What could be better on a September Saturday night than going to watch a rock concert and drinking real ale? Even better, it was free entry and in Blackburn’s Charles Napier pub. But most of all, it was cocking a snook at those hated Venky’s.
I had a walk down nice and early around 6.00pm. The usual Saturday afternoon punters were still in, but one or two Rovers fans were starting to appear on the scene. To my surprise, my mate Parky turned up with Tonia, his girlfriend. And my other half, Sylvia, turned up later in the evening.
We went upstairs to the Napier’s concert room and watched the first group kick off this evening’s entertainment. They were a young group called Static and they were very good. Unfortunately for me, the Napier’s upstairs bar didn’t have real ale piped up. So it meant me having to go back downstairs each time I fancied a Trooper or their Cumbrian Ale on sale this evening.
A poet from Chorley followed the first rock group. Unfortunately tonight’s organisers thought it was me who was their next act and asked me when I was ready for getting up on stage. I showed them this poor bard, who was quietly waiting, and he got on with his performance. A punk group from Blackpool – called Litterbug – was next. They knew all about what Rovers fans were going through and wore Anti-Oyston teeshirts highlighting their own struggle against bad owners.
And then we had Leonard Venkhater. He put in one of his legendary performances. During an intermission, I had the pleasure of sitting down and having a pint and a good chat with Leonard. I also bumped into MG Pensioner. Both were unstinting in their passion to continue our fight to rid Rovers of this Venky’s scourge.
Sadly I didn’t get to see all the acts at tonight’s concert due to time pressing on. But those I did see were very good. Those who criticised this initiative would have been better off leaving their keyboards alone for the night and joining Rovers fans who want to do something and not just moan about it. Like me, the organizers were very pleased with how things went. Another event is certainly on the cards in this venue. It was also nice to see boycotting Rovers fans mingling with those still going – all united together in their hatred of the Venky’s.
There are also similarities between happenings in this venue and our own battle. Appropriately, the Napier is celebrating winning its own battle exactly a year ago. Its regulars put up a great fight and managed to get their pub re-opened and back from the dead. If this Blackburn institution can do it – so can we!