Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Match report no. 4 (12/02/2019)... Make mine a pinter

Following a fortnight’s hiatus, partly due to the big freeze that never was, I returned to the fray on Friday and selected the two following teams:

Yellows: me, Kanat, James, Simon Ink, Bristol Paul, Tony, Joe and Mario

Blues: Ian Gooner, Danny, Nick, David, Simon Gas, Mick, Ed and Yev

Eight aside and a pretty much a full house from the off, which makes a pleasant change.
An already greasy pitch was made positively slick by a sharp shower just after kick off, with the result that the surface played extremely quickly. A slight tap to a team-mate required very soft feet or the ball would career beyond the white line and into the next postal district. Just as well we’re such a deftly footed bunch then, eh? 

A very low scoring game this one, despite the surface being wetter than an otter’s pocket and there being plenty of space on the park to let rip speculative efforts from distance. Simon Ink was in goals for the Yellows for much of the game which may explain why they kept a clean sheet for around 50 minutes, while the prodigal Danny (welcome back), Nick and David did most of the keeping for the Blues.

The most notable element to proceedings was what the prevalence of what the cricket fraternity would refer to as “chirp”, with Tony, Danny and Mick providing enough dialogue (and enough robust Anglo-Saxon) to form a lost Harold Pinter script, as David sagely observed at full-time. Happily, there were few contentions decisions in terms of the outcome and it all made for an enjoyable game, despite the fact both teams struggled to string more than three passes together.
Just the two goals to report; I believe Mario bagged the opener for the Yellows, before Yev turned back the clock to provide a splendid example of speed and dribbling before firing the ball home for a relatively late equaliser for the Blues.

Final score: Yellows 1 – Blues 1

To the pub then, for one of those evenings which make me very pleased to part of the Coram Fields contingent. Among the luminaries under discussion, in no particular order, were: Max Weber, Niall Ferguson, Daniel Levy, √Čamon de Valera, David Baddiel and Charles Haughey. This was with reference to items such as the European Union, the history of the Republic of Ireland from independence onwards, Tottenham’s new ground (wot no fromagerie?!), the Protestant work ethic and, obviously, football. You couldn’t buy that mix of high brow and working man’s culture. And all topped off with a semi-flirty, semi-aggressive interjection from a young woman with a stupendous cleavage. 

Come to think of it, David’s comment about Harold Pinter was very apt.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Match report no. 3 (03/02/19)+++Match postponed+++++

Pools panel result:

Blues 3 - Yellows 3 (three points)*

* (Based on Yev being ten minutes late for the Blues and Tony leaving ten minutes early for the Yellows. Steve sent off at the 40 minute mark for taking an illegal elbow sharpener onto the pitch).

A full preview of this Friday's game to come in Wednesday's Midweek Sports Special.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Match report no. 2 January 20149 (02/01/2019): Stu 8 - Simon 0

As promised, I am adhering to my one and only new year’s resolution and keeping the blog up to date in 2019. Here is match report number two and here are your two teams:

Yellows: me, Steve, Patrick Chen, Bristol Paul, Tony, Nick (hairy face), Peter, Ian Gooner and Mark

Blues: Shez, David, Simon Ink, Nick (smooth face), Simon Gas, Stu, Johannes, Joe and Alan

Official Coram Fields attendance: 1 (Paul)

Alan opened the scoring on the evening for his second goal in successive weeks – either a thirty yard screamer or a stuffy piece of goal hanging, depending on your viewpoint - and the Blue team were soon in the ascendancy despite the sterling efforts of the Yellow side, who were hampered by some last-minute tinkering that was necessitated by Simon’s omission of Shez from the team sheets and by the non-appearance of Yev’s mate Kanat. 

Shez was added to the Blue team with the notion of the Yellow side fielding ten men to the Blues’ nine, but the failure of Kanat to materialise left the Yellows seriously undercooked and despite a valiant effort of organisation class won out as the Blues scored thrice more. Joe prodded home for the second, while I was in goal for both the third and the fourth – the first of these was a shot from Stu that I ought to have done better with but could only palm into the net and I’ve no memory of the fourth. But at this point I decided that enough was enough and swapped sides with the ever-impressive Stu, to reset the game.

Peter immediately got the Yellows on the scoresheet with a stooping far-post header (the ball was whizzed over at a height of around seven feet, just under Peter’s chin). Tony then got a tap-in that marked the culmination of a flowing move, while the consensus seems to be that Peter got at least one more high altitude goal and the debutant Johannes capped a fine performance with another score.

All in all, a fairly dispiriting evening for me, with the aggregate goal difference for the two teams I represented being -8. Given that I’m cup tied for Friday’s game (off to the Emirates to see Doogie Howser’s Manchester United take on the home side), perhaps it’s a good opportunity for some mid-season additional training.

Off to the pub again, where Dry January is just a nasty rumour.

Topics under consideration were plentiful and included, inter alia: Paul’s proposed business opportunities for a Spizz biography as the post-punk icon enters his seventh decade and/or a published compendium of these blog match reports. (I’ve a feeling that either proposal would require significant crowd-funding). 

Speaking of the creator of this blog, he turned up to watch proceedings on the field, but got bored after about half an hour (can’t blame him) and next appeared in the Skinners alongside some well-dressed young Catalonian gentlemen. If this is going to be a regular tactic of Paul’s – i.e. watch the game, disappear off to the pub before the final whistle, he may well prove one to watch out for in future blogs.  

Elsewhere, me and Ian’s Cassandra-like morose predictions for the Arsenal v Chelsea were (happily) very wide of the mark, while we learnt about Ian’s avant-garde organisational development strategies that are taking the world of IT Project Management by its dry, dusty balls. To wit: meetings with all participants wearing Monty Panesar masks; team bonding sessions at the British Museum with children’s treasure maps; and, in what amounts to a cock very much snooked at identity politics, the practice of assuming a pseudonym for online team ‘huddles’: Ian chooses to identify as Rex Supergrey and won’t answer to anything else. 

I’m making a business case for the great man to come in to my place at our next ‘Town Hall’ meeting. 

Have a good game this week…

Friday, 18 January 2019

Match report no. 1 January 2019 (1/01/19)*

*I might try and keep this year’s blogs appear like a magazine or periodical for future reference.

As promised, I am trying to keep up to date with the match reports in 2019, (my one and only New Years’ resolution).

With everyone keen to burn off the thickening effects of two weeks of mince pies and pigs in blankets there was a bumper turn out last Friday, with Simon Gas turning folk away. Sadly, some of us were rendered unfit owing to some snowman bothering in the Urals. And Mick remains benched owing to hairline arm-knack courtesy of one of Sebastian’s howitzers.

Here are your two teams for the first game of 2019:

Blues: Geoff, Bristol Paul, Simon Gas, Ed, James, Joe, Charlie, Patrick Chen, Alan

Yellows: me, Ian Gooner, Steve, Shez, Tony, Peter, Mario, Nick, Simon Ink

By common consent, a close and well contested game, which just goes to show what can happen if people turn up (and on time).

The Yellows got off to a strong start and eased into a three goal lead. I was stationed in our half for almost all of the game so I was not privy to the first two goals, but Mario swept home the third for the Yellows, the culmination of a fine move that drew upon the respective talents of the timeless Tony, the percussive Peter and the nerveless Nick.

At three nil you might have thought it was game over, but the Blues came back into things through someone or other before Ed bagged a good goal; he hoved into view from the right and stabbed the ball home from about fifteen yards with the outside of his foot. Things then became somewhat attritional with the Yellows dropping back and inviting on pressure, which they were withstanding fairly comfortably until Mario underhit a back pass toward Tony which was greedily seized upon by Alan who snaffled home from about three yards.

Three apiece.

Never one to be out of the limelight for long, Mario made swift amends by controlling the ball and slamming home unerringly from all of about twenty yards or so. The Yellows had a couple of narrow squeaks before the final whistle but clung on to win by the odd goal in seven.

Final score: Yellows 4 – Blues 3

And so to the Skinners for the first time this year. No pork pageant for January, but plenty of chat about bachelor’s suppers, the recent festive period and, of course, association football.

See you shortly.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

The Man Who Does The Blog

Hello and Happy New Year, one and all. Here we are in 2019 and back again for another year of huffing and puffing along the Elysian fields of Coram and generally raging against the dying of the light, (or in Tony’s case, just raging). 

Forgive me Father, it has been two months since the last blog, and much has happened.

Reading the last match report back in November it was all about Sebastian; well, the dynamic Colombian continued to torment us all with his incessant step-overs, relentless feinting and outrageous Rabonas right the way up to Christmas, before departing back to South America. James, his cousin, commandeered another member of the family (Thomas) to help swell the numbers and he too proved to be a fine player. Sadly, these two young Latin maestros conformed to every reductive stereotype in their final game together by arriving half an hour late, but the legend of Sebastian has already been set in stone and perhaps he’ll return one day to twist our blood once again.

Speaking of friends from across the seas, the prodigal Viking returned for the final game of 2018 – I speak, of course, of Ross. I had images of him rolling up three stone heavier having spent the six months since we’d last seen him gorging himself on puffin and whale blubber like a Nordic Alan Partridge during the Toblerone years, but no – he looked leaner than ever and was his usual busy self, making thrusting runs and straining with every sinew to score.

At this stage of the blog it might have become apparent that I’m a bit short of match reports.
I’ve managed to find an email from Simon Gas with the following players on (see below) and this reminds me that a pal of Yev’s played in Sebastian’s valedictory performance – name of Khanat – who proved to be very useful. I was introduced to him in the pub as the ‘Man Who Does The Blog’; given the dearth of red hot blog action recently I feel something of a fraud being labelled in this way, but better late than never, eh.

James; “The Colombian”; Thomas (James’s cousin); Danny (going in goal); me; Andy (if he arrives in time from Scotland – I think he did); Joe; Simon Ink; Ian Baggies; Ian Gooner; Yev, Khanat; Liam; Alan; Steve; Simon Gas

My other chief recollection of this game was that Alan accused me of trying to rig the teams so ensure I was on the winning team. It’s like he’d never met me before.

I’ve collated a suite of photos from Simon’s Christmas Pork Pageant (see below), so you can see for yourself who played that night – I have a better recall of this game than some of the others, possibly because of the pictures but probably because of the well-known memory-enhancing properties of pork. 

Simon Gas mucked up the teams by inviting on a ringer, who was obviously very good, which meant that my carefully weighted teams were thrown out of kilter. Despite this, a team comprising me, Geoff, Bert, Danny – based in goal – and some others managed to hold out for about 40 minutes at 1-1 after Steve had opened the scoring with a searing volley before Peter (or was it James?) scored a magnificent equaliser.

I think these were the two teams:

Yellows: Danny Father Christmas in goal, me, Geoff, Pete, Bert, James, Joe, James

Blues: Stu, Steve, Nick, Patrick, Simon Gas, Mr Ringer, Ross, Simon Ink

With about five minutes left Patrick finally made it 2-1 to the Blues before the wheels came well and truly off and the Yellows team shipped about a six more goals in the final few minutes, the majority coming through Patrick, although props should also go to Stu for another barnstorming performance.

Just as well the spread in the pub was so good. (Who knew we were all so photogenic?)

And what will the new year bring? Brexit ? Stuexit (he’s off to Canada next month)? Hopefully a few more blogs than in 2018, but I don’t want to hex it.

Until Friday, comrades. 

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, "Our Ukrainian Player' (OUP) 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. OUP 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 OUP 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.