Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Hands across the ocean...

Welcome back, one and all, for the inaugural match report of the 2017/18 season. It’s as if we never went away.

Two games to report on so far, the first of which is already fading from memory like the spectral face of a Victorian wraith that appeared in the shadows on the way home from the pub. The overriding recollection from what UEFA would no doubt label ‘Match Day One’ was the fact Mario has clearly been spending the Summer in some sort of Alpine training camp with a team of nutritionists and a bespoke fitness programme, as he plundered no fewer than four goals, including one where I was mugged from a cross from the left and a ridiculous goal from around the half way line that left Alan floundering in the shadows. That said, it could just be that he’s better at football than most of us.

Also back among the goals was Joe, who managed to grab some headlines despite, or possibly because, of a few lunchtime liveners - the elegant midfielder calmly steered in a couple of goals after trademark lolloping runs. Mick equalised with virtually the last kick of the match after drifting unnoticed into the area and calmly placing the ball home from a corner to make it five apiece. And I have a feeling that Simon Ink might have scored, too, but you know what the say about feelings.

Let the records state the two teams were (roughly) as follows:

Yellows: me, Simon Ink, Mark, Joe, Danny, Liam, Alan, Bristol Paul, Mick

Blues: Ian Baggies, Ian Gooner, Michele, Yev, Mario, Peter, Ross, Andy and Simon Gas

All in all, a very good game to usher in the new campaign. This week’s match was another selection triumph for my much vaunted Player Attributes Statistics System, with the following two teams:

Yellows: me, Ian Gooner, Nick (Joe’s mate), Liam, Danny, Joe, Alan, Mark

Blues: Ian Baggies, Paul, Bristol Paul, Simon Gas, Peter, Mick, David, Michele

We managed to get underway on time for once and a pretty decent game ensued, with David opening the scoring with a bizarre own goal which crept past an astonished throng of Blue defenders, before Alan extended the Yellow lead with a smashing volley that was crashed home after a partial clearance from a corner. Liam was also involved in the goals, but the game was won by two marvellous finishes from Nick, (Joe’s diminutive mate as opposed to the bearded six-footer); the first came after some deft interplay at the edge of the Blue area that saw Nick crash the ball home with a barely perceptible turn of his foot. The second, and ultimately winning goal, came after some good work from Danny saw Nick calmly cushion the ball with his left before slotting home with his right, the greasy surface proving no impediment.

On the scoresheet for the Blues was Ian Baggies, with a bizarre goal which Joe mysteriously left for Ian Gooner in goal to mop up, only for the giant ex-punk to find himself horribly wrong-footed.

Final score: Yellows 5 – Blues 3

And so to the pub, the first time for me this Autumn. A reasonable turn out at the Skinners this week, with Simon Gas, both Pauls, both Ians, Mick, Alan and myself all there for at least a couple of drinks. In amongst the dire predictions for Sunday’s London derby ( at least as far as Arsenal were concerned) were discussions of 1970’s Working Class Christmases, travelling in North America and some music chat, which ended with an anecdote about Tom Robinson and Eddie Grant.

But the final word this week goes to the Cologne fans who had boosted Craig’s coffers by emptying his barrels of Carling over the previous 24 hours ahead of their extravaganza at the Emirates. Some of them were still partying a day later, as the pictures prove. Hands across the ocean and all that; for reasons that are not entirely clear, Mick is pretending to be a goat in this photo.

Until Friday… 

Monday, 4 September 2017

Another Summer over

Another Summer over then. Many apologies for the complete absence of the final two match reports of the old season. I did block out one day at the end of July to write them up, but my PC decided to install an ‘upgrade’, (i.e. a totally superfluous revision of some of its operating system which takes it one step closer to obsolescence and thus necessitating another financial outlay – that’s late capitalism right there), which literally took all day and hence made it impossible to do anything on the computer. After that, the last few weeks have gone by in a blur of rainy weather and Daddy Day Care stuff. Oh, and some work.

I have kept my notes from those games, so all is not lost. The two pictures here illustrate that the penultimate game of the 2016/17 campaign ended in a 6-4 win for the Blue team, with all ten goals accounted for: on the mark for the Blue team were Simon Inkpen, who my notes tell me “blasted from outside the area”, David, who I can still see spotting Nick off his line in goal and deliciously sailing the ball high over Nick’s head as he lurked guiltily on the edge of the area, Adolpho, who scored straight from the kick-off after the Yellow team had got back to 2-1, Yev, who evidently scored from “close distance” after a goalmouth scramble, Alan, from wide left on the left with his left foot, and Peter, who posterity does not provide us with any more details.

The four Yellow goals came from Alessandro, who passed the ball home, Will of the Fylde coast who the Coram Field parchment states “leathered in from outside the area” and a brace from Liam, both from “close range”. Well done, everyone.

The historical document capturing the final match of the season is, sadly, less detailed, but still records all the players and most of the goal scorers.

You can see for yourself who played – I’m a busy man, just enlarge the image – but the Yellows’ goals came from Andy (“a stooping header”), two from Mario, one after he very nearly ruptured my spleen in a collision as I vainly attempted to prevent from him scoring, with the pocket dynamo rattling the ball home from the ensuing stramash, Peter (again, no details) and Yev. 

Three goals for the Blue team, two of them from Mick. I’m usually accused of underplaying Mick’s always magnificent contributions, so let the record state that he got a credit for his brace, while the other goal is chalked off to the memory of the Unknown Goal Scorer. 

That game finished 5-3 to the Yellows, in case you weren’t paying attention.

Which brings us nicely up to date. What will this season bring? During a Summer break in which football finally shed any residual scraps of reason and credibility – I’m talking about you Kyle Walker, worth £50m for running Very Fast, I’m talking about Neymar, bought with the largesse of an oil-sodden Arab state and I’m talking about you, Arsène, who has reduced my club to a laughing stock – can the good denizens of Coram Fields remind us all about the true spirit of the game, where values such as team-work, integrity and old-fashioned hard work still count for something? Or will it all descend into moaning within five minutes of the kick off? I think we all know the answer. Come on then, Players of Friday Night, for the good of the game; dust off your boots and air that old Ayr shirt as we all count down to the real kick off to the season on Friday.

See you all there.