“Are you from Preston?”
“Who do you support?”
“Well, Preston tonight.”
“That’s alright then.”
This is the conversation between me and one of the lads running The Hot Potato Tram parked next to Deepdale Stadium. Barely big enough to fit the two boys who run it, this beautiful metal tin sits on the doorstep of the Sir Tom Finney stand, serving all sorts of wonderful pre-match fodder.
‘Try our World Famous Parched Peas’ reads the glowing sign on the side of the tram. Parched peas are the stuff of legend in Lancashire, and particularly here in Preston. The best way to describe them is this: if a lentil and a baked bean had a baby, they’d produce a parched pea served in a steaming, murky brown peppered sauce.
Meanwhile, a Baked Bean Dog was too intriguing to ignore. I applaud it as a genius move – a hot dog served with baked beans and cheese. Crucially, the cheese is applied to the dog before the beans are chucked on top, creating a stunning layer of melted cheese goodness beneath the piping hot pile of fart pellets. Forget food vans, food trams are the future.
Inside the stadium, a touching tribute to the late Sir Bobby Charlton was made before the two teams kicked off. It felt really rather special to be a part of the applause, celebrating such a fabled figure who was a player/manager at Preston North End during his illustrious career. An icon of the beautiful game.
HALF-TIME: PNE 0 Southampton 1
The referee’s whistle heralded half-time as well as time for Preston to #ShowUsTheirPies. And so I was introduced to another Lancashire delicacy: the Butter Pie, the contents of which can only be described as pure bliss. Carbohydrates (arguably the best food group going) take centre stage in the form of spuds, congealed along with onions and enough butter to sink a battleship, all encapsulated within a pastry casing. Perfectly crispy on top, with the pastry outside the main body merging closer in consistency to the carb contents within, this pie shared similarities with the two teams on the pitch: not far off the top of the league.
A cup of liquid meat was secured for the second half, and it was a good job too as although it scalded my mouth good and proper, the boiling hot beef juice kept my paws warm on this bitterly cold night, especially when the celebrations for Brad Potts’ goal sent a particularly large glug splurging over my arm and hand. Serious limbs.
I attended the game with my friend Albert who, on this proper chilly evening, broke his Bovril virginity. “It’s like drinking gravy,” he said after several swigs.
Truer words were never spoken.
FINAL SCORE: PNE 2 Southampton 2