Tuesday, 14 May 2013

A Moral Draw

There are only so many ways you can begin a match report, so I’ll keep this one fairly brief. Last Friday some grown men played football near Russell Square for one hour.

Here’s what happened.

A man called Simon from Bristol picked two teams. One team wore yellow Bibs; one didn’t. The teams were made up of some other people that he has known for varying amounts of time, ranging from over twenty years to a few weeks. Their names are recorded in the following two lines of text:

Colours: Alex, Steve, Paul, Simon Gas, Yev (eventually), Kiwi Nick, Ian West Brom

Bibs: Dan, Matt, Spizz, Dave (following the arrival of Yev), Ian Arsenal, me, bearded Nick

The game got underway. I was in goal. A man on the other side of the fence from our football pitch was smoking a controlled substance, most probably cannabis. If pushed, I’d wager it was skunk weed. It stank to high heaven. This went on for about five minutes; I tried to keep away from the right hand side of the pitch for fear of becoming intoxicated.

The team not wearing Bibs, who shall be referred to henceforth as the ‘Colours’, scored some goals. A man called Alex from Stoke and some other men had the ball more than the team wearing Bibs and they made the team wearing the Bibs look a bit rubbish. The team wearing Bibs seemed more interested in scoring goals than stopping the Colours from scoring goals. This meant that the Bibs scored fewer goals, as the Colours had the ball more often.

Then a man from the Ukraine named Yev arrived. The man from Bristol called Simon decided that his team would have the man called Yev because he is very good at football and Simon likes to win the football matches which he organises. Which seems fair enough. So the Colours gave up one of their players, called Dave, and the Bibs had Yev.

The man smoking drugs had gone by this stage.

The Bibs then decided that if they wanted to score some goals of their own they better stop the other team having the ball so often, so their best two players, Dan and Matt, took charge of the team in midfield and started to create more chances and score some goals. I think that the scores were level for some periods of play; at others one team had scored more than the other. Eventually, the two teams had around seven or eight goals each. But some of the Bibs goals were dubious – one was scored despite a break in play for Nick with the beard to go and retrieve the ball after he’d kicked it over the fence - another one was scored while some of the Bibs were calling for a free kick at their end of the pitch.

Toward the end of the game a man called Spizz, who is a singer in a punk rock band, got very cross with his teammate Dave for the alleged crime of not passing to him often enough. He said that the reason his team were losing was because Dave hadn’t given him the ball, although most people thought Dave had played well and he was unlucky not to score himself, hitting the post twice. The ball made a very sweet noise on both occasions; Dave later used the word “timbre” when describing it.

As the big hand got nearer the number eight, Spizz was cajoled into going in goal. He was not happy about this as he has previously broken his fingers and the Colours scored two goals in quick succession, one when Spizz was kicking the ball from another game back onto the opposite pitch.

At the other end a man called Paul (or ‘Gennaro’, if you’re Ian) went in goal. He might well have been away for two weeks, but he had clearly been in intensive training, as he kept out two or three shots, the most memorable of which was from a header from Matt. Matt had jumped very high in the air to head the ball from a corner, but Paul put two arms out and the ball hit his hands and went over the bar. Lots of people remarked that Matt looked like a long-haired caveman from Newcastle called Andrew when he headed the ball.

I also had a shot which was hurtling into the goal, but Paul pushed that onto the post. The team not wearing Bibs – so, that’s the Colours – had scored 9 goals to the Bibs’ 8, but the man from Bristol declared that it was a “moral draw”. So a moral draw it was.

Lots of the men playing football then went to the pub to drink beer and talk about how famous men from their childhood were, in fact, perverts and criminals and should be locked up forever. But Sid James was not one of them.

This is the end of the match report.

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