Take a deep breath, here we go again folks! You can also pinch your nose if you really must. After a couple of midweeks off, we’re back full pelt once more into the raging footballing torrent that is League 2 and welcoming the BBC and Sky Sports bessie mates Salford City to Gander Green Lane. They’re owned by the ‘Class of 92’ don’t you know? You did? You saw the documentary you say? Oh, well that’s half our bloody material out the window then. At least. Er….yeah. So, what about this weather we’ve been having then?
Before I continue with the important business of League 2 football, I’d like to ask a question of you dear reader. Nothing serious and nothing too personal you understand, but I feel it would be useful now and then to get a better feel for our audience, their likes and dislikes, that sort of thing. Cool? Cool. So, the question I wish to ask is, “do you like spiders?”. The reason for my asking is that this week at HQ there was a small arachnid based incident that I feel it may be amusing to share with you all. That and of course to allow me to pad this load of old shite out a bit. But hey, no one really reads this anyway, let alone for the football content, so fuck it, we’re talking spidery stuff. And yes, we have secured all the exits. Sorry.
Monday evening and following another long day at the digital coal face that is my working life, I was somewhat perturbed to be lumbered with the task of knocking up some top notch scran for dinner. Apparently Mrs Taz argues that me paying for pizza on Saturday evening after the Bristol Rovers game does not count as ‘cooking’. I beg to differ of course, but as she’s the missus, I’ve naturally got absolutely fuck all chance of winning such a debate and meekly surrender to spending a while slaving in front of a hot stove in my pinny. So, with a fine and hearty meal on the go, Mrs Taz is also busying herself in the kitchen preparing cutlery and crockery and such when she spots an 8 legged interloper legging it across the splashback behind the sink. Now, neither I or her ladyship are remotely arachnophobic and we tend to let the little critters be in most cases after we have of course established their identity and suitability for co-habiting with our good selves. This means your average house spider gets to stay, as they’re basically harmless and eat bugs etc, but if it’s one of those bitey little false widow pricks, they get a cup over their fat arses and exit the building via the nearest available open aperture. Hey, my gaff, my rules.
In this case, as I’m of course rustling culinary perfection, Mrs Taz takes responsibility and traps our insect friend with a cup off the drainer and identifies it as a false widow, showing me to confirm and indeed it’s a big fat fucker of the nibbly type. So I return to my pasta preparation and leave her to eject Incy Wincey out the open kitchen window. Moments later I hear an anxious sounding “Ah!” and feeling that this might indicate an issue may have arisen, return my attention to the ejection of our unwanted guest. Here I find Mrs Taz stood with that look on her face. The sort that says “Er, I may have did a silly”. I survey the scene for clues as to what might have gone awry and after a moment realise the toaster is sat practically under the window. “Please tell me you didn’t drop the spider in the toaster”. “Oh no!” the missus replies confidently “As if I’d do that!”.
Hmmm. So what else could be the issue here, I mean, she had the spider in the cup and…..”Uh, where’s the cup love?” I enquire, realising my cherished Union Berlin pint pot that I’d brought back from the German capital several years ago and that had been used to trap the spider was now nowhere to be seen. The missus avoids eye contact, bites her bottom lip and half looks towards the still open window. “Fucking hell, you lobbed the cup out didn’t you?”. All I’ll add at this point is that Gandermonium HQ is situated on the second floor of the block and that beneath that window is car parking. Including my own. Thankfully, the cup in question was of course made from not very shattering or car damaging plastic and was happily recovered shortly after following a brief foray outside involving Mrs Taz and a torch. Although quite what would have happened if any of our neighbours had discovered a black person in a hoodie rooting about near their parked jam jars, torch in hand, doesn’t bare thinking about. Now, where was I? Ah yes, Salford at home. That.
Originally, this date in the calendar was scheduled to have us heading oop North midweek, but thanks to the fact that the Football League insisted we had to replace out magical rubber carpet of wonder with some other green stuff that needs constant attention and can actually die and this wasn’t ready in time, we flipped the fixtures and instead ended up heading to a bit outside Manchester back on a Saturday in August. This also meant the match took place when tonight’s visitors were still about as red hot a favourite for the League 2 title with the bookies as you could possibly imagine and our hard fought 0-0 up there at the Nevilledome was thought to be a really bloody good point to bring back to West Sutton. Our very first in the Football League no less.
Sadly, as is usually the way with hard fought early season points away from home to more money than sense, Billy big bollocks outfits owned by former Manchester United players, they can occasionally lose their lustre a bit further down the line as the season unfolds and said Billy bigs actually end up stumbling about like a pisshead on roller skates in a Force 9, generally stinking out the place and losing to outfits far far shitter than you. Suddenly that “good point that” turns into “How the fuck did we not beat that shite?”. Even more so since the team with the self confessed biggest budget in the league have largely flattered to deceive and squarely failed to trouble the top half of the table at all. In fact the only thing more surprising than this massive ongoing toss off is that former Bobbin Gary Bowyer is still actually in a job up there, as usually Mr Neville and his mates are a bit sharper with handing out the P45’s than that.
Work done, I shovel the leftovers from last night into my face for dinner, saving Mrs Taz the need to cook and with that taken care of, it’s coat on and out the door. With no need to dip into Sutton itself tonight, I stick my headphones on and take a wander down to the Badlands for the train straight round to the Republic. It’s on time and I park my arse for the short trundle around the loop. At Sutton, Bob gets on and wanders past looking distracted. He reappears shortly after with the missus in tow, seems he was trying to locate her earlier! We natter about upcoming away plans and other such nonsense before we alight at West Sutton and head for the bar. I make a brief stop by the turnstiles to collar Frakey for blog duty on Saturday as I’ve been lumbered with work, so you’ll at least have a load of fresh new tosh to wade through this weekend rather than my tired old patter, you lucky sods you. But it’s a brief diversion and greeting AB and then Magnum back on Car Park duty tonight on my way to the bar, I’m soon parking up with Tatey, Indy, 4Days and Lil’ Chris in the players bar. Here the Wing Commander is also lurking and takes great delight in telling me the odyssey that was his Saturday night and assisting a lone WPC in transporting a barely conscious drunk back to his gaff (the drunk’s that is, not the Wing Commander’s), sadly though his hoped for lift home in the squad car to get his local curtain twitchers at it fails to materialise and he was left to make his own way home on the bus. So much for being community minded!
Bouzanis, Milsom, John, Goodliffe, Kizzi, Ajiboye, Boldewijn, Eastmond, Barden, Bugiel, Wilson SUBS: Olaofe, Nelson, Bennett, Randall, Dundas, Korboa, Wyatt
Dr Bell joins us soon after and a couple of much needed pints are sunk talking various cobblers, including Tatey making outrageous comments relating to Magnum’s dirty weekend away that I couldn’t possibly repeat here, before we down the dregs and head out for the match. The fact that Salford need a grand total of three attempts to kick off the contest is probably about as good an indicator of what’s largely to come as anything. It’s a fairly lively first 30 with us putting 2 half decent sighters into the side netting and Wilson pinging a great chance off te same bit of post as Omar did at the death on Saturday. For the visitors, big new signing Matt Smith looks precisely that, big and their main threat comes from Thomas-Asante who we had here on loan under Dos a couple of years ago. He has the ball in the net during the first half when Ben sells Deano slightly short on a back pass and the keeper’s clearance is charged down by the forward and rolled into an empty net. Thankfully, Bouzanis’ blushes are saved when the ref rules it out for handball. Apart from this though they’re properly ordinary. Which is, I’m sure, not what was specified to Mr Bowyer by the Manc lads when they hired him. “Yeah Gary, we’d like you to spend fortunes on players from the divisions above and barely scrape into the top 10. Got that? Good lad, don’t fuck it up now!”.
The last 15 of the half is pretty dull stuff to be honest and it’s soon down to us to make our own entertainment. Mike from the Sutton Podcast is stuck stood with us after some pre-match socialising meant he’s missed out on his usual spot and he’s keenly trying to angle a claim for David Ajiboye to play for his native Ireland. We’re not convinced personally, however we reckon he might have more luck on that front with someone like Issac O’Laofe. We also find out that Mr X has flat out forgotten to book Dukey any accommodation for Hartlepool away in a couple of weeks, despite the fact he’s absolutely 100% going. In trying to rescue the situation, Mr X goes on the offensive and demands to know if Dukey has text him back about attending the Walsall match. “I have!” states the flat capped hero confidently. “Bet you haven’t” says Mr X and within moments the customary Gandermonium 5p wager is set and just as Mr X checks his phone the 5 pennies drop. “You’ve literally just sent it now haven’t you?”. With the scores blank at the break, we mill about in usual fashion and catch up with whoever’s about hoping the game steps up a notch in the second 45.
Sadly, this is not the case and it’s a very bitty affair where we just seem to lack that bit of spark to get us going. The first touch is always heavy and that final ball just lacks that bit of quality. Even worse, we lose Easty midway through the half to injury and a reshuffle is required with Milsom moving into the middle and Ben Wyatt on at the back. We huff and puff, whilst they probably have the better of the ball but create just as little as we do in an attacking sense. Last 15, we introduce Issac for Wilson and this livens us up a touch. Despite this though, Tanto only gets one real chance, latching onto a flick from a free kick and finding himself in front of goal, tries to lift the ball over the advancing keeper, but the stopper manages to just get a touch to the ball with his arm and it’s enough to take it wide of the goal for a corner. It’s another point and a clean sheet, but definitely 2 points begging against what might be about the most limited oppo we’ve seen this season. Right, pint? Pint.
Back indoors and with a much needed beer in hand, we’ve soon already forgotten the events of the evening and we’re chatting with Oaksey about the seemingly never ending away end rebuild. It seems this is now hopefully due to be sorted by the Scunthorpe game and it’ll be the entire end getting done. Tatey’s not impressed by the description of this shiny new facility and reckons we should make it for home fans instead! Mr X then appears from his ‘Open All Hour’s stuff with a pint in hand, which is annoying as much like Dr Bell on Saturday, we’d got one in for him just as he’d requested at the full time whistle. Doofus! I down two and then saying my goodbyes, head for the station and the return journey home. Back at HQ, I avoid walking under our kitchen window on the way into the building lest I get clumped on the canister by any flying receptacles from above. Can’t be too careful these days.
Right, I’m out of here for the next two episodes. So all be sure to behave yourselves and be good for Uncle Frakey and Uncle Totts alright?? And no raiding the drinks cabinet, I’ve marked all the bottles so I’ll be able to tell you know…