Godalming pub crawl

The Pepperpot
The Pepperpot: The Spartak Mogadishu manager does his best to be mistaken for Godalming resident Ashley Cole

GODALMING became the centre of national scandal in 1726 when a local woman began giving birth to rabbits.

Mary Toft raised herself from obscurity by convincing even King George I’s own surgeon she was capable of delivering a bumper litter of 16 bunnies, as well as bits of other animals.

The deception was uncovered when Toft was found to have inserted woodland creatures inside herself before faking the births.

Fortunately, Vicki the bus spotter was not in such capricious mood 287 autumns later when a party of regular crawlers made the day trip from London Waterloo to sample the pubs in her new Surrey home. A deer was spotted in her garden though.

A couple of Binksy’s extremely fiery Bloody Marys were more than enough to warm their house on a Saturday lunchtime and the group – including the Kenna chairman, Palts the Balt, the Spartak Mogadishu manager and of course the irrepressible Sutcliffe in a shirt of questionable taste – ambled down the hill to sample four of Godalming’s ale houses.

The first town in the world to have a public electricity supply in 1881, it was fitting the day of the pub crawl would also see the people of Godalming throng the streets to see their Christmas lights switched on.

Tipplers were made to shuffle through thoroughfares tightly packed with market stalls, carol singers and wide-eyed locals around the town’s centrepiece – the Pepperpot – as Vicki assured everyone it was ‘never normally this busy. Just old people’.

The Star Inn

The Star Inn
The Star Inn: This sign continues ‘…a local woman who shoved dead rabbits up her lady garden.’

Having fought through the crowd, crawlers filed into the first pub, which according to the badly-punctuated sign outside has stood on the site since the Eighteenth Century, and has retained much of it’s ‘Olde Worlde’ charm.

The Star Inn chips
Sutcliffe considers eating someone else’s leftover chips

Inside the pub was a low-timbered place with one of those frustratingly small bar serving areas which cause a pseudo flash mob in one part of an otherwise quiet snug. Table service must have been the norm when people believed women were capable of siring quadrupeds.

Despite its size, the bar served an interesting array of obscure ciders. Sadly, a roll of the dice produced a vinegary snake eyes. The barman was only too happy to point out better choices afterwards.

Sutcliffe was reasonably impressed with the ale on offer, and his hypersensitive pretentiousness-o-meter, which strobes wildly in all but the most down to earth London pubs, didn’t even register. The pub was solid.

The Rose and Crown

The Rose and Crown:
The Rose and Crown: Sutcliffe unimpressed

Outside the Rose and Crown looked like a charming old building perched on a hill. Inside it was all refitted wooden floors and Jeff Stelling’s face. The cosy bar area makes it difficult to stand somewhere that isn’t blocking someone’s view of the vidiprinter.

Committed lager drinkers looking for something more than Stella Artois or Kronenbourg would be disappointed here. Committed deviants would not – the barman looked like a 10-year-old boy.

Only because the toilets were located in a separate building out the back, was it discovered the boozer has a charming beer patio and a sizeable covered area to delight any smoker.

The Richmond Arms

The Richmond Arms
The Richmond Arms: Binksy in a winter wonderland

Christmas is a difficult time for any pub. Striving to maintain tradition while giving punters the flavour for buying a few more festive rounds leaves publicans with the singular choice of decorations. At the Richmond tinsel is bar sales.

After the pokey interior of the Rose and Crown, the Richmond was a red-carpeted grand hall. The front bar is a very welcoming room with a counter bulging out from the wall opposite the entrance. Again it was a trip to gents that afforded further exploration – a large function room at the rear was the find.

One imagines loyal regulars are this pub’s lifeblood. They most certainly enjoy well-kept beer.

The Red Lion

The Red Lion
The Red Lion: Little to nothing of any note

Coming from the warmth and care of the Richmond, the Red Lion is in stark contrast. Sometimes it’s immediately apparent crossing the threshold that no one cares about a pub – not the punters, not the staff, not even its website. It’s just a set of numbers on a balance sheet in a brewery HQ hundreds of miles away. The landlord’s cutting his teeth and building his CV in the hope of moving on to a more illustrious tippler. That’s the Red Lion.

As a result this pub lacks charm, the beer’s dreadful and the only factor keeping it in the game is its size and location in the middle of town. There’s live music performed in the evenings, which appears to help give it all the character of a beer stand at the O2 Dome.

While crawlers made the best of the Red Lion’s inhospitable front bar the Godalming Christmas lights were turned on. Everyone doubled back to Vicki and Binksy’s for chilli and gin.


It was widely accepted the first boozer, The Star Inn, was the best. It did mean the rest of crawl was like a slow puncture of quality – with a small rally at the Richmond – ending in the flat Red Lion experience.

As Kenna pub crawls visit and assess more and more pubs, it’s clear that striking the delicate balance between running a business, keeping an imaginative array of beers and building an assembly of loyal regulars not too cliquey so strangers feel unwelcome is a complicated demand, and one publicans approach with varying degrees of success. A Kenna pub rating system is on the drawing board.

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Heads roll in the drop zone

Cigar cutter
Gruesome end: While those at the top of the Kenna reach for the cigars, the bottom three managers face the chop (photo courtesy of double gauss)

AS THE SPORTING Lesbian manager bathes in the success of winning the Kenna title on his debut, time has run out at the other end of the league.

Vasco De Beauvoir, victors of the inaugural Kenna league in 2005 and double winners in 2010, rounded off a dismal season to be relegated after eight years in the top flight.

The Vasco manager’s disastrous campaign is being pinpointed to the moment he lost a £40m Sergio Aguero under the Titus Bramble ruling at the August auction. The strike force of Leroy Lita and Fabio Borini offered little recompense.

Aguero went on to the snapped up for £12m and became an integral component of Sporting Lesbian’s team.

Speaking to Sky Sports News this morning outside Vasco’s Shoreditch Park ground, which was as far he got when it turned out club wallahs had already ordered the locks to be changed, the outgoing manager said: “Is it opening time yet?”


In south London, the Kenna diversity police are hot on the trail of another manager with a P45 fresh in his in tray.

No one expected Wandsworth Window Lickers to put up much of a fight this season considering their registered status as intellectually disabled.

But the team bus with rainbows on the side and disproportionately high number of grab handles at their home ground was just a ruse, the whole team turned out to be physically fit athletes who possessed all their mental faculties – with the exception of Peter Odemwingie, who was mostly a knob.

The Wandsworth manager was last seen boarding a plane to South America on a ‘scouting mission’. Club bean counters are said to be keen to speak to the errant manager over missing disability allowance funds.

Crime spree

The Woking manager is still AWOL, and has been since the mysterious death of Sky Sports News presenter Natalie Sawyer on Chobam Common.

Surrey Police were believed to have made a breakthrough in the manhunt when an early-hours 999 call from a club admin girl claimed the manager’s car was parked outside her Worplesdon flat.

A response was dispatched, but officers arrived to find the property empty and ransacked. Two days later the girl was fished out of the Basingstoke Canal with a broken neck.

The search continues.

Big do

Managers will flock to a central London pub on Friday for the Kenna end-of-season awards night.

The Chairman said: “It’s been a long season and for all that hard work managers deserve nothing less than to buy me a beer. There’ll also be a short quiz to see how much people remember from the campaign’s shenanigans.”

Final league table

Week 38 - 21 May 2013
Week 38 – 21 May 2013

Weekly scores

Manager Points Goals
1 Spartak Mogadishu Abdi 47 6
2 Northern Monkeys Hugo 43 1
3 Just put Carles Carles 40 2
4 Lokomotiv Leeds Ben S 37 1
5 Piedmonte Phil 35 1
6 Headless Chickens John N 34 3
7 PSV Mornington El Pons 34 1
8 Woking Mike 32 3
9 Dynamo Charlton Alex 32 0
10 Bala Rinas Lewis 31 2
11 Hairy Fadjeetas Aiden 30 1
12 Judean Peoples’ Front Sholto 30 0
13 Pikey Scum Jack 26 2
14 Vasco De Beauvoir Stix 26 2
15 Still Don’t Know Yet Pete 25 2
16 FC Testicluadew James N 24 1
17 Wandsworth Window Lickers Will 24 0
18 Sporting Lesbian Ben M 23 1
19 Greendale Rockets Stu 20 1
20 Newington Reds Dudley 8 0
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In too deep

Woking manager Sky Sports News
Never Woking up again: Three days later a dog walker found Natalie Sawyer’s battered corpse on Chobham Common

THE CAR pulled to a stop and he killed the lights. It was late at night and only the glow of the radio illuminated their faces. He turned to her.

“I really need this,” he said over his Genesis CD.

“Look, Mike, it’s not that easy. I can’t just click my fingers and get you a job,” she said nervously. There was no other light around them as far as the eye could see, except the dim red suggestion of the M3 a couple of miles away. He’d seemed so pleasant and well mannered in the studio, but he was different now. He probably didn’t have any rare Brentford Football Club memorabilia to show her.

“But you must be able to,” the tension in his voice was clear. “You’re one of their most popular anchors. The Woking job, that’s over now. The board called me in yesterday.”

She took a deep breath: “Not all ex managers make good pundits. I know you did okay in the screen test today, but there are other factors. Do you know how many former managers we have coming in? Lots of…”

“But I could do it,” he cut in. “I’ve got the experience. To manage a team propping up the league for most of the season, well, it gives you plenty to analyse. It gives you perspective,” he was louder now, and the Home Counties twang he worked so hard to hide was becoming more pronounced.

“We’ve already got a team of well known pundits who the punters love,” she was firmer, and trying to steer the conversation towards getting away from the desolate spot in which she found herself. “They’re not some one-season pony with three worst manager of the month awards and a string of ill-advised signings. They’re household names: Jeff Stelling, Matt Le Tissier, Alan McInally…”

“Screw Alan McInally!” His hands hit the steering wheel in frustration. Her head snapped round to see a wild look in his eyes as he stared into the darkness. His breathing was deep, animal.

“If I don’t get this then there’s nothing,” he continued. “Nothing. I’ve been talking to my agent and there are no offers to manage another club. No job in football’s top flight and my life’s over. You have to get me a job, Natalie.” His knuckles were white. His eye twitched.

“I’d like you to drive me home now,” she made the sound, but it was barely audible. The end of the sentence was swallowed by the realisation that she’d seen Sam for the last time.

He opened the door and stepped into the chill of a Surrey spring night. She became more rigid in her seat as he retrieved something from the boot. In a flash her door was opened.

“Get out!” He shouted. Then without waiting he grabbed her sleek dark hair and dragged her out of the car. She screamed but there was no one to hear. The noise was enveloped by the lonely isolation.

He threw her to ground and stood over her. The lichen was damp and cold against her tights.

“I’ve been patient,” he said, the strain of his team’s poor league performances and early cup exit very much apparent. “But you’re negativity is starting to anger me. You don’t understand. No one understands. You just think the Kenna League is a bunch of guys in the pub doing a fantasy football auction. Do you know how much my back still stings from wearing the Bramble Jersey during the January transfer night? This is serious, more serious than you could ever imagine in your cosy studio.”

“I understand. I agree with you,” she simpered.

“You’re mocking me,” he snarled. Something briefly shined at his side.

“Please, please don’t hurt me,” she sobbed. Tears were streaming from her dark eyes. In places they were beginning to stick hair to the sharp curves of her Slavic features.

The open car door was the only window of light in the wide open space of the dark heathland, made blacker still by the overcast and starless night sky. Not even an owl hooted.

The melancholy voice of Phil Collins coming from the radio drifted over the purple flowering heather and sweet scented gorse, punctuated by 17 blows from a socket wrench.

Coloured performance chart

MOTM Augst 2012 - March 2013
Coloured performance chart – August 2012 to March 2013

Cup results

Canesten Combi Cup semi final first leg

Still Don’t Know Yet 1 – 2 Just Put Carles
van Persie                              Maloney, Arteta

Spartak Mogadishu 0 – 0 FC Testiculadew

Second leg to be played 30 April.

League table

Week 32 - 16 April 2013
Week 32 – 16 April 2013

Weekly scores

Manager Points Goals
1 Vasco De Beauvoir Stix 32 1
2 Pikey Scum Jack 28 1
3 Newington Reds Dudley 27 1
4 Sporting Lesbian Ben M 26 2
5 Lokomotiv Leeds Ben S 25 1
6 Still Don’t Know Yet Pete 24 1
7 Woking Mike 24 0
8 Just put Carles Carles 23 2
9 Spartak Mogadishu Abdi 22 0
10 Bala Rinas Lewis 21 1
11 Piedmonte Phil 21 1
12 Hairy Fadjeetas Aiden 19 0
13 PSV Mornington El Pons 19 0
14 Dynamo Charlton Alex 18 1
15 Wandsworth Window Lickers Will 17 1
16 Greendale Rockets Stu 17 0
17 Northern Monkeys Hugo 14 0
18 FC Testicluadew James N 12 0
19 Judean Peoples’ Front Sholto 12 0
20 Headless Chickens John N 10 0
Points Player
Player of the week 10 Sessegnon, S – SUN – MID
Club Newington Reds
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