Sometime, way back in history, some proper clever clogs smugly said “Time is a great healer” to some poor sod who’d just suffered a traumatic experience. And probably at the hands of the smug bastard trotting out that crap. Well we’d like to take the opportunity to place on record our feelings in this regard with the riposte “Bollocks is it mate”. Yes folks, in case you were wondering, we’re still stewing over last weekend’s rather brutal assault on our hopes, dreams and general wellbeing by some git in a red shirt sticking it top bins 6 minutes into 7 minutes of added time at the end of a game. If anything, the feeling of loss has got even worse as the week has progressed and we’re not expecting it to get any better any time soon. Still, we here in the PROWS are a hardy bunch, so we’ll just have to suck it up and let our therapists deal with all this at future sessions.
Speaking of time and football, I should probably mention some of the mental shit that’s been doing the rounds this week about the length of matches performed under the Association rules. First up was the notion that games in the upcoming Qatar World Cup should perhaps last 100 minutes instead of the regular 90. The reasoning being that this would allow for drinks breaks and so forth given that it’s quite warm in a fucking desert. Well quite. But surely that begs the question “What are you doing holding a sporting competition in a place that’s hotter than the sun even in winter you daft cunts?”. Of course this is a rhetorical question as we are fully aware the answer is “They gave us a lot of money, all of it in fact”.
Oddly, following this daft cobblers, the week then ended with the news that some U23’s setup in Portugal was going to be trialling games lasting precisely 60 minutes, with the clock stopping every time the ball is out of play. The reasoning here is that this would cut down on timewasting and that the ball is never really in play for more than an hour anyway in an average game. Again, we’re unconvinced by this horseshit you’ll be surprised to hear. If there’s no jeopardy involved, eg. adding time on, when you’re engaging in what we commonly call ‘the shithousing’ then there will be no inclination to actually get the ball in play and all you’ll end up with is a really dull, overly structured unpadded version of the NFL that we’ve been saying for years that football at the top level will become before too long.
And besides, the sport already has laws in place to take care of timewasting and so forth. The authorities just need to back match officials and allow them to more vigorously enforce them and not fold at the first sign of toys out the pram from all the big clubs this will no doubt arse off. It never ceases to baffle us that despite Football being the most popular sport in the world bar none, the people that run the thing these days seem to think that every little issue that pops up with the game requires a major and significant change to the very basic premise of it all. Call us cynics, but all this nonsense has bugger all to do with the sport at all, how ‘fair’ it is, player welfare and all that other toss they roll out these days and more how they can screw a few more quid from it by making it more palatable to slack jawed, thick as fuck morons watching on TV. If people don’t like football, then fuck ’em. I personally don’t like Cycling, like at all, but I wouldn’t want the Tour de France changed into a big two wheeled sort of Mario Kart type carry on so as to appeal to a ‘wider audience’ either. Just leave shit alone.
Right, now with my high horse firmly back in the metaphorical stables and a couple of paragraphs of nonsense in place to pad out our latest missive, I guess I should probably get onto the matter at hand, the U’s return to League 2 bread and butter against Orient at the home of football. Back in November, we went to Brisbane Road, sat in their nicked stand from Mitcham and saw us get a 4-1 slap that slightly flattered the hosts a touch. Still, joke was on them as after that, they barely managed to score a goal let alone win a game as they plummeted down the table and at one point, looked in real danger of joining the relegation bunfight. This run cost Kenny Jackett his job and under their new gaffer, they’re turned the corner and put together a couple of wins to move more towards safety. Although they did manage to lose 2-0 to an Oldham side we saw off with a side that included the tea lady and was held together by blue tac and bits of sticky tape. So we’re hoping for a bit of revenge today. That’s if the lads aren’t as mentally scarred as last Sunday’s defeat as we are that is. Oh god, last Sunday….
With a home game very welcome, I stay in my pit as long as I feasibly can to ensure I’m adequately rested for another hurly burly League 2 contest. This is a proper head under the duvet, refuse to get up even when Mrs Taz tuts disapprovingly at me and threatens to cut off tea supplies lie in and no mistake. Fucking lovely it is too. Still, I must eventually depart from cosy Bedfordshire as I’ve got a game to watch and by association, this shite to write. So best get my skates on! With all the usual done, I bid my usual tearful farewells to Mrs Taz and head out into the sun for the bus to Sutton. It’s an odd day out, mainly as it’s one of those that has you thinking long and hard about it being a jacket or a big coat day. The sun naturally screams ‘jacket’, but this is of course Britain, so a bit of sunshine at this time of year is not to be trusted in the slightest and any sort of cloud cover could see the temperature plummet to the sort of levels that would have a Siberian reaching for their thermals. Which of course would mean big coat. On this occasion, I go jacket, mainly as going big coat would mean zipping my jacket into said big coat to actually make it a big coat. And I really can’t be arsed.
Headphones on, I’m treated to some 80’s tuneage from my varied collection stored on my fondleslab. Although this at least thankfully doesn’t include Blondie’s “The Tide is High” which the stereo in my car seems utterly obsessed with of late for some reason. No word of a lie, every time I’m in the motor and I skip a track, there’s a good 50% chance the fucker will stick that on next. I’ve even had it happen when the track I’m skipping from is that very same one. Been driving me up the wall. Really should delete the fucking thing if I’m honest. On this occasion, Depeche Mode “I Just Can’t Get Enough” is the standout and seems quite fitting for today. No Dave, you’re quite correct old son, I definitely can’t. As per, I hop off the bus at the Police station and head for Greggs for some munch on the walk down. As I enter, a bloke who is the dead spit of Keepo trundles past on his mobility scooter. Mental note taken for later piss taking I head in to sadly find my later than usual arrival in town means my normal ham and cheese is all gone. Hmmm, decisions decisions. As I queue, a loud and rather rude lady has one of those phone calls that the whole world needs to hear right be hind me. Every other word is a sharp “What?”. Karma’s a bitch though and as it comes to my turn to be served she reveals “What? I’m in fucking Greggs for a fucking sausage roll” to the poor bastard who’s ear she’s bending on the other end. There’s only two left and I of course buy both. As I leave the store and before I can finally block her out by plugging some White Zombie into my lugholes, I can hear her behind me kicking off that there’s “no fucking sausage rolls”.
With my choice of jacket validated by the warm walk down to GGL, I head up the drive and am greeted by Frakey. “So you didn’t get it then?” he declares, referring to the bout of Wembley ‘rona that’s swept through the Amber faithful during the week. An outbreak after a game there is getting as much of a tradition as ‘Abide with me’ lately it seems. Right behind me are 4Days and Lil’ Chris and we leave Frakey to his car park duties and head for the ticket hut to get some Mansfield briefs for the match next weekend. I let 4Days go first, as he only needs 2 whereas I’m on buying duty for all the diseased objects and absentees from today. There’s a price though, he has to buy me a pint. Fair trade I think! Ticketed up to the eyeballs, I head for the bar passing Keepo and the DBDC outside and informing him of his doppelganger on the High Street.
With this little hand grenade of mischief tossed, I leave him to a thorough slaughtering at the bands of Dirty Barry and co and head inside where I find my beer waiting. We head into the back bar and discover that Dr Bell and Indy are two others not affected by the Wembleydemic, so we settle in to a tedious Everton v Man Utd game on the telly and have a couple of pre-match liveners. I also catch up with Kev again to see how his bro Paul is getting on after his stroke, in response he gives me the middle finger. “He said to say hello when I saw you!” Kev grins. Yeah, cheers mate. Tell him he can fuck off for his grapes and get well card now though.
Bouzanis, Kizzi, Milsom, Rowe, Eastmond, John, Ajiboye, Olaofe, Bennett, Beautyman, Boldewijn. SUBS: Wyatt, Davis, Korboa, Kouassi, Nelson, Bugiel, Smith
The Curva is busy today as I enter, looking for a spot towards the back. I find Chalmers in and also Podcast Mike in situ. Also present is Jared Pieman, who appears to have got lost today and is well out of his usual manor behind the goal. “Everyone I stand with’s got Covid from Wembley!” he complains when challenged “I didn’t wanna be lonely”. Gods sake! Taking all sorts of waifs and strays on here lately. Us moving in was bad enough! On the field, the lads start bright and whilst not going full bore, they’re on top from early doors. One Milsom free-kick from wide is just out of reach of Louis arriving back stick and the keeper takes no chances in pushing it wide, although quite how the ref misses the defender literally carrying Joe Kizzi in the middle is beyond me. The follow up corner is just headed over by Tanto back in the side today. A good break down the right eventually sees Dave tee up Harry, but his rising drive is tipped over by the keeps.
We keep the pressure on, mostly from corners and set pieces and eventually one pays off. Swung in from the far side, Kizzi gets up highest in the crowd and nuts it down and into the net to give us the lead. We’re mostly grafting it out today, as most of our attempts to move the ball tend to falter on poor touch or over\under hit passes. Orient aren’t completely anonymous and Deano has to make a safety first save at the foot of his near post from a low shot. Enzio really should double the lead late in the half when the keeper cocks up and plays the ball straight to him 20 or so from goal, but he’s a little surprised to be in that spot and a moment’s hesitation in getting the shot away allows a defender to get in a crucial block. Another Milsom free-kick should make it 2 soon after, but again a decent delivery lacks the final finish and Bennett’s scuffed effort lacks power and the keeper adjusts in time flip it over the top.
Half time is the usual opportunity for a leak and to chatter the usual cobblers whilst checking results elsewhere. Most of which seem to be falling fairly well for us so far. The same could not be said for Southampton, where Steve is watching today, who were 3 down inside 25 to Chelsea. He’ll be in a good mood then! The second half is a little more trying for us as the visitors come out with a bit more life and we start to show some of the effects of the efforts at Wembley. They have tons of the ball, but don’t create a huge amount whilst we largely live off scraps. Changes are made, Omar appears for Bennett but all Omar does is get booked almost immediately, which also serves to highlight an increasingly erratic display from the man in the middle. Despite all the possession though, Orient can only muster two efforts from range that zip narrowly wide of Deano’s upright and in the end, we see out the three points having at point stage fully accepted a late leveller was probably coming up on the Curva. A wins a win.
Back in the bar, we toast the 3 points and of course chatter about god knows what. The Wing Commander appears and offers me a little tale he’s heard about a Chesney Hawkes super fan who managed to weasel their way into the fella’s gaff to use the khazi and nicked the toilet roll to sell at £1 a sheet to all the other super fans outside. “Sounds like the sort of carry on Robbo might engage in!” he chuckles “Might be something for the blog?” he adds. Tsk, as if we’d spread such unproven and scurrilous rumours on these hallowed pages sir! And in other unrelated news, someone in the group will now be known as ‘Bogroll Robbo’ going forwards. We also catch up with Spennymoor Pete, who’s in town as he’s a Season Ticket holder at the O’s but takes great delight in their failures. He does love it here at GGL though and seems to be getting to feel more at home with every visit. “Today’s the first time the Chairman’s not told me to fuck off!” he declares proudly. We’re pleased for you mate, a true rite of passage that! Another face I’m keen to catch up with is Scouse Neil from the Cocktail Crew, who’d sadly had to skip the big game at Wembley last weekend as he and his good lady had already booked an anniversary trip to New York for that date ages ago.
“How was the Big Apple mate?” I enquire “Fuck off!” is his quite frankly fully expected and deserved response. Seems that his missus had been totally cool with them changing the date however so that he could made the Pizza Cup final, but sadly, Virgin travel were considerably less cool and wanted an eye bleeding six and half thousand quid to swap dates! Naturally, at that sort of wedge, they stuck to the original plan and instead got to see the game sat in a small bar somewhere just off Times Square. Naturally, by the final whistle, Neil had all the patrons rooting for the men in Amber, so if nowt else, we might have a New York supporters club before too long. And don’t worry mate, it only took us 41 years to get that visit, so I’m sure there’ll be another one along before we’re all pushing up daisies. It’s not all fun and games however, as Keepo appears and brings bad tidings, probably in revenge for the mobility scooter doppelganger news earlier, by claiming that Bobby Bollocks has absolutely no recollection of our meeting Sunday evening! It’s a sickener I can tell you. Why you gotta do me like that mate? Cut me deep that has! Still, I guess it proves Bobby wasn’t lying at the time when he said “I’m bollocksed!”. Up on the telly, Cagliari are leading Juventus in Serie A, which prompts a mention of the time Chalmers said “You don’t sound Canadian!” to an Italian lad from said city on a train journey back from somewhere a few years ago. Think about it.
Mr X makes a brief appearance from manning the megastore to say hello before promptly buggering off home without so much as having a pint. Some cobblers about being tired?? Pfft, a likely story. They’re probably doing a 2 for 1 on Babestation tonight or something. We’re soon joined by Steve, fresh from the Saint’s 6-0 bumming by Chelsea, of which he endured an hour before tossing it off for a much earlier train home and a pint back here in the Republic. Meanwhile Beckett from the B Team whacks some tuneage on the Jukebox and everyone settles in for the evening. This leads to more drinks and just after 8, I’m about done. So Beckett gets me a G&T that turns out to be seriously heavy on the G side of things. “There’s about four in there” he chuckles “Barmaid cocked it up!”. Jesus wept! It’s so strong I have to go and get a large bottle of extra tonic and a pint pot from the bar to to chuck it all in and water the fucker down! With time passing on and stomachs rumbling, Steve suggests we bugger off and get a curry. This isn’t a bad idea as Mrs Taz is already sorting herself dinner, so dining out isn’t an issue. So we rustle up a cab and head for Mango Lounge not far from HQ for a proper feed up and a couple of Cobras.
Getting home stinking of beer and curry, oh the missus will love me!