Wednesday, 1 March 2017
Football Pie: Accrington Stanley
Accrington Stanley/Holland's - Peppered Steak Pie Review
After a seminar in Manchester yesterday I couldn't resist the chance to go to the Accrington Stanley vs Wycombe match. I felt that by being in Manchester I was most of the way to Accrington already. This was a great chance to add another pie to our Pie-remiership Football Pie League. Going for a Tuesday night game did mean that I had to shell out for an additional night's accommodation in Manchester as it was too late to make it home by train. Having already paid for my accommodation I was quite concerned that it would be postponed given the amount of snow and rain.
I got quite soggy during the 20 minutes walk up the hill to the tiny 5000 capacity Crown Ground (which has the hilarious name of Wham Stadium for sponsorship reasons). Despite the rain still coming down, I was relieved once I was inside the ground, even if it was called off, at least I would manage to get my pie to review! However, wandering around the fairly mishmash away end I started to panic. There was a bloke selling dodgy looking drinks out of a dirty fridge (not sure what that was about) and there was also a independent burger van parked up. However, there was no proper food kiosk and nowhere to buy a pie! Having come all this way, to not get a pie would be so annoying, especially given that I could have just bought a ticket for the home end which I was sure would sell pies. The guy in the burger van wasn't willing to help beyond offering me a double cheese burger. Sorry mate but no matter how many beef patties you put in there it isn't going to make up for the lack of pastry. In desperation I explained my situation to a steward and asked if I could change my ticket for a ticket in the home end (I had hidden my Wycombe scarf in my bag). He consulted his colleague, who called another colleague, who then called the manager. There was a bit of discussion before they decided that this skinny, middle class Southerner was probably not going to cause any trouble in the home end. However, they decided that I needed an escort given that I had to pass through two home stands to get to the sole Pie kiosk. Perhaps I look more dodgy than I thought! They were friendly though and I was grateful for their help.
Anyway, the relief was palpable when I was finally able to buy a Holland's Peppered Steak Pie for £2.50 from what was quite a healthy selection of pies. It was one of those baffling pies which come wrapped in plastic. I still don't quite understand how they cook it without the plastic melting. To eat my pie I had to shelter huddled in the tiny covered area with the 96 other Wycombe fans, the main away stand being open to the elements. It wouldn't do the pie justice to have soggy pastry.
From the outside the pie looked pretty good, decked out in shortcrust pastry rather than the flakey pastry often favoured for football pies. I am not sure if it was the same as the Big Peppered Steak Pierateer RAS previously reviewed. The name suggests that this was a smaller version of the same pie and indeed it wasn't especially big. Slightly smaller than a Pukka or Peter's pie. However it was well filled with meat content so it felt quite satisfying. Whilst not the optimal level of crispness, the pastry was not soggy like some of the Peter's pies we have had at the football recently. In fact, some of the top actually was lovely and crunchy. The pastry had a nice buttery taste. Moving on to the filling, there were plenty of steak chunks which had good flavour but some of them were slightly chewy. The sauce tasted quite different to your average steak pie which tends to taste like Bisto gravy. It was nice to have something a bit different. At first it didn't seem peppery at all but by the end I was getting a bit of a peppery kick. It seemed like the pepper wasn't as much as described by Pierateer RAS but we have different taste buds when it comes go pepper. In any case, the pepper wasn't the main flavour, Holland's hadn't held back with other seasoning and flavouring but I found it difficult to tell what these were. Another real plus point was that the Consitency of this pie meant it didn't fall apart and could be easily eaten by hand, ideal for a football pie. Overall, another strong performance from a Holland's as a football pie option.
On their twitter page Accrington claim to be 'the biggest little club in the world' which is a nice oxymoron which I think does make sense. Certainly they are a small club with the lowest attendance in the league with around 1,700. I am not sure how they make end meet. They also say 'we're aware we were once mentioned in a milk advert'. The milk advert has ironically made them famous and helps the be a 'big' small club. It adds a bit of romance, Accrington feel like the sterotypical small club that away fans love to visit. We don't mind that the facilities are a bit delapidated (but try not to go to the toilet if you can avoid it), it all adds to the charm. However, away fans need pies and should really be getting the same catering and prices as the home fans. This is not the first time we have had some problem accessing the same food in the away end as the home end. I also noticed that the independent burger van in the away end was charging twice the price for a cup of tea as in the home end. Again we have previously come across the problem of away fans being charged more which doesn't seem fair. However, I was pleased to note the pie in the home end -was relatively reasonable at £2.50 which is the cheapest price in League Two, as long as you can get hold of one!
Peppered Steak Pie (Accrington Stanley)