Wednesday, 7 November 2018


Another week, another blog, another stellar performance from Sebastian to report on. With nineteen players in the mix this week – i.e. an odd number – our dear leader elected to invite a ringer onto the pitch to even the teams up, name of Merv. He wasn’t half bad. Here are your teams:

Blues: me, Joe, Charlie, Liam, James, Shez, Yev, Mario, Alan

Yellows: Sebastian (also starring Mick, Simon Gas, Ian Baggies, Mark, David, Stu, Merv, Simon Ink)
The Yellows quickly took a two-goal lead, although both were a bit soft. The first came after the goalkeeper could only parry Sebastian’s initial shot back into his path whereupon he slammed the ball unerringly home from an impressively tight angle; the second saw a gentle lob over the top spring Mick who had just a flat-footed ‘keeper to beat (which he duly did). I know, as I was that ‘keeper.

The Blues got a goal back via a poacher’s finish from Alan, and then they took advantage of what Alan described as the ‘Power Play’ when Sebastian was off the field for a few minutes to retrieve one of the balls to score three times, with Mario and Liam getting stuck in.

But before long the Yellows stuck their foot back on the accelerator to pull inexorably away from their rivals. David met a corner sweetly on the instep and volleyed home; Stu capped a trademark driving run by curling home and Sebastian repeatedly unleashed a series of low-slung howitzers that zinged into either corner.

Toward the end of the game James missed a slew of chances that were put on plate for him by Yev, Charlie and Mario, although in his defence he had sustained some unfortunate knee-knack.

I'm genuinely not sure about the final score, although the last goal of the night was an absolute farce, as the goalkeeping change that never was left either Stu or Merv with the simple task of passing the ball into an empty net. Highly avoidable.

Sebastian and friends 7 (?): Blues 4

Another fun evening out after the game; hot on the heels of Simon Gas’s exploits last week, Yev arranged to meet two Italian ladies, one of whom I am going to describe as ‘impossibly glamorous’, in the swanky bar underneath what I still think of as the Spice Girls hotel at St Pancras, after spotting them in the Skinners where they looked a trifle out of place. Yev very astutely divined that they were slumming it and made some arrangements to meet them somewhere altogether more salubrious.

David and I joined him, although we were soon sidelined by the smooth operator that Yev is as they discussed all things international. David and I being the dowdy Englishmen we are, we could not compete with all the Euro-glamour. Brexit, here we come.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

A golden night

Another eventful night to report back on, with plenty of goals, gaffes and great celebrations. With Peter being a late withdrawal from proceedings, the two teams – which were perfectly balanced – were thrown out of kilter. Was it ever any different?

Here are your teams:

Yellows: Steve, Bristol Paul, me, Bert, Ed, Joe, Mario, Tony, Ian Gooner

Blues: Simon Gas, Simon Ink, Liam, Danny, Alan, James, Sebastian, Tannero, Yev

The game started much as it ended; with Sebastian hammering the ball not so much past Ed, our specialist ‘keeper, lest we forget, as through him in what became something of a motif for the game. This prompted some changes – Ed came out of goal and I went in – before Sebastian’s second saw a rejigging of the teams, (to little effect), with Ed and Yev swapping sides:

Yellows: Steve, Bristol Paul, me, Bert, Yev, Joe, Mario, Tony, Ian Gooner

Blues: Simon Gas, Simon Ink, Liam, Danny, Alan, James, Sebastian, Tannero, Ed

A word on the sides here; before the game was more than a few minutes old Alan was complaining that they weren’t fair because the Blue team didn’t have enough defenders – frankly, they didn’t need any – before Tony then opined that the Yellow team did not have enough strikers, hence the move to provide the Yellows with Yev, despite already having the not inconsiderable striking talent of Mario.

Never mind. Sebastian’s second, from memory, was from a tight angle whereupon the young Colombian maestro placed the ball with the outside of his boot into the top corner of the far post as he hoved in on goal. His next strike was from the other side of the area. With your correspondent still in nets, I stationed myself flush against the near post to prevent the ball from sneaking in, whereupon the South American elected to thrash the ball so hard that all I was able to sense was a breeze around my knees as the ball hurtled into the back of the net. 3-0 to the Blues.

This was the stage when Yev came over to join the Yellows, but Tony soon pegged the score back with a lofted shot direct from the restart that caught out James (?) in goal. 3-1. Thereafter, things become a bit blurry.

Two scruffy goals – one for each side – followed, with Steve closing down the otherwise immaculate Sebastian and forcing the ball in from close range. Next came arguably the moment of the night, as Tony responded to a call from Bert in goal by banging the ball blindly back toward his own goal and into the back of the net. Somehow, it was everyone else’s fault for talking.

Mario also scored direct from the restart, but by this stage the Yellows were hopelessly behind and Sebastian completed his own scoring by deftly dropping a shoulder, weaving inside and lining up yet another howitzer of a shot that would have probably taken Bert out in goal had he got anywhere near it. Speaking of which, the one passage in play during which Sebastian was in anyway subdued was when Bert fouled him from behind. Instructive, perhaps.

Final score: Sebastian 6 (7?) – Yellows 3

To the pub! Plenty to report on from the Skinners this week. Ian and I, of all people, were approached by a random punter and asked if we were Tottenham season ticket holders: fighting talk, I’d say. When we said no, but we knew a man who was, we realised that Tony had already left for the evening, presumably because we were talking too much, so Ian offered to keep the auteur’s Tottenham wristband safe until this Friday. You can see for yourself what happened next:

Onto happier things now, with Steve celebrating his half century in fine style. Ian demonstrated his inimitable largesse by procuring the sometime Scotsman with a bevy of age appropriate gifts, including: a Bells whisky miniature; a packet of shortbread; a tin of corned beef; a tube of superglue; some Vaseline (make the connection yourselves) and finally a postcard from the Queen to mark fifty years before he gets his telegram. (I should have been on the generation game).

And it would be remiss of me not to relay, gentle reader, that our dear leader, the Muswell Hillbilly himself, spent a not inconsiderable amount of time making the acquaintance of a delightful young lady named Elizabeth (from Huddersfield) and, it would seem, getting her phone number. More news as it comes.

Until Friday… 

Monday, 22 October 2018

Are you playing Manchester City?

Blog number two of the 2018/19 campaign coming up now, with two very different fixtures to report on. Friday 12th October saw a poor game blighted by tardiness and other personnel issues that resulted in a one-sided gubbing. For the record, here were the two teams:

Yellows: Danny, Bristol Paul, Patrick C, me, Andy, Mario, Nick and Patrick (K)

Blues: Paul, Simon Gas, James, Ian Gooner, Yev, Mick, Peter and Joe

I believe that Yev ended up playing for the Yellow team because Peter and Joe were both late and were given Patrick C to compensate and the whole thing was very unsatisfactory with a final score of around 6-1. Mario and Patrick always make a potent strike force and it all got a bit much.

Conversely, last Friday’s game was, by happy common consent, one of our best for some time. There was a bizarre moment just before the game when a bloke walked in to the changing rooms with a wry grin and asked if we were about to play Manchester City; thankfully, the answer was ‘no’, although I reckon we’d have a chance if we deployed Steve as Raheem Sterling’s marker (not really). I think he was confusing us with one of the league teams that plays in a recognised team’s colours, but perhaps the question inspired us to raise the standard of play from the norm.

Here are your teams:

Yellows: Paul, Bert, James, me, Sebastian (James’ cousin), Charlie, Tony, Liam and Simon Gas

Blues: David, Joe, Ed, Shez, Peter, Danny and Yev

Joe’s late arrival owing to problems on the tube meant that he joined the Blue team, even though he was supposed to be a Yellow, leading Simon Gas to selflessly change bibs and join the Yellows, who had the weaker line-up. It shows the fine margins we live with really, because had he not done so it would be a one-sided riot of the game, but happily it was all right on the night.

A word about Sebastian, first – we’d first assumed that given the posh moniker some floppy haired fop would turn up clutching a teddy bear, but Sebastian turned out to be a fleet-footed Colombian dynamo, recycling possession and driving into pockets of space to free up his team-mates. How wrong we were!

The Blue team prevailed by three goals to one, (so, a relatively low scoring game). Their first arrived after a ball eluded all Yellows defenders and arrived at the back post for someone to steer past James; the second was an absolute gift / howler from me, as I attempted to take a backpass from Simon Gas on my instep and ping it wide to the full back on the right side of defence, but succeeded in merely pushing the ball straight to Yev who tapped into an open goal from about five yards; the third and final goal of the game was a good finish from young Ed who nipped in ahead of the keeper and squeezed the ball in from an acute angle.

All that aside, the Yellows had plenty of possession and pinged the ball around with what at times could be genuinely described as panache, with Bert and Tony making the ball do all the work at the back and James linking up well with his cousin in midfield, neither of whom deserved to lose. A bit of a thin game for Liam, who was feeding on scraps for all the Yellow possession, although he did get on the scoresheet following an uncharacteristic brain fade from Joe.

Immediately prior to Ed’s winning goal I took a corner that got cleared back out wide, so I smashed it hopefully back into the middle of the area and it fell to Sebastian who unleashed a venomous volley that careered back of the post and that just about summed up the Yellow performance. Well done to the Blues, who mopped up the pressure well and took their chances. And well done to Yev, who not only washed the bibs, but arrived early. Fancy that.

Mercifully, there was relatively little drama to mar proceedings and a game well worth eight quid.
Onto the pub, where just a few of us made it past half eight – Yev, me, Tony, Simon Gas and Paul. 

Topics under discussion included Tottenham’s new stadium and Harvey Weinstein before the evening became an impromptu smartphone workshop as we struggled and failed to download WhatsApp onto Paul’s phone.

See you Friday…

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

In the wolf's mouth

Welcome, one and all, to what is becoming an occasional look at events from Coram Fields on a Friday night. This is the first post of the new season and we’re well into October, so I trust that everyone had a great Summer, heatwave and World Cup fever now being a distant memory.

I’ve only played two of the five games of the new season, but felt moved to write following the departure of a genuine Coram Fields legend, albeit a very unassuming one - Michele. A box-to-box tour de force, not afraid to get stuck in, although with the steel comes a silky √©lan and a keen eye for goal. If I was being reductive I’d say that this mixture of gritty determination and ball-playing panache reflects his mixed Irish and Italian heritage, but it probably isn’t so I won’t. Despite the fact some of our number have never quite the hang of his name (hint: not Michaela), he’ll live long in the memory and hopefully he’ll join the pantheon of former players occasionally stopping by to roll back the years and join us on-stage for the odd encore.

I learnt something new courtesy of Adolfo’s valedictory message to Michele: “in bocca al lupo per lupo” got my interest pricked as I know that ‘bocca’ means mouth in Romance languages and lupo must be something to do with wolves. And so it turns out – this Italian phrase translates as something like ‘break a leg’, but literally means “in the wolf’s mouth”. Fancy that.

This greeting was delivered via the most notable development at Friday night football since the change to the overhead rule – the new WhatsApp group. Our dear leader has not so much embraced the twenty-first century as given it a cursory nod and a crisp handshake and created a new forum in which Ian can post vaguely not suitable for work images and for people to mute notifications for eight hours every Monday morning after they’ve confirmed their participation for the following week’s game.

Right, that’s more than 300 words without any mention of football.

I still have the teams for the second week of the new campaign, which are scribbled onto a piece of paper, Neville Chamberlain style. Here you go:

Yellows: Liam, Steve, Stu (congratulations), Bert, Joe, Peter, James, Mark and Ian Baggies

Blues: Yev (late), Danny, Shez, Simon Gas, Patrick, Michele, Josh, Bristol Paul, me

Lord knows what happened that night, but I think it was a fairly decent game, despite the odd late arrival. I have a memory of Patrick running amok and possibly setting up the much-lamented Michele, but really, it’s a bit of a blur.

I’ve mislaid the team news from the following week’s game, but the entire game descended into farce as a couple of players arrived late and there was a definite perception that one team was stronger than the other, with the effect that one team did indeed become stronger than the other and rather ran away with things, even though it was an evenly fought contest for the opening twenty minutes or so. Tony, I think it’s fair to say, was distinctly unimpressed.

I haven’t been around for the past fortnight, so I can only hope that you’ve been able to enjoy two more keenly contested games in that time and without all the hullabaloo.

See you Friday and cheerio Michele. 

Monday, 23 July 2018


Apologies for the dearth - [I originally typed the word ‘death’ here, which would be more accurate] -of reports recently, but as has become commonplace this season I aim to redress the paucity of Friday night football news with a round-up of the last few weeks of the season, including the valedictory evening for Ross Bicknell.

Here are my field notes from the final game in Ross’s long and illustrious Friday night career:

Ha det bra, Ross!
Two teams as follows:

Blues – Paul, Johnny, Steve, Antonio, Peter, Stan, Tony, Geoff, James

Yellows – me, David, Danny, Simon, Joe, Patrick, Mick, Ian Baggies… and Ross

Goals: Ross came on and got a late one, Patrick snaffled up at least three,

… and that’s as far as I got before the evil world of work took over the time I’d allocated to that particular report.

What I do recall is that I took the highly unusual, nay unprecedented, step of fixing the teams so that the side that Ross was on would prevail; sadly, what I could not predict was the fact that the fey indie shyster would only arrive with about twenty minutes to go. As such, the teams were fairly even for about 60% of the game. However, following his late arrival Ross did manage to get on the scoresheet, although the eventual victory for the Yellow team has to be slightly mitigated by the fact Tony was forced into goal following a groin injury that rendered him, in effect, useless.

This highly partial team selection, coupled with Tony’s chronic man-knack, meant a comfortable win for the Yellows, much to Tony’s (perhaps understandable) chagrin.

Far more memorable were the post-game drinks – see photos below – and the warmly drunken bonhomie with which we wished Ross all the very best for him and his young family. Well played, Ross. We hope to see you again.

Now, over to the Coram Fields jazz correspondent – Big ‘Chuff’ Gennaro – for one of his inimitable match reports:

Dear Simon, content for the blog. Our favourite ersatz Irishman did not confirm or deny that his children were born out of wedlock. If you want a real belly laugh ring up Mick's voicemail at the FT. He comes over all public school ya and he is on holiday until April 9th.

Why were you dancing and making loads of noise?

And when I snare a Spanish bint [Ed’s note – there was no ‘snaring’ that I could remember, just moderate bothering], could the lads stop saying I am married to a senora. Her name is Selva (Jungle), the senorita I introduced to the whole gang. A good translation is "Wild Thing". I kept humming the Jimi Hendrix version from Electric Ladyland.

Un embrazo, Pablo

PS I need to do more work on my Flamenco dancing

So there you have it. To defend Mick, he said that he’d received a plaintive message on his work phone that week from a Spanish speaking gentleman with a treasure trove of sporting and musical memories.

Onto last Friday’s game now, the grand finale of the current campaign. Despite the fact we have played so deep into the Summer that our professional idols are already back in pre-season, we had a highly respectable turn out on Friday 20th July, with no fewer than seventeen players reporting for duty, most of them the dashing young blades based in the glamorous world of corporate finance. Here are your two teams -

Blues: Michele, Peter, Simon Gas, me, Joe, Mick, Bristol Paul, Andrew

Yellows: Adolpho, Alessandro, Antonio, Will, Danny, Paul, Nick, Stu, Patrick C

A couple of late line-up changes: Josh’s non-appearance meant that the Blues ended up with Joe while the ever-so-slightly-late Antonio turned from Blue to Yellow. This gave the Yellows a one-man advantage and that numerical weighting, combined with their side boasting the not inconsiderable ball playing talents of Will and Antonio (and Adolpho), meant that they dominated possession in a manner reminiscent of recent Spanish national teams.

Essentially, think of this game as one of those statistical oddities that Opta occasionally put out with one team enjoying three quarters of the possession but not managing any more shots on target than the team without the ball, (Jose Mourinho would have been proud of the Blue team).

As for the goals, Peter got us off the mark by smashing home a free kick for the Blues that almost took the net off, while Michele bagged the other two for the Blue team: one a deft flick from the outside of his right boot and the other following some fine counter attacking from Peter.
Not to be outdone, the Yellows also drilled home a free kick with Antonio being the recipient of some loose defending, while Will claimed the final goal of the 2018/19 season following a cross from Stu and a glancing effort that he or may not have meant which just eluded the otherwise immaculate Simon Gas in goals. A word for a player I’d not met before, Patrick C (one of the young financiers who generously find time to play with all the old duffers), who managed to smother one of Peter’s trademark howitzers from all of about eighteen inches during his stint in goal. Impressive.  

And props to Mick for one of the funnier moments of the season, after he accused Bristol Paul of virtue signalling after he dribbled the ball up the halfway line before passing the ball back to the opposition following a disputed handball call, thereby wasting about two minutes of the game.

Final score: Blues 3 – Yellows 3

All in all a good game to end the season, with everyone benefitting from a thorough work out in the wilting heat. And thus to the pub for a wonderful evening of Summer ale, chat and al fresco vertical drinking. Topics under discussion included the World Cup, Kylian Mbappe, holiday plans (including Simon’s journalistic trips to Seoul and Montreal), plastic recycling, flies and the merits of younger men enjoying time with older ladies. The usual, in other words.

Have a good Summer and see you all in September.

Monday, 25 June 2018

You can go your Norway….

Good morning all! And what a morning – drink in the warmth of an English Summer and the hazy afterglow of England’s smiting of the mighty Panamanians, many of whom would appear to have learnt how to play football by watching scratchy VHS cassettes of Steve in his mid-90s pomp.
I’m acutely aware how long it’s been since the last batch of match reports, so this is part catch-up and part preview to Friday night’s game. As we all know, Ross departs on his Viking longboat for the fjords and inlets of Norway this week in what feels like the culmination of a farewell tour of Elton John-like proportions.

I believe that Ross has been playing for at least ten years and there have been many high points: 2010’s World Cup song with Spizz, the tear-up with Mario and many, many goals. Ross may look like a fey indie shyster, but beneath that art school stubble and Britpop bob lies a steely determination and competitiveness that has always resulted in a reliable and consistent level of performance which belies his slim stature.

Anyway, more of that anon.

The last few weeks has seen a host of new and old faces: Johnny, who has apparently been beamed in from 1988 and looks like a lost member of Pop Will Eat Itself, an older chap called Bert – a spry sixty something years old and who was given a formal Coram Fields inauguration from Steve – and last but not least, the prodigal Tony, Hammer of the Remainers.

Before I try and report on Friday’s game, here are a couple of reports from Paul in his usual inimitable ‘beat’ style:

30th May: I can't remember the result or the teams except the Blues won; Yev was not allowed to come on the pitch of play for being late. [Ian confirmed that Yev arrived at around 7.40 pm and was told not to enter the field of play]. Man-of-the match was James, for providing a substitute in Johnny. The new player got two goals for the Blues. Ian Gooner got two goals for the Blues and hit the crossbar with a dipping shot.

Mick played with the Yellows with his son Patch. He tried to get Joe out of goal and up front. Stan and I did a rarely seen one-two for the Blues. The FCO duo of Danny and Stuart covered the Yellow Antonio, who blasted a great crossfield pass. While Andy nodded a header for the Yellows when the zonal defence broke down. Ask Simon George for more detail of the game…

More Blues [players] were Mark in goal, Liam up front and Simon Gas in defence, while the Yellows were Bristol Paul and Ross; the latter had a very strong box-to-box game.

In the pub afterwards, Keith the barman, Tony the Dubliner and I did a rousing version of Chantilly Lace, while the lads exchanged in pub banter with two birds. I went all Geopolitical and discussed Han Chinese and one thought I was talking about Ham Chinese!

Pick the bones out of that.

While I’m grateful to Paul for the updates (I missed a couple of games owing to All Points East and a holiday, of all things), you’ll have to ask the great man himself if any of that sounded confusing.

Onto more recent events.

Friday 15th June saw the following two teams compete in the unfamiliar environs of the middle pitch:

Yellows: Steve, me, Tony, Nick (smooth face), Ian Gooner, Stu, Ross, Yev and Joe

Blues: Simon Gas, Bristol Paul, Shez, Andy, Bert, Alan and Mario

My principal memory of this game, besides Tony’s ceaseless chiding and hectoring, was an entertaining contretemps between Bert and Steve. After I’d spent the first few minutes of the game blasting the ball at Bert’s head in the manner of a tipsy Dad trying to impress his kids at the coconut shy, Steve then unceremoniously upended the sexagenarian from behind – earning himself a good cunting off in the process – and then refused to retreat the requisite five yards from the ensuing free kick.

Bert did get some degree of revenge with a bullet header from a corner that left the keeper with no chance, but the Yellow team prevailed, mainly due to an opening salvo of goalkeeping blunders that almost saw Stu bag an unlikely hat-trick. The game was also notable for a series of extraordinary misses: Steve managed to skew wide from about three yards out with the ball apologetically dribbling out for a throw on the far side, while Yev managed to balloon the ball over the bar despite making contact in the middle of the goal with just the goalie to beat. Most glaring of all was Nick’s effort in the final few seconds; he turned the last defender and then lashed the ball over the crossbar from about two feet.

Also among the goals were Ross, Mario and Alan, although Ian couldn’t continue his recent goal scoring form, despite some gilt-edged changes. I think that the Yellow team ran out winners by something like six goals to four.

It was then onto the pub to catch the final twenty minutes of the Spain v Portugal extravaganza, during which we established that Gerard Pique is, in fact, married to Stoke’s Xherdan Shaqiri, and that Joe loves Cristiano Ronaldo, who supplied the one goal that we managed to catch on the Skinners’ telly in the six goal thriller.  

Friday 22nd June

Almost up to date now; here are your two teams from Friday just gone -

Yellows: Steve, Stu, James, Nick (bearded), Nick (not bearded), Yev, Josh, me
Blues: Joe, Simon Gas, Andy, Bristol Paul, David, Johnny, Michele and Mick

Josh was a surprise but nevertheless welcome addition to the starting line-ups, having apparently wondered in off the beach where he was giving away flyers for a two for one cocktail promotion in the resort’s main nightclub.

Joe’s recent wisdom tooth extraction saw him play virtually all of the game in goal, with the idea being that he’d be free from errant elbows or other mandible contact. But he was powerless to prevent a Yellow win, with Josh lashing in from a tight angle after combining expertly with Yev, myself getting a (left) foot to the ball in an unseemly scramble and Nick stroking home a fine volley with his left foot to see the Yellows roar ahead.

The Blues did score three times: some slack defending saw Michele and Johnny steal in to grab two goals, while a late foray out of nets from Joe resulted in the languid finance man prod home from all of about six yards, but by this stage the assorted talents of Yev, Josh and the two Nicks ensured that the final score was Yellows 6 Blues 3.

No pub for me this week, but I think that Simon is expecting a bumper turnout on Friday for Ross’ valedictory match and drinks reception. I suggest that we all bring an old football shirt to set aflame and toss into his longship as he makes the journey back across the silver sea to Friday Night Valhalla.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Back again!

Greetings one and all, as we have something of a magazine style round-up of all things Coram Fields from the past two weeks. The first match report, from Friday 4th May, comes from myself and my reliable (honest) middle-aged memory and the second section will be the far more freeform jazz style beloved of Paul.

First things first, here are your two teams from Friday 4th May, including an unscheduled and unheralded appearance from Yev:

Yellows: Simon Ink, Simon Gas, James, Ian Baggies, Danny, Josh, Mario, Joe, David… and Yev

Blues: Bristol Paul, Paul, Steve, Charlie, me, Mick, Michele, Liam, Shez and Ross

My two carefully chosen teams looked well balanced before Yev’s arrival, but any concerns that the Yellows would be too strong with the augmentation of the prodigal Ukrainian proved ill-founded, despite Yev coming back from a lengthy sabbatical having lost little of his pace or proficiency in front of goal. I believe that it was Yev who opened the scoring, or at the very least opening the scoring for the Yellows, by galloping onto a through ball poked through from Josh or Danny and catching it on the volley as it dropped over this shoulder and dispatching it unerringlingly beyond the started goalie.

I understand that Liam had a rare night off from troubling the scorer – although I’d never describe a virile young man like Liam as having a barren night – but there was enough other attacking prowess in the Blue ranks and I think that Ross bagged a brace.

The final goal of the evening came from Ross, albeit with an assist from myself. In one of those all too rare moments, rarer with each passing year, I was able to translate an idea, a notion, a twig of creativity into something tangible, something real, a branch, no tree of genuine sporting performance: a cross-field pass that sailed through the air, cleared the despairing lunge of the last defender and bounced perfectly into Ross’ path so that he did not even have to break stride to fire home.

A word here for Shez, who may well have been man of the match, going box-to-box, doing the ugly stuff well and making life difficult for his opponents.

I think that the final score was Yellows 3 – Blues 1

And now over to the Theolonious Monk of sports reporting, Paul ‘Gennaro’ Tanner:

You are going to have to collate a mass of information and just put it out there like dos Passos. For instance, Ross has given the green light for the Oslo trip and I am going to the Nationwide for emergency finance. Mick will be captain.

We have got no pitch or opposition so that needs to be arranged. Simon [Gas] you will need to interview people and ask why they play so badly and yet Mick and Yev turned it round for the Blues. Charlie pointed out I was breaking the code of conduct for my stream of bad language. Charlie seemed to go through a phase of passing the ball ten yards past the post… but he is my choice of man-of-the match.

He did an incredible right-wing cross and all Ian Gooner had to do was stand still and let the ball hit the side of his head and he would have looked like Frank Stapleton. Instead, he headed the ball over.

The Blues won four-two and for the Yellows good performances came from Ross and Bristol Paul, who did a great cross with his knee. 

In the Skinners Ian and me hugged for the first of several 60th birthday celebrations and Ian read a Dizzy Rascal poem about being bonkers.

PS. My sour mood was due to being picked as a referee and then Danny decided I would have a very limited term of reference. I also lost a ten quid betting slip on Man Utd for the FA Cup at 11/10. I tried to tell the Skinners guys that I was a Spurs fan. That conceit came crashing down when two Spurs fans on the tube refused to talk me. I just asked when we were going to sell Ali and Kane.

Final words from me; I keep meaning to share with you all possibly the least flattering thing anyone has ever said to me. About a month ago Ian and I were sharing the final pint of the evening outside the Skinners when a gaggle of very drunk northerners approached and exclaimed that I was the spitting image of an acclaimed northern soul DJ called Arthur Fenn who looks like this

After I dragged up an image on my phone they did at least concede that I look like his younger brother. Northern scum.