Monday, 10 December 2012

The Woman in Black

Welcome then, to the final Blog of 2012, but hopefully not the final one ever given the imminent destruction of the hallowed Astroturf at the Finsbury Leisure Centre. Our final seven aside game didn’t get off to the most auspicious of starts with Ross forgetting the Bibs and the ball being left behind on the pitch after last Friday’s game. As Oscar Wilde didn’t say, to lose the ball and the bibs may be unfortunate, but to lose the pitch too is downright careless. Simon Gas should never have gone to Colombia.

With the Bibs being left behind in wherever it is that Ross teaches ‘pop music’ to hormonal teenage girls, I selected two teams of colours for our valedictory match on the doomed pitch. They lined up as follows:

Colours: me, Sam, Ian, Boro Dave, Tom, Simon Ink, Geoff

Bolder colours: Simon Gas, Paul, Joe, Mick, Spizz, Yev, Ross

With fourteen men and no way of differentiating one another (apart from using existential tools like short-term memory and facial recognition), the game was inevitably somewhat harum-scarum at the start, with passes being misplaced even more than usual, (although everyone had a fantastic excuse for kicking the ball to someone other than their intended target). Boro Dave raised a complaint that the number of players in white on either side was confusing given his colour blindness, although as a fellow sufferer I can safely say that this was a red herring. Or maybe a brown trout.

Talking of Dave, (shortly to leave London Town for his native north-east), the man from Middlesbrough opened the scoring. Other scorers on the night included Tom, who has managed to blag a game for the past two weeks (but won’t ever do so again); Spizz, more of whom shortly; and also for the Bolder Colours, Yev, who managed to get what I think was the final goal of the evening and therefore the history of the seven asides at Finsbury Leisure Centre after Ian Gooner in goal kicked it straight out to him.

The final score was, perhaps appropriately, 4-4.

Memories of games and players from the past were never far from the forefront of the mind on an evening that often lurched toward nostalgia, and it was therefore eerily apposite that there was a spectral apparition watching on from the sidelines throughout the game. Somewhat reminiscent of Meryl Streep in the French Lieutenant’s Woman, this figure appeared to be connected to seminal post punk icon Spizz, (to whom this Blog is dedicated). This mystery wrapped up in an enigma, (or was it a pashmina?), as Churchill once described the Soviet Union, was not the ghost of Laurent, nor the personification of one of Tony’s strops, nor even the phantasmagorical embodiment of one of Big Dave’s Celtic war-cries – it was, in fact, Spizz’s “photographer”, (last seen heading toward Camden with some flyers for the Spizzenergi gig atthe Dublin Castle on the 21st December). 

And that, bar a few maudlin pints at the White Lion, is that. Simon Gas will be in touch over the next few weeks to see what people might want to do next, i.e. carry on playing five aside at the Finsbury Leisure Centre, or try to source another seven aside pitch elsewhere in London.

Last word on this week’s Blog goes, however, to a guy named Mitchell Cole. When we were trudging home from the pub last Friday I saw an ambulance parked adjacent to the pitch that we’d been playing on. Tragically, it turns out that the ambulance was there to tend to the former Grays Athletic, Southend United, Stevenage and Oxford United player who had the same condition - hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – as former West Ham and Man City player, Marc Vivien-Foe. Young Mitchell died after collapsing on the pitch. 
For all the doleful thoughts about our Friday night game, this does put things into perspective; perhaps, in the words of David St. Hubbins, too much perspective.

Happy Christmas...

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