all accounts this season has an unmitigated been a disaster; a deadly combination of tedious pie choices and the fact Fulham can’t string 2 passes together before conceding another goal the the Fulham under 6s would be ashamed to have let in, not to mention the fact Aldershot are teetering on the brink of relegation (again).

Where do you turn to in these moments of despair more distressing than Scott Parker attempting a pirouette on the edge of your box? The Theatre of Dreams! Hope and belief can be found to vanquish the rotting smell of another bland bit of pastry and turgid football in United’s sacred home! Lol jks they sell Hollands pies.

Looking at the photos you’ll see the pastry paradox that faced me that faithful Sunday afternoon; a top that resembled a zombie’s scrotum, in colour and texture, along with a filling so bloody succulent, thick and orange it could be mistaken for Mick Hucknell’s flowing locks in the stand.

Once the surface had been flung at an unsuspecting Asian tourist, the pie was a joyous omen to Fulham’s lucky last gasp equaliser. Great stuff inside the yummy little Balti was offset by the inexcusably shite pastry on top, I doubt even 83 crosses from Evra alone would have broken its cement like crust.
Rating: 7/10

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Sheffield United- 26th January, 2014

Sheffield United-26 Jan 2014

Sheffield United-26 Jan 2014 (Stadium)

Ground: Sheffield United, Bramall Lane
Competition: FA Cup 4th Round 2013/14
Result: Sheffield United 1-1 Fulham
Pie: Chicken Balti
Price: £3.50
Comments: It’s the FA Cup, that glorious grail of maddening belief. As Fulham languish down the wrong end of the table in hapless form, the dream of our first cup glory in 134 long years grows and glistens in equal measure to the fear of relegation.

After milking the most of a drab two legged affair with Norwich, the prospect of Sheffield United away seemed like a Champions League awayday in Munich. Our expectations are low indeed, further sunk by the realisation that another ruddy bloody  Pukka pie was coming my way in the deluge of torrential rain outside the ground. The pie was solid as anything that’s ever graced my lips from Pukka, the game on the other hand was a diabolical contest reminiscent of a malcoordinated game of dodgeball.

The only plus beyond the comedy of Rodders falling over missing the ball and Senderos generally was the fact the ground had a Pukka Pie stand, now that is something to write home about. Awful draw, surely we’ll turn them over at home and march on to Wembley?
Rating: 6.5/10

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