relegation

Pie 63: The Glenafton Athletic ‘Onion’ Pie

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Monday Night Pastries
Monday Night Pastries

Hello and welcome back to Meat Filled Pastries. Home of the greatest sporting snacks that Mother Earth has so generously bestowed upon us. This pie review is written with more than a splodge of sadness, not for the ketchup blob you see before you, but because this pie symbolised the end of my 28 year run as a football fan without suffering the heartache of relegation.  I’ve  put a positive spin on it in my latest non-pie piece for Meat Filled Pastries, ‘Relegation: It’s Not All Bad, Is It?’ (http://wp.me/p3Q7wL-34), and the fact a whole new world of pie has been opened up to me is one of the few shining lights at the end of a pretty terrible season. However let us not dwell on such matters, I am a pie professional and as such I will give a fair and honest assessment of this Monday evening offering from the world of Scottish football.

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

Where: Loch Park, Glenafton Athletic v Pollok, West Superleague Premier Divison

Price: You know what, I’m not even writing it. If you keep up to date with Meat Filled Pastries you know how much a junior football pie is………….

………OK, OK, it was £1.20 but the only reason I tell you know is because I realised half way through that previous sentence that some of you may not keep up to date with my stories of pie, and whilst I chastise you for doing so, I am nothing but a benevolent host.

Presentation: This was presented in a polystyrene try which when looking around also doubled as a chip holder. It meant that the pie’s heat was kept safe froom my palm although it also led to it not being held as securely as it would have been snugly fitted into my hand whilst wrapped in a napkin. Which brings me to the other point about the presentation, there was no napkin, meaning that I had to resort to the ‘rubbing-your-hands-together-really-fast-so-that-all-the-spillages-either-absorb-into-your-skin-or-drop-off-altogether-technique’. A slight distraction from the game going on around me. As I surveyed the pie before me I did find myself wondering that if this was a Saturday afternoon and not a Monday night things, in the presentation stakes at least, may have been very different.

Meatiness: Speaking of things that were different there was no brown sauce! No golden brown tang to smatter on my pie! Once again I put this down to it being a Monday night but it didn’t make it any less distressing. Saucing issues aside this was a tasty, well seasoned if somewhat wet pie. I say wet as opposed to greasy because although there was plenty of moisture within the pie at no point did I feel a tidal wave of grease flowing down my gullet although I did feel it crumble a little with every bite I took. As a result of this it was really messy to eat but I was enjoying it. The other thing that struck me was that despite no indication as to this being anything other than a standard scotch pie it was clearly of the oniony persuasion. It was laden with large pieces of translucent onion adding a note of sweetness I have came to expect from an onion pie. I kid myself that an onion pie counts as 1 of my five-a-day but I feel confident in saying this offering is the closest I have came to eating a vegetable on this journey. I just wish there was some brown sauce.

Pastry: As I said the pie filling itself was quite wet and as I hope you can see from the one bite expose above this caused the pie to fall apart somewhat as I ate. First the pastry walls, although crisp at the top, started to cave and then the base slowly fell apart in my hand. In the end I was actually quite thankful for the polystyrene tray as it provided a perfect boat shaped receptacle for this pastries meaty cargo.

Overall: As onion pies go this was pretty good it was incredibly moist without the flavour being washed away however I cannot condone the lack of napkins and brown sauce. A taste sensation in the mouth but more than a handful when it came to its consumption.

Gravy Factor: Can you get anything moister than gravy? If so this is it. Moist Gravy.

The next review from Meat Filled Pastries will be from New Douglas Park home of Hamilton Academicals where I had the pleasure of watching THAT game.

However until next time, go forth and eat pie!

Relegation: It’s Not All Bad, Is It?

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As some of you may know, I have spent the last year running two sites with football at their heart and soul. This one, a celebration of all things pie and a sister site titled ‘Leading The Line’ where I would muse over many of footballs little foibles that are not solely encased in pastry. As the season comes to a close and plans get set in motion for next year I have decided to amalgamate the two sites into a one stop shop for all things sporting and pie. Do not be afraid that pies will be off the menu for there is another two reviews working their way to you in the next few days but now I want to take this site and to the next stage. This may work, this may not, but either way I will still be your number one friend in pie. So without much further ado, let me welcome you to Meat Filled Pastries first non-pie piece, Relegation: It’s Not All Bad, Is It?.

Picture courtesy of The Football Blogging Awards
Picture courtesy of The Football Blogging Awards

When I was a much younger lad I had a t-shirt that read, ‘Football is life…the rest is just a game’. At the time I believed it to be true but as I have grown older with life continuing to throw its many curve balls, both good and bad, I know that the slogan sprawled across my chest in those most innocent of days was nothing but a clever play on words that only helped to serve as just another subtle enabler to my burgeoning football addiction. As I travelled back in the deathly silence of the supporters bus, the realisation dawning on the dozen or so of us on board that this was the season that relegation had finally come after what has felt like years of constant struggle, that t-shirt came screaming to the forefront of my mind and the question I asked myself as I looked around was ‘Why are we all so sad?’. ‘How can something that is in reality so fundamentally irrelevant when compared with matters of life and death cause a group of men to look so down trodden and broken?’

I could analyse what caused this communal depression but instead of staring down the pit of despair that relegation is meant to bring, and quite frankly to try and cheer me up a bit as much as anything else, let us try and put a positive spin on what without a shadow of a doubt is the most soul destroying aspect of the game we all love.

1. At Least it’s Over.

Relegation is not something that happens in an instant, it’s the culmination of a season or in some cases many seasons woes and struggles. There is no more false hope to cling to, no mathematical equation that can save you and no desperate voice in the back of your head screaming ‘Please, please, please just put me out of my misery!’. When that final goal that seals you’re fate goes in the misery finally comes and the grieving can begin. Now some people deal with this grief in different ways, some get misty eyed giving knowing nods and gentle applause to the players who have just not been quite good enough whilst some get angry, unable to contain the raw emotion that the ultimate in footballing failure causes to coarse through their veins. For me I go into quiet contemplation mode, dissect every single tactical decision made, every substitution, every player signed and sold, wonder what will happen next and where it all went wrong this. Three very different ways of coping but all of them finally end with taking solace in the fact that at least it’s all over.

2. A Fresh Start.

A summer of fine tuning and removing the perceived dead wood has you starting the season, albeit at a lower level, as one of the title favourites and not the easy three points that your rivals eyed on a Saturday afternoon. The grieving is over and the wave upon wave of new hope and optimism is near impossible to repress even for the most cynical of fans. There is always that one new signing that scores 3 hat-tricks in pre-season and who you pin your hopes on for the year ahead. If a player doesn’t look up to the task early on they get the benefit of the doubt that a new season brings and you convince yourself he’s bound to come good soon. Sometimes the manager changes, sometimes it doesn’t but who cares as long as we keep winning and the crowds come flooding back.The dread of Saturday is replaced by the excitement of another potential day of glory. The dark days are over, by the end of the year your team will be champions!

3. Road Trip, Baby!

Get the satnav out as your geographical knowledge of the great footballing beyond is about to increase exponentially. All of a sudden places you’ve never heard of become your desired destination on a Saturday afternoon. The roads less trodden become the roads you and your fellow footballing army tread upon with new hope and expectation. You get to meet new people, drink pints in new pubs, stand on new terraces and set your taste buds alight with a smorgasbord of new pies and pastries all season long. For any football fan even the familiarity of a fierce rivalry can still breed contempt and the chance to go somewhere new is often what piques the interest of even the most casual of fans.

4. You Still Have Each Other.

Whatever joys or miseries a new season may bring you can carry on supporting the team you love safe in the knowledge that those fans that were there with you at the bitter end of a previously fruitless season will be standing side be side with you when hope springs anew once again. The slightly un-PC pensioners, the people you can’t remember how or why you stand with but you continue to do so with ever willing acceptance and the generations of family both young and old that are usually the ones responsible for you finding yourself in this mess in the first place.

I had spent 28 years on this earth without suffering relegation. I hope to go at least another 28 more before it happens again but until then I’ll do my best to remember that no matter how big a part of my life this wonderful game is, when the final whistle blows, it’s all still just a game.

 

If this is the first time you have read a non pie piece from me, I hope you enjoyed it and an archive of my previous work will remain on the internet until the end of time at http://www.leadingtheline.wordpress.com. But do not fear I have a programme deadline to meet so a new pie review will be with you imminently.

As always though, until next time, go forth and eat pie!