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… 

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