Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Of (false) nines, Prosecco and Sebastian

Greetings, Spizzenergi blog readers.

Many apologies for the hiatus in match reports, but to make up for last week’s radio silence I am posting a bumper edition of the best blog about middle aged men playing football on a Friday night in central London found anywhere on the internet. (Incidentally, note that I used the term ‘central London’ there – not “central”, which the Young People are now deploying not as an adjective, but as a noun to denote what I would call the ‘West End’. As in, “’where shall we meet Barnaby this weekend, Josh?’ ‘Dunno, I think Jocasta is going central, so we could head there’”. ‘Central’ is meaningless – central where? Central London? Central Croydon? The Central Line? I’m not saying people should say they are going “up West” as if they live in Walford, but using an adjective to describe somewhere with plenty of serviceable place names (e.g. Soho, Holborn, Fitzrovia) is tantamount to semantic terrorism. Here endeth the lesson). 

First we have a match report from Friday 17th January, with apologies for the inevitable vagueness which comes with trying to recall a game from longer than one week ago. However, I did make a few notes last week which I am hoping will lend some semblance of accuracy to the report.

First of all, the two teams:

Yellows – me, Ian Gooner, Mick, Alex, Danny, Simon Ink, Halid, (and Paul, following Yev’s arrival)

Blues – Yev, (eventually), Steve, Andy, Simon Gas, Mark, Liam, Beardy Nick, Paul

I can remember lobbing a ball up and over the Blues’ defence for Simon Ink, playing in the False Nine position, to chase onto but I don’t think that particular attack yielded any goals. Simon Ink generally held up play well, even if he didn’t get more than one goal, but the Yellows won the game chiefly as a consequence of Alex and Mick bossing things in midfield, aided by Alex’s fellow Stokie Halid (sp.?) at right back. The two aforementioned maestros combined well for one goal – I took a quick throw-in following a trademark, lung-bursting, box-to-box run from Danny and Mick chested the ball down for Alex to power past the keeper. Ian Gooner also marked his landmark birthday (more of which later) with a decent finish from a tight angle.

At this stage the Yellows were comfortably ahead, before Yev arrived and prompted a late rally for the Blues, with Steve doing some poaching for at least one goal. I am not sure that Yev actually scored himself, but his appearance did bring some respectability to the final score which was 8-4 to the Yellows.

I’m acutely conscious that I have only described three of the twelve goals there, so many apologies to anyone who had a thirty yard scorcher omitted from the report – I love you all.

Where else to begin with the post-game pub round-up than the glorious spectacle of middle aged men sipping flutes of Prosecco in the Skinners Arms? Many thanks to Ian for his generosity and many happy returns for 50 glorious years – here’s to at least another 50. Ian’s birthday celebrations somewhat overshadowed anything else that evening, but for those of you who didn’t see it, here is a genuine jobapplication I brought along to the pub for the general enjoyment of anyone whoread it.

And so on to last Friday, the 24th January. Such were the myriad changes throughout the game that I’ve listed two line-ups: one as of 7.00 pm and one at the final whistle.

Teams at the start of the game –

Blue Bibs: me, Alex, Alan, Seb, Simon Gas, Phil, Dave, Geoff

Yellow Bibs: Steve, Beardy Nick, Andy, West Brom Ian, Dave, Danny, Paul, Will, Spizz,

Teams at the end of the game –

Blue Bibs: me, Alex, Alan, Simon Gas, Phil, Dave, Geoff, Spizz

Yellow Bibs: Steve, Beardy Nick, Andy, West Brom Ian, Dave, Danny, Paul, Will, Seb

Last Friday’s match was graced by the presence of a Teutonic gentleman named Sebastian, or ‘Seb’ in the player’s argot, who is some sort of colleague of Andy’s. Apparently Seb’s brother has played in the Bundesliga and the family talent for fussball was immediately apparent as he, along with the Potteries dynamo Alex, were chiefly responsible for the Blue team roaring into a five goal lead.

Alex’s name troubled the scoresheet on at least one occasion, but the most memorable effort was the Blues’ third goal; a long clearance upfield was flicked off Phil’s head and the dashing German controlled the ball on his chest and took it past Geoff in goal before swivelling and volleying from an acute angle in all one movement.

After the fifth Blues goal Simon Gas decided to share Seb’s skillset and moved him onto the Yellow team. That they then rattled in 4 goals in just over five minutes – Will and, yes, Seb, doing most of the damage - is not merely testament to Seb’s prowess, but also the inability of the Yellow team to count properly, as Simon had unwittingly given the Blues a two man advantage. Nick was the man with the requisite number of fingers to count up the numerical disparity between the two sides.

The Blues were duly augmented with punk legend Spizz and with another outlet up front the Blues managed to regain both their shape and composure and saw out the remainder of the game without conceding again. There were a couple of extraordinary misses by the Blue team – one from Dave, who contrived to put the ball the wrong side of the post from a distance of about ten inches, and a similarly wasteful effort from Geoff, although he later claimed that he missed on purpose having been the perpetrator of some ungentlemanly conduct. I’ll let you be the judge, dear reader.

I scored what you might call a rare headed goal with the last touch of the game to make the final score 7-4 to the Blues. Alan floated in a perfect corner which glanced off the side of my head and past Andy in goal, although I should mention that Spizz cheerfully boasted that he’d nobbled the ‘keeper. Given Andy is about a foot taller than Spizz, I’m saying the goal was good.

And so onto the Skinners Arms. No bottles of Prosecco this week, but a decent turn out, including Seb and his lady friend, who as I left the pub just after ten was party to some outrageous flirting from Spizz, who seemed to have his entire showbiz career stored on his iPhone for the Fraulein’s delectation.  

There’ll be another break before I’m back on blogging duty, as it’s my wife’s 30th birthday this Friday. Until then.

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