non league football

Pie 176: The Dunipace Pie

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Hello and welcome to the latest munchings from Meat Filled Pastries as we head east to Denny and Westfield Park, the recently renovated home of former West Region Juniors and current East of Scotland side, Dunipace. This week I want to take a slight detour from my new themed pieces to announce an exciting partnership between Meat Filled Pastries and BSC Glasgow.

The Glasgow club, based in Alloa, have been putting in the hard graft over the last month or so in an attempt to grow their presence not only online but also in the stands. One of their initiatives saw them raffling off the opportunity to sponsor one of the sides players or staff for just a fiver. This was a no brainer, and more in hope than expectation, I signed up and waited for the announcement to be made. A couple of weeks later, on a Friday afternoon train to Edinburgh as I escaped the chaos that only TRNSMT can bring, my email notifications blew up with the news that I had been drawn out and that for the 2019/20 season I would be sponsoring centre back sensation, Ross Smith. A bet involving him scoring 20,000 goals and free pies has already been made and of course I’ll be making my way down to the Rec at some point I’m sure.

The day of the announcement my Twitter feed was full with BSC Glasgow related content and references and it is perhaps no surprise to see that since then they have moved on to raffling off shirt sponsorship and I’m sure there will be even more ideas to come over the course of the season.

For now though, let’s get back to pie business with this scotch pie from Day 2 of the Westfield Tournament, so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Westfield Park, Dunipace 1-0 Scone Thistle, Pre-Season Tournament Friendly

Price: I forgot to ask. This pie also doubled as my breakfast as a result of the Sunday noon kick off so I wasn’t operating at full capacity. I do know that it was £3 for a can of juice and my pie so using my pie based algorithms from years of consumption I’m going to say that this pastry can be yours for a slightly top heavy £2.

Presentation: Classically presented on a medium to large sized white napkin.

Meatiness: This was a generously filled pastry. The filling was well textured, not too firm and not too loose, meaning that a fairly low risk bite could be had. There was a very gentle pepper undertone that some would maybe like to see appear more prominently but overall I thought the filling made for a tasty meaty mouthful.

Pastry: Well formed and golden this pastry did the required job of safely holding the pie within. The edges were super crispy though which meant a little bit of gentle nibbling around the edge was required to ensure a safe and spill free bite but certainly more than adequate.

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Brown Sauce: As can be seen from the picture above they had gone condimental at Westfield Park including the Sophie’s Choice of picking between Daddies and HP. In the end, with the pressure of choosing too much to take, I went for the closest option and adorned my pie with a spiral of HP.

Overall: Neatly constructed with a good tasting filling supplemented by a swathe of sauce options.

Gravy Factor: A tasty way to start the day.

After a couple of so-so offerings it’s good to have something a bit better to get my teeth into. This would be my first of two games on that Sunday as just an hour after full time in Denny I would be sitting in the stands of McDiarmid Park to see St. Johnstone take on Ross County in the Betfred Cup and this one was something a little bit different.

However, that’s it for this week, so until next time remember to support your local side, big up women’s football and of course, go forth and eat pie!

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. Editor of Leading the Line, A member of the Scottish Women’s Football Media Team and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert, hosting “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

 

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Pie 162: The Sauchie Juniors Pie

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Hello my meat filled mates with the turning back of the clocks I’ve hit the road to try and once again find the best football pies in all of Scotland. Towards the end of last season I wrote a piece focusing on the great junior defection to the East of Scotland Football League that sits within the SPFL pyramid structure. My original piece can be viewed here in the final issue of The Football Pink which has recently been made free to download as an attempt to help shift those Brexit blues so why not give it a look.

As I stood, because I wasn’t paying the pound extra to sit in the stand, at Beechwood Park I tried to assess my feelings on how the first season of this new era of non league football in Scotland had went and what, if any, differences it has made.

It’s fair to say it has brought some freshness to proceedings for sides in the East of Scotland. The random drawing of conferences still seems to me an odd way of doing things but it has meant that sides now have a chance to face up to some less familiar foes. There has of course been renewed enthusiasm to promote the game with one Twitter user on a mission to gather the attendances from every EOSFL game this season but has it led to increased attendances? I’m not so sure. Next season will see the EOSFL conferences shuffled based on this term’s performance it still seems difficult for those clubs at the top of this new structure to break into the Lowland League, a league which perhaps still contains clubs that would struggle when pitted against some of the EOSFL’s biggest sides. The demise of Selkirk should also act as a note of warning to clubs that moving away from the juniors will not guarantee a one way ticket to the land of milk and honey but overall the change appears to have been a positive one.

I can’t finish on this topic though without putting my junior fan hat on and it’s fair to say that with almost all of the East of Scotland heavyweights now sitting within the pyramid the Scottish Junior Cup has this season felt like a diminished competition. Whilst the West Region has been dominant in recent years the removal of these sides from the mix has meant that the games have felt more familiar and the romance that is associated with a big time East v West encounter has been lost.

Sauchie Juniors home of Beechwood Park hosted one of these cross country clashes last season as they lost 1-0 to a visiting Hurlford United in the 5th Round of the competition. This chilly spring evening though they were in EOSFL – Conference B action against Dunipace, another one of the junior movers, in their opponents last game of the season as a crowd of just over 100 watched an entertaining 2-2 draw. The big question now though, how did their pies fair?

So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Beechwood Park, Sauchie Juniors 2-2 Dunipace, EOSFL – Conference B

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Price: At £1.50 this pie falls slap bang in the middle of your non-league scotch pie price bracket. A price point my pocket appreciated given my forgetfulness in hitting up a cashpoint before entering the ground.

Presentation: This pie was placed on top of a thin, medium sized white napkin that just about held up under the weight of the pastry. Luckily there was also a small paper plate present. Sometimes a plate can feel superfluous but for this pastry I was thankful it was there.

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Meatiness: This was a very well filled pastry although I was taken with how dark the meat appeared to be, not in a negative way, but more as a curiosity. It was a very moist pastry that meant there was a good layer of fat throughout each bite adding a strong and savoury flavour punch. That fat though did mean that the filling was loose, closer to mince than a solid block of meat, and so fell apart a little as you broke down those pastry walls. Call me mad but there was, in my mind anyway, a touch of beefiness to this pie although I wonder if the darkness of the meat meant my tastebuds were deceiving me.

Pastry: The pastry despite the moistness of the filling held up well and once lifted from the plate was somehow both soft and crispy underneath. The top was a little pale and the sides were a little cracked but overall the construction of this pastry was sufficient to just about hold things together from within.

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Brown Sauce: A tangy surprise in a big brown bottle.

Overall: Pretty tasty. The filling had a good smack of meaty flavour, nice texture and the pastry just about held up its end of the bargain.

Gravy Factor: Dark and Strong.

Watching football as the sun sets brings a weird sense of zen into my thoughts with the view of the Ochil Hills afforded to you at Beechwood Park adding further calmness within. Next up is a review from Clyde, where I got myself a free pie, kind of, but more on that next time.

So until then, go forth and eat pie!

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. A member of the SWPL Media Team and a contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert, hosting “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 159: The Petershill “Steak Pie”

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Hello again pie fans and welcome to the latest pie review to beat the big freeze. This week I venture to Springburn in the north of Glasgow to take in one of only four junior games to beat the weather as Petershill took on junior football’s current standard bearer’s and Scottish Cup giant killers, Auchinleck Talbot.

I had actually turned up at Petershill Park not expecting to have a new pie to review. I had been up to see the Peasy, Rossvale and various women’s teams over the last few seasons and only ever been furnished with a standard scotch pie or, as was the case on one occasion, a bridie. However as I stood in the queue the murmers were that a steak pie could be in the offing. As I approached the counter my curiosity heightened and with no menu in sight, I asked, “Can I get a steak pie please, pal?”…

“Aye love, anything else?”. Yes, success! I had a new pie. A pie I wasn’t expecting to taste and savour but there in lies the key question, was it indeed, a pie I was looking to savour?

Well there’s only one way that we’re going to find out, so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Petershill Park, Petershill 0-7 Auchinleck Talbot

Price: I’ve totally dropped the ball here. I couldn’t see a price list and I had eaten yet that day so had bought some other things (a can of Diet Bru and a bag of cheese & onion in case you were wondering). I know that my final bill was £3.40 so the price of this pie is £3.40 minus the cost of a can of Diet Irn Bru minus the cost of a bag of Cheese & Onion crisps. One for all you algebra fans out there, if you know the cost of a can of Irn Bru and a bag of crisps at Petershill Park.

Presentation: Unusual in junior pie circles this steak offering was presented in a silver tin foil case and on top of a large white napkin although given the temperatures on the day I would have quite happily let the pie warm my hands and cool down naturally before I tucked in.

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Meatiness: This pie filling was pretty decent. There was a suitably fluid meat flavoured gravy wrapped around some various sized chunks of meat, from the size of dice to almost mince like in texture. The first bite revealed a little bit of a gap as can be seen in the accompanying picture but no bite was bare of meat and in a match day pastry that is something to be commended.

Pastry: A pie of two halves here. The top was well coloured with a little steam hole present to let out the heat. It slid out the pastry case with ease and without any sticky situations occurring. However the bottom was a little on the raw side meaning that it was a little bit claggy after a couple of bites. Luckily though the gravy and crispy side wall combination meant that it was still a perfectly serviceable mouthful.

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Brown Sauce: Luxury pies mean naked pies, however on surveying the kiosk area surroundings I couldn’t immediately spy anything to go condimental about if that was your desire.

Overall: Decent filling, decent gravy, decent pastry, even if it was a little under on the bottom. Yeah, decent.

Gravy Factor: Better than a KFC Gravy scented candle (and yes that is a thing!)

Bonus pie reviews are often the best pie reviews, especially at this time of year where fixtures can become a little scarce. I am potentially (Saturday night exploits dependent) going to make my way yo Tynecastle next weekend to see if The ‘Bot can repeat their exploits from the previous round whilst also gain some revenge for a 1-0 defeat to Hearts in the Scottish Cup seven years ago.

However until next time, go forth and eat pie!

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. A contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert and hosts “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

 

Pie 145: The Easthouses Lily Pie

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Welcome to another meat filled adventure as we continue our journey into the heart of matchday cuisine. This time out we find ourselves in the land where the Borders and Lothians meet as Easthouses Lily take on Hawick Royal Albert in the newly formed EOSFL – Conference A. One of three leagues formed as a result of the great junior uprising that occurred in the summer of 2018. Don’t know anything about it? Then why not pre-order the latest issue of the The Football Pink (here) where I go into depth about the summer that was on the junior football scene in Scotland. It’s only £3 and there’s tons of other stuff too in this Brexit themed issue.

Also, rather excitingly, I now host a weekly podcast on the Heart & Hand Network looking at all things La Liga, this goes hand in hand (no pun intended) with my role as the Iberian Expert on the European Hangover and my weekly Iberian contributions to their website too, which – if you fancy it – you can find here.

This week I again take to the mic on the Nugent4Nil show with Robert Burns on Pulse FM where it will be the usual mix of pie and junior football based nonsense. If you want a listen you can tune in on Thursday night 7-8 using the old school wireless on 98.4FM if you’re in the region or online via the Pulse FM website if you live further afield.

Adding in the pie review you’re about to read, my desire to get a book done, get a regular La Liga feature column up, my weekly Infographics for Pollok, training for the Great Scottish Run and having a real job to deal with it’s all go at MFP Towers just now. Feels good but.

Anyway that’s all the shilling done for now, so without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

Where: Newbattle Complex, Easthouses Lily 1-0 Hawick Royal Albert, EOSFL – Conference A

 

Price: At £2 this could be viewed as tad on the dear side for a non league pastry however I have often said given that the provenance of the pie will be more traceable and the need for funds at this level more pressing an extra 20p or so isn’t really too much of a concern compared with some of the high priced atrocities that can be found in far bigger stadiums. Again a steak and scotch pie cost exactly the same here!

Presentation: Ever had a pie in a paper bowl? Well now I have. It looked great for framing a picture of the pie but is a little odd, small self service serviettes were available from the counter beside the pie stall and I did notice that later the bowls were replaced with paper plates. If this was an attempt to use up stuff they had lying around then I commend the intuition but I’d still say that a napkin is plenty.

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Meatiness: This was a tasty pie with a well textured meat filling. It didn’t have much of a pepper kick to it but had just enough spicing for it to pack some punch flavour wise. Absolutely nothing wrong with it but as you can see nothing to get overly verbose about either.

Pastry: The pastry held the meat well although was a little bit over on the bake meaning that the bottom was a tad chewy. There was some boil out present but personally, despite it being frowned upon at pie judging competitions, I like a bit of that as it often adds some character to the pie and sometimes a wee extra spike of something to the flavour.

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Brown Sauce: I think I got salt and sauce’d here as the brown sauce was a vinegary assault on my west coast tastebuds almost ruining the pie. In retrospect, given Easthouses location east of Edinburgh I should have used my noggin and perhaps given the sauce a miss here.

Overall: Decent pie, just watch out for that brown sauce.

Gravy Factor: Good Gravy.

One last thing before I wrap this review up and that’s a nod to the views from the far side of the Newbattle Complex ground out onto the Pentland Hills. Views like that are often the making of a lower league adventure and as the late summer sun came down it was hard not to find myself thinking that Scotland is awfy bonny sometimes. Next time up will be a review from Lesmahagow as they loooked to cause an upset in the Sectional League Cup.

However until next then, go forth and eat pie!

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. He has contributed to prominent football sites including Pie & Bovril, The Terrace Podcast and  The Football Pink as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. He currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

 

 

Pie 142: The Troon Steak Pie

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It’s pie time baby! Welcome to Meat Filled Pastries where once again I continue to get elbow deep in my search of the sweetest symphonies of meat and pastry the Scottish football world can offer. But first…

I’ve knowingly followed football for over 25 years. In that time social media and the way that fans interact with their clubs, players and fellow terrace dwellers has changed to an almost unrecognisable level. Whilst big clubs have had the “benefit” of national media coverage football down the leagues often relied on the support of the local paper, word of mouth or the odd post match conversation over a pint or two. Nowadays though clubs of all levels are in the search for greater reach latching onto anything that makes them stand out from the crowd and searching for ways to attract new followers at a time when the telly seems to rule all. Whilst Social Media Officers at “big” teams can themselves alone attract thousands of followers at the lower levels there is no media team. No budget for high-definition graphics and elaborate signing videos and in some cases no real expertise of any note to call upon, but you know what? The content still comes. The goal flashes, the signing news, the websites, the match day posters, the new logos it’s all there to see. All keeping people informed whilst maintaining thier clubs relevance in an ever smaller world. This work can sometimes be even better than those that earn a living from it and it should be commended. Whether it be keen fans who volunteer, students looking to hone their media craft or inwhatever form that the content is produced it’s it’s fair to say that the profile of these clubs would just not be the same.

It cheers me even more to see that in recent times clubs – with the budgets to do so – are now recognising these individuals with paid full-time opportunities. Most recently this was demonstrated at Dunfermline Athletic where long time Club Photographer Craig Brown has been rewarded with a permament contract to act as the club’s Media & PR Officer. Even more famously Alan Burrows has seen his role on a Saturday at Fir Park change from punter to Chief Executive a fanciful thought during the SPL years. Recognition is often hard to come by when the time spent goes unseen so I wanted to take this chance to say thank you to all those folk who make trying to understand what’s going on in the strange little world that is Scottish football just that bit easier.

I’d like to think that my pie reviews help to promote those clubs a little too and I always make sure to give a shout out to the teams I visit when spreading the good word. So let’s get to it, without much further ado, let’s rate some pie.

Where: Portland Park, Troon 1-1 Pollok, West Premiership

 

Price: At £2 my initial reaction was to say that this pie, even for a luxury offering, was expensively priced as a junior pastry but then it was presented to me and the volume of pie you got against the amount you had to spend had me thinking that this was a bit of a bargain.

Presentation: Has there been a special sale on coloured napkins this pre-season that I don’t know about? For the third review in a row my pie was presented on something other than a white coloured napkin. This time blue, in keeping with the home team colours. Good size for holding the pastry which on this occasion was housed inside a tinfoil case.

Meatiness: Jesus this was meaty. It was dense with meat and more than one chunk took a couple of bites to get through. This was the good stuff. The meat tearing forgivingly as I ate. There was also an ocean of well seasoned and highly flavoured gravy, wrapping itself lovingly around the mini steaks with its viscosity allowing it to kiss the sides and gently flow out its pastry tomb ready to awaken your tastebuds. There was the presence of pepper throughout each bite. Not a semi-acrid burn that can sometimes build whilst eating a scotch pie but a consistent, almost sweet, tingle that just added to the total flavour profile. This was good.

Pastry: The good news continued with the pastry. Although it was a little soft, no doubt as a result of the ample treasure it was concealing, there was no sticking to the tin foil case and falling apart as I lifted it. It was a lovely golden brown colour and although the top layer puff pastry disc was a little off centre this still felt like one of the neatest pies I’d seen in a long time.

Brown Sauce: I think it would have been near blasphemy to put a condiment on this bad boy.

Overall: Generous filling and size. Tasty meat, unctuous gravy, golden pastry. Belter of a pie!

Gravy Factor: Give me another ladle full.

An absolute triumph of a pie from Portland Park. I’ve not had one that good in a long time and I would recommend a trip to Troon just to eat it. Will the streak continue next time out with the intriguing sounding Bacon Mac & Cheese Pie from Ibrox?

Until then, go forth and eat pie!

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. He has contributed to prominent football sites including Pie & Bovril, The Terrace Podcast, The Football Pink as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. He currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 140: The Cumbernauld Colts Pie

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Welcome to another edition of Meat Filled Pastries and my first foray into the Lowland League this season but before we get into that let’s talk about the Fringe. Edinburgh’s month-long festival of comedy, music, dance, arts, cinema etc. is not somewhere you would usually associate with the humble pie. I mean, there will almost certainly be a food stall or two offering you this meaty staple and the word pie itself is rife with the kind of innuendo that an easy joke is made for – I should know – but all in all, barring a rather grisly murder reference in the Shakespeare tragedy Titus Andronicus where two victims are baked into a pie, it isn’t necessarily renowned for its theatrical prowess. Enter The Pieman Cometh. A Scottish football comedy that I took a trip to see during the week.

It’s safe to say that I may have been one of the few people to fit into the middle part of their target audience Venn diagram, given my love for both football and pies, and if I didn’t know better then I would have thought this play had been wrote specifically with me in mind. Like most shows of which I have no prior knowledge of I went in with fairly low expectations but I am pleased to report this was actually pretty enjoyable. The story is an often told one around the pitfalls of football finance and for some it will be all to familiar. Although there was nothing overly ground-breaking the perspective and narrative were both good. Some of the characters especially the elderly fan were strong and in this instance particularly relatable. The jokes came round often enough to keep you going and although the ending felt a little abrupt I’d recommend it as a decent way to spend an hour in Edinburgh especially if you have a fondness for football.

Arts critique out the way let’s move on to some more familiar ground, and so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld Colts 3-2 Kelty Hearts, Lowland League

Price: A fairly substantial £2 for a scotch pie sees this pastry priced more at a Scottish Championship level. It’s also extremely prudent for me to mention that I had to wait until just before half time for my pastry which – given the Friday night kick off – was also doubling as my dinner. I also noticed that they ran out before the half time interval was over, always a bone of contention for football fans.

Presentation: Presented on a medium-sized, if perhaps a little thin, white napkin. Just enough to support the pastry during consumption and mop up your face afterwards.

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Meatiness: On first appearances I had my suspicions about where this pie came from, but what my meat filled trails have always taught me is always to take each pie on its individual merits. This pie was pretty good. The meat was well textured and had a good hit of pepper on the after bite. It was also the first pie in a very long time that had a little greasy dribble fall down my fingers. Not necessarily a bad thing, and in some ways it was weirdly nice to see the fat almost instantly harden in the ever Siberian-esque Broadwood conditions. It was perhaps a little flat in terms of quantity when checking the ratios against the pastry but all in all was tasty enough.

Pastry: This pie had a perfectly smooth top and the trim had earned itself a nice golden colour in the oven. Both the lid and base though were perhaps a bit too thick and as a result were slightly under done and a little bit doughy to the bite. It was however incredibly sturdy and I had little fears about losing and filling to the cold stone terracing below.

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Brown Sauce: Yes, the pictures don’t lie. There was no sauce options on offer here. I don’t think in over six years of reviewing pies this had ever happened before and I’d hope it doesn’t happen again.

Overall: This pie tasted pretty good but the pastry was a little thick and the lack of condiments and running out are both match day catering faux pas’. Having managed to get one though I was happy enough.

Gravy Factor: I missed my brown sauce.

So a decent pie with a few teething problems on review of the overall pastry eating experience. Next up a return to the juniors for the first day of the new West Premiership season and a review from Renfrew.

So until next time, go forth and eat pie!

Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. He has contributed to prominent football sites including Pie & Bovril, The Terrace Podcast, The Football Pink as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. He currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.