Monday, 25 June 2018

You can go your Norway….

Good morning all! And what a morning – drink in the warmth of an English Summer and the hazy afterglow of England’s smiting of the mighty Panamanians, many of whom would appear to have learnt how to play football by watching scratchy VHS cassettes of Steve in his mid-90s pomp.
I’m acutely aware how long it’s been since the last batch of match reports, so this is part catch-up and part preview to Friday night’s game. As we all know, Ross departs on his Viking longboat for the fjords and inlets of Norway this week in what feels like the culmination of a farewell tour of Elton John-like proportions.

I believe that Ross has been playing for at least ten years and there have been many high points: 2010’s World Cup song with Spizz, the tear-up with Mario and many, many goals. Ross may look like a fey indie shyster, but beneath that art school stubble and Britpop bob lies a steely determination and competitiveness that has always resulted in a reliable and consistent level of performance which belies his slim stature.

Anyway, more of that anon.

The last few weeks has seen a host of new and old faces: Johnny, who has apparently been beamed in from 1988 and looks like a lost member of Pop Will Eat Itself, an older chap called Bert – a spry sixty something years old and who was given a formal Coram Fields inauguration from Steve – and last but not least, the prodigal Tony, Hammer of the Remainers.

Before I try and report on Friday’s game, here are a couple of reports from Paul in his usual inimitable ‘beat’ style:

30th May: I can't remember the result or the teams except the Blues won; Yev was not allowed to come on the pitch of play for being late. [Ian confirmed that Yev arrived at around 7.40 pm and was told not to enter the field of play]. Man-of-the match was James, for providing a substitute in Johnny. The new player got two goals for the Blues. Ian Gooner got two goals for the Blues and hit the crossbar with a dipping shot.

Mick played with the Yellows with his son Patch. He tried to get Joe out of goal and up front. Stan and I did a rarely seen one-two for the Blues. The FCO duo of Danny and Stuart covered the Yellow Antonio, who blasted a great crossfield pass. While Andy nodded a header for the Yellows when the zonal defence broke down. Ask Simon George for more detail of the game…

More Blues [players] were Mark in goal, Liam up front and Simon Gas in defence, while the Yellows were Bristol Paul and Ross; the latter had a very strong box-to-box game.

In the pub afterwards, Keith the barman, Tony the Dubliner and I did a rousing version of Chantilly Lace, while the lads exchanged in pub banter with two birds. I went all Geopolitical and discussed Han Chinese and one thought I was talking about Ham Chinese!

Pick the bones out of that.

While I’m grateful to Paul for the updates (I missed a couple of games owing to All Points East and a holiday, of all things), you’ll have to ask the great man himself if any of that sounded confusing.

Onto more recent events.

Friday 15th June saw the following two teams compete in the unfamiliar environs of the middle pitch:

Yellows: Steve, me, Tony, Nick (smooth face), Ian Gooner, Stu, Ross, Yev and Joe

Blues: Simon Gas, Bristol Paul, Shez, Andy, Bert, Alan and Mario

My principal memory of this game, besides Tony’s ceaseless chiding and hectoring, was an entertaining contretemps between Bert and Steve. After I’d spent the first few minutes of the game blasting the ball at Bert’s head in the manner of a tipsy Dad trying to impress his kids at the coconut shy, Steve then unceremoniously upended the sexagenarian from behind – earning himself a good cunting off in the process – and then refused to retreat the requisite five yards from the ensuing free kick.

Bert did get some degree of revenge with a bullet header from a corner that left the keeper with no chance, but the Yellow team prevailed, mainly due to an opening salvo of goalkeeping blunders that almost saw Stu bag an unlikely hat-trick. The game was also notable for a series of extraordinary misses: Steve managed to skew wide from about three yards out with the ball apologetically dribbling out for a throw on the far side, while Yev managed to balloon the ball over the bar despite making contact in the middle of the goal with just the goalie to beat. Most glaring of all was Nick’s effort in the final few seconds; he turned the last defender and then lashed the ball over the crossbar from about two feet.

Also among the goals were Ross, Mario and Alan, although Ian couldn’t continue his recent goal scoring form, despite some gilt-edged changes. I think that the Yellow team ran out winners by something like six goals to four.

It was then onto the pub to catch the final twenty minutes of the Spain v Portugal extravaganza, during which we established that Gerard Pique is, in fact, married to Stoke’s Xherdan Shaqiri, and that Joe loves Cristiano Ronaldo, who supplied the one goal that we managed to catch on the Skinners’ telly in the six goal thriller.  

Friday 22nd June

Almost up to date now; here are your two teams from Friday just gone -

Yellows: Steve, Stu, James, Nick (bearded), Nick (not bearded), Yev, Josh, me
Blues: Joe, Simon Gas, Andy, Bristol Paul, David, Johnny, Michele and Mick

Josh was a surprise but nevertheless welcome addition to the starting line-ups, having apparently wondered in off the beach where he was giving away flyers for a two for one cocktail promotion in the resort’s main nightclub.

Joe’s recent wisdom tooth extraction saw him play virtually all of the game in goal, with the idea being that he’d be free from errant elbows or other mandible contact. But he was powerless to prevent a Yellow win, with Josh lashing in from a tight angle after combining expertly with Yev, myself getting a (left) foot to the ball in an unseemly scramble and Nick stroking home a fine volley with his left foot to see the Yellows roar ahead.

The Blues did score three times: some slack defending saw Michele and Johnny steal in to grab two goals, while a late foray out of nets from Joe resulted in the languid finance man prod home from all of about six yards, but by this stage the assorted talents of Yev, Josh and the two Nicks ensured that the final score was Yellows 6 Blues 3.

No pub for me this week, but I think that Simon is expecting a bumper turnout on Friday for Ross’ valedictory match and drinks reception. I suggest that we all bring an old football shirt to set aflame and toss into his longship as he makes the journey back across the silver sea to Friday Night Valhalla.

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