Looking back 3: Who's hot and who's cold? The Championship standings for press-room scran in Rotherham United's 2022/23 season
BASICALLY, you’re just hoping for something hot.
Journalists are looked after very well by clubs in the Championship who all provide food of some sort for writers to tuck in to.
It certainly helps to while away a long journey speculating on the culinary delights that might be about to be heaped on your plate when you eventually reach your destination.
Cooked offerings whet reporters’ appetites much more than mere sarnies.
Rotherham United provide warm food and a warm welcome for visiting scribes. There’s generally a choice of two pies plus sausage rolls, all from the fair hand of club sponsors Eric Twigg Foods Ltd.
Meat and potato has its fans, but there’s always more of a rush for the hot shelf containing the beef-in-ale variety.
Around three times a season, a frisson of excitement runs around the AESSEAL New York Stadium media suite. That’s when our friends, chicken and balti, make a rare but much-appreciated appearance.
In a second-tier foodie league table, the Millers would be comfortably placed, not quite making the top half but certainly well clear of the drop zone.
This season, I’ve kept a note of everything on my travels and it gives me great pleasure to present my findings here.
Not nearly as much pleasure, though, I have to confess, as I got from doing the actual eating in the first place.
1 Watford: Peri peri chicken or vegetable lasagne, both with new potatoes. Quality fare and big portions. Plus a fridge groaning with sandwiches, wraps, fudge cake, cookies, fruit and soft drinks. The best food and the worst stewards were to be found at Vicarage Road.
2 West Brom: This is how the menu board described it ... roast Warwickshire turkey roulade stuffed with cranberries, butter roast potatoes, sausage meat wrapped in smoked bacon, seasonal vegetables. A proper festive treat for the last game before Christmas. For vegetarians, there was beetroot and carrot wellington.
3 Norwich: Chicken, ham and leek pie, new potatoes and red cabbage. They have to make an effort at Carrow Road because of Delia.
4 Bristol City: Rosemary chicken breasts, chips, carrots and parsnips and proper gravy.
5 Preston: Chicken and mushroom pie, new potatoes, carrots.
6 Hull: A lovely pie, chips, mushy peas and gravy. There was a decent noodle-type thing as well if you were feeling exotic. The food is always good at Hull. You need to stock up on calories because the walk up to the press box involves 2,000 flights of stairs.
7 Burnley: A choice between Lancashire hotpot (with red cabbage) or vegetable curry. I went for the hotpot and made a big mistake. It turned out the chips also on the menu were for the curry only. Fair play to the server, he clocked my disappointment and sneaked four of them on to my plate.
8 Birmingham City: Chicken curry with rice and naan breads.
9 Sunderland: Mexican beef, rice and wedges. You and I would call it chilli.
10 Middlesbrough: Lasagne, salad and coleslaw.
11 Millwall: Shepherd’s pie with carrots and green beans. Lots of it.
12 Stoke: Sweet and sour pork, rice, wedges and prawn crackers.
13 Swansea: Crispy chicken and noodles. Temptingly spicy but child-size amounts.
14 Sheffield United: Bought-in sandwich packs and a pleasing array of chocolate and crisps. I think I might still have a Snickers somewhere in my laptop bag. Mini meat pies at half-time were a very welcome bonus and the Blades crest on the crust was a high-end touch.
15 Coventry: Pie and chips.
16 QPR: Little sandwiches and tiny steak pies. I think had about 40 of the sandwiches and, I’m ashamed to admit, about the same number of pies.
17 Cardiff: A delicious pie but nothing else. And the server watched you like a hawk so you couldn’t sneak another.
18 Wigan: A meat-and-potato pie or a veggie version.
19 Blackpool: Nothing before kick-off, then a meat-and-potato pie at half-time. It’s amazing how often pies crop up in press rooms.
20 Huddersfield: A selection of pies. Told you!
21 Reading: Just bought-in sandwich packs and packets of biscuits. Extremely disappointing. I think this may be the real reason for the Royals’ six-point deduction.
22 Blackburn: Sandwiches a la Sheffield United but no pleasing array of anything else. A sad decline from the days of a hot meal plus bottles of beer in the fridge.
23 Luton: An insipid sausage roll. I know, very poor. The serviette it came in looked more appetising.