Author Archives: Rob Nesbit

About Rob Nesbit

Beer drinker and all round annoyance. Likes drinking, football, cricket and having a good time.

Sligo Rovers Football Away Days

Sligo Rovers, football away days

So off on another League of Ireland ground-hop, first for the 2017 season, and 6 out of the 20 completed to do tick off the LOI list! This time heading to the west of Ireland to see Sligo Rovers.

Sligo, a small coastal seaport of about 20,000 people, is the county town of County Sligo, in the west of Ireland. Sligo (in Irish “Sligeach”) which means “shelly place”  in reference to all the shellfish found in the Garavogue river.

Sligo Rovers Football Away DaysThe town is surrounded by numerous mountains, with the well known picturesque Benbulben looking mighty from afar, with the Atlantic also in view.  

Sligo has an abundance of ancient historical sites from some ancient megalithic tombs near Carrowmore to a cairn at Miosgan Maeve, amongst other archaeological sites all around the city and county, showing that their was civilisation dating back here pre history.  Also the fact that the Greeks and Romans knew about Sligo as a harbour area shows the historical importance of this small town.

Sligo Rovers Football Away DaysIt was the Normans who really progressed the town of Sligo with their Castle and developed the port, a port that brought so much trade and wealth to the town down through the years. But strangely enough the Normans never really controlled the town as that was left to the Irish chieftains the O Conors.  

Sligo is probably most famous for the Yeats duo, poet and Nobel laureate W. B. Yeats and his brother the artist, and illustrator Jack Butler Yeats. As people say, this is Yeats country!

Sligo Rovers Football Away DaysBut its not only the two brothers, Sligo also have a bit of a long history for Irish music, and the famous Irish music competition that attracts thousands every year, the Fleadh Cheoil, was held in the town on five separate occasions, the last been 2015. This festival has to be seen to be believed as its virtually a must for anyone even remotely interested in Irish music, regularly attracting crowds in the six figures, easily becoming one of Ireland’s biggest cultural events every year.  Sligo having it just goes to show how important Irish music is to the area. 

With two full time theatres on the go, the poetry of Yeats, and all the Irish music, Sligo is a real den of culture and the arts, and we didn’t even mention the lads in Westlife , no lets not go there!

Getting to the town is relatively simple. Get the N4 from Dublin if driving, or get Bus Éireann from Dublin Bus Station, but it does stop in Mullingar and Longford so be careful! Or the easiest would be to get the Irish Rail train from Dublin Connolly, roughly a 3 hour journey (bus is a little under 4 hours but cheaper!)

Pub watch

The Swagman

Address: No 5 Wine Street, Sligo


Sligo Rovers Football Away DaysFirst pub of the day was The Swagman, a little bit of a walk from the train station, but eventually found it. Had a massive crowd in it which was impressive for the middle of the day but I guess the rain has people in with nothing else to do on a Saturday! Was hard enough to get a seat but did in the end. Bar man charged my phone which was gracious of him. 

Sligo Rovers Football Away DaysBar was doing well with food, and had the rugby on the box. Not really my type of place, I am not a huge fan of bar/restaurant combos or at least places that dont separate the two crowds, the beer drinkers and the foodies. 

A lot of options to drink from the usual to some interesting craft beer options. Apparently they have got over 30 craft beers on offer! Got an ale from local brewers The White Hag Brewery, on the recommendation of the bar man. Found it a bit tough to drink to be honest, but its always good to try something different.

Sligo Rovers Football Away DaysBar had a very interesting decor, traditional feel  but also with a lot of Australian references, which was very interesting to look at, and overall it is a nice bar, just a bit too crowded and cramped for my liking, albeit service was efficient and quick enough which is always important!

I would like to visit this bar again away from the midday food crowd as I’m sure at night it can be a place to have some fun in. And I see they do have some live music and trad nights so I guess will have to be back to test that!


Tricky’s McGarrigles Pub

Address: 11 O’ Connell St, Sligo


Sligo Rovers Football Away DaysNext up was McGarrigles Pub, a smallish pub with some pretty cool relaxed decor. I think they call this style Berlin retro or something, where the bar looks like your old living room with wall paper, lamps, old chairs, and framed pictures all around. Have certainly seen this style before, and I like it a lot, as it creates an inviting atmosphere and gets you relaxed in no time.

Small bar but had some good beers on offer, but I played it safe and just went for Smithwicks, in fact I had two as it was a nice relaxing bar I decided to break the one pint one pub rule. 

Bar man was friendly, and there was a nice crowd in, and a nice ambiance in the bar. no TV blaring out or loud music, just people enjoying conversation and relaxing over good pints. 

Sligo Rovers Football Away DaysSeems to be a second floor as a few came in and vanished upstairs. I should have checked it out, but I was too lazy.

It seems they do food as well, and going by the reviews it looks popular, but to be honest it doesn’t look like a place for food as I didn’t get that vibe or see a menu, and I certainly didn’t see anyone ordering food while I was there anyway. 

Apparently they have a lot of good live music happening here at night time, again its so small but perhaps that’s part of the charm, unless upstairs is massive. 

Anyway liked this place, was very relaxing, had a nice chair at the bar and felt very comfy. Could have had another few beers and that’s what its all about really. Will be back next time nearer the night to check out some of the good live music they have


Thomas Connolly

Address: Markievicz Road, Sligo


Sligo Rovers Football Away DaysNext port of call was Thomas Connolly in the centre of the town. Pub has a beautiful and traditional exterior, old style and inviting. As the rugby was on, and more specifically Ireland against England, the place was packed to the rafters.

Here since the 1860’s (officially Sligo Town’s oldest pub), the bar has an extensive collection of whiskies, over 60 according to their website, gins and craft beers as well on offer, the bar also has live music on most weekends

Lovely looking bar with some old style wooden decor, and a nice long bar with a decent selection of beers (A really long bar!). I played it safe and just went for a Smithwicks, as the bar was busy and I didn’t want to dilly dally! Was very impressed at how quick I got served considering it was standing room only in the pub. Hats off to the barmen in this place, quick and efficient. 

As Ireland seemed to be winning in the game, there was a jovial atmosphere building up in the pub. Have zero interest in the egg chasing but any sport we get one over on the English is always to be welcomed. 

Pint was fine, but it was hard to scout out the pub what with the huge crowd in the pub, so its a bar I’d like to return to in the future for another time. 


Rendezvous Bar

Address: Holborn Street, Sligo

Sligo Rovers Football Away DaysAs I was wandering around I decided to pop into this bar which was off the main drag. Place was heaving and what was unusual (or normal) was that the clientele were more interested in the horse racing than the rugby, which might tell you a bit about the type of bar it was. Got a pint and sat down and rested my legs, recoup the old batteries. 

Decent bar, good service, and a bit of an atmosphere in the pub. Best to go with a friend as they probably dont take kindly to strangers round here, lol, or that could be the mad state of me!

Anyway I like bars like this, rough and ready, do the business and no pretentiousness, its a real town pub.


Hargadons Bar 

Address: 4 O’Connell Street, Sligo


Sligo Rovers Football Away DaysWas getting a bit hungry, so with luck I ventured into Hargadon’s bar, a lovely inviting pub from the outside, in the centre of town, which serves delicious food all day long.  Lovely look decor, very old style and a traditional bar which was small but had regulars relaxing while the rest of the bar was quite narrow where there are many snugs, at the back, where people can have quiet chats and good pints, or in my case sit down rest the legs and order some food and a beer. 

Sligo Rovers Football Away DaysThe bar has been here a long time, since 1868, and as usual for a lot of these old bars it used to double up as a grocers and a place of liquor!

Staff were friendly and efficient, the food came very quick which was great. This bar has a reputation for good food (and all locally sourced) and I have to say its not wrong. I ordered some pasta (pasta with broccoli and almond cream…as far as I can remember!)  with a side plate of chips, and some soup to start, all washed down by a pint of Franciscan Wells Red Ale, a Cork brew I haven’t had in a long, long time. All together it was fantastic, very tasty and really refreshed me no end, good portion size too.  Cant beat good food. The food was so good that the beer was an afterthought, which is unusual for me!!

Sligo Rovers Football Away DaysThe place had a laid back Saturday late afternoon crowd in, wasn’t too busy as I found it easy enough to get seated. Atmosphere was good, and not loud or with music or TV blaring out. Has a real charm to it and the booths at the back are really cool.

My only regret was that I didn’t sit at the bar to get the banter with the locals, and have a sample of their various craft beers but if I’m ever back in Sligo I will definitely return. Recommended


Mooney’s Bar

Address: Maugheraboy Road, Sligo


Sligo Rovers Football Away DaysThe best thing about Mooney’s is its right beside the Showgrounds, so you will get a good dose of pre match banter with all sorts of fans congregating in and around the pub. Was here before, so know its a great place for a chat and some high jinks from the football mad Sligo fans who are always up for a laugh. It was here I met some of the Forza Rovers lads, but also got into conversation with a few other fans.

Lovely exterior, traditional, and inside not too bad either. Good pub, great and efficient service, always easy to get a seat, always guaranteed to be talking to someone, mostly about Sligo Rovers, but that’s fine. Had a pint of Smithwicks, was perfect, might have had two, but wished I had come earlier as I was enjoying myself here, but time crept up and I had to toddle along to the damn game! 

Love this bar. Recommended, and a definite must if going to a match just up the road. 

Sligo Rovers FC

Sligo Rovers Football Away Days

Arena/Stadium: The Showgrounds 

Location: Churchill, Sligo

Capacity: 5,500 (4,000 seated)

Manager: Dave Robertson (Since sacked!)

Founded: 1928

Leagues: League of Ireland Premier Division

• League of Ireland/Premier Division: 3
• FAI Cup: 5

Club home page



Nickname: The Bit o’ Red

Sligo Rovers Football Away DaysSligo Rovers Football Club, founded in 1928, have been in the League of Ireland since 1934. The club is supporter owned and have played in the Showgrounds since their inception.  Sligo is a real football town and the supporters are a loyal bunch with the Showgrounds regularly getting decent crowds for games, averaging around 2000 per home game, which is pretty decent for the LOI.

In terms of silverware, they have won the league three times, the most recent in 2012, and the FAI Cup a total of five times.

Sligo Rovers Football Away DaysThe History of the club (skip if not interested!)

With some good initial success at non league, junior and intermediate football (Winning the Leinster Senior League in 1933, not bad for a team from Connaught!), they decided to step up and joined the Free State League on 28 June 1934. Manged by English man Bob Preston , Sligo came a very impressive third in their first season playing top level football,  with forward Gerry McDaid finishing as top scorer. Not bad. 

The good work continued as in the 1936–37 they won the title for the first time, pretty good for a club less than ten years in existence, trained by Jimmy Surgeoner with the Englishman Harry Litherland scoring 19 league goals, a record that wasnt surpassed until 2011 by Eoin Doyle scoring 20 league goals.

In 1939 they had a double dose of bad luck as they came second in the league to Shamrock Rovers, and also second in their first FAI cup, losing to Shelbourne one nil.  1939 was the year that Sligo somehow managed to pull of a coup of a signing when they got the legendary Dixie Dean to play for them. Ok he was an old fella at the time, but to get a big name like this was pretty impressive. Dean, of course, is best known for his time with Everton, where he is still the club’s all-time leading scorer and his record of 60 league goals in a season (1927/8) still stands today, and I doubt it will be beat anytime soon. 

Scoring on his debut Dean drew a big crowd to the games, and went on to score nine goals in seven league appearances, before the impending World War curtailed football everywhere! And that was the end of that!

Sligo Rovers Football Away DaysAfter the war, Rovers went through a long period of ups and downs, mostly downs. They did come second in the league in 1951, and got to an Fai Cup final in 1970 where they lost to Bohemians, but it was a period with no titles and the odd re-election to the league, having to reapply to play in the league on four separate occasions. 

It was in the 1976/77 season that Sligo won its second league title, after a long 40 years wait. On Easter Sunday Sligo Rovers beat the other and lesser known Rovers (Shamrock Rovers) 3-1 to claim the title from Bohemians by a solitary point. Scottish Manager Billy Sinclair, in only his second season at the helm, had a winning squad made up of Irish and British talent, including local lad Paul McGee the seasons top scorer, and who later went on to play for QPR in London, and also get 16 caps for Ireland. 

In 1983 they finally got their hands on the FAI Cup, beating Bohemians 2-1 to win it for the first time in their history. It only took about 50 odd years, albeit they did get to 6 finals beforehand! Local lad, Tony Fagan, who holds the club record for most appearances (590 appearances), was the man to lift the trophy aloft.

It took them a while to win the FAI Cup again, in 1994, on a wet May day they beat Derry City one nil, a Gerry Carr header to clinch their second Cup, with another local land, Gavin Dykes lifting the trophy and managed by Willie McStay (Paul’s brother!) 

Sligo Rovers Football Away DaysThe arrival of Scouser Paul Cook in 2006 really changed fortunes for Sligo. By playing an attractive brand of football, getting them into Europe for the first time in 12 years and also into an FAI cup final, the first in 15 years, against Sporting Fingal which they lost 2-1. A game I actually attended and played out in gale force winds and torrential rain. Summer football Irish style. Building on this Cook managed to get Rovers into another FAI Cup final in 2010, this time against their hated foes, Shamrock Rovers. After a pretty dour 0-0 the victory was achieved, and their third FAI Cup, when Ciarian Kelly saved all four penalties in the shootout. A pretty amazing thing for their second choice goalkeeper to pull off!! There was also a huge crowd of 36,101 at the game, the highest attendance for 32 years, to see the FAI Cup final in the newly revamped Aviva Stadium (ex Landsdowne Road) 

Sligo Rovers Football Away DaysIf Sligo fans thought that was good then they had another reason to celebrate, as the next year they just went and done it all again, winning the FAI Cup two years in succession, another win in 2011. This time beating Shelbourne, but again winning on penalties. after the game finished 1 a piece at full time.  Cook did something that was quite extraordinary to watch. Just before full time he took off his regular goalkeeper Clarke to replace him with Kelly the spot kick hero from the last final. It worked a treat as Kelly saved two penalties, with Sligo native Raffaele Cretaro taking the decisive penalty to keep the cup in the town for another year.

Unfortunately for Sligo, Cook got a good offer to return to the UK to manage Accrington Stanley (“Who are they?”), but they had nothing to worry as their new manager Ian Baraclough, just given the job 5 days before the league season had started, by the end had cemented on the good work done by Cook, to win the title in his first season in charge, winning Rovers third ever league title, and a long 35 year wait. The league was decided during a memorable home game against St Pats, who were also going for the title. About 6,000 people crammed into the Showgrounds to see Rovers edge out a 3-2 win in a pulsating game that will live long in the memory for the bit of red fans. Barraclough followed that success up with another FAI Cup win in 2013 (Their third in four seasons) , beating Drogheda 3-2 with a last minute winner from Anthony Elding to send the Rovers support into raptures. 

Sligo Rovers Football Away DaysWinning their first league title wasn’t enough for Sligo as they shortly after got rid of Ian Barraclough in the summer of 2014, and sure enough they haven’t won or even come close to winning anything since. That’s Ireland for ya!!! 

I have to mention Joseph N’Do, the Cameroonian start who played for Sligo Rovers and played a big hand in all three of those FAI Cup victories for the club. In fact he was man of the match in the 2010 final and was always the type of player fans would love to see, with his mazy dribbles and fancy flicks. 

But possibly the best player to come out of Sligo is Seamus Coleman, who got his big break when Paul Cook played him as a sub against Derry in 2006, quickly establishing himself as the teams right back. He was slowly making a name for himself and it wasnt long before a top team from across the water took not. That team was Premiership team Everton, who introduced him fairly quickly onto the first team where in 2010/11 season he was a nomination for the PFAI Young Player of the Year. He has also established himself as a regular in the Ireland national team, and an essential player that Ireland needs if they hope to qualify for the World Cup in Russia 2018. 

As they play in red their nickname is the “The Bit o’ Red”. It is strange to me though why they play in red and not in black, as the GAA team play in black and it is the county colours, but there you go!

The Showgrounds

Playing in the Showgrounds, one of the oldest football grounds in Ireland and home to Rovers since the club was formed in 1928. Located in Church Hill just on the outskirts of the town. The ground is a publicly owned ground to be used solely for sport and leisure. 

Sligo Rovers Football Away DaysStadium capacity is around 5,500 with 4,000 seats, and it must be said one of the better stadiums in the League.  Sligo Rovers are one of the few clubs that have made a concerted effort to improve their ground and spectator facilities with a lot of that hard work, it has to be said, down to the huge voluntary effort of their supporters. There are three stands, a club shop, plenty of parking space and the most important thing of all, a decent playing surface for good football.  This is one reason why the club has such a strong bound to the town, it really is a supporters club, they virtually built it and maintained it through the bad old days,  and now they have pride in what is easily one of the top grounds in the LOI. Hats off to Sligo and their fans here. 

The record attendance was set in 1983 with 13,908 fans coming out to see Sligo Rovers take on Cobh Ramblers in a semi-cup final replay.

My ticket cost 15 euros. I must say I enjoyed my visit to the Showgrounds, and it really was refreshing to get a great vibe off the fans, you really can feel in how proud they are of their club. And the amount of young people, teens and children, with their Sligo Rovers gear, and all the rest, was great to see……this is how you build a football club, from the ground up. The place had a buzz, ok the football might not be too hot at the moment, but I’m sure the glory days will return soon enough. 


To the game

Sligo Rovers Football Away DaysSligo Rovers 3 – 2 Bray Wanderers  

18.03.2017  the Showgrounds
3 ‘Gary McCabe (Bray)
26’ Derek Foran (o.g)
27’Chris Kenny 
37 ‘Gary McCabe (Bray)
55’ Kieran Sadlier 

Attendance: 1’387

Exciting game, end to end, with some nice goals to boot. 

Kieran Sadlier the stand out player, constantly beating his man on the wing all night, and to top it all he managed to clinch the winner with a lovely free kick from 25 yards out on 54 minutes to win Sligo’s first game of the season. 

But a Sligo win didn’t look very likely after just 3 minutes into the game, when ex Sligo rovers player, Gary McCabe slotted home from close range after a weak clearance from the Sligo defence. 

I have to say I was quiet happy having backed him at 7/2 with a fiver on him to score. The simple old player returns tip that surprisingly often comes up! Thanks Gary.

Sligo Rovers Football Away Days

Sadlier, a constant thorn in the Bray, defence hit the post, and not long after whipped in a low dangerous cross where Bray defender Foran managed to put into his own net to put the game one all. 

Sligo Rovers Football Away DaysBarely a minute later, Sadlier once again cut back to cross in another dangerous ball which was cleared, but only to fall to Chris Kenny to thunder it home, for Sligo to take the lead. 

But the lead only lasted about ten minutes as that man again McCabe scored a cracking free kick from just outside of the box, top corner, goalkeeper with no chance, excellent goal. Wonder why Shamrock Rovers let him go, perhaps Bray are paying him more, I dont know but he is having a cracking season. 

Excellent first half, four goals and end to end football. Second half had more of the same, and it wasn’t long before Sadlier finally got on the score sheet, no more than his hard work deserved. Another free kick, another goal, this time Sadlier swung it in from right to left, top corner and a great goal for Sligo to take the lead again. 

Sligo Rovers Football Away DaysSligo sat back a little after that, or Bray increased the tempo, I am not sure but either way Bray had a handful of scoring chances that they really should have scored from, some simple misses, that had the Bray supporters aghast. I know as I was sitting with them in the second half! But 3-2 to Sligo it stayed and Bray had the long journey back to Wicklow pointless, they deserved a draw but alas that’s football. 

Excellent game, both teams playing some pretty good football, some cracking goals, good decent atmosphere at the game, and with Sadlier I now have a new favourite player to follow in the LOI. Oh yeah I also won some money. Cant do better than that! 


Highlights of the game here


Short chat with ………… from the supporters group, Forza Rovers, Sligo Rovers most fervent supporters who one can see in the small Jinks Avenue StandSligo Rovers Football Away Days

Sean for Forza Rovers

Group’s going now 9 years. Next year will be our tenth year

It was going great for our first you know 5 or 6 years

The last few years it kind of died down a bit

A lot of lads getting old, Emigration you know, things like that

But actually our group was nearly Coming to an end at one stage there last year

And we were kind of saying, you know….the numbers weren’t really justified calling ourselves an ultras group so

So we started kind of recruiting a few young lads again and…..

Things are on the pick up again so………..


But you have a very impressive social media, I have to say…the website and on Facebook

Yeah but that was part of the drive of getting young lads, more young lads involved

We kind of kept to ourselves a lot of the time, it was kind of a very close, very close knit group but we kind of opened up things a lot more the last while


Sligo has always been a soccer town, I mean what’s the history about that, why….. I mean even in the rough times you do have a general good support in the town

I suppose traditionally it is a garrison town going back…………….and football has been played in Sligo since the 1880s you know so….. Gaelic never really took off here, you know it’s kind of more seen out in the county more so than in the town itself.

So that’s probably why


And how far is that reach from the town, does it go into the country. The county of Sligo, or?

Oh yeah, yeah, like myself, I’m not from Sligo town myself you know, So like a lot of lads

We got fans from you know like all over the north west really

I know a lot of fans from Leitrim, mayo, all over sligo

Like there’s North Sligo, it’s like a massive community

Course because Summerhill school used to be a boarding school, years ago, so you got a lot of lads coming in from Roscommon, Mayo, staying there, that’s kind of how it took off


And what about yourself then, how long have you been supporting the rovers?

Mid 90s my dad started bringing me, the early mid 90’s

Then, the first time we used to stand on the terrace kind of beside the shed

And then when I kind of got old enough I was allowed into the shed!

Some crazy nights there as a young lad

So its kind of a progression then is it?

Ah yeah, yeah it was like that, it was good, you know it was good


So what about the best season all those years you followed them then?

Oh it has to be when we won the league you cant beat that you know

In fairness, like I know the last two years people are saying things have gone downhill a bit but still when we were in the first division, and struggling and you know and 600 people in the ground, you are looking round the place and no atmosphere, the place was dead

I still think its good now you know

We won the cup in 94, that was when I started getting involved following rovers, and my dad started bringing me back then


What about your cult heroes then, what are the cult heroes of the club?

Of the club in total? There’s plenty

but at the moment

Raf is the cult hero at the moment, local lad

Is has been here a long time hasn’t he? I cant seem to believe he is still playing!

Ah no he is something else raf is

Probably score tonight

Hopefully anyway yeah

But no we have plenty of cult heroes down through the years

Ndo was unreal there

Myself I always kind of have something for local players, it’s the main thing to kind of support


The guy that won you the league, was it right to sack him? It’s like Leicester a little bit!

Barraclough. A lot of people weren’t happy with his tactics, his signings and blah, blah, blah. Personally I think he deserved to see out the end of the season and his contract

It left an awful lot of instability there

When he left we had caretaker managers and this that and the other

I think we are still suffering from that time but hopefully things will improve now

This season, what the hell is happening this season, Jesus!

Yeah, a look it….its a bit soon to call for a managers head and all that but…….

It was 6 games last year before we got a win so it was a struggle

Look, we will see how it goes….


The LOI is a small place but are Sligo too big to go down!?

No, there’s nothing like that. Look, we have been down before and we have been up and down…..a ten team league so its really going to be tight this year. It;s not looking good at the moment but hopefully…

Are there any players that perhaps people wouldn’t know coming in from the outside, any young players we should look out for or any up and coming talent?


Ah I don’t know, we don’t really have anyone at the moment. Maybe it’s the way the manager is playing the side…..there is no one really that I could see. There are a few lads there but there is no one really that I can see that’s going to…..….


Is it difficult to get people into the showgrounds?

No…..last week weekend against st pats the crowd was down, think it was down 1300,  cause it was Friday night football.

But if a game is on Saturday and we dont get our games moved by television or FAI poor fixture listing, no but a Saturday night traditionally great support and it’s always the way


So what should  I expect tonight, in terms of atmosphere, going into the ground?

Bray isn’t ….is not a crowd puller, never will be

They are never going to be a crowd puller, you know there’s no rivalry with Bray. they are doing alright this year and they will do well but Its not going to be a massive crowd puller

Hopefully with st Patricks weekend there should be a big crowd down
Atmosphere? We will see how it goes?

Just a few more questions

Rivals? I guess its Derry and Galway

No no Shams, fucking shams, fucking hate them

That was my next question, the other rovers, are they not rovers?

Shams for us!

Whats the copyright for that!

Well if you are in town, everyone likes to say rovers because if you say Sligo they presume you were at the Gaelic game

So rovers are rovers and shams are shams

When they come to town then is it……everybody’s a bit on edge

Yes it can get a bit heated at times alright

Yeah everyone is fired up for playing shams obviously you know

They probably see us as country bumpkins, come down act the bollix, but …fuck them!


So in terms of the season we have at the moment what’s your expectations, at this early stage it’s just avoid relegation

Yeah definitely, if you had asked me when last season had ended, players signed up early and it was looking good, I was saying we could push for a top four but now survival at the moment, and we take each game as it comes


Time for pints, come on lets go! Thanks man

Ok lets go


I have to say Sligo is a cracking little town with some great pubs and a nice friendly vibe to the place. Was surprised, as Galway tends to steal all the thunder out west, while Sligo is often overlooked as a “fun” destination. Along the riverside with its nice stone bridge, developed since the 90’s, looks fantastic, and some nice buildings and monuments, yeah Sligo is a happening place, you really are spoilt for choice here with great bars and good eateries, and definitely I will be a returning. 

The Forza boys certainly created some good atmosphere at the game, and I really enjoyed my time at the Showgrounds. Everyone is so chilled and friendly. Its a shame they dont sell beer there but anyhow.

Sligo Rovers Football Away DaysWould like to say one thing that was a slight dent in all the positively. Seen this pig of a man throw a big pile of rubbish on the floor without a care in the world. Now I know in itself this happens at grounds, but what was shocking was there was a bin right beside him and I happened to catch the reaction of three young kids who were left gobsmacked at the sight of this. Normally i would confront someone like this, but I really wasn’t in the mood for some agro as i really had a great day so i did the next best thing i guess, took his pic and a little of his soul……I guess!! repent he should!

I was right not to get into a confrontation, and keep the good ambiance kicking along, as I eventually ended up with the Bray fans who despite their team losing were in decent spirits and kind of enough to give me a lift near my home in their mini bus (for a small price, naturally!) as they were using the same route back to Dublin I had taken on the bus earlier. Saving me the 4 hours or so hanging round waiting for the night bus……..cheers fellas!

Anyway, here is my day out in video form!


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Style: Helles
Sonthofen, Bavaria, Germany

Allgäuer Ökobier  which translates as Alpine Environmental Beer, is a German beer brewed by the privately owned brewery of Hirschbräu, Bavaria, situated in the Alps and belonging to the Höss family.

an excellent Eco-friendly beerThe brewery was founded way back in 1657 when Hans Pope was awarded a “Bräustätt” (“brewing law”) for 30 guilders and set about to brew his beer. In 1859 Josef Anton Höss buys the brewery and since then, the Hirschbrauerei in Sonthofen has been owned by the Höss family.

The brewery has won in the World Beer Cup, in 2012 for its “Double Deer”, and in 2014 for its “Hirsch Gold”, so clearly the brewery knows what it is doing. It also exports to over 20 countries all around the world.  

Of course, this beer is brewed in accordance with the “Bavarian Reinheitsgebot” of 1516, which states that beer can be brewed only from water, malt and hops. But on this occasion as a special Eco friendly beer, it is with the purest Allgaeuer water, the best hops from organic farming and, of course, organic malts from ecologically controlled cultivation!

Review: 0.5l Bottle of Höss Allgauer Ökobier Helles Export: ABV: 5.2%

Comes in a lovely looking brown bottle with a fliptop and a nice looking picture of a barley farmer at the harvest in front of some Bavarian scenery. It has the certified BIO sign signifying its eco friendliness and shows that all its products are produced and grown without any chemical fertilizers. Ökobier standing for Eco Beer!

an excellent Eco-friendly beerHad a nice frothy head and a golden yellow colour. Very clean and clear, looks great.

Has a nice lagery smell, faint on the nose but got malts, grains and fruit

Nice taste, was very smooth. Liked it a lot. Got a nice wheaty malt taste.

Not much aftertaste, goes down pretty smooth. Light malts, and the barely all noticed, and all well balanced. 

Also nice from the few swigs I took from the bottle, very pleasant. 

Thinned taste of barely perfect, just in the background.

Perfect for a session, a good light drinkable beer, nothing amazing but does the job on a hot day.

A really excellent light tasting beer and I strongly recommended anyone to check it out. 

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Coop Prix Garantie Lager Bier

Coop Prix Garantie Lager Bier

Coop Prix Garantie Lager Bier

Brewed by Heineken Switzerland
Style: Pale Lager
Chur, Switzerland

Coop Cooperative is one of Switzerland’s largest retail and wholesale companies. Headquartered in Basel, it is structured in the form of a cooperative society with around 2.5 million members.

Coop Prix Garantie Lager BierPretty much everywhere in Switzerland you will find a Coop (or its rival Migros), albeit at least in North Switzerland. 

Coop has a low-cost product line, “Prix garantie”which has a “guaranteed” low price for certain foods, drinks and products . Actually I say “low price”, silly me as this is Switzerland, I actually mean the least expensive products on offer!! This isn’t Iceland or Morrison’s in the evening, no last minute bargain basin shopping here!! So they have decided to extend this scheme to cheap discounted beer, Coop Lager.

But before you get too excited, apparently in a recent study, Coop tops the list of Swiss beers with glyphosate, a pesticide considered by the World Health Organization to be “probably” carcinogenic. But dont panic, for it to be anyway toxic you would have to drink about 1000 litres of Coop beer per day. In fact if you drink that much the last thing I’d be worried about is glyphosate!! 

Review: 50cl Can of Coop Prix Garantie Lager Bier: ABV: 4.8%

Can also be known as The Coop Lager! 

On pour I get a pretty nice clear golden yellow colour and nice frothy head. It settles well and looks pretty fantastic truth be told. Is this really a cheap supermarket brand, what the hell!!!

Coop Prix Garantie Lager BierBit of carbonation, bubbling away nicely
A lovely head that maintains, has good lacing, nice lively carbo, fizzing away, heh this looks good!!

Has a nice lagery smell, very nice on the nose.  Detected corn and some malts.

The taste is surprisingly not bad at all, all things considering, albeit  it has a slight sour taste
Very strong flavour and sweet to drink with a bitter aftertaste, but for the price it is ok, Can taste corn and starchy pale malts. 

When you factor in the cost, Coop lager is not bad. Coming at you for about 50 Swiss cents a can, I will drink to that, cheers.  Could argue that its better value than its parent company’s main brew (Heineken), which from what I can remember of the top of my head is roughly 2 Francs per can.

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Anker Lager Beer

Anker Lager Beer

Brewed by Feldschlösschen
Style: Pale Lager
Rheinfelden, Switzerland

Anker, a Swiss beer, another cheap beer that the Migros Supermarket sells. Brewed by Swiss beer giants Feldschlösschenin in their brewery in Rheinfelden, not far from Basel. 

Review: 50cl Can of Anker Lager Beer: ABV: 4.8%

As there are a few discount supermarket beers in Switzerland…….Coop Lager, and Tell to name just two, Feldschlösschen have decided to get a leg in on this market with their own offering, Anker, available in Coop at a cheap price.  

Colour is very light yellow, very bubbly with a good bit of carbo resulting in a decent sized frothy white head. Perfect lacing, and a lot of it to boot. Looks good, this looks promising!

Smell, none! Or very light, of a lagery aroma, disappointing. 

It is tasteless really.

Had it cold. Yes it is easy to quench and very smooth but I couldn’t for the life of me find any taste from it at all. Basically it was just cold water. Very light body and no flavours, weak malts, 

Smooth but ok. Much better cheap beers out there………this is dull and boring.  Ah well, least I didn’t spend much on it!

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Swiss football away days 3

Wohlen, Swiss football away days 3.

Wohlen, Swiss football away days 3Wohlen is a small town of about 15,000 residents, to the west of Zurich, and in the canton of Aargau in Switzerland. Mostly a farming area it really only got going as a town after the 1800’s when it developed into a key industrial town with important rail and road links. In particular, for the straw braid industry, where Wohlen became well known all over the fashion world for its straw hats and garments. Sadly that industry is long gone in the town but the affects of that legacy is a small town that is thriving, (or not doing too badly I guess!)

Getting to Wohlen is easy enough as the area has its own train station with good links to nearby towns Aarau and Zurich (via connections).

Overall Wohlen looked like a quiet enough place, a country town, even seen a few tractors on my way to the game, which tells you how close it is to the countryside. 

 Pub watch 

The Kebapistan

Address: Zentralstrasse 12
5610 Wohlen AG


Wohlen, Swiss football away days 3

Wohlen, Swiss football away days 3First pub of the day, wasn’t a pub at all. But I was hungry, having skipped breakfast and after a nice walk around the town this place looked perfect to sit down outside, have a quick bite to eat and a beer. Was very busy for a Saturday morning, which is always a good sign.  Went simple just got some chips with ketchup, and two beers. Simple but fantastic with the peppers and salt, lovely. Good friendly service and a nice place to sit outside and watch the traffic of Wohlen go by.  Had two small cans of Feldschlösschen Hopfenperle, a decent enough lager.  Perfect start. 


Zanzibar Cafe 

Address: Zentralstrasse 36
5610 Wohlen


Wohlen, Swiss football away days 3Ventured in and ordered a bottle of Birra Moretti, which is always nice to sip. Zanzibar looks like a very trendy lounge bar and club, impeccably clean and modern, the place looks really snazzy and cool. For the time of the day, early afternoon, naturally there were only a handful of customers, who looked like they were Italian Swiss chatting away to the very friendly barman, guess that’s why I guess was in the mood for a Moretti, which went down fine. So good I had another beer, this time a nice cold Eichhof Lager

Wohlen, Swiss football away days 3Zanzibar is the place to be once it gets dark, as it is a club venue that promotes a lot of up and coming DJ’s and invites international dance acts to the club every month. 

They do have a nice terrace for people watching outside, but I decided to stay inside. The bar was nice and I enjoyed myself here, relaxing on a high stool at the bar, pints were fine and the club was well aired and had nice lighting that made the mood very mellow. 


Piccadilly Pub

Address: Bünzstrasse 6
5610 Wohlen/AG


Wohlen, Swiss football away days 3

Wohlen, Swiss football away days 3Door was closed and didn’t look very inviting, but then I was early. It opened at 4 and I was there bang on time! Restaurant with terrace was doing a cracking trade next door on a lovely hot day, while I was the only customer in this, truth be told, rather tired looking bar with an old fashioned British style decor. I went for a Feldschlösschen braufrisch on tap, a Wheat Ale beer, which was fine, not as good as their lagers I think.  Bar lady was friendly, but this seems like a bar that could do with a makeover. Drank and left.


Rock and Burger Bar

Address: Aargauerstrasse 4, 5610 Wohlen


Wohlen, Swiss football away days 3On the way back to the train station, from the game, I accidentally stumbled onto the path of this bar. Looked good so ventured in. A small crowd in, with some friendly service. Had a Brooklyn Brewery lager, which was fine with the complimentary nuts that I scoffed down.  Place was quiet for a rock bar, but had a chilled out atmosphere, or perhaps that was just me. 


El Hale Shisha Bar

Address: Inh. Islek
Bahnhofplatz 1
5610 Wohlen


Wohlen, Swiss football away days 3Just before I got my train home, popped into a hookah bar right at the station. Not my usual type of place to go for a beer, but it was cool enough. Lovely decor which was very relaxing and in an Arabic style, the service was friendly. Place was quiet, but it was still relatively early. Just ordered a regular beer, a Feldschlösschen lager. Nice place to wind down for the day, lovely ambiance and a nice pint in the dimmed lights. Would have liked to stay for another beer but had to catch my train. 

FC Wohlen

Wohlen, Swiss football away days 3

Arena/Stadium: Stadion Niedermatten, Wohlen

Location: 5610 Wohlen

Capacity: 3,734 (634 seated)

Manager: Francesco Gabriele 

Founded: 1904

Leagues: Swiss Challenge League

Club home page



Wohlen, Swiss football away days 3

Wohlen, Swiss football away days 3Founded in May, 1904, FC Wohlen play in the Challenge League, the second highest league in the country. They say the best things come to those that wait, well the highlight of over 100 years of football came late, in June 2002 when the team got promoted to then National League B, today’s Challenge League , the second tier of Swiss football. 

With the club moving in the right direction, they moved into their new stadium, Stadion Niedermatten, in 2004.  The stadium holds about 3,700 people and is owned by the local council and is part of a sports complex which includes an athletics track, an inline skating space, two all-weather football pitches and nine tennis courts. 

Wohlen, Swiss football away days 3Without doubt their most famous son is Ciriaco Sforza, the ex Wholen player and coach who had an illustrious career with stints in Germany with Bayern Munich, FC Kaiserslautern  (when they were half decent) and in Italy with Inter Milan, a long way from tiny Wohlen.  

Wohlen, Swiss football away days 3Nice enough little ground, a not too far from the town centre. Ticket cost me 20 Swiss Francs, and manged to get a scarf as well which was great. But even better was I somehow ended up in the VIP room, where there was complimentary wine and titbits to bite. I know it was a little bit cheeky but why not as I do consider myself at least a little bit important. The two girls behind the bar were very friendly, and were more than kind enough to fill my glass on the many occasions they got empty! 

Wohlen, Swiss football away days 3Nice club with a lot of friendly staff, from the ticket sellers at the gate, the grounds staff directing people to their seats, the ladies in the office who sold me the scarf, to the girls in the VIP room.

Decent enough crowd too, friendly type and was a decent atmosphere in the ground. Also have to say that Le Mont had a small support, which considering how far they would have to travel is understandable, but they did have one young fella with a megaphone who was chanting, mostly on his own, all throughout the game, hats off to him for that.


To the game

FC Wohlen 0 – 0 FC Le Mont LS 

01.04.2017  Stadium Niedermatten, Wohlen 

Attendance: 578

For a nil niler it wasn’t the worst game I have ever seen. Some good build up play from both teams, especially from FC Wohlen while Le Mont were more concentrated on attacking from the break down.  I would say though that Wohlen need to practice shooting from distance as on many occasions they were in good positions to take a shot but their players passed instead. Is that a confidence thing, perhaps but it did really irk the crowd on a few times looking at good shooting opportunities go amiss. 

Wohlen, Swiss football away days 3Thought Wohlen midfielder Sandro Foschini was pretty decent and set up a lot of play and opportunities for his teammates, but I noticed he also grew increasingly frustrated as he seemed to be at a different level to the rest of his team, one step ahead and he was constantly creating chances that were spurned again and again. I’d build a team around him, I say! 

For Le Mont, Luís Pimenta was a pretty good target man, held the ball up well when he could and was always lively and causing the Wohlen defenders problems. 

Overall it wasn’t a bad game, just a pity that with all the play the home team couldn’t get a goal. 


Wohlen, Swiss football away days 3Wohlen was a sleepy enough town, but I did enjoy my day out here. Was well nourished with alcohol and did have a good time at the ground watching Wohlen FC play. All in all a good enjoyable day in little old Wohlen (the good weather helped too, it was a scorcher!)

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La Blonde de Ch’Nord

La Blonde de Ch’Nord

Brewed by Les Brasseurs De Gayant 
Style: Bière de Garde/strong pale ale 
Douai, France

La Blonde de Ch’NordLa Blonde de Ch’Nord is brewed in Douai, a small city in the north of France by the Gayant Brewers.

Not my first time reviewing a brew from Les Brasseurs De Gayant boys. Reviewed their La Goudale Biere an ale which I did find ok, albeit it was the second can that swung it!

The brewery have many other brands such as Amadeus, Tequieros, La bière du Démon, St Landelin but their main product is La Goudale, its blonde beer

Review: large 75cl bottle of La Blonde de Ch’Nord: ABV: 7.2% 

La Blonde de Ch’NordA Bière de Garde (“beer for keeping”) is a strong pale ale traditionally brewed in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region in the North east of France.  Originally brewed in farmhouses during the winter and spring, to avoid unpredictable problems, these beers are of a golden colour, and as the name suggests the beer is to be kept over a period of time once bottled (and most sealed with a cork), to be consumed later in the year. 

Came in a nice big corked and caged bottle, which was funny as it was lumped in with the wine section in the Lidl I bought it in, which would explain why there were so many bottles unsold. By pure chance as passing I noted it was actually a beer! I rarely buy wine, only for special occasions! Anyway for a large bottle, this was cheap, about 1.50 Euros or less…….or something ridiculous like that. 

Nice head on pour, big white creamy head, beer was dark golden, looks ok.

La Blonde de Ch’NordVery yeasty smell, a bit metallic, quite strong but nice all the same.

On taste was strong, bit chemical and not just yeasty but something else.  
Very strong, and very bitter. Jesus those hops!

Bit too fruity with bananas and a very strong bitter aftertaste.

Too strong, not nice, and not smooth

Got a taste of cream as well, urgh. Tinty metallic taste and overall not great at all. Disappointing. 

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Ardwen Blonde

Ardwen Blonde

Ardwen Blonde

Brewed by Brasserie Ardwen
Style: Blonde Ale
Launois-sur-Vence, France

Ardwen BlondeThe Ardennes in northeastern France, close to the Belgian and Luxembourg border, is a sparsely populated region mostly covered with dense forest, small mountains and not much else. 

But mad as it is, this area at the beginning of the 20th Century, was France’s leading region for brewing beers with no fewer than 230 breweries, mostly small enterprises. It might be due to the lovely fresh waters and rivers emanating down from the hills and valleys in the area. 

But the two World War’s put a sharp stop to a lot of this and brewing was beginning to look a thing of the past here. That was until, in 2003 some locals came together to start up some brewing in the area after all those barren years. That brewery was called Ardwen, using the local knowledge of the past in their pursuit of rekindling the traditions of yesteryear. Production followed shortly after, and with it some immediate success winning prestigious beer awards in France (Golden medalist at 2007 Concours Général Agricole)

Review: 33cl bottle of Ardwen Blonde: ABV: 5.6%

Ardwen BlondeHigh fermentation and also re-fermented in the bottle, using local spring waters this beer won a gold medal at the Concours Général Agricole de Paris in 2007, just so you know, ok. 

On pour looks fine, has a nice frothy white head, colour is of a deep cloudy golden beer

Head maintains well.

Some small carbonation going on. 

Ardwen BlondeA good bit of lacing present.

Lovely beer smell, can get the typical blonde smell of the malts, the fruits, and the hops, and caramel, over all a nice start.

Taste, not bad, a beer to saviour, a nice feel to it.
Typical blonde taste, but not too strong, or overbearing. Very easy to drink.
Nice beer overall, smooth, goes down well, got the malts, some fruits and the caramel 
A light beer and refreshing enough to drink, Not bad.

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Tell Lager

Tell Lager

Tell Lager

Brewed by Heineken Switzerland
Style: Pale Lager
Chur, Switzerland

Tell Lager Tell is cheap supermarket fare from Coop, the large retail chain that one can see all over Switzerland. Sometimes when you live in a country where prices can be high when shopping it can be vital to get your hands on shit cheap beer, that’s important! 

I guess it is called after that great Swiss folk hero William Tell, you know, the guy who shot the apple off his son’s head. Either way it is produced by Heineken Switzerland, make of that what you want!

Review: 50cl Can of Tell Lager: ABV: 4.8%

Think it came in at about 50 to 60 cents a can, as far as I can remember,  but way cheaper than more established brands. 

On pour I got a golden colour with a large frothy head appearing,

Tell Lager Looks like there is a bit of sediment hanging around resulting in a darkish, not clear,golden colour. (perhaps I got a bad batch?)

There is a good bit of carbonation going on,  the beer has a decent sized head that surprisingly stuck around and has some decent lacing. 

Had a nice lagery smell and was grainy, which was faint but ok. 

Onto the taste, it was light enough but did manage to get some nice big mouthfuls
Tastes ok, smooth and easy enough to quench, albeit had a slight sour bitter note to it. 

Has the expected lagery taste, with light pale malts and grains, slightly metallic.

Overall not too bad, considering the price of it. For a cheap beer it can do the business, just about I might add!

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FC Basel, Swiss football away days

FC Basel, Swiss football away days

Basel: Some history and culture, a bit of football and a good amount of beer!

FC Basel, Swiss football away days Basel is a Swiss German speaking city in the northwest of Switzerland on the river Rhine. Basel has been a commercial hub and important cultural center since the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment, and it has emerged over time as an important centre for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries of the world with major companies such as Roche, Novartis, Bayer, Ciba Specialty Chemicals, Abbot etc all situated in the city. 

There are settlement traces on the Rhine from the early La Tène period (5th century BC), but it wasn’t until the Romans established a centre here and built a castle that the city began to develop. The name of Basel is itself derived from the Roman word Basilius, meaning emperor. Basel was incorporated into Germania Superior in AD 83, and over time became a centre for trade, study and printing. 

Basel is Switzerland’s third-most-populous city (after Zürich and Geneva) with about 175,000 inhabitants. Located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet

FC Basel, Swiss football away days Basel has a population of about 175,000, where about 35.5% of the population are resident foreign nationals, a lot who work in the many chemical and pharmaceutical industries dotted around the city. Also factor in that due to the close borders with both France and Germany, you can add another 120,000 commuters moving into the city for their daily work. All in all it is a busy city, but it has to be said most travel in this city and extended region is done via the excellent tram, train and bus network that is also well connected to France and Germany. Basel is also a very bicycle friendly city with many bike lanes and places to park a bike. You really dont notice much cars or trucks when walking around the city, which really is a great feeling.

Of course not far from the city centre (about 35 minutes by bus) is the EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg. the interesting thing about this airport is that there are two borders….one for France (where the airport actually lies on) and the other for Switzerland. In the old days before Schengen there was an immigration check point in the middle of the airport where one could border hop officially with stamps, etc if needed. But be careful, the border police can still do customs checks on its various borders,  just in case you are trying to enter Switzerland with a van load of dodgy TV’s or mutton or whatever. 

FC Basel, Swiss football away days Basel calls itself the Cultural Capital of Switzerland which is a bold claim it has to be said. The reason for this claim is many fold. One reason is the massive amount of galleries and museums all over the city, well over 50 or more, the highest concentration in the country.  You have the internationally renowned museums such as Basel Art Museum, the Beyeler Foundation, Natural History Museum of Basel and the Museum of Cultures Basel, Caricature & Cartoon Museum Basel, Jewish Museum of Switzerland, Sports Museum of Switzerland, Museum of Contemporary Art, Kunstmuseum Basel (Art Museum Basel), amongst many more, too many to mention in fact, and a shit load of other museums dedicated to more contemporary “modern” art, as if you didn’t get enough, or otherwise known as horse shite to the man in the street! 

FC Basel, Swiss football away days The best thing about Basel for me is the sight of the river, the Rhine. The river cuts through the the city and its great on a hot summers day to hang out with a few friends having some cans of beers by the banks of the great river. Refreshing. 

FC Basel, Swiss football away days I also strongly recommend coming to the city for its annual carnival of the city (Basler Fasnacht), the biggest carnival in Switzerland and large crowds attend every year, but be aware its a four day event with the first day starting at 4 in the morning! It is on the Monday after Ash Wednesday and brings the city to a standstill celebrating on the streets of Basel in a big street parade that goes on forever, with music and costume and good fun

Fun facts about Basel: 

In 1938 Albert Hofmann, working for the Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, was the first to first synthesize the psychedelic drug LSD.

The Roche Tower, designed by Herzog & de Meuron is 41 floors and 178 metres (584 ft) high, opened in 2015 it has become the tallest building in Switzerland

FC Basel, Swiss football away days Basel has Switzerland’s oldest university, the University of Basel, dating from 1460.  Well known alumni and staff include  Jacob Burckhardt, Friedrich Nietzsch, Erasmus,and Carl Gustav Jung.

Established in 1874, Zoo Basel, affectionaly called “Zolli” by the locals, is the oldest zoo in Switzerland, and with over 1.7 million visitors per year, it is the second most visited tourist attraction in Switzerland, and well worth a visit. 

While FC Basel is well known to football fans across Europe, it is Roger Federer, a Basel native, who is the sporting darling of the city. 


Pub watch

Paddy Reilly’s Irish Pub & Restaurant

Address: Steinentorstrasse 45, Basel 4051


FC Basel, Swiss football away days Got off the tram near the centre of town and the best place really to start a beer crawl is in Paddy Reilly’s Irish pub. 

This place does be heaving during Friday and Saturday nights, and can be more like a night club than a bar with a very young crowd, i.e a lot younger then me the old fella! But when its not packed to the rafters on a weekend night, it does normally have a very relaxed setting, always a good place to come in and have a good pint and chat with friends. 

Typical decor you would expect from an Irish bar, a bit of traditional mixed in with the modern, all nice and respectable. A good long bar with plenty of space to sit at. 

Friendly staff, chatty and efficient, and it seems all the staff are Irish as they do cater for a lot of British and Irish clientele. 

Typical in an Irish bar, not a minute in the place and I’m already chatting to people, two strangers, but you know it really is true when they say that there are no strangers in an Irish pub, just friends you haven’t met yet, or something like that!

FC Basel, Swiss football away days Good atmosphere in the place, a lot of sport on the various TV’s dotted around the pub, all relaxed and chilled…….just the way I like it

Apparently they do good food here, but feck that……..its the beer I am here for. Have the usual fare to drink, but some highlights on offer as well…..A Grimbergen was a surprise to see……but decided to go for a pint of Bodingtons as I had never tried it before.  Pint was good, liked it and it went down well, if a little pricey, but heh this is Switzerland so….

So overall Paddy Reilly’s did the job and is recommended if you come to Basel. 


Mr. Pickwick Pub

Address: Steinenvorstadt 13, Basel 4051


Mr Pickwick is your quintessential British pub, with plenty of beer available on tap, wooden decor with carpet, football (or at times Cricket) on the box and a smattering of ex pats all around. Located in the Steinenvorstadt, a pedestrian street where you will find a lot of snazzy bars and restaurants in the centre of Basel, albeit the more upmarket ones, that is the more expensive ones! 

Mr Pickwick is a fine pub though, and it has a pretty decent selection of British and Irish beer both on tap and in bottle. 

In summer one can sit outside and do some people watching. also they open the large front doors which is great for letting in some cool Rhine air throughout the bar

The pub grub here is meant to be good (their nachos, and fish n chips are popular dishes) certainly what came out of the kitchen while I was there looked good, but as this is Switzerland I prefer to keep my money for a more refined liquid lunch.  I went for Fullers Jack Frost, an English bitter that was fine. Staff were efficient, albeit a bit cold, but heh this is an English pub right! Anyway I do like Pickwicks, its a decent place and its always easy to find a seat and have a nice pint while planning what you will get up to in the night, a good starting point……even if its best not to look too closely at your bill, ouch! (Yes, I know, its Switzerland!) 


Didi Offensive 

Address: Erasmusplatz. 12, 4057


Didi Offensive is a football culture bar in Kleinbasel (little Basel) a little bit from the city centre. It is a great place to watch live football, as there are TV’s, big and small all over the place, twelve in fact. But its not only live football, the bar regularly organize events on football culture, have table quizzes, host photography exhibitions, and the decor itself is like a museum dedicated to all things got to do with the beautiful game. 

The name, “Didi offensive”, is a nickname that refers to the defensive-oriented football that former FC Basel coach Claude “Didi” Andrey used, and where the FCB fans began to mockingly sing  “Didi offensively, Shalalalala”

Anyway nice little bar, friendly bar man, loads of football on the tv, nearly overloaded with football didn’t know what game to watch……mostly German and Spanish league football for the time I was there.  Had a local Ueli beer,a wheat beer which perfectly poured but just not my cup of tea actually. In fact they didn’t really have a good variety of beers on offer, just the two pumps if I remember correctly, but I do see they organise regular craft beer nights which is interesting. 

Toilets were a double treat, do the business but also to marvel at all the cool old Pannini stickers stuck up around the gents, and to pee into a goals which gives a cheer when you finish, now that is cool. I also noticed John Aldridge staring at me when I was peeing!

I like this bar, had a good vibe and is definitely a great meeting place for football fans to hang out and watch the big game………… bar. 


The Fish Inn 

Address: Clarastrasse 56, 4058


The Fish Inn is a traditional British style pub on Clarastrasse, a little bit out but really not that far from the city centre via the tram. It has the typical British style decor you’d expect and had a nice cozy atmosphere when I was there. A few people, but not to many were present, and the bar lady was friendly. The bar has a real homely atmosphere that I like,  a good place to have a quiet pint and a good chat with a friend. Feels like a traditional “local” pub. I imagine in the winter this is a the perfect place to come to get out of the wind and the rain and have a hot whiskey and pint to warm the soul.  

They do food, which is typical British food, and also offer takeaways, which is kind of cool, albeit looking at their menu it does all look a bit too pricey for me!

The owners have their dogs wandering around and there is a relaxed setting in the pub. 

I was happy to see that they had Fullers London Pride, an English bitter that I really like. Less happy to report that the pint wasn’t great, a bad pint, which was a pity. Perhaps that was the luck of the draw, but anyhow I will check this place out again as its a good to get a pub where one can relax away from the hustle and bustle downtown. 


Bar Rouge 

Address: Messeplatz. 10, 4058


Went to this place if only because apparently its the highest bar in the whole of Switzerland, that’s what they advertise themselves, which is a load of bollix as I had a beer near the top of the Jungfrau inside its mountain station but there you go. 

Entrance via lift to the top of the high rise building, to the 31st floor, Bar Rouge is a cocktail and lounge bar, with a very modern and snazzy decor, looks good inside, very stylish, and can get a great panoramic view of the city, which looked pretty cool as day was turning to night. The bar itself looks fantastic, lots of activity going on from the bar staff making all varieties of cocktails, great chilled out ambiance inside everyone seems to be in good spirits. Except the bar manager who was having a bit of a row with one of his bar staff, a little bit unsavory to see, and he looked like a bit of a prick to be honest, all Gordon Ramsey. Looked like there was a mistake with a cocktail order, with the barman having to redo it again and also pay for the extra cost out of his own pocket, or at least that’s what it looked like. I didn’t see the big deal, sure its not like people really know what the fuck they are drinking in a cocktail anyway, and I know if he talked to me like that I’d tell him to do one.  Anyway wasn’t nice to see…..

As for me, I played it safe and went for a regular local beer. The cocktails were a bit pricey for my small wallet. I was served quickly and efficiently and with a friendly smile by Shangi (I looked it up via their website!), who I have to say was very good. Always nice to get good service. 

Pint was fine, and I was nice and comfy sitting at the bar admiring the views both outside and at the excellent selection of drinks behind the bar

Even in the toilets you can get a view of Basel where they have a glassed window overlooking the city landscape, but you need not worry as no one is likely to see you do your business that high up off the ground! 

I did like it here, very relaxing, nice tempo to the place, music not too loud but in the background so it can be appreciated, and the bar was well lit. I bet they studied how to get the right moods via the perfect lightning, music tempo, etc…… seems to work anyway. If it wasn’t for the price I’d like to return, alas maybe if i get a big win on the gee gees! Next time I will try a cocktail!



Address: Gerbergässlein 20, 4051


L’Unique is one of the more hip bars in the town. Cool because its decor is completely made up of rock music memorabilia all around the bar.  This American style bar has quite an extensive collection on display, from signed platinum albums, guitars, rock suits, and rock art, a veritable feast for anyone interested in rock music.  

The bar is located right down an alley way not far off the city centre, and can be difficult to find. If so, all you need to do is ask for the directions to the graffiti with all the rock stars, as right across from the bar is a brilliant street painting of various rock legends, it is a Basel highlight to take a photo of it as it really is that good!

Sat at the bar, ordered a regular beer (a Feldschlösschen lager) which was fine and nice. Half the time you are just staring at all the stuff on the walls……I noted a signed Kiss drum set on the ceiling, some Nirvana albums beside me and also a cool looking gorilla with a guitar!

Had a very good chat with the bar lady, Eleni, who was super cool and friendly to boot, who agreed with me that the Nirvana stuff was probably the best thing in the rock collection. 

Bar has great service, and always has a good friendly atmosphere in the place. Even though it can be busy it is always easy to find a seat and a place to relax. Good vibes always, and as I am a metal head so yes this is one of my favourite bars in the city. Recommended! 


Rio Bar 

Address: Barfüsserplatz 12, 4051 Basel


Rio Bar, is a nice little bar in the city centre, great for meeting people before heading onto somewhere else where all sorts from the young and the old, the well to do and the not so mix and chat on small tables, or at the small bar. The bar is run by a stern looking Swiss lady, but once you get to know her, she is good fun and has a good sense of humour.  

Has a good selection of spirits and aperitif’s on show, and not such a great selection of beer, really just the local stuff.  I ordered a large glass of Ziegel Hof,  a beer from Liestal just up the road from Basel. Was fine, in fact I had about three of them. Not strong and went down well.  One of my favourite bars in the city, small and comfy and really a great place to wind down and relax after a tough day. 


Address: Kohlenberg 10, Basel 4051

Baragraph is a small bar on a side street off the main square of Barfüsserplatz.  Cosy bar with not a whole lot going on, but its good for a quick pint in quiet surroundings, more a chill out bar to relax and reflect. Has an interesting decor going on, all 70’s style or at least that’s what it looks to me on the untrained eye, all bright colours and lots of light, and the service is always friendly and chatty.  I like this place, had a KonigPilsner, was fine in a bar that one can definitely while away a few hours. Also must add the beer is not as pricey here than in other establishments in the city.


Address: Kohlenberg 7, 4051 


Topped the night off with a late pint in Excalibar, a late, very late, night bar that seems at least to me to have no closing time! Small bar, that can get crowded at times, but it really is the place to be to get that late night drink. Does have a juke box that bangs out the tunes, and the darts (the plastic version, not the real dart board) do keep punters amused over the hours. Had a quick pint, a Calanda lager, was fine.

Is an ok bar, with staff that could be friendlier, and not a great place to actually meet people as everyone tends to be pretty sloshed by the time they get here, but it does the business when one needs that late night drink and for that we should be thankful. 


FC Basel


Arena/Stadium: St. Jakob-Park

Location: St. Jakobs-Strasse 395, 4052 Basel

Capacity: 38,512

Manager: Urs Fischer

Founded: 1893

Leagues: Swiss Super League

Club home page



Nicknames: FCB, Bebbi, RotBlau

FC Basel 1893 (Fussball Club Basel 1893), are a Swiss football club based in Basel. They are one of the most successful clubs in Swiss football, having won the Swiss Super League 19 times, and well on their their way to winning their 20th, the second most for any Swiss club. (still a long way to go to catch the Grasshoppers with 27 titles!). Basel have also won the Swiss Cup 11 times.

On the 12th of November 1893 an advertisement appeared in the Basler newspaper requesting that anyone who wished to join a football team should meet up on the Wednesday at 8:15 in the Schuhmachern-Zunft restaurant. Roland Geldner placed the advert, later elected as the clubs first president. Eleven men attended the meeting and thus, Fussball Club Basel was founded on 15 November 1893. The club colours were decided from the first day on, red and blue, the RotBlau”taken from the local rowing club that a few of the early members were also involved with.  Incidentally Hans Gamper an early club captain went on to found FC Barcelona in Spain, while he was visiting his uncle in the Catalan city, and is the reason why both clubs share the same colours.  

It took a while for the club to get going as they got their first trophy 40 years after their inauguration,winning the Swiss Cup in 1933 beating Grasshoppers 4-3, and in 1953 they finally won their first league title in 1953, beating Young Boys of Bern who came second. 

It was really in the late 1960’s that FC Basel started to come into real prominence. Under the tutelage of Helmut Benthaus, winning the club’s first double in the 1966–67 season. From 1968 to 1970 they won the title two seasons in a row. At the early 70’s Basel again won two in a row back to back titles, 1971–72 and 1972 -73. Former player and Manager Helmut Benthaus stayed on with Basel as a boss for 17 years which is pretty amazing when you take into account modern day football and how sack happy chairman can be. In those years as manager he brought the title to Basel seven times and won two cups as well.  Not bad from the German, who also won the Bundesliga in his home country with VfB Stuttgart in 1982.

In 1988 the unthinkable happened and Basel were relegated into the Nationalliga B, the second league. It took them a few years and several managers to get back to the top in 1994 under Claude Andrey (see “Didi Offensive” above!)

Christian Gross, yes THAT Christian Gross, ex Spurs manager and London Underground aficionado, became coach of Basel in July 1999 after a horrid time in London with Tottenham. Gross’ appointment happened at the same time as Basel started to get some serious financial backing. It was not long until Basel returned to the top. (At the moment, Pharma giant Novartis give the club roughly US$2.2 million a year to sponsor their shirt). Also a brand new spanking stadium, St. Jakob-Park, was built and finished in time for the 2001 season.

All these positive steps resulted in four Swiss championships, four Swiss Cups, and some very good runs in Europe under Gross. The championship win in 2001-2002 was their first for 22 years, also securing the cup, making it a nice double for the season. The good days were back!

One player that stood out at this time was Scott Chipperfield, the Aussie box to box player and all round terrier on the pitch. He is Basel’s all-time record holder of titles with the club, with seven Swiss Championships and six Swiss Cup honours. A player that probably could have had a stint with an English team but was loyal to Basel, and in my opinion a very much underrated player. 

Basel have competed in European competition every season since 1999–2000, and had a bit of a voodoo over British teams, beating the likes of Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool, Celtic, Middlesbrough, Spurs and, em Glentoran, over the years, until this season where they got their arses spanked by Arsenal home and away in the CL.

They have been in the Champions League more times than any other Swiss club and are the only Swiss club to have ever qualified directly for the Champions League group stages. They also got to the last 16 in the CL three times, and got to a Europa League semi-finals in the 2012–13 season losing out 5-2 on aggregate to eventual winners Chelsea.  

With all this European exposure it means that Basel is not only gaining invaluable experience but also doing nicely in revenue. Revenue that can improve the team and what we see is that Basel are clearly head and shoulders above every other team in Switzerland. This is borne out by the fact that FC Basel are currently looking to win their 8 league title in a row this season 2016-2017, flying ahead of the rest of the teams once again. 

FC Basel play their home games at the 38,500 capacity St. Jakob-Park, the largest stadium in Switzerland and nicknamed “Joggeli” by the fans.The stadium has a restaurant and a sports bar, as well as a shopping centre and some apartments and office. It definitely doesnt look like a stadium when passing by, it is a bit drab to be honest. It is easy to get on match day via tram (Line 14) or bus (36, 37) from the city centre, or by train as the stadium also has its own stop. In 2016, the UEFA Europa League final was played at St. Jakob-Park between Liverpool and Seville, with many in the English press complaining of how small the attendance was for such a high profile game. 

What you will see in St. Jakob-Park is plenty of loyal and passionate local fans who have made  a name for themselves not just in Switzerland but abroad as well for their great banner displays and pyro parties from the stands. And if you are lucky you might just also see tennis star, and Basel native, Roger Federer, officially FC Basel’s most famous fan!

As for rivals, I would say it has to be the two Zurich clubs, Grasshopper Club Zürich and FC Zürich, with FC Zürich the number one foe, mainly down to an incident in the last day of the 2005–06 season when FC Basel only needed a draw to clinch the title at home against FC Zürich, who had the cheek to spoil the party and score in the last minute to take the title. After the final whistle, players and fans from both teams started fighting on the pitch and in the stands. Since that day fans from FC Zürich and FC Basel pretty much detest each other with a passion.

To the game


04.02.2017 ST. JAKOB-PARK

Attendance: 23,439

Was pish easy for Basel.

Well taken hat trick from Mohamed Elyounoussi, the Norwegian (obviously!), who had scored all his three goals within 34 minutes! In fact I had just about taken my seat when he had scored the first goal in the second minute with a simple touch into an empty net.  His second was a bit nicer on the eye, beating the defender and scoring from just inside the box.  The third was a nice cross into the box, well met and headed past the goalkeeper. 

It was always going to be an uphill struggle when Lugano got a man red carded, unfairly in my opinion, for a stray elbow that the Basel fairy made a meal off, but they are the breaks.

The veteran Marc Janko came on in the 78th minute and it wasn’t long before he scored, in the 85th minute, to make it 4-0 to Basel and wrap another dead easy win for the team. 

Lugano had a few chances but the Basel goalkeeper, the Czech Vaclik,  was alert to their rare forays. Truth be told they were muck and its easy to see why they are second from bottom of the league. 

I was impressed by Steffen on the wing, always lively, and of course the hat-trick hero who took all his goals very well.  Overall the game was boring as it really was so one-sided, even from the get go, and I hate looking at games that are a non contest. But Basel can only do whats put infront of them, so fair enough for them. 

Have a look at the match highlights for yourself



Short chat with Dr. Daniele Ganser, a prominent Swiss historian, Journalist, energy and peace researcher and head of the Swiss Institute for Peace and Energy Research (SIPER), based in Basel. He teaches at the University of St. Gallen on the history and future of energy systems and at the University of Basel in the postgraduate study on conflict analysis on the global struggle for oil. His area of expertise is in the areas of global security, secret warfare, conflict analysis, peak oil and resource wars, economics and human rights and peace research. He has written many books covering his special topics, has appeared regularly on Russia Today and on Swiss TV, has given a TEDx lecture on “War and peace in the 21st century – the stories in our minds” in Budapest in 2016, and worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Switzerland. 

Ganser certainly has some interesting points to make on 9/11 (the real reason for the war is the control of energy resources and has questions on that the third tower, WTC 7,  that collapsed that day, and has some doubts that a plane had actually crashed into the Pentagon), on the need for oil (that the 2003 Iraq war a “classic resource war”) and false flag operations (Various activities of Operation Gladio)

Whatever you think of Ganser, just dont called him a conspiracy theorist. He doesn’t particularly like that! He had a fierce clash with Wikipedia over this issue when they more or less called him a conspiracy theorist while Ganser sees the word as a catch all term for the weird and the mad. This resulted in a mini edit war with supporters of Gnaser dueling with the Wikipedia mafia on who decides whats what on Gansers page. 

Instead, Ganser calls himself a peace researcher and historian who investigates covert warfare using scientific methods and basic historical questioning techniques. 


Important Works

Illegal wars: How the NATO countries sabotage the UN. A chronicle from Cuba to Syria. Orell Füssli, Zurich 2016, ISBN 978-3-280-05631-8.


The book recalls that the United Nations Charter forbids Wars, and shows current examples of how this ban is disregarded by the NATO countries.

NATO Geheimarmenn in Europa.  Orell Füssli, Zurich, 2008 ISBN 978-3-280-06106-0 .

“NATO Intelligence in Europe” in English. Ganser shows how manipulated terror and covert warfare were used in the cold war to discredit political opponents and create a climate of fear.

NATO’s secret armies. Operation Gladio and terrorism in Western Europe. Routledge, 2005 ISBN 0-7146-5607-0 

FC Basel, Swiss football away days


The book addresses secret armies run by NATO and the CIA across mainland Europe, especially concentrating on Operation Gladio in Italy. 

Twitter @DanieleGanser                                                                                                                             Facebook


So overall, Basel isn’t a bad city for a short visit, can get expensive but even with that you can always grab a few cans and sit by the Rhine in the evening to chill out. Seeing FC Basel play is good fun, in a decent stadium, where the fans do create a good atmosphere at times. Basel well worth a groundhop and beer crawl, just save for it beforehand!FC Basel, Swiss football away days

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Valentins Hefeweissbier

Valentins Hefeweissbier

Valentins Hefeweissbier

Brewed by Park & Bellheimer AG Brewery 
Style: German Hefeweizen
Pirmasens, Germany

Valentins HefeweissbierBrewed by Park & Bellheimer AG Brewery  from the small city of Pirmasens (pop:40,125) in the Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, near the border with France, and named in honour of St Valentine (The guy in the bottle!), patron saint of lovers everywhere, but I have no idea if he was big into his beers.

Review: 0.5l bottle of Valentins Hefeweissbier Premium: ABV: 5.3%

Valentins HefeweissbierShould be served in a Weizen glass, that is if you have one. I dont! 

Brewed in the great traditions of monastic brewing and of course the Bavarian purity law of 1516.

Frothy on pour which settles very well. Hazy golden-amber colour

Decent sized white head and maintains throughout. Not a bad looking beer.

Nice balanced and pleasant smell of your typical weisbier of yeast, wheat, clove, and banana as well, albeit all smells were a little faint.

On taste has all the typical Hefeweizen tastes but on a very low level. Light yeasts, malts, the cloves, the wheat, and banana flavours.

Valentins HefeweissbierNice creamy mouthfuls. Creamy. Not much standout taste though, very subtle flavours. Not really bitter or strong aftertaste.

Very nice, inoffensive and well rounded, and very smooth, VERY SMOOTH. I’d imagine it would be a nice beer to pair with some good food on a nice hot day.

Nice on the tongue and finishes light and smooth,  very drinkable for me at least who isn’t the biggest fan of weisbier’s! An OK beer. 

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