Oi! Stop watching that Qatar World Cup cobblers. It’s immoral and stuff. Besides, we’ve got more than enough on here to keep you occupied for the duration and you don’t seriously think that the gathering of the world’s finest international teams to battle it out for global supremacy is in any way more entertaining that the adventures of Sutton United do you? Oh. You do? Ah. Well, I guess I might have to give you that one Mr (or Mrs) Cold Hard Facts. No one likes a smart arse though you know.
Yes folks, unlike Mr Frake with his I’ve-got-my-reservations-about-it-all-but-I’m-watching-it-all-anyway stance he covered in Saturday’s Rochdale blog, I personally have decided to give it bollocks to this Winter’s corrupt sportswashing bullshit in the desert and am pretty much ignoring it. I’ve always been basically ‘club first’ anyway and well, it suits my immaculate #AMF sensibilities to do something else with my time rather than watching some rando nation v another 3 times a day for a Month. My job for starters.
In fact, the only good bits from my point of view so far have been the fact that FIFA and the hosts have proven a fair few long held predictions I’d made to be pretty much bang on. With half empty stadiums & shit ticketing, as well as banning beer and anything vaguely rainbow related at the last minute, all coming to fruition. Although, to be fair, given the main beer supplier is Budweiser, even I can’t find fault with that particular shout by the hosts and as one wag on socials stated, it was probably the first real victory for human rights where the whole shit show was concerned. Swings and roundabouts I s’pose.
So, as it stands, I’ve actually not watched a second of it live at all so far and the only snippets I have caught were on twitter whilst doomscrolling some other bollocks. Namely Bellingham’s header & Bale’s Peno. And I could have avoided the latter by easily not having half of Wales on my fucking feed thanks to following 4Days. Despite all my reservations though, I did at least join in the work sweepstakes so as not to look like totally miserable prick. Naturally, I drew fucking Saudi Arabia out, which I think we can agree is marvellously poetic. My initial annoyance at having wasted a fiver on that bollocks was briefly tempered by the news that we had a ‘worst team’ prize as well as the usual top 3 that could net me a four fold return on my initial investment. IT’S COMING HOME, IT’S COMING….
Of course, as you can probably imagine, I was over the bastard moon when news of their stunning, totally unexpected and 20 quid burning win over Messi’s red hot favourites in their first group game. So yeah, initial assessment correct, wasted a fiver. Cheers lads. Still, at least I don’t have to replace a whole door like the Saudi geezer in that video on twitter. Wonderfully Ripping Yarns that and no mistake. “Two One! TWO. BLOODY. ONE!”. Odd thing is, having done my money, you’d have thought I’d have been the one smashing the gaff up.
Having missed Saturday’s much needed win over ‘Dale due to work commitments, I still wasn’t overly tempted on going tonight for a football fix. But as is the way lately, life is determined to piss on my chips and my agreed correspondent for the game cried off early on the Tuesday, so I was left with no other choice than to forgo my evening of roundly ignoring Australia v France and to bounce on down to the Wombles burrow for some bang average American Pizza sponsored stuff instead. We wouldn’t want you all to go without your shit blog fix now would we eh? No no, no need to thank me. You’re welcome.
That league game at Plough Lane at the start of October now seems a lifetime away I must say. A battling 1-0 win to end a poor run against a very docile oppo did little to lift a scruffy season out of the doldrums as we promptly went right back to scratching around for goals and form whilst our vanquished litter picking rodent friends, after a brief period of toys from pram ejection post-loss, meanwhile rolled up their sleeves and went to work. Nine unbeaten going into tonight, which although whilst including an uninspiring draw away at Weymouth in there, they did at least manage not to shit the bed at home to Non-League opposition in the replay. Unlike some I could mention.
So, with my lumbering with this stuff coming early on the day of the game, I’m left to pay the full 17 quid for my ticket instead of the 15 pretty much everyone else will have paid. Still, despite our recent form, this one’s proving popular with the citizens of the Republic and I hear whispers that we’ve sold getting on for 750 in advance already. I guess the local nature of the tie and also the fact we’ve already actually managed a win at PL recently is also helping out a touch there. With my brief sorted, I hatch a travel plan that’s low on effort and high on delivery and dead on 6, I tip out of the office and head on down to Monument for the tube. Couple of stops later I’m off at Blackfriars and waiting for the 6.21 heading the wrong way round the West Sutton loop to Haydons Road.
My train pulls in and predictably for this time of evening is barely standing room only rammo. Oh well, it’s only 30 minutes, so I squeeze onto the carriage and find a space to sway my way back south without falling on anyone. Mission accomplished and I’m hopping off at Haydons Road just before 7, around the same time Mr X is leaving West Sutton, where he declares it’s the busiest he’s ever seen it as the PROWS catches Pizza Cup fever and heads on out. With plenty of time before kick off, I pull up my collar to keep out the nippy November evening air and walk on down to the ground. It’s nowhere near as busy as the league game here of course, but there’s still a sprinkling of yellow and blue making their way along the main drag that is practically at a standstill traffic wise. Fuck driving here for a lark.
I hook a left shortly after the novelty Womble bench\sculpture thing and amble down to the far end for the away turnstiles. Outside I find Frakey tucking away his teamsheet for safekeeping whilst KBB waits patiently. As we exchange pleasantries and “What the fuck are you doing here?”‘s, Keepo wanders up along with Neil from the Cocktail Crew after having had a few post work scoops in the Black Friar. Fair play lads. We all know watching us sober is to be avoided at all costs! Navigating the barcode scanners on the turnstiles and a pint and a lukewarm pie sorted inside, I catch up with SLO Loffers, Ipswich Lee, Rax and Fish the Cabbie as they filter in. We’re then finally joined by Mr X fresh from West Sutton and we peruse the teams pre-kick off over a pint.
Rose, Hart, John, Kizzi, Boldewijn, Neufville, Randall, Lovatt, Eastmond, Bugiel, Kendall SUBS: Dundas, Thomas, Wilson, Kouassi, Milsom, Fadahunsi
For us, there’s minor tweakage from Saturday as expected. Mainly as this is basically all we’ve got who’s actually bloody fit. The hosts have a bit less worry in this area it seems and raise our paltry 3 changes with 10 of their own meaning it’s basically a reserve side we’re playing. Great, what could possibly go wrong here? Still, no one questions coming out and not staying in to watch the Aussies against the French, well not yet anyway, so that’s something. And with pints downed, we head for the stand. The rest of the ground is pretty sparsely populated, as is the way with this comp and our end must easily make up a good half of the crowd tonight. Oh well, bit of gate money if nowt else.
As with the league game, the away end is also a little chaotic. No ones stuck to the allocated seats, as we’d expected and it’s all a little congested towards the back behind the goal as the yoot mob up to be loud and bangy on the back of the stand. Also as with the league games, the stewards do practically fuck all about it and when Ben Goodliffe and Ali Smith wander in and gee up the crowd for a few minutes, they’re basically standing on the steps in the aisle as there’s nowhere to go. Eventually several minutes after kick off, the situation is sorted and people filter in to find gaps where they can. It’s handy this happens too, as it’s definitely more interesting than what’s going on out on the pitch.
Basically we’re being us of late, with lots of effort, not much control of the ball and a fair bit of lumpage. The hosts on the other hand are a bit tidier, but looking a little light attacking wise. We make the more of the early running, but as is becoming common this year, actually creating any serious goal threat is proving a real issue. Then with a bit of 15 gone, they have their first real attack and of course score from it. Enzio is a bit lacking and his man gets the ball, lays it back up the line, Josh is slow to close down and arrives on the scene just as the oppo player fucks off into the huge space behind. He gets into the box, lays it across and the looming figure of ex-Solihull striker Hudlin is there to slot from six yards out with the minimum of fuss, completely unmarked of course. Awesome, just what a goal shy side needs, being one down early on.
The rest of the half is pretty dull to be honest. We lack any real drive and the best we can manage attacking wise is a shot by Hart from range that a defender half blocks and it carries weakly through to the keeper. Our efforts in attack are summed up late in the half when Randall latches onto a little nudge in behind, but looking up to square it for a colleague finds not a single fucking yellow shirt has gone with him and he’s forced wide and the move is wasted. As half time approaches, Mr X disappears for a wazz and to get the beers in, whilst I stop to say hi to Dancing Marcus, who charitably thinks we’ve “done alright”. “I think we’ve been fucking shit mate” is all I can add and I head for the khazi myself as the whistle goes signalling the break.
We mooch about and sup in between moaning about another half of football not short on effort, but seriously lacking in any real attacking spark. We really need to just get some fresh bodies back so we can at least shake things up a bit and try to find our mojo from last season, even if only for a few games. We down our drinks and head back in before the ‘rush’ to ensure we get back to somewhere near our spot from the first half. From the restart, we definitely pick up the tempo from the first 45 and set about trying to get the goal back, but like before, the final ball or delivery is pretty poor and despite being under pressure, the Wombles don’t look hugely troubled. Two decent little moments are wasted by Kendall, one with trying to pull back to Omar after a dart into the box and only succeeding in weakly passing it back to the keeper, then again getting into space wide before getting the ball caught under his feet and prodding it out for a goal kick.
The yoot at the back amuse themselves making some noise as the game progresses, Although the ‘You let your club die’ stuff is a bit classless if I’m honest. And also a bit fucking daft given that we’re playing them right now (and losing), in their brand new and 3k larger than ours stadium and we’re at the same level League wise. Hardly racked with rigor mortis are they lads? Still, that’s modern fans for you, all about maximum BANTER these days. On the pitch the huff & puff continues, we get to about 70 gone and make a couple changes to try and shake things up, but they’re like for likes and whilst Kylian gives us a little bit more than a rusty Omar, we still just cannot fashion a decent chance. Probably the best is a corner from our left that Easty gets a deft header onto only to see it hit Donovan Wilson practically on the the line. Fuck our lives.
With time pressing on, we keep on knocking but you can tell it’s just simply not gonna happen. And as time expires, Mr X has seen enough. “Fuck this, I’ve got an early meeting in the morning. I’m going for the 10 to train”. I decide to hang on to see what the ref adds and when the board goes up for 5 minutes, I move more to the front to make my exit quicker on the whistle. Nothing much happens and as I decide I too have seen enough and make my move, Will Randall dollies a ball to absolutely fucking no one from the corner of the box and the ref blows up. Before I can clear the stand, there’s a post match handbags at our end that clears both benches, but I can’t see what the fuss is through the back of the stand and I realise the number of fucks I have allocated for tonight have most certainly run out and I too want to get that earlier train.
I get my march on and weaving through the few departing Wombles there are, I hit the bridge over the rail line to find Mr X puffing away on no doubt his second post match snout. “You didn’t miss much mate” I chime as we head down the stairs. On the platform and in the several minutes before the train arrives, numerous other downcast U’s including Keepo appear. None of us overly impressed with the evening’s showing although no one’s seemingly that broken up about the departure of the Pizza Cup from the Calendar for this season. We simply don’t have the bodies. “Fucking hell, there’s still 27 league games left!” groans a depressed Mr X as we trundle around the loop. Still, at least Gillingham and Crawley have drawn 0-0 tonight, so that’s something I suppose. “Just gotta get to January now” offers Keepo, trying to see the bright side. “Yeah, so all the sides around us with much bigger budgets can sign fuckloads of new players”.
I wave goodbye to the downhearted man of mystery at West Sutton, who is no doubt looking forward to his blank Saturday of no Sutton United this weekend, probably far more than I am, before the weekend long schlep up to Carlisle the following weekend. Next off is Keepo at Sutton and I stay on the now almost deserted rattler to the Badlands, alighting there for the familiar hike through the back streets back to HQ in the chill evening air. This does little to clear the mind or alleviate the gloom around our current form however and I sack off making a start on this tosh when I get in around half 10 and instead brush my toothy pegs and join the already slumbering Mrs Taz in Bedfordshire.
Fucking hell. He’s right, there really is 27 games left isn’t there?