Pretty weird this, isn’t it? While you’re much beloved, handsome columnist is very much looking forward to the break this loser World Cup is providing but, let’s be honest, it’s pretty shite. No-one is the least bit excited about playing a tournament in the desert where loads of people have died to make it happen and even if England win, who cares?
In fact, whoever does win it, surely it’ll feel a little hollow? While celebrating sportswashing seems to be all the rage in the north east, especially since Eddie Howe is doing such a great job on a shoestring budget of literally more than any other club in the world, stopping the domestic campaign to play out a charade of a World Cup in Qatar is absolutely grim.
At Cans & Megabus, we’re not one to jump into a huge political debate we don’t really know much about but we’ll stop short by just saying – this World Cup shouldn’t be happening in Qatar, it shouldn’t be happening in winter and it shouldn’t be happening after thousands died building white elephant stadiums.
Anyway, Sunderland’s last fixture before the break is away to Birmingham which has been conveniently moved to a Friday night… presumably because we’re so massive. Let’s have a look, shall we?
How Do I Get There?
If you’re driving take the A1(M), M1, A42, M42 and M6 into Birmingham before leaving at junction 6 for the A38(M). After this just follow signs for St Andrew’s and find some parking spaces if you can.
Sat nav losers: B9 4RL
Legends on the train can either get a connecting service from Birmingham Snow Hill or Birmingham Moor Street to drop you off at Bordesley, which is a ten-minute walk from the ground. Alternatively, just get off at Birmingham New Street and wander towards the ground through Digbeth, should take about half an hour and you can take in some excellent pubs en route.
What’s the Ground Like?
You all know what St Andrew’s is like but I do find it very funny that their very cool owners have now renamed it the St Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium which, even for the Championship, is hilariously tinpot.
The stadium is, of course, in the Small Heath area of Birmingham made famous by Peaky Blinders. Fortunately, Birmingham City fans never embraced the series and you’ll definitely not see any of their supporters swaggering in a baker boy hat thinking they’re as sexy as Cillian Murphy.
Sunderland fans are housed in the Gil Merrick Stand behind the goal, it’s sold out on Friday so enjoy yourself.
If you like a casual few pints before a match then Digbeth is a simply wonderful place. The Anchor on Bradford Street is a great starting point if you enjoy your ale and continental lager. Wander up to The White Swan (also on Bradford Street) and sample some proper old pub vibes before wandering over to The Old Crown on High Street which dates back to 1368.
The Spotted Dog on Warwick Street is an absolute must if you like your lager with a side of live jazz, blue or Irish-folk while The Ruin (Floodgate Street) and The Big Bulls Head (Milk Street) are decent options all within walking distance of the ground.
What’s happening in Birmingham?
Well you could go watch Biffy Clyro at the arena or you could watch Jamie T at the O2 Academy, but you won’t because you’re watching the match like a loser. If you like wooden ornaments, however, you’re in luck because the all encompassing Birmingham Christmas Market will be happening on Friday and throughout the weekend.