Great food and talking football... who could ask for more? / Dave Thomas column

I keep diaries and have done this since as long as I can remember; they’re great for settling arguments or nudging memories.
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Therapeutic as well if you’re miffed about something; or they are a celebration if something memorable has happened.

I was leafing through the diary for 2016 looking for something but found this about a game against Blackburn:

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"Saturday March 4 th,2016: After the snow of Thursday all was well for the game of the day. Sean D

Writer Dave Thomas with Burnley manager Sean DycheWriter Dave Thomas with Burnley manager Sean Dyche
Writer Dave Thomas with Burnley manager Sean Dyche

issued the soundbite of the day, “We don’t look at the past to guarantee the future.”

Hell, the guy could be the PM’s scriptwriter. Although having said that and having heard the gaff filled speech Boris gave at a businessman’s dinner, where he got mixed up with his notes and then rambled on about Peppa Pig, my advice would be keep well clear of Boris the Buffoon.

Keane was back in the side; Barton had a groin problem but played and won MOTM even though he said it was like playing with the handbrake on. The Clarets ground out a 1-0 win thanks to Duffy’s challenge on Boyd when he took his foot away. Lambert of course moaned that the ref had got it wrong. But penalty it was.

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Dyche said it was a game of blood and thunder and muck and nettles. Pretty it was not, gripping it most certainly was as we chewed finger nails and willed the second half away when it became a backs-to-the-wall session as Rovers took over.

It was a game that had everything, blood, sweat and tears, drama. 100% passion and commitment, a dodgy ref, but who did get the penalty right, hoofball, head tennis, bits of good football, bits of sloppy football, bravery, a cool-headed penalty, the double over Blackburn, the first home win over them since 1978, two great Heaton saves, sunshine, showers, a near full-house, and then suet/steak pudding.

Nom, nom, suet/steak pudding with chips, mushy peas and lashings of gravy at the Shepherds Rest high up in the hills above Todmorden on the way to Lumbutts. The views from the windows stretching for miles, the food stunning, the satisfaction at maximum after the 1-0 win. Could anyone ask for anything more?

It is sometimes called Rag Pudding because in ancient days it is said it was wrapped up in a rag. The Hare and Hounds in Todmorden does an excellent version.

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Of course, these pleasures were put on hold thanks to covid; calling in at the Kettledrum after a game, or the Stubbing Wharfe in Hebden Bridge. Another post-match regular haunt is the Hare and Hounds in Todmorden. After a win, whether it be a stunning game or a grim 1-0, who cares, what’s not to like?

Covid also stopped the regular weekly visits to Tubbs restaurant in Colne. If I’m working on a book and coming in from Leeds, it was (and is now again) a perfect place to meet up with ex-players and co-authors from Burnley that I need to talk to. So far, two books have been written there, the Bob Lord book where week after week I met up with Mike Smith, and the Paul Weller book when I also met up with a procession of his old playing mates. Great breakfast there.

Another one is on the go with former director Clive Holt. We meet at Tubbs, where else? Clive was a director for something like 35 years and boy, the tales he has to tell. He left when the Americans came.

The Roger Eli book ‘Thanks for the Memories’ was pretty much written at Woodbank Garden Centre, Harden, near Bingley, an easy trip from Leeds and near to where Roger ran his business at the time. Great café there.

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The Paul Fletcher book ‘Magical’ much of it was written at the Muse Music and Love Café in Hebden

Bridge, the quiche and salad there quite extraordinaire. On one side of the cafe Sid ran his rare rock LP counter.

Writing a book, chatting with old Burnley legends, a Full English maybe, oh boy, could we ask for

anything more?